Today in History:

14 Series I Volume V- Serial 5 - West Virginia

Page 14 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

this intention fully, and the cavalry force serving with the army in the field was never as large as it ought to have been.

It was determined to collect the regular infantry to form the nucleus of a reserve. The advantage of such a body of troops at a critical moment, especially in an army constituted mainly of new levies, imperfectly disciplined, has been frequently illustrated in military history, and was brought to the attention of the country at the first battle of Manassas. I have not been disappointed in the estimate formed of the value of these troops. I have always found them to be relied on. Whenever they have been brought under fire they have shown the utmost gallantry and tenacity. The regular infantry, which had been collected from distant posts and which had been recruited as rapidly as the slow progress of recruiting for the regular service would allow, added to the small battalion with McDowell's army which I found at Washington on my arrival, amounted on the 30th of August to 1,040 men; on the 28th of February, 1862, to 2,682, and on the 30th of April, to 4,603. On the 17th of May, 1862, they were assigned to General Porter's corps for organization as a division, with the Fifth Regiment New York Volunteers, which joined May 4, and the Tenth New York Volunteers, which joined subsequently. They remained from the commencement under the command of Brigadier General George Sykes, major Third Infantry, U. S. Army.


The creation of an adequate artillery establishment for an army of so large proportions was a formidable undertaking, and had it not been that the country possessed in the regular service a body of accomplished and energetic artillery officers, the task would have been almost hopeless..

The charge of organizing this most important arm was confided to Major (afterwards Brigadier General) William F. Barry, chief of artillery, whose industry and zeal achieved the best results. The report of General Barry is appended among the accompanying documents. By referring to it will be observed that the following principles were adopted as the basis of organization:*

* * * * * *

The zeal and services of Major A. S. Webb, assistant to General Barry, entitle him to especial praise. At the close of the Peninsular campaign General Barry assumed the duties of chief of artillery of the defenses of Washington, and was relieved in his former position by Colonel Henry J. Hunt, who had commanded the artillery reserve with marked skill, and brought to his duties as chief of artillery the highest qualifications. The services of this distinguished officer in reorganizing and refitting the batteries prior to and after the battle of Antietam, and his gallant and skillful conduct on that field, merit the highest encomium in my power to bestow. His assistant, Major Doull, deserves high credit for his services and gallantry throughout both campaigns.

The designations of the different batteries of artillery, both regular and volunteer, follow within a few pages.

The following distribution of regiments and batteries was made, as a preliminary organization of the forces at hand, shortly after my arrival in Washington. The infantry, artillery, and cavalry, as fast as collected and brought into primary organization, were assigned to brigades and divisions, as indicated in the subjoined statements:


*For portion here omitted see Report Numbers 2, paragraphs numbered 1 to 7, and [13], [15], and [16], pp. 67-69.


Page 14 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.