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150 Years Ago: Sunday, November 23, 1862

Reverend Henry Ward BeecherSource: Library of Congress

Reverend Henry Ward Beecher
Source: Library of Congress

As the rain pours down in Washington City, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln opens a desk drawer and pulls out a stack of editorials from Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. Beecher is against slavery and bigotry of all kinds: religious, racial and social. He is often heard quoting his long-held belief: “Hold yourself responsible for a higher Standard than anyone else expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” Lincoln carefully reads every word, including the passage “We have been made irresolute, indecisive and weak by the President’s attempt to unite impossibilities; to make war and keep the peace; to strike hard and not hurt; to invade sovereign States and not meddle with their sovereignty; to put down rebellion without touching its cause…” A couple of the articles criticize Lincoln. As Lincoln finishes reading the harsh words, his face is flushed and he exclaims to his secretaries “Is thy servant a dog, that he should to this thing?”

The New York Times publishes a letter that details the capture of a group of four women who were smuggling military materials and letters containing Union military information from Memphis, Tennessee to the South. Initially they were to be treated leniently and they were released on bail, but the fact they were providing military information might lead the Union to charge them with espionage, with their fate to be decided by the Military Commission. Though the South refuses to publish their names out of “respectability”, the Times lists them as Mrs. Minnie Burr, Miss Winchester, Miss Merrill and Miss Creighton. Each one of the women had concealed underneath their skirts – and in two cases inside their drawers – large amounts of letters, papers and documents that contained valuable information. Women may not be able to fight on the battlefield, but many have created very non-traditional roles to assist in the cause – whether it be for the North or South.

Corporal Elisha Hunt Rhodes with the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers continues to camp in New Stafford Court House, Virginia while they await orders on their final destination. He writes in his diary:

I am cold, in fact half frozen. As I write some of the officers who are hovering over a huge fire are singing “Home Sweet Home.” Well I should like to see my home. Our blankets are wet and we have no sun to dry them in some time. Yesterday our Regiment was on picket. We struck a new section of country where rail fences were plenty and had good fires. The roads are in bad condition from mud. Supplies begin to come from Acquia Creek and we are happy. I get a little home sick sometimes.

Brigadier General John Reynolds arrives near Acquia Creek, Virginia. It’s familiar ground to him, as he had spent a month here in the Spring with the Reserves. He had governed the town for a short time and in August had assumed a Division command nearby. He looks upon his return to the area as “good luck.”

150 Years Ago: Saturday, November 22, 1862

Example of a Pontoon BoatSource: Library of Congress

Example of a Pontoon Boat
Source: Library of Congress

Though Union General Ambrose Burnside had reached the Fredericksburg, Virginia area first, he has been stuck looking at the small town from across the Rappahannock River. The pontoon boats necessary for his men to cross the river have yet to arrive, though they should have already been assembled and ready for use. Burnside and his men watch helplessly as Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s once small gathering of troops turn into thousands of men who have obtained the best ground for a battlefield advantage: the high ground south of the city.

Burnside’s main objective at this time is to find the location of the missing pontoon boats. He finally receives communication from Aquia Creek, Virginia, approximately 28 miles north of his position; it is not the news Burnside is hoping for.

I have found General Woodbury here. He says the pontoon train left Washington last Wednesday; that it had orders to come up as rapidly as possible. It has 20 pontoons on the train, and wagons to carry 20 more, which are at Belle Plain. I sent out from the latter place to turn in the empty pontoon wagons. I ordered Major Magruder, at Belle Plain, to land his wagons, and load up his pontoons. He has about 50 pontoons, and some 26 wagons. The quartermaster will furnish teams; common wagons cannot carry pontoons. I see no way of having enough at Fredericksburg before to-morrow evening.

Rufas Ingalls, Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief Quartermaster

While many of Lee’s key men have already arrived in Fredericksburg, one corp is just leaving today. That corp belongs to Lieutenant General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. They have over 150 miles to travel eastward before they reach their destination, but Jackson’s troops are well trained to keep up a good pace and will likely make good time during their journey.

Though U.S. Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s plan south into Mississippi had included the use of railroads to transport men & supplies, his request for additional railroad cars is denied by General-in-Chief Henry Halleck. Grant is not to take any rail cars south of Memphis, Tennessee. While Halleck’s reasoning is unclear, the bureaucracy is nothing new to Grant; he will have to come up with another plan that meets his needs but one that can also get approval from those that sit behind a desk.

The use of railroads for troop and supply movements is starting to become more prominent in both the North and South. The North has over 22,000 miles of rail, with the South having just over 9,000 miles. However, even the South realizes that the railroads are a great resource that might have to be converted from personal and military use to strictly military if they are to win the war. An editorial in The Southern Confederacy tries to prepare citizens for this likely change:

The Southern ConfederacyEditorial, November 22, 1862

The Southern Confederacy
Editorial, November 22, 1862

150 Years Ago: Friday, November 21, 1862

James A. Seddon, 1860'sSource: Library of Congress

James A. Seddon, 1860’s
Source: Library of Congress

It is the President’s prerogative to change his mind, and that applies even to C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis. Though he had named Gustavus W. Smith as Secretary of War four days ago, today he changes his mind and appoints James A. Seddon to take his place. Seddon does not come from a military background; instead, he’s a lawyer and occasional politician from Richmond, Virginia. While he had originally championed peace between the northern and southern states back in 1861, he would later that year serve as a member of the Provisional Confederate Congress. He has had issues with poor health in the past, but Davis needs someone with strong diplomatic skills to handle generals and anti-Davis bureaucrats. Most importantly, Seddon has the personality to work with someone as strong willed as Davis.

In Fredericksburg, both North and South are preparing for an engagement. While Union soldiers wait for pontoon boats to arrive, they are left watching the Confederates occupy the hills beyond Fredericksburg while working to make them impregnable. In the meantime, U.S. General Ambrose Burnside sends Brigadier General Marsena Patrick with a message across the Rappahannock River to Montgomery Slaughter, the mayor of Fredericksburg, demanding that the city surrender or else he will will open fire and shell the town:

Under cover of the houses of your city, shots have been fired upon the troops of my command. Your mills and manufactories are furnishing provisions and the material for clothing for armed bodies in rebellion against the Government of the United States. Your railroads and other means of transportation are removing supplies to the depots of such troops. This condition of things must terminate, and, by direction of General Burnside, I accordingly demand the surrender of the city into my hands, as the representative of the Government of the United States, at or before 5 o’clock this afternoon.

C.S.A. Colonel William A. Ball, who commands the troops in the city, sends the message on to C.S.A. General James Longstreet. By now General Robert E. Lee has arrived; he and Longstreet make the decision to pull their troops out of town, yet send back correspondence with the threat that any attempts by the Union to occupy the town will be resisted. Fredericksburg citizens are quickly notified and evacuated, forming a long train of refugees out of town and behind protection of the Confederate lines.

On the Western front, Major Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman meet in Columbus, Kentucky to discuss strategy in how to obtain the strategic Mississippi port of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Grant will move his army utilizing the railroad through Holly Springs, Mississippi; Sherman will move south as the right wing of Grant’s army. Before they reach Vicksburg they have a lot of work to accomplish. One key goal will be to take control of enemy railroads throughout the state.

The Richmond Daily Dispatch and other southern papers continue to take a great interest in the politics and strategic plans of the North. Today they focus their attention on former head of the Army of the Potomac, George B. McClellan:

Demolishing their Idols.

Since this war commenced, the Yankees have created military idols, and then annihilated them. …

Whilst never regarding McClellan as a “Young Napoleon,” he unquestionably understood the capabilities of his men, and the obstacles he had to encounter. Much better than the rabble of the North or their besotted Government. We have never been those who regarded the Yankees as cowards, but they have not the military aptitude of the Southern people and cannot be improvised into soldiers. They are unfamiliar by education both with the idea of danger and the use of arms. They were called upon to confront men who had been accustomed to both from their cradle and who are fighting in the holiest cause for which men ever drew a sword. The first battle of Manassas had demonstrated that after three months incessant drilling they were unable to cope with one-third their number of Southern volunteers. Even the best regulars of their old army were on that occasion annihilated. …

McClellan will have his revenge. All that the South has done in former battles will be nothing to the effort she will make under the impetus of Lincoln’s proclamation — the most heroic struggle that the world has over witnessed will occur when this city is again assaulted by the Yankee legions. The South will go to the battle as joyously as to a bridal, and, with the blessing of Heaven, she will not only save her liberties and her capital, but will save the North from herself.

150 Years Ago: Thursday, November 20, 1862

C.S.A. Lieutenant General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson provides written instructions to division commander Major General D.H. Hill for him to proceed immediately to Fredericksburg, Virginia. Hill is to take his 9,000 troops and march 200 miles south; the 120 men that are still sick/wounded (most from the battle of Antietam in September) will be allowed to go with them via ambulance. There are several routes Hill can take, but Jackson informs him to take the one that is the quickest, not the one that will better mask their movements. Obviously Jackson feels it’s more important that the men get to the meeting point quickly, even if it’s not the most discreet route.

U.S. Brigadier General John F. Reynolds has gained an additional 6,000 men over the last month, bringing the total troops under his command to 20,000. He is advancing with Franklin’s Grand Left Division of General Ambrose Burnside’s army. Always the firm disciplinarian, today he holds a court martial for six men who had stolen a cow, killed it and divided the meat between them. He makes each man stand on a barrel with the word “thief” and the stolen meat on their back. A soldier correspondent writes of Reynolds “He uses few words but with a look he could crush an offender. He never neglects his duty and never overlooks neglect in others.” Reynolds has the reputation of a man with a generous heart, strong affections and constant zeal for the welfare of his men. He runs a tight command, old army style. He also had the reputation of being a good provider throughout the army; he knew none of the men who stole the cows lacked rations. The punishment was fitting and no doubt sent a message to the rest of his men.

Carl Schurz, 1860'sSource: Library of Congress

Carl Schurz, 1860’s
Source: Library of Congress

U.S. Brigadier General Carl Schurz, a German who immigrated to the U.S. in 1852, has known Lincoln for several years. When Lincoln ran for the Senate in 1858, it was Schurz who campaigned for Lincoln, often giving speeches in German and enhancing Lincoln’s reputation among German immigrants. Even though Schurz was part of the Wisconsin delegation that voted for William Seward to be the 1860 Republican Presidential candidate, he was the one who had the honor of going to Springfield and personally telling Lincoln that he had won the nomination. Lincoln values Schurz and has been corresponding with him about the recent election where the Republicans lost many seats in the House and Senate. Schurz is keen to outline what he feels is going wrong in the war and how Lincoln’s public perception is being unfairly tainted. One key point is that he feels Lincoln’s support of Democrat Generals such as George B. McClellan and Henry Halleck, not to mention Lincoln’s support of other Democrats that he has put in powerful positions (including his Cabinet), have weakened Lincoln and the Republican party. To have dissenters so close to him makes Lincoln an easy target not only in the media but also in the public eye. And to continue the war effort to a successful conclusion, public perception and opinion is very important. As Schurz brings the letter to a close, he writes:

No, sir, let us indulge in no delusions as to the true causes of our defeat in the elections. The people, so enthusiastic at the beginning of the war, had made enormous sacrifices. Hundreds of millions were spent, thousands of lives were lost apparently for nothing. The people had sown confidence and reaped disaster and disappointment. They wanted a change, and as an unfortunate situation like ours is apt to confuse the minds of men, they sought it in the wrong direction. I entreat you, do not attribute to small incidents, the enlisting of Republican voters in the Army, the attacks of the press etc., what is a great historical event. It is best that you, you more than anybody else in this Republic, should see the fact in its true light and acknowledge its significance: the result of the elections was a most serious and severe reproof administered to the Administration. Do not refuse to listen to the voice of the people. Let it not become true, what I have heard said: that of all places in this country it is Washington where public opinion is least heard, and of all places in Washington, the White House.

The result of the elections has complicated the crisis. Energy and success, by which you would and ought to have commanded public opinion, now form the prestige of your enemies. It is a great and powerful weapon, and, unless things take a favorable turn, troubles may soon involve not only the moral power but the physical existence of the Government. Only relentless determination, heroic efforts on your part can turn the tide. You must reconquer the confidence of the people at any price.

As armies are on the move in the east and south, thousands of men find themselves in camps around the country waiting to be called into active service. From Camp Kellogg in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Edwin R. Havens (7th Michigan Cavalry) writes to his brother Nell back home:

Brother Nell,

I received your most welcome letter this morning and now lay down to answer it. I have been anxiously waiting for it all this week and began to fear that there was something wrong about it. I am usually well, as are all of the boys from our way. We are doing very well but I must say that we are living pretty hard at present. But we hope that there will be a change for the better soon, as we are going to cook for ourselves, I think next week. The talk about our going to Detroit is “played out” and we are now calculating to stay in Camp Kellogg this winter. Col. Mann went down to Detroit last week and is expected back in a day or two. For the present Capt. Walker is commandant of the camp, which is not much as our company represents the 7th regt. at present. We drill every day nearly,  but this afternoon we are to have no drill instead of which we are going to help make a road to haul lumber over to make our new barracks of. The new barracks are to be built about 20 rods north of our present ones to extend 360 feet east and west across the ground but I do not know the plan on which they are to be built. Our present ones are quite comfortable in warm weather but I am afraid that they will be most too much so for real biting cold weather. Last Monday evening our Captain took the entire regiment consisting of about 35 men to the theater, which although the first time many of us had ever attended it was not very entertaining to me at least. Tuesday morning we went down to the railroad and unloaded several car loads of horse equipment consisting of saddles and bridles. Besides the guns, carriages and ammunition wagons for two guns together with more than a ton of shot shell cartridges, three kegs of powder and one box of sabres. The guns belong to the battery to be attached to our regiment and are of steel three inch bore and rifled. They have not yet been mounted and we have not seen the guns, but I should judge by the boxes that they were about nine feet long, and weigh [950?] lbs. apiece. The 6th regt. has been drilling on horseback this week and are doing very well. They begin to think a little more of “the ten cent regiment” than they used to. They hope to leave here soon and I hope they will. I should like to be at home and visit with our visitors, but must postpone it until the future. Give them my best respects and tell them that I wish they had come a few days earlier. I hope that Isom will give up the notion of going to war for I do not fancy the appearance of Capt. Miller myself, and besides I think his proper place is at home. I received two letters from Carlisle the other day one from Keokuk Iowa, the other from Buchanan. Tell George Lee that I have no forgotten him, but will write him soon. He need not be afraid to write us I shall not be home again very soon. I may send for my fiddle bye and bye after we get settled, and I wish you could come with it. I can not imagine what that fellow meant by saying we had been set up a little, for we remain as we were with the exception of one private being promoted to 8th corporal. But I will now stop as you must be weary. Give my best respects to all of the friends, and my love to our folks and visitors, and write soon.

Your Brother

Edwin R. Havens

150 Years Ago: Wednesday, November 19, 1862

U.S. Major General Ambrose Burnside’s Army of the Potomac continues to move south, with many of the men having no idea of their final destination. Corporal Elisha Hunt Rhodes and his fellow soldiers from the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry are part of this massive movement; having a free moment, Rhodes writes in his diary:

“We are now five miles from Stafford Court House, twelve miles from Acquia Creek and fifteen miles from the city of Fredericksburg. We are encamped with our division in a large field. We left New Baltimore Sunday morning and marched to Weaversville on the Manassas Rail Road, not far from Cartletts Station. Here we camped for the night in the rain. Tuesday morning we marched to this camp. It is still raining and we are very uncomfortable and cannot tell where we are to go next.”

Chatham Manor 1862Source: Library of Congress

Chatham Manor 1862
Source: Library of Congress

Across the Rappahannock River, north of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Burnside is at his headquarters where he can easily view his target. Burnside has taken over Chatham Manor, a home almost 100 years old, which contains the historical footsteps of individuals such as former President George Washington, current Confederate General Robert E. Lee, former President-Elect William Henry Harrison and current U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. While Burnside’s troops continue to gather in their designated areas, he is frustrated because they cannot move without one key piece of infrastructure: pontoon boats. The boats, needed for the mass of troops to cross the Rappahannock, were to have been in place by now, but they have yet to even arrive. Major General Edwin Sumner has attempted to find a ford to cross in order to take the poorly protected town of Fredericksburg, where there have been only 500 Confederate soldiers in force. But Burnside is nervous. He fears that Sumner’s force might be assaulted if they try to cross before the boats are in place and Burnside cannot move his entire army across the river without them. Sumner is ordered to wait for the pontoon boats; he will not be allowed to cross the river, take the town and the heights behind it. They will wait.

Just south of Fredericksburg, Confederate Major General James Longstreet arrives and places his men on the heights above the town, including a section called Marye’s Heights. C.S.A. General Robert E. Lee is still unsure of Burnside’s final destination, but if it’s Fredericksburg he has made sure that his men have the better ground: the high ground.

150 Years Ago: Tuesday, November 18, 1862

Union detective Lafayette Baker had recently made another sweep through the Maryland countryside to determine what postmasters in the area were a threat to the Union. Information is crucial in the war and Southern sympathizers are to be prevented as much as possible from being able to send correspondence to the Confederacy. Maryland is a border state and many try to obtain positions like postmaster in an effort to help the Confederate cause. In Surrattsville, Maryland, 18-year-old John Surratt Jr. holds the postmaster job but learns that he is not on the list to be dismissed for disloyalty. Given that his father had passed away in August, this is a relief to his mother Mary as they need all the income they can bring in so debts could be paid off.

U.S. Major General William T. Sherman has received a letter from C.S.A. Lieutenant General John Pemberton, who is the current Commander in Jackson, Mississippi. Pemberton is upset at a recent incident in which a citizen, William White, was killed by Sherman’s cavalry and he is therefore demanding that Sherman turn over the cavalry officer responsible or Pemberton will harm four Union prisoners of war. Sherman, a man driven by rules and proper conduct, is outraged at Pemberton would make such a threat as he feels he has no grounds to do so. Sherman writes a response back and forwards his message to Major General Ulysses S. Grant so he may also respond.

Your letter of November. 12 dated Jackson Miss. is before me. General Grant commands the Department which embraces Memphis and I will send him your letter that he may answer it according to the interests and honor of the Government of the United States.

You recite the more aggravated parts of the story of Mrs. White, concerning the killing her husband by a party of the 6th Illinois cavalry, but you do not recite the attending circumstances. In the early part of September last, the public highway hence to Hernando was infested by a parcel of men who burned the cotton of the People and depredated on their property. A party of the 6th Illinois Cavalry was sent to capture them, but on approach they fled, and only ten prisoners were taken. These were dispatched back towards Memphis in charge of a Lieutenant & ten men. As this party was on the road near Whites, they were fired on from ambush, the Lieutenant and the Confederate Soldier at his side were killed, one or more wounded & the party scattered.

As soon as the intelligence reached the Camp of the 6th Illinois Cavalry in Memphis, Captain Boicourt started to the rescue with a small detachment of his men. On the way out they met the dead body of the Lieutenant being brought in punctured by six balls, from which the story was started of barbarous treatment viz. his being shot whilst lying on the ground. They also heard enough to connect the People of the neighborhood with this firing from ambush, and mutilating their dead Lieutenant.

The taking of White, the accusation of his being concerned, his resistance, his attempt to escape are all matters asserted and denied. No one man deplores more than I do, that you have torn to pieces the fabric of our Government so that such acts should ever occur, or if they did that they should be promptly punished.

White’s house is almost on the line between Mississippi and Tennessee, but this affair occurred on the Mississippi side of the line. If the state of Mississippi were in a condition and should make due inquiry, and demand the parties for a fair trial, there would be some appearance of law & justice.

But what shadow of Right you have to inquire into the matter I don’t see. White was not a Confederate Soldier, not even a Guerilla and some contend he was a good Union Man. I assert that his Killing was unfortunate, but was the legitimate & logical sequence of the mode of warfare chosen by the Confederate Government by means of Guerillas or Partizan Rangers. Captain Boicourt has answered for his conduct to the Government of the United States, and it may be will answer to the Civil authorities of Mississippi when Peace is restored to her. But he will not answer to the Confederate Government or its officers.

You now hold for retaliation four U.S. soldiers, whose names you say were ascertained by lot. We hold here thirty odd wounded Confederate soldiers left by your companions on the Field at Corinth. They receive kind treatment at the hands of our surgeons. I expect a boat load of other prisoners in a day or so from above en route for Vicksburg to be exchanged according to the solemn cartel made between the two Contracting parties. Under the terms of that Cartel we shall expect at Vicksburg the four men you have named and should they not be at Vicksburg the officer in charge of your Prisoners will have his orders.

Our Armies now occupy many southern states. Even North Mississippi is in our possession. Your Guerillas & Partizan Rangers have done deeds that I know you do not sanction. Do not make this War more vindictive and bloody than it has been and will be in spite of the most moderate counsels. If you think a moment, you will admit that retaliation is not the remedy for such acts as the killing of White, but the same end will be attained by regulating your Guerillas. This I know you are doing, and for it you have the thanks of your Southern Rights People who were plundered & abused by them.

General Grant commands this Department and you had better await his answer before proceeding to extremities. All I can now do is to see that the terms for the exchange of prisoners of War be faithfully executed, by your exchanging the four men you have in custody for four we will send to Vicksburg.

150 Years Ago: Monday, November 17, 1862

Gustavus W. Smith
Source: Library of Congress

Though he had been passed over for the position of head commander of the Army of Northern Virginia (that went to Robert E. Lee), today General Gustavus W. Smith is appointed the new Confederate Secretary of War by President Jefferson Davis. In reality, choosing the Kentuckian has little to do with skill or knowledge; he is simply the “only general available in Richmond” for the position.

Ninety miles northwest of Richmond near Culpeper Court-House, C.S.A. General Robert E. Lee writes a letter to the old Secretary of War George Randolph about Union troop movements heading further south into Virginia. He is still uncertain of U.S. General Ambrose Burnside’s final destination but assumes it will be Gordonsville (67 miles northwest of Richmond) or Fredericksburg (60 miles directly north of the capital). His scouts have seen increased train activity in Alexandria, Virginia, but they are unsure whether they are bringing in more troops or actually moving them to Alexandria for a potential battle further northwest in the Blue Ridge mountains.

Lee concludes that if Burnside is to march upon Fredericksburg, he has yet to make any preparations for his men to cross the Rappahannock River that runs along the city. Given that Lee has a large amount of men absent from North Carolina and has yet to receive recruits from the latest draft, he recommends that they not advance upon the enemy; instead, they will “embarrass and damage the enemy” wherever possible by capturing enemy men and supplies. President Davis quickly responds that “Every effort will be made to hasten the return of absentees and obtain conscripts.

Andrew Johnson (1860)
Source: Library of Congress

Andrew Johnson, Union Governor of Tennessee, had written a scathing letter to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in early September with harsh criticism of U.S. Major General Don Carlos Buell. Buell, a West Point graduate and veteran of the Mexican War, had been in charge of military operations in eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, including the capital of Nashville. He had earned a reputation that he was slow to move even when directed. Tennessee is strategic ground, as the state is a part of the Confederacy and other Union General’s such as Ulysses S. Grant have done a great deal to control its key cities, railroads and waterways.

Though Buell was relieved of command on October 24, someone must have felt the need to provide proof that the decision to remove Buell was the correct one; the letter was obtained by the New York Times and is printed today for its readers:

Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 1.

To His Excellency Abraham Lincoln, Washington City:

On two occasions I have stated to the President that Gen. Buell would never enter and redeem the eastern portion of this State. I do not believe he ever intended to, notwithstanding his fair promises to the President and others that he would.

A portion of the rebel troops, it is stated, under the command of (Braxton) Bragg, have crossed the Tennessee River, above Chattanooga, and are marching in the direction of Nashville. His force is variously estimated at from 20,000 to 50,000. My own opinion is that it cannot exceed 20,000.

Gen. Buell and his forces are in his front, ranging from Decherd, on the railroad, to McMinnville and Sparta, and, in my opinion, with such Generals as he has under his command, could meet Bragg and whip him with the greatest ease; entering lower East Tennessee, and turn the rear of the force said to be now before Gen. (John Hunt) Morgan, at Cumberland Gap, leaving Morgan to march into East Tennessee, and take possession of the railroad, at once segregating and destroying the unity of their territory, and that, too, in the midst of a population that is loyal, and will stand by the Government.

The forces which have passed Cumberland Gap, on Morgan’s right, under command of Kirby Smith; entering Kentucky in Morgan’s rear, can and will be met by forces coming in the direction of Lexington and Nicholasville, and whipped and driven back.

I am now compelled to state, though with deep regret, what I know and believe Gen. Buell’s policy to be. Instead of meeting and whipping Bragg where he is, it is his intention to occupy a defensive position, and is now, according to the best evidence I can obtain, concentrating all his forces upon Nashville, giving up all the country which we have had possession of south and east of this place, leaving the Union sentiment and Union men, who took a stand for the Government, to be crushed out and utterly ruined by the rebels, who will all be in arms upon the retreat of our army.

It seems to me that Gen. Buell fears his own personal safety, and has concluded to gather the whole army at this point as a kind of body guard to protect and defend him, without reference to the Union men who have been induced to speak out, believing that the Government would defend them.

Gen. Buell is very popular with the rebels, and the impression is that he is more partial to them than to Union men, and that he favors the establishment of a Southern Confederacy.

I will not assume that Gen. Buell desires the establishment of a Southern Confederacy and a surrender of Tennessee to the rebels, but will give it as my opinion that, if he had designed to do so, he could not have laid down or pursued a policy that would have been more successful in the accomplishment of both these objects.

Notwithstanding the untoward events which have transpired since I came to Nashville, I feel and believe that much good has been done in preparing the public mind in being reconciled to the Government; but if the policy which I have indicated is carried out by Gen. Buell, all will be thrown away, without the most distant idea, if ever, when we shall recover our lost ground. East Tennessee seems doomed. There is scarcely a hope left of her redemption; if ever, no one now can tell. May God save my country from some of the Generals that have bean conducting this war.

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November 2012

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