1862 May 24th

May 24 1862 Saturday

Middletown, VA

Newtown, VA

Peninsula Campaign

First Corinth Campaign

Jackson‘s Shenandoah Valley Campaign

USA. The first use of the Beardslee Telegraph, a mobile field telegraph system, occurred during the Peninsula campaign. The “Flying Telegraph Train” comprised two sets of the Beardless apparatus in two wagons, with hand-reels, insulated wire, poles, and tools Eventually 30 Flying Telegraph Trains were formed, with about sets of equipment. They were phased out in November 1863 and superseded by more efficient equipment.

Florida. USS Amanda, Acting Lieutenant Nathaniel Goodwin, and USS Bainbridge, Commander Brasher, captured the steamer Swan west of the Tortugas with a cargo of cotton and rosin.

Louisiana. A party of Confederate guerrillas attacked a rowboat carrying a US naval officer at Baton Rouge. USS Hartford bombarded the town in retaliation, causing civilian casualties and damaging St Joseph’s Church and other buildings.

Mississippi. Skirmish near Corinth.

Missouri. Expedition to Spring Hill against pro-Confederate jayhawkers.

South Carolina. USS Bienville, Commander Mullany, captured the British blockade-runner Stettin off Charleston.

Virginia. Reconnaissance to Seven Pines began. Skirmishes at New Bridge, Chickahominy River, Savage Station, and Seven Pines.

Virginia. Union Reconnaissance by Colonel Richard  Rush (6th Pennsylvania Cavalry) to Hanover Court House. Skirmishes at Linden and Mechanicsville.

Virginia. Skirmishes at Strasburg, Middletown, Berryville, Winchester, and Harper’s Ferry.

Virginia. When news of the tactical reverses at Front Royal reached Washington DC, it acquired unprecedented strategic significance. Union Brigadier-General James Shields’ division had almost joined Major-General Irvin McDowell near Fredericksburg but it was turned around again to return to the Shenandoah Valley after already reaching six miles south of the Rappahannock River. McDowell received orders to suspend his march from the Rappahannock River to join Major-General George Brinton McClellan and the Army of the Potomac at Richmond. He was ordered instead to prepare to move his 20,000 men to the Shenandoah Valley in order to help in the suppression of the Confederate army of Major-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson. The plan for McDowell to move his Corps towards Richmond – a move on which Major-George Brinton McClellan was relying – was postponed. McDowell prepared instead to march to the Shenandoah Valley or to a new position protecting Washington.

McDowell telegraphed Major-General John Charles Frémont, recuperating at Franklin thirty miles west of Harrisonburg, asking him to march into the Confederate rear from the west. Shields and Frémont could cooperate for Shields to sever the Confederate communications eighty miles behind Jackson. With Banks holding the central position, Shields and Frémont could contribute to an overwhelming pincer attack that would end the disruption in the Shenandoah Valley.

Meanwhile, McClellan, who was still unaware of this sudden cancellation of the overland element of strategy, had already sent his cavalry to occupy Mechanicsville, five miles north of Richmond. Their aim was to scout and make contact with McDowell who was expected to arrive from the Rappahannock within three to four days.

Middletown and Newtown, Virginia. When the Confederate annihilation of the Front Royal garrison was reported to Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks at Strasburg, he dismissed it as no more than a raid and believed that the Confederates were still in his front at Harrisonburg. At 3 am, he was finally persuaded by Colonel George Henry Gordon to commence a necessary but precipitate retreat towards Winchester.

Confederate Major-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson had to forecast which of four possible courses of action would be taken by Banks from Strasburg. Banks could defend the fortified town; he could head eastwards through Front Royal and out of the valley towards Manassas; move eastwards to join Major-General John Charles Frémont’s rallying troops; or, retreat northwards to Winchester. Jackson expected Banks either to stay or move towards Manassas and he moved his main body towards Middletown as a way of countering it. Banks chose the option of retreating to Winchester.

Engagements occurred at Middletown where a section of artillery and Confederate Major Roberdeau Cheatham Wheat’s battalion of “Louisiana Tigers” harassed the Union line of retreat, and at Newtown as the Union rearguard brigade of Union Colonel George Henry Gordon delayed the pursuit long enough for Banks’ main force to move from Strasburg to Winchester in an overnight march.

Banks’ men had the advantage of marching along the surfaced Valley Turnpike while Jackson’s men toiled through mud and blustery wind. One column took six hours to march seven miles and allowed Banks’ column to pass through Middletown ahead of it.The Confederate pursuit was also hindered by some of his infantry and cavalry looting captured Union supply depots and trains to replenish their supplies. The Confederate cavalry, most of them recruited in the Valley, evaporated as they seized horses and took them to their home farms. Having failed to cut off and round up Banks’ men, Jackson pressed the pursuit throughout the night.

While Jackson took his main force along the Valley Pike, he ordered Major-General Richard Stoddert Ewell to move his division on Winchester along the Front Royal Road. Banks finally deployed at Winchester to slow the Confederate pursuit. He had two brigades of infantry under Gordon and Colonel Dudley Donnelly, a mixed brigade of cavalry under Brigadier-General John Porter Hatch, and 16 guns. Gordon’s brigade was placed on the Union right on Bower’s Hill with its left flank at the Valley Pike, supported by a battery of artillery. The centre of the line (Camp Hill) was held by the cavalry supported by two guns. Donnelly’s brigade was placed in a crescent on the left to cover the Front Royal and Millwood roads with the rest of the artillery.

Union Organisation

USA: Daniel Edgar Sickles was reappointed Brigadier-General USV 24 May 1862 to rank from 3 September 1861.

Sickles, Daniel Edgar / New York / Born 20 October 1819 / Died New York, New York 3 May 1914
Major 12th New York Militia 1852 / Colonel USV 70th New York Infantry 29 June 1861 / Brigadier-General USV 3 September 1861 Expired 13 March 1862 / Reappointed Brigadier-General USV 24 May 1862 to rank from 3 September 1861 / Major-General USV 11 March 1863 to rank from 29 November 1862 / Colonel USA 42nd US Infantry 28 July 1866 / Mustered Out USV 1 January 1868 / Major-General USA Retired 14 April 1869 / Retired USA 14 April 1869 / Brevet Brigadier-General USA 2 March 1867 Brevet Major-General USA 2 March 1867 /WIA Gettysburg 2 July 1863
2nd Brigade Hooker’s Division Army of the Potomac 3 October 13 March 1862 / 2nd Brigade 2nd Division III Corps Army of the Potomac 24 May 1862-16 July 1862 / 2nd Division III Corps Army of the Potomac 5 September 1862-12 January 1863 / III Corps Potomac 5 February 1863-29 May 1863 / III Corps Potomac 3 June 1863-2 July 1863 / Department of South Carolina 9 November 1865-26 March 1866

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln

Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin

Secretary of War: Edwin McMasters Stanton

Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

  • North Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough USN
  • South Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du Pont USN
  • West Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut USN
  • East Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer William McKean USN
  • Pacific Squadron USN: Rear Admiral Charles H Bell USN
  • Western Gunboat Flotilla USN: Flag Officer Charles Henry Davis USN
  • Potomac Flotilla USN: Lieutenant Robert Harris Wyman USN

Chairman of the War Board: Ethan Allen Hitchcock

  • Department (Military Division) of the Mississippi : Henry Wager Halleck
    • District of West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
      • Army of West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • District of the Mississippi: Isaac Ferdinand Quinby
      • Army of the Mississippi: John Pope
    • District of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
      • Army of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
    • District of Cairo: William Kerley Strong
      • Sub-District of Columbus: Isaac Ferdinand Quinby
    • Department of the Missouri: Henry Wager Halleck
      • District of St Louis: Lewis Merrill
      • District of Central Missouri: James Totten
      • District of Southwest Missouri: Samuel Ryan Curtis
        • Army of the Southwest: Samuel Ryan Curtis
      • District of Northeast Missouri: John Montgomery Glover
      • District of Northwest Missouri: Benjamin Franklin Loan
  • Department of the Gulf: Benjamin Franklin Butler
    • Army of the Gulf: Benjamin Franklin Butler
  • Department of Kansas: James Gilpatrick Blunt
  • Middle Department: John Adams Dix
    • District of the Eastern Shore of Maryland: Henry Hayes Lockwood
  • Mountain Department: John Charles Frémont
    • Cheat Mountain District: Thomas Maley Harris
    • Railroad District: Benjamin Franklin Kelley
    • District of the Kanawha: Jacob Dolson Cox
    • District of the Gap: Samuel Powhatan Carter
    • District of the Valley of the Big Sandy River: James Abram Garfield
  • Department of New Mexico: Edward Richard Sprigg Canby
    • Central and Northern District of New Mexico: Benjamin Stone Roberts
  • Department of New York: Edward Denison Morgan
  • Department of North Carolina: Ambrose Everett Burnside
  • Department of the Pacific: George Wright
    • District of the Humboldt: Francis James Lippitt
    • District of Oregon: Justis Steinburger
    • District of Southern California: George Washington Bowie
  • Department of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
    • Army of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
      • II Corps Potomac: Edwin Vose Sumner
      • III Corps Potomac: Samuel Peter Heintzelman
      • IV Corps Potomac: Erasmus Darwin Keyes
      • V Corps Potomac: Fitz John Porter
      • VI Corps Potomac: William Buel Franklin
  • Department of the Rappahannock: Irvin McDowell
    • Military District of Washington: James Samuel Wadsworth
  • Department of the Shenandoah: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
  • Department of the South: David Hunter
    • Northern District of the South: Henry Washington Benham
    • Southern District of the South: John Milton Brannan
    • Western District of the South: Lewis Golding Arnold
  • Department of Texas: Vacant
  • Department of Virginia: John Ellis Wool

Confederate Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Jefferson Finis Davis

Vice-President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens

Secretary of War: George Wythe Randolph

Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory

Military Adviser to the President: Robert Edward Lee

  • Department No 1: Mansfield Lovell
  • Department of Alabama and West Florida: John Horace Forney temporary
    • Army of Mobile: William L Powell
  • Department of Middle and Eastern Florida: Joseph Finegan
  • Department of East Tennessee: Edmund Kirby Smith
    • Army of East Tennessee: Edmund Kirby Smith
  • Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder
  • Department of the Indian Territory: Douglas Hancock Cooper
  • Department of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes
    • District of Cape Fear: Samuel Gibbs French
    • District of Pamlico: Robert Ransom temporary
    • District of Roanoke Island: Henry Marchmore Shaw
  • Department of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
    • District of Aquia: Gustavus Woodson Smith
    • Army of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
      • Right Wing Northern Virginia: James Longstreet
      • Left Wing Northern Virginia: Gustavus Woodson Smith
      • Reserve Northern Virginia: John Bankhead Magruder
    • Valley District: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
      • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
  • Department of South Carolina and Georgia: John Clifford Pemberton
    • District of Georgia: Alexander Robert Lawton
    • District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
      • 1st Sub-District of South Carolina: Arthur Middleton Manigault.
      • 2nd Sub-District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
      • 3rd Sub-District of South Carolina: Nathan George Evans
      • 4th Sub-District of South Carolina: William Stephen Walker
      • 6th Sub-District of South Carolina: Thomas Fenwick Drayton
  • Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring
    • District of Abingdon: Humphrey Marshall
  • Department of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
    • Eastern District of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
    • Western District of Texas: Henry Eustace McCulloch
    • Sub-District of Houston: John C Bowen
    • Sub-District of Galveston: Ebenezer B Nichols
    • Sub-District of the Rio Grande: Hamilton Prioleau Bee
    • Defences of Pass Cavallo: John W Glenn
  • Western Department: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
    • Trans-Mississippi District: Earl Van Dorn
      • Forces in Arkansas: John Selden Roane
    • District of North Alabama: Daniel Ruggles
    • Army of Mississippi: Braxton Bragg
      • I Corps Mississippi: Leonidas Polk
      • II Corps Mississippi: Thomas Carmichael Hindman
      • III Corps Mississippi: William Joseph Hardee
      • Reserve Corps Mississippi: John Cabell Breckinridge
    • Army of the West: Earl Van Dorn
  • District of Arizona: Henry Hopkins Sibley
    • Army of New Mexico: Henry Hopkins Sibley
  • Forces in Richmond: Charles Dimmock

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
Henry Wager Halleck
John Ellis Wool

Major-General USV

Asterisk indicates concurrently Brigadier-General USA

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter
Edwin Denison Morgan
Ethan Allen Hitchcock
Ulysses Simpson Grant
Irvin McDowell*
Ambrose Everett Burnside
William Starke Rosecrans*
Don Carlos Buell
John Pope
Samuel Ryan Curtis
Franz Sigel
John Alexander McClernand
Charles Ferguson Smith
Lewis Wallace
Ormsby McKnight Mitchel
Cassius Marcellus Clay
George Henry Thomas
George Cadwalader
William Tecumseh Sherman
Edward Otho Cresap Ord
Edwin Vose Sumner*
Samuel Peter Heintzelman
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Joseph Hooker

Brigadier-General USA

Brackets indicates concurrently Major-General USV

William Selby Harney
(Edwin Vose Sumner)
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
(Irvin McDowell)
Robert Anderson
(William Starke Rosecrans)
Philip St George Cooke

Brigadier-General USV

Andrew Porter
Fitz-John Porter
William Buel Franklin
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Thomas West Sherman
George Archibald McCall
William Reading Montgomery
Philip Kearny
John Wolcott Phelps
Charles Smith Hamilton
Darius Nash Couch
Rufus King
Jacob Dolson Cox
Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
Robert Cumming Schenck
Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
Benjamin Franklin Kelley
Alpheus Starkey Williams
Israel Bush Richardson
James Cooper
James Brewerton Ricketts
Orlando Bolivar Willcox
Michael Corcoran
Henry Hayes Lockwood
Louis Blenker
Henry Warner Slocum
James Samuel Wadsworth
John James Peck
George Webb Morell
John Henry Martindale
Samuel Davis Sturgis
George Stoneman
Henry Washington Benham
William Farrar Smith
James William Denver
Egbert Ludovicus Vielé
James Shields
John Fulton Reynolds
William Farquhar Barry
John Joseph Abercrombie
John Sedgwick
Silas Casey
Lawrence Pike Graham
George Gordon Meade
Abram Duryée
Alexander McDowell McCook
Oliver Otis Howard
Eleazar Arthur Paine
Daniel Edgar Sickles
Charles Davis Jameson
Ebenezer Dumont
Robert Huston Milroy
Willis Arnold Gorman
Daniel Butterfield
Horatio Gouverneur Wright
William Nelson
William Thomas Ward
John Gross Barnard
Innis Newton Palmer
Seth Williams
John Newton
Winfield Scott Hancock
Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
George Wright
Isaac Ingalls Stevens
Thomas Williams
George Sykes
William Henry French
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
John Milton Brannan
William Wallace Burns
John Porter Hatch
David Sloane Stanley
William Kerley Strong
Albin Francisco Schoepf
Lovell Harrison Rousseau
James Scott Negley
Thomas John Wood
Richard W Johnson
Adolph Wilhelm August Friedrich Von Steinwehr
Joseph Bennett Plummer
John Gray Foster
George Washington Cullum
Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
Christopher Columbus Augur
Schuyler Hamilton
Jesse Lee Reno
George Washington Morgan
Julius Stahel
John McAllister Schofield
Thomas Jefferson McKean
John Grubb Parke
Zealous Bates Tower
Jefferson Columbus Davis
James Henry Lane
John McAuley Palmer
James Abram Garfield
Lewis Golding Arnold
Frederick Steele
William Scott Ketchum
Abner Doubleday
John Wynn Davidson
Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana
David Bell Birney
Thomas Francis Meagher
Henry Morris Naglee
Andrew Johnson
James Gallant Spears
Eugene Asa Carr
Thomas Alfred Davies
Daniel Tyler
William Hemsley Emory
Andrew Jackson Smith
Marsena Rudolph Patrick
Isaac Ferdinand Quinby
Hiram Gregory Berry
Orris Sanford Ferry
Daniel Phineas Woodbury
Henry Moses Judah
Richard James Oglesby
John Cook
John McArthur
Robert Latimer McCook
Jacob Gartner Lauman
Horatio Phillips Van Cleve
John Alexander Logan
Speed Smith Fry
Alexander Asboth
James Craig
Mahlon Dickerson Manson
Gordon Granger
Edward Richard Sprigg Canby
Grenville Mellen Dodge
Robert Byington Mitchell
James Gilpatrick Blunt
Francis Engle Patterson
Quincy Adams Gillmore
Amiel Weeks Whipple
Cuvier Grover
George Lucas Hartsuff
Rufus Saxton
Benjamin Alvord
Napoleon Bonaparte Buford
William Sooy Smith
Nathan Kimball
Charles Devens
James Henry Van Alen
Carl Schurz
Samuel Wylie Crawford
Henry Walton Wessells
Milo Smith Hascall
Leonard Fulton Ross
John White Geary
Alfred Howe Terry
Andrew Atkinson Humphreys
James Henry Carleton
Absalom Baird
John Cleveland Robinson
Truman Seymour
George Dashiell Bayard
Henry Prince
Abram Sanders Piatt
Thomas Turpin Crittenden
Maximilian Weber
Pleasant Adam Hackleman
Jeremiah Cutler Sullivan
Alvin Peterson Hovey
James Clifford Veatch
William Plummer Benton
Henry Bohlen
John Curtis Caldwell
Isaac Peace Rodman
Neal S Dow
George Sears Greene
Samuel Powhatan Carter
John Gibbon
George William Taylor
Erastus Barnard Tyler
James Birdseye McPherson

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster-General)
Henry Knox Craig
Lorenzo Thomas (Adjutant-General)
James Wolfe Ripley (Ordnance)
Joseph Pannell Taylor (Commissary-General of Subsistence)
William Alexander Hammond (Surgeon-General)

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

General ACSA/PACS

Samuel Cooper
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Braxton Bragg

Major-General PACS

Leonidas Polk
Earl Van Dorn
Gustavus Woodson Smith
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
William Joseph Hardee
Benjamin Huger
James Longstreet
John Bankhead Magruder
Mansfield Lovell
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Edmund Kirby Smith
George Bibb Crittenden
John Clifford Pemberton
Richard Stoddert Ewell
William Wing Loring
Sterling Price
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
Samuel Jones
John Porter McCown
Daniel Harvey Hill
Jones  Mitchell Withers
Thomas Carmichael Hindman
John Cabell Breckinridge
Lafayette McLaws

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd
Henry Alexander Wise
David Rumph Jones
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Richard Caswell Gatlin
Daniel Smith Donelson
Richard Heron Anderson
Robert Augustus Toombs
Arnold Elzey
William Henry Chase Whiting
Jubal Anderson Early
Isaac Ridgeway Trimble
Daniel Ruggles
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Albert Pike
Paul Octave Hébert
Joseph Reid Anderson
Simon Bolivar Buckner
Albert Gallatin Blanchard
Gabriel James Rains
James Ewell Brown Stuart
Thomas Fenwick Drayton
Lloyd Tilghman
Nathan George Evans
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox
Robert Emmett Rodes
Richard Taylor
James Heyward Trapier
Samuel Gibbs French
William Henry Carroll
Hugh Weedon Mercer
Humphrey Marshall
Richard Griffith
Alexander Peter Stewart
William Montgomery Gardner
Richard Brooke Garnett
William Mahone
Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
Edward Johnson
Maxcy Gregg
Raleigh Edward Colston
Henry Heth
Johnson Kelly Duncan
Sterling Alexander Martin Wood
John George Walker
John King Jackson
George Edward Pickett
Bushrod Rust Johnson
James Patton Anderson
Howell Cobb
George Wythe Randolph
Joseph Brevard Kershaw
James Ronald Chalmers
Ambrose Powell Hill
James Johnston Pettigrew
Carter Littlepage Stevenson
Daniel Leadbetter
William Whann Mackall
Charles Sidney Winder
Robert Ransom
John Bell Hood
Daniel Marsh Frost
Winfield Scott Featherston
Thomas James Churchill
William Booth Taliaferro
Albert Rust
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne
Samuel Bell Maxey
Hamilton Prioleau Bee
James Morrison Hawes
George Hume Steuart
William Duncan Smith
James Edwin Slaughter
Charles William Field
John Horace Forney
Paul Jones Semmes
Lucius Marshall Walker
Seth Maxwell Barton
Dabney Herndon Maury
John Bordenave Villepigue
Henry Eustace McCullough
John Stevens Bowen
Benjamin Hardin Helm
John Selden Roane
States Rights Gist
William Nelson Pendleton
Lewis Addison Armistead
Joseph Finegan
Martin Luther Smith
Franklin Gardner
William Nelson Rector Beall
Thomas Jordan
William Preston
Roger Atkinson Pryor
Henry Little
John Echols
George Earl Maney
Jean Jacques Alfred Alexandre Mouton
John Stuart Williams
James Green Martin
Thomas Lanier Clingman
Wade Hampton
Daniel Weisiger Adams
Samuel Garland

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