The Road from Manassas
The Thorny Rose: The Americanization Of An Urban, Immigrant, Working Class Regiment In The Civil War. A Social History Of The 39th New York Volunteer Infantry
THE ROAD FROM MANASSAS
First, McDowell bold and gay set forth the shortest way
By Manassas in the pleasant summer weather,
But unfortunately ran on a Stonewall, foolish man,
And had a rocky journey altogether,
And he found it rather hard to ride o'er Beauregard,
And Johnson proved a deuce of a bother.
And twas clear beyond a doubt that he didn't like the route
And a second time would have to try another.... (1)
The gentle breezes of a sultry Northern Virginia midsummer perfume the air with a verdant potpourri of fresh mown hay, honeysuckle, and wild red roses trailing gracefully along rail fences. If you are lucky enough to find shade from the hot afternoon sun, or sit leisurely alongside a tree lined creek, you may find yourself enveloped by an aura of peaceful solitude and sleepy serenity. But in July 1861, two restless, youthful, and untested armies, bivouacked within ten miles of each other, electrified the Northern Virginia atmosphere with tension and apprehension. Each had the objective of swiftly and cleanly ending the war with one decisive swipe at the other side. For the young soldier, be he native or immigrant, the test of manhood, loyalty to country, self-esteem and competence, and, if the worst happened, the test of his ability to sustain physical suffering with courage and to die a virtuous, exemplary death, was at hand.
Most were innocent in the ways of war, and certainly in the ways of the modern warfare they would be forced to wage. On the Union side, General Irwin McDowell, stood with his army near Centreville, Virginia, in position to defend the outskirts of Washington City from a possible rebel onslaught, and simultaneously begin the politically motivated "On to Richmond" campaign to capture the Confederate capital.. At Manassas Junction, where the all-important Orange and Alexandria Railroad joined a Shenandoah Valley line with the Manassas Gap railway, securing the supply and communication connection to the rebel capitol at Richmond, the fiery little Creole commander Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard waited with 20,000 Confederates.
McDowell took the offensive. His strategy was to send Major-General Robert Patterson, positioned at Harper's Ferry, site of the U.S. Government Arsenal and Armory since the days of the First President, to the Shenandoah Valley to cut off another rebel army led by General Joseph Johnston, while McDowell attacked Beauregard at Bull Run Creek. After a small preliminary engagement on July 18, McDowell struck his wager of battle on July 21. He feigned an attack on the Confederate right, then struck Beauregard's main force on the Widow Henry's Hill near Bull Run Creek.
But all had gone wrong in the Valley. Patterson had been unsuccessful in waylaying Johnston, and Johnston joined his force of 20,000 with Beauregard's on the night of July 20th. The Confederates were in force, and although initially, the Federal forces made headway, the obstinate stand of Confederate stalwarts Bee, Bristow, and Thomas J. Jackson set the stage for a counterattack of the combined armies of Johnston and Beauregard. The attack shattered the ranks of raw Union recruits, separating officers from their men, destroying what little regimental discipline existed and driving the army back across meandering, brambly Bull Run Creek. Captain Daniel P. Woodbury, a Regular Army officer in the U.S. Corps of Engineers, explained,
An old soldier feels safe in the ranks, unsafe out of the ranks, and the greater the danger the more pertinaciously he clings to his place. The volunteer of three months never attains this instinct of discipline. Under danger and even under mere excitement, he flies away from his ranks and looks for safety in dispersion.
When this happens, as it did at Bull Run, the soldiers "can no longer be handled as troops for the officers and men [are] not together." (2)
What had begun as an orderly Union retreat turned into a debacle as the panicked soldiers, their wild-eyed faces blackened and streaked with sweat and black powder, became entangled in a grotesque schottische with hundreds of civilians and politicians who had turned out from Washington to picnic and watch the "show". Rumor became the handmaiden of chaos and when word spread that the dreaded Confederate Black Horse Cavalry was in pursuit of the fleeing Federals, panic created a stampede back to Washington, twenty-six miles away. One spectator, Congressman Albert Riddle wrote:
There was never anything like it for causeless, sheer, absolute, absurd cowardice, or rather panic, on this miserable earth before.Off they went, one and all; off down the highway, over across fields, towards the woods, anywhere, everywhere to escape. Well,the further they ran, the more frightened they grew, and although we moved on as rapidly as we could, the fugitives passed us by scores. To enable them better to run, they threw away their blankets, knapsacks, canteens and finally muskets, cartridge boxes and everything else....We called them cowards, denounced them in the most offensive terms, put out our heavy revolvers and threatened to shoot them, but all in vain; a cruel, crazy and hopeless panic possessed them, and communicated to everybody about in front and rear. (3)
Captain Henry N. Blake of the 11th Massachusetts Infantry later noted that less than 3/8 of McDowell's forces—about 15,000 men-even took part in the battle. Another 25,000 were forced to act as "unwilling spectators". Moreover, only 22% of the 49 pieces of artillery attached to the army were activated in the battle. (4)
Among the 25,000 involuntary non-combatants of the battle of Bull Run was the Garibaldi Guard. The Guard had been organized into Colonel Ludwig Blenker's First Brigade in the Fifth Division commanded by veteran West Pointer and Regular Army Colonel Dixon Miles. Blenker was the famous German Forty-Eighter who had organized the 1st German Rifles, Eighth New York Infantry and who was known for his love of military pomp and pageantry. He also had a distinguished military record in Europe. Colonel Miles' advance troops had reckoned with the enemy in the skirmish of July 18, and the rest of the untried Fifth Division had taken its assigned post on the heights of Centreville in the reserve at daybreak July 21. Blenker's German Brigade set up a defensive position around the road from Centreville to Fairfax Courthouse with the Garibaldi Guard facing south. In front of the Guard's left wing stood Captain John C. Tidball's Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery. That morning, the pioneers of the regiment fortified the position by improving defensive works abandoned by Confederate troops in the area and constructing a redoubt with two embrasures to sweep and protect the road. (5). In the sweltering heat of the day, the men of the Guard watched the smoke rising from the battlefield and listened to the rattle of musketry, whinnying of horses and clatter of artillery caissons as bodies of troops moved to the front. Perhaps they also heard the muted wavering roars and crescendoes of human voices, a disharmonic chorus of horror, pain and shrieking battle cry bravado. Only when the battle had been lost and the terrified Federals were hightailing it for the defenses of the Capitol were the regiments of Blenker's Brigade called into action. The Garibaldi Guard poured into line and marched forth from the ridge to cover the retreat. A Tribunebattlefield reporter who had accompanied other New York troops into battle and became part of the retreat reported the reaction of the demoralized soldiers:
...suddenly their spirits were revived by a sight which so long as God lets them live, they will never cease to remember with pride and joy. Stretching far across the road, long before the hoped for refuge of Centreville was reached, was a firm, unswerving line of men, to whom the sight of the thousands who dashed by them was only a wonder or a scorn. This was the German rifle regiment, and to see the manly bearing of their General, and feel the inspiration which his presence gave at the moment was like relief to those who perish in the desert. At least then, all was not lost, and we knew that, let our destiny turn that night as it should, there was one man who would hold and keep the fame of the nation unsullied to the end....Blenker...steady and watchful, he held his line throughout the evening, advancing his skirmishers at every token of attack, and spreading a sure protection over the multitudes who spread disordered through his columns. (6)
At 4 P.M. Blenker's Brigade advanced at the doublequick down the road from Centreville to Warrenton. This effort was immediately impeded by the tangle of civilians and soldiers and all manner of vehicles and conveyances, wrecked and abandoned, as well as piles of destroyed property on the road. The aforementioned Tribune reporter described the scenes that Blenker's men passed as they crept forward: churches full of wounded, the doctors having abandoned their suffering patients,
groups of disabled men, who had forgotten their injuries in their fear some still streamed with blood...baggage wagons overturned, ambulances broken in pieces, weapons of every kind cast off, horses dead and dying, bags of corn and oats trodden into the ground, pieces of clothing scattered at all sides, discarded goods and equipment—breast high....like monuments erected by our own hands to our own shame. (7)
In the midst of the confusion a humble farm woman angrily admonished the fleeing soldiers to blow up more than a thousand pounds of gunpowder that had been thrown into the field, "Are you leaving it for the enemy?" she shouted. (8) But the powder was left to be neutralized by the rain, that drenching, cleansing aftermath of most Civil War battles that some people insist is caused by the booming of the cannon.
Although the Garibaldians involuntarily escaped this "initiation into large-scale horror” (9) that the battle at Bull Run provided for the rest of the Army on that stiflingly hot July day, they witnessed its scenes of human carnage and devastation throughout the day. One might say that discipline is the ability to forget, or at least to rationalize the impending horror of realization that a man's body is just one more piece of meat in the slaughter-house of military conflict. Individual human beings react differently to this realization. Their reactions are based upon their life experiences, their cultural, political and religious beliefs, their developed mechanisms of psychological control. The heightened emotional tension of battle interacting dialectially with the enforced discipline of the ranks shrinks all of their coping devices into a tightly wound bundle that can and will explode into different modes of behavior characterized by panic, blind hatred and anger, or cold dispassionate exactitude. The last of these is the most desired in terms of soldierly discipline. Dehumanization of oneself and the enemy is essential to this process. What one sees on and around especially the first battlefield facilitates the transformation.
And the dramatic fundamental reality of the battlefield was violent death. Nineteenth century people were perhaps more inured to exposure to certain kinds of bodily injuries than we are because they did not have access to the kinds of medical knowledge or the emergency medical institutions to care for the injured that we do. Those living in rural areas who still supplemented their larders with game were familiar with the consequences of gunshot accidents. City dwellers, exposed to increasingly complex technology and a lack of regulation of work conditions also suffered traumatic injuries due to accidents. Because of the proximity to fire through lighting, cooking and other household and work-life tools and techniques, more people were exposed to burns, including many infants. But unlike today, when we relegate the unpleasant reality of the corpse to the morgue and the funeral home, Nineteenth century people, for the most part, tended their loved ones at home, despite terrible physical agony and grotesque physical appearance, until they died; then they prepared their bodies for burial and relegated them to well-tended or family graveyards. Sickness, injuries and death were a family and community affair. Even public and grammar school education included preparation for death as an integral study. The ever-popular McGuffey's Readers "taught children that there was a right way to live, a right way to die, and thus a right way to happy immortality." The cosmology of death included a kindly God, his gentle Savior son, a domesticated heaven and an immortal soul. McGuffey's assured its young readers that "through expressive feelings, a supportive family, and a strong religious faith, one could surmount the negative phase of grief and accommodate oneself to deep loss." (10)
Sentimentalized by popular culture in song and literature, bolstered by public education, and orchestrated by the deep religiosity of Nineteenth century evangelicalism, death had "a substantial place in the lives of the living." (11) Indeed, for some, all of life was a "pilgrimage through the wilderness to home in the next world." (12) Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), the Romantic philosopher, maintained that dying was the real aim of life. (13)
Yet even the Victorians' infatuation with sentiment as dramatized by its overly romanticized cult of death was in many ways an attempt to resolve the internal contradictions between its old communal personality based upon a pre-industrial existence and the increasingly overpowering demands of hegemonizing monopoly capitalism. Romanticism acted as a "safety valve" for an increasingly competitive world, tempering its materialistic excesses and its dog-eat-dog mentality with flights of romantic fancy but leaving it otherwise unfettered. It aided the idealization and domestication of certain social institutions like the family and embellished certain cultural conventions in order to preserve them a bit longer from the talons of commercialization and consumerism and to temper increasing alienation from domestic virtues. (14) Many things which were once family affairs were entering the province of impersonal private enterprise. The embalming and funeral industries boomed with the coming of the Civil War and to understand the changing Nineteenth century relationship to death, one only has to examine the wartime photographs of embalmers advertising their trade via real specimens near the campground. Romantic conventions and the familiarity with death were exploited and then set aside by a new breed of entrepreneurs who could create for the deceased that beatific countenance of one who had defeated the "grim monster death" and gone on to his/her beautiful reward. Death had become big business.
But the Civil War soldier, including the working class immigrant, was the child of a smaller world in which he was socialized to count on familiy ties that would sustain him during life and look after him unto death. That is why no amount of romanticization, no great familiarity with the dying process, no witnessing of individual suffering or attendance at the death beds of friends and loved ones prepared him for the fiery maelstrom of battle.
It was no longer a neighbor falling off the top of the barn, one woman getting her scalp yanked off in a mechanized loom, or one child suffering from third degree burns due to crawling into the fireplace. It was hundreds of men all around him wounded and killed in indescribably frightening ways in an inferno of smoke and sulphur, flying metallic projectiles of all shapes and sizes, rushing vehicles and the constant threat of being run over by other men or wagons and crushed.
The Tribune reporter with the New York troops described one incident in which "four men were torn to pieces by a single round of grapeshot, and their blood was flung in great splashes over all who stood near. The carnage around seemed more terrific than it really was, so hideous was the nature of the wounds." (15)
What was the nature of the wounds? Beyond memoirs and reminiscences, the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion gives us a clinical but illuminating look at the human victims of modernizing military technology. Physicians and surgeons were particularly interested in new treatments for battle injuries, and the multivolume work is replete with soldier case histories, statistical charts, injury comparisons between contemporary wars, and even comments on the morality of using certain kinds of weapons and projectiles (particularly the "exploding projectile" that had the capability of inflicting a wound and then blowing up). The record studies only those soldiers admitted to hospital care whose case histories were recorded; it does not deal with battlefield fatalities. Although the statistics cold-bloodedly tally cold-bloodedly what were agonizing and horrible injuries, they give us an idea of what kinds of wounds were most prevalent and which were most often fatal.
During the whole of the Civil war, according to the history, 246,712 "wounds by weapons of war" were treated. The vast majority, 245,790, were shot wounds (16). Shot wounds were described as "all injuries caused directly or indirecty by missiles and projectiles impelled by the force of gunpowder or other explosive compounds." (17) The "cylindro-conoidal projectile" (e.g. the minie ball), became the most prevalent vehicle of the "incised, lacerated and penetrating" wounds inflicted upon most Civil War soldiers. Union soldiers at Bull Run and during the early war were just as likely to be hit by "round musket balls" and "buck and ball" due to the inferior nature of Confederate long arms. Minie balls and canister shot were more deadly to the Confederates at Manassas. (18) Small arms missiles as a whole accounted for 90.1% of the injuries, (19) while sabre and bayonet wounds accounted for only a tiny, generally non-fatal fraction.
Besides spherical and conoidal balls from small arms, (rifles, muskets and pistols) soldiers were also subject to wounds from "heavier ordinance, as cannon, both rifled and smoothbore, mortars, torpedoes, etc.; those which acted indirectly in the causation of injury, as splinters, stones and fragments, detached or set in motion by projectiles in their flight, and missiles of an unusual or eccentric character." In terms of seat of injury and kind of projectile, the study ascertained the type of projectile in 103,829 cases out of 245,790 shot wounds:
INJURIES FROM PARTICULAR KINDS OF PROJECTILES (20)
|KIND OF MISSILE||AGGREGATE CASES||PERCENTAGE|
|Explosive musket balls||
|Grape, canister, etc.||
|Pistol or buckshot||
|Fragments of shell||
|Round or musket ball||
In fully 103,829 of the cases studied, or 42.2% the type of missile was not ascertained. This could have been due to various reasons. There may have been no autopsy done in the case of fatality in the hospital. The missile may have exited the body or did not enter the body to begin with. The nature of the injury did not provide enough evidence or was too extensive, or the information was simply not recorded.
The following chart compiles statistics about fatality and frequency of shot wounds to particular parts of the body:
PERCENTAGE OF FATALITY AND RELATIVE FREQUENCY OF
|SEAT OF INJURY||PERCENTAGE FATALITY||RELATIVE FREQUENCY|
|Back (Flesh wounds)||
Of those injuries studied, wounds of the head, neck and face accounted for 10.77% with a 16.6% mortality rate, wounds of the trunk for 18.37% with a 33.7% fatality rate, and wounds of the arms, hands, legs and feet for 70.86% with a 10.15% fatality rate. It is to be repeated that these figures do not include those people who died before they ever received medical care. The figures require much more analysis to bring them more clearly into human focus. An injury of the face might look exceedingly horrifying with lots of blood and instant visible deformity, but the mortality rate was only 5.8%, whereas a penetrating wound in the spine or abdomen might be less visible, yet about half of those receiving medical care for those wounds( I am giving medical care the benefit of the doubt here) died. The wounds with the largest number of fatalities attributed to them were in this order wounds of the spine, the abdomen, the pelvis, the head, and the chest Yet a soldier was more likely to be wounded in the extremities, the head, the chest, and the back(in that order) depending upon the nature of the battle and personal conditions and from what direction the missiles came. Soldiers involved in siege operations later in the war had a larger number of head wounds. Accoutrements or personal items worn in the trunk area could have the effect of deflecting or changing the nature of trunk wounds.
There were also particular wounds that had extremely high and absolute mortality rates within the median percentages. You had almost no hope at all to survive a smashed head, although nine victims in this study actually made it to the surgeon; wounds of the inner table of the skull, penetrating fractures of the skull, the trachea and esophagus, the pharynx and larynx, wounds of the intestines, the spleen, the pancreas, the blood vessels, the supra renal capsules, the dorsal and lumbar vertebrae, and the fracture of bones of the hip joint were from eighty percent to one hundred percent fatal. (23)
The Medical and Surgical record gives excellent descriptions of heavy ordinance projectiles that wounded soldiers and the nature of the wounds. Old fashioned smoothbore weapons generally used spherical projectiles while rifled pieces used elongated. Spherical "round shot" were generally solid cast-iron. Grape-shot did not look like grapes at all. It usually consisted of nine cast-iron balls in layers of three "kept in position by a series of tables or plates...held together by a vertical rod secured by nuts on each end". Grape-shot came in different sizes to fit the bore of the cannon. When the grape-shot was discharged, it broke up into component parts, having the effect of nine cannon balls going in all directions instead of one. It had a very long range.
Canister was used primarily against advancing masses of infantry at short range. It was a tin canister filled with "a large number of iron and leaden balls of a smaller size than grape." Just as with grape, the bursting container scattered the speeding projectiles, smashing them into the line of troops and causing widescale human destruction. Bodies were torn apart and body parts and pieces flung in all directions. Grape and canister were often used together.
Schrapnel shot was either "spherical or elongated" depending, once again, upon the cannon. When it was made to fit a smoothbore it was called "spherical case shot." Schrapnel consisted of masses of musket balls in a thick shell which would be loosed upon its exclusion. These last three were primarily anti-personnel weapons. Hand grenades were used also at close range and torpedoes were the Civil War equivalent of line mines, set to go off through the pressure of the foot. These could also take out many men at a time. One such torpedo was developed to use under bridges. (24)
A human body is simply no match for a large projectile-it will not stop it- and its "force is but slowly expended on masses of soldiery....[and its] impact is followed by certain death or by wounds of great severity." If the shot hit a limb with full force, it oftentimes cut it cleanly off as though it had been amputated, or left it handing by shreds of flesh and muscle. An oblique hit or one of "diminished velocity" meant a furrow the size and direction of the missile destroying bone and tissue in its path. Even a spent shell could do extensive damage even if not readily apparent by rupturing internal organs, the same aftermath of what were called "buffer accidents", common enough when troops were transported by railroad. Buffer accidents occurred when soldiers, attempting to jump between railroad cars, were crushed between the "buffers". Victims of both spent projectiles and buffer accidents usually appeared to rally briefly, but were dead within forty-eight hours due to internal bleeding and acute peritonitis. (25)
Shell fragments, swiftly losing velocity but not deadliness due to their sharp edges were especially dangerous, and most soldiers injured or killed fell victim to these, rather than to direct hits by intact missiles. Pieces with "great weight and high velocity" did as much damage as whole shells, sometimes carrying away a "portion of the trunk" or other body part. When that did not occur, the fragment(s) left a wound "deeply contused with ragged and irregular edges; there may be a loss of more or less substance; bony structure exposed to the force of the blow is shattered and comminuted; not infrequently the missile will be found lodged in the wound." (26)
Torpedoes had the effect of modern land mines: "Should life not be immediately extinguished, fearful mangling and mutilation results, and limbs may be entirely torn away or shattered almost beyond recognition, while the presence of burns and the effects of the inhalation of gases serve to complicate and obscure the conditions." (27)
When large ordinance missiles were fired, they often activated all kinds of other materials such a stones, splinters and fragments of just about anything which themselves became deadly missiles. Common examples were "fragments of stone and splinters of wood torn from the earth or from trees, and from structures forming defensive works, scraps of iron or metal from ordinance, firearms or from articles of equipment " (28) To illustrate the possibilities of being injured by such projectiles, an acquaintance of the author of this dissertation was seriously injured and even experienced a cessation of vital signs long enough to be clinically dead after an accident during a Civil War re-enactment An attempt had been made to replicate the blowing up of a small dwelling by cannon fire. The explosion was exceedingly successful and very accurate in its simulation. Large pieces of wood burst straight up into the air, twirling end over end and then began falling back to the ground and hitting re-enacters. This particular young man was hit by one of the planks. He went almost immediately into shock, seemed to be experiencing little pain, but a sort of euphoria. There was no external bleeding, but medical testing found that he had internal injuries including a ruptured spleen, which was removed, and crushed testicles. The hospital was unaware of the extent of his injuries until he "died" on the operating table after hours of surgery from internal hemorraging. The same kind of injury could have been inflicted during the Civil War by a spent shell. The problem with these wounds was that they were not necessarily apparent from the outside.
Small arms wounds were the most common wounds, and because small missiles were not easily deflected the extent and nature of injuries depended upon what the missiles hit and the range of the ball. A ball can be flattened and stopped by a bone,causing a contusion, or become lodged in the bone, but it can also shatter the bone, making bone and metal fragments a problem for soft tissue. Civil war soldiers often described being hit by a ball as similar to a punch. Too much damage to the bone and surrounding tissue usually meant amputation with a possible complication of gangrene and subsequent additional amputation up the limb or leg.
If the ball struck a nerve, the immediate sensation was "as though someone had struck them sharply with a stick." Pain set in not necessarily where the ball hit but somewhere else in the nerve line. This was followed by "total loss of sensation in the parts supplied by [the nerve]; shock more or less profound, proportionate to the reflex disturbance; and paralysis of motion and sensation, complete or partial." (29) Damage to one part of a nerve system often caused immediate "reflex paralysis" in some other part of the body. Damage to nerve centers when not immediately fatal, took little time to kill a soldier.
Explosive balls were the subject of ethical review in the 1860's, just as biological and chemical weapons are today. It was considered barbaric to place a soldier casualty in double jeopardy from a ball that would first wound him in an ordinarily terrible manner and then explode, sending tiny fragments of metal through the wounded tissue and beyond. At least 33,000 explosive bullets were issued in the early part of the war by the United States Army, although almost a third of this issue never made it to the troops before the controversy began because they could not be transported. The damage done by an exploding ball was much greater than that of a regular bullet It was much more difficult to extract the pieces and thus more likely that infection and gangrene would set in. A convention was signed by the "principal nations of Europe" banning smaller exploding projectiles at St. Petersburg in 1868. It is of interest to us today to quote from the original document in order to analyze sardonically our own concept of civilization and the "progress" of our military technology. The signees banned such missiles for the following considerations:
that the progress of civilization ought to have the effect of lessening as much as possible the calamities of war: That the only legitimate object that states ought to propose to themselves during war is to weaken the military strength of their enemies; that for this purpose it is sufficient to put hors de combat the greatest number of men possible: that this end should be overpassed by the employment of arms which would uselessly aggravate the wounds of men placed hors de combat or that would render their death inevitable: that the employment of such arms would be consequently contrary to the laws of humanity.
They agreed to amend the ban in the light of any "future improvements science may make in the arms of troops." (30)
Medical terminology still does not bring us close enough to the experiences of the wounded soldiers, whether prostrated on the field of battle, en route to hospitals, or walking wounded. What were the symptoms felt and displayed by those who received gunshot wounds?
The immediate effect of "severe shot injuries" affecting "larger bone and the more important organs and cavities" is shock. The victim turns pale, begins trembling and falls to the ground. The skin is cool to the touch and the victim perspires profusely:
" the features indicate anxiety and distress, the respiration is labored and sighing, the circulation is feeble, the mental condition is often one of agitation resembling fear, or there may be an entire loss of self-control; at times, in severe cases, consciousness is lost, and finally death may ensue without reaction." (31)
The basic elements of shock tend to affect individuals very differently. Obviously, the graver the injury, the more severe the shock. But some people lose all control, while others retain their coolness and composure. In some, according to the report, "shock seems to heighten the excitement under which the individual is laboring during a battle; in others the effect is to produce a sense of fear and panic." (32) Wounds of the abdomen, in particular, cause severe shock with its worst effects. These wounds are almost always attended by vomiting of blood from the mouth, and if the soldier has eaten recently, the exit of partially digested food and feces from the missile's entrance/ exit wounds. (33). Shock is also great in injuries of the "long bones" where there is "great splintering and comminution." (34)
On the Civil War battlefield, shock as a result of abdominal wounds or wounds from a large projectile most often caused death. (35)
The pain derived from gunshot wounds must also be described individually because of differing temperaments and pain thresholds. The pain has been described as "a stinging or cutting as from a blow from a cane,...the passage of a hot wire through the part, dull, like the blow from some heavy body." (36) The medical rebellion record, written as it was in the last quarter of the Nineteenth century had an interesting comment to make on pain illuminating the archaic views of that day about race and temperament:
Under the stimulus of great excitement, as that prevailing during an active engagement, men may receive wounds without being aware of the fact until their attention is drawn to the blood flowing from the wound, or until they are affected by faintness from the loss of blood....The white races, as a rule, seem to be more susceptible to pain and to suffer more acutely. The negro soldiers engaged in the late civil war bore their suffering with great fortitude and patience; but it is questionable if the actual degree of suffering was as great as that of white soldiers. The nervous and sanguine temperaments show a greater capacity for suffering than the lymphatic or lethargic temperaments. (37)
External hemorrhaging was a prevalent cause of battlefield death. Soldiers were encouraged to carry a tourniquet in order to preserve themselves long enough to get medical attention for their wounds.(38) It is questionable that many soldiers were able through tangled accoutrements, wool clothing, pain and panic to keep absolute composure long enough to stop their bleeding.
A number of soldiers received more than one wound, even several wounds simultaneously due to the nature of Civil War infantry tactics, the firing of volleys and the variety of ordinance. A young German in a Massachusetts unit, caught in a crossfire, was hit by no less than twenty-six minie balls all at once in the fighting near Spotsylvania Courthouse in 1864. Wounded on May 12 and transferred to a Washington hospital on May 25, he died on May 30. (39)
Much has been written about the demoralizing effect of the conditions of battlefield hospitals and the treatments for wounds therein, the grisly piles of amputated limbs, and the resultant fear that many Civil War soldiers had of amputation or wound complication in the hospital. Out of the 174,206 shot wounds in extremities in the Rebellion study, 29,980 ended in amputation. Out of 60,266 treatments for shot wounds in the extremities, death came to 17.9% of those treated by "conservation," 27.5% of those treated by excision of the missile and damaged tissue or bone, and 25.8% of those treated by amputation of the limb or part of the limb. Wounds in the lower extremities were much more dangerous than those in the upper. (40)
Soldiers were not the only victims of heavy ordinance and small arms fire during the Civil War. Certain kinds of ordinance existed specifically for use in siege actions and to destroy property. That was how the Widow Henry met her Maker in her house on her hill in the middle of the Battle of Bull Run.
These statistical, technical and human characteristics of the fundamental reality of war describe the fate that befell the 1584 Union sons, brothers, fathers and husbands killed and wounded in the fields and pastures near Manassas Junction and so many more of their comrades in battles thereafter. On the Centreville Ridge, Blenker's Brigade watched the grotesque parade of panicked, wounded and retreating men go by and prepared to repel an attack by victorious Confederates pursuing them.
It is fair to say that the foreign regiments under Blenker created the one positive image in an afternoon of degradation and demoralization, and had as the Tribune suggested legitimate and "honest claims to the gratitude of the country." (41) Blenker himself reported:
Owing to the coolness of the commanding officers and the good discipline of the men, the passage through the village was successfully executed and the further advance made with the utmost precision, and I was thus enabled to take a position which would prevent the advance of the enemy and protect the retreat of the army.(42)
About a mile and a half south of Centreville, the brigade began taking up a position on both sides of the road, sending forward soldiers marching shoulder to shoulder in line of battle and covered by another line of skirmishers more widely deployed. (43) The Garibaldi Guard, in line in back of the 29th New York Regiment, was a half mile behind the advance. Blenker threw out sentries and the men, models of comparative solemnity and discipline in the midst of tumult, witnessed the flight of their comrades—ready to challenge and, they hoped, repel, any attempt by victorious Confederate forces to advance toward Washington.
Shortly after 9 P.M., when the heat of the day had finally given way to refreshing coolness, their chance came. A squadron of Confederate cavalry cautiously approached the picket line in the waning twilight. The challenge rang out, "Who comes there?" then, silence and suddenly a defiant, "Union Forever!". The rebel cavalry officer yelled out "Knock him down! Knock him down!" but before the command could be heeded, Blenker's skirmishers blasted forth with a volley of musket fire, emptying several saddles. The rebel horsemen fled leaving behind nine Union prisoners.
Confederate cavalry stung Blenker's command sporadically throughout the night, but the men held their ground. Finally at midnight, the order came from General McDowell to retire to Washington. The Eighth New York (1st German Rifles), the Twenty-Ninth New York(lst German Infantry), and the Garibaldians marched off in good order, still alert to any enemy forward movement They brought off their six artillery pieces in addition to two stands of Union colors abandoned on the field.
And so the men of the Garibaldi Guard and the German Brigade, shoulders burdened by the requisite forty pounds of gear, personal possessions and ten pounds of musket, woolen uniforms drenched with rain and sweat whose stench mingled with the acrid smell of black powder in their nostrils, began the long and exhausting march back toward Washington, arriving nineteen hours later, still in complete regularity. Six of the German Brigade's men had been killed and one officer and sixteen men wounded. The Garibaldi Guard, now given the common designation of the 39th New York Infantry, lost two men killed and five wounded out of that number. (44) Many of the Garibaldians felt chagrined and deeply disappointed in the humiliation of the defeated Federal Army when they had waited so patiently and responded so well to the chance to do their duty. Still, where all was despondency, they were able to claim a measure of pride. (45)
Why had Blenker's men NOT been brought forward more readily when they could possibly have added a factor that could have at least checkmated the Confederates along Bull Run Geek? The mutinies and disorders among the foreign-born troops are a possible answer, but it does not seem likely that in a desperate situation like the rout at Bull Run, such scruples could hold much weight The German Brigade was positioned to protect the rear of the Union Army, an indispensable post given the proximity to the Capitol city. McDowell was particularly worried about the Centreville ridge, fearing that while the bulk of his army was engaged in the front, "endeavoring to turn the enemy's position" his own army would be turned by the rebels using the road along the ridge. In other words, the enemy would come between his own army and Washington City, in a position to "irretrievably cut off and destroy" the Union forces. Therefore, he "directed this point to be held in force." (46) Thus the position along the Centreville ridge was an important one, and regardless of the men's feelings about "missing" the major portion of the engagement, theirs was also as a New York Times article of July 28th proclaimed, "a post of honor." (47) That does not rule out a possible official mistrust of the regiments that had most recently sustained mutinies or whose loyalty to the cause was questionable. At least one officer, Major John G. Barnard of the U.S. Corps of Engineers criticized McDowell for failing to bring Miles two brigades including the German brigade into action. (48) Perhaps the foreign ranks of Ludwig Blenker could have made a difference if used in conjunction with other troops that never tore a cartridge. But Major George Waring, third ranking officer of the Garibaldians, offered another interpretation, one that has been repeated since then by others : "But to what end? Possibly to the end of patching up an unworthy peace, and a postponement of the abolition of slavery for generations. Let us not complain." (49)
The post-structuralist historians tell us that perception is reality. If that is the case, there must have been those in the Garibaldi Guard who perceived their frustrations at Centreville to be part of the chronic maltreatment of the regiment despite their rearguard success.. For between July 30 and August 10 two of the original commanders and benefactors of the Guard resigned: Major George Waring and Charles Norton, the Paymaster. Some company commanders and officers also resigned. Waring later observed in his memoirs that after Bull Run, and his own abandonment of the regiment for his own cavalry unit, "the record of [the regiment's] subsequent service [was] not remarkable." (50)
Meanwhile, back in New York City benevolent organizations began taking up contributions for the opening of the New York Union Home School at 75th Street and 11th Avenue. Ads placed in the newspapers to solicit for funds noted that, as a result of battle casualties, some little children were now left without mother or father, "some not knowing where to look for their next meal...Some of them are not only breadless but in a starving condition when found." (51) On the lighter side, veterans of the Polish Revolution met to "organize a regiment armed with scythes" which "if properly directed" could "cause great havoc among the enemy's cavalry." (52)
City newspapers were also pondering some of the problems of military inexperience that created the defeat at Bull Run. One solution offered by the Tribune was to solicit the services of experienced foreign officers with an understanding of the nature of the primary question of the war, "whether a free and popular government shall have a longer existence on this continent or whether it shall perish at the hands of insurrectionists and its place be taken by...despotism." These officers, not soldiers of fortune, but those with serious military educations would be "useful teachers of their inexperienced brother officers as well as good commanders of the rank-and-file," and should, therefore, receive the government's kind welcome. The editorial also pointed out that the South was making good use of Italian officers who had fought in the Garibaldian campaigns, and the North should do the same. (53)
The idea that European officers were imbued with greater military knowledge than their American counterparts was born not only of nativist generalizations about war-like personalities born of non-democratic systems but also of the reality of European military history and foreign conflicts in the thirty years before the Civil War. Americans with their traditional discomfort with standing armies, were now forced to reassess their previous smug evaluations and reckon with their present military needs by using available martial expertise. The task at hand was to build an army from the shattered ranks of Bull Run.
Behind the fortifications of Washington City, those shattered ranks now cowered. With the Capitol in constant nervous trepidation over the possibility of a rebel attack, the Union Army of the Potomac, nursing its defeat, began massive reorganization and training under a new commander, George Brinton McClellan. Little Mac, as he was affectionately called by his men, set to work endlessly drilling the troops, trying to whip them into an organized, disciplined force to give them the security to venture forth again beyond the city's defenses. Ludwig Blenker became one of the few German Division Commanders and Julius Stahel, a Hungarian Forty-Eighter, was given Blenker's old brigade. In the late Fall, the Division was camped at Hunter's Chapel, Virginia as part of the defenses of Washington City. (54) By late Fall, 1861, Blenker's German Division force included 7738 infantrymen, 302 artillerists and 75 cavalrymen. (55)
The periods between battles during the Civil War were trying times for the men of both sides. The monotony of camp life produced few lasting diversions. The meals were commonplace at best and the drilling and parading unbearable in extremes of weather. Benjamin F. Taylor in his In Camp and Field (l903) gave an oft-quoted, amusing but graphic account of the beginning of a day in camp:
Morning breaks strange and musically in camp. Not a familiar sound in it at all; no bells, no lowing herds, no 'cock's shrill carion', no rattling pavements, no opening doors. Turn out before the camps are astir, and just before the whole family of 'wall', Sibley cone, and that bit of a kennel, the 'dog' tent begin to show grey in the dawn...All around you as far as the eye can reach, it seems a badly harvested field that has grown a monstrous crop of men, now lying heads and points everywhere...By and by, from field, wood and hill come the sweet notes of reveille; bugle echoes bugle, the fifes warble up through the roaring surf of the drums, and the dear old swell of a full band rolls over the tops of the trees from an unseen camp. In singular contrast to all this, an anomalous gamut of groans, neighs strangled in the making, and half human snorts, runs round the whole landscape. It is the hideous morning welcome of the immense cordon of mules to the rustle of the morning forage. Flags flutter out and blue threads of smoke curl up along the camps; the clink of the butt ends of bayonets, beating the little bags full of Rio, give you the merry music of the soldiers coffee mill; little tin pails and camp kettles go tinkling about. You are bugled to breakfast, bugled to guard mounting, bugled to dinner, bugled to battle, bugled to bed, the bass drums the while giving three vicious growls at your heels as you go. (56)
Forty three years had blinded Taylor with nostalgia, but to the soldiers in the camps around Washington in the deepening autumn of 1861, it was--no doubt--all a bad, and repetitive dream. Many a soldier commented on the endless waiting for something to happen, and the near relief when the campaign opened.
Besides boredom, sickness was another demoralizing element of camp life. Crowded conditions and a rudimentary understanding of sanitation aided the spread of diseases including measles, amoebic dysentery and diarrhea, typhoid and smallpox. Hard labor on fortifications and exposure to long hours of picket duty wore volunteer soldiers down, making them more susceptible to sickness. Unscrupulous recruiters had enrolled less than able bodied men and almost 3939 soldiers were discharged, most of them with disabilities the preceded the war in October, November and December alone. (57) It seemed to Charles S. Tripler, the Surgeon of the U.S. Army whose job it was to remedy the deplorable health conditions in the camps that "the army...had been made use of as a grand eleemosynary institution for the reception of the aged and infirm, the blind, the lame and the deaf, where they might be housed, fed, paid, clothed and pensioned, and their townships relieved of the burden of their support."(58) Supply distribution problems, the inability of civilian doctors to deal with military regulations and procedures, and the inadequacy and misuse of hospital equipment complicated matters. Tripler complained that hospital vehicles were "in general use as pleasure carriages for idlers and accommodation cabs for carrying officers and men from their camps to the city of Washington." (59) But the essential problem, according to Tripler was the failure of officers to enforce hygienic conditions in the camps. In essence, someone had to take the place of wife and mother. Tripler explained:
The individual man at home finds his meals well cooked and punctually served, his bed made, his quarters policed and ventilated, his clothing washed and kept in order without any agency of his own, and without his ever having bestowed a thought upon the matter. The officer in ninety nine cases out of a hundred has given no more reflection than the private to these important subjects....To bad cooking, bad police, bad ventilation of tents, inattention to personal cleanliness, and unnecessary irregular habits we are to attribute the greater proportion of diseases that actually occurred in the army. (60)
In December 1861 most of the men around Washington were vaccinated against a smallpox epidemic. When the administration of inoculations was complete, it was found that Blenker's Division had been completely overlooked. This oversight was immediately rectified. (61)
In the organization of the Union medical corps, foreigners again stepped forward to offer their services in replicating and commanding an ambulance corps similar to the Continental European system. Although Tripler appeared to favor some of these propositions, he felt that "under the then existing laws of the army," their facilitation would not be possible. (62)
In that same month, Stahel's Brigade, which included the Garibaldi Guard, were treated to a bit of excitement. The New Yorkers were on picket duty, and, according to later sources, "a very free use of liquor" was responsible for a lack of alertness. When they heard hoofbeats approaching, the men assumed that their own cavalry was making their rounds early. Instead, they were driven in by rebel horsemen, and a general skirmish ensued. The New Yorkers killed three of the enemy and took two prisoners. Fourteen Union men were captured by the Confederate troopers of fourteen men and one man from the 45th New York(5th German Rifles) was killed. Later, a local farmer named Cox and his sons were arrested for being "hot secessionists", and were accused of providing the Confederates with information about the Federal lines enabling them to make the attack. The pickets were instructed to fire upon any horsemen who were not approaching their lines at a slow pace thereafter. (63)
In the ranks of the Garibaldi Guard, more trouble and discontent were astir. Scattered documents describe some of the incidents and developing relationships in camp in early 1862.
There is reason to believe that throughout the early Spring of 1862, the regiment was subjected to mistreatment at the hands of the Commanding General of the Second Corps, Edwin Sumner. Simultaneously, Colonel D'Utassy was awaiting a possible court-martial having been place under arrest by General Blenker, in what seems to have been an on-going feud. The Garibaldians' chaplain, Dr. A. P. Zola, whose papers were "violently seized" and he, "held apart from the regiment" as a material witness in D'Utassy's case, wrote to the the Colonel once a day keeping him informed about the turmoil in the camp, and it is through his letters that we get a sense of the atmosphere in the days before and during the forward movement of the Union Army. The chaplain supported the Colonel, and soon found that charges of some nature were being preferred against him as well. So Zyla stayed in the rear, read classics and novels, played chess and spied on enemies for the Colonel as the army sluggishly prepared for the Spring Campaign and the Garibaldian column snaked out in the advance. In particular, Zyla kept D'Utassy informed about the activities of "Goliath", their name for Lieutenant Colonel Repetti, who appeared, at least in Zyla's eyes to be an ogre. He described a recent Sunday morning when before Sabbath services Repetti told the Regiment, "Today I am going to play the role of a "Pfaff' (preacher)", ridiculing me[Zyla] or rather himself to the most laughable extent." (64)
Other complaints about Repetti came from Fannie de la Mesa, wife of Fernando de la Mesa who captained the Spanish Company (Officers' wives sometimes stayed close to the rear of the army.) Fannie de la Mesa kept up a lively exchange with D'Utassy as she followed the Garibaldians to the Shenandoah Valley, and she also vented her frustrations concerning her husband's treatment to Zyla. Mrs. de la Mesa told him that Repetti had placed her husband under arrest and implored him to take some action, for she feared that her husband may have "been carried away by irrascibility against Goliath." When Repetti released Mesa, two days later, and, according to his wife, "declared him no soldier." Mesa, whose baby daughter was D'Utassy's godchild, replied, "I see, you are a soldier because you have very soldier and gentleman-like conspired and signed a declaration against an officer who had received you with open arms." (65)
Zyla mentioned other women as well, laundresses who seemed to become the excuse for German/Irish depredations upon each other, German women "of surely not the best repute" who were caught in a barn after Captain von Schondorf of the Swiss company, saw "men prowling around it, and "the Italian woman" who was "exercising herself in target shooting from a pistol" and antagonizing von Schondorf. (66)
The Swiss Company, according to a story reported by Zyla, had experienced the Lieutenant Colonel's wrath in a scenario that almost ended in mutiny and violence to Repetti's person. Apparently a private soldier was having trouble getting his weapon to fire. It had failed to discharge three times, when, frustrated, the soldier put "fresh powder in the piston's hole, and succeeded in discharging the load into the ground before him." Repetti demanded to know:
"Who dared to fire?" and seeing the smoke cringling about the body of the Swiss, he took the rifle out of the frightened soldier's hands dealing him therewith several blows on the back. It appears that, as far as Capt Schwarz orderly's report goes, four Companies rushed forward with the cry "Shoot down the tyrant!"
The Swiss were reserving "three cheers for Colonel D'Utassy" and were "not very likely to be conciliated with the Lieut Col. whom reports state to beat the men with the sheath of his sword as to leave bloody marks on their limbs." (67)
As a result of the Swiss company incident, and others like it, there were "general murmurings pervading the men." Zyla concluded, "I am, and boast of being, a pessimist in valuing 'European humanity"'. (68)
On March 26, the chaplain reported "rejoicing in the abandoned camp" because of the arrival of fresh meat, bread, coffee and sugar for the small company of men and hospital patients remaining. The Lieutenant Colonel had insisted that those in the rear "should be starved out" These men, according to Zyla were already "literally starved." The camp hospital was a "lion's den" and a squadron of cavalry had to intervene when hospital inmates began beating a malingerer. Zyla described what must have seemed like the streets of New York City transplanted in Northern Virginia, a Bowery Boys scenario in which inebriated German and Irish soldiers and local farmers clashed in the environs of the "rumhole": Montegriffo's bar. According to Zyla, drunkenness was pervading the camp, to "almost a fearful extent." The Garibaldians, being penniless, were more often victims to drunken Irish "who come over from neighboring camps and find at Montegriffo's every exhilaration they are in need of and find there "kicks, too, applied them by such of this Regt. as happens to be insulted by them." Even as he wrote these last lines, Zyla heard, outside of his tent "certain very distinct movements of a stick falling upon the back of O'Donnell," one of the Irish toughs terrorizing the Germans. (69) Honorary Lieutenant von Duesberg was the next victim, his cloak torn to pieces and his face acquiring "a more conspicuous aspect, by its inflated volumen as well as by a kind of dark coloring, not noticeable formerly upon it." Duesberg was obliged to get stitches in the "skin of his skull", he suffered "such a knock" in the brawl. The Irish also attacked a German farmer "so cruelly that it was necessary to send a guard to his relief." Montegriffo's was finally shut down but reopened after a day hosting almost immediately the stabbing of a Connecticut soldier by a "Swiss sentinel." Zyla wrote:
Schondorf's...generosity leads him to fetch beer for [his men] and thus their cries of thanksgiving are not less troublesome than the war whoops of astray Irish. Camp D'Utassy is a little hell and often as much dangerous as hell itself. All of the scenes occurring here are for the greater part consequences of idleness. (70)
That idleness was coming to an end in the last days of March, as more and more companies moved out of Camp D'Utassy.
But for Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Repetti, the movement forward was the beginning of the end. As the the result of an incident on March 27, Repetti was placed under arrest, and upon his release tendered a resignation letter which gives only a few hints as to the nature of the problems. The regiment was serving as advance guard in the army's forward movement on March 27, and in the evening of that day five of the ten companies were ordered out for twenty-four more hours of picket duty. One other company reported for Headquarters duty. The remaining four companies, "having furnished the line of skirmishers during the whole march" were too tired to leave the bivouac, and Repetti ascertained that he, the Major and the Adjutant had made the rounds of the regiment's picket lines every two hours to make sure that order prevailed. But someone apparently accused the Garibaldians of perpetuating disorders, and the whole regiment was punished and Repetti placed under arrest. For the soldiers, punishment usually meant more hours of grueling labor, for Repetti, this was the beginning of the end of his military career in the Union Army. He expressed his anger and humiliation in an interesting comment on military justice in the Union Army:
I have undergone the punishment which you have thought fit to inflict upon me. My Regiment has also suffered the punishment you ordered, and this without murmuring, as is the duty of every good soldier.
But if it is the the Soldier's duty to obey, it is also his right to protest after the punishment when he thinks he has been wrongfully dealt with...it is usage in every Country to make an investigation before punishing~and mis has not been done, neither against my Regiment, nor against myself.
Whereas, this is the first time I have ever been put in arrest during my whole military career of over 18 years having gained my position rank after rank in the service of the Swiss Confederacy, my country, and
Whereas the whole regiment is to be punished for offenses which are not to be done by him, you will not find it strange that...I beg you to accept my resignation. (71)
Apparently, the resignation was not accepted or Repetti withdrew it shortly thereafter. It is also possible that it never reached its destination, as at the time of its writing, the regiment was on the march first toward Fortress Monroe, then with a completely different set of orders. By March 31, the Garibaldians were twenty three miles beyond Manassas, where decaying bones of soldiers killed in the first battle were still in evidence, and somewhere out there, according to rumor, 10,000 secessionists lay in wait The advance, including the Fifth Company, forded a river with the water up to their armpits, to successfully attack a Confederate cavalry column, and in the process, purportedly found a letter from a Confederate soldier's wife in Richmond, urging him to desert rather than "fall into the hands of the fearful Garibaldi Guard." (72)
Mid-nineteenth century armies moved relatively slowly because of the encumbrance of their logistical support system. Commanders of armies had to arrange for the forward motion of not only marching men, but all their equipage, in effect everything necessary to support the army i camp, on the march and in the battle line. The impedimenta of the army were carried by military "transport vehicles for provisions, hospitals, munitions, and supplies" and civilian wagons and other non-military vehicles pressed into service in the countryside, as well. An army's baggage train (in the rear during a forward motion) covered several miles and included, if the supply function of the army was working well "carriages, caissons, pontoon and artillery equipages, siege equipages, moveable hospitals, engineer and artillery utensils, clothing and munitions of all kinds." (73) Some of the rations of the army were carried, necessarily, on the hoof. It is only necessary to examine the Confederate record of captured stores in the Shenandoah Valley to understand the nature of goods and materials that travelled with a moving army. Confederate General Thomas Jackson captured in one month 103 head of cattle, almost 15,000 pounds of bacon, 6000 pounds of hard bread, 2400 pounds of sugar, 350 bushels of salt and 85 barrels of flour. These were just a fraction of the rations the army had to carry to Winchester at the beginning of the campaign in order to create a supply depot there. There were also numerous camp followers in and behind the line of march including teamsters, sutlers with contracts to sell their wares to soldiers from sutler wagons, farmers with forage for the animals, and even officers' family members with personal vehicles. (74) Thus, other rebel commanders took "the contents of four sutler stores, filled with a variety of goods, valued at $25,000." At Winchester, on one day, May 1, 1862, nearly $125,000 worth of goods fell into rebel hands including saddles, harness, wagons, artillery equipage, 233 horses and 21 mules, 19 wagons, harness and halter chains, hammers, anvils, crowbars, wheelbarrows, ink and stationary, 5,300 pounds of leather [for repair of leather harness and equipage?], 545 1/4 yards of cotton cloth, blacksmith's and carpenters tools, nearly a thousand axes, picks, hatchets, saws, shovels and spades, 29 bundles of telegraph wire, 13,000 pounds of horseshoes, 9400 pounds of horseshoe nails, 71 camp kettles, 134 tents and 65 camp stools, 292 tin plates, soldiers' and officers clothing including 2 3/4 dozen neckties, 7 boxes of paper collars, suspenders, handkerchiefs, hats, blankets, 305 pair of men's shoes, 90 pair of socks, and even 7 pairs of ladies, misses and children's shoes. And at Harper's Ferry, in September of 1862, the enemy captured approximately 2900 pounds of salt meat, 19,000 pounds of bacon, 156,000 pounds of hard bread, 5000 pounds of coffee and another 2000 pounds of other commissary stores. Some of this was used to feed 13,000 captured troops, but much of what was not taken was carried off by Union paroled prisoners in division wagons. (75) Needless to say, with an army toting a menagerie of this kind, there was little room for the element of surprise in an attack. That is why most surprise attacks were carried out by the cavalry. But the point of this short discourse has been that it takes an army a long time to get on the road. It is quite possible for there to be thirty miles between the main army's advance troops and its supply wagons, as well as its rear, and as Zyla fed the daily fare of camp gossip to the Colonel from his confined quarters in the regiment's rear, the camp was being slowly abandoned. Those left behind were occupants of the regimental hospitals, about a company of soldiers, and various officers shuttling back and forth between rear and column.
By by the time of Repetti's attempted resignation, the Spring campaigning season had begun. McClellan was preparing for the deployment and transport of a huge portion of the Union Army to the Virginia Peninsula, a movement long awaited and overdue. His plans included detailed utilization of all available troops, but on March 31, McClellan received an antagonizing order from President Lincoln to transfer Blenker's Division from his own command to the western Virginia Mountain Department with its new commander John C. Fremont. (76)
The first year of military and camp life for the men of the Garibaldi Guard was not an easy one. Morale was undoubtedly low; good officers had resigned; there had been broken promises, mutinies, military defeat, and humiliation. The early days of glory in New York City were buried in a blurry past And the worst was yet to come.
Footnotes for Chapter 5
1 John R. Thompson, "Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel". The words to all the verses appear in Irwin Silber, Songs of the Civil War(New York: Columbia University, 1960). The tune is the classic white spiritual "Jordan is a Hard Road to Travel." Thompson was the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger during the war.
2 OR, I, 2, Report of Captain D. P. Woodbury, U.S. Corps of Engineers, July 30, 1861, 334.
3 Quoted in David Donald and J. G. Randall, The Civil War and Reconstruction (Boston: D.C. Heath, 1961), 199-200; James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 345-346.
4 Don Congdon, Ed., Combat: The Civil War (New York: Delacorte Press, 1967), 32.
5 OR, 1,2, Report of Lt. Frederick E. Prime, U.S. Corps of Engineers, August 1, 1861, 335.
6 New York Daily Tribune. July 25,1861,6.
9 Mitchell, 75.
10 Ronald Fred Dorr, "Death Education in McGuffey's Readers 1836-1896," Dissertation Abstracts International. 1979,40(6), 3377A. (Dissertation: University of Minnesota, 1979),
11 Charles O. Jackson, "American Attitudes Toward Death," Journal of American Studies XI, 3(Dec. 1977), 305.
12 Ibid., 301.
13 Jacques Choron,Death and Western Thought (New York: Macmillan Co., 1963), 185.
14 See Ann Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977), especially Chapter 6, "The Domestication of Death." Douglas discusses women's role in the creation of the cult of death and suggests that women embellished a domestic afterlife of their own creation to attempt to preserve a power they were rapidly losing on this side of the grave.
15 "The Battle of Bull Run," New York Daily Tribune. July 25,1861,6.
16 D. L. Huntingdon and George A. Otis, The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, Part III, Vol. ii(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1883), 685.
17 Ibid., 691.
18 Ibid., 694-5. See Footnote 1.
19 Ibid., 696.
21 Percentages were not included in the official survey. I figured percentages by using the type of missile/ cases in which missile was ascertained.
22 Ibid, Compiled from Table CXIX, 691.
23 Ibid., Compiled from Tables CXVI, CXVII, and CXVIII, 688-690
25Ibid., Vol. II, Part 2, p. 20. .
26 Ibid III, ii, 705.
27 Ibid., 706.
28 Ibid., 697-701.
29 Ibid., 725.
30 Ibid., Note 3, 701.
3l Ibid., 759.
32 Ibid., 759.
33 Ibid., II, ii, 22-23.
34 Ibid., III, ii, 759.
35 Ibid., 760.
38 Ibid., 762.
39 Ibid. 868.
40 Ibid., 869-870.
41 New York Daily Tribune, July 26, 1861, 6.
42 Blenker's Report, August 4, 1861, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. 2, Chapter 9 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1887), 426. Hereafter, OR,
43 OR, I, 2, Prime's report, 335.
44 Except where specifically noted the general description of these events comes from two major official reports. OR, I, 2: Report of Col. Dixon S. Miles, July 17-19, and July 24, 1861, 422-426; and Report of Col. Louis Blenker, August 4, 1861, 426-428.
45 George Waring, "The Garibaldi Guard," Liber Scriptorum (1893). 574.
46 OR, 1, 2, McDowell's Report, August 4, 1861, 318.
47 New York Times, July 28, 1861.
48 OR, I, 2, Report of John G. Barnard, U.S. Corps of Engineers, July 29, 1861, 332.
49 Waring, 575.
50 Waring, 575.
51 New York Daily Tribune, July 27, 1861, 7
52 Ibid., 8.
53 New York Daily Tribune, Aug. 1, 1861, 4.
54 Report of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, July 27-November 9, 1861, OR, I, v, 32.
55 Consolidated Morning Report of Gen. G. B. McClellan, Nov. 12, 1861, OR, I, v, 650.
56 Benjamin F. Taylor, In Camp and Field, (New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1903), 16-17.
57 Report of Surgeon Charles S. Tripler, Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac, August 12, 1861-March 17, 1862, OR,-I, v, 82.
59 Ibid., 87.
60 Ibid., 83.
61 Ibid., 85.
62 Ibid., 89.
63 Report of Brig.-Gen. Louis Blenker on skirmish at Annandale, Virginia, Dec. 4, 1861, OR, I, v, 452.; Report of Brig.-Gen. John Newton, Dec. 8, 1861, OR, I, v, 454-455.
64 Dr. A. P . Zyla to D'Utassy from Camp D'Utassy, Hunter's Chapel, March 22, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.
65 Zyla to D'Utassy, March 22 & 26, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.
66 Zyla to D'Utassy, March 24 & 27, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.
67 Zyla to D'Utassy, March 26, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.
68 Zyla to D'Utassy, March 24, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.
69 Zyla to D'Utassy, March 26, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.
70 Zyla to D'Utassy, March 26, 27, 31, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.
71 Repetti Resignation to Maj. Gen. E. V. Sumner, Second Corps, U.S. Army, March 31, 1862. D'Utassy Papers.
72 Zyla to D'Utassy, March 31, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.
73 H. Wager Halleck, Elements of Military Art and Science (New York: D. Appleton, 1846), Greenwood Press edition, 1971, 88-90.
74 Although the word camp follower has taken upon itself a more colorful connotation than it deserves, it was only rarely used to describe prostitutes or liquor salesman, even less so in the Civil War armies than any other, this is not to say that these less than moral characters didn't plague the Civil War armies, but rather that you did not ordinarily see them in the line of march.
75 Report of Maj. W. J. Hawks, C.S. Army Commissary of Subsistence, on captured stores, February 8, 1863, OR, I, xii-1, 720-721; Report of Major John A. Harmon, Quartermaster, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, March 23, 1863, OR, I, xii-1, 723-724.
76 Lincoln to McClellan in McClellan's General Report #1, March 31, 1862, OR, I, v, 58.
Copyright by Catherine Catalfamo, 1989