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ment upon Richmond by General Butler from the South. The division of General Alexander Hays was thrown across the river and some sharp fighting ensued; but when night fell the troops were withdrawn and went again into camp. It was early in March, 1864, that Hancock definitively relieved General Warren. The Army of the Potomac was now in the body looking across the Rapidan toward Richmond, and in the spirit contemplating the opening of the great campaign which all believed, even after the disappointments of 1862 and 1863, was to close the rebellion. Again and again the Confederate armies had escaped seemingly inevitable destruction—in part by their own extraordinary gallantry and endurance; in part by good luck and the accidents of war; in part by manifest blunders of management or the hopeless incompetency of Union commanders. The almost incessant battling of two years had told for the national cause in training soldiers and officers for this great final effort; it had told against the Confederate cause through losses both of men and of material which could not be replaced. Moreover, the renowned chieftain who in July had opened the Mississippi to the Gulf, and in November had driven Bragg's army from the heights of Chattanooga, had come from the West to give a last crushing blow to the army of Northern Virginia. On the 26th of February, 1864, Congress passed a bill to create the grade of lieutenant general. The bill became law on March 1st, and on the same day Grant was nominated to that high office. The nomination was confirmed on the 2d. On the 8th General Grant arrived in Washington. After a brief visit to Brandy Station he returned to the West to make his final arrangements for the campaign against Atlanta. On the 26th his headquarters were established at Culpepper. The Army of the Potomac was largely reconstructed. The five corps of which it was composed (the Eleventh and Twelfth having gone West, after Gettysburg, to reenforce the army of Rosecrans) were consolidated into three. Two of these gallant, much-enduring organizations had therefore to lose their name and place. It was a hard fate for the officers and Soldiers who had borne their corps colors and badges with so much distinction through so many severe actions. Whether it was actually necessary may, as we now look back upon this episode, be gravely questioned. But it was done for the public good, and was believed to be for the efficiency of the army. The main object was not to increase the mass, and with this the zeal and self-confidence, of the three corps remaining. It was primarily a question of the higher officers. The experiences of 1863 had painfully shown how great a step it is from the charge of a division to that of a corps. The Mine Run campaign had been brought to utter failure by the incapacity of one out of the five commanders; and it was generally felt that two others of the group were beyond their depth, though intelligent and accomplished officers who were incapable of making gross mistakes or palpably falling short of their high office. General Meade believed that he could find three first-class commanders for the army assembled around Brandy Station; he did not feel sure of a fourth, much less of a fifth. The two corps which were selected for the sacrifice were the First and the Third. The First Corps was to go entire to the Fifth, which was in the approaching campaign to be commanded by General Warren. The Third Corps was to be divided: its third division was to go to the Sixth Corps under Sedgwick; its first and second divisions, the old divisions of Kearney and Hooker, were to be assigned, still as distinct divisions, to the Second Corps. Of the grief and anger of the officers and men of the Third Corps at this dismemberment of the noble body of troops with which they had been so long connected, of which they had justly been so proud, and which to them had become a sacred thing, it is not fitting that we should speak here. The assignment of these two divisions of itself wrought a great change in the life of the Second Corps. But greater changes were to come with bewildering rapidity. During the two years which had elapsed since its organization by President

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Lincoln in March, 1862, the corps—notwithstanding
the trying demands made upon it, each battle finding
the wounds of the last still unhealed ; notwithstand-
ing the enormous sum of its losses in men and even
more in officers—had maintained an unbroken con-
tinuity of life and a high degree of harmony be-
tween its constituent parts. Twelve thousand six
hundred men had been killed, wounded, or captured
in action during 1862; and out of its depleted
ranks seven thousand two hundred had been lost
in the battles of 1863. Yet through all this the
corps had retained its integrity and its character-
istic quality. New regiments had from time to
time been sent to recruit its ranks; four entire
brigades had joined it; yet there was always
enough remaining of the old body and the old spirit
to take up, assimilate, and vitalize the new ma-
terial. Moreover, between the rapid, exhausting
marches and the oft-recurring desperate battles had
been, at least, distinct, if brief, intervals of rest and
discipline, in winter and in summer camps, when
the shattered regiments regained form and tone,
when the new men learned the ways of the old and
caught the spirit of the organization they had
entered. The time had now come for a fierce and
o'ermastering change in the constituents, and, by a
necessary consequence, in some degree also in the
character of the Second Corps :
The following was the composition of the com-

mand on the 31st of March, 1864, after the accession of the troops from the Third Corps: Artillery Brigade.—Colonel John C. Tidball. First Division. — Brigadier-General Francis C. Barlow. First Brigade: Colonel Nelson A. Miles. Second Brigade: Colonel Thomas A. Smyth. Third Brigade: Colonel Paul Frank. Fourth Brigade: Colonel John R. Brooke. Second Division.—Brigadier-General John Gibbon. First Brigade: Brigadier-General Alexander S. Webb. Second Brigade: Brigadier-General Joshua T. Owen, Third Brigade: Colonel S. Sprigg Carroll. Third Division.—Major-General David B. Birney. First Brigade: Brigadier-General J. H. Hobart Ward. Second Brigade: Brigadier-General Alexander Hays. Fourth Division.—Brigadier-General Joseph B. Carr. First Brigade: Brigadier-General Gershom Mott. Second Brigade: Colonel William R. Brewster. The aggregate force of the enlarged command was 43,055, distributed as follows: Corps staff, 18; Artillery, 663; First Division, 12,250; Second Division, 1 1,367 ; Third Division, 10,174; Fourth Division, 8,563. The same aggregate was further distributed as follows: Present for duty, equipped, 23,877; on extra or daily duty, 4,422 ; sick, 1,278; in arrest or confinement, 152; absent, 13,306. It does not need to be

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