You Can Chew’em - Burn’em - Tack’em - Lose’em

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DBF

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Generals Stonewall Jackson, Pete Longstreet, John G. Walker
First national flag with 13 stars (December 10, 1861 – May 1, 1863)
(Photos Public Domain)

According to the CIA website the following report was approved for release several years ago as part of the CIA Historical Review Program. It was dated September 22, 1993 and it details the “infamous” details of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’ s Special Order 191 that he issued on September 9, 1862. This is their report on the question of “the mysterious orders wrapped around cigars”:

“Although his army was relatively small, Lee divided it into several parts, with the Federal garrisons at Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg in the Shenandoah Valley as targets for three units. Two other units were to proceed toward Boonsboro and Hagerstown. In his Special Orders 191 of 9 September 1862, Lee drew up his order of march and made his troop dispositions. Each of the key commanders mentioned in the order was sent copy of the order. James ("Pete") Longstreet carefully read his copy and chewed it - "as some persons use a little cut of tobacco." John G. Walker pinned his copy to the inside of his jacket. Thomas J. ("Stonewall") Jackson meticulously burned his copy.” {*}

Up to this point there is no problem - however as the CIA Historical Review Program document details​

“There was a certain confusion in Jackson's mind as to whether Daniel Harvey Hill was still under his command or directly under Lee. To be certain that Hill received a copy of Special Orders 191 (the Army of Northern Virginia had not yet been divided into corps), Jackson, in his own hand, sent Hill a copy. Hill admitted receiving this copy. Unfortunately, Lee, considering Hill no longer under Jackson but directly under himself, also sent Hill a copy. Hill claimed that he never received this copy.” {*}

Now the story will take a turn right into the Union Army. Again from the CIA Historical Review Program report​

“On Saturday, 13 September, the hastily reorganized Federal Army of the Potomac under the command of George B. McClellan moved into Frederick and set up camp on the outskirts of the town. Colonel Silas Colgrove, the commander of the 27th Indiana Volunteers, Third Brigade, First Division, Twelfth Army Corps, ordered his men to stack arms in the same area which had previously been occupied by the men under the command of Daniel Harvey Hill.

While resting in this area, Private Barton W. Mitchell and Sergeant John M. Bloss, both of the 27th Indiana, found a copy of Lee's Special Orders 191 in a paper wrapped around three cigars. The order was authenticated by Colonel Samuel E. Pitman, First Division Adjutant-General, who recognized the signature of Lee's Assistant Adjutant-General as that of Colonel Robert H. Chilton, with whom Pitman had served in Detroit. The order then was brought to McClellan, who set off to destroy Lee in detail.

McClellan, dilatory by nature and convinced by his faulty intelligence that Lee had an army about 50 percent larger than the Army of the Potomac, was not likely to have attacked Lee. Even with Lee's orders before him - orders dividing Lee's army - McClellan inched cautiously forward.

Lee, informed of the loss of the copy of Special Orders 191 that he had sent to Daniel Harvey Hill, did his best to reassemble quickly his scattered units to present a united front to the Federals, and on Wednesday, 17 September 1862, the Battle of Antietam took place.”
{*}

And the rest is history

* * * * *​

*https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol2no1/html/v02i1a09p_0001.htm
 
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Ara Oko

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Really? Lincolns orders?
Special order (109?).
If that is your meaning, the loss was pretty catastrophic.
The federal knew everything about dispositions and movements.
I would have taken his command away and sent him home.
Are we talking about the same thing?
 
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Ara Oko

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Really? Lincolns orders?
Special order (109?).
If that is your meaning, the loss was pretty catastrophic.
The federal knew everything about dispositions and movements.
I would have taken his command away and sent him home.
Are we talking about the same thing?
Sorry, not Lincoln, I meant Lee (doh!)
 
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War Horse

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View attachment 341933

Generals Stonewall Jackson, Pete Longstreet, John G. Walker
First national flag with 13 stars (December 10, 1861 – May 1, 1863)
(Photos Public Domain)

According to the CIA website the following report was approved for release several years ago as part of the CIA Historical Review Program. It was dated September 22, 1993 and it details the “infamous” details of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’ s Special Order 191 that he issued on September 9, 1862. This is their report on the question of “the mysterious orders wrapped around cigars”:

“Although his army was relatively small, Lee divided it into several parts, with the Federal garrisons at Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg in the Shenandoah Valley as targets for three units. Two other units were to proceed toward Boonsboro and Hagerstown. In his Special Orders 191 of 9 September 1862, Lee drew up his order of march and made his troop dispositions. Each of the key commanders mentioned in the order was sent copy of the order. James ("Pete") Longstreet carefully read his copy and chewed it - "as some persons use a little cut of tobacco." John G. Walker pinned his copy to the inside of his jacket. Thomas J. ("Stonewall") Jackson meticulously burned his copy.” {*}

Up to this point there is no problem - however as the CIA Historical Review Program document details​

“There was a certain confusion in Jackson's mind as to whether Daniel Harvey Hill was still under his command or directly under Lee. To be certain that Hill received a copy of Special Orders 191 (the Army of Northern Virginia had not yet been divided into corps), Jackson, in his own hand, sent Hill a copy. Hill admitted receiving this copy. Unfortunately, Lee, considering Hill no longer under Jackson but directly under himself, also sent Hill a copy. Hill claimed that he never received this copy.” {*}

Now the story will take a turn right into the Union Army. Again from the CIA Historical Review Program report​

“On Saturday, 13 September, the hastily reorganized Federal Army of the Potomac under the command of George B. McClellan moved into Frederick and set up camp on the outskirts of the town. Colonel Silas Colgrove, the commander of the 27th Indiana Volunteers, Third Brigade, First Division, Twelfth Army Corps, ordered his men to stack arms in the same area which had previously been occupied by the men under the command of Daniel Harvey Hill.

While resting in this area, Private Barton W. Mitchell and Sergeant John M. Bloss, both of the 27th Indiana, found a copy of Lee's Special Orders 191 in a paper wrapped around three cigars. The order was authenticated by Colonel Samuel E. Pitman, First Division Adjutant-General, who recognized the signature of Lee's Assistant Adjutant-General as that of Colonel Robert H. Chilton, with whom Pitman had served in Detroit. The order then was brought to McClellan, who set off to destroy Lee in detail.

McClellan, dilatory by nature and convinced by his faulty intelligence that Lee had an army about 50 percent larger than the Army of the Potomac, was not likely to have attacked Lee. Even with Lee's orders before him - orders dividing Lee's army - McClellan inched cautiously forward.

Lee, informed of the loss of the copy of Special Orders 191 that he had sent to Daniel Harvey Hill, did his best to reassemble quickly his scattered units to present a united front to the Federals, and on Wednesday, 17 September 1862, the Battle of Antietam took place.”
{*}

And the rest is history

* * * * *​

*https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol2no1/html/v02i1a09p_0001.htm
There are some pretty convincing arguments out there that the loss of special order 191 is nothing more than folklore. There are several threads here on CWT that dig deep into the probability that the written orders never existed. After all written orders were not one of Lee’s strong points.
 
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Harms88

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Not too long ago I was watching the GettysburgNPS channel and I watched the two videos entitled "The Battle that Saved Washington" and the "On the McClellan Go Round".

Both videos proclaim that the cigar part of the story is actually a myth. That the orders were indeed found but that the cigars never were. Don't know if this is true or not, but I certainly prefer the idea that the Confederate recipant was like "I am really bad at losing stuff. How do I keep these orders? I know, I'll wrap them around my cigars! I always know where they are!".....only to lose them anyways.
 

Ara Oko

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Not too long ago I was watching the GettysburgNPS channel and I watched the two videos entitled "The Battle that Saved Washington" and the "On the McClellan Go Round".

Both videos proclaim that the cigar part of the story is actually a myth. That the orders were indeed found but that the cigars never were. Don't know if this is true or not, but I certainly prefer the idea that the Confederate recipant was like "I am really bad at losing stuff. How do I keep these orders? I know, I'll wrap them around my cigars! I always know where they are!".....only to lose them anyways.
I think 191 was clearly found. Cigars or not. When shown the order, the Union commander was quoted "Now I know what to do!" and changed his dispositions. This huge shift then stymied Lee's push north.
The cigars? I dunno. Perhaps.
 
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Well, the cigars may have been added to the narrative later, because it is more credible that a soldier stooped to pick up a bundle of cigars than that he just found a piece of paper, opened and read it, recognized its significance and passed it on.

Let's not forget that Donna in her opening post quoted from an official CIA report. From what I know the CIA certainly is a no-nonsense agency and sure would not chime in to further spread false information about something that happened more than 150 years ago. There is nothing to gain there, but a reputation to lose.

I know that many Civil War myth's are busted nowadays, but I know also that there is a core of truth in most stories. I also believe that Special Order 191 was lost and found by the enemy. The cigar ingredient in that story adds taste, but is not really important.
 
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the probability that the written orders never existed
Okay, seems the written order indeed existed. The question remains if the "Lost and Found" story including the cigars was true.
1579176069617.png

1579176292546.png


https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5752155 (<-- it can be read much better there, they have a zoom, lol)

Per Wikipedia there is another version on display at Cramptons Gap:
1579176799297.png

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special_Order_191&oldid=928127613

Now all we need to do is find the cigars to prove the story... :lee:


1579176928979.png


Oooops ...

:biggrin:
 

War Horse

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We will never find the cigars. But did Private Mitchell and Sergent Bloss; Chew'em - Burn'em - Tack'em or just Loose'em again?
Here’s a thread from years ago that tries to tackle this subject. If you care to have a look you’ll see there is room for doubt. Of course I tended to lean to the story being true and got somewhat lambasted by a few members who were not believers. I’ll have to admit, it made for a convincing argument.
 
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Here’s a thread from years ago that tries to tackle this subject. If you care to have a look you’ll see there is room for doubt. Of course I tended to lean to the story being true and got somewhat lambasted by a few members who were not believers. I’ll have to admit, it made for a convincing argument.
Thanks for bringing up that thread again! I loved reading it once more!
 

Stone in the wall

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Here’s a thread from years ago that tries to tackle this subject. If you care to have a look you’ll see there is room for doubt. Of course I tended to lean to the story being true and got somewhat lambasted by a few members who were not believers. I’ll have to admit, it made for a convincing argument.
Thanks that was interesting. I never have believed that ruse theory.
 
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DBF

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The CIA website came as a surprise (at least for me), as I never thought they would have such reports from something that happened so many years ago. They have a publication on Civil War spies (I provide the link below) that is interesting and full of tidbits that I was never aware of:

“Fremont had organized a daring band of mounted spies called the Jessie Scouts, named after his wife and emulated by other commanders. The scouts wore Confederate uniforms and prowled behind the enemy’s lines, risking death as spies if they were caught. To distinguish each other from real Confederates, some units wore white scarves tied in a special way or used a “conversation code,” in which a conventional phrase, such as “Good morning,” would elicit from a Jessie an expected response that would not sound strange if overheard by a real Confederate. Jessies sometimes spent days behind the lines, picking up bits of intelligence from casual encounters with Confederates and from keen observations. One way they carried reports was wrapped in tin- foil and tucked in the cheek like chewing tobacco.”

And one more interesting fact:

“Langley, now known as McLean and the location of CIA Headquarters, once was known as the location of a Union Army outpost.

During the winter of 1861-1862, troops of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Vermont Infantry regiments were stationed at Camp Griffin, which encompassed much of what is now eastern McLean, including part of what would become the Agency’s Headquarters compound.”


And one more interesting trivia fact:

“When Mrs. Howe headed back to Washington, troops returning from the review passed by her coach, singing marching songs that included “John Brown’s Body.” A fellow passenger suggested to Mrs. Howe that she might consider writing better lyrics for the stirring melody. She awoke before dawn the next day in her room at the Willard Hotel and wrote the words of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

On her journey back from the grand review, she had seen the “watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,” and some of those fires were flickering on what are now the grounds of the CIA Headquarters.”

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/intelligence-history/civil-war/Intel_in_the_CW1.pdf
 

James N.

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I think D.H.Hill got a bum rap for the loss of the Orders.
While resting in this area, Private Barton W. Mitchell and Sergeant John M. Bloss, both of the 27th Indiana, found a copy of Lee's Special Orders 191 in a paper wrapped around three cigars. The order was authenticated by Colonel Samuel E. Pitman, First Division Adjutant-General, who recognized the signature of Lee's Assistant Adjutant-General as that of Colonel Robert H. Chilton, with whom Pitman had served in Detroit. The order then was brought to McClellan, who set off to destroy Lee in detail...
The last detailed account of this incident - sorry, I can't now recall what it was - suggests strongly that Chilton was likely the culprit; Hill had received Jackson's and had no reason to look for a second copy of the orders. On the other hand as acting chief-of-staff, it was Chilton's responsibility not only to have the orders drawn up and issued, but to have some sort of accountability system to insure their delivery, and this he failed to do regardless whether he "lost" the orders himself or some negligent courier did it.
 

Cavalry Charger

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The last detailed account of this incident - sorry, I can't now recall what it was - suggests strongly that Chilton was likely the culprit; Hill had received Jackson's and had no reason to look for a second copy of the orders. On the other hand as acting chief-of-staff, it was Chilton's responsibility not only to have the orders drawn up and issued, but to have some sort of accountability system to insure their delivery, and this he failed to do regardless whether he "lost" the orders himself or some negligent courier did it.
There [corps headquarters], an aide to Brigadier General Alpheus S. Williams recognized the signature of R. H. Chilton, the assistant adjutant general who had signed the order. Williams's aide, Colonel Samuel Pittman, recognized Chilton's signature because Pittman frequently paid drafts drawn under Chilton's signature before the war. Pittman worked for a Detroit bank during the period when Chilton was paymaster at a nearby army post. (From Wikipedia)

Some more snippets from Wikipedia:

McClellan was overcome with glee at learning planned Confederate troop movements and reportedly exclaimed, "Now I know what to do!" He confided to a subordinate, "Here is a paper with which, if I cannot whip Bobby Lee, I will be willing to go home."[4]

McClellan stopped Lee's invasion at the subsequent Battle of Antietam, but many military historians believe he failed to fully exploit the strategic advantage of the intelligence because he was concerned about a possible trap (posited by Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck) or gross overestimation of the strength of Lee's army.

The hill on the Best farm where the lost order was discovered is located outside of Frederick, Maryland, and was a key Confederate artillery position in the 1864 Battle of Monocacy. A historical marker on the Monocacy National Battlefield commemorates the finding of Special Order 191 during the Maryland Campaign.

Corporal Mitchell, who found the orders, was subsequently wounded in the leg at Antietam and was discharged in 1864 due to the resulting chronic infection. He died in 1868 at the age of 52
".
 
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