Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. The combat, between the Union Army of the Potomac commanded by Major General Ambrose Burnside and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee, was part of the Union Army's futile frontal attacks on December 13 against entrenched Confederate defenders on the heights behind the city, it is remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the war, with Union casualties more than twice as heavy as those suffered by the Confederates. A visitor to the battlefield described the battle to U. S. President Abraham Lincoln as a "butchery."Burnside's plan was to cross the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg in mid-November and race to the Confederate capital of Richmond before Lee's army could stop him. Bureaucratic delays prevented Burnside from receiving the necessary pontoon bridges in time and Lee moved his army to block the crossings.
When the Union army was able to build its bridges and cross under fire, direct combat within the city resulted on December 11–12. Union troops prepared to assault Confederate defensive positions south of the city and on a fortified ridge just west of the city known as Marye's Heights. On December 13, the "grand division" of Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin was able to pierce the first defensive line of Confederate Lieutenant General Stonewall Jackson to the south, but was repulsed. Burnside ordered the grand divisions of Maj. Gens. Edwin V. Sumner and Joseph Hooker to make multiple frontal assaults against Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's position on Marye's Heights, all of which were repulsed with heavy losses. On December 15, Burnside withdrew his army, ending another failed Union campaign in the Eastern Theater. In November 1862, Lincoln needed to demonstrate the success of the Union war effort before the Northern public lost confidence in his administration. Confederate armies had been on the move earlier in the fall, invading Kentucky and Maryland, although each had been turned back, those armies remained intact and capable of further action.
Lincoln urged Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to advance against the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi, he replaced Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell with Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, hoping for a more aggressive posture against the Confederates in Tennessee, on November 5, seeing that his replacement of Buell had not stimulated Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan into action, he issued orders to replace McClellan in command of the Army of the Potomac in Virginia. McClellan had stopped Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland, but had not been able to destroy Lee's army, nor did he pursue Lee back into Virginia aggressively enough for Lincoln. McClellan's replacement was the commander of the IX Corps. Burnside had established a reputation as an independent commander, with successful operations earlier that year in coastal North Carolina and, unlike McClellan, had no apparent political ambitions. However, he felt himself objected when offered the position, he accepted only when it was made clear to him that McClellan would be replaced in any event and that an alternative choice for command was Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, whom Burnside disliked and distrusted.
Burnside assumed command on November 7. In response to prodding from Lincoln and general-in-chief Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, Burnside planned a late fall offensive; the plan relied on quick deception. He would concentrate his army in a visible fashion near Warrenton, feigning a movement on Culpeper Court House, Orange Court House, or Gordonsville, he would shift his army southeast and cross the Rappahannock River to Fredericksburg, hoping that Robert E. Lee would sit still, unclear as to Burnside's intentions, while the Union Army made a rapid movement against Richmond, south along the Richmond and Potomac Railroad from Fredericksburg. Burnside selected this plan because he was concerned that if he were to move directly south from Warrenton, he would be exposed to a flanking attack from Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, whose corps was at that time in the Shenandoah Valley south of Winchester. He believed that the Orange and Alexandria Railroad would be an inadequate supply line. While Burnside began assembling a supply base at Falmouth, near Fredericksburg, the Lincoln administration entertained a lengthy debate about the wisdom of his plan, which differed from the president's preference of a movement south on the O&A and a direct confrontation with Lee's army instead of the movement focused on the city of Richmond.
Lincoln reluctantly approved the plan on November 14 but cautioned his general to move with great speed doubting that Lee would react as Burnside anticipated. The Union Army began marching on November 15, the first elements arrived in Falmouth on November 17. Burnside's plan went awry—he had ordered pontoon bridges to be sent to the front and assembled for his quick crossing of the Rappahannock, but because of administrative bungling, the bridges did not arrive on time. Burnside first requisitioned the pontoon bridging on November 7 when he detailed his plan to Halleck; the plan was sent to the attention of Brig. Gen. George Washington Cullum, the chief of staff in Washington. Plans called for bot
John Sedgwick was a teacher, a career military officer, a Union Army general in the American Civil War. He was wounded three times at the Battle of Antietam while leading his division in an unsuccessful assault, causing him to miss the Battle of Fredericksburg. Under his command, the VI Corps played an important role in the Chancellorsville Campaign by engaging Confederate troops at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg and the Battle of Salem Church, his corps was the last to arrive at the Battle of Gettysburg and thus. Sedgwick was killed by a sharpshooter at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House on May 9, 1864, making him, Major General James B. McPherson, Major General Joseph K. Mansfield and Major General John F. Reynolds the highest-ranking Union soldiers to be killed in the war, he is well remembered for his ironic last words: "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." Sedgwick was born in the Litchfield Hills town of Connecticut. He was named after his grandfather, John Sedgwick, an American Revolutionary War general who served with George Washington.
He attended Sharon Academy for 2 years and Cheshire Academy in 1830–31. After teaching for two years, he attended the United States Military Academy, graduated in 1837 ranked 24th of 50, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army's artillery branch, he fought in the Seminole Wars and received two brevet promotions in the Mexican–American War, to captain for Contreras and Churubusco, to major for Chapultepec. After returning from Mexico he transferred to the cavalry and served in Kansas, in the Utah War, in the Indian Wars, participating in 1857 in a punitive expedition against the Cheyenne. In the summer and fall of 1860, Sedgwick commanded an expedition to establish a new fort on the Platte River in what is now Colorado; this was a remote location with no railroads, all supplies having to be carried long distances by riverboat, wagon train or horseback. Though many of these supplies failed to arrive, Sedgwick still managed to erect comfortable stone buildings for his men before the cold weather set in.
At the start of the American Civil War, Sedgwick was serving as a colonel and assistant inspector general of the Military Department of Washington. He missed the early action of the war at the First Battle of Bull Run. Promoted to brigadier general on August 31, 1861, he commanded the 2nd brigade of Maj. Gen. Samuel P. Heintzelman's division in the Army of the Potomac his own division, designated the 2nd division of the II Corps for the Peninsula Campaign. In Virginia, he fought at Seven Pines. During the Seven Days Battles, Sedgwick's division fought at Savage's Station and Glendale, being wounded in the latter engagement. After the Seven Days Battles, he was promoted to major general; the II Corps and Sedgwick's division were not involved in the Northern Virginia Campaign. In the Battle of Antietam, II Corps commander Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner impulsively sent Sedgwick's division in a mass assault without proper reconnaissance, his division was engaged by Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson from three sides, was routed, fell back with half the men it had started with.
Sedgwick himself was shot three times, in the wrist and shoulder, was out of action until after the Battle of Fredericksburg. From December 26, 1862, he led the II Corps and the IX Corps, finally the VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac, which he commanded until his death in 1864. During the Battle of Chancellorsville, his corps faced Fredericksburg in an initial holding action while Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker's other four corps maneuvered against Robert E. Lee's left flank, he was slow to take action, but crossed the Rappahannock River and assaulted Maj. Gen. Jubal Early's small force on Marye's Heights on May 3 during the Second Battle of Fredericksburg. Moving west to join forces with Hooker and trap Lee between the halves of the army, he was stopped by elements of Lee's Second Corps at the Battle of Salem Church, forcing his eventual retreat back over the Rappahannock. At the Battle of Gettysburg, his corps arrived late on July 2, as a result only a few units were able to take part in the final Union counterattacks in the Wheatfield.
It was not kept together as a unit during the second and third days of the battle, its brigades scattered around to plug holes in the line. While much of Sedgwick's VI Corps was held in reserve at Gettysburg, it performed exceptionally at the Second Battle of Rappahannock Station in November, capturing four field pieces, eight stands of enemy colors and 1,700 prisoners. Prior to the start of the Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864, George Meade reorganized the Army of the Potomac and dropped several underperforming generals. Sedgwick narrowly missed the chopping block, being that he was unpopular with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton for being a vocal admirer of departed Army of the Potomac commander George McClellan and for having shown insufficient enthusiasm for abolitionism and the Radical Republican platform. Sedgwick had made enemies among the Radical Republicans by criticizing General Benjamin Butler, one of their favorites. Meade, realizing this, proposed reassigning Sedgwick to command in the Shenandoah Valley.
Sedgwick himself acknowledged that he was war-weary by this point and would have welcomed reassignment to a post where not much fighting was expected. In a letter to his sister, he said that he could gladly leave the army without regret and wished to come home to New England. In the end however, General Franz Sigel got the Shenandoah Valley comma
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, halting Lee's invasion of the North. After his success at Chancellorsville in Virginia in May 1863, Lee led his army through the Shenandoah Valley to begin his second invasion of the North—the Gettysburg Campaign. With his army in high spirits, Lee intended to shift the focus of the summer campaign from war-ravaged northern Virginia and hoped to influence Northern politicians to give up their prosecution of the war by penetrating as far as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, or Philadelphia. Prodded by President Abraham Lincoln, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker moved his army in pursuit, but was relieved of command just three days before the battle and replaced by Meade.
Elements of the two armies collided at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, as Lee urgently concentrated his forces there, his objective being to engage the Union army and destroy it. Low ridges to the northwest of town were defended by a Union cavalry division under Brig. Gen. John Buford, soon reinforced with two corps of Union infantry. However, two large Confederate corps assaulted them from the northwest and north, collapsing the hastily developed Union lines, sending the defenders retreating through the streets of the town to the hills just to the south. On the second day of battle, most of both armies had assembled; the Union line was laid out in a defensive formation resembling a fishhook. In the late afternoon of July 2, Lee launched a heavy assault on the Union left flank, fierce fighting raged at Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil's Den, the Peach Orchard. On the Union right, Confederate demonstrations escalated into full-scale assaults on Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill. All across the battlefield, despite significant losses, the Union defenders held their lines.
On the third day of battle, fighting resumed on Culp's Hill, cavalry battles raged to the east and south, but the main event was a dramatic infantry assault by 12,500 Confederates against the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, known as Pickett's Charge. The charge was repulsed at great loss to the Confederate army. Lee led his army on a torturous retreat back to Virginia. Between 46,000 and 51,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties in the three-day battle, the most costly in US history. On November 19, President Lincoln used the dedication ceremony for the Gettysburg National Cemetery to honor the fallen Union soldiers and redefine the purpose of the war in his historic Gettysburg Address. Shortly after the Army of Northern Virginia won a major victory over the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Robert E. Lee decided upon a second invasion of the North; such a move would upset U. S. plans for the summer campaigning season and reduce the pressure on the besieged Confederate garrison at Vicksburg.
The invasion would allow the Confederates to live off the bounty of the rich Northern farms while giving war-ravaged Virginia a much-needed rest. In addition, Lee's 72,000-man army could threaten Philadelphia and Washington, strengthen the growing peace movement in the North. Thus, on June 3, Lee's army began to shift northward from Virginia. Following the death of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, Lee reorganized his two large corps into three new corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, Lt. Gen. A. P. Hill; the Cavalry Division remained under the command of Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart; the Union Army of the Potomac, under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, consisted of seven infantry corps, a cavalry corps, an Artillery Reserve, for a combined strength of more than 100,000 men; the first major action of the campaign took place on June 9 between cavalry forces at Brandy Station, near Culpeper, Virginia. The 9,500 Confederate cavalrymen under Stuart were surprised by Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton's combined arms force of two cavalry divisions and 3,000 infantry, but Stuart repulsed the Union attack.
The inconclusive battle, the largest predominantly cavalry engagement of the war, proved for the first time that the Union horse soldier was equal to his Southern counterpart. By mid-June, the Army of Northern Virginia was poised to enter Maryland. After defeating the Union garrisons at Winchester and Martinsburg, Ewell's Second Corps began crossing the river on June 15. Hill's and Longstreet's corps followed on June 24 and 25. Hooker's army pursued, keeping between the U. S. capital and Lee's army. The Union army crossed the Potomac from June 25 to 27. Lee gave strict orders for his army to minimize any negative impacts on the civilian population. Food and other supplies were not seized outright, although quartermasters reimbursing Northern farmers and merchants with Confederate money were not well received. Various towns, most notably York, were required to pay indemnities in lieu of supplies, under threat of destruction. During the invasion, the Confederates seized some 40 northern African Americans.
A few of them were escaped fugitive slaves.
During the American Civil War, the Union Army referred to the United States Army, the land force that fought to preserve the Union of the collective states. Known as the Federal Army, it proved essential to the preservation of the United States of America as a working, viable republic; the Union Army was made up of the permanent regular army of the United States, but further fortified and strengthened by the many temporary units of dedicated volunteers as well as including those who were drafted in to service as conscripts. To this end, the Union Army fought and triumphed over the efforts of the Confederate States Army in the American Civil War. Over the course of the war, 2,128,948 men enlisted in the Union Army, including 178,895 colored troops. Of these soldiers, 596,670 were wounded or went missing; the initial call-up was for just three months, after which many of these men chose to reenlist for an additional three years. When the American Civil War began in April 1861, there were only 16,367 men in the U.
S. Army, including 1,108 commissioned officers. 20% of these officers, most of them Southerners, choosing to tie their lives and fortunes to the Army of the Confederacy. In addition 200 West Point graduates who had left the Army, including Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Braxton Bragg, would return to service at the outbreak of the war; this group's loyalties were far more divided, with 92 donning Confederate gray and 102 putting on the blue of the Union Army. The U. S. Army consisted of ten regiments of infantry, four of artillery, two of cavalry, two of dragoons, three of mounted infantry; the regiments were scattered widely. Of the 197 companies in the army, 179 occupied 79 isolated posts in the West, the remaining 18 manned garrisons east of the Mississippi River along the Canada–United States border and on the Atlantic coast. With the Southern slave states declaring secession from the Union, with this drastic shortage of men in the army, President Abraham Lincoln called on the states to raise a force of 75,000 men for three months to put down this subversive insurrection.
Lincoln's call forced the border states to choose sides, four seceded, making the Confederacy eleven states strong. It turned out that the war itself proved to be much longer and far more extensive in scope and scale than anyone on either side, Union North or Confederate South, expected or imagined at the outset on the date of July 22, 1861; that was the day that Congress approved and authorized subsidy to allow and support a volunteer army of up to 500,000 men to the cause. The call for volunteers was met by patriotic Northerners and immigrants who enlisted for a steady income and meals. Over 10,000 Germans in New York and Pennsylvania responded to Lincoln's call, the French were quick to volunteer; as more men were needed, the number of volunteers fell and both money bounties and forced conscription had to be turned to. Between April 1861 and April 1865, at least 2,128,948 men served in the Union Army, of whom the majority were volunteers, it is a misconception that the South held an advantage because of the large percentage of professional officers who resigned to join the Confederate army.
At the start of the war, there were 824 graduates of the U. S. Military Academy on the active list. Of the 900 West Point graduates who were civilians, 400 returned to the Union Army and 99 to the Confederate. Therefore, the ratio of Union to Confederate professional officers was 642 to 283; the South did have the advantage of other military colleges, such as The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute, but they produced fewer officers. Though officers were able to resign, enlisted soldiers did not have this right. While the total number of those is unknown, only 26 enlisted men and non-commissioned officers of the regular army are known to have left the army to join the Confederate army when the war began; the Union Army was composed of numerous organizations, which were organized geographically. Military division A collection of Departments reporting to one commander. Military Divisions were similar to the more modern term Theater. Department An organization that covered a defined region, including responsibilities for the Federal installations therein and for the field armies within their borders.
Those named for states referred to Southern states, occupied. It was more common to name departments for regions. District A subdivision of a Department
Battle of South Mountain
The Battle of South Mountain—known in several early Southern accounts as the Battle of Boonsboro Gap—was fought September 14, 1862, as part of the Maryland Campaign of the American Civil War. Three pitched battles were fought for possession of three South Mountain passes: Crampton's, Turner's, Fox's Gaps. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, commanding the Union Army of the Potomac, needed to pass through these gaps in his pursuit of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's precariously divided Army of Northern Virginia. Although the delay bought at South Mountain would allow him to reunite his army and forestall defeat in detail, Lee considered termination of the Maryland Campaign at nightfall. South Mountain is the name given to the continuation of the Blue Ridge Mountains after they enter Maryland, it is a natural obstacle that separates the Hagerstown Valley and Cumberland Valley from the eastern part of Maryland. After Lee invaded Maryland, a copy of an order, known as Special Order 191, detailing troop movements that he wrote fell into the hands of McClellan.
From this, McClellan learned that Lee had split his forces, sending one wing under Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson to lay siege to Harper's Ferry; the rest of Lee's army was posted at Boonsboro under command of Maj. Gen. James Longstreet. Lee hoped that after taking Harper's Ferry to secure his rear, he could carry out an invasion of the Union, wrecking the Monocacy aqueduct, before turning his attention to Baltimore, Philadelphia, or Washington, D. C. itself. To counter the Confederate invasion, McClellan led the Army of the Potomac west in an effort to force battle on the isolated parts of Lee's divided force. McClellan temporarily organized his army into three wings for the attacks on the passes. Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, the Right Wing, commanded the I IX Corps; the Right Wing was sent to Fox's Gap in the north. The Left Wing, commanded by Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin, consisting of his own VI Corps and Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch's division of the IV Corps, was sent to Crampton's Gap in the south.
The Center Wing, under Maj. Gen. Edwin Vose Sumner, was in reserve. From Boonsboro, Lee had sent a column under Maj Gen. James Longstreet northward to respond to a perceived threat from Pennsylvania. After learning of McClellan's intelligence coup, Lee recalled Longstreet's forces to reinforce the South Mountain passes and thus attempt to block McClellan's advance. On the day of the battle, the only Confederate force posted around Boonsboro was a five-brigade division under Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill. At the southernmost point of the battle, near Burkittsville, Confederate cavalry and a small portion of Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws's division defended Brownsville Pass and Crampton's Gap. McLaws was unaware of the approach of 12,000 Federals and had only 500 men under Col. William A. Parham thinly deployed behind a three quarter-mile-long stone wall at the eastern base of Crampton's Gap. Franklin spent three hours deploying his forces. A Confederate wrote of a "lion making exceedingly careful preparations to spring on a plucky little mouse."
Franklin deployed the division of Maj. Gen. Henry Warner Slocum on the right and Maj. Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith on the left. They seized the gap and captured 400 prisoners men who were arriving as late reinforcements from Brig. Gen. Howell Cobb's brigade. Confederate Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill, deploying 5,000 men over more than 2 miles, defended both Turner's Gap and Fox's Gap. Burnside sent Hooker's I Corps to Turner's Gap; the Union Iron Brigade attacked Colonel Alfred H. Colquitt's brigade along the National Road, driving it back up the mountain, but it refused to yield the pass. Hooker positioned three divisions opposite two peaks located one mile north of the gap; the Alabama Brigade of Brig. Gen. Robert E. Rodes was forced to withdraw because of his isolated position, despite the arrival of reinforcements from Brig. Gen. David R. Jones's division and Brig. Gen. Nathan G. Evans's brigade. Darkness and the difficult terrain prevented the complete collapse of Lee's line. At nightfall, the Federals held the high ground.
Just to the south, other elements of Hill's division defended Fox's Gap against Reno's IX Corps. A 9 a.m. attack by Union Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox's Kanawha Division secured much of the land south of the gap. In the movement, Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes of the 23rd Ohio led a flank attack and was wounded. Cox pushed through the North Carolinians positioned behind a stone wall at the gap's crest, but he failed to capitalize on his gains as his men were exhausted, allowing Confederate reinforcements to deploy in the gap around the Daniel Wise farm. Reno sent forward the rest of his corps, but due to the timely arrival of Southern reinforcements under Confederate Brig. Gen. John Bell Hood, they failed to dislodge the defenders. Union Maj. Gen. Jesse Reno and Confederate Brig. Gen. Samuel Garland, Jr. were killed at Fox's Gap. After Farmer Wise was paid one dollar each to bury the Confederate soldiers who died behind the stone walls on or near his property, sixty bodies were dumped down his dry well.
By dusk, with Crampton's Gap lost and his position at Fox's and Turner's Gaps precarious, Lee ordered his outnumbered forces to withdraw from South Mountain. McClellan was now in position to destroy Lee's army. Union casualties of 28,000 engaged were 2,325; the Battle of South Mountain was an important morale booster for the defeat-stricken Army of the Potomac. The New York World wrote that the battle "turn back the tid
Alexander Shaler was a Union Army general in the American Civil War. He received the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg. After the war, he was at various times the head of the New York City Fire Department, president of the National Rifle Association, Mayor of Ridgefield, New Jersey from 1899 to 1901. Shaler was born in Haddam, Connecticut, on March 19, 1827, son of Ira Shaler, a merchant captain, Jerusha Arnold, he lived much of his life in New York City beginning at the age of seven. Shaler had a private income that allowed him to pursue his own interests, he was educated in private schools, he was active in the New York State militia, beginning as a private in 1848 and becoming major of the 7th New York Militia in 1860. Shaler published a Manual of Arms for Light Infantry, New York: T. B. Harrison & Co. 1861. With the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, Shaler's regiment called the 7th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, was sent to defend Washington, D.
C.. After returning to New York City, Shaler became lieutenant colonel of the 65th New York Volunteer Infantry, known as the 1st United States Chasseurs. John Cochrane served as colonel. Shaler was credited by The New York Times with drilling the regiment well; the regiment left for the front on August 27, 1861. They served in the Peninsula Campaign of Major General George McClellan and in the Maryland Campaign as part of the division of Brigadier General Darius Couch in IV Corps, Army of the Potomac. Shaler became colonel on June 1862 after Cochrane was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. After Antietam, Couch's division became the third division of VI Corps. John Newton succeeded Couch. Shaler's regiment became part of Cochrane's brigade in that division, it was present at the Battle of Fredericksburg but not engaged. Alexander Shaler assumed command of the brigade in March 1863, was appointed to the rank of brigadier general, to rank from May 26, 1862, on May 26, 1863. Shaler led the brigade at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg known as the Second Battle of Marye's Heights, on May 3, when VI Corps, under Major General John Sedgwick drove Jubal Early's division away from the Heights.
At a crucial moment, Shaler led his men into the Confederate defenses. In 1893, he received the Medal of Honor for this act, his brigade participated in the Battle of Salem Church. In the Battle of Gettysburg, VI Corps served as a reserve for the Army of the Potomac. Shaler's brigade was sent to the right flank early on July 3, 1863. There it helped. Shaler's brigade was in reserve, but units went to the front line to help in resisting Confederate attacks. About 3:30 that afternoon, Shaler's brigade was sent to the center of the army as a reserve around the time of the repulse of Pickett's Charge. Shaler commanded the prisoner of war camp at Johnson's Island on the shores of Lake Erie in the winter of 1863-1864, with his regiment serving as prison guards, he was back with his brigade in 1864 in time to participate in the Overland Campaign. VI Corps had been reorganized, Shaler's brigade served in General Horatio Wright's first division; this brigade was on the army's right flank in the Battle of the Wilderness on May 6, 1864.
At first, it was in a "refused" position facing north. It was drawn into the main line of battle, supporting its fight with LG Richard S. Ewell's corps; as a result, Shaler's brigade was flanked by Confederate troops led by Brigadier General John Brown Gordon that had swung northward to attack the Union right flank. Shaler and Brigadier General Truman Seymour were among the Union soldiers captured in his foray. Shaler was trying to rally his men, he was sent to Libby Prison, in Richmond, Virginia and to Macon, Georgia. In the summer of 1864 he was placed under the fire of Union batteries bombarding Charleston, South Carolina. After being exchanged, Shaler was transferred West where he served in the Department of the Gulf commanding third brigade, second division XIX Corps, from November 3 to December 3, 1864, he served in Arkansas, where he led the second division in VII Corps, December 28, 1864 - August 1, 1865, under Major General Joseph J. Reynolds; this division was based at DeValls Bluff in east central Arkansas.
It minor skirmishes with Confederate forces. In June 1865, as the war was ending, Shaler cooperated in the efforts of Major General Grenville Dodge, commanding the Department of Missouri, to parole the irregular forces of Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson. Shaler was mustered out of the volunteers on August 24, 1865. On January 12, 1866, President of the United States Andrew Johnson nominated Shaler for appointment to the brevet rank of major general of volunteers, to rank from July 27, 1865 and the United States Senate confirmed the appointment on March 12, 1866. After the war, Shaler served as commissioner of the New York City Fire Department from 1867 to 1873, he was active including heading the New York Commandery of the Loyal Legion. He became major general of the state militia in 1867, commanding the first division, his tenure was not always peaceful. One of his officers accused the general of incompetence. In 1885, he was arrested and charged with corruption connected with the choice of sites for armories.
Shaler was not convicted in two trials. Nonetheless, he had to step down from his militia position.
William Farrar Smith
William Farrar Smith, known as'Baldy' Smith, was a Union general in the American Civil War, notable for attracting the extremes of glory and blame. He was praised for his gallantry in the Seven Days Battles and the Battle of Antietam, but was demoted for insubordination after the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg; as chief engineer of the Army of the Cumberland, he achieved recognition by restoring a supply line that saved that army from starvation and surrender, known as the "Cracker Line", that helped Union troops to success in the Chattanooga Campaign in the autumn of 1863. Leading the first operation against Petersburg, Smith's hesitation illness-related, cost the Union a prime opportunity for a quick end to the war, he was relieved of command. Smith, known to his friends as "Baldy", was born at St. Albans, the son of Ashbel and Sarah Butler Smith, a cousin of J. Gregory Smith, he was educated locally in Vermont until he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1841, graduated four years standing fourth of 41 cadets.
Smith was appointed a brevet second lieutenant on July 1, 1845, was assigned to the Topographical Engineers Corps. He was promoted to second lieutenant on July 14, 1849, promoted to first lieutenant on March 3, 1853. During his service in the Corps, Smith conducted surveys of the Great Lakes, the states of Texas and Florida, as well as much of Mexico. While serving in Florida, Smith was stricken with the infectious disease malaria. Although he would recover at the time, the illness affected his physical health for the rest of his life. In 1856 Smith began his involvement in the lighthouse service, headquartered in Detroit and rose to become the Engineer Secretary of the Lighthouse Board. Smith was twice assistant professor of mathematics at West Point, he was promoted to captain on July 1, 1859. During the First Battle of Bull Run, Smith served on the staff of Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell. On August 13, 1861, he was appointed a brigadier general in the Union Army after helping organize the 1st Vermont Brigade.
He was appointed a brevet lieutenant colonel in the regular army for his gallantry at the Battle of White Oak Swamp in the Seven Days Battles. On July 4, 1862, he received promotion to the rank of major general in the Union Army. Smith led his division with conspicuous valor during the Battle of Antietam, was again brevetted in the regular army; when his corps commander, Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin, was reassigned to a superior command, Smith was placed at the head of the VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac, which he led at the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg; the recriminations that followed Fredericksburg led to a famous general order in which army commander Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside proposed to dismiss several of the senior officers of the army. President Abraham Lincoln prevented this order from taking effect and relieved Burnside of his command instead. Smith was one of the affected officers. However, his indiscretion in communicating to Lincoln directly about Burnside's shortcomings, compounded by the fact that Smith was a close friend of out-of-favor Maj. Gen. George B.
McClellan, resulted in his losing both his corps command and his rank. Reverting to the rank of brigadier general, he commanded a division-sized force of militia within the Department of the Susquehanna in Pennsylvania during the critical days of the Gettysburg Campaign, repelling Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart at a skirmish in Carlisle. Smith's green troops participated in the unsuccessful pursuit of Gen. Robert E. Lee back to the Potomac River, he followed this in division command in West Virginia. On October 3, 1863, Smith was assigned to duty as chief engineer of the Army of the Cumberland; as such he conducted the engineer operations and launched the Battle of Brown's Ferry, which opened the "Cracker Line" to provide supplies and reinforcements to the besieged troops in Chattanooga. Of this action the House Committee on Military Affairs reported in 1865 that "as a subordinate, General WF Smith had saved the Army of the Cumberland from capture, afterwards directed it to victory." Smith was now again nominated for the rank of major general of volunteers, Ulysses S. Grant, much impressed with Smith's work, insisted that the nomination should be confirmed, accordingly done by the Senate on March 9, 1864.
Grant, according to his own statement "was not long in finding out that the objections to Smith's promotion were well grounded," but he never said what the grounds were, while Smith, contributing to a major series of war memoirs, maintained that they were purely of a personal character. For the Overland Campaign of 1864, Smith was assigned by Grant to command the XVIII Corps in Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler's Army of the James, which he led in the Battle of Cold Harbor and the first operations against Petersburg. Smith's corps and a division of black troops were ordered to take the city. Remembering the debacle at Cold Harbor, Smith performed exhaustive reconnaissance. Determining that the section of the defensive line was manned by artillery, he ordered an attack. However, the attack was delayed and in the meantime he became apprehensive about a rumor circulating that Lee was about to arrive, he lost his nerve because of the formidable character of the Confederate works or because of a recurring bout with malaria, but his hesitation may have lost him the opportunity to