Braxton Bragg

This tag is associated with 12 posts

150 Years Ago: Tuesday, December 16, 1862

U.S. Corporal Elisha Hunt Rhodes with the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers writes about his retreat out of Fredericksburg, as he is part of the last group to cross before the pontoon boats are disassembled, loaded on wagons and sent to storage for the next time they need to be put to use:

Barnard House, after the battle of FredericksburgSource: Library of Congress

Barnard House, after the battle of Fredericksburg
Source: Library of Congress

This morning at one o’clock our Brigade was formed in line to protect the rear of the Left Grand Division as it recrossed the Rappahannock River. We waited until all the troops had reached the Falmouth side and then our Brigade silently moved over the bridge. As soon as we reached the north side the bridge was broken up and the pontoons taken back from the river banks. We were the first to cross the river and the last ones to recross. The 10th Mass. Vols. was the last Regimental organization to cross the river, but a Bridge Guards detailed from the 2nd R.I. Vols. and under the command of Capt. Samuel B.M. Read was the last troop to recross. The Rebels were on the south bank as soon as we left it. The Army has met with a severe loss, and I fear little has been gained. The 4th, 7th and 12th R.I. Regiments were in the main battle in the rear of the city and their losses we hear are heavy. May God help the poor afflicted friends at home. I am tired, O so tired, and can hardly keep awake. We have had very little sleep since we first crossed the river. My heart is filled with sorrow for our dead, but I am grateful that my life has been spared. Mr. A.N. Barnard owns a place near where we crossed. He calls it Mansfield. His brother owns the place below which is called Smithfield. Barnard’s house was shattered by shot and shell, one shot passing through a plate glass mirror. Barnard left in great haste and left his pistols and a purse paying on a table. His books were all scattered about the yard and fine china was used by the men to hold their pork. He has already dug a cellar and intended to build a new house soon. The bricks were piled up in his yard and served as a cover for Rebel skirmishers who fired upon us as we crossed the bridge. We captured one officer and several Rebel soldiers from behind his bricks.

In Washington it is politics as usual, as Congress quickly tries to place blame on anyone they can for the disastrous loss at Fredericksburg. A caucus of Republican Senators vote 13-11 in support of a resolution calling for the resignation of Secretary of State William Seward. Though Seward initially had a great dislike for the man who bested him for for the Republican candidate for President back in 1860, President Abraham Lincoln and Seward have become close personal friends. Private conferences between the two are almost a daily occurrence, and the way Seward comes & goes from the White House is seen with an easy familiarity of a household intimate. It is not at all uncommon for Lincoln to walk over to the State Department or Seward’s house (just down the street from the White House), day or night, with or without a private secretary carrying papers.

This close relationship has made many Republicans uncomfortable and Seward has increasingly become the target of jealousy and enmity from other members of the Cabinet – especially from Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase – and many members of Congress. Seward is often blamed for any bad decision made by the President or any military reverse in the field, even if no evidence supports their claims. They can’t get rid of a sitting President, but they feel they can get rid of a Cabinet member even though historically Congress has stayed out of Cabinet affairs.

After Lincoln learns of the caucus meeting, he meets with his old friend Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning about the situation, asking him what the men wanted. Browning replies “I hardly know Mr. President, but they are exceedingly violent towards the administration, and what we did yesterday was the gentlest thing that could be done. We had to do that or worse.

Lincoln responds that “They wish to get rid of me, and I am sometimes half disposed to gratify them.

Senator Browning replies that “Some of them do wish to get rid of you, but the fortunes of the Country are bound up with your fortunes, and you stand firmly at your post and hold the helm with a steady hand – To relinquish it now would bring upon us certain and inevitable ruin.

We are now on the brink of destruction. It appears to me the Almighty is against us, and I can hardly see a ray of hope,” states Lincoln.

Browning answers “Be firm and we will yet save the Country. Do not be drive from your post. You ought to have crushed the ultra, impracticable men last summer. You could then have done it, and escaped these troubles. But we will not talk of the past. Let us be hopeful and take care of the future Mr. Seward appears now to be the especial object of their hostility. Still I believe he has managed our foreign affairs as any one could have done. Yet they are very bitter upon him, and some of them very bitter upon you.

The President, filled with the stress of the last few days, ends the conversation asking “Why will men believe a lie, an absurd lie, that could not impose upon a child, and cling to it and repeat it in defiance of all evidence to the contrary. Since I heard last of the proceedings of the caucus I have been more distressed than by any event of my life.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis is dealing with his own issues. He took a train west to Tennessee to meet with his Western Commanding General Joseph E. Johnston to discuss strategy and to review troop positions and conditions. Davis and Johnston are in constant disagreement; Johnston believes that getting full control back of Tennessee is key, while Davis believes that the Mississippi River is the only thing that matters.

It’s a confusing situation as there are three Confederate armies in the West: The Army of the Tennessee led by General Braxton Bragg (30,000 troops), the Trans-Mississippi Army led by Lieutenant General Theophilus Holmes (under 10,000 troops), and the Army of the Mississippi under Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton who is in charge of protecting Vicksburg (12,000 troops) and the state of Mississippi (21,000 troops). While Holmes and Pemberton are relatively close to each other, Bragg is far removed. To make matters more complex, Johnston has no control over anything west of the Mississippi River, which means he has no authority over Holmes and his men, who are currently in western Arkansas, and cannot order them to support Pemberton or Bragg without the orders coming directly from Richmond.

Instead of moving Holmes men to support Pemberton, Davis repeatedly tells Johnston to move men from Bragg’s army to enforce Pemberton. Johnston thinks this is absurd and doesn’t give the order, so Davis does it for him. Bragg agrees with Johnston that this is an incorrect move, but they are helpless against the President’s orders. Bragg sends 9,000 of his men to join Pemberton in an effort to protect Vicksburg from U.S. Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s army of 60,000, not including his 30,000 U.S. troops in nearby Memphis under Major General William T. Sherman and John McClernand. Even with the additional troops, Pemberton’s forces are still half of what Grant has at his disposal.

Davis and Johnston will now make their way towards Vicksburg to meet with Pemberton; the trip will take these two men who can’t stand each other three long days to get there.

U.S. Brigadier General John G. Foster posts his infantry along the riverbank along with several batteries of artillery on the hill overlooking Whitehall, North Carolina. As they begin their attack against the Confederates on the other side of the river, Foster’s troops suffer heavy casualties from their own artillery when projectiles fall short of their intended targets. A large number of sawlogs along the riverbank protect the Confederates as well as a gunboat that is being constructed; the boat receives very little damage.

150 Years Ago: Friday, December 5, 1862

Chandler House, "Fairfield"Source: Library of Congress

Chandler House, “Fairfield”
Source: Library of Congress

In an effort to be closer to his men, C.S.A. Lieutenant General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson moves his headquarters to “Fairfield”, the sprawling farm owned by the Chandler family at Guinea Station, Virginia, which is slowly becoming a main railroad supply hub for the Confederates. The Chandler’s offer Jackson use of their main house but he refuses. They try to persuade him to at least use a small outbuilding located nearby, but he instead chooses to stay in his tent; he doesn’t feel entitled to additional comforts just because of his rank. He prefers to work and sleep in the same conditions as his men.

U.S. Commanding General Ambrose Burnside has ordered Commodore Andrew Harwood to command the Potomac Flotilla, consisting of four gunboats, up the Rappahannock River from the south. Burnside assumes that all of C.S.A. General Robert E. Lee’s forces are within his sights at Fredericksburg; he is wrong. Burnside is unaware of the arrival of Jackson’s corp on December 3, and did not know C.S.A. Major D. H. Hill is as far south as Port Royal. The Confederates, with the help of skillful reconnaissance by cavalry Major General J.E.B. Stuart, have constructed rifle pits and placed a field of artillery overlooking the Rappahannock where Burnside had hoped to cross: Skinker’s Neck. To make his plan even more obvious, Burnside has also ordered the use of Union hot air balloons to oversee the traveling gunboats, which is a clear sign to the Confederates that Burnside is intending to cross his army right where they predicted. As the balloon observers watch from the air, the gunboats are relentlessly fired upon and eventually retreat. Assessing the results, Burnside comes to the conclusion that Lee expects him to cross at Skinker’s Neck and likely has reduced forces at Fredericksburg on the heights behind the city. He will need some time to formulate his plan, but Burnside now feels confident that crossing at the city would be a shock to Lee and will also be his safest bet on getting his army across the river safely.

Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City, NYSource: Library of Congress

Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City, NY
Source: Library of Congress

From the 5th Avenue Hotel in New York City former U.S. General George B. McClellan is still dealing with military affairs, though what he addresses today is an old situation that Brigadier General Charles P. Stone still has questions about. Stone had been arrested in February for his conduct in the battle of Ball’s Bluff in October 1861. One could say that the charges against Stone were political and personal; it was during this battle that U.S. Senator and Colonel Edward D. Baker was killed. The death of Baker was devastating to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, as Baker had been a long time friend from Springfield, Illinois. Congress was enraged that one of their own died in a way that they felt could have been avoided if a more capable leader – and one who was more “pro-Union” – was in charge. The blame fell on Stone, and while he was arrested and held prisoner, no charges were ever brought against him and he was released on August 16 with no explanation or apology. McClellan had tried to re-instate Stone in September as he felt his services were needed, but Secretary of War Edwin Stanton declined the request. Stone is in Washington and is still technically in the military but “awaiting orders.” McClellan writes him today in response to questions Stone had about why he was arrested; he is trying to come to terms as to what happened.

McClellan writes to Stone that he was given the order by Stanton, who informed McClellan that it was based at the solicitation of the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War and was based upon testimony taken from them (Stone was one of the 39 people who testified). He also writes that “At the time I stated to the Secy that I could not from the information in my possession understand how charges could be framed against you, that the case was too indefinite.” McClellan takes the position that he tried for several days prior to the arrest to approach the Congressional Committee and requested that they fully confront Stone with all the witnesses and testimony against him, as McClellan was “confident that you were innocence of all improper motives, and could explain whatever facts were alleged against you.” It was common for McClellan to do whatever necessary to make himself look good, so whether these statements were truthful or whether McClellan was posturing to make himself out to be a hero is unclear.

From Chattanooga, C.S.A. General Joseph E. Johnston boards a train to Murfreesboro, Tennessee so he can see General Braxton Bragg’s army and assess their situation. In the meantime C.S.A. Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton has his hands full with U.S. Major General Ulysses S. Grant as he continues to push his way south into Mississippi towards Vicksburg.

150 Years Ago: Thursday, December 4, 1862

CSA General Joseph E. JohnstonSource: Library of Congress

CSA General Joseph E. Johnston
Source: Library of Congress

C.S.A. General Joseph E. Johnston had been one of the most successful generals in the earlier stages of the war, but was forced out of commission when he was seriously wounded on May 31 at Seven Pines by an exploding Union shell. He has recuperated from his injuries but has had difficulties getting a new assignment due to his continuous disagreements with Confederate President Jefferson Davis as they both openly dislike each other. But Davis needs capable generals and while he has General Robert E. Lee handling affairs very well in the Eastern theater, the Western theater has been weakened and continues to be threatened by Major General Ulysses S. Grant and the very capable men who serve under him. Despite what Davis’s personal feelings are about Johnston, he is the most capable for the job. Today Johnston starts his new position as Commander of the Department of the West. With his headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, he is now responsible for land from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River, which includes Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and parts of North Carolina, Louisiana and Georgia. He will oversee two large armies, one commanded by General Braxton Bragg in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and the other by Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Johnston doesn’t have much time to settle in before he receives an urgent message from Pemberton that he is falling back due to strong pursuits from Grant’s forces and desperately needs reinforcements. The Confederate government had originally sent additional troops to Pemberton but they have since been moved to northern Arkansas. Johnston looks to Bragg to see if he has any troops to spare; he doesn’t, and even if he did it would be difficult to move the troops past the strong Union lines. Though Johnston oversees a vast amount of territory, he has absolutely no control over the additional troops that are in Arkansas. While it would make the most sense to order them back to protect the crucial city of Vicksburg, Johnston must look to Richmond to give the order. In the meantime he asks Bragg if he could at least spare some cavalry to disrupt Grant’s supply lines.

U.S. Corporal Elisha Hunt Rhodes and the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers are finally on the move:

“I do not know exactly where we are. We left our camp near Stafford Court House this morning and marched to this place which is twelve miles below Fredericksburg and half way between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. I know one thing – it is very cold on the hill where we are in camp.”

Joshua Lawrence ChamberlainSource: Library of Congress

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
Source: Library of Congress

In camp in Falmouth across from Fredericksburg, Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of the 20th Maine writes to his wife Fanny back home about these first few days of December:

My Dearest Fanny,

We have been here a week & are waiting nobody knows for what. All sorts of rumors arise of course, but our business is to obey orders & it becomes us to be patient as well as obedient. There is a great army here you may be sure something will be done with it, I have no doubt. Saturday I rode over to the front, on the banks of the Rappahannock, only a few rods from the Rebels opposite in Fredericksburg. I rode along for some miles, & of course I had no difficulty in seeing the Rebels. They were busy as bees throwing up fortifications & planting cannon. They kept as much out of sight as possible in order not to show their forces movements. I did not feel fully comfortable, I own, in full view & reach of every one of those ugly looking cannon. They are training to slaughter us by & by, & some of the Rebel rifles looked saucy, but I presumed on the mutual understanding not to fire on either side & so in company with Mr. Brown took my time to view the city & enemy at my leisure. We did not stay very long in one spot, but dashed along from hill to hill, leaping ditches & scampering around in a quite exhilarating fashion. Fredericksburg is a fine looking city; some of the buildings – churches I imagine chiefly – are really in good taste. Warrenton is the only Virginia city I have seen equal to this. We called on Wm. H. Owen on our way back, & reaching camp at dark found that we had orders to go out on picket five or six miles to the right where some of our cavalry had been taken – “gobbled up” as the press elegantly has it – a day or two ago. Our orders were to stay out forty-eight hours & expect a skirmish. The picketing we did – the skirmishing, not.

The first day of December was a lovely day. I thought of you in my rude tent & grow rather lonely, till some duty took me away. You may imagine how warm it is, or perhaps how tough I am, when I say that I took a full bath in “Potomac creek” the first day of winter, without the least inconvenience. To be sure ice formed to quite a thickness the night before, but the days are delightful when it does not rain. Sometimes it snows – a wet driving snow – then I beg to assure you it is not particularly agreeable weather to experience. The country is nearly all devastated in this part of the state & starvation pretty sure for some I cannot but believe. The distress is great now. Our generals are kind enough to place guards around every house that is inhabited & Rebel property is carefully protected from pillage. Our Quartermasters it is true take whatever we must have & give receipts for it which are presented to the Govt, & pay obtained on them I suppose. I do not think the Rebels are treated very severely however. If this were really war we should not leave rabid secessionists within our lines to observe & give information while we protect them from loss or harm. I do not mean to question the propriety of the present policy. But regardless in a merely military point of view, the war would seem to be much more effectively carried forward if we should leave no Treachery in the midst of us or behind us – nor anything to aid support or strengthen the enemy. We should take horses, forage, cattle, & send women & children & all non-resistants over the lines; all active rebels to the rear that is to confinement within our lines, & for every ship burned at sea fire a rebel courthouse, or even private house worth $20,000 to $50,000. I tell you we should not have to fight the same ground over again, as we have here so many times. In that way we should weaken & crowd the enemy & at the same time strengthen & advance ourselves. Of course the country would be laid waste absolutely, but it would be war. We have not got over the old idea of suppressing a mob. Whatever cruelty there might seem to be in the course I indicated would be countervailed if the great saving of life & treasure in a speedier ending of the war. Now we take no advantages, use little or no strategy, but gain what we do by mainforce, by bearing on.

Perhaps I speak strongly but it seems to me you may think I am very savage in what I have said, but it is to lessen animosity. I looked over at the Rebels in Fredericksburg, without the least blood-thirstiness though if the order had come to “charge” on them, I could have gone in with all the vigor & earnestness in the world. Did I ever tell you that I tried to find out, of a rebel South Carolina officer-prisoner what had become of your uncle Harold? He did not know. I don’t believe he was foolish enough to get hung after all his knowledge of the world. He is probably a resident still of S. Carolina.

Today – Only think we had two ladies to dine with us on tin platters yesterday Mrs. Eaton & Mrs. Fogg of the Sanitary commission & very proper & efficient ladies they are too. They think I have been well instructed in the manly art of taking ladies bonnets & cloaks properly. Send them to have your Thanksgiving letter & the package of shirts & drawers (2 pairs) just what I wanted – & the “Jomini” too (art of war) with a letter tonight from Sarah from Prof. Smith of Bangor, from Mrs. Bacon & from Julia poor girl. I feel perfectly crazed so much good fortune. I thank you very much & think you are as usual a darling. I dreamed of you last night of course. I shall write you another letter on our wedding day the 7th. About the money there can’t be any risk of it being lost. The delay I don’t understand I have not had a cent yet. They owe me $600. So already in haste to get this off & love to aunty & the darlings, your own Lawrence.

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.

150 Years Ago: Monday, April 15, 1861

By now most of the country was aware of the Battle at Fort Sumter and the end result. President Lincoln’s April 14 proclamation regarding troops was officially announced to the country, quickly followed by proclamations from state Governors carrying out the order. Even the Southern states that had seceded were each given a quota of a single regiment; those orders would not be carried out.

In Tennessee, Governor Isham Harris ordered a second session of the state legislature to consider the option of a second secession convention. While Tennessee had originally rejected the idea of secession, the call for troops and their quota of two regiments sent the Governor over the edge. He would refuse the order.

In Pensacola, Florida, Braxton Bragg (CSA) puts Lieutenant John Warden (USA) under arrest, making him the first prisoner of war. Three days prior, Bragg had been promoted to full General by CSA President Davis for his heroism; he was the fifth one to achieve this rank, and would eventually be one of only seven in the Confederacy.

In the 1860’s it was not uncommon for people to keep diaries. Now, thousands across the USA and CSA would keep Civil War journals in an effort to preserve history & their part in it. From her uncle’s plantation in Yazoo, Mississippi, 19-year-old Kate S. Carney wrote of hearing the good news of the Confederate victory at Fort Sumter, writing “Rejoice-Rejoice.

Six hundred miles north in Hanover, Indiana, Marie Hester Brandt would start a diary collection of her own. Today, this 38-year-old Quaker Sabbath schoolteacher wrote of Lincoln’s proclamation and her sadness over the affair. “Of all wars a civil war is the saddest, may the Lord overrule the affairs of Nation, and bring good out of evil”, she wrote.

As news quickly spread, people wrote to their loved ones on their thoughts regarding this unique set of circumstances. Edward M. Stanton on this day wrote to his brother-in-law in Pittsburgh. Having been appointed Attorney General by President Buchanan in 1860, he was credited with changing Buchanan’s stance on secession from tolerance to denouncing it as illegal & unconstitutional. Like many in government, he had strong views on the situation and what would be required for either side to win.


It is now certain that we are about to be engaged in a general civil war between the Northern and Southern States. Everyone will regret this as a great calamity to the human race. But at the same time attention will be directed to the influence it will exercise upon the business & affairs of the country.

I think it will result in a great activity in all mechanical & productive classes of business, and especially in whatever is connected with the supplies & transports required by a State of War. The contest will very soon be directed toward New Orleans. Its capture & fortification will no doubt be one of the first aims of the Government.

This will create a demand for boats, provisions, arms, ammunition, & supplies generally. The manufacturing interests of Pittsburgh will I think receive a strong impulse. — its shipping interests will especially be in great advance. A proclamation for seventy five thousand men will be issued today. A larger portion of these will have to come from the west and must be transported either east or South — a considerable no doubt in both directions. Their subsistence & transport will require supplies — become cheaper than by rail.

There will no doubt be an attack by the Southern forces on Washington — the capture of the capital will be the first movement probably. The government will of course strive to protect it but whether successfully or not is perhaps doubtful.

But in the end I think the most important & successful operations will have to be by the Mississippi in concert with corresponding movements on the Sea board.

But no general alarm or excitement. The Union feeling predominates. The impression prevails that Virginia will join the Confederate States & probably Maryland. Many persons are preparing to remove from here. I shall remain, and take the chances, feeling a firm faith in the final result in power of the Government and willing to encounter its risks.

These views I give you in confidence as the best judgment I can learn at present of the strange events now transpiring.

Give my love to Mrs. Hutchison and the family at Homewood. Ellen and the children are well.

Very truly,
Edwin M. Stanton


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