Major-General Philip Henry Sheridan

MAJOR-GENERAL PHILIP HENRY SHERIDAN was born in Perry County, Ohio, in 1831. He graduated at West Point in 1853, and as brevet second lieutenant, was sent to Texas. In the spring of 1855, he was exchanged into another regiment, and ordered to San Francisco. He remained six years on the Pacific coast, and won the confi­dence of the Indian tribes. In 1861, he was promoted to first lieutenant. When the war commenced, he was cap­tain in the Thirteenth United States infantry, stationed at St. Louis, and was made acting-quartermaster under Gene­ral Curtis. He became colonel of cavalry in 1862, and with his regiment, on the 14th of July of that year, defeated a rebel brigade, and was made brigadier-general of volunteers, to date from July 1st, 1862. October 8th, he held the key of the Union position at Perryville, and saved the army from defeat. He displayed great heroism at the battle of Stone river, and for meritorious services therein, was made major-general of volunteers. He warded off serious disaster from Wood’s corps, at the battle of Chickamauga, where, as well as at Chattanooga, his bravery shone conspicuous. In the severe march of Sherman, to raise the seige of Knox­ville, he accompanied that general. Lieutenant-general Grant, on assuming the command of all the armies, made him chief of the cavalry corps of the Army of the Potomac, and he conducted two successful expeditions in the rebel rear. In the summer of 1864, he was placed in command of the Army of the Shenandoah valley, where he won un­fading laurels, defeating Early in several battles. In March, 1865, be moved up the Shenandoah to Staunton and Waynes­boro, routed Early again, and destroyed the enemy’s com munications, together with fifty million dollars’ worth of property. He then marched by way of the White House, and joined Grant on the 27th of March. The capture of Five Forks, and the surrender of General Lee, were in a great measure due to Sheridan. He was sent to Texas to command an army of eighty thousand men, against Kirby Smith; and on the 27th of June, 1865, was appointed com mander of the Military Division of the Gulf, with his head­quarters at New Orleans.

The Fate of the “Stonewall Brigade”: The Soldiers’ Journal, October 5, 1864, page 267

The Fate of the “Stonewall Brigade.”

The “Stonewall Brigade” of the Rebel army is said to have been entirely used up in Sheridan’s late battles, not enough of it remaining to make up a minimum company. It was formed of the elite of the first families in the Shenandoah Valley, of young men, born, as they thought, to lives of ease, made so by the labors of slaves.—It has been recruited, it is said, at various times, with six thousand men, so that under the leadership of Jackson and Early, eleven thousand “Stonewallers” have measured the dust. It was the fortune or misfortune of the Brigade to have fallen under the command of Thomas Jonathan Jackson, whose restless temperament and active habits gave it plenty of work. It made its first reputation at Bull Run, where it “stood firm like a stone wall,” when chivalric South Carolina regiments were flying. But it had been in service before that time. It was one of the obstacles which Patterson encountered at Falling Waters. It was on the field of Manassas in time to participate in that battle. It was at Centreville until October, 1861, when it was sent to Winchester. Near this place it was shipped by General Shields, on the 23d of March, 1862.—Retreating up the Valley, it suffered in various skirmishes, and was then called to Richmond.—In May, 1862, it was back again in the Valley. Here it was manœvred with dexterity. It was launched at Fremont on the twenty-third of that month, and helped to drive the Union troops back. From that place it was marched with great rapidity to meet Banks, whose plan was to unite with Fremont. The latter fought at Middletown, was defeated and retreated, fighting, throug Winchester, and until he had reached and crossed the Potomac. This success was one of the most brilliant achievements of the “Stonewall Brigade,” upon which its subsequent fame was chiefly built. But it did not remain long quiet; it was repulsed in an attack upon Harper’s Ferry, and again in retreat before the first of June. Fremont followed, and encountered the rear guard of Jackson’s troops near Strasburg. The “Stonewall Brigade” was now flying up the Valley as fast as if it had rushed down it a few weeeks before. The men did great marching and burned the bridges behind them to delay their pursuers.

At Cross Keys, on the 8th of June, Fremont whipped the “Stonewall Brigade,” and the whole of Jackson’s army. The latter withdrew in the night, leaving his killed and wounded behind him, and succeeded in crossing the Shenandoah, although Shields was marching up to intercept him.

This failure was a disaster which had a most important effect upon the campaign against Richmond, which was then in full progress under McClellan. It enabled Jackson to bring his men suddenly upon the right wing of the Army of the Potomac. On the 29th of June he fell on Fitz John Porter’s Corps, which had been much exhausted in the battle of Gaines’ Mills, drove it toward the Chickahominy, and gained the battle for the Rebels. On the 29th, crossing the Chickahominy, the “Stonewall Brigade” fought the Federal troops at Frazer’s Farm; and on the 1st of July it was gloriously whipped at Malvern Hill, in which battle Jackson’s Corps lost several thousand in killed and wounded.

In July the Brigade was sent with other troops to Gordonsville. On the 9th it was again whipped by Pope at Cedar Mountain, and retreated to Orange Court House. On the 18th Lee efected a junction with Jackson, and the latter took up the line of march for Thoroughfare Gap, which he passed through, surprising a small Federal force at Manassas and defeating them. Pope, learning this, sent McDowell to intercept Jackson at the Gap. The latter moved back, being in advance of Lee’s support. At Kettle Run, on the 27th, he was brought to bay, and the “Stonewall Brigade” was once more defeated, and Jackson retreated to the Bull Run Mountains.

Longstreet and Lee were coming up, and on the 30th the “Stonewall Brigade” fought in the second battle of Bull Run, in which it was successful. The battle of Chantilly followed, which was substantially a defeat for the Rebels, but the “Stonewall Brigade” was not in it, having moved off toward Maryland.

It crossed the Potomac on the 5th of September and occupied Frederick next day. This was the first experiment upon the temper of “My Maryland,” in which State a rising in favor of the Confederates was anxiously expected. Jackson’s part of the campaign was to attack Harper’s Ferry. Troops were sent to invest that place, and through the stupidity of Colonel Ford in abandoning Maryland Heights, the attempt succeeded. The “Stonewall Brigade” had the glory of marching into town on the 25th, [sic] taking all the stores and munitions of war with fifteen thousand prisoners. Lee being defeated at South Mountain, Jackson was hurriedly called to reinforce him. Leaving A. P. Hill at Harper’s Ferry he marched to the succor of his chief. At Antietam the hardest part of the fighting fell to his share, and here the “Stonewall Brigade” was whipped again.

For several months these troops remained in the Valley, but were finally called to join Lee at Fredericksburg. Here Jackson’s part of the line was attacked by Franklin in the battle of the 13th of December, but the latter was repulsed. In the latter part of April and the beginning of May the battle of Chancellors ville was fought, and to jackson, the “Stonewall Brigade,” and other troops was intrusted the task of turning Hooker’s right wing. How successfully he executed the task is a painful matter of history. The Eleventh Corps was routed, and in the melee Jackson was shot by his own men. Thus fell an officer who has attracted more attention than any other who has fought on the side of the Rebellion, a bold, bad man, whose piety was a fantasy, and whose humanity was as stern as that of the Moslem.

His brigade was given to Elzey, and during subsequent operations it participated in the Rebel losses and triumphs. It took part in the operations against Winchester in June, 1863, and was signally defeated at Gettysburg, in July.—It was with lee at the battle of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor during the present year. It was deatched after Grant crossed to the south side of the James River, and again moved down the Shenandoah Valley and crossed into Maryland. At the Monocacy its progress was checked by General Wallace. It was in the various skirmishes in which Crooks and Hunter had command of the Federal troops. At the battle of the Opequan this brigade was a thousand strong and lost heavily. At Fisher’s Hill Sheridan wiped it out. If a “Stonewall Brigade” appears again in this war, it will be a new organization with an old name. The fortunes of the “Stonewall Brigade” are typical of the rebellion. It has had the victories again and again, only to lose its strength; and now, being totally obliterated from the roster of the Rebellion, which had had its triumphs and its defeats, but under all circumstances has retrograded to the point of exhaustion, awaiting the final blow which will close its bloody career forever.

Mr. Nasby in the “Aposal Biznis”: Fremont Journal, May 22, 1863, page 4

[For more information on the Nasby Letters, see Nasby Letters.]

From the Findlay Jeffersonian.

Mr. Nasby in the “Aposal Biznis”

May, the sixth, 60 thre.  

Silent I hev bin, but inactive, nary wunst.—The sole uv Nasby’s foot knoze no rest. Eternal viggilence, is the prise uv libety, and a old Dimocrat who hez never skratched a tikkit, and who never spiles his likker by dilooshn, kin work in these perilus timz. I am engaged in organizin Sieties on the basis uv the Union ez it wuz, the Constitooshn ez it is, and the nigger wher he awt to be. This employment soots me—the apossel bizniz I like. Brot into continooal contack with the best uv Demokrats, I hev the run uv a thowsan jugs—pay regler and libral—fasilitiz fer borrerin unekalled—I am kontent. I send a few entrax from my jernal.

Mundy, 2d.—Kum into Whartensberg afoot,—Wuz reseeved with enthooiszm, invited to drink 20 timz in ez menny minits, which invitashens acceptid solely fer the good uv the coz.—Hevin cast iron bowils I survived the trial. I found here an order called the “Limit”, wich is a good thing. Hed a meetin, and added the oaths to resist drafts and shelterin deserters, and after exhortin uv them to stand by Valandigum, borrered thirty dollers and a clene shirt, and departed. [Poskrip.—The clene shirt I borrered from a line about 9 P. M.]

Toosdy, 3d.—Houkton wuz the next pint.—Democrisy all rite to opperate on. Never wuz in a place in wich nigger wuz so hated and feered. They hev a holesum prejoodis agin everything black. Wun old white patriark shot all his black sheep, paintid a black hoss red, and his dawter a gushin majen uv thirty two, dy his raven lox white. A roomer that a Provo-Marshel wuz in the visinity did the job for him in a single nite. Found em well organized.—Addrest em at length, ahoin conclusively that hed Linkin resined in favor uv the hi-mindid Davis we shood never hed this war. That soon a compermise, and the follerin consessions wood hev averted blud-shed, to-wit:

The rite uv sufferage to be held only by slaveowners and seech ez they may designate.

The repele uv awl tariffs ceptin the wun on sugar.

The fillin up uv Boston harber.

The suppreshen uv the Triboon.

The hangin uv Giddins, Waid, Ashly, Sumner, and Oin Luvgoy.

I dwelt at length on the horrers uv amalgamashen, and closed with an eloken uppele to stand by Vandaligam and pure dimocrasy. Borrered three dolers on a prommis to remit, which I shel do sum time after the next Presidenshel eleckshel. I maid the wictim esy, by givin him my note. When men kin be made comfortable by simply a note, I alluz do it, if they furnish paper. Benevolens is a prominent trate in my karikter.

Wensdy, 4th.—Van Buren wuz mi next pint. The Dimocrisy here hev there lamps trimd and burnin. They hev indoost more solgers to desert than any in the county ception Amandy and Union. Organised a branch sosiety too wunst. Blessed feelin prevades here. They jest more than hate niggers, and morn twenty babies hev bin named Vallandigum within six munths. One enthoosiastic old Butternut named a femail infant Vallandighamis, and another named his boy J. N. Valandigum Olds Woods Uhl Bright Gribben Whitely. The boy hez a strong constooshn and may live. Things is workin in allen. I borrered only 8 dollars uv the fatheful, which I shal pay wen one uv my rich uncles pegs out.

I shel percede to Unyun and Organ townships immejitly.

Respecti vely,   Petroleum V. Nasby.

The March of a Grand Army.–The Retreat Across the Rappahannock: Cleveland Morning Leader, August 29, 1862, page 2

The March of a Grand Army.—The Retreat Across the Rappahannock.

[Correspondence Philadelphia Inquirer.]

Warrenton Junction, Va., Aug. 24, 1862.

An attempt to ride to the banks of the Rapidan on Monday afternoon, the 13th inst.—the extent of the picket lines of Pope’s army—developed the fact that if we did so it would be at some personal risk; for then a large force of rebel cavalry was preceived [sic] in the rear of the White House, just to the right of the Culpepper road, and within three-quarters of a mile of the Rapidan river.

During the day our pickets had been driven in by the rebel cavalry, which made its appearance on the opposite bank of the river, and there being no resistance made to its crossing, been you night quite a large force occupied the ground previously held by us. From this fact it was plain to see that a falling back of our entire lines was contemplated.

Sigel’s forces were then in the advance, Reno’s forces of Burnside’s command holding the left, in the vicinity of Mitchell’s Station, on the line of the Orange and Alexandria road, and McDowell’s forces, supported by Banks. occupying the right and centre. At half-past ten o’clock that night—our troops in the advance having remained in town during the entire day and night—General Sigel’s forces commenced moving back towards Culpepper.

Previous to this hour, however, the troops in the rear had already taken up their line of march, and were passing onward in the direction of the Rappahannock. The night was dark and cold and the march necessarily slow, in consequence of the immense train of transportation wagons, which were placed in advance of the troops, the latter acting as a guard, in case of a surprise on the part of the enemy.

All the usual camp fires, with the exception of those necessary for the safe transit of the wagon trains, were extinguished, and all unnecessary noise and bustle was avoided. The retirement was conducted in as orderly a manner, and as speedily, too, as the exigencies of the case would allow.

It was not until a late hour on the following morning (Tuesday) that the advance of Sigel’s corps reached Culpepper. At Slaughter’s Mountain, the scene of the late signal conflict between the gallant troops of Banks’ corps and the forces of the rebel Jackson, our troops took a lengthy rest, some delay having been occasioned by the jumbling up of the wagon trains of Sigel’s and King’s forces.

It was midnight at this hour, and the few glimmering lights of the camp fires invested the surrounding scenery of the mountain with a weird-like aspect. Over the trench-formed graves of our fallen heroes a few struggling rays occasionally glanced in a strange and mournful manner, reviving in the minds of the beholders all the tragic scenes of the week previous. Thousands of bayonets gleamed in the light—thousands of forms were outstretched upon the cold ground, waiting for the signal to march on.

So far we had ridden by the side of the Colonel of the 76th Ohio Regiment; but as the air became keener and the cold more penetrating, we bade our friends adieu and rode onward. A short nap by a way-side, just before the break of dawn, and then we rode onward to Culpepper. The scene presented on the outskirts of the town, just as the sun was bathing the eastern hills in a sea of glory, was magnificently grand. McDowell’s and King’s forces had already passed through the town. Banks’ division yet remained at their old encampment on the right of the road, while Sigel’s forces were bringing up the rear.

As far as the eye could reach there were to be seen but moving masses of infantry, cavalry and artillery; while, far beyond that, you could just catch a glimmer of the white covered tops of wagon trains, slowly winding up the distant hills. Officers, giving words of command, were moving in every direction over the field; while mounted couriers, riding in hot haste, were passing in and out of the town.

At the Medical Department of the Army of Virginia—located in the immediate vicinity of the depot, which department, by the way, is so admirably conducted by Dr. Ranch, of Chicago, together with his corps of assistants, Drs. Vanderkert, Whitney, T. R. Dunglison, of Philadelphia, and others—there was all the bustle and confusion incident to a hasty removal of the sick and wounded yet remaining in the hospitals.

Already had our ammunition and other stores at this point been laden and despatched up the road, and that class of soldiers just named were being speedily embarked. All these, with the exception of some eighty-five men, a list of whose names were previously sent you, their injuries being of such a character as to prevent their safe removal, were got off by five o’clock in the afternoon, at which hour Dr. Rauch closed the office of the medical department at Culpepper, and we, in his company, left for the direction of the Rappahannock.

Just as we mounted our horses at the door, the whistle of the engine hearing the last train from this point blew a shrill sound, and defiantly, it seemed, rumbled its way in the direction indicated.

The rear guard of the army in its retreat, was composed of the cavalry under command of one of our gallant young, General Bayard. To them had been entrusted the hazardous duty of preventing a surprise on the part of the enemy, and of seeing that both men and army stores were gotten out of the reach of the rebels, before they came upon us. The movements of our troops were made in a number of directions, all, however tending to the same point—that of Rappahannock station.

Being with the rear force—that of Sigel’s—we are not aware at what time the first troops passed across the bridge, but suppose it must have been at an early hour during the forenoon. Sigel’s forces encamped on Tuesday night some four miles in the rear of the bridge, and, this point having been gained, further movements were not characterized by the same activity that they were during the previous night and the early part of the following day.

All night long, however, army trains, infantry and artillery, were moving across the bridge; and by noon on Wednesday the cavalry composing the rear guard made its appearance just on the west side of the Rappahannock bridge, it there being drawn up in line of battle to meet the enemy’s cavalry, with whom Bayard had skirmishing from Cedar Mountain. There, at about one o’clock, the enemy charged upon our force, but accomplished nothing beyond the wounding of some few men. Our cavalry then came across the bridge, and the retreat across the Rappahannock was successfully consummated.