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Preservation Department Digital Library.
MILITARY REMINISCENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR
BY JACOB DOLSON COX, A.M., LL.D.
_Formerly Major-General commanding Twenty-Third Army Corps_
APRIL 1861--NOVEMBER 1863
My aim in this book has been to reproduce my own experience in our Civil War in such a way as to help the reader understand just how the duties and the problems of that great conflict presented themselves successively to one man who had an active part in it from the beginning to the end. In my military service I was so conscious of the benefit it was to me to get the personal view of men who had served in our own or other wars, as distinguished from the general or formal history, that I formed the purpose, soon after peace was restored, to write such a narrative of my own army life. My relations to many prominent officers and civilians were such as to give opportunities for intimate knowledge of their personal qualities as well as their public conduct. It has seemed to me that it might be useful to share with others what I thus learned, and to throw what light I could upon the events and the men of that time.
As I have written historical accounts of some campaigns separately, it may be proper to say that I have in this book avoided repetition, and have tried to make the personal narrative supplement and lend new interest to the more formal story. Some of the earlier chapters appeared in an abridged form in "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War," and the closing chapter was read before the Ohio Commandery of the Loyal Legion. By arrangements courteously made by the Century Company and the Commandery, these chapters, partly re-written, are here found in their proper connection.
Though my private memoranda are full enough to give me reasonable confidence in the accuracy of these reminiscences, I have made it a duty to test my memory by constant reference to the original contemporaneous material so abundantly preserved in the government publication of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Where the series of these records is not given, my references are to the First Series, with the abbreviation O. R., and I have preferred to adhere to the official designation of the volumes in parts, as each volume then includes the documents of a single campaign.
J. D. C.
NOTE.--The manuscript of this work had been completed by General Cox, and placed in the hands of the publishers several weeks before his untimely death at Magnolia, Mass., August 4, 1900. He himself had read and revised some four hundred pages of the press-work. The work of reading and revising the remaining proofs and of preparing a general index for the work was undertaken by the undersigned from a deep sense of obligation to and loving regard for the author, which could not find a more fitting expression at this time. No material changes have been made in text or notes. Citations have been looked up and references verified with care, yet errors may have crept in, which his well-known accuracy would have excluded. For all such and for the imperfections of the index, the undersigned must accept responsibility, and beg the indulgence of the reader, who will find in the text itself enough of interest and profit to excuse many shortcomings.
WILLIAM C. COCHRAN. CINCINNATI, October 1, 1900.
THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR
Ohio Senate, April 12--Sumter bombarded--"Glory to God!"--The surrender--Effect on public sentiment--Call for troops--Politicians changing front--David Tod--Stephen A. Douglas--The insurrection must be crushed--Garfield on personal duty--Troops organized by the States--The militia--Unpreparedness--McClellan at Columbus--Meets Governor Dennison--Put in command--Our stock of munitions--Making estimates--McClellan's plan--Camp Jackson--Camp Dennison--Gathering of the volunteers--Garibaldi uniforms--Officering the troops--Off for Washington--Scenes in the State Capitol--Governor Dennison's labors--Young regulars--Scott's policy--Alex. McCook--Orlando Poe--Not allowed to take state commissions.
Laying out the camp--Rosecrans as engineer--A comfortless night--Waking to new duties--Floors or no floors for the huts--Hardee's Tactics--The watersupply--Colonel Tom Worthington--Joshua Sill--Brigades organized--Bates's brigade--Schleich's--My own--McClellan's purpose--Division organization--Garfield disappointed--Camp routine--Instruction and drill--Camp cookery--Measles--Hospital barn--Sisters of Charity--Ferment over re-enlistment--Musters by Gordon Granger--"Food for powder"--Brigade staff--De Villiers--"A Captain of Calvary"--The "Bloody Tinth"--Almost a row--Summoned to the field.
McCLELLAN IN WEST VIRGINIA
Political attitude of West Virginia--Rebels take the initiative--McClellan ordered to act--Ohio militia cross the river--The Philippi affair--Significant dates--The vote on secession--Virginia in the Confederacy--Lee in command--Topography--The mountain passes--Garnett's army--Rich Mountain position--McClellan in the field--His forces--Advances against Garnett--Rosecrans's proposal--His fight on the mountain--McClellan's inaction--Garnett's retreat--Affair at Carrick's Ford--Garnett killed--Hill's efforts to intercept--Pegram in the wilderness--He surrenders--Indirect results important--McClellan's military and personal traits.
THE KANAWHA VALLEY
Orders for the Kanawha expedition--The troops and their quality--Lack of artillery and cavalry--Assembling at Gallipolis--District of the Kanawha--Numbers of the opposing forces--Method of advance--Use of steamboats--Advance guards on river banks--Camp at Thirteen-mile Creek--Night alarm--The river chutes--Sunken obstructions--Pocotaligo--Affair at Barboursville--Affair at Scary Creek--Wise's position at Tyler Mountain--His precipitate retreat--Occupation of Charleston--Rosecrans succeeds McClellan--Advance toward Gauley Bridge--Insubordination--The Newspaper Correspondent--Occupation of Gauley Bridge.
The gate of the Kanawha valley--The wilderness beyond--West Virginia defences--A romantic post--Chaplain Brown--An adventurous mission--Chaplain Dubois--"The river path"--Gauley Mount--Colonel Tompkins's home--Bowie-knives--Truculent resolutions--The Engineers--Whittlesey, Benham, Wagner--Fortifications--Distant reconnoissances--Comparison of forces--Dangers to steamboat communications--Allotment of duties--The Summersville post--Seventh Ohio at Cross Lanes--Scares and rumors--Robert E. Lee at Valley Mountain--Floyd and Wise advance--Rosecrans's orders--The Cross Lanes affair--Major Casement's creditable retreat--Colonel Tyler's reports--Lieutenant-Colonel Creighton--Quarrels of Wise and Floyd--Ambushing rebel cavalry--Affair at Boone Court House--New attack at Gauley Bridge--An incipient mutiny--Sad result--A notable court-martial--Rosecrans marching toward us--Communications renewed--Advance toward Lewisburg--Camp Lookout--A private sorrow.
CARNIFEX FERRY--TO SEWELL MOUNTAIN AND BACK
Rosecrans's march to join me--Reaches Cross Lanes--Advance against Floyd--Engagement at Carnifex Ferry--My advance to Sunday Road--Conference with Rosecrans--McCook's brigade joins me--Advance to Camp Lookout--Brigade commanders--Rosecrans's personal characteristics--Hartsuff--Floyd and Wise again--"Battle of Bontecou"--Sewell Mountain--The equinoctial--General Schenck arrives--Rough lodgings--Withdrawal from the mountain--Rear-guard duties--Major Slemmer of Fort Pickens fame--New positions covering Gauley Bridge--Floyd at Cotton Mountain--Rosecrans's methods with private soldiers--Progress in discipline.
Floyd cannonades Gauley Bridge--Effect on Rosecrans--Topography of Gauley Mount--De Villiers runs the gantlet--Movements of our forces--Explaining orders--A hard climb on the mountain--In the post at Gauley Bridge--Moving magazine and telegraph--A balky mule-team--Ammunition train under fire--Captain Fitch a model quartermaster--Plans to entrap Floyd--Moving supply trains at night--Method of working the ferry--Of making flatboats--The Cotton Mountain affair--Rosecrans dissatisfied with Benham--Vain plans to
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