|PAPER NO. 9.
CEDAR RUN ( SLAUGHTER'S MOUNTAIN.)
After the seven days' battles around Richmond we had
a brief season of rest, which was greatly enjoyed after the marches, hardships
and dangers which we had encountered. But soon the "Foot Cavalry" began
to loathe the swamps of the Chickahominy, and sight for the green fields,
fresh breezes, clear streams, buttermilk, and apple-butter of the mountains.
They were soon to
"The situation" war one of difficulty, and would have
greatly perplexed a less sagacious and determined leader than General Lee.
McClellan was strongly intrenched
at Harrison's Landing, and it was uncertain whether
he would advance against Richmond by the north side-cross the river and
move on Petersburg - or join the force which General Pops was collecting
in Culpeper. The arrival of this latter General from the West and his assuming
command of the "Army of Virginia" was heralded in all of the Northern papers.
He came up to
his headquarters on a special train decked with flags,
streamers and flowers. He had issued his famous order, which afterwards
proved so prophetic that I quote it in full, as follows:
" WASHINGTON, July 14, 1862.
" To the officers and soldiers of the Army of Virginia:
" By special assignment of the President of the United
States, I have assumed command of this army. I have spent two weeks in
learning your whereabouts, your condition and your wants, in preparing
you for active operations, and in placing you in position from which you
can act promptly and to the purpose. I have come from the West, where we
have always seen the backs of our enemies, from on army whose business
it has been to seek the adversary and to beat him when found, whose policy
has been attack and not defense. In but one instance has the enemy been
able to place our Western army in a defensive attitude. I presume I have
been called here to pursue the same system, and to lead you against the
enemy. It is my purpose to do so, and that speedily. I am sure you long
for an opportunity to win the distinction you are capable of achieving.
That opportunity I shall endeavor to give you. Meantime I desire you to
dismiss from your minds certain phrases which I am sorry to find much in
vogue among you. I constantly hear of taking strong positions and holding
them, of lines of retreat, and bases of supplies. Let us dismiss such ideas.
The strongest position a soldier should desire to occupy is one from which
he can easily advance against the enemy. Let us study probable lines of
retreat of our opponents and leave our own to take care of themselves.
Let us look before and not behind. Success and glory are in the advance;
disaster and shame lurk in the rear. Let us act on this understanding,
and it is safe to predict that your banners shall be inscribed with many
a glorious deed and that your names will be dear to your countrymen forever.
" JOHN POPE,
" Major - General Commanding."
This order was copied into the Richmond papers, and
was at once the object of jibes and jests, which became more and more pointed
as the campaign progressed.
But he issued other orders directing his men "to live
on the country," holding citizens of his district responsible for the acts
of "bushwhackers," requiring citizens to take the oath of allegiance to
the United States Government, move out of lines, or be treated as spies,
and others of like import, which inaugurated a system of pillage, plunder
and outrage which excited the burning indignation of our press, and made
the army eager to
be led against this new hero, whose "headquarters,"
he said, were "in the saddle."
When, therefore, on the 17th July, 1862, we broke camp
near Richmond and the head of our column moved toward the mountains, the
"Foot Cavalry" started off with their old swing and cheers rang along our
lines. General Lee had send Jackson with his own and Ewell's division to
Gordonsville for the purpose of watching and checking the movements of
Pope until McClellan should develop his purpose. We reached Gordonsville
on the evening of the 19th July, and found in the vicinage abundant pasturage
for our jaded animals, beautiful camps for the troops, and the warmest
hospitality on the part of the people.
I had opportunity at this time of seeing a good deal
of General Jackson - sometimes at his headquarters,
sometimes in the hospitable homes of the people, and frequently at preaching
- and was more than ever impressed with his genius as a soldier and his
high qualities as a man. Just before the march to Cedar Run
I was called to his headquarters to give him information
concerning the roads between the Rapidan and Louisa Courthouse. I had been
familiar with these roads from my boyhood, and thought I knew them thoroughly.
But when "Old Jack" begun to question me about the streams, and hills,
and cross-roads, and bridge-paths, and showed the most perfect familiarity
with them, I
had to say: "I thought I knew all about that country,
General; but I can give you no information, as you evidently know more
about it than I do."
I remember being very much amused at seeing him several
times fast asleep at preaching, and at hearing General Ewell ask
one day: "What is the use of General Jackson's going to church ? He sleeps
all of the time." One day a visitor alluded to Pope's orders, and said;
"Well, General, here is a new candidate for your favor." "Yes, and by God's
blessing he shall receive my attention," was the quiet reply.
A. P. Hill's splendid "Light Division: had been sent
to join us, and on the 2d of August there was a sharp
cavalry fight in the streets of Orange Courthouse, between Colonel W. E.
Jones and a strong reconnoitering force which Pope had sent across the
Rapidan. Learning that Pope's line was considerably extended, Jackson determined
to strike his center at Culpeper Courthouse before he could concentrate
his whole force. Accordingly, we broke camp on the afternoon of August
7th, it being Jackson's purpose to reach Culpeper Courthouse very early
on the morning of the 9th. But by some misconception of orders A. P. Hill
only crossed the Rapidan on the 9th, and Jackson thus encountered the enemy
eight miles short of his objective point. It was on this march that his
negro servant Jim told some officers who were inquiring about "Old Jack's"
habits: "Yes, the General is a great man for praying at all times. But
when I see him get up a great many times in the night to pray, then, I
know there is going to be something to pay, and
I go straight and pack his haversack, because I know
he will call for it in the morning."
I have a very vivid recollection of that march - the
enthusiasm with which the men cheered "Old Jack" as
he rode to the front, the joy with which the people
hailed us as their deliverers form the reign of terror which Pope's orders
had inaugurated, and the impatience of
the men at the slow advance of our column, as the
roads were obstructed by the Federal cavalry, who kept up a constant skirmish
with our advance guard.
Ewell's division led the advance, and as Early's brigade
was in front, and my own regiment ( the Thirteenth Virginia Infantry )
in advance of the brigade, I had a
fine opportunity of witnessing the manoeuvering for
position and the skirmishing. A little after 12 o'clock
our brigade was halted at a school-house on the road,
eight miles from Culpeper Courthouse, near Slaughter's Mountain, and not
far from Cedar Run. Some time was spent in reconnoitering the position
of the enemy, and bringing our own troops into position.
There was some sharp controversy at the time between
General Pope and General Banks as to who was responsible for bringing on
that battle; but if hose gentlemen have not yet settled it satisfactorily,
I would advise them to call General Early to the stand, and he would testify
that neither Pope nor Banks was the responsible party, but that Early himself
brought on the fight by direct orders from Jackson.
I happened to be near General Early when Captain A.
S. Pendleton, a gallant officer of Jackson's staff, rode up, gave the military
salute, and said: "General Jackson sends his compliments to General Early,
and says that
he must advance on the enemy, and he will be supported
by General Winder." The prompt reply, drawled out in earnest tones, was:
"Give my compliments to General Jackson, and tell him I will do it."
The situation at this moment was as follows: The other
two brigades of Ewell's division were supporting batteries splendidly posted
on Slaughter's Mountain; Winder, commanding Jackson's old division, was
moving in column along the main road to support Early, and A. P. Hill was
coming on to Winder's support. General Banks commanded the Federal forces,
which consisted of his own corps, and Rickett's division of McDowell's
corps, actually engaged, and numbering about seventeen thousand men, with
large reinforcements rapidly approaching. Jackson's entire force numbered
18,623 men, but they were veterans, flushed with victory, and eager to
meet their old friends of the valley campaign, and to give their new friend,
General Pope, an opportunity of seeing something else save the backs of
As soon as General Early received Jackson's order,
he called for eight picked men of the Thirteenth Virginia, whom he sent
forward as scouts, threw that splendid regiment into skirmish line, and
advanced his brigade
( consisting of the Forty-ninth Virginia, Fifty-second
Virginia, Fifty-eight Virginia, Thirty-first Virginia, Twenty-fifth Virginia,
Thirteenth Virginia and Twelfth Georgia ) across a field to the left of
the road to the cover of a small body of woods, behind which he very carefully
formed his line of battle, while the Thirteenth Virginia advanced as skirmishers
a little way into the woods. Presently Colonel Walker, of the Thirteenth,
called back in his ringing voice: "General Early, are
you ready ?" "Yes; go on," was the reply, and soon
after there was sharp skirmishing, which presently gave place to the road
Soon after the opening of the fight some one suggested
to the surgeons, chaplains, &c., of the brigade that by riding up on
the hill to the right we would have a better view of the field, and could
also see when our services were needed by the wounded.
Accordingly we rode up and had a splendid panoramic
view of the whole scene. Banks's line of battle, his artillery in position,
and his splendidly appointed cavalry seemingly preparing for a charge;
Ewell;s two brigades
on the mountain and his batteries superbly served;
Early's brigade moving in line of battle on the enemy with the precision
of dress-parade; Winder deploying
his troops to support Early, and A. P. Hill hurrying
in column-all combined to form a battle picture of
a grandeur rarely witnessed. We had been joined by some citizens and a
number of straggling cavalrymen, and
our party formed a considerable troop, who were reveling
in the splendid panorama when our enjoyment was brought to a very sudden
termination. A Federal battery, probably mistaking us for some General
his staff, galloped into position within easy range,
and opened fire upon us with six pieces as hard as they could drive. At
first the missiles feel short, but they would doubtless soon get the exact
range, and we suddenly discovered that we had importance duties elsewhere.
Without considering "the order of our going" was galloped
down the hill to the cover of the woods. A
negro servant of one of our surgeons happened to be
mounted on the doctor's best horse, and led the party. As we called a halt
and gathered together again the doctor began to upbraid the boy for "being
so much frightened and riding his horse so hard." The negro meekly replied:
"Doctor, I don't love the whizzing of dem ar things any better then you
do sah. "Sides, I
don't think you other blame me cause my horse kin
beat yours a running."
A roar of laughter greeted this sally, for it was perfectly
evident that each man had done his "level best" in getting away from" the
whizzing of dem ar things."
Meantime the battle raged furiously. Hastening
towards the front, I saw the bleeding , mangled form
of the gallant Winder, who was mortally wounded
just as he was putting in his division and skillfully directing the fire
of Poague's and Carpenter's batteries. A West Point officer of rare merit,
General C. S. Winder had succeeded General Garnett in the command of the
"Stonewall" brigade, was now in command of the old "Stonewall" division,
and had already won a reputation which opened before him a most brilliant
Jackson said of him in this official report:
"It is difficult within the proper reserve of an official
report to do justice to the merits of this accomplished officer. Urged
by the Medical Director to take no part
in the movements of the day, because of the enfeebled
state of his health, his ardent patriotism and military pride could bear
no such restraint. Richly endowed with those qualities of mind and person
which fit and officer for command, and which attract the admiration and
excite the enthusiasm of his troops, he was rapidly
rising to the front rank of his profession. His lost
has been severely left."
General Winder lived only three hours after he fell,
and died mourned by the whole army.
At five o'clock in the evening the crisis of the struggle
came by the advance of the Federal infantry to turn Early's right flank,
and that being defeated by the opportune arrival of Thomas's Georgia brigade
of A. P. Hill's division, a still move formidable attack was made on the
left. The second Virginia brigade, Taliaferro's brigade, and half of Early's
brigade were driven back
in confusion, and a great disaster seemed inevitable.
But Colonel Walker's artillery-men stood to their
guns and used grape and canister with terrific effect; Colonel J. A. Walker
and his famous old Thirteenth Virginia stood as firm as a rock; a part
of the Thirty-first Virginia stood by them; General Early hold firmly the
troops under is immediate eye, and at the supreme crisis Jackson himself
dashed upon the field, the very personification of the genius of battle,
and rallied his broken legions with magic words and heroic examples. Drawing
his sword ( for the first time during the war ), he shouted out in
clear ringing tones which were heard above the roar of the battle: "Rally,
brave men, and press forward ! Your General will lead you ! Jackson
will lead you ! Follow me !" His presence acted like
a charm; his officers caught the inspiration; the fugitives rallied at
once around the heroic nucleus formed by Colonel Walker with the Thirteenth
Virginia, the "Stonewall" brigade, came forward in gallant style,
A. P. Hill send in Branch's brigade of brave North
Carolinians, the enemy was repulsed, and the disaster turned into victory.
Just at this point in the battle I witnessed the charge of a magnificent
column of Federal cavalry, who came forward in a style which excited our
highest admiration, and deserved a better fate, for Branch's men repulsed
them in front, while Walker
threw the Thirteenth Virginia behind a fence and delivered,
as they galloped back, a withering fire at
very short range, which emptied many a saddle.
Jackson now hurried up Pender's and Archer's brigades
of A. P. Hill's division, advanced Ewell from the mountain, threw forward
his whole line, and, when
night put an end to the contest, had driven the enemy
who miles, holding the whole battle-field, the enemy's dead and many of
his wounded falling into our hands. Jackson had no idea of stopping short
of Culpeper Courthouse, and I know personally the fact that guides were
detailed from the "Culpeper Minute Men" of my regiment to conduct his columns
on the proposed night march. But the night proved very dark,
the cavalry brought information that Banks was receiving heavy reinforcements,
and Jackson very reluctantly decided
to wait for the morning. The next morning
J.E. B. Stuart reached the army "on a tour of inspection"
( it is shrewdly suspected that "Jeb" had "snuffed the battle from
afar," and had come to claim the privileges of going in), and at
request of Jackson made a reconnoissance which fully developed the fact
that Pope had already received large reinforcements,
and that others were rapidly coming forward. Jackson
determined therefore, to await the attack from the enemy; and we spent
the 10th in looking after our wounded, burying our dead, and
collecting arms, ammunition, &c., from the battle-field. Old "Stonewall'
announced his victory by the following characteristic dispatch;
"AUGUST 11TH - 6 1\2 A. M.
"On the evening of the 9th instant God blessed our
arms with another victory. The battle was near Cedar
Run, about six miles from Culpepers Courthouse. The enemy, according to
statements of prisoners, consisted
of Banks's, McDowell's and Siegel's commands. We
have over four hundred prisoners, including Brigadier
- General Prince. While our list of killed is less than that
of the enemy, we have to mourn the loss of some of
our best officers and men.* * * We have collected about one thousand five
hundred small arms and other ordnance stores."
On the morning of the 11th General Banks asked for
a truce to enable him to bury his dead. The request was granted, and as
Early's brigade on our side had charge
of it, I had fully opportunity of witnessing
the scene, which was indeed a none one.
That night we deliberately moved back toward the Rapidan,
and as my brigade brought up the rear, I can testify of my own knowledge
that the "hot pursuit" by the Federals, and "rapid retreat of the rebels,"
about which General Pope telegraphed his Government, were
as complete romances as that famous dispatch, purporting
to come from General Pope announcing
the capture of ten thousand of Beauregard's army on
his retreat from Corinth. [ General Pope two years
afterward denied that he ever sent such a dispatch,
and claimed that it was manufactured by General Halleck.]
I never saw a more leisurely march than we made on our return, and if there
was any 'hot pursuit" our rear guard did not hear of it. The
fact was that
"Old Jack" gained a splendid victory at Cedar Run
(Slaughter's Mountain ), and learning that the enemy had received large
reinforcements he waited two days
for an attack, and then marched leisurely back across
the Rapidan to await the coming of General Lee.
Some incidents of the battle may be given. There was in one
of the regiments a Quartermaster who was noted for
his elegant uniform and splendid trappings.
the progress of the fight this gentleman rode up on
Slaughter's Mountain, where he was spied by rough old Ewell, who thus accosted
him: "I say, you man with the fine clothes on ! Who are you, and where
do you belong ?" Being informed, with all possible dignity, that he was
"Captain - , Quartermaster of the - Virginia regiment," the grim old soldier
threw up both hands and exclaimed: "Great heavens ! a Quartermaster on
a battle-field; who ever hear of such a thing before ? But as you are here
I will make you useful as well as ornamental," and
thereupon he sent him with a message which carried
him under very heavy fire. The gallant Quartermaster
carried the message and brought the answer, but says that the soon after
discovered that his train needed looking after, and never ventured near
General Ewell during a battle again.
Another gallant Quartermaster, Major J. G. Field,
of General A. P. Hill's staff, rendered most important
service, going, as was his wont, into the thickest of the fight, until
he was severely wounded. His wound caused the loss of his leg, but he returned
after a short absence to render valuable service until the surrender, and
recently filled with ability the office of Attorney-General of Virginia.
When or men found out from prisoners that General Banks
commanded the opposing forces, they raised
the shout: "Get your requisitions ready, boys !
down everything you want ! Old 'Stonewall's Quartermaster'
has come with a full supply for issue !"
I saw A. P. Hill that day as he was putting his "Light
Division" into battle, and was very much struck with
his appearance. In his shirt-sleeves and with drawn
sword he sought to arrest the stragglers who were
coming to the rear, and seeing a Lieutenant in the
number, he rode at him and seeing inquired: "Who
are you, sir, and where are you going ?" The trembling
Lieutenant replied: "I am going back with my wounded friend." Hill reached
down and tore the insignia of rank from his collar as he roughly said:
"You are a pretty fellow to hold a commission - deserting your colors in
the presence of the enemy, and going to the rear with
a man who is scarcely badly enough wounded to go himself.
I reduce you to the ranks, sir, and if you do
not go to the front and do you duty, I'll have you
as soon as I can spare a file of men for the purpose."
And then clearing the road, he hurried forward his men to the splendid
service which was before them.
I have not left myself space to give a full sketch
of the truce, but may say that the contrast between Early and Milroy -
the mingling together of "the blue" and "the gray" in friendly converse
or sharp trades, and the animated discussions between the two parties -
would make a chapter of great interest.
I rode out on the neutral ground with a brother
Chaplain with no purpose whatever of any discussion
of the points at issue in the great contest; but we
soon found ourselves surrounded by groups of the "boys in blue," and before
we knew it were engaged in sharp discussion of various matters pertaining
to the war.
Then we got on the different battles, ending with
Cedar Run. A Colonel with whom I was talking finally pulled out his pocket-book
and offered to bet me $100 that
"in less than twenty-four hours Jackson would be in
full retreat on Richmond and Pope in close pursuit."
I replied: "I cannot take your bet, Colonel, for several
reasons. In the first place, I do not bet at all; in the second place,
I have not $100 about me; and, in the
third place, it would be very difficult to find a
stake - holder who would be satisfactory to both parties; but
we shall see what we shall see."
During the campaign of second Manassas I one day
met a long column of prisoners going to the rear,
and was surprised to see among them my friend, the Colonel. He at once
recognized me, and pleasantly called out:
"I say, Chaplain, ain't you sorry now that you did
not take my bet ?" "Well ! no Colonel," I replies, "I think you will probably
need all of your spare cash now. But
if you will excuse me for anything which may squint
toward exultation over a prisoner, I would like to ask you if you do not
think Stonewall Jackson had chosen
a singular route by which to retreat on Richmond,
if you do not regard Pope's close pursuit as rather
erratic ?" He frankly owned up; we had a pleasant
chat together; I shared my rations with him, and, as we parted, he said,
"If you ever make up your mind to bet, Chaplain, you may bet your bottom
dollar that I will never offer to bet again on any movement where Pope
is in command on our side and Lee and Jackson on
On the 14th of August we had, by Jackson's order, deeply
interesting Thanksgiving services in the army.
The battle of Cedar Run cause General Pope to pause
in his career of "seeing the backs of the enemy,"
we rested undisturbed in our beautiful camps until
General Lee came with the rest of the army, and we started on that brilliant
campaign by which "Headquarters in the Saddle" were summarily dismounted
by the "foot cavalry" and their gallant comrades, and General Fitz John
Porter made the scapegoat of Pope's blunders.
*Taken from the Southern Historical Society Papers
Volume X, Richmond, Va, Jan and Feb, 1882 No's
1 and 2,
January and February pages 82 -91
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