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History of the 19th Army Corps of the Union Army During the American Civil War

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History of the 19th Army Corps of the Union Army During the American Civil War
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Author(s): Richard B. Irwin
Date Published: 2009/12
Page Count: 420
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-893-3
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-894-0

A Federal Corps at war against the Confederacy

The Nineteenth Army Corps of the Union Army was comprised of the Federal troops allocated to the Department of the Gulf. It commenced active operations in 1863 first engaging the enemy at Fort Bisland and Irish Bend in Louisiana followed by the investment of Port Hudson. Thereafter it took part in Bank's Red River Expedition where it engaged at the Battles of Sabine Cross Roads and Pleasant Hill. In 1864 the 1st and 2nd Divisions transferred to Virginia and thence to Maryland where they served under Sherman in the Shenandoah Valley. The 19th also fought with distinction at Opequon, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek. Before the war was won it was engaged in further actions at Fort Blakely, Spanish Fort and Mobile. This is an essential unit history of an army corps during the American Civil war and provides much vital information for the student of the period. Available in soft cover and hard back with dust jacket.

Banks made the choice with serenity and without a moment’s hesitation determined to run the remote risk of losing New Orleans for the moment, with the destruction of Taylor’s army in reserve as a consolation, rather than to insure himself against this peril at the price of instant disaster at Port Hudson, even on the very eve of victory. <br>
“Operations here,” was the reply sent from headquarters on the 5th to Emory’s urgent appeal, “can last but two or three days longer at the outside, and then the whole command will be available to drive back the enemy who is now annoying our communications and threatening New Orleans.” So the event proved and such was now the task to be performed.<br>
Augur, who had been ill for some time, yet unwilling to relinquish his command, now found himself unfitted for the summer campaign that seemed in prospect. He accordingly turned over his division to Weitzel, took leave of absence on surgeon’s certificate, and went North to recruit his health. Shortly afterward he was assigned to the command of the Department of Washington and did not rejoin the Nineteenth Corps.<br>
Weitzel, as has been said, took transport on the 9th of July immediately after the formal capitulation. Getting under way toward evening, he landed at Donaldsonville early the next morning. His presence there so threatened the flank and front of Taylor’s forces, as to induce an immediate withdrawal of the guns from the river and the calling in of all detachments. Morgan, with Grover’s First brigade and Nims’s battery, followed Weitzel about midnight on the 10th, and Grover himself, with his other two brigades, on the 11th. During the night of that day, Grover therefore found himself before Donaldsonville, holding both banks of Bayou La Fourche with two divisions. He was confronted by Green with his own brigade and Major’s, together with the batteries that had lately been annoying the transports and drawing the attention of the gunboats on the river. When, on the 10th, Green saw the transports coming down the Mississippi laden with troops, it did not at once occur to him that Port Hudson was lost; he simply thought these troops were coming to attack him. Concentrating his whole force, he posted Major with four regiments and four guns on the left or east bank of the bayou, and on the right or west bank three regiments and two guns of his own brigade. Green’s pickets were within two miles of Donaldsonville. As Grover developed and took more ground in his front, Green drew back toward Paincourtville.<br>
On the morning of the 13th of July, without any intention of bringing on a battle or of hastening the enemy’s movements, but merely to gain a little more elbow-room and to find new fields for forage for his animals, Grover moved out an advance guard on either side of the bayou. “The enemy is evidently making preparation,” he said in his despatch of the 12th before ordering this movement, “to escape if pursued by a strong force or to resist a small one. Our gunboats can hardly be expected at Brashear City for some days, and it is evidently injudicious to press them until their retreat is cut off.” Dudley, with two sections of Carruth’s battery under Phelps and with Barrett’s troop, marched on the right bank of the bayou, supported by Charles J. Paine’s brigade with Haley’s battery. Morgan, under the orders of Birge, temporarily commanding Grover’s division, moved in line with Dudley on the opposite bank. They went forward slowly until, about six miles out, they found themselves upon the estate of the planter whose name is variously spelled Cox, Koch, and Kock. Here, as Dudley and Morgan showed no disposition to attack, Green took the initiative, and, favoured by a narrow field, a rank growth of corn, dense thickets of willows, the deep ditches common to all sugar plantations in these lowlands, and his own superior knowledge of the country, he fell suddenly with his whole force upon the heads of Dudley’s and Morgan’s columns, and drove them in almost before they were aware of the presence in their front of anything more than the pickets, whom they had been seeing for two days and who had been falling back before them. Morgan handled his brigade badly, and soon got it, or suffered it to fall, into a tangle whence it could only extricate itself by retiring. This fairly exposed the flank of Dudley, who was making a good fight, but had already enough to do to take care of his front against the fierce onset of Green’s Texans. The result of this bad mismanagement was that the whole command was in effect clubbed and on both banks driven back about a mile, until Paine came to its support; then Grover rode out, and, seeing what had happened, drew in his whole force.<br>
Grover’s losses in this affair, called the battle of Cox’s Plantation, were 2 officers and 54 men killed, 7 officers and 210 men wounded, 3 officers and 183 men captured or missing; in all 465. To add to the reproach of this rough treatment at the hands of an inferior force, two guns were lost, one of the 1st Maine battery and one of the 6th Massachusetts, but without the least fault on the part of the artillerists.<br>
After the close of the campaign Colonel Morgan was arraigned before a general court-martial upon charges of misbehaviour before the enemy and drunkenness on duty, and, being found guilty upon both charges, was sentenced to be cashiered and utterly disqualified from holding any office of employment under the government of the United States; but Banks disapproved the proceedings, findings, and sentence on the ground that the evidence appeared to him too conflicting and unsatisfactory. “The execution of this sentence,” his order continue, “is suspended until the pleasure of the President can be known.” When the record with this decision reached the Judge Advocate-General of the Army at Washington, he sent it back to Banks with instructions that, as no sentence remained for the action of the President, the proceedings were at an end and Colonel Morgan must be released from arrest. This was accordingly done on the 26th of October, 1863.<br>
Green puts his loss at 3 killed and 30 wounded, including 6 mortally wounded. The Union loss, he says, was “little less than 1,000; there were over 500 of the enemy killed and wounded, of whom 200 were left out on the field, and about 250 prisoners.”
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