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The Battle of Bull Run
July 22, 1861

by General G. T. Beauregard
Published in 1884

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G. T. Beauregard

Soon after the first conflict between the authorities of the Federal Union and those of the Confederate States had occurred in Charleston Harbor, by the bombardment of Fort Sumter — which, beginning at 4:30 a. m. on the 12th of April, 1861, forced the surrender of that fortress within thirty hours thereafter into my hands, — I was called to Richmond, which by that time had become the Confederate seat of government, and directed to "assume command of the Confederate troops on the Alexandria line." Arriving at Manassas junction, I took command on the 2d of June, forty-nine days after the evacuation of Fort Sumter by Major Anderson.

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Although the position at the time was strategically of commanding importance to the Confederates, the mere terrain was not only without natural defensive advantages, but, on the contrary, was absolutely unfavorable. Its strategic value was that, with close proximity to the Federal capital, it held in observation the chief Federal army then being assembled in the quarter of Arlington by General McDowell, under the immediate eye of the commander-in-chief, General Scott, for an offensive movement against Richmond; and while it had a railway approach in its rear for the easy accumulation of reinforcements and all the necessary munitions of war from the southward, at the same time another (the Manassas Gap) railway, diverging laterally to the left from that point, gave rapid communications with the fertile valley of the Shenandoah, then teeming with live-stock and cereal subsistence, as well as with other resources essential to the Confederates.

There was this further value in the position to the Confederate army: that during the period of accumulation, seasoning, and training, it might be fed from the fat fields, pastures, and gainers of Loudon, Fauquier, and the lower Shenandoah valley counties, which otherwise must have fallen into the hands of the enemy. But, on the other hand, Bull Run, a petty stream, was of little or no defensive strength; for it abounded in fords, and although for the most part its banks were rocky and abrupt, the side from which it would be approached offensively was in most places the higher, and therefore commanded the opposite ground.

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Joseph E. Johnston

At the time of my arrival at Manassas, a Confederate army under General Joseph E. Johnston was in occupation of the lower Shenandoah valley, along the line of the upper Potomac, chiefly at Harper's Ferry, which was regarded as the gateway of that valley and of one of the possible approaches to Richmond; a position from which he was speedily forced to retire, however, by a flank movement by a Federal army, under the veteran General Patterson, thrown across the Potomac at or about Martinsburg.1 On my other or right flank, so to speak, a Confederate force of some twenty-five hundred men under General Holmes occupied the position of Acquia Creek on the lower Potomac, upon the line of approach to Richmond from that direction through Fredericksburg. The other approach, that by way of the James River, was held by Confederate troops under Generals Huger and Magruder....

Footnote 1. It was Patterson upon whom the Government at Washington depended to neutralize Johnston as an element in McDowell’s contest with Beauregard. But, whether from the faultiness of Scott’s instructions or of Patterson’s understanding of them, or from his failure or inability to execute them,-- all of which is matter of’controversy -- Patterson neither held Johnston nor reenforced McDowell. -- ED.

This ebook also includes:

Comments on Beauregard's Account
by General Robert Patterson and various other participants in the event

The First Battle of Bull Run
by Alexander H. Stephens and
General Joseph E. Johnston

Bull Run As Seen Through Critical English Eyes
by William Howard Russell a British Journalist present at the battle

Troop Strength Statistics of the Battle
by James V Fry and Thomas Jordan,
Adjutants-General for both sides

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Clash of the Iron Clads
by John Taylor Wood
March 9, 1862

The engagement in Hampton Roads on the 8th of March, 1862, between the Confederate iron-clad Virginia, or (as she is known at the North) the Merrimac, and the United States wooden fleet, and that next day between the Virginia and the Monitor, was, in its results, in some respects the most momentous naval conflict ever witnessed.

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Taylor Wood
on the Merrimac
No battle was ever more widely discussed or produced a greater sensation. It revolutionized the navies of the world. Line-of-battle ships, those huge, overgrown craft, carrying from eighty to one hundred and twenty guns and from five hundred to twelve hundred men, which, from the destruction of the Spanish Armada to our time, had done most of the fighting, deciding the fate of empires, were at once universally condemned as out of date. Rams and iron-clads were, in future to decide all naval warfare.

In this battle old things passed away, and the experience of a thousand years of battle and breeze was forgotten. The naval supremacy of England vanished in the smoke of this fight, it is true, only to reappear some years later more commanding than ever. The effect of the news was best described by the London "Times," which said: "Whereas we had available for immediate purposes one hundred and forty-nine first-class war-ships: we have now two, these two being the Warrior and her sister Ironside. There is not now a ship in the English navy apart from these two that it would not be madness to trust to an engagement with that little Monitor."

The Admiralty at once proceeded to reconstruct the navy, cutting down a number of their largest ships and converting them into turret or broadside iron-clads. The same results were produced in France, which had but one seagoing iron-clad, La Gloire, and this one, like the Warrior, was only protected amidships.

The Emperor Napoleon promptly appointed a commission to devise plans for rebuilding his navy. And so with all the maritime powers. In this race the United States took the lead, and at the close of the war led all the others in the numbers and efficiency of its iron-clad fleet. It is true that all the great powers had already experimented with vessels partly armored, but very few were convinced of their utility, and none had been tried by the crucial test of battle, if we except a few floating batteries, thinly clad, used during the Crimean War.

In the spring of 1861 Norfolk and its large naval establishment had been hurriedly abandoned by the Federals, why or wherefore no one could tell. It is within two miles of Fortress Monroe, then held by a large force of regulars. A few companies of these, with a single frigate, could have occupied and commanded the town and navy-yard, and have kept the channel open. However, a year later, it was as quickly evacuated by the Confederates, and almost with as little reason. But of this I will speak later....

This ebook also includes:

In The "Monitor" Turret
by S. D. Greene, Executive Officer, Monitor

Watching the Merrimac
by R.E. Colston

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Operations of the
Western Flotilla

Including engagements at Belmont, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson
Island No. 10, Fort Pillow, and Memphis

by Henry Walke

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Henry Walke
The author
At the beginning of the War, the army and navy were mostly employed in protecting the loyal people who resided on the borders of the disaffected States, and in reconciling those whose sympathies were opposed. But the defeat at Manassas and other reverses convinced the Government of the serious character of the contest, and of the necessity of more vigorous and extensive preparations for war.

Our navy yards were soon filled with workmen; recruiting stations for unemployed seamen were established, and we soon had more sailors than were required for the ships that could be fitted for service. Artillerymen for the defenses of Washington being scarce, five hundred of these sailors, with a battalion of marines (for guard duty), were sent to occupy the forts on Shuter’s Hill, near Alexandria. The Pensacola and the Potomac flotilla and the seaboard navy yards required nearly all of the remaining unemployed seamen.

While Foote was improvising a flotilla for the Western rivers he was making urgent appeals to the Government for seamen. Finally some one at the Navy Department thought of the five hundred tars stranded on Shuter’s Hill, and obtained an order for their transfer to Cairo, where they were placed on the receiving ship Maria Denning. There they met fresh-water sailors from our great lakes, and steam-boat hands from the Western rivers. Of the seamen from the East, there were Maine lumbermen, New Bedford whalers, New York liners, and Philadelphia sea-lawyers.

The foreigners enlisted were mostly Irish, with a few English and Scotch, French, Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes. The Northmen, considered the hardiest race in the world, melted away in the Southern sun with surprising rapidity.

On the gun-boat Carondelet were more young men perhaps than on any other vessel in the fleet. Philadelphians were in the majority; Bostonians came next, with a sprinkling from other cities, and just enough men-o-war’s men to leaven the lump with naval discipline. The St. Louis had more than its share of men-o’-war’s men, Lieutenant-Commander Paulding having had the first choice of a full crew, and having secured all the frigate Sabine’s reenlisted men who had been sent west.

During the spring and summer of 1861, Commanders Rodgers, Stemble, Phelps, and Mr. James B. Eads had purchased, equipped, and manned, for immediate service on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, three wooden gun-boats - the Taylor, of six eight-inch shellguns and one thirty-two pounder; the Lexington, of four eight-inch shellguns and one thirty-two pounder, and the Conestoga, of three thirty-two pounder guns. This nucleus of the Mississippi flotilla (like the fleets of Perry, MacDonough, and Chauncey in the war of 1812) was completed with great skill and dispatch; they soon had full possession of the Western rivers above Columbus, Kentucky, and rendered more important service than as many regiments could have done....

This ebook also includes:

The Battle of Belmont
The Battle of Fort Henry
The Gun-Boats at Fort Donelson
Exploits at Island Number 10
Fighting the Confederate Fleet

Recollections of Foote and the Gun-Boats
by James B. Eads

Names of Western Gun-boats

The Capture of Fort Donelson
by Lew Wallace

Opening the
Lower Mississippi

by David D. Porter

April, 1862

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David D. Porter
The author
The most important event of the War of the Rebellion, with the exception of the fall of Richmond, was the capture of New Orleans and the Forts Jackson and St. Philip, guarding the approach to that city. To appreciate the nature of this victory, it is necessary to have been an actor in it, and to be able to comprehend not only the immediate results to the Union cause, but the whole bearing of the fall of New Orleans on the Civil War, which at that time had attained its most formidable proportions.

Previous to fitting out the expedition against New Orleans, there were eleven Southern States in open rebellion against the Government of the United States, or, as it was termed by the Southern people, in a state of secession. Their harbors were all more or less closed against our ships-of-war, either by the heavy forts built originally by the General Government for their protection, or by torpedoes and sunken vessels.

Through four of these seceding States ran the great river Mississippi, and both of its banks, from Memphis to its mouth, were lined with powerful batteries. On the west side of the river were three important States, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, with their great tributaries to the Mississippi, -the White, the Arkansas, and the Red, which were in a great measure secure from the attacks of the Union forces.

These States could not only raise half a million soldiers, but could furnish the Confederacy with provisions of all kinds; and cotton enough to supply the Rebel Government with the sinews of war. New Orleans was the largest Southern city, and contained all the resources of modern warfare, having great workshops where machinery of the most powerful kind could be built, and having artisans capable of building ships in wood or iron, casting heavy guns, or making small arms. The people of the city were in no way behind the most zealous secessionists in energy of purpose and in hostility to the Government of the United States.

The Mississippi is thus seen to have been the backbone of the Rebellion, which it should have been the first duty of the Federal Government to break. At the very outset of the war it should have been attacked at both ends at the same time, before the Confederates had time to fortify its banks or to turn the guns in the Government forts against the Union forces.

A dozen improvised gun-boats would have held the entire length of the river if they had been sent there in time. The efficient fleet with which Dupont, in November, 1861, attacked and captured the works at Port Royal could at that time have steamed up to New Orleans and captured the city without difficulty. Any three vessels could have passed Forts Jackson and St. Philip a month after the commencement of the war, and could have gone on to Cairo, if necessary, without any trouble. But the Federal Government neglected to approach the mouth of the Mississippi until a year after hostilities had commenced, except to blockade. The Confederates made good use of this interval, putting forth all their resources and fortifying not only the approaches to New Orleans, but both banks of the river as far north as Memphis....

This ebook also includes:

The Capture of New Orleans
by Captain David G. Farragut. His official report to Washington of the events.

The Shiloh Campaign
April 6-7, 1862

by General U. S. Grant
Published in 1884

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U. S. Grant

The battle of Shiloh, fought on Sunday and Monday, the 6th and 7th of April, 1862, is perhaps less understood, or, to state the case more accurately, more persistently misunderstood, than any other engagement between National and so-called Confederate troops during the entire rebellion. Correct reports of the battle have been published, notably by Sherman, Badeau, and, in a speech before a meeting of veterans, by General Prentiss; but all of these appeared long subsequent to the close of the rebellion, and after public opinion had been most erroneously formed.

Events had occurred before the battle, and others subsequent to it, which determined me to make no report to my then chief General Halleck, further than was contained in a letter, written immediately after the battle, informing him that an engagement had been fought, and announcing the result. The occurrences alluded to are these: after the capture of Fort Donelson, with over fifteen thousand effective men and all their munitions of war, I believed much more could be accomplished without further sacrifice of life. Clarksville, a town between Donelson and Nashville, in the State of Tennessee, and on the east bank of the Cumberland, was garrisoned by the enemy. Nashville was also garrisoned, and was probably the best provisioned depot at the time in the Confederacy.

Albert Sidney Johnston occupied Bowling Green, Kentucky, with a large force. I believed, and my information justified the belief that these places would fall into our hands without a battle, if threatened promptly. I determined not to miss this chance. But being only a district commander, and under the immediate orders of the department commander, General Halleck, whose headquarters were at St. Louis, it was my duty to communicate to him all I proposed to do, and to get his approval, if possible. I did so communicate, and receiving no reply, acted upon my own judgment. The result proved that my information was correct, and sustained my judgment. What, then, was my surprise, after so much had been accomplished by the troops under my immediate command between the time of leaving Cairo, early in February, and the 4th of March, to receive from my chief a dispatch of the latter date saying: "You will place Major-General C F. Smith in command of expedition, and remain yourself at Fort Henry. Why do you not obey my orders to report strength and position of your command?" I was left virtually in arrest on board a steamer, without even a guard, for about a week, when I was released and ordered to resume my command.

Again: Shortly after the battle of Shiloh had been fought, General Halleck moved his headquarters to Pittsburg Landing, and assumed command of the troops in the field. Although next to him in rank, and nominally in command of my old district and army, I was ignored as much as if I had been at the most distant point of territory within my jurisdiction; and although I was in command of all the troops engaged at Shiloh, I was not permitted to see one of the reports of General Buell or his subordinates in that battle, until they were published by the War Department, long after the event. In consequence, I never myself made a full report of this engagement.

When I was restored to my command, on the 13th of March, I found it on the Tennessee River, part at Savanna and part at Pittsburg Landing, nine miles above, and on the opposite or western bank. I generally spent the day at Pittsburg, and returned by boat to Savanna in the evening. I was intending to remove my headquarters to Pittsburg, where I had sent all the troops immediately on my reassuming command; but Buell, with the Army of the Ohio, had been ordered to reënforce me from Columbia, Tennessee. He was expected daily, and would come in at Savanna. I remained, therefore, a few days longer than I otherwise should have done, for the purpose of meeting him on his arrival....

This ebook also includes:

Albert Sidney Johnston and the Shiloh Campaign
by William Preston Johnston

Notes of a Confederate Staff-Officer at Shiloh
by Colonel Thomas Jordan, C.S.A. Adjutant-General

The Surrender of Prentiss
by Brigadier-General Benjamin Maybury Prentiss

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