Cedar Mountain (Up Comes Hill)

Last updated June 13th, 2007 by Jenny
Stonewall Jackson

Pope's army was called the "Army of Virginia." It was basically a collection of various troops from different departments in the Eastern theater. The plan was for McClellan to mark time on the Penisula while Pope moved northwards to try and draw Lee out to where he could be destroyed. McClellan, still commanding the Army of the Potomac, was to coordinate and work with Pope. This was going to cause problems because McClellan liked Pope about as much as the Confederates liked Pope.

The Union Army's movements forced Lee to split his Army. James Longstreet's half of the Army remained with Lee to watch and see what McClellan might do. Jackson's half of the Army was sent into northern Virginia to deal with the miscreant.

Problems between Jackson and Hill began early -- in fact on the very first day the two needed to work together on the march. Jackson was already in a bad mood, having had to put up with the trial of Richard Brooke Garnett (who was, observors thought, clearly winning his court martial proceeding when the Yankees under John Pope intervened). Richard Garnett --fated to die in "Pickett's Charge" at Gettysburg leading a Virginia brigade -- had been brought up on charges by Jackson for pulling back the Stonewall Brigade from what was probably an impossible position at Kernstown during Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign. The court martial trial of Garnett would never reconvene -- but Lee, tellingly, simply transferred Garnett to James Longstreet's wing of the army. That Lee did this despite Jackson's constant harping upon how horrible a commander Garnett suggests that Lee sympathized with Garnett in the ugly affair. (For his part, despite thinking Jackson a liar, Garnett would serve as a pall-bearer in Jackson's funeral in 1863).

So, as Jackson moved through Orange in early August 1862, he was in a foul mood. On the night of August 7, Jackson issued marching orders that called for one division, under General Richard Ewell, to take the lead. Hill was supposed to follow Ewell with the Light Division, and then General Charles Winder's division would bring up the rear of the column. The march was to set off at dawn. The orders were very simple. There should have been no problems.

There were problems.

Jackson's orders failed to take into account that Ewell's division was already several miles ahead of the other two divisions. When he realized this, Jackson changed the orders for where Ewell was supposed to go to a different route that would not take Ewell past the Light Division. But, Jackson never told Hill of the change. At dawn, Hill was ready and patiently waiting for Ewell to pass. (The situation would become so confusing that Jackson's own staff was not even really sure what was going on.)

While Hill was still waiting, Winder's Division marched past, its commander having decided to no longer wait. Rather than halt Winder or intervene the Light Division, Hill decided it was wise to let Winder pass. However, Winder's trains (wagons and other baggage conveyances) slowed things considerably. Finally, in the 96 degree Virginia heat, Hill's men began following Winder.

Meanwhile, Ewell and Winder ran into each other and there was a massive traffic jam on the roads. Little progress was made. The march was eventually called off, but the first seeds of the feud were sown.

Two days later, at the battle of Cedar Run (also sometimes called Cedar Mountain or Slaughter Mountain), part of the Army of Virginia commanded by General Nathaniel "Commisary" Banks, ran smack into Jackson on August 9, 1862. The battle was fought very close to Hill's hometown of Culpeper.

Jackson greatly out-numbered (and outclassed) Banks, at almost two to one, but Jackson mismanaged the battle. He quickly ran into trouble because he was threw his men into battle in a piece-meal fashion. In the end, it was only the timely arrival of A.P. Hill and his Division that saved Jackson from a defeat at the hands of Banks. As a Richmond paper noted, "Southern hopes had seemed slim at Cedar Mountain until they got a "renewed vigor when the division of Gen. A.P. Hill came up." Hill's counterattack won the day. The Light Division now had quite a reputation, but it was written in the blood of it's brave soldiers.

Hill showed intolerance for stragglers and cowardice at Cedar Run. Rev. Jones of Hill's old regiment noted:

I saw A.P. Hill that day as he was putting his "Light Division" into battle, and was very much struck with his appearance. In his shirtsleeves and with drawn sword he sought to arrest the stragglers who were coming to the rear, and seeing a Lieutenant in the number, he rode at him and fiercely inquired: "Who are you, sir, and where are you going?" The trembling Lieutenant replied: "I am going back with my wounded friend." Hill reached down and tore the insignia of rank from his collar as he roughly said: "You are a pretty fellow to hold a commission -- deserting your colors in the presence of the enemy, and going to the rear with a man who is scarcely badly enough wounded to go himself. I reduce you to the ranks, sir, and if you do not go to the front and do your duty, I'll have you shot as soon as I can spare a file of men for the purpose." And then clearing the road, he hurried forward his men to the splendid service which was before them.

One of Hill's men remembered a telling vignette about Hill at Cedar Mountain, At the battle of Cedar Mountain, Union General Henry Prince was captured and taken to General Hill, just in rear of the Confederate line, where the minie balls were flying briskly around. General Prince said: "General, the fortunes of war have thrown me in your hands." Hill said: "D--n the fortunes of war, General get to the rear you are in danger here." Hill's duties required him to undergo the exposure, but he could not bear the idea of having even an enemy unnecessarily exposed.

The Battle of Cedar Mountain

A description of the battle:

Maj. Gen. John Pope was placed in command of the newly constituted Army of Virginia on June 26. Gen. Robert E. Lee responded to Pope’s dispositions by dispatching Maj. Gen. T.J. Jackson with 14,000 men to Gordonsville in July. Jackson was later reinforced by A.P. Hill’s division. In early August, Pope marched his forces south into Culpeper County with the objective of capturing the rail junction at Gordonsville. On August 9, Jackson and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks’s corps tangled at Cedar Mountain with the Federals gaining an early advantage. A Confederate counterattack led by A.P. Hill repulsed the Federals and won the day. Confederate general William [sic Charles] Winder was killed. This battle shifted fighting in Virginia from the Peninsula to Northern Virginia, giving Lee the initiative.

On the website, you can read the reports of A.P. Hill and his division.

While riding the battlefield at Cedar Mountain, Hill came upon Major R. Snowden Andrews, a gunner, who had been nearly cut in two by a shell. Hill stopped to comfort Andrews and made sure that an ambulance and a surgeon attended to him. Jackson's surgeon, Dr. Hunter McGuire also gave up on Andrews. Two Georgia surgeons -- brothers -- amazingly managed to save Andrews and he was even able to return to fight again despite his ghastly and seemingly mortal wound.

On August 20, problems Jackson and Hill began to tussle again. Lee, who had started north after he decided that he could leave a skelton force to oppose McClellan, sent a directive ordering the Confederate columns to move at "dawn." Jackson decided to change this to "moon rise," but apparently did not again bother to tell Hill. Again, confrontation developed and neither man had a particularly high opinion of the other.

A.P. Hill wasn't the only one having problems with Jackson. Colonel Edward McCrady of Gregg's Brigade noted:

The afternoon the head of Jackson's corps reached the Rappahannock on the Manassas campaign, 21st August, 1862, there came up a very severe rain-storm, which lasted into the night. It happened that Gregg's brigade bivouacked in the farm-yard to the house in which General Jackson had taken up his headquarters, and the five regiments filing in were placed for the night, so that the First South Carolina volunteers, which I commanded, was next a very nice paling fence. We had not taken our positions before an order was issued by General Jackson--in the midst of all his anxiety about Early's brigade, which you recollect had crossed the river and been cut off by the sudden rise in its waters--that a certain worm-fence at a little distance might be used for fire-wood, but that the officers of the brigade should see that none of the palings were touched. The night was a very severe one, and just recovering from a serious illness I had thought myself fortunate in securing shelter in an out-house. During the night I heard some one knocking away at the palings, and sent at once to stop it. The report to me was, that the men who had been taking the palings belonged to one of the other regiments of the brigade, and I did nothing more than stop any further damage. The next morning by daylight I saw General Jackson ride through the yard, and a few moments afterwards was ordered to report to General Gregg, with whom I found the other four commanding, officers of regiments of the brigade, and was told that General Jackson had ordered us all under arrest. We were released upon an arrangement with the owner of the farm to pay for the damage done. Five regimental commanders--and I always believed, but never actually knew, our brigadier himself--all arrested for a few palings of an ornamental fence taken under such circumstances! And then to be told that there was no discipline in our army!

Lee continued to track Pope, in hopes of trapping him near the old Manassas battlefield between his two wings of the Army. On August 27, Hill's men came upon a virtual bonanza of captured Union supplies on railroad cars piled up at Manassas Junction, guarded only by two regiments of Isaac Trimble's men. Delicacies ranged from lobster salad to cakes, nuts, fruits, pickles, sardines, and vegetables to whiskey, champagne, and candy. Hill's hungry men assaulted the box cars with fervor and Hill did little to stop them. Trimble recalled his "extreme mortification" in "reporting to General A.P. Hill for orders about 10 o'clock, I witnessed an indiscriminate plunder of the public stores by the army which just arrived, in which General Hill's division was conspicuous, setting at defiance the guards I had placed over the stores."

The approach of some Federal troops put a stop to the gorging -- but only temporarily. Once the Federals were chased away, Jackson officially allowed the troops to as much as they could carry before the supplies that could not be taken or used by the Confederates were put to the torch.

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