diers, with his transports and two remaining gunboats; while there were not Rebel soldiers enough within a day's ride to have brought to a halt one of his regiments, properly led. Dick Taylor's force, such as it was, was far away; Houston, flanking Galveston, was but 40 miles distant; Gen. Washburne was at Brashear, with a force equal to Franklin's, ready to cooperate in the purposed advance, in case the latter had taken these poor earthworks, defended by a captain" and 250 men, and sent back his transports for reenforcements. Instead of taking them, however, or even trying, Franklin—finding no place to land where he might not get his feet wet—slunk meekly back to New Orleans;" leaving the Texans to exult, very fairly, over a fruitful victory gained against odds of at least twenty to one.

Gen. Banks now concentrated his disposable forces on the Atchafalaya, with intent to advance directly upon Shreveport; but found this utterly impracticable. The country west and north-west of Brashear had been so exhausted by the armies that had successively occupied it that no food and little forage was to be gleaned from it; an intense drouth now prevailed all over that flat region; where, though bayous abound, living springs and brooks of drinkable water are scarce; the roads were few and very bad, often winding for miles through dense forests; and it was not possible to transport by wagons all the food and forage needed by an army strong enough to overcome all probable resistance. No course seemed open for a fulfillment of the desires and expectations of the Government

concerning Texas but that of a marine expedition; which was accordingly resolved on.

Meantime, a considerable force had been sent, under Gen. F. J. Herron, to Morganzia, opposite but above Port Hudson, where the Rebels had a vicious habit of taking advantage of the narrowness and crookedness of the Mississippi to 'bushwhack' our passing vessels. No resistance being here encountered, an outpost had been established several miles inland, consisting of the 19th Iowa and 26th Indiana, with two guns, under Lt,-Col. Leake, with 150 cavalry, under Major Montgomery—in all, some 600 to 800 strong. Though it was known that Green, with a far stronger Rebel force, was in their front across the Atchafalaya, no proper vigilance was exercised; and, three weeks after this outpost had been established, it was surprised" by Green, who, with a far superior force, crossed the bayou during a dark night, surrounded our camp, and captured our guns and most of our infantry—not less than 400, including Leake and Lt.-Col. Rose. The cavalry escaped with a loss of five men. We had 14 killed and 40 wounded. Gen. N. J. T. Dana had just succeeded Herron in command at Morganzia.

In order to mask his intended movement on Texas by sea, Gen. Banks now pushed out a considerable force, under Gen. C. C. Washburne, to Opelousas, which was reached without a conflict; but, when Washburne commenced ** his retreat to the Teche, pursuant to orders, the Rebels, under Taylor and Green, followed sharply on his track, and,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

stealing up," under cover of woods, to our right, under Gen. Burbridge, struck suddenly and heavily, about noon, while the 23d Wisconsin was engaged in voting for State officers— that being election day in their State. That regiment was speedily reduced from 226 to 98 men—many of the rest, of course, prisoners, including its Colonel, Guppy, who was wounded; while the brigade of which it formed a part went into the fight numbering 1,010, and came out 361. The loss was mainly in the 67th Indiana, which ingloriously surrendered without having lost a man. Our right, thus suddenly assailed in great force, and with intense fury, was broken, and was saved from utter destruction by the devoted bravery of the 23d Wisconsin and the efficient service of Nim's battery. We lost one gun, which was not recovered; the Rebels, upon the bringing up of the 3d division, Gen. McGinnis, retreating rapidly to the shelter of the adjacent woods. Washburne reports a loss of 26 killed, 12-1 wounded, and 566 missing (prisoners); total: T16. The Rebels lost 60 killed, 65 prisoners, and 300 wounded.

Gen. Banks's new expedition, 6,000 strong, led by Banks himself, but more immediately commanded by Gen. Dana, made" directly for the Rio Grande, debarking" at Brazos Santiago, driving oft' the small cavalry force there stationed, and following it to Brownsville, 30 miles above, which was entered by our advance on the 16th; as was Point Isabel two days later. The Rebel works commanding Aransap Pass were next taken by assault, which gave us their guns and

100 prisoners. Moving thence on Pass Cavallo, commanding the western entrance to Matagorda Bay, our army invested Fort Esperanza, which was thereupon abandoned; most of its garrison escaping to the main land.

Banks had expected to follow up this success—which gave us control of the coast from the Rio Grande to the Brazos—by a movement on Indianola or on Matagorda: but this involved a collision with whatever Rebel force could be collected in Texas; and he deemed himself too weak to challenge such an encounter. With a moderate roenforcement, he might have seized Galveston Island— sealing up the coast of Texas against blockade-runners: as it was, he felt obliged to desist and return to New Orleans.

Gen. Dana, after Banks had left him in command at Brownsville, sent an expedition up the river 120 miles to Roma, which encountered much privation, but no enemy; then another 70 miles eastward, toward Corpus Christi, which found no Rebel force in this direction. The Rebels had shifted their Mexican trade to Eagle Pass, 350 miles up, whither Dana was unable to follow them. Being afterward ordered to Pass Cavallo, he found" two of our brigades in quiet possession of Indianola, on the main land, with an equal force on the Matagorda peninsula opposite, and all Texas west of the Colorado virtually abandoned to our arms. He believed we had force enough then on that coast to have moved boldly inland and contested the mastery of the State; but he was overruled, and soon relieved from command.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]




Gen. Burnside reluctantly, and with unfeigned self-distrust, succeeded 1 to the command of the Army of the Potomac. The devotion to McClellan of its principal officers, and of many of their subordinates, was Bo ardent that any other commander must have had a poor chance of hearty, unquestioning support; and Burnside would gladly have shrunk from the ordeal. Having no alternative, however, but disobedience of orders, he accepted the trust, and immediately commenced preparations for a movement of his forces down the Rappahannock to FredericksBurg, which he had selected as on the proper as well as the direct line of operations from Washington against Richmond: masking his purpose, for a few days, by menacing an advance on Gordonsville. Lee soon1 penetrated his real design, and commenced a parallel movement down the south bank of the river; while J. E. B. Stuart, raiding' across at Warrenton Springs, entered Warrenton just after our rear-guard had left it, obtaining ample confirmation of his chief's conclusions; whereupon, the residue of Longstreet's corps was moved rapidly eastward. Meantime, Gen. Sumner's advance had reached4 Falmouth, and attempted to cross to Fredericksburg, but been easily repulsed; the bridges being burned and our pontoons—owing to a misunderstanding between Gens. Halleck and Burnside, each of whom conceived that the other was

to impel their dispatch from Washington—did not start so early as they should have done, and then experienced detention from bad roads and grounded vessels on the way: so that they did not reach Falmouth till after most of Lee's army had been concentrated on the heights across the river, ready to dispute its passage.

Fredericksburg was summoned * by Gen. Sumner: the authorities replying that, while it would not be used to assail us, its occupation by our troops would be resisted to the utmost. Most of the inhabitants thereupon abandoned the place, which was occupied by Barksdale's Mississippi brigade, sharp-shooting from behind houses; while Lee's engineers pressed the fortification of the heights behind it, and Wade Hampton dashed* across the river above, raiding up to Dumfries and the Occoquan, capturing 200 cavalry and a number of wagons; and a like dash across was made below Port Royal, in boats, by part of Beale's regiment; taking some prisoners. Our gunboats having Bteamed up the river so far as Port Royal, D. H. Hill assailed' them with cannon, and compelled them to retire; when he proceeded to fortify the right bank, so as to prevent their return.

The Rappahannock, above Port Royal, being generally narrow, with high bluffs often approaching it, now on one side, then on the other, Leo decided that he could not prevent its commenced1 throwing over pontoons to Fredericksburg; also at a point nearly two miles below. The Engineer corps had laid the upper pontoon two-thirds of the way, when daylight exposed them to the fire of the enemy's 6harp-shooters, which drove them off; and the work was completed by the 7th Michigan, who had 5 killed and 16 wounded, including Lt.-Col. Baxter. Supported and followed by the 19th and 20th Massachusetts, they speedily finished the job, having dashed across the river in boats;" taking 35 prisoners. We lost 300 in all in laying our pontoons and clearing the city of the enemy.

'not. 8,1802. a Nov. 13. 'Nov. IS. « Nov. 17. 'Nov. 21. • Nov. 28. 'Dec. 5.

[merged small][ocr errors][graphic][merged small][merged small]

Gen. Franklin, on our left, encountered less resistance—the make of the land being there favorable to us—and laid his pontoons without loss. Possession of both banks being thus secured, two other pontoons were laid at either point, and our army mainly pushed across during that and the following days." The next was that chosen for the assault on the Rebel position; whose strength, though under-estimated by Burnside, was known to be very considerable.

Lee's army, fully 80,000 strong, was stretched along and behind the southern bluffs of the Rappahannock from a point a mile or so above Fredericksburg, to one four or five miles below. At its right, the bluffs recede two miles or so: the Massaponax here falling into the Rappahannock; the ground being decidedly less favorable to the defensive. It was organized in two grand corps, whereof that of Stonewall Jackson held the right; that of Longstreet the left. A. P. Hill commanded

• Night of Deo. 10-11.

'Among the volunteers first to cross was

the left advance of Jackson's corps; which was confronted by Franklin's grand division, about 40,000 strong. On our right, or in and before Fredericksburg, were the grand divisions of Hooker and Sumner, numbering at least 60,000. But, while 300 Rebel guns were advantageously posted on every eminence and raked every foot of ground by which they could be approached, our heavy guns were all posted on the north side of the river, where their fire could rarely reach the enemy; while they made some havoc among our own men until Burnside silenced them.

The weather had been cold, and the ground was frozen; but an Indian Summer mildness had succeeded, which filled the valley of the Rappahannock with a dense fog, covering for a time the formation of our columns of assault; while a portion of our guns were firing wildly and uselessly; but at length a bright sun dispelled the mist, and, at 11 A. M., Couch's division, on our right, emerging from among the battered buildings, moved swiftly to the assault.

Braver men never smiled at death than those who climbed Marye's Hill that fatal day; their ranks plowed through and torn to pieces by Rebel batteries even in the process of formation ; and when at heavy cost they had reached the foot of the hill, they were confronted by a solid stone wall, four feet high, from behind which a Confederate brigade of infantry mowed them down like grass, exposing but their heads to our bullets, and these only while themselves firing. Never did men fight better or die, alas! more fruitlessly than did

Rev. Arthur 6. Fuller, Chaplain 16th Mass., who was killed by a rifle-shot. "Dec. 11-12.

« 上一頁繼續 »