Letters from the Front 1865
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MORE GLORIOUS NEWS
SHERIDAN ATTACKS LEE
He will Force Him to Surrender
Official War Department
Washington April 7-10 a.m.
To Major Gen. Dix
Gen. Sheridan an attacked and routed Lee's army and captured Gens. Ewell, Hershaw, Button, Coree and many other general officers, several thousand prisoners and a large number of cannon.
He expects to force Lee to surrender all that is left of his army. Details will be given as speedily as possible and the telegraph is working badly.
Washington, April 7-11 a.m.
To. Maj. Gen. Dix.
The following telegrams concerning the victory won yesterday by Maj. Gen. Sheridan over Lee's army have just been received by this department.
(signed) R.M. Stanton, Sec. of War.
City Point, April 7-8:25 a.m.
To Hon. E.M. Stanton:
At 11:15 a.m. yesterday, at Burksville Station, Gen. Grant handed me the following from Gen. Sheridan.
(signed) A. Lincoln
To Lieut. Gen. Grant:
I have the honor to report that the enemy made a stand at the intersection of the Burkeville Station road, with the road upon which they were retreating. I attacked them with two divisions of the 6th army corps, and routed them handsomely making a connection with the cavalry. I am still pressing them with both cavalry and infantry. Up to the present time we have captured Gens. Ewell, Kershaw, Button, Corse, Debary and Custis Lee, several thousand
prisoners, 15 pieces of artillery including caissons, and a large number of wagons.
If the thing is pressed I think Lee will surrender.
P.H. Sheridan, Maj. Gen. Comd'g.
City Point, April 7-9 am
To Hon. E. M. Stanton:
The follwing further intelligence is just received.
(Signed) A. Lincoln
Burksville, Va., April 7, 1865
To A. Lincoln:
The following telegram is respectfully forward for your information.
U.S. Grant, Lt. Gen.
Headquarters Second Army Corps
April 6-7:30 p.m.
Maj. Gen. A. S. Webb:
Our last fight, just before dark, at Tailor's Grove, gave us two guns, three flags, a considerable number of prisoners, two hundred wagons and seventy ambulances with mules and horses to about one-half the ambulances. There are between thirty and fifty wagons, in addition, abandoned and destroyed along the road - some battery wagons, forges and limbers.
I have already already reported to you the capture of several Generals and some prisoners and the fact that the road for nearly three miles in strewn with tenta ans baggage, cooking utensils, some ammunition, and materials of all kinds. The wagons are across the approach to the bridges and it will
take some time to clear it. The enemy is in position on the heights beyond, with artillery. The bridge is partially destroyed, and the approaches on the other side are of soft bottom land. We cannot advance to-morrow in the same manner we have to-day. As soon as I get my troops up a little (we are considerably mixed) I might push a column down the road, but it is evident I cannot follow rapidly during the night.
A. A. Humphreys, Maj. Gen.
Philadelphia, April 7,-1 p.m. - 1865
Jay Cooke has received a dispatch from H. D. Cooke at Washington, stating that Lee's whole army is cornered and has surrendered. This is positive.
The Last Review
Here draws near a moving spectacle indeed, the last of the dear old First Corps; thrice decimated at Gettysburg in action and passion heroic, martyr-like, sublime; then merged into the Fifth, proudly permitted to bear its old colors, and in the crimson campaign of 1864 fought down to a division; in the last days the ancient spirit shining in the ranks where its scattered regiments are absorbed in other brigades.
And here are passing now those yet spared from earth and heaven of that Iron Brigade, of Merediths, on whose list appear such names as Lucius Fairchild, Henry Morrow, Rufus Daws, and Samuel Williams, and such regiments as the 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan, and 2d, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin, which on the first days front line with Buford and Reynolds, in that one fierce onset at Willoughbys Run, withstood overwhelming odds, with the loss of a thousand, a hundred and fifty-three of highest manliness.
The Passing of the Armies,
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
The Grand Reviews
Correspondent of the Sentinel
Camp, 16th Wisconsin V.V. Infantry
Washington, D.C. May 24, 1865
Editors Sentinel:- This evening closes one of the most magnificent displays ever witnessed on this continent and the ceaseless tramp of the living hosts of armed men, the prancing steeds, the rolling clattering drums, the torn and battle stained flags, the heavy rumbling artillery, the forms of citizens
gathered from all parts of the nation; fathers to look upon the stalwart proportions of their sons bearing, with steady hand the gleaming bayonet or pressing to their shoulders the cleaving sabers whose stroke even now resound to earth's remotest bound. The mother whose silver hairs looked brighter and whose eye betrayed the pride of her son whose prancing steed fresh from the swamps of Carolina betokened him a commander as his manly tones, so often heard in the battle fray, gave the command "prepare of review", the sister who, on tiptoe, pointed to a brother and told how glad she was the war was over; and the wife who had come to look upon the grand pageant and return with her
partner - how happy her heart only knows, all retired to remember, while life shall remain, the glories of the republic and to carry to distant homes the account of the power which has rallied so often to the rescue of the republic and carried the banner of the free triumphantly from the battle fields toward the setting sun to the National Capital and received from the Chief Executive the thanks of a generous people whose prayers have ascended constantly from a million hearts for this glorious happy day. Grand glorious country whose hillsides teem with golden grain, whose valleys ring with nature's song of fullness, whose mountain tops kissing the clouds draw down the choicest blessings of Almighty God; whose eagle's scream awoke the nation to the rescue, whose hounds encircled by the freemen's bayonet's rolled bash the combined efforts of the world and smiled at the feeble attempts of kings. Our own happy happy home.
"Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light"
and the people, one great band of brothers, standing
as in days of yore around the hearthstones of the republic and the graves of the loved and
lost, proclaim freedom to the world and lending the hand of friendship to the
oppressed, invite to our ample farms the poor of creation and claim as the choicest gift
of the great Creator the proud and enviable title, " I are an American Citizen."
The glorious sun, as if charmed with the gala day and eager to lend the choicest beams for the occasion and aware of the peculiar temperament required, withdrew her brightest beams and culling the cooler rays just suited to the occasion gave us a season of even brightness, emblematic of the future of the Republic, clear bright and cloudless.
The Army of the Potomac whose bands of well drilled men and gorgous trappings have been so often
paraded before this people by "Gen. McClellan," under the various cognomens of "Young Napoleon" "Our Country's Hope" &c, eulogized by all the journals and "Harperized and Frank Leslieized and Punched," so often that any description of mine would be too tame for a journal of your vast circulation. The scene was one of grandeur and the hero of Gettysburg received his well-earned honors on that bright Tuesday morning in his usual quiet style and his army following in an excellent military procession elicited the admiration of the vast throng and if they lacked the consciousness of great achievements their valor has been too often proved to be doubted and their misfortune resulted in the fact that there was but one Sherman appointed to end the war.
All honor to the gallant Meade and his gallant army.
On time is one of the most prominent traits in the composition of out great commander and as the tardy hands told the moment indicated in the order for review on Wednesday morning the deep reverberations of a modest Parrot told that the time had arrived and the heroes of the West advanced to the "front" (a place familiar to them all) led by Sherman and Howard.
The rush to secure a good view of the commanding General was unprecedented. Windows were rented at exorbitant prices. Men worth thousands of dollars thought it an honor to spoil a good glossy beaver to work his way up through the foliage of the magnificent shade trees of Pennsylvania Avenue while planted on the sharp pikes of the adjoining iron fence a cask head supported the aristocracy of some proud suburban city while for miles on either side of the road to where the troops passed out into the country to camp, the eager crowd of humanity pressed against the well arranged cordon of bayonets quiet and well disposed preserving that good order and decorum only found in the free untrammeled cities of the republican government and the officers assigned to that duty deserve great credit for the gentlemanly and courteous manner in which they performed this difficult and delicate task.
The Reviewing Officers and invited distinguished guests were seated under a pavilion in front of the President's house festooned with flags and decorations of various kinds, and in the centre on the front sat the Commander-in-Chief of the Armies and Navies of the United States of America clothed in the simple garb of the American citizen, his pleasing genial countenance radiant with gratitude for the happy hearts and happy homes represented on this eventful day and as I contrast the simple dignity of the greatest ruler of this lower world with the pomp and splendor of their gracious Majesties &c. I thought of the poet's query "What constitutes a State? "Not high raised battlements or labored mound thick walled or moated gate &c. but men, high minded men."
And surely we have them here and our noble President a true type of the true America gentleman, winning by his undeviating course the confidence of all, gives promise of a term of unusual profit to the government and his bold and manly stand in regard to all traitors, high and low, has struck an echoing cord in the bosom of every soldier in the armies, promising that their toils shall not be in vain through the sickening mistaken philanthropy of an imbecile government. How many of that virtuous Wisconsin Legislature would refuse the acquaintance of Andrew Johnson as he now stands before the American people and how many of them would gladly recall their childish act of the past winter. "Old men for council, young men for war" is an old maxim. In the future let's have more men and less boys in our halls of legislation.
On the right of the Chief Magistrate sat Lieutenant General Grant who is one of the generous commanders of the age, who does not wish to swallow all the glory up that should redeem the times, but willing to serve his country, has noble acted his part showing an appreciation of ability in the selection of his subordinates which has astonished the nation. Having the welfare of the nation more at heart than his own personal honor and rather than jeopardize the interests of his country in the endeavor to grasp all the glory, which he doubted his ability to grasp, like a true patriot he concluded to await the calm judgment of the American people an receive his share of the nation's gratitude - though the rebel capital should only fall at the approach of his greater subordinate. Our army will appreciate the gallants generous General and he has proven that however lesser light may struggle in the brilliant galaxy of the honors strewn around, there is no room in his noble heart for a drop of that jealousy so publicly displayed by men claiming high rank in our noble army and name of Grant shall be a household word to the nation's farthest bound.
First to appear as the representative of the Armies of the West rode Generals Sherman and Howard with their escorts "few by undismayed" and as usual and in keeping the General, never wants more than enough to Execute his orders. As the first sound of the morning gun died away in the distance the name of
rang out upon the air and on he came. His steed
conscious of the burden he bore; capered and frisked with very joy and the plain "Old
Billy" with his left hand guided him as through it were his hobby horse in boyish
times while with the other he endeavored to grasp the sea of bouquets from the thousands
fair donors who lined the entire route. Vain attempt! for with his charger loaded out of sight, his staff almost suffocated with the shower of exquisite flowers, his path strewn with the choicest selections of the beautiful gardens and conservatories of the "old commonwealth", he gazed sternly on merely returning the enthusiastic outbursts of applause by a simple nod while
rang through the vast throng and the soldiers of the
Potomac vied with citizens in their generous praises to the acknowledged master
spirit of this grand republic and envied the war-worn veterans as they passed the
proud distinction "I am one of Sherman's Men". And away down the vista of time,
while the tide of empire rolls on and the now untrodden paths of our country shall smile
with the blessings of peaceful industry and the cottage and mansion shall nestle secure
under the "brave old flag", the gray-haired patriarch shall say to his children's
children, as tears of very joy course down his furrowed checks, "My boy I fought with
Billy Sherman through Georgia and the Carolinas and displayed our war worn
triumph at the capital".
After passing the President, Gen. Sherman dismounted and entered the pavilion and was seated on the left of the President while the thunders of applause the continued, showers of magnificent flowers, the waving of handkerchiefs and other extravagant demonstrations of admiration told how grateful were the hearts of the American people. And while yet the welcome rang with indescribable applause Gen. John A. Logan appeared leading his Gallant 15th Corps, and as his charger gamboled along he turned from side to side to bow to all who cheered him heartily as if proud of the honor conferred, evidently satisfied that he was observed by a great many "fair woman and brave men". On the field the name of Logan is a haste in itself and often in the battle's tide along by his own gallant presence. The gleaming bayonets of this corps told of the pride the stalwart heroes bear for their brave commander and the even ranks and wavelike motion of the sea of bayonets showed though "their hearts were a thousand their bosoms were one" and they moved by in that majestic grandeur and elastic step which proved to all that under the coats of blue beat happy hearts and eyes, direct to front, that had so often scanned so closely the sights of the gleaming rifle should look love to eyes so fond of you and the brave defenders of the starry banner retire to the comforts and happiness of domestic life, glad to have shared tn the stirring scenes of the great rebellion.
Following in the order of rank next came Maj. Gen. Frank P. Blair with the 17th Army Corps hearing the arrow badge indicative of the swiftness and sureness of the Corps who have been, with the corps just named, the reliance of the commanding general, his pride and confidence; and he has often repeated the declaration that this body of men had no equals in the world.
Gen. Blair whose influence, both military and civil, is known wherever newspapers abound acknowledged the honors of the multitude in his quiet way, and stood the showers of compliments in true soldier style and moved gallantly forward, followed by the 3d Division, Brevet Maj. Gen. M. D. Leggett commanding.
Here the enthusiasm of the people know no bounds. They had been led to believe that the men who had conquered this rebellion, who had contested every foot of ground from Donelson and Shiloh to Vicksburg's capture, then sweeping irresistibly from Cairo through the mountain gorges of Georgia or lost in the swamps of Carolina, only to carry consternation and triumph to the capitals of insurrection would appear on this occasion a rambling rabble untrained and uncontrollable. And when the column appeared in solid phalanx, stalwart broad shouldered legions, shoulder to shoulder, every eye to the front, every frame betokening hardy perseverance, every step firm as the pavement on which they strode, every bayonet perpendicular as the arrow-like forms that bore them - one step, one motion, one object. They moved as a vast living machine - and as their superiority in physique and discipline manifested itself, the applause increased, and thousands of the Army of the Potomac joined in hearty generous tribute to the heroes of the West who moved steadily on the right as if unconscious, a hundred thousand people were doing them homage, conscious, in peace as in war, of one single impulse "to the front".
We all have a peculiar pride in what we call our own and having, on so many occasions, seen the superior military bearing of my comrades, I looked with pride as the column moved and from my excellent position in front of the President's stand, I pointed with peculiar satisfaction to the old 16th Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers, Col. Cassius Fairchild, and time shall cease ere I forget the pride of that day.
I pointed the great men of the nation to my own gallant command, so strong, so true, so brave, whose every motion like some mighty wave sweeping irresistibly along the human sea, told how strong the blows they had struck for or common country and joy welled out in tears of pride for this consummation of our toils and hardships as we thought the time drew near when we, who had pledged our friendships and fidelity on the field of strife, should part, perhaps forever and, as the receding columns passed from sight me, thinks we cannot estimate the blessing of the glorious republic, our own happy proud America.
Following in quick succession came regiment after regiment closed in mass. Weary with what seemed an endless stream ,I retired to find some place where I might find rest and, strolling down to the Capitol, I found the columns still coming and as far as the eye could reach ,I could see the vast sea of bayonets "skirmishing in the sun" and despairing of seeing the end, retired to the house of a friend to think over the vast power of this government, a small part of which has centered here. The hope of aristocracy has fled from our shores and the monarchs of Europe who have stabbed the young republic while in the toils, have found that the heart of the nation is safely hid in the bosoms of her sons and daughters and that the goodness of liberty, soaring high above the clouds has bid the Eagle of America proclaim freedom throughout the world and a welcome to the oppressed of all lands. While the "Star Spangled Banner", whose ample folds give assurance to all who claim this as their home, bids tyrants tremble at the mandates of the men who today love liberty and hate oppression and remember with a freeman's memory the indignation we have suffered while preserving our national existence.
Happy the crowning ceremonies in which we placed our name at the head of the nations. We can be magnanimous and say to those who have wished our downfall, come let us live in peace together; and conscious of our power our resources our cause will be as in days of yore - in War, enemies; in peace, friends and
"Let foreign navies
And on our heads their furies pour
And peal their cannon's loudest roar
And storm our land."
They will find at Washington D.C., Andrew Johnson,
Esq., agent for the people, who is prepared to but sell, barter, or exchange all kinds of
commodities for this nation, instruct them in the duties of civilized life or punish them
for any disrespect for the people he represents and furnish his own capital.
Trusting we may never again hear the harsh sound of war, may the blessing of God go with the heroes to their homes and peace and plenty crown the toil of the husbandman, while our loved ones shall still be the care of the brave.
John T. Tinker