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'encounter took place at Salem Heights, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, and Sedgwick was unable to do more than hold his own, and hardly that, for his losses were very heavy
j (probably quite 5,000) and the enemy were attacking him from several different points. This was on Sunday night.
On Monday morning, May 4th, Lee finding it necessary to get rid of Sedgwick before attacking Hooker in his new line of defence, ordered reinforcements on the ground, so as to cut Sedgwick off from, or drive him across, the Rappahannock. The attack was not begun till late in the afternoon, when the rebels rushed furiously upon our men; but Sedgwick's force resisted stubbornly, notwithstanding they were forced to yield ground on the left. Darkness soon after put an end to further fighting, and under cover of the night, the corps of Sedgwick crossed the river at Banks's Ford, on a pontoon bridge laid the day before.* Having thus relieved himself of any trouble from this quarter, Lee now determined to attack Hooker with all his force at daylight, on Wednesday, May 6th. During the night, however, Hooker, who seemed to have lost all the spirit which men supposed to
* Hooker's course towards Sedgwick has been sharply criticised, because especially he took no steps to aid the latter in forming a junction with him. Before the committee on the conduct of the war he laid the blame of the disaster of Chancellorsville on Sedgwick's failing to join to him on Sunday morning. "This is a cruel charge," says Mr. Swinton, " to bring against a commander now beyond the reach of detraction; whose brilliant exploit in carrying the Fredericksburg Heights and hia subsequent fortitude in a trying situation, shins out as the one relieving brightness amid the u-loom of that hapless battle."—"Army of the PotoTuv." p. 303.
belong to " Fighting Joe," ordered the army across the Rappahannoi k, and "ingloriously" left the rebels masters of the field.
The losses on our side, in this badly managed Chancellorsville affair, were 17,197 killed, wounded, and missing. There were left behind on the retreat the killed and wounded, fourteen pieces of artillery, and 20,000 stand of arms; Lee claimed also to have 5,000 prisoners. The rebel loss was said to be, in all, 10,281.
Stoneman, it will be remembered, (seep. 280),had been ordered with a fine body of cavalry, some 10,000 in number, to operate against the rebel com munications, and thereby, it was hoped, greatly to aid the plans of Hooker in his advance upon Chancellorsville, It was intended that he should precede the army by at least a fortnight; but very unfortunately, heavy and continuous rains delayed the cavalry movement until April 29th, when the infantry crossed the river. Stoneman's command was then divided into two columns; one which was under Averill, moved to the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and encountered two regiments of rebels, who retired towards Gordonsville. Thence he proceeded to Culpepper, dispersed quite a large force, destroyed rebel stores, etc. After considerable active service, Averill was ordered, May 2d, to join Hooker at once. The other column, under Buford, was charged with the breaking up the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad, the destroying of bridges, and everything else which could be of advantage to the enemy. A large amount of damage of various kinds was done, and Col. Kilpatriok with his force dashed up within two miles of Richmond; but the important Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad was not struck till the 3d of May, and then only trifling injury was inflicted. The James River canal was also damaged but slightly. The principal effect of the raid was to rouse and alarm the entire region; but, as far as any military gain to Hooker, or any future operations in Virginia were conconcerned, Stoneman's raid was of very little consequence.
The army having escaped across the Rappahannock, on Wednesday, May 6th, resumed its old quarters at Falmouth, and on the same day Hooker issued a congratulatory address, which was in bad taste, to say the least, and might better have been dispensed with under the circumstances. The war department also, under date of May 8th, 1863, in a dispatch sent to the governers of the northern states, endeavored to put the best face possible upon matters, as follows:—" The presideut and general-in-chief have just returned from the Army of the Potomac. The principal operations of Gen. Hooker failed, but there has been no serious disaster to the organization and efficiency of the army. It is now occupying its former position on the Rappahannock, having recrossed the river
without any loss in the movement. Not more than a third of Gen. Hooker's ,I force was engaged. Gen. Stoneman's operations have been a brilliant success. Part of his force advanced to within two miles' of Richmond, and the enemy's communications have been cut in every direction. The Army of the Potomac will speedily resume offensive j operations."
A military critic of repute, as well as of some pretensions, devotes a number of pages to what he calls "Observations on the battle of Chancellorsville,'' which are severe but not undeserved, | and which show how it was that an! "action which, opening with an exhibi- i, tion of grand tactics, marked by masterly skill, sank into conduct so feeble and faulty as to be almost beneath criticism." We have room for only the concluding paragraph: "Not the Army of the Potomac was beaten at Chancellorsville, but its commander; and Gen. Hooker's j conduct inflicted a very severe blow to j his reputation. The officers despised his generalship, and the rank and file were puzzled at the result of a battle in which they had been foiled without | being fought, and caused to retreat without the consciousness of having been beaten."*
DEPARTMENT OP THE SOUTH: NAVAL OPERATIONS: BANKS AND PORT HUDSON.
Department of the South — Hunter in command — Gen. Saxton, and negro troops—The iron-clads in tie Ogeechee — Privateer Nashville destroyed by Commander Worden — Movements of the rebels in Charleston harbor — Lofty claims as to breaking the blockade — Attack on Port McAllister — Negroes drafted to servo in the army — Beauregard's appeal — Dupont begins the attack on Charleston — His force — Beauregard's vast and formidable preparations — Opening of the battle — Terrific fire of the rebels — Bravery cf our officers and men in the assault — Dupont gives up the attempt for the present to take Charleston — Gillmore succeeds Hunter—Department of the Gulf — Banks sent to succeed Butler — Expedition under Banks — Ad. dress to the people of Louisiana, etc. — Military movements—Port Hudson, its position and strength — Attempt to sail past the batteries—Farragut's ship alone succeeds — Losses, etc. — Banks's demonstration against Port Hudson — Operations against the rebels west of New Orleans, near Teche River — Queen of the West destroyed — Further movements — Entire success—Banks occupies Alexandria — Enters upon attack and siege of Port Hudson — Long and tedious delays — Steady progress — Rebel General Gardner surrenders — Severity of the blow to the rebel cause.
In a previous chapter (see p. 151), we have given a brief narrative of affairs in the department of the South. There had not much of any importance been effected, owing to the weakness of the force under the commander of
this department; and since Gen. Mitchel's death, October 30th, 1862, but little had been attempted or done, beyond keeping a vigilant watch on the part of the blockading force in view of subsequent undertakings. Gen. Hunter, on the 20th of January, resumed command, at Port Royal, of the department of the South. Vigorous preparations were entered upon, while the monitors and iron-clads, from which much was expected in regard to conflicts with the rebels, were being completed at the North. The original Monitor, as we have before noted (p. 136),* passed out of existence on the
* The Monitor left Fortress Monroe, on the 29th of December, in tow of the gun boat Rhode Island, on her
last day of the year 1862, with circumstances of painful interest. Her companion, the Passaic, with the Montauk, and the formidable battery, the New Ironsides, made their appearance at Port Royal about the middle of January. Active operations were now promised, and speedy employment in the field.
Gen. Saxton, who had been sent by the secretary of war, in June, 1862, to give attention to the abandoned plantations, and the people, especially the negroes, in the department of the
way to the South. The next day she passed Hatteras Shoals in safety; but that night there set in a furious storm from the southwest, which dashed over and soon began to fill the doomed vessel. The Rhode Island did all that was possible in endeavoring to relieve the Monitor; but it was impossible to save her. She went down about two o'clock on the morning of December 31st. Commander Bankhead, in command of the Monitor at the time of the disaster, with six of his officers and forty men, were brought back in safety on the Rhode Island to Fortress Monroe. Four officers and twelve men of the Monitor were lost, and one officer and seven men of the Rhode Island, in their efforts to save the men on the iron clad.
South, and who was to report directly, once a week at least, to the war department,* announced, about this date, the complete organization of the first (negro) regiment of South Carolina volunteers, Colonel Higginson being in command. He also gave it as his decided opinion, that this body of troops was "not surpassed by any white regiment in the department."
Admiral Dupont, in command of the South Atlantic squadron, for the purpose of testing the iron-clads recently arrived at Port Royal, ordered the Montauk, Commander Worden, to the Ogeechee River, opening into the Ossabaw Sound, on the Georgia coast, and through which there was an approach to within ten miles of Savannah. The privateer Nashville, which had made a number of successful trips as a blockade runner between Charleston, Wilmington and Nassau, had, in July, 1862, taken refuge in the Ogeechee, and was compelled by our fleet to remain there. For seven months she had thus been confined to the river, the defences of which had been meanwhile created and strengthened by various obstructions, and by the erection of Fort McAllister at an advantageous bend of the stream. To destroy these works and capture the Nashville, was the object proposed for the navy. It was known that the Nashville, now fitted as a privateer, was ready for sea, and it was rumored that the Fingal, a British steamer, converted into a formidable iron-clad war vessel at Savannah, would come from that
* See McPherson's " History of the Rebellion," p. 251. The letter of Secretary Stanton is interesting, in view of the policy and purpose of the government on' several perplexing questions.
port to her assistance. With these inducements for action, Commander Worden began the attack on the fort with the Montauk, Seneca, and three other gun boats of the blockading squadron, on the 27th of January. For five hours through the forenoon, an "artillery duel" was kept up, chiefly between the fort and the monitor, the latter being struck thirteen times, with little or no
damage. A few indentations on _„
her iron surface were the only injuries she sustained. She was the greater part of the action within about 1,600 yard of the fort, upon which no serious impression seems to have been made. Another attempt was made by Commander Worden with the same force on Sunday, the 1st of February, at as close quarters as the obstructions of stakes and torpedoes, and natural difficulties of the river permitted, within a thousand yards of the battery, but with no better success. In this second action the Montauk received sixty-one shots; her smoke-stack was riddled with balls, and her flag-staff carried away, yet she came out without serious injury. The fort was somewhat damaged in this engagement; a 30-pounder was dismounted, and the parapet badly torn in several places. Major Gallie was killed, and seven privates injured by concussion. The principal result thus far appeared to be to test the defensive qualities of the monitor class of vessels.
The Nashville, we may here mention, continued concealed and protected behind Fort McAllister through the month of February to the 27th, when, at evening, she was observed in motion above
the battery by Commander Worden. "A reconnaissance immediately made," Bays he, in his report of the next day to Admiral Dupont, "proved that in moving up the river she had grounded in that part of the river known as the seven-miles' reach. Believing that I could, by approaching close to the battery, reach and destroy her with my battery, I moved up at daylight this morning, accompanied by the blockading fleet in these waters, consisting of the Seneca, Lieut.-Commander Gibson; the "Wissahickon, Lieut.-Commander Davis, and the Dawn, Acting Lieut.-Commander Barnes. By moving up close to the obstructions in the river, I was enabled, although under a heavy fire from the battery, to approach the Nashville, still aground, within the distance of 1,200 yards. A few well-directed shells determined the range, and soon succeeded in striking her with 11-inch and 15-inch shells. The other gun boats maintained a fire from an enfiladed position upon the battery, and the Nashville at long range. I soon had the satisfaction of observing that the Nashville had caught fire, from the shells exploding in her, in several places; and in less than twenty minutes she was caught in flames forward, aft and amidships. At 9.20 A. M. a large pivot-gun, mounted abaft her foremast, exploded from the heat; at 9.40 her smoke-chimney went by the board; and at 9.55 her magazine exploded with terrific violence, shattering her in smoking ruins. Nothing remains of her. The battery kept up a continuous fire upon this vessel, but struck her but five times, doing no damage whatever. The
fire upon the other gun boats was wild, and did them no damage whatever. After assuring myself of the complete destruction of the Nashville, I, preceded by the wooden vessels, dropped down beyond the range of the enemy's guns. In so doing, a torpedo exploded under this vessel, inflicting, however, but little injury. I beg leave, therefore, to congratulate you, sir, upon this final disposition of a vessel which has so long been in the minds of the public as a troublesome pest."
The state of inactivity, which had for sometime prevailed in the vicinity of Charleston, was broken, not long after Gen. Hunter's arrival, and a daring movement was undertaken by the rebel vessels upon the blockading squadron. It appears, that early on the morning of the 29th of January, an iron-clad steamer, the Princess Royal, only four days out- from Bermuda, attempted to run the blockade. The gun boat Unadilla immediately took steps to arrest her progress, and fired a couple of shots at the stranger. The Princess Royal' was run a shore and abandoned, and was at once taken possession of by the Unadilla. This proved to be a very valuable prize, having engines for ironclads, rifled guns, ammunition, and stores of all kinds on board. Two days later she was taken to Port Royal, and subsequently sent to Philadelphia for adjudication.
Deeply chagrined at this loss, the rebels determined to make a bold dash, and not only to recover possession of the Princess Royal, but also to attack the blockading squadron. Accordingly, about four o'clock in the morning