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    Confederate notebook containing general orders from the beginning of the Civil War until after the First Battle of Bull Run

    First Battle of Bull Run: 1st Virginia Volunteers Regiment General Order Book. This is a rare, official account of the Confederate Army beginning on January 8, 1861, as it moves towards the first major battle of the Civil War, the First Battle of Bull Run fought on July 21. The account, told mostly through official military general orders, ends on November 9, 1861. The earliest orders in this book are issued from Hermitage Fairgrounds in Richmond and, later, from "Bull Run." Through the general orders, one can follow the difficulties of training fresh recruits and organizing them to fight their first battle. The cover reads in lettered gilt, "Adjutants Reports. 1st Regiment" and measures 8" x 10.25". Some of the lined pages are unused. Fair copies of general orders comprise the majority of the order book.

    The 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, under the command of Colonel Patrick T. Moore, provided some of the earliest Confederate soldiers to the Army of Northern Virginia, the major Confederate military force in the Civil War's eastern theater. The regiment was organized at Richmond in May 1861 and trained at a camp of instruction known as Hermitage Fairgrounds. The soldiers comprising the various Virginia regiments that were trained there prior to the First Battle of Bull Run formed the nucleus of the Army of Northern Virginia and included cadets brought by Stonewall Jackson from the Virginia Military Institute (Jackson was a professor at V.M.I prior to the Civil War). The earliest general orders were sent from the "Head Qrs. Camp of Instruction, Hermitage Fair Grounds." (Camps of instruction were locations for collecting recruits and teaching them the rudiments of soldiering.)

    Beginning on April 24, 1861, the general orders attempt to give order to the Virginia regiments at Hermitage Fairgrounds. For example, "Special Order No. 1" orders the times for "The regular calls" throughout the day, such as reveille at 5:00 a.m., breakfast at 7:00 a.m., taps at 10:00 p.m., etc., and "The calls for drills" (5:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., etc.). One early general order (April 29) is a transcription of "articles taken from the Genl. Regulations of the Army" which emphasize "Courtesy among military men," as well as the correct military saluting form.

    Throughout, the general orders give instructions for daily routines, inspections, the equipping of companies, and parade formations. Some orders call for the election of officers; give notifications of discharges, furloughs, promotions, and transfers; and offer lists military ranks. Orders given on May 15 notify of the "permanent organization of the independent companies of this command into regiments," and include the colorful names of companies in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Virginia Volunteers Regiment, such as the Danville Blues, the Charlotte Rifles, the Emmet Guard, and the Dan River Rifles.

    At the end of May 1861, changes began occurring more quickly. The special orders issued on May 29 read, "In obedience to orders received from Hd Qrs Va Forces the 1st Reg. Va Vols. under the command of Col. P. T. Moore will proceed to morrow to Manassas Junction and report to Brig Genl. Bonham." Orders issued on June 1 ordered that "an intrenched camp is to be made for the defence of Manassas Junction against all assailants." A change of command occurred on the next day when general orders went out notifying the troops that "General P. G. T. Beauregard of the Confederate States Army has been assigned to the command of this department."

    More Information:

    As the Confederate Army moved closer to Washington, D.C., and its inevitable clash with the Union Army, orders were issued which sought to prepare the soldiers for battle, such as regulations regarding "property of every description captured from the enemy" and commands for tighter security around the camps. Beginning on June 12, the general orders were issued from "Camp at Manassas Junction," twenty-five miles from Washington, D.C. On that day, all non-urgent applications for leaves were to be refused and the next day was to be a day of "fasting and prayer." Orders were also issued for officers and soldiers to reduce their baggage; another read that "All the troops will be provided with 40 rounds of ammunition." Some regiments were ordered to clear "undergrowth from the forest" in preparation for battle, and all were ordered not to communicate with newspapers. General Order No. 16 (July 4) instructs that "In the event of an attack . . . Col. Moore 1st Regt Va Vols will designate three companies to occupy the entrenchments which lay west of his camp."

    As the Confederates moved into position, General Order No. 120 sent Brigadier General Longstreet, five days before the battle, to "take position at Blackburn's ford," with General Bonham on his left and General Jones on his right. "When Genl Longstreet shall hear the enemy engaged on his left at Mitchells ford he will move and attack him." This general order contained further instructions for Generals Bonham and Ewell and Colonels Early and Cocke. The orders issued only days before the battle are hurried and mostly appeal to the men's passions, such as an order issued on July 18 from "Bull Run" which read, "Virginians, you are now fighting for your own soil, your homes and your liberties! let it not be said that any Virginia Brigade gave way one foot before the vile invaders!"

    On July 22, the day after the Confederate victory, orders went out concerning the collection of "arms munitions subsistence etc abandoned by the enemy." Ten wagons were ordered to carry this out. Other orders were issued giving instructions for counting the dead, wounded, and missing.

    Many more general orders are included, some containing lists of personnel. Also included in the book are lists of absentees by company and a roster of officers of the "1st Reg: Va Vols.," beginning with "Col P. T. Moore. com'ed Sept. 18th 1860" and including numerous majors, staff members, captains, and lieutenants. The front cover and some pages have become unbound. Expected soiling from wartime use is present on the covers.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2011
    25th Saturday
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