Tag Archives: Northern Virginia

Meade Looks to Advance in Northern Virginia

September 15, 1863 – Major General George G. Meade planned to advance against General Robert E. Lee’s weakened Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, but only as part of a probing action.

Maj Gen G.G. Meade | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

By this month, the armies of Meade and Lee had built defensive works on either side of the Rappahannock River, and both armies had been depleted by casualties and transfers. Meade sent some of his units north to help enforce the new draft law, and he sent a division to reinforce the Federals attacking Charleston Harbor. Lee sent a corps to reinforce the Confederates at Chattanooga, and two brigades to bolster the Charleston defenses. Meade had roughly 75,000 men, while Lee had about 45,000.

The only substantial action in early September came when Federal cavalry under Brigadier General H. Judson Kilpatrick recaptured two Federal ironclads that Confederates had seized at Port Royal, downstream from Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock. As the armies remained relatively stationary, they were still within striking distance of each other, and Meade believed that Lee may be planning an attack. However, Lee’s army fell back across the Rapidan River, leaving Major General Jeb Stuart’s cavalry to patrol the region between the two rivers.

Rumors spread on both sides about each other’s potential movements. These included an article published in the New York Herald on the 11th stating that Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s corps had left Lee’s army to reinforce General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee. Because most rumors ultimately proved false, Meade was reluctant to believe this story. But then Meade received word from Kilpatrick that only Confederate cavalry remained south of the Rappahannock, indicating that Lee’s force may have indeed been reduced.

Meade reported to his superiors that, according to some scouts, Lee may be “falling back from the Rapidan.” To confirm this, Meade wrote, “I have other scouts who will endeavor to penetrate nearer Orange Court House and if I can get any evidence more positive, I will push to Culpeper and beyond a strong reconnaissance of cavalry and infantry.”

Major General Alfred Pleasonton’s Cavalry Corps crossed the Rappahannock on the 12th in three divisions, supported by II Corps under Major General Gouverneur Warren. Stuart learned of the advance and directed three brigades under Brigadier General Lunsford L. Lomax to confront the Federal cavalry divisions of Kilpatrick and Brigadier General John Buford near Brandy Station, while Brigadier General William E. “Grumble” Jones’s Confederates took on Brigadier General David Gregg’s division farther west.

The Federals advanced on the 13th, with Gregg pushing Jones back from the north and Buford pushing the Confederates back from the east. Kilpatrick was supposed to shift south and attack the enemy from behind, but he was delayed by a swollen creek. The Federals pushed Stuart’s troopers through Culpeper Court House and back to the Rapidan. Darkness ended the fighting, with the Federals now in control of Culpeper.

Skirmishing continued over the next few days near Brandy Station, Muddy Run, Somerville, and at Raccoon and Robertson’s fords. During these limited engagements, Federals learned from Confederate prisoners that Longstreet had indeed gone to reinforce Bragg, leaving Lee with just two-thirds of his army. However, Pleasonton soon learned that the Confederates remained dangerous in their defensive works south of the Rapidan.

Meade notified General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck:

“My judgment is that Lee’s army had been reduced by Longstreet’s corps, and perhaps by some regiments from (Richard) Ewell and (A.P.) Hill. With the amount of the force left with him, it is difficult to conjectures, but I have no doubt it is deemed sufficient by him, with the advantages of position, to check my crossing the Rapidan, at least until he can withdraw, in case he desires to do so. If Lee’s army is as much reduced as the intelligence now received would lead us to believe, when the detached troops from this army return, I ought to be his superior in number, and should be able to require him to fall back.”

Meade concluded, “At the same time, I see no object in advancing, unless it is with ulterior views, and I do not consider this army sufficiently large to follow him to Richmond (in case that should prove practicable), and lay siege to that place, fortified as we know it to be.”

Halleck responded that “preparations should be made to at least threaten Lee, and, if possible cut off a slice of his army.” With definitive information about Lee’s army still lacking, Halleck stated that Meade should not “authorize any very considerable advance.”

Meade reported on the 15th that some Confederate infantry had apparently crossed the Rapidan. To this, President Abraham Lincoln wrote Halleck:

“My opinion is that he (Meade) should move upon Lee at once in manner of general attack, leave to developments whether he will make it a real attack. I think this would develop Lee’s real condition and purposes better than the cavalry alone can do.”

Halleck forwarded Lincoln’s message to Meade with one of his own, in which he explained that since Meade could expect no reinforcements, “No rash movements can, therefore, be ventured, in manner of general attack.” Halleck suggested that Meade use his cavalry to continue scouting Lee’s positions before ordering any general advance.

Meade responded near midnight:

“I have ordered the army to cross the Rappahannock, and shall take up a position tomorrow with my left at Stevensburg and right at Stone House Mountain. I will then picket the Rapidan with infantry, and thus relieve the cavalry, and will endeavor, by means of the latter, to obtain more information.”

Meade accurately guessed that Lee’s army consisted of “not less than 40,000 or 45,000 infantry and over 5,000 cavalry.” He then reiterated his opinion regarding Lee’s intentions and his own limitations:

“I hardly think he will cross the Rapidan to meet me at Culpeper, unless he is ignorant of my actual force. If he does not, it will be a difficult problem to attack him, or compel him to fall back, as he has such advantages in the line of the Rapidan, enabling him, by means of artillery and rifle pits, to hold it with much less force than is required to force the passage. I will not make the attempt unless I can see my way clear, and I do not much expect any greater success than requiring him to fall still farther back.”

The Federals began crossing the Rappahannock on the 16th, and troops on both sides spent the next week probing and skirmishing as they tried learning more about each other’s positions.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 325; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 350; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 408-09

Lincoln Issues Two General War Orders

March 8, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln demonstrated his flagging confidence in General-in-Chief George B. McClellan by creating a corps command structure within the Army of the Potomac.

Abraham Lincoln and George B. McClellan | Image Credit: Wikipedia.org

Abraham Lincoln and George B. McClellan | Image Credit: Wikipedia.org

Lincoln and McClellan met at the White House on the morning of the 8th to discuss McClellan’s plan to load the army on transports and move down Chesapeake Bay, landing at Urbanna on Virginia’s coast. During the discussion, Lincoln said that a “very ugly matter” had come up concerning rumors that the plan “was conceived with the traitorous intent of removing its defenders from Washington, and thus giving over to the enemy the capital and the government, thus left defenseless.”

McClellan quickly snapped that no man would call him a traitor, and, according to McClellan, Lincoln relented and “said that he merely repeated what others had said, and that he did not believe a word of it.” To prove his loyalty, McClellan announced that he would share the Urbanna plan with his division commanders, most of whom knew nothing about it yet, and ask them to vote on whether it was sound.

McClellan summoned the 12 division commanders to his headquarters, where he explained the plan and took the vote. He then returned to the White House that same day to report to Lincoln that the commanders had voted in favor of the plan, 8 to 4. This seemed to satisfy Lincoln enough to allow McClellan to proceed with his Urbanna strategy.

However, Lincoln was not completely satisfied until he issued two peremptory orders to McClellan later that day. The first, titled “President’s General War Order No. 2,” dismantled McClellan’s division-command structure by grouping the 12 divisions within the Army of the Potomac into four corps, to be led by Generals Irvin McDowell, Edwin V. Sumner, Samuel P. Heintzelman, and Erasmus D. Keyes. A fifth corps was also created and assigned to operate in the Shenandoah Valley under Major General Nathaniel P. Banks.

McClellan had considered creating a corps system, but he wanted to select his corps commanders himself once they were tested in battle. Lincoln had not only made the selections, but he had consulted with the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, not McClellan, beforehand. None of those promoted were McClellan’s favorites, and worse, three of the four (McDowell, Sumner, and Heintzelman) had voted against McClellan’s Urbanna plan.

Lincoln’s second directive, titled “President’s General War Order No. 3,” officially approved the Urbanna plan on several conditions:

  • McClellan had to leave enough troops behind so that Washington remained “entirely secure;”
  • He had to reach a consensus among his top officers as to how many men to leave behind;
  • He could not move the bulk of his army until the Confederate blockade of the lower Potomac River was broken;
  • He had to begin operations within 10 days.

Thus, McClellan got the approval he sought for his plan, but he feared that the conditions placed upon the approval might compromise his overall strategy. This would play a significant role in the way he conducted operations in the future.

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References

Bailey, Ronald H., Forward to Richmond: McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 84-85; Donald, David Herbert, Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, Kindle Edition, 2011), Loc 7164-75; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 252-53; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 119; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 180-81; McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States Book 6, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition, 1988), p. 424; Sommers, Richard J., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 172-75, 598; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 773-74

McClellan’s Secret Plan

December 10, 1861 – General-in-Chief George B. McClellan rejected President Abraham Lincoln’s proposal to send the Army of the Potomac into northern Virginia against Centreville and Manassas Junction.

Abraham Lincoln and George B. McClellan | Image Credit: Wikipedia.org

Abraham Lincoln and George B. McClellan | Image Credit: Wikipedia.org

By this month, Lincoln was feeling pressure from politicians, mostly in his own party, to force McClellan into some kind of action. On December 1, Lincoln sent McClellan a memorandum asking, “If it were determined to make a forward movement of the Army of the Potomac without awaiting further increase of numbers or better drill and discipline, how long would it require to actually get in motion?”

Lincoln offered several suggestions, all related to the plan that McClellan had imparted to him in which the army would move southwest from Alexandria, cross Cedar Run, and attack the Confederates at Manassas Junction from the southeast. McClellan did not inform his commander-in-chief that he was abandoning that plan in favor of a water-borne invasion along the Virginia coast.

After nine days, McClellan finally responded to Lincoln by rejecting all his suggestions. McClellan explained that they would all fail because “the enemy would meet us in front with equal forces nearly… I have now in my mind actually turned towards another plan of campaign that I do not think at all anticipated by the enemy, nor by many of our own people.”

The plan called for McClellan to ship his army on transports down the Potomac River into Chesapeake Bay, then move down the coast and up the Rappahannock River to Urbanna, Virginia. The Federals would then disembark and place themselves just 50 miles from Richmond and well behind General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate line at Manassas Junction.

But McClellan did not divulge this plan to Lincoln. He then made matters worse by refusing to explain that he was not taking the offensive at this time because such a complex plan required several months to implement. Lincoln and other administration officials became increasingly impatient at what they saw as delaying tactics. These turned into a complete halt late this month when McClellan contracted what doctors called typhoid and became incapacitated indefinitely.

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References

Bailey, Ronald H., Forward to Richmond: McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 63-64; CivilWarDailyGazette.com (December 1); Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 98; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 87; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 145, 149-50; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 773-74

The Davis-Beauregard Feud Continues

November 10, 1861 – The feud between Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General P.G.T. Beauregard, which had begun in October, continued into this month.

President Jefferson Davis and Gens J.E. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

President Jefferson Davis and Gens J.E. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

When Beauregard submitted his official report on the Battle of Bull Run, Davis had written to him expressing annoyance that Beauregard had allegedly glorified his role in the battle at Davis’s expense. Seeking support against Beauregard’s charge that he impeded the Confederate army’s intended move on Washington after the battle, Davis wrote to Beauregard’s superior, General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding the Department of Northern Virginia:

“Reports have been, and are being, widely circulated to the effect that I prevented General Beauregard from pursuing the enemy after the battle of Manassas, and had subsequently restrained him from advancing upon Washington City. Though such statements may have been made merely for my injury, and in that view might be postponed to a more convenient season, they have acquired importance from the fact that they have served to create distrust, to excite disappointment, and must embarrass the Administration in its further efforts to reenforce the armies of the Potomac, and generally to provide for the public defense.

“For these public considerations, I call upon you, as the commanding general, and as a party to all the conferences held by me on the 21st and 22nd of July, to say whether I obstructed the pursuit of the enemy after the victory at Manassas, or have ever objected to an advance or other active operation which it was feasible for the army to undertake.”

While waiting for Johnston to respond, Davis also sought advice on military strategy from Generals Robert E. Lee and Samuel Cooper. Davis, a graduate of West Point and former U.S. secretary of war, resented growing charges of military incompetence from fellow Confederates. Johnston responded a week later:

“To the first question I reply, No. The pursuit was ‘obstructed’ by the enemy’s troops at Centreville, as I have stated in my official report… To the second question I reply that it has never been feasible for the army to advance farther than it has done—to the line of Fairfax Court-House… After a conference at Fairfax Court-House with the three senior general officers, you announced it to be impracticable to give this army the strength which those officers considered necessary to enable it to resume the offensive. Upon which I drew it back to its present position.”

Davis wrote to Johnston stating that although the army at Manassas Junction had gained many recruits since July, “we are restricted in our capacity to reinforce by want of arms.” Davis hoped to expand the army, “but you must remember that our wants greatly exceed our resources.”

The controversy between Davis and Beauregard eventually waned, but the animosity between the two men was permanent.

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References

Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (Kindle Edition 2008, 1889), Loc 6351-75; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 78; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 135, 138-39

Confederate Tensions Rise in Northern Virginia

October 30, 1861 – Confederate officials reorganized the army forces in northern Virginia while President Jefferson Davis took issue with General P.G.T. Beauregard.

Pres. Jefferson Davis and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Pres. Jefferson Davis and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

To better manage affairs, a new Confederate Department of Northern Virginia was created, to be commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston. It consisted of the Districts of the Aquia led by Brigadier General Theophilus H. Holmes (formerly the Department of Fredericksburg, consisting of the southern end of the Potomac River), the Potomac led by Beauregard (consisting of the area around Washington), and the Shenandoah Valley led by Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (consisting of the area between the Blue Ridge and the Allghenies).

Johnston’s army continued to be called the Army of the Potomac, not to be confused with the Federal army of the same name. Johnston’s department headquarters were at Manassas Junction.

But the new reorganization did little to cut the tension between Davis and his generals, particularly Beauregard. This tension had intensified when Davis rejected his plan to invade the North in early October. This rejection infuriated Beauregard, whom Davis tried to mollify by him by assuring that “My sole wish is to secure the independence, and peace of the Confederacy.”

Davis’s efforts ended in late October when Beauregard submitted his official report on the Battle of Manassas (i.e., Bull Run). Before Davis could read this report, excerpts had been submitted to the press that seemed to credit Beauregard for hurrying Johnston’s reinforcements to the field. They implied that Davis had delayed sending Johnston to help Beauregard, and they mentioned Davis’s rejection of Beauregard’s initial plan for an offensive without clarifying that the rejection came before the battle, not after. Davis wrote a heated letter to Beauregard:

“Yesterday my attention was called to various newspaper publications purporting to have been sent from Manassas, and to be a synopsis of your report of the battle of the 21st of July last, and in which it is represented that you have been overruled by me in your plan for a battle with the enemy south of the Potomac, for the capture of Baltimore and Washington, and the liberation of Maryland. I inquired for your long-expected report, and it has been to-day submitted to my inspection…

“With much surprise I found that the newspaper statements were sustained by the text of your report. I was surprised, because, if we did differ in opinion as to the measure and purposes of contemplated campaigns, such fact could have no appropriate place in the report of a battle; further, because it seemed to be an attempt to exalt yourself at my expense; and, especially, because no such plan as that described was submitted to me…”

The growing rift between Davis and his generals continued into November.

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References

Bailey, Ronald H., Forward to Richmond: McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 38; CivilWarDailyGazette.com (multiple dates); Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (Kindle Edition 2008, 1889), Loc 6421-33; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 75, 77; Lindsey, David, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 598; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 128-30, 132-33; McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States Book 6, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition, 1988), p. 366-67; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 287, 538, 776

Confederates Talk Strategy in Northern Virginia

October 1, 1861 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis met with General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding the Confederate Army of the Potomac, and Johnston’s two corps commanders to discuss military strategy at Centreville in northern Virginia.

President Jefferson Davis and Gens J.E. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

President Jefferson Davis and Gens J.E. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Pressure had been mounting from the Confederate public and press for Johnston to take some form of an offensive against the Federals just a few miles away at Washington. That pressure had increased when it became clear that the Federals sought to divide the Confederacy between East and West by taking control of the vital Mississippi River. In response, both Johnston and his Second Corps commander, General Gustavus W. Smith, endorsed a bold plan developed by General P.G.T. Beauregard, commanding the First Corps.

The three generals explained to Davis that the plan involved crossing the Potomac River into Maryland and seizing the region between Pittsburgh and Lake Erie. This would divide the U.S. and force Major General George B. McClellan’s Federal Army of the Potomac to come out of its Washington fortifications and fight on ground of Johnston’s choosing.

However, the generals stated that they needed reinforcements to put this plan into action. Currently, Johnston had only 40,000 officers and men, which Davis questioned since he had recently sent many recruits to Johnston’s army. Davis then asked how many troops would be needed “to cross the Potomac, cut off the communications of the enemy with their fortified capital, and carry the war into their country.”

Beauregard and Smith answered that 10,000 more men, trained and armed, could execute the plan. However, Johnston overrode them by asserting that he needed 20,000, bringing his army total to 60,000. Davis considered this nearly impossible since manpower was at such a premium. He explained that he could not provide such numbers without having “a total disregard for the safety of other threatened positions.”

Johnston countered by arguing that Virginia was the war’s central focus. If Virginia fell, all surrounding states would also fall until the Confederacy crumbled. Therefore, it would be worth the risk to pull the troops from the other points under Federal threat.

From a political standpoint, Davis knew that governors adhering to states’ rights would resist transferring troops from their states to Virginia. From a military standpoint, Davis knew that the Confederacy did not have enough arms and supplies to equip such a large army at that time.

Davis suggested that Johnston send a raiding party into Maryland instead, but the generals rejected the idea as not worth the risk. Beauregard was infuriated that Davis would not approve his plan. Johnston resolved to maintain a defensive posture until he could try mounting an offensive in spring. As such, he began preparing to withdraw from Centreville and Manassas Junction.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 82-83; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 121-22; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 69; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 123

Dubious Victory at Munson’s Hill

September 28, 1861 – Federals advanced on Munson’s Hill, a few miles southwest of Washington, and discovered that it was not as heavily defended as presumed.

Confederate General J.E. Johnston | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Confederate General J.E. Johnston | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Since the Battle of Bull Run, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston had combined the Armies of the Potomac and the Shenandoah into one force consisting of two corps. The former army had become the First Corps of about 24,000 men under General P.G.T. Beauregard. The latter had become the Second Corps of about 16,000 men under General Gustavus W. Smith.

The Confederates mainly held positions in the Centreville area of northern Virginia, with Beauregard’s corps at Fairfax Court House and advance elements within 10 miles of Washington at Munson’s Hill. These elements overlooked Arlington Heights and threatened to disrupt Federal traffic on the Potomac River. By late September, Johnston feared that the forward positions had become vulnerable to attack by the ever-growing Federal Army of the Potomac.

Johnston had reason to fear an attack. Federals had recently conducted a reconnaissance in force around Munson’s Hill and nearby Upton’s Hill, south of Falls Church. Major General George B. McClellan, commanding the Federal Army of the Potomac, sought to clear these points and use them for his planned ring of forts and defensive works around the capital. The two sides engaged in a heavy skirmish, after which the Federals reported that Confederates had constructed strong defenses on Munson’s Hill that included rifle pits and artillery.

The Federals were unaware that these “strong” defenses were mostly a bluff on Johnston’s part. On September 26, he wrote to Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin and President Jefferson Davis asking that one of them inspect the army’s positions and help “to decide definitely whether we are to advance or fall back to a more defensible line.” Then, without waiting for either to respond, Johnston ordered the withdrawal from Munson’s Hill and other forward points.

By dawn on the 28th, Beauregard had evacuated both Munson’s and Upton’s hills, falling back to Fairfax Court House and Centreville. McClellan, who had been reluctant to attack such “strong” positions, resolved to seize the hills upon learning that the Confederates had retreated. Heeding false warnings from local residents that Confederates were waiting in ambush, the Federals advanced toward the hills with extreme caution.

A Confederate "quaker gun" | Image Credit: Wikipedia.org

A Confederate “quaker gun” | Image Credit: Wikipedia.org

The Federals climbed the slopes and discovered that the rifle pits had been abandoned. And to their dismay (and their commanders’ embarrassment), they found that the mighty cannon pointed in their direction for nearly two months consisted only of logs and stovepipes painted black. A correspondent who had hoped to witness a battle resentfully called these “Quaker guns.”

Making matters worse for the Federals, on the night of the 28th, troops of the 69th and 71st Pennsylvania accidentally fired into each other while clearing the woods around Munson’s Hill, resulting in several killed and wounded. This tragic mishap, combined with the ruse on the hills, diminished the Federals’ successful occupation of the supposedly threatening positions.

On the Confederate side, Secretary of War Benjamin responded to Johnston’s invitation to inspect the army a day after the Confederates abandoned their forward positions. Benjamin stated that Davis should visit the army and then admonished Johnston for not submitting “a single return from your army of the quantity of ammunition, artillery, means of transportation, or sick in camp or in hospitals, to enable us to form a judgment of what your necessities may be… (it should be) obvious to you that the Department cannot be administered without a thorough reform in this respect.”

This demonstrated the growing tension between Johnston and his superiors, which would continue into October, after President Davis arrived to inspect the army.

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References

Bailey, Ronald H., Forward to Richmond: McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 39; CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 79-80; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 103-04; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 69; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 122; McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States Book 6, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition, 1988), p. 361-62; Ward, Geoffrey C., Burns, Ric, Burns, Ken, The Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), p. 76-80