In presenting the PHOTOGRAPHIC SKETCH BOOK OF THE WAR to the attention of the public, it is designed that it shall speak for itself. The omission, therefore, of any remarks by way of preface might well be justified; and yet, perhaps a few introductory words may not be amiss.
As mementoes of the fearful struggle through which the country has just passed, it is confidently hoped that the following pages will possess an enduring interest. Localities that would scarcely have been known, and probably never remembered, save in their immediate vicinity, have become celebrated, and will ever be held sacred as memorable fields, where thousands of brave men yielded up their lives a willing sacrifice for the cause they had espoused.
Verbal representations of such places, or scenes, may or may not have the merit of accuracy; but photographic presentments of them will be accepted by posterity with an undoubting faith. During the four years of the war, almost every point of importance has been photographed, and the collection from which these views have been selected amounts to nearly three thousand.
The Marshall House, at the commencement of the war, was a dingy old hotel, kept by a man generally known in that section by the name of Jim Jackson. It was in this building that Col. Ellsworth of the New York Fire Zouaves was killed, in May, 1861. Our troops had surprised and captured the city just before daylight, and as Col. Ellsworth was posting his troops about the town, he discovered a Confederate flag waving from the roof of the Marshall House. Accompanied by Private Brownell, the Colonel went up through the building after the flag, and on coming down was shot on the stairĀcase by the proprietor, Jackson. Brownell instantly killed Jackson, and with others hurried to Washington with Ellsworth's remains. The intelligence of his death was kept from the Zouaves for several hours, until measures could be taken to prevent them from destroying the city, which it was feared they would attempt in revenge for the killing of their commander. Brownell was shortly after appointed a lieutenant in the regular army. Relic hunters soon carried away from the hotel everything moveable, including the carpets, furniture, and window shutters, and cut away the whole of the staircase and door where Ellsworth was shot. Finally Northern men took possession of the building, and fitted it up for business, so changing the interior as to be scarcely recognizable by those who visited it in 1861.
In many of the Southern cities the people had erected buildings of this kind for the confinement of slaves awaiting sale. The establishment represented in the photograph was situated in the western suburbs of Alexandria, near the depot of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. The main building was used by the clerks of the firm and the overseers. The high brick wall enclosed a court yard, in which were stables and outhouses for the accommodation of planters who come in for the purpose of selling or purchasing slaves. The large building on the right was used for the confinement of the negroes. It had a number of apartments, in which the slaves could he kept singly or in gangs, and one large mess room, where they received their food. The establishment was essentially a prison. The doors were very strong, and were secured by large locks and bolts. Iron bars were fixed in the masonry of the windows, and manacles were frequently placed on the limbs of those suspected of designs for escape. Auction sales were regularly held, at which Virginia farmers disposed of their servants to cotton and sugar planters from the Gulf States. If a slave-owner needed money which he could not easily procure, he sold one of his slaves; and the threat of being sent South was constantly held over the servants as security for faithful labor and good behavior. Before the war, a child three years old, would sell, in Alexandria, for about fifty dollars, and an able-bodied man at from one thousand to eighteen hundred dollars. A woman would bring from five hundred to fifteen hundred dollars, according to her one and personal attractions.
The village of Fairfax Court-House, Virginia, eighteen miles from Washington, was, previous to the rebellion, one of the loveliest of the State. Numbering about three thousand inhabitants, with three large hotels, two fine churches, and a flourishing female institute, the place had become of considerable importance at the time of secession, from which it was the first to suffer. Each of the many commands which occupied the town during the war added to the work of devastation commenced in 1861, and long before peace was announced its comeliness had departed. Its best houses were burned, the churches were converted into hospitals, and then into stables, while the venerable Court-House was stripped of its wood-work, leaving only the naked walls and roof. In 1864, loop-holes were cut through the sides of the building for riflemen and troops stationed in it to repel any attack that might be made by guerillas who constantly hovered in the vicinity. The records kept here were of great historical interest, dating from the early settlement of Virginia, and including many documents in the writing of General Washington. A great number of these were carried off by curiosity hunters in the sacking which took place in September, 1862, and a still greater number were ruthlessly destroyed by the soldiery. Generals McClellan and Hooker each temporarily had their headquarters here when in command of the Army of the Potomac, as did also the lamented Sumner, and other officers of equal rank. The battle-field of Bull Run is ten miles distant, and Chantilly, where the gallant Kearney and Stephens fell, but five miles away.
The village is now, however, rapidly recovering from its misfortunes. Shattered houses have been repaired, families are returning to their homes, the Court-House is being put in order for the occupation of the courts, and, under the influence of Northern enterprise, the town promises soon to wear even more beauty than it ever knew before.
Perched upon the gentle slope of the ridge that bears its name, and looking across fertile fields to the mountains that rise up grandly hiding the West, Centreville had smiled on many generations, and grown feeble with all its pleasant things about it. The houses were leaning structures with huge stone chimneys, doors that creaked in their old age, and fences that straggled every way, but there was always an odor of wild roses and honeyĀsuckle about it, and a genial hospitality to welcome the stranger. War crushed it, piled earthworks upon its ruins to protect hostile camps, built cantonments in its gardens, and made hospitals of the churches. Scarcely a vestige of its former self remains. Redoubts and riflepits stretch along its knolls; graves, half hidden by the grass, tell where the dead of both armies slumber, and the spot now only interests the visitor because of the wreck that has come upon it. Here the divisions of McDowell gathered strength after their weary march to assault the position of the enemy, and here his rear-guard checked the returning tide of half-beaten Confederates. Pope next sought it as a rock of strength in his fierce struggle back from Cedar Mountain, and again, in 1863, Meade turned his columns towards its ridges for a bulwark to defend the Capital. Guerillas have swarmed about it, cavalry have charged over its untilled fields, and demoralized divisions have bivouacked for roll-call behind its hills.
Through all these scenes a few of its people have lived and suffered, faithful to their homes. Others are turning back from uncertain wanderings to the resting place of their fathers, and, with returning peace, the husbandman finds that nature has not forgotten its fruitfulness in the years of war and devastation.
After the first battle of Bull Run, the Confederates extended their earthworks from Manassas across Bull Run, and along the ridge of Centreville. The works shown in the photograph were constructed near the village of Centreville, and, by the topography of the surrounding country, were rendered almost impregnable to assault. In front the fields sloped down to a stream about five hundred yards distant, along which grew dense thickets of vines, underbrush, and thorn bushes. Beyond were forests, which had been leveled, in order to perfect the range of the artillery, the fallen trees forming a barrier through which it would be impossible to move a line of troops. The Confederates never had any guns heavier than twelve pounders in these works, it being extremely difficult to move any other artillery than field batteries to this line. Redoubts, lunettes, and rifle-pits were so constructed as to command each other; and to render any portion of the works, if captured by an assaulting column, untenable. In the rear of these defences, on the western slope of the ridge, the Confederates had their cantonments.
The view from the crest of the works was very fine. To the east was a wide area of undulating country, covered with dense woods, and with grassy hill-sides, here and there smiling to each other over the forests. Looking west the eye rested on a fertile valley, watered by countless streams, dotted with farm-houses and herds, and bounded beyond by the mountains which rose up so boldly as to seem hut half a dozen miles away. All this section was devastated by the armies, and is now a wilderness, overgrown with bushes, rank weeds, and running briars.
These were found in the works at Centreville, after the position at Manassas Junction was evacuated by the rebels. It was claimed, and is believed by many, that the rebel lines at Centreville were never defended by any others; yet the rebels had in position there at least seven heavy siege guns and numerous field batteries. Capt. Porter, then commanding the First Massachusetts Light Battery, found in one park the tracks of ten batteries. As for the "Quakers," it was not at all an uncommon thing to place them upon deserted positions. Our soldiers, at the evacuation of Harrison's Landing, left the works so well supplied with "Quaker" guns, and bogus figures on guard duty, that it was several days before the rebels ventured to approach them. These Centreville works, in consequence of their natural advantages, were almost impregnable to attack. The rifle-pits covering the crest of the hill were strengthened at intervals with embrasured forts, the whole commanding the natural glacis, gently descending for half a mile to the little stream called Rocky Run, and the opposite slope, to its crest half a mile distant. The huts in the distance were a portion of the rebel cantonments, numbering in all about fifteen hundred log cabins, calculated to contain from eight to twenty men each. The fort in the foreground has a revetement or lining of rude hurdle work, to keep the earth from crumbling down, a very necessary precaution with the Virginia soil. The board platforms show where guns have formerly been in position, commanding the approaches from Fairfax Court-House. It was to these heights that Gen. Meade returned with the Army of the Potomac, after it had been reduced by the transfer of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps to the West. Lee followed, meeting with a repulse from Gen. Warren, at Bristow Station, and declining the proffered battle at Centreville, fell back to the Rapidan, destroying the railroad as he retreated.
This sketch represents a portion of the field of the battle of Bull Run, fought on the 21st of July, 1861, by the forces under Gen. McDowell and Gen. Beauregard. In a general order, issued on the 20th, Gen. McDowell said: "The enemy has planted a battery on the Warrenton turnpike to defend the passage of Bull Run; has seized the stone bridge, and made a heavy abatis on the right bank, to oppose our advance in that direction. The ford above the bridge is also guarded, whether with artillery or not, is not positively known, but every indication favors the belief that he proposes to defend the passage of the stream. It is intended to turn the position, force the enemy from the road, that it may be re-opened, and, if possible, destroy the railroad leading from Manasses to the Valley of Virginia, where the enemy has a large force." General McDowell commenced operations with the divisions of Tyler, Hunter, Heintzelman, and Miles—33,000 men; 18,000 of whom were engaged. The strength of the enemy was about the same, and was all engaged. The plan of the attack was for Tyler's division to threaten the passage of the bridge, Miles to make a demonstration at Blackburn's Ford, two miles below, and the divisions of Hunter and Heintzleman to move up the stream ten miles, and by a flank movement surprise and overwhelm the enemy while occupied with the two other divisions. The country at that time was densely wooded, and the entire portion shown in the sketch occupied by the Confederates. It was expected that Hunter and Heintzelman would strike the left of the enemy at daylight on the 21st, but owing to unforeseen obstacles, failed to reach the designated point until after ten o'clock. This delay revealed the movement to Beauregard, who immediately disposed his forces to meet it by extending them obliquely across the turnpike, facing the bridge, at a distance of about two miles. Hunter, Heintzelman, and Tyler, who had crossed the bridge, attacked the enemy, and the engagement became general; our forces, after a severe struggle, driving him in great confusion from the field, and occupying the turnpike. The fighting had nearly ceased, and Gen. McDowell was expressing his thanks to some of his officers for their services, when Johnston's reinforcements from Winchester suddenly appeared in rear of our right, and threw our lines into utter confusion. A feeble attempt was made to repulse the attack, but the regiments rapidly broke to pieces, and forming a mass of terror-stricken fugitives, rushed from the field down across the bridge, which soon became obstructed by wagons, and to prevent pursuit by the enemy was destroyed. A portion of this ground was fought over in the battles of Gen. Pope in 1862, and hundreds of acres still bear evidences of those fearful scenes.
This shattered dwelling stands on the first Bull Run battle ground, by the side of the turnpike leading from Centreville to Warrenton. Subjected to a severe artillery fire in that engagement, its inmates were driven out, and the walls badly damaged. The hill in front of the house was the scene of the most desperate fighting. There Ricketts and Griffin lost their guns, the former receiving a severe wound, and falling into the hands of the enemy, who kept him in prison several months, where he would undoubtedly have perished but for the faithful nursing of his wife, who obtained permission to pass through the lines, and remained with him until he was exchanged. The little stream shown in the picture was referred to by Gen. McDowell in his report, and a number of officers, who denied the existence of a stream at that place, cited this statement of the General as evidence of his alleged intoxication on the day of the battle. It is well known by Gen. McDowell's acquaintances that he never indulges in spirituous liquors in any form. The photograph sets at rest the idle story, based upon the supposed non-existence of the water course.
The Bull Run Monument, consecrated with imposing ceremonies in June, 1865, stands about half a mile from the house. The Mathews family have returned to their ruined house, and impoverished by the war, live in great destitution. Everything except the stone walls and roof of the building was swept away. Barns, outhouses, and fences were destroyed, and the whole country presents the appearance of utter desolation.
Early in March, 1862, the rebel army, under Gen. Johnson, evacuated Centreville and Manassas, (their Northern line,) and commenced a retreat towards Richmond. It was orderly and well conducted for several days, but as the last trains were leaving, some of the soldiers fired a bridge south of the junction, supposing that all the trains had gone. Two, however, had not left, and these were at once fired, together with the surrounding buildings, used by the Railroad Company for depot, machine and repair shops, &c. Everything was destroyed, except half a dozen cars, which contained flour and some camp equipage of a South Carolina Brigade, and which for some reason escaped the conflagration. The old wooden turn-table was uninjured, and is a fair sample of the old fashioned equipage of the Orange and Alexandria Road, at that period. A few mud huts, and about fifty broken down wagons, and the usual debris of a winter's camp, were the sole remnants of the rebel army, which, like the Arabs, had folded its tents, and silently stolen away. Manassas Junction was but a level plain, as seen by the photograph, and with neither natural or artificial works of any strength, the fortifications at that time consisting only of rude mud banks.
Manassas, the junction of the Orange and Alexandria and Manassas Gap Railroads, twenty-seven miles from Alexandria, strikes the attention of the visitor at once by its remarkable strength as a military position. High table land, flanked by dense woods, and bounded on all sides by deep, treacherous streams, or precipitous bluffs, no better place could have been selected by the Confederates for a permanent camp from which to harrass an enemy or repel attack. To this point the Southern levies were hastened immediately after the fall of Sumter, and the village of half a dozen houses soon became the centre of a vast carne, which, though nearly overwhelmed by the attack of July 21, 1861, remained increasing in strength until March, 1862, when the movements of General McClellan compelled its abandonment. The scene of devastation after the evacuation was terrible. Of the pleasant village only tottering chimneys were left, surrounded by blackened ruins, and the debris of half-burned cars and storehouses. The forts were dismantled, broken wagons were strewn over the fields, and quartermaster and commissary stores smoked in all directions, presenting one wide area of desolation, but a small portion of which can he represented in a single photograph.
Such material as had not been wholly destroyed by the fire was speedily removed by the Government. Federal camps were established, and with the return of spring much of that which disfigured the landscape utterly disappeared. The view of the adjacent country from this point is very fine, and the historic fields of Bull Run, Gainesville, and Groveton, within a few minutes drive, will forever attract the tourist to this spot.
This sketch represents a portion of the Confederate fortifications at Manassas after their occupation by the Federal Army. The works were laid out by General Beauregard, well known as an engineer of great ability; but their construction illustrates the inexperience in military matters of the men who rallied at this spot to resist the authority of the Government. The casks were filled with earth, and were intended to supply the lack of more suitable gabions, but would have offered very little resistance to artillery. The flooring was laid for the use of the guns, the four short posts marking the embrasure. The interior of the works was badly drained, and the trenches were almost constantly filled with stagnant water. The fortifications formed a semi-circle about four miles in length, but contiguous to this position were the ridges and earthworks of Centreville, extending the line to nearly fifteen miles. The armament consisted principally of six and twelve-pounder field batteries, with a few old fashioned thirty-twos, brought from the Norfolk Navy Yard. Located, however, upon high table-land, bounded by ravines and the almost impenetrable thickets bordering Bull Run, the works did not require, very heavy ordnance. Had they been assaulted, the musket and bayonet would have proved far more serviceable in repelling the attack than artillery, although there is no doubt that the small number of heavy cannon was attributable to their scarcity in the South rather than to confidence in the natural strength of the position. The fortifications are now rapidly being leveled, and in a few years will have entirely disappeared. The soil composing them is of a light character, and washes away in every rain, filling up the ditches and reducing the sharply defined works to sloping mounds, over which the farmer's plow is already turning the furrow.
When Gen. McClellan undertook to capture the confederate army on the Peninsula by seige, he commenced to construct a line of works from the York to the James river, across the narrow neck of the Peninsula, in front of Yorktown. The first battery was located on the York river, about a mile and three-quarters from Confederate's wharves and their main works in front of Yorktown, It was built by the First Connecticut artillery, Col. Tyler, and had six of the heaviest rifled guns ever mounted in a land battery, namely, one 200-pound Parrott and five 100-pounders. The guns were mounted on heavy wrought-iron carriages, and could only be fired once in fifteen minutes. The muzzles of the guns were about five feet from the ground, and the bottom of the carriages about ten feet below the surface. The dirt thrown out of the excavation was banked up in front of the guns, and kept from falling in by wicker baskets, constructed by the Engineer Corps, and filled with earth. On the top of these were piled bags of sand, and the whole sodded, making an embankment of thirty feet thick in front of the guns. The enemy fired a number of solid shot and shell into this bank from an English sixty-four rifled gun, but none of them did any damage, or entered over ten feet into the earth.
The work was built in a grove of peach trees, on a small promontory which ran out into the York river, and the first intelligence the enemy had of our movements there was a broadside into some of their schooners, which were unloading supplies at the wharf-front of Yorktown, nearly two miles distant. One shot tore through the rigging of a schooner, and another exploded close by, throwing an immense sheet of water into the air over the vessels. In a few minutes they all left, and ran up the York river out of sight. Occasional shots were fired from this battery, at various intervals, up to the time of the enemy's departure, but no regular bombardment was ever attempted by it. On riding through the confederate works, the next morning after the retreat, it was found that shells from this battery had fallen two miles beyond their works, or four miles from the battery. Nineteen men were killed and wounded at a distance of three miles by a single shell of tyke 100-pounders dropping into a confederate camp and exploding before the men could scatter.
An immense magazine in the rear, was connected with the guns by an underground tunnel, through which the men could pass in carrying ammunition. Experienced officers expressed the opinion that with this battery alone, the enemy could have been driven from their position in Yorktown. No lives were ever lost on our side at this battery from the enemy's fire upon it.
BATTERY NUMBER ONE, BEFORE YORKTOWN, VIRGINIA, 1862
This, the best constructed of all the works thrown up for the bombardment of the rebel lines, was built in the orchard of the Farinholt House, near Yorktown, and was so completely concealed behind the little crest rising from the shore of the York river, as to be quite undistinguishable from the enemy's lines, except when the smoke of the guns revealed its existence. The ordnance consisted of five 100-pounders, and one of 200, all Parrot guns. The rebels; in trying to return the deadly fire of this artillery, burst one of their largest rifle guns, with fatal effect upon the cannoniers. That the fire of battery "Number One" contributed largely to the reasons for evacuating the stronghold, there can be no doubt, the rebels wisely reasoning that if one battery could accomplish so much, what might not be the result if all opened. This earthwork was occupied by the Zouaves, Fifth Regiment New York Volunteers, commanded by Colonel, afterwards General, G. K. Warren.
While in camp at Baltimore they acquired under that officer the magnificent drill and soldierly bearing they afterwards showed upon so many battleĀfields. On Federal Hill, in Baltimore, they built the strong fort of that name, thus acquiring a knowledge of engineering, and, in addition to a wonderful precision in the manual and bayonet exercise, were well drilled in the use of heavy and light artillery. Attached to the division of regulars in the Fifth Corps, their record has been almost without comparison, as good and staunch soldiers. New York may well be proud of them: As a proof of their standing in the army, it was invariably their part to be chosen for an exhibition of military proficiency when distinguished visitors came to see the troops at the front. On one of these occasions they had to go through the exercises encumbered by heavy overcoats, rendered necessary by the unpresentable condition of their red breeches.
The Farinholt House commands a fine view of the river up to Yorktown, and Gloucester opposite. With a spy-glass it was easy to overlook the rebels working upon the lines at Gloucester Point, and the fortifications on this side. Schooners, constantly coming and going, brought ammunition and stores to the wharves at Yorktown, and occasionally the battery participated, at long range, in engagements brought on by gunboats venturing too far up the river.
The oysters of the York are celebrated for their excellence. In front of this house is one of the finest oyster beds in the river.
This represents one of the batteries planted for the bombardment of Yorktown. In places subjected to mortar fire, the men construct bomb proofs, and place a sentinel on the watch, to give warning of the approach of a shell, and enable every man to seek shelter till the explosion of the missile. If the bombardment is continuous, the troops remain under cover, unless absolutely required to man the works. The mortars of Battery No. 4 were of thirteen inch calibre, and required great labor to place them in position. As the fire of mortars is entirely a work of calculation, it is not necessary for the gunners to see the object against which the shells are directed, and accounts for the position of this Battery under the high bank.
In October, 1781, the commissioners appointed to arrange the terms of capitulation, between General Washington and Lord Cornwallis, met at this house. It is, however, generally believed that the draft there prepared, was signed in the trenches of Yorktown, over a mile away. When the Army of the Potomac invested Yorktown, the Moore House was in excellent preservation. It was far from a safe habitation, the rebel shells striking it several times; one, in particular, entered through the wall, and exploding inside, did consideable damage. Some of McClellan's aids, who had been reconnoitring from the windows, had but a few seconds before left the house. Much frequented was it by the sharpshooters, the orchard beyond offering fair opportunities to advance to the front unobserved. Stealing amongst the trees, purple with the bloom of the peach, the riflemen would proceed, at the first glimpse of dawn, while yet the mist hung in the air, to take a position, they would not dare to leave till night extended her friendly cover. With their heavy, telescope-sighted, rifles, they made deadly work among the gunners upon the fortifications, the sturdy company of Massachusetts riflemen, called the Andrews Sharpshooters, proving themselves much surperior to the squirrel-shooters of Mississippi, who were driven to the exercise of great caution in their endeavors to retaliate upon the working parties.
At Cumberland Landing, one of the most magnificent spectacles ever seen in the army was presented, when the combined forces, massed upon the bank of the river, converted the barren fields, as if by magic, into an immense city of tents. From the hill above Toner's house the scene was truly grand. Division after division, closely compacted, they stretched away, until, in the distance, the white tents were mere specks against the dark frame of woods. On one side the slow Pamunkey, like a mirror, reflected the immense fleet of transports, with their convoy of gunboats. Winding among the tents, long strings of animals were continually passing to drink of its brackish waters. Along the shore piers formed of barges, side by side, were thronged by commissaries and their assistants, while strong arms rapidly discharged the cargoes of meat and bread into the waiting wagons. Prominent in the picture was the camp of General McClellan's headquarters, which had just narrowly escaped capture, through taking, a wrong direction. Another striking object was the park of the pontoon boats drawn through the bottomless roads of the lower peninsula, with so much labor.
Our picture, interesting as it is, gives but a small portion of the gorgeous whole. The prominent object is a mud-bespattered forge, the knapsacks and blankets of the farriers carelessly thrown on the ground beneath. In the middle-ground are some mules picketed around the wagons, hard-working, much-abused creatures, and so humorous in their antics that they were often termed the comedians of the army. Farther on, a guard, their muskets stacked and knapsacks laying around. Past these, a cook sitting on a mess chest, close to the ashes of his fire, near which are the camp-kettles and a pile of firewood. On the edge of the wood the Fifth New York Volunteers, Warren's Zouaves, have encamped, and in front of them a regiment of infantry are drawn up in column of companies. As these are formed in open order, it is most likely that they are on inspection drill. Such pictures carry one into the very life of camp, and are particularly interesting now that that life has almost passed away.
Otherwise known by the name of its builder, and marked on the map, "Woodbury's Bridge." The picture is taken at a point where the accumulated waters most presented the character of a stream, the swamp being in some places all of a mile in width, and supporting on its treacherous surface a luxuriant growth. In the depths of this morass, the home of almost every variety of Virginia reptiles, the soldiers worked several weeks, constructing the causeways known as New, Duane's, Sumner's—Upper and Lower—Bottom's, and Railroad Bridges. The cutting of dams above, and heavy rains, stopped the workmen a number of times, and destroyed their labor, by converting the whole valley into a broad lake, whose waters, pressing through the length of the swamp of Fair Oaks, Sumner's troops had barely passed over, when the rapidly accumulated waters of the river carried away the bridge; and it was claimed by the engineers that the weight of the men in crossing kept it in its place. If, in that fight, our troops had been defeated, the limited facilities of re-crossing the Chickahominy would probably have led to the capture of the greater portion of the corps. The Grape Vine Bridge was so called for its tortuous course through the swamp. Its construction was necessarily rude, as rough, unhewn, and twisted logs formed the material. Down in the woods, the air seemed to be suffocating with stagnation, while beneath the pall of mist, an immense orchestra of double-bags bull frogs kept up a continual din, which at night drowned the rumble of the wagons over the corduroys.
On Saturday, the 23rd of April, 1861, the questionable policy of destroying this Navy Yard was enforced. The crews of the Cumberland and Pawnee, assisted by some volunteers, landed at nine o'clock, threw the shot and small arms into the river, spiked the guns, and made arrangements for firing the shops and warehouses, extending over a space of nearly two hundred acres. The marines, as early as ten o'clock, had evacuated and fired their barracks, and soon after two A.M. the whole yard was in a blaze, as well as the old three-decker, the Pennsylvania, the Ohio, New York, &c. The Cumberland and Pawnee, proceeded to Hampton Roads, the former shortly to go down before that formidable iron-clad, the Merrimac, which was fitted out at this yard. When the Merrimac was blown up, and Norfolk evacuated by the rebels, they did what additional damage they could to the Navy Yard and its docks.
Its accessibility made it a most convenient place as a depot for the North Atlantic blockading fleets, the James River flotilla, and Gen. Graham's army gunboats,
Some of the shops were rebuilt, and the place presented a curious spectacle of industry in the midst of ruin; while the constant arrivals kept the adjacent waters filled with vessels, including magnificent frigates and stoops-of-war, renowned in many exploits, as well as gun-boats and purchased vessels of every build and tonnage, not to mention hosts of sharp Clyde-built blockade runners, long, low, and raking, brought here by their successful captors, previous to being taken North for adjudication and translation into ships-of-war for the capture of their fellows.
This structure crosses Antietam Creek on the turnpike leading from Boonesboro to Sharpsburg, and is one of the memorable spots in the history of the war, although but little suggestive in its present sunny repose, of the strife which took place near it, on the day of the battle of Antietam. Traces of the engagement are evident in the overturned stone wall, the shattered fences, and down-trodden appearance of the adjacent ground. On the night of the 16th of September, the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac captured this bridge after a sharp fight, holding it until the infantry came up. The fire of our artillery, planted on the ridges near the bridge, was terrible, and at one time no doubt contributed principally to the success of our partially disordered lines in checking the headlong assaults of the enemy.
After Lee's second invasion of Maryland, which ended with the battle of Gettysburg, and the escape of his army into Virginia at Williamsport and Falling Waters, Gen. Meade had his headquarters for a number of days on a wooded ridge called the "Devil's Backbone," situated near this stream, along which the Army of the Potomac was encamped. Very little now remains to mark the adjacent fields as a battle ground. Houses and fences have been repaired, harvests have ripened over the breasts of the fallen, and the ploughshare only now and then turns up a shot, as a relic of that great struggle.
One mile below Sharpsburg on Antietam Creek, a stone structure, known as the "Burnside Bridge," crosses the stream. Bold bluffs, crowned with oaks and fringed with tangled bushes, form a most delightful valley, through which the miniature river, broken here and there by tiny cascades, hurries down to the Potomac.
It was at this point that some of the most desperate fighting of the battle of Antietam occurred. The right of the Federal line was several miles above, and with the centre hotly engaged, the Confederates slowly forcing them back, while General Burnside, commanding the Ninth Corps, was ordered to carry this point and turn the enemy's right. As is partially shown by the photograph, the banks of the stream were very steep, and well defended by rifle pits which were covered by the guns of the Confederates on the ridge in the back-ground. The assaulting column suffered heavily as it approached the bridge, and, in crossing, was exposed to a murderous fire, through which it rapidly pressed, breaking over the lines of the enemy like a resistless wave, and sweeping him from the hillside. Here our troops again formed under a heavy artillery fire, and pushed forward into the standing corn, out of which a second line of Confederates suddenly arose and renewed the contest, which lasted for many hours, finally resulting in our victory. At the close of the fight the dead and wounded on the field here presented seemed countless. The Confederates were buried where they fell, and our own carefully interred in groups, which were enclosed with the material of fences overthrown in the struggle. The stone wall extending from the bridge still bears evidences of the battle, and is the only monument of many gallant men who sleep in the meadow at its side.
This Church is located on a ridge near Sharpsburg, on the battle-field of Antietam, and suffered severely in that engagement, it was against this point that General Hooker, on the right of our line, made his assaults, and near it where he received his wound. The attack of King's Division, temporarily commanded by General Hatch, was made upon the rebels posted immediately around the Church. The slaughter here was fearful. Each of the contending lines charged repeatedly across the field in front of the building, and strewed the ground with their dead. The terrible effect of cannister was never more clearly demonstrated than in this vicinity. Battery B, Fourth United States Artillery, had lost heavily in the course of the engagement, its commander, Lieutenant Campbell, having been wounded and carried from the field, the command devolving on Lieutenant Stewart. Several of the horses had been killed, and Lieutenant Stewart, sending two guns to the rear, took up a position with his four remaining pieces on a little knoll near a sunken road. The smoke obstructed the view considerably, and the Lieutenant not seeing anything of the enemy was cooling his guns, when suddenly his sergeant shouted "Here they come! Here they come!" A rebel brigade was coming down the road on a double-quick, and when discovered were only fifty yards distant. The cannoniers sprang to their pieces, and instantly opened on the approaching column with cannister double-spotted, the discharge from the four twelve pounders sweeping out half a dozen panels of the fence, and driving a storm of slugs and spotted rails into the mass of Confederates. The rear still pressed on, ignorant of the havoc in front, and again and again the artillery poured its iron hail into the column, completely obstructing the road with dead and wounded. Later in the day a Captain of this brigade was taken prisoner, and stated, that of the command of eighteen hundred men which received that fire, but eighteen had returned to the division. Some of course had been taken prisoners or had wandered off after the annihilation of the brigade, but most of the men had fallen in front of the cannon.
To the hero of Antietam belongs the credit of first developing and fully appreciating the value of a corps of signalists to an army throughout its active operations in the field, and especially during a great battle. His signal officers were most intelligently and advantageously posted, and seldom, even in later campaigns, has their assistance to a commanding general been more valuable, or more frankly and handsomely acknowledged, than in the momentous struggle on the Antietam. At intervals along our line of battle, and on the most prominent points in the vicinity, were stationed the Federal Signal Officers, detecting by their skill, vigilance, and powerful glasses, every movement of the enemy, reporting them instantly by a few waves of their flags to the Union Commander, and in return, transmitting by the same means the orders to the subordinate generals, which were to check or defeat the manoeuvres of the enemy. The adjoining sketch represents the most important of those signal look-outs, and was located on the summit of Elk Mountain, one of the South Mountain Range of the Blue Ridge, and overlooking the battle-field.
The Elk Mountain Signal Station was operated by Lieutenants Pierce and Jerome, and the view was taken whilst the former officer was receiving a dispatch from General McClellan, probably requesting further information in regard to some reported movement of his wary foe, or sending an important order to a Corps Commander.
A rebel correspondent of a Richmond paper, who claims to have been an eye-witness of that battle, thus writes on the succeeding day, of the part taken in it by the Signal Corps of the Union Army: "Their signal stations on the Blue Ridge commanded a view of our every movement. We could not make a manoeuvre in front or rear that was not instantly revealed to their keen look-outs; and as soon as the intelligence could be communicated to their batteries below, shot and shell were launched against the moving columns. It was this information, conveyed by the little flags upon the mountain-top, that no doubt enabled the enemy to concentrate his force against our weakest points, and counteract the effect of whatever similar movements may have been attempted by us."
On the 1st of October, 1862, two weeks after the battle of Antietam, President Lincoln visited the Army of the Potomac, encamped near Harper's Ferry, in Maryland. He was accompanied on his trip by Major General McClernand and Staff, Colonel Lamon, the Marshal of the District of Columbia, and Mr. Garrett, President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The President reached General Sumner's headquarters, on Bolivar Heights, at Harper's Ferry, on Wednesday, occupied the afternoon in reviewing the forces at that position, and spent the night at General Sumner's quarters. On Thursday morning he recrossed the Potomac, and was met by General McClellan and Staff, who conducted him during that and the following day over the scenes of the recent battle, and in reviewing the various Corps and Divisions of the Army, extending over a space of several miles. The evening and night of Thursday and Friday the President spent at General McClellan's quarters, occupying much of the time in private conversation with him. In this conversation, it is said, that when the President alluded to the complaints that were being made of the slowness of the General's movements, General McClellan replied, "You may find those who will go faster than I, Mr. President; but it is very doubtful if you will find many who will go further."
On Saturday, the President set out on his return home, accompanied by General McClellan as far as Middletown, but on the way, riding over the battle-field of South Mountain, the leading incidents of which, the scenes of particularly desparate conflicts, the names of the Corps and officers engaged, &c., were pointed out and described by the General, as he had previously done those of the great battle of Antietam; in all of which the President evinced a deep interest. The President then proceeded to Frederick, where he was received by the people with the most enthusiastic demonstrations of respect, and reached Washington in a special train at ten o'clock at night.
The house of Mrs. Lee, situated in Pleasant Valley, Maryland, was selected by General McClellan, after the battle of Antietam, as a temporary home for Mrs. McClellan, who paid a brief visit to the army. The General spent much of his time here, when not occupied with military matters, and in the vine-clad porch the officers of the Staff whiled away many a pleasant October day. Two of the officers shown in this group were members of General Burnside's Staff, and one of General McClellan's. It was intended that General McClellan should make one of the group, and all the necessary arrangements had been perfected by the photographer, when heavy cannonading on the Virginia side of the Potomac, caused by a reconnoitring party of cavalry, drew the General away.
The headquarters were located in a field near this house, and were composed only of a sufficient number of tents to shelter the General and Staff, and the offices of the various departments. A portion of the army was encamped along the base of Maryland Heights and South Mountain, and the remainder was located on the heights back of Harper's Ferry. Supplies were forwarded over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which afforded excellent facilities for visiting the army, and thousands of the friends of the soldiers found their way to camp. The citizens of Maryland were noted for their hospitality to such visitors, and their generosity to the troops. When the army was on the march, many families stood at their gateways with buckets of water for the thirsty men, and filled the canteens of all who had time to wait. There were very few of the Army of the Potomac who left Maryland and crossed into Virginia after Lee without regretful partings with new made friends, and for many a month thereafter the bivouac was enlivened by the memories and recital of the Marylanders' welcome.
Berlin is a quiet little village on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, twelve miles from Point of Rocks. A fine bridge connected it with the Virginia shore until June, 1861, when the Confederates sacrificed it to the spirit of destruction that ruined Harper's Ferry and laid waste the pleasant places of the border. Its inhabitants, numbering about five hundred, are dependent principally for support upon the business of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which passes the place, and during the war, from the interruption of navigation necessarily suffered much hardship. The bivouac of the Army of the Potomac in its vicinity in 1862 first introduced its name to the country, and it has fallen again into the partial oblivion that has hidden much more pretentious villages. Here McClellan had his headquarters after the battle of Antietam, and the troops crossed into Virginia, marching down through London to Rectortown and Warrenton, and thence to Fredericksburg.
The Photograph only shows the village and a small portion of the Maryland shore, from which no adequate impression can be formed of the beauty of the surrounding scenery. The river at this point is obstructed by scattered rocks, and with the wooded hills that slope precipitously to the water's edge, forms one of the most charming pictures of the Potomac. Game and fish abound, many objects of interest are close at hand, and the summer fugitive from the ills of city life finds here a pleasant halting place in his journeyings for recreation.
Perhaps no one point, North or South, has been the scene of so many changes in the shifting panorama of war, through which we have passed in the last four years, as Harper's Ferry. Situated at the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad passing through it, and surrounded by high mountains and impassable ravines, it was supposed that, in locating a National Armory there, that it would he secure against any assault that could be made by an enemy. First captured by a surprise, John Brown, with seventeen men, held it for nearly three days. When Virginia seceded, the first step taken was to send an officer to seize the armories and arsenals, but orders having been given by the Government to fire them on the approach of any hostile force, they were burned by a small body of artillerymen, who retreated to Carlisle, Pa. Thousands of rifles were burned, but a number of buildings and considerable machinery were saved by the enemy, who subsequently removed the machinery to Richmond and commenced the manufacture of rifles there for the rebel army. It has been held by the confederates three times since then. Once they captured it with an immense amount of stores, artillery, and ten thousand prisoners. In the foreground are a few tents, located for the post garrison. In the centre are eight buildings, what were left of the armory, some of which have been roofed in with boards and used as warehouses for army stores. Passing between the Potomac and the armory buildings is the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which crosses upon a high bridge to the Maryland shore. This bridge has been so often destroyed during the last five years, that it is estimated that a million of dollars have been spent in keeping it in repair. As the Potomac disappears in the distance, it unites with the Shenandoah, which rushes down the gorge by the side of the Loudoun Heights. Upon the left are the Maryland Heights, the natural key to the position. It was here that Col. Ford abandoned his position, and Stonewall Jackson seizing it the next day, compelled a surrender of our forces just before the battle of Antietam. The high brick building at the end of the bridge was a fine hotel, but the confederates subsequently destroyed it. Between it and the row of tents, and not far from the hotel, is located the little engine house used as a fort by John Brown, and which has escaped destruction. It is not probable that the armory and arsenals will ever be rebuilt.
When fatigued by long exercise in the saddle, over bottomless roads, or under the glowing Southern sun, John's master would propound the query, "What do I want, John Henry?" that affectionate creature would at once produce the demijohn of "Commissary," as the only appropriate prescription for the occasion that his untutored nature could suggest.
A legend was current at headquarters that J. H. had been discovered hanging by his heels to a persimmon tree. It is needless to state that this was a libel, originating in a scurrilous picture of that African, drawn by a special artist. In point of fact, he came into notice at Harrison's Landing, in the summer of 1862. An officer's hat blew off; John raised it, and with a grin (which alarmed the Captain, lest he should be held responsible if the head should fall off,) politely handed it up. The rare intelligence exhibited in this act naturally made a deep impression, and suggested an unusual capacity for the care of boots and other attentions, seldom rendered, although occasionally expected of camp servants. "Would you like to take service with me?" said the Captain. "Yees, sir," answered John. "Then follow me to camp." "I can't keep up, sir." "Catch hold of the horse's tail, then." In short, John Henry was installed body servant to Captain H—,quartermaster of headquarters, and took his position as an unmistakable character.
Although his head resembled an egg, set up at an angle of forty-five degrees, small end on top, yet his moral and intellectual acquirements were by no means common. His appreciation of Bible history was shown on many occasions. For instance, he always considered Moses the most remarkable of quartermasters, in that he crossed the Red Sea without pontoons, and conducted the children of Israel forty years through the desert without a wagon train.
With wisdom such as this he would enlighten his sable compeers. Meanwhile, the Captain became a Colonel. Richmond was evacuated, and John Henry became a resident of the rebel capital. Here freedom burst upon him in a new light; he formed new associations—principally with the other sex—to raise whose spirits he would appropriate his employer's. As his mind expanded, boots became monotonous, manual labor distasteful, and a dissolution of partnership inevitable. The Colonel went to another scene of duty. John Henry remained, whether owing to inducements offered by the Provisional Government is not yet definitely known.
The scouts of an army undergo more hardship and brave greater peril than any other class. Secrecy being their only safety, their heroic deeds pass unrecorded, and when the necessity for their services has ceased to exist, with rare exceptions the brave men are altogether forgotten. Volumes might be written of their heroic deeds, and the historian of the rebellion will have failed in his duty if he neglects to chronicle the instances of their great exploits. Every army had its scouts, but none proved more efficient than those of the Army of the Potomac. The individuals in this group were attached to the Secret Service Department of the Army of the Potomac when conducted by Major Allen Pinkerton. Their faces are indexes of the character required for such hazardous work. Men of iron nerve and indomitable perseverence, they braved the halter with perfect consciousness of their peril, and seldom failed in an undertaking. During the campaign of the army in front of Fredericksburg, they proved of incalculable value. Each man was provided with a pass from the Commanding General, written with a chemical preparation that only became visible when exposed to solar rays, and on the back of which was pencilled some unimportant memoranda, to deceive the enemy, should the scout fall into his hands. If captured, he could drop this paper, apparently by accident, without exciting suspicion; and if successful in his expedition, the pass, after a moment's exposure to the light, enabled the bearer to re-enter our lines, and proceed without delay to headquarters. They generally passed as foragers within our own lines, always coming in with vegetables, poultry, and the like, and with the enemy assumed such characters as the Occasion might require. They were really spies, and often spent many days within the Confederate lines. The Union people of the South sheltered them, and furnished information that frequently led to the discovery of the designs of the enemy in time to enable our commanding officers to wholly frustrate them. A number of the scouts were taken prisoners, some of whom were executed, while the survivors, scarcely less fortunate, wasted in cells, long, weary months. A few are still retained in the employ of the Government, and have proved no less faithful servants in peace than when confronting the dangers that surrounded the military spy.
The Lacy House, situated on the banks of the Rappahannock, immediately opposite Fredericksburg, when taken possession of by the United States troops, in the spring of 1862, was surrounded with beautiful lawns, rare flowers, and all the exterior adornments of an elegant country seat. The building was erected previous to the Revolutionary war, and many of the distinguished men of that period have met within its walls. Since that time the property has passed through the hands of but three different families, each generation handing it down to the descendents, after the old English custom of inheritance. The owner was a Major on the Staff of one of the rebel corps commanders during the rebellion; and his young wife, whose rare beauty was only equalled by her spitefulness towards Federal officers, lived with a relative near the Wilderness battle-field after the occupation of the estate by our troops. The view here presented shows the front of the house, looking towards the city, which is not more than three hundred yards distant, the river being very narrow at this point. The grounds in front of the mansion were terraced down to the river bank, and were ascended by means of granite steps, bordered with vines and tropical plants.
General McDowell first used the building as his headquarters, and afterwards General Burnside pitched his tents in the yard. Many of our general officers subsequently occupied the house, and finally it became a sort of depot for the Christian Commission. At the battle of Fredericksburg, in December, 1862, a hospital was established here, and suffered considerably from the shells of the enemy, who directed a severe artillery fire against the house, supposing it to be occupied by some of our Generals. A large number of the Union dead are buried near the house, and earthworks for artillery disfigure the adjacent grounds. The shade trees have been cut down, the gravel walks annihilated, and many years must elapse before the last evidences of war shall have disappeared from the place.
Just below the Falls of the Rappahannock, and midway between Washington and Richmond, is the city of Fredericksburg, the scene of some of the most thrilling events of the war. Nestled in a valley of unsurpassed fertility, its people had surrounded their homes with elegance, and enjoyed all that affluence could secure. The citizens were zealous advocates of secession, and, in 1861, the city was made a rendezvous for Confederate troops; but the first year of the war passed without a blow to mar its peaceful beauty. General Augur, in April, 1862, surprised and captured the place, which remained in our possession till the middle of summer, when Pope's retreat from Cedar Mountain necessitated its abandonment. In November, the Army of the Potomac marched down from the Antietam campaign, but owing to delay in occupying the heights commanding the city; failed in capturing it, and encamped upon the hills north of the river, where the troops went into winter quarters, the Confederates, meanwhile fortifying the Fredericksburg heights, and rendering the position impregnable to assault. On the night of the 10th of December, the movements for an attack commenced. The artillery was planted along the river bank opposite the city, and about three o'clock on the morning of the 11th the pontoon train came down to the river. The engineers had constructed bridges about half way across the stream, when the Confederate sharpshooters opened a severe fire from the houses and rifle pits, which was returned by our artillery, numbering about seventy guns. The bombardment lasted throughout the day, with frequent intervals to, enable the engineers to resume work, but who were invariably driven off with considerable loss, until late in the afternoon, when a storming party crossed in boats and drove out the riflemen. A small portion of the troops occupied the town that night, and next day was followed by the whole army, the Confederates offering no resistance except by occasional shots from their artillery on the heights. The troops were formed for assault, with the right resting on the Rappahannock, one mile above the city, the lines extending in a semiĀcircle around the town, to a point three miles below, where the left also joined the river. Early on the morning of the 13th, the battle commenced; lasting all day, with fearful loss on our side, and night closing the struggle with both armies occupying the same positions taken in the morning. Sunday and Monday passed without anything transpiring except skirmishing along the lines, and Monday night, under cover of a pitiless storm of rain and sleet, our troops returned to their camps.
During the Wilderness campaign the city was again occupied by the Union army for a short time. The ruin, commenced in the battle of December, was complete before the close of the war, and at the termination of hostilities little remained of the city but deserted houses and tottering walls; but now business is resumed with an activity that betokens a brilliant future.
In June, 1863, the Sixth Corps made its third successful crossing of the Rappahannock, storming the works that defended the passage, and making prisoners of the garrison. Battery D at once took position, with other artillery of the Sixth Corps, out in the fields, near the ruins of the Mansfield House, where Gen. Bayard was killed, at the time of the first crossing by General Burnside in 1862. This picture was made as the guns were engaging the enemy, the gunners who had just received the order, "cannoniers to your posts," calling to the photographer to hurry his wagon out of the way, unless he was anxious to figure in the list of casualties. In line to the rear of the Battery, is the Veteran Vermont Brigade, acting as a support. Further still, is the bank of the river, skirted by the trees; those to the right being a grove of white poplars around the Mansfield House. With characteristic coolness some of the troops had already pitched their little shelter tents, and were sleeping beneath their frail cover. Better protection was soon afforded by the fine line of earthworks which soon sprung into existence, embrasured for the artillery, and impregnable to attack when lined by the heroes of the Sixth Corps, nobly commanded, as it has always been, by such Generals as Franklin—who organized it— Sedgwick, and Wright. This Battery was present at the first battle of Bull Run, where the enemy got a taste of its mettle, while attempting to turn our extreme left, and fall upon the rear of the army. On the organization of Franklin's Division, its commander, Captain—now Colonel—Platt, was made chief of a brigade of artillery in that organization, and Lieutenant, since General, Upton succeeded to the command. Under the latter officer the Battery gained much commendation, and on his promotion to the command of a New York regiment of volunteers, continued its glorious career under Lieut. Williston, being finally transformed into a horseĀ-battery, and ordered to the cavalry, where it remained to the close of the war, without ever losing a gun, although the list of its actions was so long that its battle-flag had no space to transcribe them upon.
Two of the pontoon bridges used at the battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862, are shown in this sketch. On the 11th and 12th of that month, the left wing of the army, under the command of Gen. Franklin, and composed of the First and Sixth Corps, crossed at this point, one and a half miles below the city, and went into position on the flats in front; the First Corps on the extreme left, with its right extending towards the hills, and the Sixth Corps nearly at right angles to the former, with its right reaching to the outskirts of Fredericksburg. The remainder of the army was formed through the city, extending about one mile above the town, and assaulted the heights. On the 13th the engagement opened on the field represented here, by Gen. Meade's division, which carried the enemy's position to a certain extent. Gen. Gibbon's division was pushed in on Meade's right to support him, and Gen. Doubleday's division on the left with the same purpose, but a strong demonstration made on that portion of the line by the enemy with artillery and cavalry, rendered it necessary to throw the whole of Doubleday's command against them. Meade held his position in the woods for some time, but not receiving additional support, was forced by a fierce attack in front to retire. Our forces having been driven from the woods, and it being late in the day, no other attack was made on this portion of the line, the troops remaining in entrenchments hastily thrown up across the plain, until recalled to this side of the river on the night of the 15th. There were seventeen thousand men engaged at this point, with thirty-eight thousand supporting them, but who were not brought into action in consequence of a misinterpretation of the orders of Gen. Burnside, commanding the army. Gen. Bayard, of the Cavalry, was killed by a shell in the edge of the little grove represented in the sketch. Pontoons were again laid at this point in June, 1863, and a body of troops thrown across the river to ascertain the movements of the enemy, who was found to have abandoned Fredericksburg, and to be marching towards the Blue Ridge, for the purpose of invading Pennsylvania.
This sketch was taken a few hours previous to the abandonment of Aquia Creek in June, 1863. The Army of the Potomac was along the Rappahannock before Fredericksburg, fifteen miles distant, and had used this point and Belle Plain, a similar landing, seven miles below, as a base of supplies. The movement commenced on Saturday morning. The President was expected to visited the army on that day, but the advance of the Confederates into Pennsylvania admitting of no delay, Gen. Hooker, in the afternoon, telegraphed Mr. Lincoln not to come, and immediately made preparations to leave. At daylight, Sunday morning, the whole army was in motion, and an immense throng of sutlers and other camp followers collected at Aquia Creek for transportation to Washington. By 10 A. M. the camps between this point and Fredericksburg were all deserted, and the civilians, in constant apprehension of an attack from the Confederate cavalry that might follow up the army as it passed the landing on its march to Washington, crowded on to the boats in the greatest confusion. The steamers were already heavily laden with stores, wagons, &c., and the evacuation was attended with scenes that would have been regarded as ridiculous but for the general alarm. The barges anchored in the stream were locked together for the transportation of the cars on the wharf, and were towed to Washington by the steamers loaded with passengers. All of the supplies had been removed from the buildings, and the latter, erected at great expense by the Quartermaster's Department, were committed to the flames. A gunboat lay out in the river for the protection of the place until all could get away; but no enemy appeared, and in a short time nothing remained of the busy village but smoking embers and half-burned wharves. Aquia Creek has been used three times as a base of supplies; once for McDowell, in 1862; next for Burnside, after the Antietam Campaign; and finally during Grant's operations at Spottsylvania. Nearly a hundred steamers have been collected here at one time, while sailing vessels anchored in the river nearly obstructed its navigation. The wounded were brought here from Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spottsylvania, to be sent to Washington; and in nearly all of the operations of the army in Eastern Virginia the place has borne a conspicuous part. The Confederates had formidable batteries on the bluffs which commanded the river previous to our occupation of Fredericksburg in the spring of 1862, and at the same time sheltered in the stream that runs down between the hills, the once notorious iron-clad Page.
The landing is now used by the Washington, Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad Company, but will probably never be more than an ordinary station. Fever and ague prevail during the summer, forbidding the growth of a village, and with the completion of the railroad to Alexandria, the place will doubtless sink into oblivion, except as connected with the military operations of the great rebellion.
These were a batch of rebel cavalrymen, captured in the battle of Aldie, by the troops under Gen. Pleasanton. The majority of them are dressed in the dusty grey jacket and trousers, and drab felt hat usually worn by the rebel cavalry; some, however, show no change from the ordinary clothes of a civilian, being probably recruits or conscripts, although their appearance laid them open to the charge (often made during the war) of being irregulars, out for a day's amusement, with their friends in the cavalry, as one might go off for a day's shooting. The fight in which they were taken, was hotly contested, and took place at the foot of the upper end of the Bull Run range of hills, in Loudoun County, in and around the village of Aldie. The rebels were driven, and our cavalry left masters of the field—not without serious loss to our side, as well as to the enemy—a day or two after, Pleasanton attacked and drove them fifteen miles across the country, to the refuge of the Blue Ridge. Generals Buford and Gregg, ably leading their divisions in the fight.
The country around Aldie is very charming, very much diversified with hill, wood and valley, fine farms, pretty brooks—with stone bridges—and beyond all, the noble chain of the Blue Ridge, dividing Loudoun from the Shenandoah Valley.
Gettysburg, the scene of Lee's defeat in 1863, is a post borough and capital of Adams county, Pennsylvania, on the turnpike from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, one hundred and fourteen miles west of the former city. It stands on elevated ground, in the midst of a fertile farming country. The Court-House and public offices are handsome and commodious; and the private residences are all built in a neat and substantial manner. The town has a flourishing Lutheran Theological Seminary, with a library of about ten thousand volumes; and is also the seat of Pennsylvania College. The manufacture of carriages is carried on to a greater extent than any other business. A number of copper mines have been opened in the neighborhood, and worked with considerable success. The town numbers about four thousand inhabitants.
It was back of this place that the Federal cavalry first met the Confederate infantry, on the 1st of July, 1863, and on the left of the picture can be seen Seminary Ridge, where General Reynolds was killed. This view is taken from Cemetery Ridge, where our artillery was massed, and against which the Confederates directed their most terrible assaults in the last day's fight. The town suffered considerably from the fire of our artillery, and the houses in some parts of the place were covered with indentations of musket balls. Very few of the inhabitants were injured, however, most of them taking refuge in their cellars and other sheltered places.
Slowly, over the misty fields of Gettysburg—as all reluctant to expose their ghastly horrors to the light—came the sunless morn, after the retreat by Lee's broken army. Through the shadowy vapors, it was, indeed, a "harvest of death" that was presented; hundreds and thousands of torn Union and rebel soldiers— although many of the former were already interred—strewed the now quiet fighting ground, soaked by the rain, which for two days had drenched the country with its fitful showers.
A battle has been often the subject of elaborate description; but it can be described in one simple word, devilish! and the distorted dead recall the ancient legends of men torn in pieces by the savage wantonness of fiends. Swept down without preparation, the shattered bodies fall in all conceivable positions. The rebels represented in the photograph are without shoes. These were always removed from the feet of the dead on
account of the pressing need of the survivors. The pockets turned inside out also show that appropriation did not cease with the coverings of the feet. Around is scattered the litter of the battle-field, accoutrements, ammunition, rags, cups and canteens, crackers, haversacks, &c., and letters that may tell the name of the owner, although the majority will surely be buried unknown by strangers, and in a strange land. Killed in the frantic efforts to break the steady lines of an army of patriots, whose heroism only excelled theirs in motive, they paid with life the price of their treason, and when the wicked strife was finished, found nameless graves, far from home and kindred.
Such a picture conveys a useful moral: It shows the blank horror and reality of war, in opposition to its pageantry. Here are the dreadful details! Let them aid in preventing such another calamity falling upon the nation.
About nine o'clock on the morning of the 1st of July, 1863, the Federal cavalry, under General Buford, met the Confederates two miles beyond Gettysburg, on the road to Chambersburg. The rebel infantry was preceded by a small body of their cavalry, which dispersed the militia wherever met with, and which, charging into our cavalry, was captured, not a man escaping. The Confederates immediately threw a division of infantry into line, and advanced upon our cavalry, which dismounted, and by slowly falling back from one stone wall to another, impeded the progress of the enemy very materially. The cavalry had just taken up the last available line of defence beyond Gettysburg, when, at eleven o'clock, General Reynolds arrived with the 1st corps on a double-quick. The enemy then halted for a short time, re-formed their lines, and prepared to charge, which was met by a severe fire from the advance of our infantry, which went into line as rapidly as the regiments could be brought up General Reynolds, appreciating the importance of holding the Seminary Ridge, rode out into the field, and directed the posting of the troops, and while engaged in this work, received a shot in the neck, falling lifeless to the earth. His remains were brought off the field under a withering fire, which lasted until night, our troops, overwhelmed by numbers, slowly falling back, and finally taking a position on Cemetery Ridge, which was next day occupied by the rest of our army, and became the battle-ground of the succeeding days.
The dead shown in the photograph were our own men. The picture represents only a single spot on the long line of killed, which after the fight extended across the fields. Some of the dead presented an aspect which showed that they had suffered severely just previous to dissolution, but these were few in number compared with those who wore a calm and resigned expression, as though they had passed away in the act of prayer. Others had a smile on their faces, and looked as if they were in the act of speaking. Some lay stretched on their backs, as if friendly hands had prepared them for burial. Some were still resting on one knee, their hands grasping their muskets. In some instances the cartridge remained between the teeth, or the musket was held in one hand, and the other was uplifted as though to ward a blow, or appealing to heaven. The faces of all were pale, as though cut in marble, and as the wind swept across the battleĀfield it waved the hair, and gave the bodies such an appearance of life that a spectator could hardly help thinking they were about to rise to continue the fight.
The sketch represents a portion of the breastworks on the left of our line at Gettysburg, occupied by the Fifth and Sixth Corps, and against which, in the second day's fight, the Confederates under Longstreet repeatedly and so impetuously dashed. This position is on a steep ridge known as Little Round Top, on which was stationed General Warren, Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac, with a signal officer, for the purpose of communicating to the commanding General the movements of the enemy. In front and to the left open fields stretched away, with here and there a small grove, which afforded shelter to sharpshooters, who annoyed our officers at the signal station excessively. Sickles, with the Third Corps, had opened the fight in the afternoon, considerably advanced in front of this position, with his left exposed, and the approach to the ridge entirely open to a flank movement. While the battle was raging fiercest in front, Longstreet, with fifteen thousand men, suddenly emerged from the woods into the open fields on our flank, and moved rapidly down upon Round Top, the occupation of which must inevitably have resulted in our defeat.
General Warren sent an aid to General Meade for a corps from the right, but the commanding General could not he found. A second staff officer was sent down to Sickles for some of his troops, but he could spare none, and another officer was hurried off to bring up any command that could be found, while the enemy still pressed nearer, threatening to overwhelm us. Sickles' left was turned, his Corps pressed slowly back, and the Confederates commenced clambering up the rocky sides of the ridge, when the tramp of the Fifth Corps, on the double quick, was suddenly heard coming up through the woods to the rescue, and in a moment our colors flashed out from the foliage. Both armies reached the crest at the same time, the battle opened like a thunder-clap, and raged with terrific fierceness. After the first volley, our whole line charged with the bayonet, struggled with the enemy for a moment breast to breast, and then, with shouts and cheers, drove him in disorder down the slope to the shelter of the groves and stonewalls in the fields. Breastworks of stones and timber, shattered by the shells, were instantaneously thrown up, and after a brief interval the fight was renewed. Each change in the lines, by the fluctuations of battle, was marked by defences of stone, our troops never neglecting thus to protect themselves from the withering fire of the enemy. When night closed upon the field, these breastworks were stretched along like winrows marking the shifting tide of the struggle, between which the dead lay in countless numbers, and to-day the visitor traces by them, the steps of our advancing lines, which, though frequently repulsed, finally rested in triumph at the front.
Cemetery Ridge was the scene of some of the severest fighting at Gettysburg. The knoll shown in the sketch is that upon which the last assault of the enemy was made, and on which is situated the National Soldiers' Cemetery. The original cemetery was a very handsome enclosure, and contained many elegant monuments, very few of which were injured, notwithstanding the terrible nature of the conflict. The shrubbery was badly broken, and the fence swept away, but at the conclusion of the fight there still remained, as if in mockery, the notice, "All persons found using fire-arms in these grounds will be prosecuted with the utmost rigor of the law." The third day's fight was in front of this spot, and was commenced about one o'clock in the afternoon by the enemy opening a cannonade from 120 pieces of artillery on the front of the line connecting Cemetery Ridge with Round Top. Gen. Hancock, in one of his reports, says: "That cannonade continued for probably an hour and a half. The enemy then made an assault at the end of that time; it was a very formidable assault, and made, I should judge, with about 18,000 infantry. When the columns of the enemy appeared, it looked as if they were going to attack the centre of our line, but after marching straight out a little distance they seemed to incline a little to their left, as if their object was to march through my command and seize Cemetery Hill, which, I have no doubt, was their intention. They attacked with wonderful spirit; nothing could have been more spirited. The shock of the assault fell upon the Second and Third Divisions of the Second Corps, and these were the troops, assisted by a small brigade of Vermont troops, together with the artillery of our line, which fired from Round Top to Cemetery Hill at the enemy, all the way, as they advanced, whenever they had the opportunity. Those were the troops that really met the assault. No doubt there were other troops that fired a little, but those were the troops that really withstood the shock of the assault and repulsed it. The attack of the enemy was met by about six small brigades of our troops, and was finally repulsed after a terrific contest at very close quarters, in which our troops took about thirty or forty colors, and some four thousand or five thousand prisoners, with great loss to the enemy in killed and wounded. The repulse was a most signal one, and that decided the battle, and was practically the end of the fight." Here President Lincoln attended the consecration of the Soldiers' National Monument, erected to the memory of the heroic men who fell in that struggle. The shattered trees and crushed flowers have all been replaced by others, whose beauty and fragrance we may confidently hope shall never be again blasted by war.
A burial party, searching for dead on the borders of the Gettysburg battle-field, found, in a secluded spot, a sharpshooter lying as he fell when struck by the bullet. His cap and gun were evidently thrown behind him by the violence of the shock, and the blanket, partly shown, indicates that he had selected this as a permanent position from which to annoy the enemy. How many skeletons of such men are bleaching to-day in out of the way places no one can tell. Now and then the visitor to a battle-field finds the hones of some man shot as this one was, but there are hundreds that will never he known of, and will moulder into nothingness among the rocks. There were several regiments of Sharpshooters employed on both sides during the war, and many distinguished officers lost their lives at the hands of the riflemen. The first regiment was composed of men selected from each of the Loyal States, who brought their own rifles, and could snuff a candle at a hundred yards. Some of the regiments tried almost every variety of arms, but generally found the Western rifle most effective. The men were seldom used in line, but were taken to the front and allowed to choose their own positions. Some climbed into bushy trees, and lashed themselves to the branches to avoid falling if wounded. Others secreted themselves behind logs and rocks, and not a few dug little pits, into which they crept, lying close to the ground and rendering it almost impossible for an enemy to hit them. Occasionally a Federal and Confederate Sharpshooter would be brought face to face, when each would resort to every artifice to kill the other. Hats would be elevated upon sticks, and powder flashed on a piece of paper, to draw the opponent's fire, not always with success, however, and sometimes many hours would elapse before either party could get a favorable shot. When the armies were entrenched, as at Vicksburg and Richmond, the sharpshooters frequently secreted themselves so as to defy discovery, and picked off officers without the Confederate riflemen being able to return the fire.
On the Fourth of July, 1863, Lee's shattered army withdrew from Gettysburg, and started on its retreat from Pennsylvania to the Potomac. From Culp's Hill, on our right, to the forests that stretched away from Round Top, on the left, the fields were thickly strewn with Confederate dead and wounded, dismounted guns, wrecked caissons, and the debris of a broken army. The artist, in passing over the scene of the previous days' engagements, found in a lonely place the covert of a rebel sharpshooter, and photographed the scene presented here. The Confederate soldier had built up between two huge rocks, a stone wall, from the crevices of which he had directed his shots, and, in comparative security, picked off our officers. The side of the rock on the left shows, by the little white spots, how our sharpshooters and infantry had endeavored to dislodge him. The trees in the vicinity were splintered, and their branches cut off, while the front of the wall looked as if just recovering from an attack of geological small-pox. The sharpshooter had evidently been wounded in the head by a fragment of shell which had exploded over him, and had laid down upon his blanket to await death. There was no means of judging how long he had lived after receiving his wound, but the disordered clothing shows that his sufferings must have been intense. Was he delirious with agony, or did death come slowly to his relief, while memories of home grew dearer as the field of carnage faded before him? What visions, of loved ones far away, may have hovered above his stony pillow! What familiar voices may he not have heard, like whispers beneath the roar of battle, as his eyes grew heavy in their long, last sleep!
On the nineteenth of November, the artist attended the consecration of the Gettysburg Cemetery, and again visited the "Sharpshooter's Home." The musket, rusted by many storms, still leaned against the rock, and the skeleton of the soldier lay undisturbed within the mouldering uniform, as did the cold form of the dead four months before. None of those who went up and down the fields to bury the fallen, had found him. "Missing," was all that could have been known of him at home, and some mother may yet be patiently watching for the return of her boy, whose bones lie bleaching, unrecognized and alone, between the rocks at Gettysburg.
This House is in front of the left of the position occupied by our army at the battle of Gettysburg. General Sickles established his headquarters near this House on the second day's fight, and it was in this immediate vicinity that he received his wound, from which he lost his limb. The dead horses about the building indicate the terrific character of the fight. General Sickles had discovered early in the day that the enemy were moving around on our left, and advanced his corps some distance, for the purpose of securing a favorable position. The battle opened about half-past three, the enemy moving down in three lines, and almost overwhelming the Third Corps. At five o'clock General Birney assumed command of the corps, General Sickles having been wounded. In the meantime, the rebels had forced back the left of our lines, and undoubtedly would have gained possession of Round Top, but for the timely arrival of the Fifth Corps, which became hotly engaged, losing many valuable officers, but finally repulsing the enemy, and holding a position, the loss of which would have necessitated the retreat of our army, and perhaps resulted in its total defeat.
Thousands of dead and wounded were strewn over the fields adjacent to this House, and graves of Confederates can be found in every direction. The trees are scarred by bullets, marks of cannon-shot and shell disfigure the buildings, and the remains of the hastily constructed breastworks, with mouldering fragments of accoutrements, still show where the lines of battle were engaged.
Just back of the cemetery at Gettysburg, on the road leading to Taneytown, stands a humble dwelling, made historical by its occupation as headquarters of General Meade. This officer having assumed command of the Army of the Potomac at Frederick, thirty miles distant, immediately sent out the several Corps on different roads towards Harrisburg, with orders to attack the enemy wherever he might he found. On the first of July, Reynolds, with the First Corps, engaged the Confederates at Gettysburg, and after a gallant struggle, in which that officer was killed, the Corps, reinforced by the Eleventh, retired to the strong position on Cemetery Ridge. General Meade first heard of the engagement and its result at Taneytown, ten miles away, about sundown. Orders were at once despatched for the other Corps to march for the scene of action. The headquarters camp was struck, tents and wagons were sent back to Westminster, and shortly after midnight the General and staff pushed on to Gettysburg, establishing headquarters at this house. The second of July was one of the most lovely days of the season, and, with the exception of occasional shots between the advanced picket lines, remained perfectly quiet until three o'clock. The headquarters, however, throughout the day presented a most animated appearance. Commanding officers and couriers were constantly arriving and departing, while the staff officers and escort lounged in the shade about the house, or slept on the green turf, gathering strength for the conflict momentarily expected to commence. In the afternoon, Sickles, with the Third Corps, was attacked by the enemy, and the battle finally became general, the First, Fifth, Sixth and Eleventh participating, with the Second and Twelfth in reserve in the rear of the right wing. The headquarters, from its exposed position, at once became the centre of a terrible artillery fire. Shot and shell plunged through the building in quick succession, and made sad havoc with the group about it. In a few minutes a number were killed, and the General was soon compelled to withdraw, leaving dead and struggling horses on every side. On the third day the house was exposed to even a more severe fire, which threatened to utterly annihilate it. Immediately after the battle, the owner returned, repaired the damages, and the building now promises to stand for many years, bearing the scars of that fierce conflict.
A portion of the battle-field of Gettysburg, located in front of Little Round Top, is known as the Slaughter Pen. Upon the conclusion of that engagement, the ground was found in many places to be almost covered with the dead and wounded. This sketch only represents a few of the dead, the wounded having been removed to the hospitals. Gen. Crawford, commanding the Third Division of the Fifth Corps, was placed near this ravine, on the second day of the fight, to support Barnes' Division, and the scenes which transpired cannot be better described than in his own words before the Committee on the Conduct of the War. He says: "I heard the cheers of the enemy, and looking in front across a low ground, I saw our men retreating in confusion; fugitives were flying across in every direction; some of them rushed through my lines. The plain in front was covered with the flying men. The regular division had marched out past my left flank. A wheat field lay between two masses of woods directly in my front. A stone wall skirted these woods from right to left. The enemy, in masses, were coming across this wheat field, having driven everything before them. Their line of skirmishers had crossed the stone wall, and their column was coming across the low ground towards the hills upon which we stood. I ordered an immediate charge upon the enemy by the whole division. The division moved forward at once: Two volleys were fired, when the whole command started at a double-quick. We met the enemy in the low ground, drove them back to the stone wall, for the possession of which there was a short struggle, and at which two regiments which had been massed on the flanks of the line, were deployed, drove the enemy through the woods, and over the wheat field, to the ridge beyond. The line was there permanently established." On Friday afternoon, he was ordered to clear the woods in his front, and of that movement says: "I directed the command at once to advance. Hardly had the men unmasked from the hill before a battery of the enemy, stationed on a ridge beyond the wheat field opened, with grape and canister. As soon as the skirmishers opened fire on the cannoniers, the battery limbered up and fled. I then formed a line, and directed it to cross the wheat field and clear the woods. In doing this, they came upon a brigade of Hood's division, under Gen. Anderson or Gen. Bonham, composed of Georgia troops; they attacked them, capturing 260 prisoners, the battle-flag of the 15th Georgia, re-taking nearly all the ground that had been lost, and over 7,000 stand of arms, besides one 12-pound Napoleon gun and three caissons, and all the wounded, who had lain entirely uncared for. We permanently held that line. Hood's division was driven off nearly a mile."
A group at the headquarters, near Fairfax Court-House, taken in June, 1863. Thoughtful and erect, the most prominent figure is Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, then a Captain on the Staff of General Meade. Handsome, chivalric, one of the bravest of the brave, his character was fitly compared to that of the good knight, the Chevalier Bayard, and like him, he was truly "sans peur et sans reproche." So noble a man, that of all the heroes who have perished for the nation, his loss is the hardest to realize. The story of his short but brilliant career has been written by abler hands, and is now a "household word." Of its closing scenes, the writer narrowly escaped being a witness, having been invited to accompany the Colonel on that ill-starred expedition by which his life was sacrificed. Just recovering from the loss of his leg, and suffering acutely from any physical exertion, his active spirit could not be controlled, when he thought of his brothers in arms pining under the cruelties of Libby and Belle Isle. No ruthless raid was his, but a Christian effort to help the despairing Union Prisoners. None, who knew him, need be told how false was the document, claimed to have been found upon his person. General Meade, suspecting his inability to undergo the fatigues of an expedition in the inclement weather of February, was disinclined to give him permission; but Dahlgren, determined on his purpose, mounted his horse, and proceeding to a review of the Second Corps, rode so fearlessly over the fields, and under his frank smile, so well hid all traces of bodily suffering, that the General reluctantly permitted him to depart. After the review, when he came over (for the retirement it offered) to the writer's tent, it was too evident how fearful had been the effort of his will.
The officer upon the ground, wearing a straw hat, is Lieutenant-Colonel Dickinson, Assistant Adjutant General to General Hooker a position he held from the time that General first commanded a brigade, until the battle of Gettysburg. In that action the Colonel was hit in the arm with a link of a chain, thrown with other misiles from a rebel shell. On the recovery of his wound he retired from the service. The gentleman in foreign uniform is Count Zeppelin, of the Prussian army, then on a visit to this country. On the left is the figure of Major Ludlow, since better known as the General in Command of the Colored Brigade, which excavated, under a continual and heavy fire, the canal on the James, called Dutch Gap. The perils of that undertaking he faithfully shared, from first to last, doing much, by his cheerful bearing and example, to support his troops in their perilous work. The last of the group is Lieutenant (since Lieutenant Colonel) Rosencranz, a Swedish officer, on leave of absence, and occupying successively the position of Personal Aid upon the Staff of Generals McClellan, Burnside, Hooker, and Meade. A very reliable soldier, and one of the best Aids on the Staff, his genial disposition, unfailing amiability, and keen appreciation of humor, made him acceptable everywhere. He was probably as well known as any officer in the field.
One of the first operations of the war (upon the Potomac) was the destruction of the wharf and depot of the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad at Aquia Creek, done by a small flotilla under command of Capt. Ward, U. S. N., whose flag-ship was a N. Y. towboat, turned into a gunboat, and called the Freeborn. The buildings were fired by shells, the enemy keeping up a lively fire also from a battery upon the hill and a small redoubt on the shore.
When the rebels gave up the blockade of the Potomac, quite a chain of works existed here. In the winter of 1862 it became the base of supplies for the army at Falmouth; the wharf was rebuilt, greatly enlarged and improved, and quite a town of hastily but well-constructed buildings put up; among them, and close upon the railroad track, the Provost Marshal's Office. To this office came daily crowds of applicants for passes; officers on welcome leave of absence; soldiers with hard-earned furloughs; sutlers and their clerks; negroes, anxious to get up to Washington to spend the generous wages (twenty-five dollars a month, besides rations and quarters) paid by the Quartermaster's Department; all kinds of petty traders; visitors to the army; friends seeking the bodies of relatives slain in battle, or lying in hospital grave-yard, for removal; sick and wounded for hospital treatment; and last, though not least, ubiquitous members of the press, constantly going up or down. Soldiers or citizens who had business with the army in those days will not readily forget how limited was the time between the arrival of the long train of cars from the front and the departure of the Washington boat; nor how often, after successfully elbowing a way in the motley crowd, and getting the pass vised, the end of the dock would he only reached in time to see the steamer moving swiftly down the creek to the Potomac. On such occasions two alternatives were open; to go back to the front till next morning, or remain and study character on the wharf, boarding at the sutler's, and trusting to luck for a bed. As an instance of the variety of character, the writer has seen upon that dock, not only specimens of almost every European race, Africans and Indians, but Chinamen, dressed in army blue, and to all appearance good soldiers.
On the Warrenton Railroad, is a spot known as Three Mile Station; there are no depot buildings, but for all that it is recognized as a stopping place, and is the nearest place to Dr. Murray's house, called the Castle, a picturesque grey stone edifice, beautifully contrasting with the dark green ivy, which has partly overgrown it, and situated in a grove, on an eminence, known as Rockhill. Not far from it is the residence of Col. Murray, a much older place, with no pretensions to architecture, but withal a roomy, comfortable farm house, with many fine trees around it. In the Fall of 1863, Army Headquarters were pitched, for some days, on the pleasant slopes, near the latter house; at the same time, Gen. Pleasanton, commanding the cavalry, had his camp on Rockhill, his tents forming, with Castle Murray, a very effective picture; heightened, when of an evening the slanting sun, beaming through the trees, gilded the General's banner, and tinged rosily the canvas homes. At night, the green lamps, that showed the position of the General's camp, would shine mysteriously over the trees, and the band of the Sixth U. S. Cavalry would make the stone walls ring to its martial music.
The village of Culpeper is situated on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, about seventy-five miles from Washington. Sheltered by the Blue Ridge, the surrounding country was very productive, and after the establishment of railroad communication, the place rapidly grew in size and importance. Its first serious injuries were received in General Pope's retreat from the Rapidan, when many of its buildings were destroyed, and nearly all stripped of their contents. Both armies alternately occupied it, and cavalry repeatedly fought about it, till the village, once the pride of its district, became a ruin, and the fruitful fields an area of desolation. Reviews, with all their "pomp and circumstance," made brilliant days for its memories, and weeks are numbered in the sorrowful periods when the requiem for the dead sounded continually over its new-made graves. History weaves a garment about it more glorious than romance. The pulsations of battle at Bull Run, and Rappahannock, and Brandy Station; at Chancellorsville, Bristoe, and Groveton, have throbbed through its streets. Cedar Mountain, blazing with conflict, looked down upon it, and Grant in the Wilderness, shook its spires with the roar of his guns. The altars of its churches are stained with heroic blood; all along its highways slumber those whose names can never pass away, and in the vacant campĀgrounds cluster recollections fast blending into traditions, that shall grow dearer as they grow old.
Another year, and peace will have hidden the scars that now so sadly mar its beauty. Nature cannot be wholly defrauded of her blossoms, or prevented from drawing her mantle over the deserts that mankind may make. Already Culpeper has commenced a new adornment, and must soon resume her station, Queen of the fairest plains of Virginia. Imbued with new incentives, her returning people are making pleasant places of their homes, and launching into the enterprises of a brighter dawn, promise for themselves a future prosperity that shall prove more than compensation for troubles past.
The Post-Office at the Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac was a great institution. Thousands of letters passed through it every week, and in the movements of the army, its welfare was regarded as almost of as much importance as any other department. Each regiment had a post boy, who carried the letters of his command to brigade headquarters. There the mails of the different regiments were placed in one pouch, and sent up to division headquarters, and thence to corps headquarters, where mail agents received them and delivered them at the principal depot of the army, to the agent from General Headquarters. When the army was encamped around Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, the corps mail agents delivered their mails to the headquarters agent at Falmouth station, the latter agent going through by rail and steamer to the General Post-Office at Washington. During the Petersburg campaign the mails going North were consolidated at City Point. As the mails passed to and from the army daily, the work required a large number of men, nearly all of whom were private soldiers detailed for such duty.
The photograph shows the tent used by the Post-Office Department at General Headquarters. The cases for the letters were made of rough boards, which on a march were packed away in the bottom of an army wagon, one being sufficient to carry the whole establishment, including the tent and its furniture. So systematically was this department conducted, under the supervision of Wm. B. Haslett, Postmaster, that a letter which left Boston on the morning of the first of the month, reaching Washington on the night of the second, would generally be delivered to the private soldier in the trenches at Petersburg on the night of the fourth. At times, however, the mails would accumulate in the office at Washington, necessitating a delay of several days before they could be assorted and placed in the several army pouches, one of which was kept for every corps, and detached command of the army.
"Cigars and Cognac, with these we bivouac," says the old song, but as Cognac was, in the army, a questionable fluid, to say the least of it, and scarce at that, the lounger in the grass wisely contented himself with the pleasures of the weed. His good war-steed, in condition highly creditable to the groom, patiently accepts the opportunity to rest, evidently affording an object of critical admiration to his master, whose orderly meanwhile keeps an eye about the vicinity. There is nothing particular in the picture to account for this little halt, but those who recognize the officer, may possibly give a shrewd guess at his reasons. He is the Quartermaster of the Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, and has doubtless ridden forward to the position selected for camp, to examine its capabilities, and await the arrival of his wagon-train, in order to personally superintend the pitching of the tents, and the parking of the wagons.
To still further satisfy curiosity, it may be mentioned that the reclining officer is Captain Harry Page, since Colonel and Chief Quartermaster of the Cavalry Corps, one of the most arduous posts of duty in the service, and one whose necessities during the severe campaigns up the Shenandoah Valley, and in the vicinity of Richmond, kept the young Colonel always upon his mettle.
Here is represented one of the establishments of the Sanitary Commission in the army. The object of the Commission was to alleviate the hardships of soldier life to afford physical comfort to the sick and wounded, and supply such of the well as were needy with under-clothing, &c. The Departments, or Special Bureaus were established at Washington, New York, Louisville, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Annapolis, and City Point, in addition to which there have been the Departments of Western Virginia, of the South, and Texas. The funds of the Commission were raised by means of Sanitary Fairs in the principal cities, and by voluntary subscription. The report of the Treasurer shows that from June 27th, 1861, to July 1st, 1865, the receipts were $4,813,750 64, and the disbursements $4,530,774 95, leaving a balance in the hands of the Commission of $282,975 69. In 1863 a Protective War Claim Association was established, and made subordinate to the Commission, for the purpose of making direct applications for pensions, arrears of pay, bounty and prize money, and for giving general information and advice relative to military and naval matters. No charges were made for these services, thus saving to the widows and representatives of the soldiers the usual fees of claim agents, which in these cases would have amounted to about $240,000.
The Relief Bureau of the Commission closed on the 1st of July, 1865. At that time there were vast stores and material on hand, all of which were turned over to General Howard's Bureau for the benefit of the freedmen. The Claim Bureau will close on the 1st of January, 1866, and turn over to the Central Bureau at Washington all the papers and documents in its possession. From that time forward, the Commission will devote itself to the preparation of a historical record, a final and full report, and the settlement of its affairs in closing up the several agencies. What will be done with the surplus funds has not yet been determined, but it is expected that they will be transferred as an endowment to some institution devoted to the interests of soldiers and their families.
When this picture was made, the Third Corps was yet an independent organization, under the command of Gen. French, whose Chief Quartermaster was Lieut. Col. J. B. Howard. The distinguishing flag of the Colonel's command, which adorns the side of his dwelling, carried the historical diamond of the Corps, in red, white, and blue, with the words "Chief Quartermaster." The adjoining canvased-roofed hut was the Colonel's business office, the patched addition in front, warmed by a stove, serving the purpose of an ante-room where orderlies could wait in comfort. In the first but there was a fireplace worthy of a New England mansion house. Oak logs, supported on camp-made fire dogs, gave a cheery blaze, and the ceiling of canvass. On the walls, partly covered with hanging blankets of various colors, and partly papered with illustrated weeklies, there hung maps, field glasses, arms, &c. Pine chairs of the simplest pattern, a desk full of pigeon holes, crammed with papers bound with red tape, and an iron safe, completed the list of furniture. The adjoining room was gorgeous with the luxury of a carpet, while a comfortable bed and toilet arrangements gave a homelike air to the apartment. In these quarters the Colonel's wife and little daughter found sufficient attraction to detain them several weeks; and round the blazing hearth, on many a sullen winter night, the ennui of camp were forgotten in pleasant re-unions of the General's staff.
One of the most striking evidences of the patriotism of the American people, and of the desire of those who were unable personally to enter the field, to render every assistance in their power to promote the Union cause, is to be found in the workings of the Christian Commission—the members of which were connected with every corps and division of the Federal Army, and who were instrumental in doing much to alleviate the sufferings of our sick and wounded soldiers, and in administering spiritual consolation to the dying.
Organized in New York on the 16th of November, 1861, and devoting itself to the interests of the army and navy, branch offices were speedily established in Washington, Philadelphia, and all our leading cities, and every little town, village and hamlet, immediately entered into the spirit of the enterprise, and poured its treasures into the coffers of the parent stem—from whence they were conveyed to the soldiers by faithful, zealous and indefatigable delegates. The women of America were untiring in their efforts to provide luxuries and comforts for our armies, and the princely liberality of our citizens, in every rank and calling, was fully and thoroughly developed. The following summary, up to January, 1865, probably is the best means of conveying an idea of the magnitude of the operations of this charitable and praiseworthy association: The receipts in 1861 were $231,256 29; in 1863, $916,837 65; in 1864, $2,882,347 86; making a total of $4,030,441 80. During 1864, 47,103 boxes of hospital stores and publications were distributed, valued at $2,185,670 82. Two hundred and five chapels and chapel tents were erected at a cost of $114,359 78; and 569,594 copies of Bibles and Testaments distributed.
Libraries have been furnished to hospitals, forts, regiments, and vessels of war. Thousands of hymn-books, knapsack-books, magazines, weekly religious papers, tracts and literary productions were gladly received by the soldiers, and relieved the tedium of many a weary hour. Railroad and telegraph corporations in all parts of the land rendered gratuitous facilities in support of the institution, and, with the Government, aided the Commission very materially.
Each corps, division, and brigade of the army, when encamped for any length of time, established a Field Hospital. The one represented here was located in the woods, near Brandy Station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, in the winter of 1863 and 1864. The patients were composed of men suffering from the diseases incident to camp life, and were rendered as comfortable here as those in the city hospitals. Large stoves were placed in each tent, and good fires kept up day and night. Floors were laid to protect the sick from the dampness of the earth, blankets were furnished in the greatest abundance, and every attention was shown the patients by experienced surgeons, while the Sanitary and Christian Commissions provided linen, delicacies, and a variety of reading matter. Some of the hospitals were surrounded by high cedar hedges, constructed by the attendants and convalescents, and were models of architectural beauty. Arches were erected over the entrances to the camp, and adorned with the badges of the respective divisions and brigades, and rustic seats placed on the south side of the tents, where the men whiled away many an hour in the sunshine. The trinkets cut from soft pine by the men were of every variety, and very curious. Elegant picture frames were made of small slips ingeniously interlaced, and were sold for large sums; the most elaborate realizing for their makers from fifty to one hundred dollars.
The dead were always buried with military honors, and there were very few instances where the graves thus made were left without some appropriate memorial. There was a brotherhood among the patients akin to domestic love. Those who endured the sufferings of the Camp Hospital unconsciously learned to care for each other's welfare, and many now look back to the weary days of hospital life as the beginning of friendships which time cannot weaken nor adversity estrange.
Soon after the breaking out of the war, a company of Zouaves, formed upon the French model, was organized in Philadelphia, with Capt. Collis as commander. They became body guard to General Banks, and did good service. Subsequently, Capt. Collis obtained authority to increase his small command to a Regiment, altering the costume from the old red Zouave bags—not at all suited for service in the woods of Virginia—to trousers of the same color. The affection of the soldiers for color is extraordinary; no statistics, showing the large increase of casualties to showy uniforms, could induce the Zouzous to part with theirs, and in this dress the 114th—attached to the Third Corps—participated in some of the bloodiest battles. At Gettysburg, their gallant Lieutenant Colonel (Cavada) was taken prisoner; with a number of the Regiment, fighting bravely against odds.
When the army lay in winter quarters around Culpeper, they relieved the 93d New York, in the duties of "Headquarters Guard" to General Meade, near Brandy Station. The photograph represents morning guard mount in front of the picturesque camp, a good specimen of the soldiers' architecture; the huts, with the barrel chimneys on the slope of the hill, are the quarters of the men; the larger ones on the ridge belong to the officers, while on the extreme right the tent in which the Sutler keeps store, is pitched. The entire space was a portion of a dense wood, almost impassable when first chosen for headquarters, and filled with rabbits, quail, hawks, owls, and other game. Soon all was cut down save the little grove on the top of the hill, reserved by Capt. Sleeper, of the 10th Massachusetts Battery, who had pitched his tents there, on what was once the rebel General Stuart's headquarters.
The duties of the guard of headquarters, which also formed part of the provost brigade under Gen. Patrick, included, besides furnishing the regular camp guards for the protection of the officers' quarters, the care of the valuable wagon train of army headquarters, both in park and on the march, and the custody of rebel prisoners and deserters, detained for a time at the Provost Marshal's. In summer time, when the tents were shaded and embowered in branches of the green pine, a highly dramatic picture would be presented by the Regiment, marching out from the trees to evening dress parade, their muskets glittering brightly in the setting sun, white turbans and blue and scarlet uniforms contrasting strongly against the dusky background, while the officers of camp grouped around, smoking their pipes in the pleasant coolness of the evening air, listened to the "Faust March," by the Zouave band.
Military operations were never so faithfully chronicled as during the late war. Each army was accompanied by a corps of newspaper correspondents, most of whom were dependent upon the officers' hospitality. At times the movements of the Army rendered it almost impossible for correspondents to live comfortably, and the difficulties to be contended with led many of those who first set out to write the history of campaigns to abandon the undertaking. The New York Herald was the first and only journal to organize a corps of army correspondents who might live independent of the officers, and conduct the system successfully to the close of the war. In the Army of the Potomac it had one correspondent attached to the headquarters of each corps of infantry, and one with each division of cavalry, all under a chief at the Commanding General's headquarters. The chief had a number of messengers for the purpose of communicating with the several correspondents, and with the office in New York, each of whom was capable of performing the duties of a correspondent, and thus fill any vacancy that might occur during active operations. Horses and wagons for the transportation of tents, camp equipage, forage, &c., were furnished by the Herald, and the representative of that paper always had at headquarters a place to which he might invite his friends. Thus organized, the Herald correspondents were generally enabled to outstrip all competitors in furnishing the public with intelligence, and found army life as pleasant as reportorial duties in a city. All were exposed to danger, and a number lost their lives on the field. Several were wounded, some were captured, and experienced all the horrors of rebel prisons, and not a few still suffer from the effects of fevers contracted in the swamps of the Chickahominy. Others, in the course of their army experience, acquired a knowledge of military matters that led to their appointment as officers, and notwithstanding the reduction of the army are now retained by the Government in responsible positions. The Herald was not alone represented in the field, but the completeness of its arrangements rendered competition fruitless. The Times, Tribune, World, and Western papers sent out enterprising men, some of whom have since written valuable histories of military movements. To the army correspondents the country owes more than it can fully appreciate, until the historian in the future shall attempt to give the true narration of these revolutionary events.
The ingenuity and taste of the American soldier is strikingly illustrated in the variety of architecture with which he adorns his summer quarters. A permanent camp is invariably surrounded by evergreens; and if a regiment bivouac but for a day, the spot will long after be marked by the leafy bowers erected before each tent. The forests are ransacked for the brightest foliage, branches of the pine, cedar, and holly are laboriously collected, and the work of beautifying the quarters continued as long as material can be procured. Camps are surrounded with neat hedges, arches bearing the corps badge and other devices are erected at the entrances, and the tents sheltered from the sun by roofs of deftly woven twigs and leaves. Sometimes a framework is erected around a number of tents, upon which is fastened a thick covering of evergreens, completely hiding the interior, and forming a home delightfully cool, even in the hottest days. Thus secluded, the wives of officers, in their brief visits to the front, find a most pleasant abiding place, from which they return with reluctance to city homes. An indescribable charm surrounds such life. There is the glittering show of the army, all the beauty that skill can add to nature's work, and an endless round of festivity like that of the merriest picnic. A camp thus embowered, with the regiments parading, the arms glittering like silver, and the music of the bands swelling on the breeze, presents a scene of beauty rarely excelled. Its recollections are treasured among the happiest memories of the field, and many a country woman will wear a brighter dress for the lessons of adornment army life has taught.
Here is shown one of the pontoon boats used by the Army of the Potomac in the construction of bridges. Each boat was drawn by six mules, and was accompanied by a wagon, carrying plank, ropes, and anchors. In building a pontoon bridge, the boats would be slid off from the wagons into the water, and rowed out into the stream, where they were made stationary by means of ropes and anchors attached to the bows. Timbers were then laid from boat to boat, and the plank laid down, the whole being firmly lashed together with ropes. In crossing a stream when closely pursued by the enemy, the anchors could be taken up, and one end of the bridge detached from the shore, thus allowing it to swing round with the current, against crossing, a box containing a lantern was placed at each end of the bridge at night, for the purpose of signaling the approach of teams. Before any one was allowed to cross the bridge after dark, the sentry would open and close the door of the box three times, as a signal to the sentry on the opposite side that the bridge was about to be occupied, thus preventing the meeting of wagons on the narrow structure. The different armies used a great variety of pontoons during the war. Some had corrugated iron boats, others, frames covered with thick canvas, and on a few occasions inflated gutta percha floats were used. The latter, however, were liable to become unserviceable from perforation in transporting them, or from the bullets of the enemy, and the wooden boat finally came into general use.
This is one of the celebrated horse batteries of the Army of the Potomac. In the batteries designed for cavalry service, every man was mounted, except in action, when the cannoniers necessarily served the guns on foot. The picture represents the four 12-pounder light brass pieces "in battery," with limbers and caissons to the rear, and on the left the battery wagon, forge, ambulance, and wagons for transportation, embracing the entire equipage of a light battery in the field. Beyond, another battery is seen in camp. The horses being hitched in, and limber chests open, would seem to indicate that an inspection is about to be made. Just in the edge of the woods is brigade headquarters.
When General Pleasanton commanded the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, in 1862, Captain Robertson (now General) was his Chief of Artillery, and was in the van of the forces, in the campaign which terminated at Antietam. The Captain aided materially in driving the rebels out of Frederick City, after a severe artillery fight. Following them closely, he fired the first shot at the battle of South Mountain, keeping the rebels engaged till the arrival of General Burnside's command. Again, at the battle of Antietam, his batteries were busy doing great execution. He was promoted subsequently, and held a command in the reserve artillery, for some time, always with the reputation of being a thorough artillery officer.
This scene represents General Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, at Brandy Station, just previous to the Wilderness campaign. The large tent was occupied by Gen. Meade, and the adjoining tent by his chief of staff, Gen. Humphreys. The telegraph office was situated immediately in rear of them. The tents of the staff formed a semi-circle in front of the Commanding General's Headquarters, and are but partly shown in this sketch. The camp was enclosed with a neat brush fence, and footwalks of plank were laid down, connecting the officers' quarters. Attached to headquarters were the offices of the Adjutant-General, the Chief Quartermaster, Chief Commissary and Provost Marshal General, the heads of the Engineer, Signal and Telegraph Corps, the Chief of Artillery, Medical Director, and the Stockade for Prisoners, forming a large camp, requiring two regiments for police and guard duty. In addition to these, there was a squadron of Cavalry for escort duty. Life in headquarters was always pleasant. In seasons of inactivity very little of the officers' time was occupied by military matters, and the days passed by like a dream. There were always visitors at headquarters, bands made music at all hours, and winter evenings slipped away, leaving only recollections too dear to be forgotten. Chess, whist, and the more popular game of poker filled up the hours that might otherwise have dragged heavily, and the huts and tents in the woods frequently became invested with a charm like that of home. Every scouting party that returned from hazardous expeditions reported to headquarters. All the gossip of army life centered here, bringing in every rumor of movements in hostile camps, every whisper of jealousy among subordinates, and the details of entertainments in the field, where staff and regimental officers held high carnival. If a sentry miles away was shot at his lonely post in the night, his name came in on the current of official records to headquarters just the same as that of the Major General. This was the heart of the army, and the corps and divisions were but members that throbbed with its impulses. Precious are the memories of its bivouacs, and they who lived within its social circle, turn to the reminiscences of those days as among the brightest of their lives.
The commissary at General Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac was nothing less than an immense grocery establishment. Coffee, tea, sugar, molasses, bacon, salt pork, fresh beef, potatoes, rice, flour, &c., were always kept on hand in large quantities, and of the best quality. This institution was under the charge of Brevet Major J. R. Coxe, whose portly form adorns the photograph of "What do I want, John Henry?" Occasionally some command out of provisions would suddenly call on Major Coxe for a hundred thousand rations or more, and never was the gallant Major found unable to respond. Rain, snow, darkness, fathomless roads, or unexplored forests, never hindered his wagon trains. Upon him depended the sustenance of Headquarters, and the Commissary General and Staff. It was never his fault if they went hungry.
It was interesting in the last year of the war to witness the Virginia families flock to Headquarters for the purpose of purchasing supplies of the Commissary. Decrepid men, ladies, children, and family servants crowded the Commissary at stated periods for rations, carrying off their purchased provisions in the oddest vehicles, on horseback, and on foot, some individuals every week walking twenty miles to get their supplies. The provisions sold by the Commissary were disposed of at prices far below market rates, the Government only charging the cost price at wholesale; and as great care was taken in the selection of supplies by the Government agents, it was highly desirable to citizens to purchase rations. This was especially the case with respect to tea, coffee, and sugar, which were bought by the Government in as unadulterated a form as could be found.
This sketch represents the Telegraph Construction Corps of the Army of the Potomac putting up the wire. The Corps was composed of about one hundred and fifty men, with a requisite number of wagons, pack mules, &c. A squad of these men was assigned to each Corps Headquarters, and was always in readiness to put up new lines or remove those already up at a moment's notice from the Commanding General. During the first two years of the war the common wire was used; but as is referred to elsewhere, when Grant set out in his Wilderness Campaign, a flexible insulated wire was substituted. The large wire was wound on reels and placed in wagons, which drove along the route where the line was to be erected, the men following and putting up the wire as it unreeled. The work was done with great rapidity, and seldom became disarranged. The first lines were used when McClellan was organizing the Army at Arlington. On the Peninsula the telegraph followed the troops in all directions, and during the Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville Campaigns proved an unfailing means of communication between the Army and Washington. As it was only intended for temporary uses, the poles were not required to be very substantial, and could be always found in that wooded country near any proposed route. The immense labor required in the construction of this telegraph led to the adoption of the insulated wire, which could be used with very little trouble. A coil of the latter would be placed on a mules back, and the animal led straight forward without halting while the wire unreeled, it only being necessary for two men to follow and hang up the line on the fences and bushes, where it would not be run over. When the telegraph extended through a section unoccupied by our troops, cavalry patrols watched it, and by holding the inhabitants responsible for its safety, generally prevented any interference with the line. The Central Telegraph Office was in the War Department building, from which a network of wires radiated in every direction. President Lincoln frequently visited this office, and spent many an evening sitting at the instruments reading the reports as they came in and were recorded by the operators.
Here is represented the deserted quarters of Gen. Sharp, Chief of the Secret Service of the Army of the Potomac, at Brandy Station, Virginia. The tents have been removed, and the sketch depicts the scene when the camping ground, which had been occupied by headquarters during the winter, is being abandoned for the spring campaign. In the back-ground are the stalls for the staff horses, and the stockade or "bull pen" for prisoners arrested by the Provost Marshal General. The photograph possesses interest only as an illustration of the mode of life of the army in winter. No sooner is it known in camp that the quarters are likely to be permanent, than every man commences the erection of substantial quarters, which, in the winter season are made as comfortable as any village. Floors are laid in the tents, log huts are built, and their inner walls neatly covered with illustrated papers, and chimneys with capacious fireĀplaces erected, rendering the winter home of the soldier, if not desirable, at least a very pleasant residence. Storms and frost are unheeded, and the long evenings pass in mirth, with no care for to-morrow's hardship or future perils.
What sad reflections crowd upon the mind in visiting these relics of the past! All through the South in many a lonely waste such columns stand as mournful monuments of forgotten joys and aspirations; sealed volumes, whose unwritten lore none can interpret save those who made the record. Fragments of a sorrowful era, and witnesses of events which the world may pray shall never be re-enacted, the visitor beside each wreck will ask:
"Why standest thou, lone mark?
Gray ruins, mist and mould
Are dripping where thy spark
Glimmered in times of old.
Within thy bosom now
The snake hath made his home:
The owl, from 'neath thy brow
Hoots in his nightly gloom.
The chirping cricket's song has ceased,
The silent spider spreads his feast;
Here did thy winter welcome shine,
Where darkly creeps the poison vine.
So hopes too bright forsake the breast,
And canker comes a constant guest.
Old fragment! Perish with thy lore,
Nor longer memory implore."
This wagon park represents the transportation of all that portion of the Quartermaster's Department, which included the various field repair shops, carpenters, saddlers, harness-makers, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, wagon builders, and the like, belonging to the Army of the Potomac. When in full operation it was a very extensive establishment, and one of much importance to the army. Thousands of mules and horses were here shod every month, and almost an equal number of disabled wagons, ambulances, &c., repaired, the rough usage to which the trains were subjected breaking down even the strongest-built army wagons. In addition to the repairs done here, there were made tables, seats, and desks, for office furniture, required by the various departments in camp. Indeed, it would be difficult to say what the Quartermaster might not have to construct or mend at a moment's notice. Sometimes Col. Pierce, the officer in charge, would find a whole division of cavalry upon his hands, in the most unexpected manner; just in from a raid or a fight, their own proper depot out of reach, and all in want of shoes to their horses and repairs to their equipments. Then there were lively times at the repair shops; harness-sewers working to distraction, and blacksmiths punishing their anvils day and night, while the cry was "still they come." At other times, while the summer campaigns were in progress, there would be little to do but keep the mules harnessed for a start, and lounge upon the ground, or around the sutler's wagon. This train numbered about two hundred and forty wagons—no trifling command to move with precision and safety over a country almost destitute of paved roads; but when compared with the entire transportation of the army, it was a small matter. For the carriage of ordnance, commissary and quartermaster stores, the baggage of the troops, and for transporting the sick and wounded, nearly six thousand wagons and ambulances had to be put in motion, requiring at least sixty miles of road to string out upon. Moving upon dirt roads, generally cut up by the wheels of over three hundred guns, the same number of caissons, the accompanying forges and battery wagons, and a pontoon train or two—the labor required by the draught animals was excessive. As for the swearing done by the teamsters, no words can describe its amount, nor can any memory do justice to its variety and originality. But for these immense trains, and their cumbrous movements, many a battle would have remained unfought, an engagement sometimes being absolutely necessary for their preservation. One of these was the battle of Bristow Station, where the rebel army made a flank attack upon the Second Corps, hoping, by a vigorous assault, to drive our men, and cripple the army by destroying its train, moving under cover of the column of infantry.
When collected in one encampment, the sight of the vast parks of wagons was very imposing. On one occasion, two days before the battle of Bristow, almost the entire transportation of the army was accumulated in the vicinity of Bealton, covering the fields in all directions as far as the eye could reach with white covers, all stamped, with the badge of their respective corps, division and brigade.
The North Anna is an exceedingly picturesque river, abounding in beautiful scenery; the old mills of Jericho being not the least remarkable among its many attractions. Here, on the 23d of May, 1864, the Fifth Corps, under the leadership of Gen. Governeur K. Warren, performed one of the most dashing exploits of that campaign. Advancing quickly upon the river, they poured down the steep banks, driving all before them, and, with no delay for pontoons, dashed across and secured a position upon the other side, before the rebels could organize for opposition. General Warren was not allowed to hold, without a struggle, what he had so suddenly gained. Forming their masses in the woods, the enemy soon commenced a vigorous attack upon the isolated corps; but the Fifth Corps was not disposed to part with its laurels, and after a severe struggle, which cost them many men, the defeated Confederates withdrew. The pontoons arriving, bridges were laid, and the Sixth Corps passed over to take position with the Fifth. No further fighting of any consequence ensuing, the soldiers amused themselves by destroying a large portion of the railroad between Richmond arid Gordonsville. That accomplished, the army recrossed the river, and proceeded to execute another of the flanking operations, which were the peculiar feature of Grant's campaign against Richmond. One of those incidents characteristic of war, and which can hardly be prevented, where an army marches through hostile countries, took place here. Before the pontoon bridges were removed, some straggling soldiers entered one of the houses on the top f the bank, over the mill, and fired it; forcing the inmates to leave and seek refuge in the open air, where a heavy rain drenched them to the skin. They descended the hill, and crossed the pontoon bridge, a pitiful procession of women and wailing children, ignorant of the fact, that the house they were seeking for protection was likewise destroyed and the inmates driven off.
This bridge is on the road known as the Telegraph road to Richmond. On the 23d of May Gen. Hancock found it defended by earthworks, manned, and offering a spirited resistance. These were speedily carried by a brilliant assault of the old "Berry Brigade," and the bridge taken before damage had been done it by the defenders. The 93d New York, in the heat of the charge, carried their colors to the centre of the structure, the enemy still holding the opposite bank. The bridge and its approaches remained exposed to the fire of a battery of the enemy, so posted that the Union artillery could not silence it as long as we held possession. Everything crossing it had to run the gauntlet of a wicked fire, rapidly delivered, and at good range. Pouring over at the double-quick, those commands that were obliged to cross, offered a capital mark to the rebel gunners. In this way several large regiments of New York heavy artillery went over, not without serious casualties, the shells bursting about their heads with deafening explosions. Captain Bleeper's battery, the 10th Massachusetts, crossed it about this time, the rebels redoubling their efforts in hope of blowing up the ammunition, but the captain only passed over one piece at a time, thus materially diminishing the target; and as the rule is to go no faster than a walk, (unless at the risk of severe pains and penalties at the hands of the local authorities,) the aforesaid captain passed over with each piece in turn, enforcing the observance of the law, and proving the discipline of his battery. The ridge in the distance was the position held by the Second Corps, till it was determined not to advance any further in that direction.
It is a curious fact that this bridge received hardly any damage from the continual fire of the rebel battery; nor was the loss among the troops exposed to it anything like what might have been expected, owing to the fire of the Second Corps artillery, which must have considerably confused its aim.
Another scene of picturesque beauty on this interesting stream. The building is a time-worn, weather-stained structure, not altogether free from the suspicion of harboring reptiles. In the river the negroes caught delicious terrapin, and the soldiers varied their rations with messes of catfish. A temporary bridge, constructed from the timber found at the mill, was thrown across, just below the dam, and many were the misgivings, when the rains caused a rise in the river, threatening to float away the frail structure, and sever communications with the opposite bank, a disaster which happily did not take place. In the grassy fields above the mill, the tents of Grant's and Meade's headquarters, seldom far apart, were pitched for a few days. Among the prisoners brought to this place was a woman, clad in rebel gray. She was taken, mounted astride a bony steed, apparently performing the duties of a scout, but claimed to belong to a battery of artillery. A degraded, wild specimen of humanity, of Irish extraction, with a shock of tangled black hair hanging in elf locks down to her shoulders, she proved the centre of interest to the idlers of the camp. At these she would occasionally hurl stones, being particularly hostile towards the negroes, who gave her a wide berth, to avoid the missiles, which she threw with considerable force and accuracy. The North Anna, meeting with its sister stream, the South Anna, a few miles lower down, forms the sluggish Pamunkey, which in its turn combines with the Mattapony, and becomes the York river, under which name the associated streams fall into the Chesapeake.
This place is the county seat of Charles City County, about twenty-five miles southeast from Richmond, and is a fair specimen of many Virginia Court-Houses. This neighborhood was the scene of a number of severe cavalry fights during the war, the Court-House, in 1862, being only three miles from the intrenched camp of Gen. McClellan, whose army marched past the village in its retreat from before Richmond to Fortress Monroe. Gen. Meade's army, in 1864, again occupied this section, and passed over its roads from Coal Harbor to Petersburg, when the building was sacked by the troops, and many of the records were destroyed. There were but two or three dwellings and a church composing the village, and a stranger might pass through the place without dreaming that it possessed a name. Its history dates from the early settlement of Virginia, and the cemeteries round about it contain the names of those who passed away one hundred years ago.
The return of peace has here failed to quicken the people, and everything is rapidly sinking to decay. The aristocratic families, impoverished by the war, and deprived of the labor of their slaves, barely manage to live, and the whole country along the James is rapidly becoming overgrown with scrub timber and chaparral.
This sketch represents one of the pontoon bridges across the James River, at Powhattan Point, near Harrison's Landing, and not far from Charles City Court-House; and which was used by Gen. Grant's army, in his march from Coal Harbor to City Point. The bridge was laid down on the fourteenth of June, 1864, and the troops commenced crossing the next day. Gen. Warren's Corps moved from its position, one mile in rear of Coal Harbor, and marched across the Richmond and York River Railroad, taking the Long Bridge road over the Chickahominy and down to the James, followed by Hancock, Wright and Burnside; the Eighteenth Corps having already occupied Bermuda Hundreds, on the north side of the James, several miles above the pontoons. The enemy made no attempt to interrupt the movement, confining himself to the defences of Richmond. The passage of the James River was effected without the loss of a gun or wagon, Wilson's Cavalry covering the rear from attack, and enabling the army to cross without any undue haste. After the infantry had passed over, the immense wagon trains crossed, followed by the cattle herds, and finally by the Cavalry. The scene at this point during the passage of the river by the army was most spirited. The stream was crowded with gunboats, transports and sailing vessels, as far as the eye could reach, while on both sides of the river a long cloud of dust marked the line of march across the level country. Simultaneously with this movement of our troops, the rebels left their defences north of Richmond, and marched through that city towards Petersburg, in front of which the first engagement took place on the fifteenth, resulting in the capture of the enemy's entrenchments and the occupation of the city by our Cavalry. Unfortunately the advantage thus gained was not held, the Cavalry falling back upon our Infantry, which failed to get up in time to prevent the rebels from reoccupying the city.
During the passage of the army across the James, the mails and passengers were brought on steamers from Washington to these bridges, and transferred by means of small boats, to steamers above the pontoons, thus enabling them to reach City Point and Bermuda Hundreds without much delay. No better summary of these few days' events can be given, than in the despatch of Gen. Grant to the President, on the seventeenth. He says, "The Ninth Corps crossed this morning, carried two more redoubts, forming a part of the defences of Petersburg, capturing four hundred and fifty prisoners and four guns. Our successes are being followed up. Our forces drew out from within fifty yards of the enemy's intrenchments, at Coal Harbor, made a flank movement, of about fifty-five miles march, crossing the Chickahomniny and James Rivers—the latter two thousand feet wide and eighty-four feet deep at the point of crossing—and surprised the enemy's rear at Petersburg. This was done without the loss of a wagon or piece of artillery, and only about one hundred and fifty stragglers were picked up by the enemy. In covering this move, Warren's Corps and Wilson's Cavalry had frequent skirmishing with the enemy, each losing from fifty to sixty killed and wounded, but inflicting an equal if not greater loss upon the enemy."
In such rude manner did the lusty artificers of the corps carry on their needful trades, doing much good work under the scorching rays of the southern sun. At one time the majority of these hardy workmen were detailed from the ranks, with extra pay and allowances, but when every soldier was needed behind his musket, skilled men were hired for such duty, and some of the soldiers ordered back to their regiments. On the right of the view is the stocks, a neat contrivance, to facilitate the shoeing of mules, an operation which those self-willed animals had a decided objection to undergo. Time being precious, the farriers could not be expected to waste much in the exercise of their persuasive abilities. The refractory mule was led into the stocks, often by the seductive display of a peck of oats, suddenly to find himself suspended in air upon a huge belly-band. Four stout fellows seizing his feet, fastened them securely with thongs in the required position, and while impotent rage convulsed his frame, rapidly nailed on the shoes, finally releasing the hybrid in a state of wretched uncertainty as to the intents and purposes of his masters.
The tent fly, with its partial walls of loose bricks, covers the forge. Around it are the wheel and harness-makers, evidently resting, with pleasing expectations of forming a prominent feature of the photograph, while the contrabands have assumed positions of determined fixedness, worthy of the occasion.
This is not the place on the James river, near the landing of the same name, where so many of the prisoners of war were exchanged, but an ordinary house, not far from that known as the Yellow House, and near the line of the Weldon Railroad. While Grant was extending his lines towards the left, in front of Petersburg, the country near this house was the scene of severe engagements. A more uninviting country to manoeuvre troops in could hardly be found. It was even worse than the "Wilderness." Woods of heavy pines, of hard timber, and of the scrubby black jack, combined with the dense growth of underbrush and vines, formed thickets, infinitely more impenetrable than the Mexican chaparral. Threaded by muddy streams, and almost destitute of roads, this section seemed the chosen haunt of malarial disease. Into these fastnesses, whose geography was entirely unknown to our engineers, the army made three movements, during November, 1864. In one of them the Second Corps suffered by a flank attack made with some impetuosity by the rebels. On another occasion the enemy made a break in the Fifth Corps, till finally, badly whipped and driven back, when our soldiers made permanent their occupation of the disputed territory by building roads, bridges, and earthworks, burning off the underbush, and cutting down the trees for abattis, firewood, and the construction of winter quarters. Close by the Aiken House, the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac were pitched, to the no small gratification of some of the junior officers on the staff, as in that house were domiciled no less than seven young ladies. Female society was scarce in camp, and thankfully accepted, without much regard to politics. Within the railing of the garden was the tent of the safeguard, pasted to protect the house and its inmates from intrusion or injury at the hands of stragglers. These guardians were often left behind when the army was on the move, to find themselves unexpectedly relieved by officers in gray uniforms. The person of a safeguard was, however, sacred, and on examination of his papers he was sent under flag of truce to his own command.
It was in the neighborhood of the Aiken House, that a group of generals and other officers were once assembled, while a movement was in progress. They were in a field entirely out of sight of the enemy, when a rebel battery opening at random, dropped its shells in the immediate vicinity of the group, causing a most undignified leave-taking. Near this house was one of the stations on the military railroad, built for convenience in supplying the army in its cantonments.
Historically connected with the closing scenes of the great rebellion, this river will forever be interesting. This picture was taken about a mile above City Point, the boats being a portion of the fleet in the service of the Medical Department. The well-known supply boat, Planter, is lying at the little pier, formed by a section of a pontoon bridge. In the foreground is another pier, somewhat more solidly constructed on piles, driven into the oozy bed of the river. The opposite bank forms a part of Bermuda Hundreds, occupied by Gen. Butler after the failure of his advance upon Richmond.
When the combined forces besieged Petersburg, the Army of the James was encamped near Bermuda Hundreds, Gen. Butler's headquarters being close upon the river, near Point of Rocks, where a pontoon bridge was laid, to connect the lines of the two armies. The bridge was well guarded by a squadron of gunboats, and although the rebels repeatedly attempted its destruction, remained undisturbed until the close of the war.
No feature of the Army of the Potomac contributed more to its success than the field telegraph. Guided by its young chief, Mr. A. H. Caldwell, its lines bound the corps together like a perfect nervous system, and bore unerringly to the great controlling head of the army, the wants and sympathies of its members. Its introduction was contemporary with the organization of the army in 1861, but not until Grant cut loose from Washington and started from Brandy Station for Richmond was its full power tested. Headquarters was furnished with a peculiarly constructed wagon, containing a galvanic battery of one hundred cups, divided into sections, which might be separated, if necessary, and attached to different stations. Seven fine wires, insulated in gutta percha, and flexible as a hempen cord, formed a line less than one eighth of an inch in diameter, which was wound upon reels and carried by pack mules. Thirty operators and a few orderlies completed the outfit. The army crossed the Rapidan with the telegraph line going up at the rate of two miles an hour, and Grant talked with his commanders in the Wilderness on the right and left, by the click of a little magnet. There was no time after that when every corps was not in direct communication with the Commanding General. The Army moved down towards Richmond along the front of the Confederates by constantly shifting corps from the right to the left of the main body, and always keeping an immovable centre. At Spottsylvania the Second Corps, at sundown, swung round from the extreme right in rear of the main body to the left. Ewell saw the movement, and swept down upon the exposed position, but the telegraph signaled the danger, and troops in a double-quick filled up the vacancy before the astounded enemy could assault our lines. Beyond the James river, operators in bomb-proofs under constant fire reported every demonstration along the works; and if the guns broke out suddenly in the night, the Commanding General in his quarters had only to ask an operator at his side to know the cause. All the way from the broken lines at Petersburg to Appomattox Court-House, the telegraph kept pace with the front in the headlong race, and faithfully throbbed with the pulsations of the Army. Corps were sent out to flank the enemy with only a slender iron thread to hang their hopes of help upon, but their succor, when needed, never failed. Through thickets, swamps, and over rushing streams, the lines stretched on, following Grant as he swooped upon the front of Lee's flying troops, and half an hour after the last gun was fired at Appomattox Court-House, the news of victory flashed along the wires to City Point.
Important dispatches were always sent in cypher which none but a few operators could read, and which were always translated before being delivered. Sometimes the enemy tapped the wires, but in consequence of this precaution the information thus obtained never proved of any value to them. The operators were frequently under fire, and calmly sitting at the instrument with shell flying over and around them, performed their duty in a manner that won an enviable reputation for courage. At the Petersburg mine explosion, an operator sat close at hand with an instrument, and notified Gen. Meade of the progress of affairs until the occasion no longer required his presence. The triumph of the field telegraph has exceeded the most sanguine expectations. From the opening of Grant's Campaign in the Wilderness to its close at Lee's surrender, an aggregate of over two hundred miles of wire was put up and taken down, without interfering in the least with its efficiency as a constant means of communication between the several commands. The Army of the Potomac was the first to demonstrate the advantages of the telegraph for conducting military operations, and the future campaigns of all civilized nations must in a great measure depend for success upon this great auxiliary.
Too great a measure of praise cannot be bestowed upon a more noble and industrious body of men than the Fiftieth New York Volunteer Engineers. In the midst of the great demands made upon their services in tune of battle and of siege, the officers and men found pleasure in designing, planning, and building the beautiful rustic structure presented in this view, and devoting the same to the worship of the great God of Battles. The timber upon the spot, and the tools, with which they were provided for engineering purposes, furnished the material and means wherewith to exercise the taste, genius, and energy displayed. The first services, though they cannot well be styled a dedication, were conducted on Sunday, March 5, 1865, by the Rev. Mr. Duryea, of New York, and on each succeeding Sabbath day, and during many evenings of the week, the army chaplains and visiting clergymen were invited to officiate. It is built not far from the site of the old Poplar Spring Meeting House, a plain country board church, which was used successively by both armies as a hospital during the operations on the 29th and 30th of September, and 1st and 2d of October, 1864, near the Pegram House, now the site of Fort Fisher. The present Church was used for the same purpose during the movements on the last of March, and 1st and 2d of April, 1865. The Regiment, upon moving away from its camp to take part in the pursuit of Lee's army, left a wooden tablet over the entrance to the Church, with these words inscribed upon it: "Presented to the Trustees of the Poplar Springs Church, by the Fiftieth Regiment New York Volunteer Engineers." Colonel Ira Spaulding commanded the Regiment, Captain McGrath, the architect and builder of the Church. In front is a group of several of the officers of the Regiment. On the foreground stands the architect himself. One view of the Church also shows, on the left, the quarters, neatly and tastefully arranged, of the Regimental officers.
It has been proposed to move the edifice to the great Central Park of New York City, as one of the mementoes of the war, and certainly no more interesting or striking feature could be added to the already many beautiful adornments that embellish those grounds. This monument to the skill and ingenuity of the builders, receives universal admiration.
This monster mortar, cast by Mr. Charles Knapp, at his celebrated iron works in Pittsburg, Pa., was used for a short time in the summer of 1864, during the siege operations in front of Petersburg. Owing to its immense weight, 17,120 pounds, it was transported from City Point on a railway truck along the City Point and Petersburg Railroad, to a point in the ravine in rear of what is now generally known as Battery No.5, near the Jordan House, a side track from the main road being constructed especially for the purpose of moving it. The position selected from which to fire it, was admirably concealed from the ever-vigilant eye of the enemy. The truck was so strong and substantially built as to answer as a platform for the mortar.
The Dictator is a 13-inch mortar, firing a shell weighing two hundred pounds, with a charge of twenty pounds of powder. At an angle of elevation of forty-five degrees the range is set down in the Ordnance Manual at 4,325 yards; but, if it is true that the shell thrown by it reached Centre Hill, in Petersburg, as the writer was informed by a very reliable gentleman of that city, then it must have been carried at least 2.7 miles, or 4,752 yards. The bursting of the shell was described as terrific, an immense crater being formed in the ground where it fell, and earth, stones, and sod being scattered in every direction, much to the consternation of the inhabitants of the place.
The monotony of camp life was relieved by every variety of amusement that was known, or could be devised. During the periods of inactivity, base ball, cricket, gymnastics, foot races, &c., were indulged in to a great extent, and on holidays horse races, foot races, and other games were allowed. Sometimes the men would put up a greased pole, with a prize on the top, for any one who succeeded in climbing up to it, and not unfrequently a pig would be turned loose with a shaved and greased tail, for the men to catch. Any grip but a "tail hold" was illegitimate, but he who seized and held the pig by this appendage, carried it off in triumph to his mess.
Cock fighting, however, was quite unusual, and seldom permitted, except when some of the contrabands incited their captured Shanghais, or more ignoble fowls, to combat. Such displays were always ludicrous, and were generally exhibited for the amusement of the mess for whom the feathered bipeds were intended. Horses and mules perished by hundreds from ill-usage, but with thin exception it would be exceedingly difficult to cite an instance of cruelty to animals in the army. Fowls, dogs, kittens, and even wild animals, were made pets of, and were cared for most tenderly. Sometimes a regiment would adopt a dog, and woe to the individual who ventured to maltreat it. Several of the Western regiments carried pet bears with them, and one regiment was accompanied by a tame eagle in all its campaigns.
This photograph represents one of the forges used by the army at Petersburg, and was taken during the intense heat of a summer day. The trees in the distance are dimly seen through the tremulous air, and the pine twigs droop from the eaves of the hut as if a fire had scorched them. The hoofs of the horse are buried in burning dust, and the boots of the men are loaded with powdered earth. By the tall pine in the backĀground, a little tent seems to be vainly seeking the shadow, while over all glares a hot sky, without a cloud to relieve the weary eyes. The parched ground and arid appearance of the landscape was characteristic of the country about Petersburg, where the constant movements of
troops crushed out vegetation. Forests, houses, and fences were swept away, and the fields were transformed into vast commons, where the winds raised clouds of sand, and covered everything with the sacred soil. On these glaring deserts, with no covering but the shelter tent and withered brush, the army toiled and fought through many months, filling the valleys with graves, and sapping the vigor of men in the prime of life. Many are the dead that might now be living but for the poison of those torrid days, and all through the land are feeble veterans, who look back upon that campaign as does the pilgrim on his journeyings across the great Sahara.
In September, 1864, the necessity of closing the port of Wilmington against blockade-runners, by capturing the city, became a subject of serious consideration to the Government. A fleet of naval vessels, surpassing in numbers and equipments any which had assembled during the war, was collected at Hampton Roads. Various causes intervened to delay the movement, and it was not until the early part of December that the expedition departed for Beaufort, N. C., the place of rendezvous. Some further necessary preparations were there made, which, together with unfavorable weather and other incidents, delayed the attack until the 24th of December.
On that day Rear-Admiral Porter, with a bombarding force of thirty-seven vessels, five of which were iron-clads, and a reserved force of nineteen vessels, attacked the forts at the mouth of Cape Fear river, and silenced them in one hour and a quarter; but there being no troops to make an assault or attempt to possess them, nothing beyond the injury inflicted on the works and the garrison was accomplished by the bombardment. A renewed attack was made the succeeding day, but with scarcely better results. The fleet shelled the forts during the day, and silenced them, but no assault was made or attempted by the troops which had been disembarked for that purpose. Major General Butler, who commanded the co-operating force, after a reconnoissance, came to the conclusion that the place could not be carried by an assault. He therefore ordered a re-embarkation, and informing Rear-Admiral Porter of his intention, returned with his command to Hampton Roads.
Upon the failure of the attack of December 24th, 1864, on Fort Fisher, near Wilmington, a second military force was detailed, composed of about eight thousand five hundred men, under the command of Major General A. H. Terry. This officer arrived off Fort Fisher on the 13th of January. Offensive operations were at once resumed by the naval force, and the troops were landed and intrenched themselves, while a portion of the fleet bombarded the works. These operations were continued throughout the 14th with an increased number of vessels. The 15th was the day decided upon for an assault. During the forenoon of that day forty-four vessels poured an incessant fire into the rebel forts. There was, besides, a force of fourteen vessels in reserve. At 3 P. M. the signal for the assault was made. Desperate fighting ensued, traverse after traverse was taken, and by 10 P.M. the works were all carried, and the flag of the Union floated over them. Fourteen hundred sailors and marines were landed, and participated in the direct assault.
Seventy-five guns, many of them superb rifle pieces, and nineteen hundred prisoners, were the immediate fruits and trophies of the victory; but the chief value and ultimate benefit of this grand achievement consisted in closing the main gate through which the insurgents had received supplies from abroad, and sent their own products to foreign markets in exchange. Light draught steamers were immediately pushed over the bar and into the river, the channel of which was speedily buoyed, and the removal of torpedoes forthwith commenced. The rebels witnessing the fall of Fort Fisher, at once evacuated and blew up Fort Caswell, destroyed Bald Head Fort and Fort Shaw, and abandoned Fort Campbell. Within twenty-four hours after the fall of Fort Fisher, the main defence of Cape Fear river, the entire chain of formidable works in the vicinity, shared its fate, placing in our possession one hundred and sixty-eight guns of heavy calibre.
This property, recently, and for many years, better known as Furt's Mill, is situated just below Bolling's Dam, on the Appomattox River, near Campbell's Bridge. It is one of the several large establishments which the city of Petersburg boasts for the manufacture of flour. At the height of the grinding season, we are informed, it is capable of turning out about three hundred barrels daily.
The dam constitutes the terminus of tide-water on this stream, and, with its surroundings, is the subject of one of "Shaw's Illustrations of American Scenery," published in New York, on a large scale, upwards of forty years ago.
The Mill, we further learn, was originally built in seventeen hundred and seventy-three by Mr. Bolling.
Showing in the roof, and in various other places, the damage sustained from General Grant's lines, which, during the year 1864, were advanced to within a mile and a half of this spot. A noble smoke-stack, upwards of eighty feet high, built of brick, and standing in advance of the structure, was so terribly mutilated by shot and shell, as finally to totter completely to the ground, where it now lies a mass of rubbish. Forming, as it did, a sort of target, at which the Federal batteries were in the habit of taking aim, the consequence was that most of the houses hereabouts, and particularly those in Bollingbrook and Lombard streets, suffered more severely than in any other portion of the city, many of them being entirely demolished.
The scenery hereabouts is of a highly romantic character, the ground being very much broken, and the water, "now seen in sunshine, now lost in shade," having to find its way, as best it can, over an exceedingly rough bed, and through various intricate channels formed by the rocks and several small, but densely wooded, islands, until it reaches the narrow granite gorge, or strait, spanned by the bridge. Through the latter it rushes with accelerated force to Bolling's Dam, and thence pursues its course more quietly to City Point, there to be swallowed up by the mightier James.
On the right hand side of the view here taken is introduced a portion of one of the "Merchant Manufacturing Company's Cotton Mills", established in the early part of the year 1832, and employing, we are told, one hundred and fifty to two hundred operatives. In the middle ground are several other buildings, some being used for the grinding of corn and such purposes, and others as saw-mills, the water power being here very extensive; while in the background of the picture is to be seen the high road abruptly ascending from Petersburg, by way of Campbell's Bridge towards Ettricks, and into the county of Chesterfield generally.
This view exhibits the bomb-proof quarters occupied by both officers and men in Fort Sedgwick. Excavations were made in the ground, and covered first with heavy pieces of timber, over which a layer of earth, of several feet in thickness, is thrown, sufficient to resist the penetration and explosion of any shell that might fall upon them. The interior of these habitations were made as comfortable as possible, according to the taste of the proprietor. Each had its fire-place, and, in the absence of brick and stone, sticks of wood and barrels were used to build the chimneys, being well plastered in the interior by mud to prevent them from taking fire. In many works, regular bomb-proof quarters were constructed. The scene presents a singular and grotesque appearance—to be appreciated it must he seen; no description will prove adequate. Few know the hardships and discomforts through which soldiers have to pass, and still they appear happy and contented. Fort Sedgwick is one of the most advanced points of the United States lines, standing boldly forward, and constantly inviting attack. The work is a very irregular one, and is thrown across the Jerusalem Plank Road, one of the most important thoroughfares leading out of Petersburg. It is a place of very great interest, on account of its exposed and prominent position for so long a period. Scarcely a day passed without witnessing a heavy artillery duel, and each hour of those many long and weary months, as two brave armies lay opposite to each other, could be heard the shrill, sharp report of some leaden messenger of death. It was here, as elsewhere, that only the reckless would dare expose the slightest part of the person even for a second, and well does this noted spot deserve the not very euphonious name to ears polite, as given by the soldiers, of "Fort Hell."
Nearly opposite to this work is Fort Mahone, known by the men as "Fort Damnation." The distance between the main lines here is about fifteen hundred feet, and between the pickets two hundred, the latter almost as strong as the former. On the morning of the 2d of April, 1865, this ground became consecrated and holy to the memory of the brave soldiers who fell in that glorious assault upon the opposing batteries, and to those who so courageously defended their post of honor—it was strewn with the dead and dying.
This fort is constructed on the ground known as "Hare's Hill." The position was taken by Gibbons' Division of the Second Corps during a general assault on the 17th of June, 1864. It was one of the most advanced positions of the Union troops during the entire siege of Petersburg. At this point the main lines of the two armies were opposed to each other from the above date to the evacuation on the morning of the 3d of April, 1865. The distance between the two was not over six hundred feet, and between the respective picket lines not more than two hundred. It was the scene of attack by Gordon's Division of the rebel army on the 25th of March, and the Fort temporarily held for a few hours. The enemy, however, was compelled to retire in consequence of the heavy artillery fire on both flanks and from the rear, and by a well-directed attack of Hartranft's Division of the Ninth Corps. This assault was really the initiative movement of the campaign by the Army of Northern Virginia, which ended in its surrender on the 9th of April, 1865. The centre of the picture shows the parapet of the work and the manner in which the earth composing it is reveted or supported by the trunks of pines placed horizontally, then, by gabions and fascines, topped by sand bags. On the left the picture shows the exterior of an officers' quarters, and on the right a mound of earth, forming the outside covering of a powder magazine. The trees bear many marks of the compliments paid by the enemy during the almost daily severe artillery duels which took place between the two opposing armies during the long siege. It will be seen, too, that the embrasures are guarded by heavy iron gates to protect the gunners from the deadly aim of the enemy's sharpshooters. Matelots, made of roe, are frequently used for the same purpose.
In front of Fort Stedman lies Colquitt's salient of the enemy's line, a point worthy the attention of the tourist. The suburban regions occupied by his troops is well deserving of an inspection. One of the notable occurrences of the day on which the assault on Fort Stedman took place on the right, and whilst at the same time a demonstration on the left was being made, the President of the United States reviewed a portion of the Army of the Potomac between the two hostile flanks.
"Old Blandford Church," of which a view is here presented, is a great object of interest to all visitors; the cemetery surrounding it having monuments erected one hundred and fifty years ago. The walls of the main body of the building are of English brick, imported from the mother country. The services of the Episcopal Church were first performed in 1735, and continued to be read until 1825, nearly a century. Since that time, owing to the movement of the inhabitants of Blandford to the present site of Petersburg, the church has not been used, although the cemetery, now much enlarged, still continues to be the general depository of the dead. The ivy-covered walls now stand as a historic monument of what was formerly the aristocratic portion of the city. In the cemetery the stranger is not only shown the almost obliterated slab beneath which rests the remains of General Phillips, who died May, 1781, during the war of independence, but also the monument, erected to the memory of the brave volunteers from the "Cockade City," who left houses and friends in the war of 1812. The greater space, however, has been allotted during the last four years to the graves of "Our Soldiers," these words being cut on a simple wooden cross, to mark the resting place of the Confederate dead.
A somewhat eccentric sexton, whose father before him performed the same duties, is generally on the spot to enlighten visitors in regard to the history of the church, and is apparently much pleased to do so from the manner in which he enters upon his oft-repeated narrative. During the siege the edifice and its surroundings suffered but little damage from shot or shell, although the position was in front of the point of attack at the time of the explosion of the mine on the 30th July, 1864.
Gracie's Salient is nearly opposite Fort Haskell. To the left of the centre of the picture, Poo Creek is seen to run through the enemy's line. To form an additional obstacle in front of the latter, for the purpose of checking and holding under fire any assaulting column, a dam was thrown across this creek to create an artificial pond. To the left of the creek a part of the line is revetted by what engineers style "hurdle revetement," made by driving poles into the banquette, and then forming a wicker-work, by interlacing twigs between them. At one point along it a traverse is to be seen to protect the men from an enfilading fire. Some little distance in front of this hurdle revetement, more in the foreground of the picture, it should be said, can be seen some chevaux-de-frise. This is an artificial means, placed in advance of a line or field work, as an obstacle to delay or break an attacking party. They have been probably placed there preparatory to being used. To the right of the creek is an admirable representation of the bomb-proofs in which the men lived, and the covered ways connecting them and communicating with them from the rear. Every means was taken to protect the soldiers from the constant risk they ran from exploding shells and leaden bullets. It would be difficult to accurately describe these suburban mansions; they are not located with much symmetry or regularity, the formation of the ground determining their relative positions, nor are they constructed with much regard to beauty. On the rebel side, in consequence of the scarcity of wood, small grates were used, in order to burn bituminous coal. The badly ventilated, damp, chilly atmosphere, impregnated with suffocating gas, had a very demoralizing effect. A soldier is willing to brave danger on an open battle-field; but the hardships to which they must submit in the trenches during a long siege, whether exposed to a broiling summer's sun, or drenched by a cold winter's rain, proves ruinous to the constitution, although they may be fighting for "the best one" on the face of the earth. In the background of the picture may be seen the almost undiscernible lines constructed by the United States forces.
The Dutch Gap Canal was cut across a narrow neck of land on the James River, eight miles in a direct line from Richmond. The object of this work was to save about seven miles of river navigation, by uniting two different points of the river, which here made a great bend flowing around a bluff, and forming an isthmus of only five hundred feet wide. The work of excavation commenced on the 9th of August, 1864. The rebels opened their formidable batteries on the laborers, on the 13th, and with few intervals maintained a fire from mortars and rifled guns until the conclusion of the enterprise. The regiments employed on the work were the 116th and 169th New York volunteers, and the 4th, 6th, 10th, 36th, 38th, and 100th United States colored regiments. From the commencement of the work, the labors of these troops averaged one hundred and twenty men for a period of ten hours each day, working eighteen days in August, twenty-five days in September, and twenty-six days in October. From the first of November until the time of completion, the average consisted of one hundred and thirty men, working eleven and a half hours each day. On the 8th of December the middle dam or partition holding back the water from the portion excavated by manual labor, and the use of carts, was blown out, five hundred pounds of powder being used. At this time fifteen feet of water was admitted into the entire Canal, except that portion at the upper end, comprising about fifty feet, remaining to be excavated. On the night of the 30th of December the mines were laid under the bulkhead, which divided the water in the Canal from the river above, and on the afternoon of the 1st of January were exploded in the presence of Major General Butler and Staff, General Ludlow, who had charge of the work, General Collis, and Senator Clarks, of New Hampshire. The chief correspondent of the New York Herald, who also witnessed the affair, says in his account: "The result of the explosion was hardly what was expected of it. The mass of dirt was heaved up by the powder, but fell back substantially in the same position. A crater was formed, into which the water ran slowly from the Canal below. This extended about two thirds of the distance from the head of the water in the Canal to the edge of the water in the James. No connection between the Canal and the River was established." Since that time, however, the Canal has been opened, and a few vessels of light draught have ventured to run through. The entire length of the Canal is five hundred and twenty-two feet, and the greatest width at the top of the excavation one hundred and twenty-two feet. The bed of the Canal is sixty feet wide and at high water sixteen feet deep, except at the upper end, where it is still obstructed to a considerable degree by the dirt which felt back after the explosion.
When Jefferson Davis directed the evacuation of Richmond, he left instructions with Breckinridge and Ewell to burn the Confederate supplies and munitions of war. Davis left on Sunday night, and on the following morning, after they had crossed the river, this bridge was fired. The structure was built of wood, and rested on sixteen large stone piers. It had two passage-ways, one along the top for the cars, and one beneath the railroad track, for carriages. This view was taken from the Richmond side of the river, where are the ruins of a large paper mill.
In the back ground are seen the heights of Manchester, on which the rebels erected earthworks to defend Richmond when General Butler was making demonstrations from Bermuda Hundreds. The river is shallow at this point, and obstructed by huge boulders, between which are holes where the water is dune deep, rendering the stream unfordable. Belle Isle, where so many Union prisoners were starved and frozen, is about three fourths of a mile above this bridge.
A new structure has been built on the piers since this photograph was made, and the trains now cross regularly. Many of the ruins along the river side have been removed. Handsome buildings are in progress of erection, and the cities of Richmond and Manchester are resuming their bustle of trade and improvement.
The Old Tobacco Warehouse is too well known to need much description. This view was taken after the time was passed when Union officers and men looked wearily through the tiara at the monotonous flow of the James, and wondered how much longer they could endure without going mad; or peeping out into the street at the risk of being fired at by some sentry, watched the relief on its rounds, or the arrival of more prisoners to swell the already overcrowded numbers in durance. The Union flag floats upon the building, and the tables are turned. Rebel prisoners occupy the floors, so lately filled by Northern soldiers, with permission to kick up their heels to their hearts' content. There is a little crowd around the door at the corner, formed of destitute persona seeking relief. It was in this office the Union prisoners were received by the prison-keepers, and coolly dispoiled of any little trifles left about their persona, by their captors. The lower windows on the end of the building, light some of the small cells in the foundation, where officers were placed for punishment. It was here that Captains Flynn and Sawyer were confined, pending the retaliatory execution, to which they were condemned by the rebel authorities, and fortunately prevented by the prompt measures adopted by our Government. When Turner—brother of the notorious Dick—gave himself up, to escape vengeance at the hands of the soldiers, he was deposited in one of these places, that he might have a chance to appreciate the misery of some of those he had so ruthlessly confined there. This view of the Libby is taken from Castle Thunder, a warehouse of the same order of architecture.
The Old Capital Prison, previous to the war, was a dingy, crumbling structure, with rambling passages, and with quaint rooms where one least expected to find them. The staircases ran up about the building with a sort of uncertainty that bewildered the visitor, and dust and cob-webs hung upon its walls so thick, that one walked cautiously along its floors, lest a heavy tread should bring down the accumulated filth of years upon his head. Congress ordered its erection during the war of 1812, for its own use until the Capitol, burned by the British, could be rebuilt; and after the completion of the latter, this establishment was used as a boarding house for members. The lower part of the city becoming the centre of business, the Old Capitol was abandoned by its lodgers, and rapidly sunk to decay; some of the lower class occasionally renting apartments, but never remaining any length of time. At the commencement of the war, its only tenant was an humble German, who managed to subsist himself and family, as a cobbler, and who was not at all displeased at the sudden termination of his lease by the military authorities. Iron bars were placed in the windows, the doors of the several apartments were strengthened, and the building soon became notorious as a prison for military offenders, prisoners of state and captured rebels. Many prominent Confederate Generals have been confined in it, and scores of citizens engaged in disloyal practices, suddenly found their plans frustrated, and themselves on their way to its cells before they could give a word of warning to associates. Captain Wirz, the Andersonville prison-keeper, was imprisoned here, and expiated his crimes upon the gallows in its yard, as had numbers of offenders before him. When occupied by prisoners, its windows were generally crowded by its inmates, and passers by were not allowed to stop at any time on the opposite side of the street, lest they should attempt to communicate, by signs, with those within the prison. The regulations required that all correspondence and reading matter, as well as food for the prisoners should be closely scrutinized, so as to prevent any improper communication or aid from the outside. Among the plans for conveying money and messages from external sources, was that of secreting in packages of smoking tobacco the object to be transmitted. This, however, was early detected, and afterwards was never attempted with success. Underscoring words in books, at long intervals, so that when taken together they would embody a sentence, was not unusual with the prisoners when about to return to their friends volumes that had been loaned them for perusal. The latter occasioned considerable labor to the officers of the prison, every book going to or from the inmates being carefully examined, not only for messages of this kind, but for communications that might be concealed between leaves pasted together. The prisoners attempted to tunnel out several times, but never with success. A few escaped from the windows, but most of them who undertook it were discovered and recaptured. One young man fixed a spring-board in an upper window, and attempted to jump out into the street, but broke his leg, and by his signal failure discouraged any other efforts to escape in this manner. A strong guard was always kept in the passages of the prison as well as on the streets surrounding it, and during the last two years of the war, none ever succeeded in eluding the vigilance of their keepers.
The Confederate arsenal at Richmond was one of the most extensive establishments of the kind in the South. At the commencement of the war the rebel authorities took possession of a large number of private buildings, such as tobacco and cotton warehouses, and manufactories, and transformed them into Government shops. The masonry shown in the photograph formed the abutment of the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad bridge. The depot was immediately at the end of the structure, and became a portion of the arsenal. In the background are the ruins of the Franklin paper mill, and on the right those of the carbine manufactories. The space occupied by shells, stone, and blocks of iron formed the yard of the shops, in which the ordnance was made. In the foreground are piled up eleven-inch shells. In the middle distance are thirty pound shells, near which are half a dozen charges of canister and a large number of grape shot, each bundle of rings enclosing about thirty pounds of balls, and constituting a charge for a gun. Scattered over the yard, and standing near the base of the arch, are seen the elongated one hundred pound shell for rifled cannon.
The arsenal was destroyed by the great fire, at the evacuation of Richmond, The Tredegar Iron Works, where the Confederates manufactured a considerable portion of their artillery, were situated a short distance to the left of the ruins shown here, and escaped the conflagration.
The principal object in this picture is the ruin of what was once one of the finest flour mills of the country. Haxall's Mill had a floor surface of eight acres, and a water-power that never failed. The great preservative qualities of the flour made here procured for it an extended reputation, and rendered it very desirable in the navy, as on shipboard it would keep a couple of years unchanged. On this account large quantities were purchased for the British navy. During the war the mill was kept busy by the rebel government, supplying the wants of the army, and when Richmond was evacuated, fell a prey to the fire, which, in its progress, burned over thirty squares of the business part of the city, consuming many of the public buildings. Crenshaw's Mill on the left of the canal, escaped the torch of the incendiary, and owing to a favorable wind was preserved, as were also the wooden shops on the right.
The canal was of much value in bringing supplies to the Confederate capital, thus relieving the overworked railroads. From its position it was very difficult to permanently injure it. Wyndham reached it during Stoneman's raid in 1863, but for want of powder to blowup the aqueduct, did only temporary damage. Sheridan in the spring of 1864, again destroyed a portion of it, which was not repaired until after the surrender of Lee.
Gaines' Mill is the place from which the battle of June 27th, 1862, takes its name. Situated near the centre of our line, it was the scene of severe fighting, and at the close of that bloody day, the building was used as a hospital. All of the structure that would burn, was destroyed in one of the raids around Richmond, leaving only the brick superstructure, above which, scorched by the fire, the dead trees spread their blackened branches. In front, the partially exposed skeleton illustrates the hasty manner of the soldier's burial, it being by no means uncommon for the rains to wash away the shallow covering, and bring to view the remains of the dead. The owner of the mill did not have a creditable reputation in the army. Returned prisoners, captured at his house, state that when our troops left the neighborhood, he turned out the sick and wounded from his barns and outbuildings, and held high carnival, with his friends of the rebel army, digging up his buried wine for their delectation. If this is true, he suffered no more than his deserts, in the destruction of his property. It is more than probable that his house would have fared no better than the mill, if our advance at Cold Harbor, in June, 1864, had been successful in forcing its way to the positions formerly occupied by our army.
This sad scene represents the soldiers in the act of collecting the remains of their comrades, killed at the battles of Gaines' Mill and Cold Harbor. It speaks ill of the residents of that part of Virginia, that they allowed even the remains of those they considered enemies, to decay unnoticed where they fell. The soldiers, to whom commonly falls the task of burying the dead, may possibly have been called away before the task was completed. At such times the native dwellers of the neighborhood would usually come forward and provide sepulture for such as had been left uncovered. Cold Harbor, however, was not the only place were Union men were left unburied. It was so upon the field of the first Bull Run battle, where the rebel army was encamped for six months afterwards. Perhaps like the people of Gettysburg, they wanted to know first "who was to pay them for it." After that battle, the soldiers hastened in pursuit of the retiring columns of Lee, leaving a large number of the dead unburied. The Gettysburgers were loud in their complaints, and indignantly made the above quoted inquiry as to the remuneration, upon being told they must finish the burial rites themselves.
Among the unburied on the Bull Run field, a singular discovery was made, which might have led to the identification of the remains of a soldier. An orderly turning over a skull upon the ground, heard something within it rattle, and searching for the supposed bullet, found a glass eye.
A pretentious name for a collection of about a dozen ordinary Virginia houses, including blacksmith shop and store; yet what memories crowd along at its mention. Of the grand old Army of the Potomac, then in its youthful flush, digging, hewing, and battling courageously with the rebels and their deadly ally, the Chickahominy; of tropical rains that in a day would turn luxuriant meadows into lakes, and make boiling floods where before was naught but stagnant pools; of bridges— cut by strong battalions from its sturdy thickets, and winding through the deepest recess of the swamp— swept down by the savage waters, while the builders looked helplessly on; and of that sanguinary storm of battle which, lasting seven days, was begun at this village.
Early in June, as the army extended its wings along both banks of the Chickahominy, Mechanicsville fell into our possession. There was a struggle at Beaver Creek and on the neighboring fields, the houses were battered by the artillery, and their defenders, horse, foot, and artillery, retreated in disorder down the pike, and over the bridge, towards Richmond, some three and a half miles distant. The skirmishers "went through" the store and dwellings, the blacksmith's forge was in use immediately by the cavalry and artillery, the doctors took possession of the houses for hospitals; a battery was put in position, the fences burned; in short, the "occupation" was complete. From the rising ground upon the opposite side of the river, where the rebels had an earthwork, the position was occasionally shelled, till one fine afternoon, when the First Massachusetts battery, having discovered Gen. Hill's headquarters, proceeded to return the favor with such effect that the General left his establishment in a hurry, and had his horse killed. After that contretemps he did not waste his ammunition upon Mechanicsville; but the pickets of each army watched the bridge with jealous eyes till the Union line was withdrawn, on the 26th of June, and the rebels retaking the village, forced the action at Beaver Dam Creek, where they were repulsed by Fitz John Porter's troops. The two-story house, with a fence, seen in the photograph, is on the turnpike to Richmond. In front of this house a parapet was thrown up across the road, defended by two howitzers, to sweep the pike in case a dash should have been attempted for the recovery of the place.
This rude obstruction illustrates the anxiety which possesses the soldier to provide a protection from the fire of his enemy. With such material as a few hastily collected rails, or fallen timber, it was often possible to hold a point, totally untenable without such defence. At Cold Harbor the rebels had three or four lines of battle behind as many lines of rifle pits. Along much of the front the two lines were so close that the intervening space resembled a road, fearfully encumbered with dead and wounded. So intense was the animosity exhibited here, by the Confederate army, that if one of our wounded men was observed to move, for the purpose of crawling back to his comrades, it was certain to draw upon him a severe fire. At other points, the space appeared entirely deserted between the hostile rifle pits, neither party daring to rise and look over. There were only the banners, scarred and torn, and the hum of many voices, to give evidence of what might he expected if either party should attack. Occasionally the Union soldiers would arrange their muskets so as to command the top of the opposing earthworks, and then setting up a great shout, would impress the enemy with the idea that an attack was about to be made. The Confederates would spring up to repel it, and before they discovered the ruse a well directed volley would thin their ranks. It was almost impossible to guard against this manoeuvre, as the lines were so near each other that a charge not promptly met would prove successful in the capture of the works. This extraordinary proximity kept all upon the alert, more particularly after dark, when the nervousness of the troops could not be controlled. The quiet movements of small parties, outside the line, searching for friends among the wounded, was sufficient to raise an alarm. Sometimes the night alarm was altogether a matter of imagination. A few scattered shots was generally the prelude to a heavy and continuous fire of musketry and artillery along the front. It is impossible to describe the sensations experienced on hearing, for the first time, one of these midnight engagements. But even these became common-place in time, and scarcely disturbed the slumber of those in the camps at the rear.
This Station is on the railroad between Petersburg and Lynchburg; distant from the former place ninety-six miles, and from Appomattox Court-House, three miles. The place in itself is very insignificant, but received some notoriety from the fact that the last train conveying provisions to General Lee's army, during his retreat, was captured there by the United States forces. The train had arrived very early in the morning, (April 8, 1865,) and the supplies were being transferred to wagons and ambulances, by a detail of about four thousand men, many of them unarmed, when suddenly our cavalry charged upon them, having reached the spot by a by-road leading from the Red House. The rebel officers made strenuous efforts to force their men to resist the attack, but, after a few shots, they fled in confusion, and scattered through the adjoining woods. This was the last effort made by Lee to obtain food for his half-famished army, and with its failure, he evidently gave up all hope. Without halting a moment, the cavalry pushed on, driving the enemy (who had reached the depot about the same hour) in the direction of Appomattox Court-House, capturing many prisoners, twenty-five pieces of artillery, a hospital train, and a large park of wagons.
The South Side Railway, between Petersburg and Lynchburg, crosses the Appomattox river and its broad valley, by what is now well known as High Bridge. With one exception, it is the highest structure of the kind on this continent, being one hundred and twenty-eight feet above the level of the river, and two thousand four hundred feet in length.
On the morning of the 7th of April, 1865, the Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac, in pursuit of the enemy, came up with them at this point. The Confederates endeavored not only to burn the railroad bridge, but also the common road bridge, which crosses the river a short distance below. The latter was fortunately saved, and but three spans of the former were burned. The picture shows that this damage has since been repaired by the substitution of, a trestle bridge along the sections destroyed. Owing to the great height of the piers, and the haste with which the bridge was repaired, it is now rather insecure, rendering it necessary for the trains to pass over at a very slow rate of speed. At high water the river covered the whole of the flats, and extended above the stone base of the piers.
On the evening of the 7th of April, 1865, General Grant first forwarded, under a flag of truce, a letter to Gen. Lee, demanding the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, in order to avoid the further effusion of blood. That army had re-crossed the Appomattox river at High Bridge and Farmville, closely pressed by Sheridan's cavalry and the Armies of the Potomac and James. On the 8th, some correspondence passed between the two Commanding Generals, the one army retreating towards Lynchburg, followed by the Second and Sixth Corps, whilst the cavalry and the Fifth and Twenty-Fourth Corps made forced marches in order to pass around and gain the front of the enemy. About noon on the 9th, the head of the Second Corps, when within three miles of Appomattox Court-House, came up with the rear guard of the enemy; and at the same time, Gen. Lee, in person, appeared with a flag of truce, and, by letter, asked for a suspension of hostilities, pending negotiations for a surrender. About four o'clock in the afternoon of that eventful Sunday, the glad tidings was announced throughout the Union Armies that the Army of Northern Virginia had surrendered. The excitement among our troops was unparalleled, officers and men uniting in the most extravagant demonstrations of joy. The photograph represents the house in which the terms of capitulation between Generals Grant and Lee were signed. The apple tree (about half a mile from the Court-House) under which they first met, has been entirely carried away in pieces, as mementoes, not even the roots remaining.
It is a singular fact that the owner of this house, Mr. McLean, was living on the first Bull Run battle-field at the time of that engagement, and afterwards removed to this place for the purpose of being secure from the visitation of an army.
Here is shown one of the Monuments erected in memory of the Union dead who fell at the battles of Bull Run and Groveton. The Monuments are of chocolate colored sandstone, twenty-seven feet high, and were erected by the officers and men of General Gamble's separate cavalry brigade, camped at Fairfax Court-House. The Monument on the first Bull Run field is situated on the hill in front of the memorable stone house, on the spot where the 14th Brooklyn, 1st Michigan, and 1st and 2d Maine were most hotly engaged, and where Ricketts and Griffin lost their batteries. The shaft is twenty-seven feet high, and bears upon its top a hundred pound shell. On the pedestal at each corner is a shell of similar size. On one side of the shaft is inscribed, "To the memory of the patriots who fell at Bull Run, July 21st, 1861," and on the reverse, "Erected June 10th, 1865." The Monument at Groveton is similar in its proportions, bearing the inscription "To the memory of the patriots who fell at Groveton, August 29, 1862," and on the reverse also, "Erected June 10th, 1865."
The dedicatory exercises were conducted on the first Bull Run field, by Rev. Dr. McMurdy, who read an appropriate service, which was followed by a hymn written for the occasion by Pierpont, a military parade by the 5th Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, Colonel Gallup, and a salute by the 16th Massachusetts Battery, Captain Scott. At the close of these ceremonies, eloquent addresses were delivered by Judge Olin, General Wilcox, General Heintzelman, and General Farnsworth. At the second Monument the services were similar to those described.