Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cholera, Typhoid, Amputation...


When I started writing blog entries about the Representatives who fought during the Maryland Campaign, I had Socrates Norton Sherman at the top of my list and planned on writing about him first. I figured finding information on him would be quite easy since he was a doctor and even has his name on the regiment’s monument. Ha! Wrong! Sherman has been the most elusive Representative and it took several months and a few dozen emails to finally locate something more than just a tiny bio about him in the Congressional Biographical Directory.
Sherman was born on July 22, 1801 in Barre, Vermont. He attended Mount Castleton Medical College and graduated in 1824. He moved to Ogdensburg, NY in 1825 and practiced medicine. In June 1832, a cholera epidemic broke out in Canada. New York Governor Enos Throop passed the “Public Health Act” and imposed quarantines along the NY/Canada border. However, within two weeks of the reported Canadian cholera cases, Ogdensburg had its first reported case. During this epidemic, Sherman was the health officer for Ogdensburg. The nature of the illness was not understood at that time so Sherman treated the sick as best he could and recorded all cases of those infected.(1)

In 1860 Sherman was elected as a Representative to the 37th Congress. While yet serving in Congress, he responded to Lincoln’s initial call for troops and entered the military as the Surgeon for the 34th NY on June 15, 1861. Sherman accompanied the 34th NY to Washington DC in July 1861 and remained at the city’s hospitals until August 1861. On September 30, 1861 Sherman wrote about his experience with the 34th NY---
“Reached Washington July 6 and went into camp on Kalorama Heights. There it remained until the 30th, when the sick were ordered to the Georgetown hospital and the regiment to Seneca Mills, Md., where it arrived on August 2. While encamped at Kalorama the diseases were almost exclusively diarrhea and rheumatism, but since it occupied its present location there have been superadded intermittent and remittent fevers, which in a few cases have assumed a typhoid type. I was detained at Washington and did not rejoin my regiment until August 11, when I found it encamped in the Seneca bottom, half a mile from the Potomac. Immediately the camp was removed to an elevation half a mile from and one hundred and fifty feet above the creek and about the same distance from and height about the Potomac. All possible attention has been paid to police regulations. The location is airy and descends in all directions. The water from a spring adjacent is both pure and abundant. The rations furnished are sufficient in quantity and of unexceptionable quality. Ardent spirits are excluded. Among the duties assigned the regiment is that of guarding the river for four miles above and below the camp; this has required the constant services of two companies, with generally four on picket on the banks of the river or the tow-path of the canal. Chills and fever have resulted, but only among those doing guard duty on the river; and of those attacked few fail of a rapid recovery when quinine is liberally used and strict confinement to camp enjoined. As the frosts of autumn approach the number of attacks decrease and the recoveries are more speedy.”(2)
Around this time, Jonathan Letterman designed a new medical system that Sherman would be a part of at Antietam. Treating the wounded during and after a battle was an absolute chaotic nightmare. Men died because they could not be removed from the field in a timely fashion. After observing this tragedy during the Spring/Summer 1862, Letterman stated “the subject of the ambulances became, after the health of the troops, a matter of importance. No system anywhere had been devised for their management. They were under control both of Medical officers and Quartermasters, and, as a natural consequence, little care was exercised over them by either. They could not be depended upon for efficient service in time of action or upon a march...[thus] it was necessary, nevertheless, to devise such a system as would render most available the materials upon the spot without waiting for the arrival.”(3)
In August 1862, Letterman released orders which created an ambulance corps and field hospitals. Dr Potter summed up Letterman’s orders---
“Each division hospital was to organize a staff, consisting of one surgeon in charge; one assistant surgeon as recorder; one assistant surgeon to provide food and shelter; three medical officers to perform operations, each operator to have three assistants; and additional medical officers, according to necessity, to attend the wards, dress the wounds, etc. There was also a chief hospital steward, one chief cook, one ward master, and a few nurses attached to the permanent organization.”
“The ambulances were organized into division trains with a first lieutenant in command and second lieutenants from each brigade as assistants; the entire trains from each corps being commanded by a captain attached to the corps commander’s  staff. A sufficient number of enlisted men were detailed from the ranks to properly man the trains of each division, in the proportion of two men and a driver to each ambulance, and a mounted sergeant from each regiment. A medicine wagon, properly supplied with stimulants, dressings, and medicines for each brigade, also formed a part of the division field-hospital equipment. Each division was provided with a saddler, blacksmith, and a traveling forge, to keep the train in order; and each ambulance was supplied with stretchers, buckets, kettles, lanterns, beef stock, bed-sacks, and kitchen utensils.”(4)
On September 2 McClellan’s Army of the Potomac fell under the medical direction of Letterman. The army was in a wretched condition as the medical officers were exhausted and most supplies had been left at Harrison’s Landing, VA. Pope’s Army of Virginia was not in any better condition having just been whipped at Second Manassas. The two armies met and merged in Washington and within days were quickly turned back out to chase after Lee in Maryland. As a result, the medical officers had no time to replenish their instruments and medicine supplies before they embarked on another campaign. Letterman lamented “the Medical Department of the entire Army had to be reorganized and resupplied while upon a rapid march in different sections of the country, and almost in the face of the enemy.”(5)
When the Army of the Potomac reached Frederick, MD on September 12, Letterman found the Confederates had already cleaned out all medical supplies. Even with this dire setback, Letterman arranged for hospitals to be made in Frederick and ordered supplies from Baltimore. Unfortunately, the suppliers could not meet Letterman’s needs fast enough due to the ruined condition of the railroads between Baltimore and Frederick. To make ends meet, supplies were taken off the rail cars four miles from Frederick and brought into the city by wagons and carts. Incredibly, some rail cars were put off to the side to make room for other cars and the medical supplies contained within were not discovered until much later while other rail cars simply never left Baltimore.(6)
On September 13, the day before the battle of South Mountain, Letterman selected houses and barns in Middletown to be used as hospitals. Sure enough, after the battle the wounded flooded into the area. The ambulances went up the mountain and brought the wounded back down.(7)
On the 15th Letterman passed through Keedysville and began a search for places that could be used as hospitals for the next battle shaping up along Antietam Creek. He had a general idea of McClellan’s battle plan and examined the terrain for ideal spots that were both safe and located near water. He said “the resources of the country for hospital purposes was ascertained as speedily as possible, and, when an idea was given of the nature of the battle, and the positions to be occupied by our troops, instructions were issued to Medical Directors of Corps to form their hospitals, as nearly as possible, by divisions, and at such a distance in the rear of the line of battle as to be secure from the shot and shell of the enemy---to select the houses and barns most easy of access---and, when circumstances permitted, to choose barns well provided with hay and straw, as preferable to houses, since they were better ventilated, and enabled Medical officers to attend a greater number of wounded---to place the wounded in the open air near the barns, rather than in badly-constructed houses---and to have the medical supplies taken to the points indicated.”(8)
Potter further elaborated on the details of hospital preparation when he explained that when battle was looming, the Medical Director of each corps located the site of division hospitals with an eye to safety and access to water. The hospital also needed to be an easy place for the wounded to be brought to. Once the site was chosen, the ambulance wagons pulled up and unloaded. Prior to receiving the first victims of battle, tents were pitched, buckets filled, tables and instruments laid out. Also, the hospital flag was raised and markers were placed along a route from the battlefield to the hospital so those in need wouldn’t get lost.(9)

Hoffman Farm

Hoffman Barn
Closer to the action, on the edge of the battlefield, was located an advance ambulance team with basic items. This team usually worked for a single brigade but on occasion for two if the brigades were small enough. The men of this team quickly determined if a wound could be treated by them at the “field depot” or if the person needed a hospital. Once at the hospital, the recorder made an entry of the wounded soldier (name, rank, company, regiment, nature of the wound, any other notables) and passed the soldier either to a dresser (of wounds) or the operating staff. The recorder would then add to the entry the course of treatment, the outcome of treatment, and daily reports. The daily reports were collected and sent to the Medical Director of the corps who then sent the reports to the Medical Director of the army. Hopefully, any patterns of success or failure would show up in these reports.(10)
This recording system was in use during the Maryland Campaign and in The Medical and Surgical History of the War of Rebellion, five entries were patients of Sherman’s at Antietam. Although full case studies are not provided, it seems Sherman was a competent surgeon since four out of five lived. His patients were---
1.      J Egan, 2nd NY Militia, amputation of right femur, died September 25, 1862.
2.      J Bowers, 69th PA, amputation of right femur, discharged May 15, 1863.
3.      C Ford, 106th PA, amputation of right femur, discharged December 10, 1863.
4.      CF Gage, 15th MA, amputation of left leg, discharged December 10, 1863.
5.      TG Smith, 107th NY, amputation of right leg, discharged December 6, 1862.
All patients were treated at the Susan Hoffman farm on Keedysville Road so it can be assumed that was Sherman’s location during the battle. This hospital provided aid to over 800 Union soldiers, primarily from the II Corps. From the above listings, four out of five soldiers were from the II Corps, as was Sherman, and the fifth was from the XII Corps.(11)
Dr Holt from the 121st NY wrote three entries in his diary that described what it was like to be a doctor in the days and weeks after the battle (Going Out for a Fight entry describes his South Mountain and Antietam experiences)---
On September 25---the soldiers “sleep in the open air. A few brush and boughs thrown over a frame of poles is all they have for shelter. Our hospital is such a structure. When it rains, the water comes down upon the men just the same as if they were in the open air. The consequence is, that sickness is greatly upon the increase...we have one hundred and fifty on the sick list...unless a change takes place soon, deaths will be as frequent as the most cruel enemy wish. We are lacking medicines...”
On October 2- “Surgeon’s Call is sounded and from one hundred and fifty to two hundred patients present themselves for treatment. The time required to attend all this consumes two or three hours and then the hospital has to be visited and those sick in quarters:---that means, those who are too unwell to come up to call, but who are not sick enough to go into the barn which we have taken possession of for a hospital. We have to make from twenty-five to thirty of these calls daily, seeing that the medicines prescribed are faithfully given and that the condition of men are comfortable, &---the diet of the sick in bed is also to be looked to--- Sanitary condition of the camp must be attended to, and a general supervision of the health of the men made and reported.”
On October 15- “Nothing upon or about me indicates a civilian. Everything is warlike:---guns, swords, bayonets, flags, drums, tents and indeed all the eye rests upon is unlike home. I am at this time sitting upon a canister of black tea, with a surgical case upon my lap for a table, writing this amid almost momentary interruption. Someone comes for an excuse from duty---another for relief from guard---another does not feel well enough to attend battalion drill---still another prays for excuse from dress parade, and others want still want their discharge papers made out and sent home. This is all competent for the Surgeon, and these calls are as frequent as every few moments in the day.”(12)
Even after the battle there was still the vexing problem of getting supplies from Baltimore to the battlefield. Any and all supplies in Frederick were needed at the Antietam hospitals. Luckily, at no time did the Medical Corps run dry. With the establishment of the Sharpsburg depot by the Sanitary Commission, supplies were continually replenished through the middle of October. Wagons unloaded at the depot and from there the goods were distributed among the battlefield hospitals. Since Letterman had such a difficult time getting supplies from Baltimore, the Commission was able to distribute supplies donated to it in the Medical Department’s stead. Typically, the route was from Philadelphia-Hagerstown-Sharpsburg. The Commission donated generously to every hospital within three miles of the battlefield regardless of where the soldier was from.  The Inspector of the Sanitary Commission, Lewis H Steiner, proudly wrote in his report that “I am pleased to state that the true relation of the Sanitary Commission to the Medical Department was fully recognized and appreciated as a body designed to supplement and not supplant the regular operations of the Army [as] the medical officers of the Army united with our officers in the proper disposal of our supplies.”(13)
Steiner also realized that the Sharpsburg depot was a huge success and quickly considered “an institution.” He sought ways to make it a permanent part of the Army’s medical operation. Furthermore, Steiner envisioned a future permanent partnership with the military Medical Department in a role where the Sanitary Commission hoped “to supply the want by details made from the private practitioners of our large cities...[as] demands for aid of this kind have been responded to by a rush of professional volunteers...[so that] a certain number of experienced surgeons, who would be willing to respond to such calls, and in whom the utmost reliance might be placed by the medical officers.”(14)
Letterman, too, was busy after the campaign ended. On October 4, he issued a medical supply chart for field service. Each brigade was allowed one full hospital wagon, one medicine chest per regiment, a hospital knapsack for each regimental Medical officer, designated supplies to be transported by a four-horse wagon. The brigade Surgeon was responsible for all supply receipts, issuing supplies to regiment Medical officers, and keeping the keys to the medicine chest!!!(15)
Overall, Letterman was happy with the results of the ambulance system he implemented prior to the campaign. In his 1866 Medical Recollections, Letterman wrote “it will be perceived that the ambulance system, with that of supplies and of field hospitals, were ordered as essentials of that new organization from which, I earnestly hoped, the wounded and sick would receive more careful attendance and more skillful treatment...[and] all the arrangements that time permitted to carry out the instructions contained in the system I had established; and with the hearty cooperation given me by the ablest Medical officers of the Army, I felt, in the event of a battle, this Department would be better able than ever, to discharge the duties devolving upon it.”(16)
On March 6, 1863 Sherman left the 34th NY. He was discharged for promotion and served with the US Volunteers Medical Staff until October 7, 1865. This staff consisted of surgeons who were above the regimental surgeons and who usually served in hospitals or were in charge of brigades. Sherman spent the time between 1863-1865 as the Surgeon-In-Charge at Grafton Hospital in West Virginia. He served only one term in Congress and never ran for reelection. After the war he returned to Ogdensburg and continued practicing medicine until he died on February 1, 1873.

1. Newsletter No. 45 June 2009.
2. The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, GPO 1870-88, Vol 1 Part 3 Pg 360-361.
3. Medical Recollections of the Army of the Potomac by Jonathan Letterman, 1866. Pg 22-23.
4. Reminiscences of Field-Hospital Service with the Army of the Potomac by William W Potter MD, 1889. Pg 9-10.
5. Letterman Pg 33-34.
6. Letterman Pg 35.
7. Letterman Pg 36.
8. Letterman Pg 39.
9. Potter Pg 10.
10. Potter Pg 11.
11. The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, GPO 1870-88, Vol 2 Part 3 Pgs 246, 248, 259, 516, 533.
Historic American Buildings Society, Hoffman Farm, HABS No. MD-961, 1991, Martha Wagner.
12. A Surgeon’s Civil War: The Letters and Diary of Daniel M Holt, MD by James M Greiner, 1994. Pgs 29-32, 37.
13. Letterman Pg 40-41.
Report of Lewis H Steiner, Inspector of the Sanitary Commission, Containing a Diary kept During the Rebel Occupation of Frederick, MD, 1862. Pgs 35-36.
14. Steiner Pg 38.
15. Letterman Pg 52-55.
16. Letterman Pg 63-64.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Lost Dispatch (DH Hill Part II)

On September 2, only a day after the Second Manassas Campaign ended, Lee was contemplating further offensive action. In Bethel to Sharpsburg, Hill explained Lee’s two options consisted of the first, “to retire further into Virginia and await Federal initiative; the other, to relieve Southern territory of harassment and distress by carrying the war into Maryland, and possibly into Pennsylvania.” Hill, always the fighter, approved this aggressive behavior and remarked Lee “wisely dismissed” retiring and instead opted for “the occupation of Maryland...[as to] enable Lee to hold his desired aggressive, and possibly force a decisive battle before the Federal army could assimilate its new organizations.”(1)
In a letter to Jefferson Davis on September 3, Lee indicated the reason for this offensive action was that it seemed “to be most propitious time since the commencement of the war for the Confederate army to enter Maryland. The two grand armies of the United States that have been operating in Virginia, though now united, are much weakened and demoralized... [and if it was] ever desired to give material aid to Maryland and afford her an opportunity of throwing off the oppression to which she is now subject, this would seem the most favorable. Without waiting for a response from Richmond, the rebels began crossing the Potomac on September 4.(2)
By September 7 the bulk of Lee’s army was concentrated in and around Frederick, MD. Lee had accomplished the first objective of crossing “the Potomac east of the Blue Ridge, in order, by threatening Washington and Baltimore, to cause the enemy to withdraw from the south bank, where his presence endangered our communications.” Lee’s next step was “to move the army into Western Maryland, establish our communications with Richmond through the Valley of the Shenandoah, and, by threatening Pennsylvania, induce the enemy to follow, and thus draw him from his base of supplies.” Thus far, the communication line had been running from Richmond-Gordonville-Culpeper to Warrenton. For this campaign, Lee wanted it changed from Richmond-Gordonville-Culpeper-Luray to Winchester with Winchester acting as the main depot. However, there was one hitch that complicated any future movements by the Confederates.(3)
Hill summed up the military situation facing Lee in Frederick, “Lee had naturally expected that, when his army appeared in the direction of Frederick, the Federal troops at Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg would be withdrawn, as his movement would leave them in an indefensible pocket. In this he was disappointed...these forces were left in their exposed positions. This unexpected departure from military rules requiring the relief of a hopeless position, complicated future movements. General Lee had now to decide whether he should ignore the menace of hostile forces squarely seated on his supply roads from the Valley and adhere to his original plan of a speedy concentration behind the South Mountains, or whether to stay his march long enough to capture the large garrison at Harpers Ferry before proceeding. If he left this force unmolested, there was of course the probability that with large reinforcements it would be a constant menace to his communications; if he stayed his march long enough to capture this stronghold, he would again have to divide his army in the immediate presence of a numerically superior army and again run the serious risk of having each division overwhelmed separately.”(4)

Best Farm
On September 9 Lee held a war council at Best Farm (currently a part of Monocacy National Battlefield) with Jackson and Longstreet. It was during this meeting that the outline of Special Orders #191 was developed. In his Official Report, Lee justified his decision for splitting the army because “it had been supposed that the advance upon Fredericktown would lead to the evacuation of Martinsburg and Harper’s Ferry, thus opening the line of communication through the Valley, this not having occurred, it became necessary to dislodge the enemy from those positions before concentrating the army west of the mountains.” As a result, in order to continue the invasion of Maryland, along with the goal of getting as far north as Pennsylvania, Lee formulated a plan that would divide his army. Lee saw no danger in this division because “the advance of the Federal army was so slow at the time we left Fredericktown as to justify the belief that the reduction of Harper’s Ferry would be accomplished and our troops concentrated before they would be called upon to meet it.” Once rid of the Union forces at Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry, the Confederate communication line would be secure. After the reduction, Lee’s army could reunite and continue on its merry way to Pennsylvania to force a battle with the Union. Hill penned “therefore, Special Orders No. 191, afterwards famous as the ‘lost dispatch,’ sent his [Lee's] army westward from Frederick on September 10 to undertake by rapid movements the capture of Harpers Ferry, and a subsequent concentration behind the South Mountains.”(5)
Special Orders No. 191  Hdqrs.
Army of Northern Virginia, September 9, 1862

1.      The citizens of Fredericktown being unwilling while overrun by members of this army, to open their stores, in order to give them confidence, and to secure to officers and men purchasing supplies for benefit of this command, all officers and men of this army are strictly prohibited from visiting Fredericktown except on business, in which cases they will bear evidence of this in writing from division commanders, the provost-marshal in Fredericktown will see that his guard rigidly enforces this order.

2.      Major Taylor will proceed to Leesburg, Virginia, and arrange for transportation of the sick and those unable to walk to Winchester, securing the transportation of the county for this purpose. The route between this and Culpeper Court-House east of the mountains being unsafe, will no longer be traveled. Those on the way to this army already across the river will move up promptly; all others will proceed to Winchester collectively and under command of officers, at which point, being the general depot of this army, its movements will be known and instructions given by commanding officer regulating further movements.

3.      The army will resume its march tomorrow, taking the Hagerstown road. General Jackson’s command will form the advance, and, after passing Middletown, with such portion as he may select, take the route toward Sharpsburg, cross the Potomac at the most convenient point, and by Friday morning take possession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, capture such of them as may be at Martinsburg, and intercept such as may attempt to escape from Harpers Ferry.

4.      General Longstreet’s command will pursue the same road as far as Boonsborough, where it will halt, with reserve, supply, and baggage trains of the army.

5.      General McLaws, with his own division and that of General RH Anderson, will follow General Longstreet. On reaching Middletown will take the route to Harpers Ferry, and by Friday morning possess himself of the Maryland Heights and endeavor to capture the enemy at Harpers Ferry and vicinity.

6.      General Walker, with his division, after accomplishing the object in which he is now engaged, will cross the Potomac at Cheek’s Ford, ascend its right bank to Lovettsville, take possession of Loundon Heights, if practicable, by Friday morning, Key’s Ford on his left, and the road between the end of the mountain and the Potomac on his right. He will, as far as practicable, cooperate with General McLaws and Jackson, and intercept retreat of the enemy.

7.      General DH Hill’s division will form the rear guard of the army, pursuing the road taken by the main body. The reserve artillery, ordnance, and supply trains, &c., will precede General Hill.

8.      General Stuart will detach a squadron of cavalry to accompany the commands of Generals Longstreet, Jackson, and McLaws, and, with the main body of the cavalry, will cover the route of the army, bringing up all stragglers that may have been left behind.

9.      The commands of General Jackson, McLaws, and Walker, after accomplishing the objects for which they have been detached, will join the main body of the army at Boonsborough or Hagerstown.

10.  Each regiment on the march will habitually carry its axes in the regimental ordnance-wagons, for use of the men at their encampments, to procure wood &ct.

By command of General RE Lee
    RH Chilton, Assistant Adjutant General(6)

McClellan's Copy of the Lost Orders

After the meeting ended, Lee had RH Chilton formally draw up the orders and, from the original order, make seven copies for Jackson, Longstreet, McLaws, Stuart, Taylor, Walker and Davis. Chilton was not instructed to make a copy for Hill so how is it that not one, but two, copies were made for him?
1.      Up until this time, September 9, Hill fell under Jackson’s command and received his orders directly from Jackson. Once Jackson received his copy of the orders he secretly wrote another copy and sent it to Hill since SO#191 removed Hill from Jackson’s command and placed Hill on a special assignment and under Lee’s direct command. Hill received the copy Jackson made for him and put it in his pocket.
2.      Thinking along the same lines in regards to Hill’s status as defined by the orders, Chilton made a copy of SO#191 for Hill and sent it to him. According to SO#191, Hill was an independent commander, and thus entitled to receive his own copy of orders from headquarters. No one told Chilton to make a copy for Hill, he did it on his own accord. Hill never received Chilton’s copy.
On September 10, the SO#191 went into effect and the Confederates began moving out of Frederick to their assigned destinations.(7)
On September 13, the Army of the Potomac reached Frederick. As the skirmish line of the 27th Indiana pushed through the abandoned Confederate camps, Private (although perhaps Corporal) Barton W Mitchell found a copy of SO#191 wrapped around three cigars in a field. In 1892, (then First Sergeant) Captain John M Bloss told the story of how the dispatch was found. Bloss stated “on the 13th we expected an engagement as we pushed forward to Frederick. That morning Company F, 27th Indiana, was placed on the skirmish line in front of our brigade...and when the opportunity afforded itself, we threw ourselves upon the grass to rest. While lying there, I noticed just beyond Corporal Barton W Mitchell, with whom I was conversing, a large envelope, and through curiosity asked him to give it to me. It was not sealed, and on taking it up, two cigars and a paper fell out...I began to read the enclosed document. As I read, each line became more interesting. It was Lee’s order to his army giving his plans for the next four days from that time.” Mitchell and Bloss took this treasure to their Colonel, Silas Colgrove, who then delivered it to Headquarters. This copy originated from Lee’s headquarters and was signed by Chilton and addressed to Hill. It was authenticated by Colonel Samuel E Pittman who was familiar with Chilton’s signature due to professional banking transactions in Michigan prior to the war. Now, McClellan had Lee’s plans in his hands (how McClellan responded will be in a future entry).(8)
So, how did a copy of SO#191 manage to get “lost” and remain in a field near Frederick waiting to be discovered by a group of tired skirmishers? As soon as stories about the “lost dispatch” appeared in newspapers, courtesy of McClellan, Hill became the scapegoat since his name was on the orders. There is no doubt two copies of SO#191 had been prepared for Hill. He had received the copy from Jackson but never the one from Chilton. It was not until McClellan’s Official Report was published stating that Hill was the intended recipient of the found copy of SO#191 did Hill even believe that this “lost dispatch” was addressed to him. Again, Hill denied ever receiving Chilton’s copy. It has been suggested that the error lie not with Hill but with Colgrove. Colgrove stated “we [27th IN] stacked arms on the same ground that had been occupied by General DH Hill’s division the evening before” thus giving further ownership to Hill by stating it was Hill’s former campsite where the “lost dispatch” was found. In 1868 General SW Crawford authored a letter that told a different story. According to Crawford, on September 13 he was informed by one of McClellan’s staff the “lost dispatch” had been found almost where Crawford was presently standing, and that was on AP Hill’s former campsite. In agreement with Crawford, RB Marcy (McClellan’s Chief of Staff) also composed a letter in 1868 and penned “I am of the opinion that the order of Lee that you inquire about was found in the camp which had been occupied by AP Hill and not DH Hill.” Not wishing to besmirch the reputation of his fallen comrade AP Hill, Hill didn’t publish the contents of these letters.(9)
In Lost Cause by EA Pollard, Pollard wrote an inflammatory paragraph that incensed Hill to no end. Pollard declared “a copy of the order directing the movement of the army from Frederick had been sent to DH Hill; and this vain and petulant officer, in a moment of passion, had thrown the paper on the ground. It was picked up by a Federal soldier, and McClellan thus strangely became possessed of the exact detail of his adversary’s plan of operations.” In response to Pollard, Hill provided a detailed explanation as to why Pollard was incorrect, and incompetent. In The Land We Love, Hill asserted “if I petulantly threw down this order, I deserved not merely to be cashiered, but to be shot to death with musketry...there is not the shadow of truth in his charge, and he has therefore perpetrated a gross and unprovoked slander.” Hill further argued “General McClellan states that a dispatch, of General Lee, directed to me was found near Frederick, Maryland, and that he gained most important information from it. There can be no doubt then, that such a dispatch was lost. But it is obviously unfair to assume that a paper with my name on the envelope was necessarily lost by me in person. Might it not have been lost in Gen. Lee’s own office? Might it not have been dropped by his courier in carrying it to me? As the Adjutant is the keeper of all orders, might it not have been lost by my Adjutant? Who has the right to assume that the loss was through my own carelessness? Who, without evidence, can presume to charge me with throwing it down in a fit of passion?” As far as Hill was concerned, he was under Jackson’s command. He drew all supplies and received all orders from Jackson. Therefore, receiving a copy from Jackson was not only typical but expected. Receiving an order from someone else, such as Chilton, would have been atypical. Hill maintains “it was right and proper that I should have received this order from Jackson, and from no one else, and I have no recollection of getting one from General Lee’s office direct. My Quarter-master, Major John D Rogers, writes to me that while at Frederick, he received all orders in regard to his wagon train, supplies, &c., through General Jackson’s Quarter-master. It seems to me utterly incomprehensible that all orders should have come through the usual official channels, except this one, the most important of all.”(10)
150 years later and there is still no definitive answer as to who was responsible for losing a copy of SO#191 in a field. No doubt though, this debacle tarnished Hill’s reputation and his adversaries used it against him. Rather than blame Lee for questionable decisions such as dividing his army, Hill was blamed for losing the orders thereby causing Lee to lose the Maryland Campaign. But Hill did not lose the campaign for Lee. In fact, because of Hill, Lee was granted time to reunite his divided army and continue on with the invasion of Maryland.

Next Up--- Hill & September 13 (Part III)

1.        Bethel to Sharpsburg Vol 2 by DH Hill, 1926, pg 326-327.
2.        Official Reports Vol 19 Part 2, pg 590-591.
3.        Official Reports Vol 19 Part 1, pg 145.
Bethel to Sharpsburg, pg 334.
4.        Bethel to Sharpsburg pg 335-336
5.        OR/19/1 pg 145.
Bethel to Sharpsburg pg 337.
6.        OR/19/2 pg 603-604.
7.        The Lost Orders by National Park Service, pg 3.
8.        “Antietam and the Lost Dispatch” by Captain John M Bloss in War Talks in Kansas, 1906, pg 83-84.
Battles & Leaders North to Antietam, 1956, pg 603.
9.        “Lost Dispatch” by DH Hill in The Land We Love February 1868, pg 274.  
Battles & Leaders pg  603.
Lee’s Maverick General by Hal Bridges, 1991, pg  97.
10.     The Lost Cause by EA Pollard, 1868, pg 314.
Lost Dispatch pg 273-275.

Monday, January 7, 2013

DH Hill & His Division (Part I)

Daniel Harvey Hill. If I were to say his name to any of his contemporaries, more than likely, all responses would come back the same-- an irascible sarcastic fellow with a profoundly queer temperament who was prone to croaking but yet was the bravest and boldest fighter in the Confederacy and who chose to fight on the most dangerous part of the battlefield thus exemplifying southern military leadership. Quite a man.
Over the next few months, I intend to take a close look at DH Hill and his division. It is my opinion that Hill was the most important individual of the Maryland Campaign and is entitled to more consideration than he has received thus far. I hope to substantiate this opinion with a series on Hill. I doubt I’ll be offering any new information, perhaps just a new way of looking at old information. To bolster my argument of Hill’s significance, I will show he had the most active division in the campaign. At Antietam alone, Hill's Division was all over the field and  involved in every phase of the battle. He was the most peculiar general in an army of eccentrics, or lunatics. However, this less-than-sparkling personality was an asset to his success. He was in the center of the most controversial slip-up with the “Lost Order”. Hill held the most critical position at South Mountain and fought what was the most critical battle of the campaign (again, my opinion, I don’t want to upset the Antietam cart). In an army of chatterboxes and scribblers, Hill was the most outspoken and a prolific writer. Even before it was considered cool to degrade and denigrate superiors and colleagues, Hill was lashing out against his. Hill left the Army of Northern Virginia a few months after the Maryland Campaign ended. As a result of this departure, as well as his uncanny ability to irritate people, Hill never did receive proper credit for all the things he did do right during this campaign.
Hill was born July 12, 1821 in South Carolina. From as far back as he could remember, Hill suffered from excruciating pain. More than likely he was a victim of polio and he told others he had a weak and suffering spine. Hill’s father died when he was four and he was raised by his mother who was a bit of a manic depressive and alternated between hugs and cold shoulders. Hill’s oldest brother was a religious enthusiast and taught Hill both the spirit and letter of Presbyterian law. It was remarked that Hill’s devotion to God was so strong that he even made his brother-in-law Stonewall Jackson look like a heathen. So poor Harvey had a dead father, an unhinged mother, a fervent brother, and endless pain. Today, Harvey would see a shrink and take some pills to make himself feel better. Nonetheless, Hill learned to live with the pain and entered West Point in 1838. He graduated in 1842 and was ranked 28 out of 56. His class had a dozen notables but of those he would serve closely with during the Maryland Campaign were Richard H Anderson, Lafayette McLaws, and James Longstreet. On the other side of the field Hill would see former classmates Abner Doubleday and George Sykes. (1)
It has been stated that “professionally, his [Hill’s] service in Mexico had not only enhanced his army reputation but had also given meaning to his West Point studies of military strategy and tactics. Under Scott he had seen the uses of entrenchments, concentration of force, massed artillery, the daring attack, and the turning movement.” Hill’s Mexican War diary is a great read but other than humorous references to the strategy and tactics he employed to talk to his “little bonita”, there isn’t much about what he learned from Scott. (2)
Hill resigned from the Army in February 1849 and became a college teacher. During 1848-1854 he taught math at Washington College (now Washington and Lee) and 1854-1859 at Davidson College. In 1857 Hill published the “Elements of Algebra” which is known to have taken an anti-Yankee stance through its word problems. Some of these gems include---
A Yankee mixes a certain number of wooden nutmegs, which cost him 1/4 cent apiece, with a quantity of real nutmegs, worth 4 cents apiece, and sells the whole assortment for $44; and gains $3.75 by the fraud. How many wooden nutmegs were there?

In the year 1692, the people of Massachusetts executed, imprisoned, or privately persecuted 469 persons, of both sexes, and all ages, for alleged crime of witchcraft. Of these, twice as many were privately persecuted as were imprisoned, and 7 17/19 times as many more were imprisoned than were executed. Required the number of sufferers of each kind?

A gentleman in Richmond expressed a willingness to liberate his slave, valued at $1000, upon the receipt of that sum from charitable persons. He received contributions from 24 persons; and of these there were 14/19 the fewer from the North than the South, and the average donation of the former was 4/5 the smaller than that of the latter. What was the entire amount given by the latter?

As tension grew between the North and South, Hill advocated for the creation of “West Points of the South” and in 1858 Hill helped establish the North Carolina Military Institute. He was the superintendent, professor of math and artillery, and president of the board of directors. With the outbreak of war, all staff and students left the school and entered Confederate service. (3)
During April 1861-July 1862 Hill served in a variety of administrative posts and fought in the battles of Big Bethel Church (June 10, 1861), Seven Pines (May31-June 1, 1862), and Seven Days’ (June 25-July 1, 1862). Initially, Hill was appointed as a Colonel in North Carolina’s state service (April 24, 1861). After his performance at Big Bethel, Hill was rewarded with a promotion to Brigadier in the Confederate army (July 10, 1861) and then assigned a division and promoted to Major General the following year (March 25, 1862). He earned the reputation of being the premier North Carolinian in Confederate service. He, along with John A Dix, negotiated a prisoner exchange system (Hill-Dix Cartel, July 22, 1862) that lasted until the end of 1863. After this task, Lee placed Hill back in charge of the North Carolina department with the objective of securing the North Carolina/Virginia border (July 29, 1862). Hill did not perform to the standards that Lee had expected causing Lee to write Davis that Hill was “an excellent executive officer, [but] does not appear to have much administrative ability. Left to himself he seems embarrassed and backward to act.” In response, on August 21 Davis recalled Hill to Northern Virginia. Hill resumed command of his division and put it on an unmerciful march in attempt to catch up with Lee. Despite the effort, Hill did not make it in time to participate in the campaign against John Pope. However, on September 2 Hill was in place and ready to embark on the Maryland Campaign with Lee. (4)

Hill’s Division consisted of--------

            George B Anderson- (2nd 4th 14th 30th NC)-
Born in North Carolina. Graduated from West Point. He was Lieutenant of the Dragoons, surveyed a railroad route to California, and engaged in very active frontier duty. Resigned from US Army in 1861 and offered his services to North Carolina. In May 1861 he was appointed Colonel of the 4th NC. At Seven Pines, in the absence of the actual Brigadier, Anderson commanded the brigade and and for his gallant conduct was rewarded with rank of Brigadier a few days later in June 1862.


            Alfred H Colquitt- (13th AL, 6th 23rd 27th 28th GA)-
Born in Georgia. Graduated from College of NJ. Returned to Georgia and practiced law. Served in the Mexican War and achieved the rank of Major.  In 1853 was elected to the US Congress as a Representative for one term. Served in Georgia’s state legislature. Was an ardent secessionist and was elected to the Georgia Secession Convention in 1861. When Georgia seceded in January 1861, Colquitt immediately joined the Confederate army. Colquitt entered as a Captain but quickly became Colonel of the 6th GA in May 1861. He became a Brigadier in September 1862.



Roswell S Ripley- (1st & 3rd NC, 4th & 44th GA)-
Born in Ohio. Graduated from West Point. Served with artillery in Mexican War. In 1853 Ripley was stationed in Charleston and resigned from the army. Once South Carolina seceded, Ripley offered his services to the Confederacy. His artillery at Fort Moultrie bombed Fort Sumter. Ripley was placed in charge of repairs of Fort Sumter after it was evacuated. He was promoted to Brigadier in August 1861. In early 1862 Ripley requested a transfer and he was sent to Hill. Ripley was considered to be the most cantankerous man in Confederate service.


Robert E Rodes- (3rd 5th 6th 12th 26th AL)-                     
Born in Virginia. Graduated from VMI. Was a VMI professor until 1850 when he took a job as a railroad civil engineer. In 1860 Rodes was hired back at VMI but never took the position due to a lack of funding. In January 1861 Rodes was recalled to Alabama where he had been elected as Captain of the Warrior Guards in Tuscaloosa (similar to a shotgun wedding, Rodes had joined this militia group when he was stationed in Alabama as an engineer and now had to go back and actually fulfill his military obligation). In May the company was mustered in as part of the 5th AL and Rodes was elected Colonel. He was promoted to Brigadier in October 1861. 


            Samuel Garland- (5th 12th 13th 20th 23rd NC)-
Born in Virginia. Graduated from VMI and then received a law degree from University of Virginia. Practiced law in Lynchburg. In early 1861 both Garland’s wife and young son died from influenza. In April 1861 Garland was Captain of the Lynchburg Home Guard. Mustered in the 11th VA in Richmond with Jubal Early as Colonel. Early was promoted to Brigadier four days after muster and Garland became Colonel. In May 1862 Garland was promoted to Brigadier and took over Early’s brigade due to a wound that would keep Early out of action for several months.


Scipio F Pierson (Artillery)- Carter’s King William (VA), Hardaway’s (AL), Jeff Davis (AL), Jones’ Peninsula (VA).

Next Up--- Hill & the Lost Order (Part II)

1.Lee’s Maverick General by Hal Bridges, 1991. Pg 16-18.            
2.Bridges pg 22.                                              
3.Bridges pg 27. Elements of Algebra by DH Hill, 1857. Pg 124, 151, 153.
4.Bridges pg 89-90.