[Retained Confederate Civil War MS. with Copies of a Report and Orders by Major General Bushrod Rust Johnson during the Second Battle of Petersburg.]
Manuscript leaf, fragile, of Confederate Army Division battle orders during the Second Battle of Petersburg and a pre-battle report, all issued in June 1864 by Major General Bushrod Rust Johnson (1817–1880) from his divisional field headquarters in Virginia.
The three separate entries within the manuscript appear to be the recently-promoted major general’s retained copies. The first entry is a pre-battle staff report submitted to Captain Jno. M. Oley, A.A.G. concerning the appointments of seven officers including an inspector general, chief surgeon, and an ordinance officer.
The other two entries were written during the Second Battle of Petersburg, the initial assault on Petersburg during what would become a siege laid on the city lasting until late March 1865, almost the end of the war. The first of these is an order is an order given to Col. John S. Fulton of Johnson’s Brigade directing him to march:
...with the utmost dispatch to Petersburg and report to Genl. [Henry A.] Wise, for which purpose you will precede your command in entering the city.
The final entry was written during the height of the battle when Union forces were launching a series of large attacks on the Confederate lines. Johnson gives his observations and those of Confederate Major General [Robert F.] Hoke:
The enemy are checked but I have not enough force to retake and hold the works. ... The line we are occupying is a better one than the old if my right flank was strong or rested on a good fortification. Genl. Hoke thinks we should try to hold our lines. Circumstance must decide us.
“[Johnson’s] brigade joined Major General Robert F. Hoke’s division and participated in several engagements with the Federals near Petersburg. General Pierre G. T. Beauregard assigned Johnson to the command of a division, and the Confederate Senate confirmed his promotion to major general on 21 May. Union troops exploded a mine under the entrenchments held by one of Johnson’s brigades on 30 July. For reasons yet unexplained, Johnson remained at his headquarters to direct his men during the ensuing battle of the Crater, allowing Brigadier General William Mahone to lead the Confederate counterattack. Mahone thus gained the credit for stopping the threatened Federal breakthrough.” (ANB)
Urgent and of-the-moment orders and reports from a Confederate Army divisional commander in the field during the Second Battle of Petersburg in June 1864.
Description: [Retained Confederate Civil War MS. with Copies of a Report and Orders by Major General Bushrod Rust Johnson during the Second Battle of Petersburg.]
Hd. Qrs. Johnson’s Div. [Petersburg, Virginia], June 12, 15, and 17, 1864. pp. Quarto. Blue laid and ruled paper. Folds; foxing; closed tears and some losses in margins; fragile; not affecting text; good.