Today in History:

25 Series I Volume XII-I Serial 15 - Second Manassas Part I


In this movement the President acquiesced, in the following postscript to telegram dated:


Major-General FREMONT:

Yours, preferring Mount Jackson to Harrisonburg, is just received. On this point use your discretion, remembering that our object is to give such protection as you can to Western Virginia. Many thanks to yourself, officers, and men for the gallant battle of last Sunday.


On the 13th General Whiting's division, including Hampton's and Hood's brigades, arrived at Stunton. At Mount Jackson a rest was had for several days.

After what has been already stated relative to the condition in which a large portion of my command wa turned over to me from the Potomac, as well as concerning hardship and exposure endured by all it is almost superfluous to pursue the subject further. From the continued want of transportation but a very limited amount of suppliers had been got forward since leaving Petersburg. Some corn meal and flour, which the rebels in their haste proved unable to carry away from Mount Jackson, had been seized and issued to the troops. Mills also, in which the enemy had not time to fire, were set at work, and eked out a scanty supply. Further than this, added to fresh beef obtained or driven along upon the hoof, it is difficult at this moment to say what constituted the subsistence of my command after the five days' partial rations found at Petersburg became exhausted. It was reported almost in remonstrance by General Bayard,in regard to both men and animals, that the cavalry should never have been sent forward as they were at Harrisonburg-"the horses staggering in the ranks from exhaustion, and the men having been without rations, other than fresh beef, for two or three days."

On the evening of the 7th, preceding the battle of Cross Keys, it was ascertained that less than one full ration in any form remained for issued, and it was only upon the certainty of a fight the next day that the council sembled decide for my plan to move forward. These circumstances cannot by go forcibly to illustrate the physical condition of my men four days after Cross Keys, on their return to Mount Jackson. It was, indeed, less a matter of surprise that heir fatigues and privations had begun unmistakably to tell upon the most robust than that the mass had been got forward at all. More than 200 had up to this time, after careful examination by a board of surgeons, been discharged for disabilities incident to their hard service, while the remaining sick and wounded, brought along mainly in army wagons, owing to want of ambulances, upward of 1,000 were now at Mount jackson. the hospitals were full, and I was deficient in the necessary medicines, as well as the requisite number of surgeons to give attendance. The heroism, the uncomplaining patience, with which the soldiers of my command endured the starvation and other bodily sufferings of their extended marches, added to their never-failing alacrity from duty against the enemy, entitle them to my gratitude and respect. For their good conduct on the march and on the field I take this opportunity to thank them, as well as their officers, regretting that within the limits of this report I cannot dwell upon the many signal cases of individual merit that came under my notice.

The conduct of such of my staff officers as were permitted by their duties to be present during the numerous affairs and skirmishes taking place in the pursuit up the Shenandoah Valley, and especially their energy and promptness on the occasion of the battle at Cross Kevs.