Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jan. 3, 1862

Jan. 3, 1862: Gen. Stonewall Jackson takes 9,000 men of his division of 11,000 troops and leaves Winchester, Virginia on a long march intended to destroy the Baltimore and Ohio railroad near Romney, Virginia, forty miles away.

--Sgt. Alexander G. Downing of the Union Army, writes in his diary; "Friday, 3d—Mrs. Hemmenway gave some of the boys permission to have a dance at her home last night. Quite a number of the boys went and they declare that they had a good time. The girls of the locality were there and most of them either smoked or chewed tobacco. They would dance a while, then rest and smoke, but those that chewed did not care to stop."

--Charles Francis Adams, Jr., in the Federal Army, writes to his younger brother Henry in London: "The weather is beastly cold and very windy, and the horses suffer though the men are comfortable. As for me I never was better in my life. The exposure has been pretty severe and the change of life great; but I am always well in the open air and jolly among a crowd of fellows, so no sympathy need be wasted on me. I like it and like it better than I expected. I fall into the life very easily and find my spring experience at the fort of inestimable service. Already I feel as much at home in charge of the guard or the company stables as I ever did in my office."

Jan. 1, 1862 New Year's Day

Jan. 1, 1862: After some weeks of diplomatic wrangling and bluffing, the United States quietly releases Confederate envoys James Mason and John Slidell from imprisonment in Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. Pres. Lincoln decides that fighting one war is enough, in the face of Britain’s blustering over the "illegality" of Capt. Wilkes and the USS San Jacinto having stopped a Royal mail packet on the high seas to seize the two Rebel commissioners.

1862: The Second Year of War


Dec. 31, 1861 New Year's Eve

Dec. 31, 1861: George Templeton Strong notes in his journal at the close of the year:
Poor old 1861 just going. It has been a gloomy year of trouble and disaster. I should be glad of its departure, were in not that 1862 is likely to be no better. But we must take what is coming. Only through much tribulation can a young people attain healthy, vigorous national life. The results of many years spent in selfish devotion to prosperous, easy money-making must be purged out of our system before we are well, and a drastic dose of European war may be the prescription Providence is going to administer.

Dec. 27, 1861

Dec. 27, 1861: At Hallsville and Mount Sion, Missouri, Union troops from the brigade of Brig. Gen. Benjamin Prentiss clash with Confederates in the area. Prentiss' attack on Mount Sion forces the 900 Rebel troops there to disperse.

Dec. 26, 1861

Dec. 26, 1861: The United States government agrees to Britain’s demands that Mason and Slidell, seized illegally from the British mail packet ship Trent, should be released and remanded to British custody.

--A Union soldier in the 33rd New York Infantry Reg. writes home, relating this sad tale:

From the Thirty-Third Regiment


Dec. 26, 1861.

I improve the opportunity of writing you this morning. Yesterday being Christmas, of course, our friends at home enjoyed themselves with their accustomed hilarity. Not so here. We had no roast turkey or goose, the only luxury being a taste of a little Old Rye sent from home to Sergeant Martin. – All in all it was a sad Christmas for our Company, in consequence of an unfortunate and fatal occurrence that took place in our camp. It seems that on the night before Christmas a private named Joseph Finegan and Corporal John Tobin got into a dispute in regard to their tents. So after this Finegan attempted to extinguish a fire in a sort of ravine near the fire place itself, and in doing this it happened accidentally that some dirt was thrown into Tobin’s coffee, who was sitting nearby, eating his supper. He then applied some harsh epithet to Finegan at the same time arresting the shovel from his hand, which had been used in throwing dirt on the fire, pushed him into the tent and struck him a violent blow on the head. The blow produced an ugly wound, and The Surgeon was immediately called to dress it; some two hours after the occurrence the physician was again sent for to stop if possible, the profuse bleeding of the wounded soldier. An effort was made to get him into The Hospital, but that institution was so full that it was deemed best not to send him there. He was then taken to the Captain’s tent, and about 6 o’clock in the morning the Captain told me to procure a light for he thought Finegan was dead. – Upon an examination it proved too true, he was dead! Tobin was placed under arrest, to await the results of the investigation now going on. We wish to ascertain whether Finegan has any relations in Seneca Falls or vicinity. The Captain has $33 of his money, and there is now due him two months wages from the Government, which they should receive,

Yours, &c.

Dec. 25, 1861 Christmas Day

Dec. 25, 1861, Christmas Day: A newspaper in Seneca County newspaper printed this portion of a letter from a Union soldier stationed at the Federal base in Beaufort, South Carolina:

"But to drop the subject of war, I must say that no country can surpass this. It is Christmas day and the roses are in full bloom, the weather is warm and May like. – This is something I before saw, and it contrasts strangely with what we usually experience in the Northern States about Christmas time. There are some beautiful residences in this vicinity, now almost entirely deserted. The greater part of the furniture remains unmolested, and is of the most exquisite design and finish. A piano adorns almost every residence, and the grounds about are well decorated by the orange tree. One is almost led to wonder how the inhabitants of this beautiful country could have been induced to absolve themselves from the Union, and to take up arms against a common country. But they have struck the fatal blow, and can only be regarded as rebels and traitors, and treated accordingly."

Dec. 24, 1861

Dec. 24, 1861: Captain David Power Conyngham of the Union Army writes of this Christmas Eve in his book, The Irish Brigade and Its Campaigns:

"The chapel was situated on the brow of a hill, and tall cedars and pines flung their sheltering arms over it. Father Dillon was chanting a Low Mass, the responses being made by Quartermaster Haverty and Captain O'Sullivan, while the attentive audience crowded the small chapel, and were kneeling outside on the damp ground under the cold night-air. Father Dillon read the beautiful gospel from Saint Luke, giving an account of the joumeyings of Joseph and Mary, and the birth of the infant Saviour in the manger at Bethlehem ; after which his hearers quietly retired to their tents.

"The weather in camp was fine, almost resembling an Indian-summer. A slight frost at night and a shower of soft snow were the only indications of winter.

"In Virginia, the weather at this season is generally mild and balmy, with little of the heavy frost and angry storms that rage at the North.

"Such was Christmas morning, 1861, in the camp of the Irish Brigade, where willing hearts piously welcomed this holy festival, laden with the richest freight of happy recollections."

Dec. 22, 1861

Dec. 22, 1861: Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, commanding the Department of the West, issues Order No. 32, concerning measures to be taken against raids on railroads bridges by Rebel insurgents:

"Insurgent rebels scattered through the northern counties of this State which are occupied by our troops under the guise of peaceful citizens have resumed their occupation of burning bridges and destroying railroads and telegraph wires. These men are guilty of the highest crime known to the code of war and the punishment is death. Any one caught in the act will be immediately shot, and any one accused of this crime will be arrested and placed in close confinement until his case can be examined by a military commission and if found guilty he also will suffer death. . . . the commanding officer of the nearest post will immediately impress into service for repairing damages the slaves of all secessionists in the vicinity and if necessary the secessionists themselves and their property."

Dec. 21, 1861

Dec. 21, 1861: In the Harper’s Weekly issue of this date, an editorial offers this view of slavery’s relationship to the cause of the Union:

"It is likely that, in the course of the contest which is being waged, various existing interests, including the institution of slavery, may suffer severely. With that the United States have nothing to do. As soon as the authority of the United States Government is acknowledged throughout the revolted section the war will cease, whatever be the condition of the slaves and the slave-owners; but until that authority is acknowledged the war will go on, and, whatever may be the views of individual generals, it will be waged in the most thorough manner, and every rebel interest, including the institution of slavery, will be assailed as vigorously as possible. If we are forced to free the slaves in order to restore the Union, we shall do so. But no one in authority would desire to carry on the conflict for one hour after the authority of the Government was acknowledged at the South, for the sake of abolishing slavery."

Dec. 20, 1861

Dec. 20, 1861: BATTLE OF DRANESVILLE, Virginia: In Northern Virginia, a small Confederate force under Brig. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart on a foraging expedition approaches the Leesburg Road near Langley. Brig. Gen. George A. McCall’s Pennsylvania Reserves division is based near Langley. McCall sends a brigade under Gen. Ord, reinforced with an additional regiment (Thomas Kane’s famous Pennsylvania Bucktails), a battery of artillery, and a squadron of cavalry, toward Dranesville. Kane rises from his sickbed in Washington to lead his regiment. Ord’s force, about 4,000 men, advances, with McCall also sending John F. Reynolds’s brigade in support. At Dranesville, Ord finds Stuart with about 1,600 infantry in detachments from the 1st Kentucky, 6th S.C., 10th Alabama, and the 11th Virginia, in addition to 150 cavalry from the 1st N.C. and the 2nd Virginia. Capt. Pitzer of the 2nd Virginia Cav. Scouts the advancing Yankees while Stuart brings up the infantry to protect his foraging wagons. The Union battery deploys and trades shots with a Rebel battery. Kane’s Bucktails advance and engage the Confederates. The rest of the Pennsylvania regiments line up on either side of the Bucktails, and the infantry battle escalates, surging back and forth. The Rebel wagons being secured, Stuart orders a retreat of his forces, who are beginning to break, and are threatened by the approach of Reynolds brigade. As the Rebels withdraw, the Union troops declare a victory and pursue Stuart’s men. The news cheers the Northern public, victories being so few.
Losses: U.S. – 7 killed, 61 wounded;
             C.S. – 43 killed, 143 wounded, and 8 missing.

--The Royal Navy dispatches two warships to Canadian waters, in response to the escalating tension with the United States over the Trent Affair.
Dec. 19, 1861: In Washington, Lord Richard Lyons, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the United States, delivers a letter to the White House from Lord John Russell, Her Majesty’s Foreign Secretary, demanding that the United States apologize for the unlawful stopping of the Royal Packet Trent on the high seas and the seizure of the Confederate diplomats James Mason and John Slidell, and that the two men be released immediately. Lord Lyons has instructions to leave Washington in a week if the Crown’s requests are not fulfilled. The Royal Navy, in the meantime, is put on alert.

--Private Oliver Willcox Norton of the Federal Army writes to his sister:

Hall’s Hill, Va., Dec. 19th, 1861.

Dear Sister L.:—

This has been a busy week. We’ve been moving into our new tents and fixing ourselves comfortable for winter. Our tents are round, with two doors that can be closed tight, and a pole in the center with two tables, one above the other on the pole. We have some twelve or fourteen in ours. We have bunks made so that we can sleep in one-half of the tent, and not sleep on the ground, either. On the other side we have a rack for our guns, a table and a stove. Think of that—a stove, a little sheet iron one, with two griddles! The stove and pipe cost four dollars. It warms up the tent, and we think it a first-rate institution.

Our new uniforms are distributed and they improve the looks of the regiment wonderfully.

Bancroft, the great historian, came to see us the other day. We donned our ‘baglegs’ and went out with the rest of the brigade and went through with a sham battle for his amusement. . . . Quite a number of carriages were up from the city and I saw ladies watching the sport with a good deal of interest. They would start a the report of the cannons and give a nice little city scream, as ladies will.

Dec. 17, 1861

Dec. 17, 1861: BATTLE OF ROWLETT’S STATION, Kentucky - Gen. Thomas Hindman, with a brigade of Arkansas infantry, reinforced with a battery of artillery and the famous 8th Texas Cavalry (Terry’s Texas Rangers), attacks a bridge over the Green River. Defending is the 32nd Indiana Infantry, an all-German regiment, under Col. Willich. 8 companies of the 32nd defend the bridge, forming into European-style infantry squares, and holding off charge after charge from the Texas Rangers. After losing 91 men, Hindman withdraws, knowing that more Union troops are approaching. Union losses are 40 men. Union victory.

Dec. 15, 1861

Dec. 15, 1861: Major Elisha Franklin Paxton, an officer in the 27th Virginia Infantry Reg. in the Confederate Army, writes home to his wife:
I sometimes look to the future with much despondency. I think most of our volunteers will quit the service when their year expires, and the news I get from Rockbridge gives me but little reason to hope that many more will volunteer to fill the places thus made vacant in our army. If they come at all, I fear it will be by compulsion. I fear there are more who are disposed to speculate off our present troubles, and turn them to pecuniary profit, than there are to sacrifice personal comfort and pecuniary interest and risk life itself for the promotion of our cause. My judgment dictates to me to pursue the path which I believe to be right, and to trust that the good deed may meet with its just reward. Nothing else could induce me to bear this sad separation from my darling wife and dear little children. This distresses me. I care nothing for the exposure and hardships of the service. But, Love, I should be more cheerful, and if sometimes oppressed with a feeling of sadness, should try to suppress it from you; for I should try and detract nothing from your happiness, which I fear I do in writing in so sad a strain.
And now, Love, good-bye. I shall be glad indeed to hear that you are out of your bed, and happier still to know, by a letter in your familiar hand, that you are nearly well and out of danger. When the winter sets in so cold that there can be no possible use for my services here, I shall try and get leave to spend a week with you at home. I don't think that snow can keep off much longer.

Dec. 14, 1861

Dec. 14, 1861: Col. John Baylor of the Confederate Army, in a saloon brawl in Mesilla, New Mexico, kills the editor of the Mesilla newspaper. As a result, he is arrrested and his brigade of Texas troops are put under the command of Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley.

--Pres. Lincoln, writes this letter to Rabbi Arnold Fischel in answer to Fischel’s request that Army regulations be altered to allow Jewish rabbis to serve as military chaplains:

"Rev. Dr. A. Fischel

"Executive Mansion, December 14, 1861.

"My dear Sir: I find that there are several particulars in which the present law in regard to Chaplains is supposed to be deficient, all of which I now design presenting to the appropriate Committee of Congress. I shall try to have a new law broad enough to cover what is desired by you in behalf of the Israelites. Yours truly,


--George Templeton Strong of New York writes in his journal: "England seems wrathful about the seizure of Mason and Slidell, but disposed to admit that we were technically right. Soreness and irritation are increasing and may well lead to war somehow. England’s last war was to uphold Mahometanism, her next may be in aid of slavery. It’s a mean people."

--An editorial in Harper’s Weekly offers this view of why Southerners are fighting the war:

The rebels are very ignorant, and their effort is for the destruction of all the safeguards of human rights ; but they are as sincere as savages, as desperate, and as unforgiving. They are taught, and they believe, that this is a war of invasion by fire and sword against their territory and all their rights, especially their sacred system of slavery, waged by a plebeian, psalm-singing, Puritan mob of peddlers and tinkers, who have always abused them, and taxed them, and made money out of them, and who now propose to take their property outright. They are taught and believe that all that is precious and honorable in men requires resistance to the death. They are very ignorant, but very desperate and very able.

Dec. 13, 1861

Dec. 13, 1861: Mary Boykin, Chestnut, referring to the Charleston fire, which still burns, writes in her diary: "On the night of the 11th we had here a furious windstorm. We rather enjoyed it–in the interest of the fleet outside of the bar. As the blast howled, we said, ‘How now, blockaders?’ Evil thoughts are like chickens come home to roost. When the telegram came today I was too much shocked to speak. Suffering, death, and destitution on every side. In all this confusion they might attack us."

Dec. 12, 1861

Dec. 12, 1861: Union troops under Gen. Robert Milroy in western Virginia attack Rebel positions along the Greenbriar River in a series of skirmishes.

--In New York, the steamer Hansa arrives from England, with letters for Lord Richard Lyons, the British ambassador to the United States. These letters instruct Lyons to give the U.S. a one-week ultimatum to release Mason and Slidell, the C.S. commissioners who were seized from the HMS Trent on Oct. 8. If they are not released, Lyons is to leave Washington and return to London immediately, thus cutting off diplomatic relations with the U.S.

--Private R.D. Dawson of the 100th Pennsylvania Inf. Reg., at the Federal base near Beaufort, South Carolina, writes to his sister:

". . . we started sunday morning to the back of the island a distance of ten miles to see if there was any rebels on the island for they was on here friday, there was only twoo companys here before we came that is the reason we was fetched here the rebels would come over from the main land and carry off their property we did not see any rebels til we came to the ferry we saw a few on the other side of the river Company H went on picket and the rebels fired across twoo or three shots at them but they did not come near to them they had no canon there our men had twoo pieces of canon with them but they came back as soon as they saw there was no enemy there, we only had one days provision with us and we had to stay a11 night on a plantation where there was a good many niggers and we bought hoe cake and chicken we lay out all night without any blankets or over coats I know that we would not done it if we had been in Pa. we could hear the rebels talking in the night and swearing about the yankees along the road out to the ferry it is the nicest road that I ever saw it has been throwed up and shelled with oyster shells and some of the nicest trees great big spready live oaks spread over the road with moss hanging down from the limbs and nice forests . . . we have plenty of sweet potatoes and pone and oysters we get them from the darkies I will send you a piece or twoo of calico write soon and let me know how all the young married folks are getting along and about the war news and congress no more at present so good night"

Dec. 11, 1861

Dec. 11, 1861: A great fire ravages Charleston, South Carolina, and destroys over half of the city, which strikes a great blow at Southern morale.

Dec. 10, 1861

Dec. 10, 1861: In Washington, the Congress forms the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, to engage in investigations and interrogations into any issues that bear examination.

In Richmond, the Confederate Congress admits Kentucky as its 13th state, even though the majority of Kentuckians oppose such a move, and the state legislature has expressly repudiated secession.

Dec. 8, 1861

Dec. 8, 1861: In the naval war, the commerce raider CSS Sumter seizes the whaling ship Eben Dodge in the Atlantic.

Dec. 6, 1861

Dec. 6, 1861: Mary Jeffreys Bethell of Rockingham County, North Carolina notes the following in her diary:

December 6th

My husband returned from Arkansa last Tuesday, he left Mr. W. and my daughter tolerable well, they expect to visit me in a few weeks, thanks to our heavenly Father for so many mercies.

I have just received letters from my two sons in the army, they were both well and hearty, I thank God for his goodness to my sons, they have not been in a battle yet. Our country is gloomy and still threatened with another bloody battle, our sea coast is blockaded by the Enemy.

We cannot get any coffee without giving a very high price, salt is very scarce and high price, if the War continues much longer it will be a gloomy state of things, I'm afraid the poor will suffer this winter.

Dec. 5, 1861

Dec. 5, 1861: Calvin Shedd, a private in the 7th New Hampshire Inf. Reg., in training at Camp Hale, N.H., writes to his wife and children:

". . . I have just got back from Dress Parade and will commence writing again I have been stingy of my Doughnuts and have not eaten them all yet I am well except my cold which is not well yet. Miner is here & is gaining he looks much better than he did Fred Black was here yesterday he lives at Dumbarton his family is well Floyt was here the other night to see me he is selling Patents yet, I will begin again I have just been . . . a change in the morning we shall have Coffee Bread & Beef for Dinner Bread Coffee & Beef except the Coffee we shall have water so that we have a change three times a day it is rumored that we shall not leave the state and all sorts of rumors I dont take much stock in any of them.

"This is a splendid looking regt on Parade with their Dress Coats on, the lines extending about 40 rods.

"I settled with Gust Walker at Concord got a little money enough to pay the assessment on Insurance I am waiting to get my board money and [ ] Kiss Ada Anna & my Baby Lily tell them to be good Girls tell them Father thinks of them many times a day & night."

Dec. 4, 1861

Dec. 4, 1861: Queen Victoria pronounces a trade embargo upon the United States, as a diplomatic measure to persuade the U.S. to release the captured Confederate envoys Mason and Slidell.

Dec. 3, 1861

Dec. 3, 1861: Union troops under Gen. John Phelps lands on Ship Island just off the coast of Mississippi in the Gulf, in preparation for a an operation against New Orleans.

William Howard Russell, famed correspondent of the London Times, records in his journal:

"I dined with Mr. Cameron, Secretary-of-War, where I met Mr. Forney, Secretary of the Senate; Mr. House, Mr. Wilkeson, and others, and was exceedingly interested by the shrewd conversation and candid manner of our host. He told me he once worked as a printer in the city of Washington, at ten dollars a week, and twenty cents an hour for extra work at the case on Sundays. Since that time he has worked onwards and upwards, and amassed a large fortune by contracts for railways and similar great undertakings. He says the press rules America, and that no one can face it and live; which is about the worst account of the chances of an honest longevity I can well conceive."

Union Army Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman records in his diary:

"What do our leaders mean to do with us this winter? Here we are, the 3d December, a cold, freezing, windy day, in our open tents, without intimation of what we are going to do— with no more preparation for winter quarters than we had a month ago. Are we to be kept in this condition all winter? We are getting tired of McClellan’s want of vim. How long is he going to be ‘getting ready?’ All is conjecture, except that the wind howls dreadfully around our tents this cold night."

Dec. 2, 1861

Dec. 2, 1861: On this date, Pres. Lincoln sends to Gen. Halleck, commander in the Dept. of the West, authority to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

To Major General, Henry W. Halleck, December 2, 1861
Commanding in the Department of Missouri.

General: As an insurrection exists in the United States and is in arms in the State of Missouri, you are hereby authorized and empowered to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus within the limits of the military division under your command and to exercise martial law as you find it necessary in your discretion to secure the public safety and the authority of the United States.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed at Washington, this second day of December, A d 1861. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Sergeant Alexander G. Downing of the Union Army records in his journal: "Monday, 2d—It turned warm today and the snow is all gone. I was on guard for the first time here at the barracks. We have to walk the beats with our overcoats on. A man on this, the west side, of the camp was engaged in cleaning his rifle today, when by some movement it was accidentally discharged and hit and killed a soldier on the other side of the grounds."

Dec. 1, 1861

Dec. 1, 1861: The gunboat USS Penguin runs down the blockade runner SS Albion and captures her, seizing over $100,000.00 worth of armaments, copper, tin, foodstuffs, and other military equipment.

From the White House, Pres. Lincoln writes a memorandum to Gen. McClellan anxiously asking about the Army’s plans to move:

"[c. December 1, 1861]

If it were determined to make a forward movement of the Army of the Potomac, without awaiting further increase of numbers, or better drill & discipline, how long would it require to actually get in motion? . . . "

Nov. 30, 1861

Nov. 30, 1861: Pursuant to Confederate Sec. of War Judah P. Benjamin’s orders, he receives this message from a commander in East Tennessee::

"Two insurgents have to-day been tried for bridge-burning, found guilty and hanged."

--Col. Danville Leadbetter to Confederate Secretary of War Judah Benjamin.

Nov. 28, 1861

Nov. 28, 1861: The Provisional Congress in Richmond formally admits Missouri to the Confederacy, even though that state’s legislature has never voted to secede, nor even made a gesture toward attempting to do so.

–Federal officials and troops in and around Beaufort and Port Royal, South Carolina are authorized by Washington to seize agricultural products, supplies, and slaves from the plantations in the vicinity as "contraband of war," in order to discomfit the enemy.

–Mr. Thomas Bragg of North Carolina, the new Attorney General in the Confederate Cabinet, writes in his journal abouit measures to repress the Unionists of East Tennessee:

We have no news today. Mr. Smith called at my office and shewed me a letter from John Baxter formerly of N.C. now of Knoxville, Tenn. He represents East Tennessee, as in a very disloyal State, which he says is owing to the improper courses pursued towards the population, that he could tranquilize things if the Government here would give him its confidence and adopt his suggestions, and that he would come on & make known his plans to the Gov’t if it would receive him kindly and hear his proposal – What he intends he did not say. I went with Mr. Smith to see the President on the subject, who stated that he had been heretofore induced to deal mildly with the Union men of East Ten. but they had abused his confidence, burnt the Rail Road Bridges on the East Ten. Road and that in consequence he had been compelled to change his policy – that Gen’l Zollicoffer and others had informed him that the time had passed by for mild measures &c. But consented to see Mr. B. if he would come to Richmond and hear what he had to propose and that he greatly preferred a resort to mild measures if he could thereby tranquilize the people. Mr. Benjamin was present – he referred to the late hostile attitude of the people of East Ten. said he had issued orders to capture those in arms and hold them as prisoners of war, sending them to Tuscaloosa, where a number of Yankee prisoners now are, and that if any were taken burning bridges & destroying the property of loyal citizens, they were to be treated as outlaws amenable to military law, tried by a drum head Court Martial and shot.

Nov. 27, 1861

Nov. 27, 1861: Mrs. Mary Boykin Chestnut of South Carolina writes in her diary:

"On one side Mrs. Stowe, Greeley, Thoreau, Emerson, Sumner, in nice New England homes—clean, clear, sweet-smelling—shut up in libraries, writing books which ease their hearts of their bitterness to us, or editing newspapers–all which pays better than anything else in the world. Even the politician’s hobbyhorse—antislavery is the beast to carry him highest."

"What self-denial do they practice? It is the cheapest philanthropy trade in the world—easy. Easy as setting John Brown to come down here and cut our throats in Christ’s name.

"Now, what I have seen of my mother’s life, my grandmother’s, my mother-in-law’s:

"These people were educated at Northern schools mostly—read the same books as their Northern contemners, the same daily newspapers, the same Bible—have the same ideas of right and wrong—are highbred, lovely, good, pious—doing their duty as they conceive it. They do not preach and teach hate as a gospel and the sacred duty of murder and insurrection, but they strive to ameliorate the condition of these Africans in every particular. . . ."

After more commentary about how most plantations are in debt, and how the labor and crops produced are not sufficient to support the slaves there, she adds: 

"I say we are no better than our judges North—and no worse. We are human beings of the nineteenth century—and slavery has got to go, of course. All that has been gained by it goes to the North and to negroes. The slave-owners, when they are good men and women, are the martyrs. And as far as I have seen, the people here are quite as good as anywhere else. I hate slavery. I even hate the harsh authority I see parents think it their duty to exercise toward their children."

Nov. 26, 1861

Nov. 26, 1861: In Wheeling, Virginia, a convention adopts a new state constitution which calls for the formation of a new state after that portion secedes from the rest of rebel Virginia.

The CSS Sumter seizes and destroys another Yankee vessel on the high seas.

Nov. 24, 1861

Nov. 24, 1861: Georgia - Near Savannah, U.S. troops and a squadron of USN gunboats sortie from the new Federal base at Port Royal, South Carolina, and land a force of troops on Tybee Island, a sea island at the mouth of the Savannah River, just below Ft. Pulaski, the principal Rebel defense work for the city of Savannah. Union engineers immediately begin to build gun emplacements on the island that will bear on Fort Pulaski.

Mr. Jesse Bernard of North Carolina notes in his journal:

"Our Church is in a very low state and the Sunday School nearly extinct. This morning, we had but four scholars including my little Overton – no male teachers and only two female teachers – no girls present. This war is working harm to the church, I fear. The public mind is so engrossed as to lose sight of spiritual things. Nothing good seems to prosper in our town. The Division of Sons of Temperance, that in the beginning of the year, started under such favorable auspices, has gone down, and I fear, will not be resusicated directly. . . . The resent war is assuming gigantic proportions. Great battles momentarily looked for in Kentucky and Virginia, Port Royal in S.C. is taken and Pensacola is now being attacked. May God bless our arms and defend us from the hands of our enemies. Though the odds are against us, my trust is in Him who alone giveth the victory."

Nov. 22, 1861

Nov. 22, 1861: Florida - Union guns in Fort Pickens, aided by naval ships USS Niagara and USS Richmond, hammer Confederate positions nearby at Forts Barrancas and McRee. After some hours of inconclusive bombardment, the contest ends in a draw.

Mrs. Mary Boykin Chestnut writes in her diary: "As for them [the Union], there is no limit to their recruiting. The whole world is open to them. England is patting both sides on the back. She loves to see a Kilkenny cat fight. After all, she is not dying for the want of our cotton. She is prospering and pampering her India cotton and will magnanimously accept any apology for the Mason and Slidell affair that smart Yankee Seward will tender her."

Nov. 21, 1861

Nov. 21, 1861: Richmond, Virginia - Pres. Jefferson Davis accepts the resignation of Leroy Walker as Secretary of War for the Confederacy, under criticism for perceived shortfalls in the managing of the war. He appoints as the new Secretary Judah P. Benjamin, former senator from Louisiana.

Nov. 20, 1861

Nov. 20, 1861: Southern California - U.S. troops, chasing a Confederate partisan unit called Showalter’s Rangers, capture 18 of the rebels including the leader, Daniel Showalter, southeast of Los Angeles.

Nov. 19, 1861

Nov. 19, 1861: Chief Opothleyahola of the Creek Nation, in Oklahoma, wants to remain a Union supporter, refuses to sign the treaty with the Confederacy along with the rest of the Creek nation, plus the Seminole, the Chickasaw, the Choctaw, and the Cherokee. Opothleyahola and his followers, plus several hundred freed slaves, head north over the Oklahoma prairies to Kansas, pursued by Col. Douglas Cooper of the CSA, who leades a brigade of Texans and Indian regiments. On this date, Cooper’s mounted troops catch up with the Unionist Creeks, and kill a number of them, driving them back on the banks of the Red Fork of the Arkansas river.

–George Templeton Strong, in his journal, writes:

"It would seem that our seizure of Mason and Slidell is within the rules of international law as laid down by the British authorities and supported by British precedent. But I fear John Bull will show his horns and that we shall have increased ill-feeling on both sides. Foreign war would be an ugly complication of our internal disease."

–Julia Ward Howe, a New York socialite and activist, visits Washington, DC, in the company of her husband, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, their minister Rev. James Freeman Clarke, and other friends. They take a carriage across the Potomac to visit the Army camps. As a regiment of Wisconsin troops marches by, singing "John Brown's Body Lies a-Moulderin' in the Grave," Rev. Clarke remarks to the others how much he wishes that someone would write more inspiring words to "that stirring tune."

That night, in her hotel room at Willard's, on Pennsylvania Avenue, Mrs. Howe awakes in the wee hours of the morning. Looking out her window, she sees the campfires of troops camped on the Washington Mall nearby. She later describes what happened:

"I went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, 'I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them.' So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper."

Here are the words of the poem as she finished it, and which will be published in The Atlantic Monthly in the following February:

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on."

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
Our God is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

Nov. 18, 1861

Nov. 18, 1861: In an Address to the Congress of the Confederate States in Richmond, Pres. Jefferson Davis offered these encouragements, among others:
A succession of glorious victories at Bethel, Bull Run, Manassas, Springfield, Lexington, Leesburg and Belmont, has checked the wicked invasion which greed of gain and the unhallowed lust of power brought upon our soil, and has proved that numbers cease to avail when directed against a people fighting for the sacred right of self-government and the privileges of freemen. After more than seven months of war . . . upon a fair comparison between the two belligerents as to men, military means, and financial condition, the Confederate States are relatively much stronger now than when the struggle commenced.
–In Russellville, Kentucky, near the Tennessee border, 112 pro-secession delegates gather and vote to form a new state government and pass an ordinance of secession. The lawfully-elected state legislature is pro-Union and still functioning at the capital in Frankfort.

–In Hatteras, North Carolina, pro-Union delegates from 42 counties meet in convention, repudiate the state’s May 20 ordinance of secession, and form a provisional state government, with Marble Nash Taylor as Provisional Governor of North Carolina.

Nov. 17, 1861

Nov. 17, 1861: Confederate Gen. Felix Zollicoffer, with a small force in the Cumberland Gap area of Kentucky, moves south into eastern Tennessee to quell a Unionist uprising in the Knoxville area, where several hundred pro-Union Tennesseans under Gen. William Clift are gathering. Zollicoffer is unable to identify a specific threat and, after it is clear that the Unionist force has scattered, the Rebels move back up into Kentucky.

Mary Boykin Chestnut, at home in South Carolina, writes in her diary:
Our life here would be very pleasant if there were no Yankees. . . . John De Saussure says that it is a mistake that he is anxious. He means in case of trouble to take refuge under the Federal flag with his cotton and his negroes. And he is fool enough to think that they will let him keep them.

If we could shake off this black incubus! I would almost be willing to allow them the credit of their philanthropy. After all, there is where the shoe pinches.

--Private Emmet Cole of the 8th Michigan Inf. Regiment, stationed on the newly captured Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, writes home to his sister Celestia:
Oh! how true and how glad I would be to see you Celestia if I could but I know I cannot just now and so I rest contented I have not been homesick since I enlisted, but if I do feel a little dis___ when I see the Stars & Stripes move slowly up the Flag Staff, at sunrise it nerves me up and I feel all right again and I am not alone. they are not counted by ones nor tens who have left their homes and friends to encounter the hardships and dangers of war for Freedom, but by Thousands and now Celestia I tell you the trust I am not a bit deceived in this affair for I expected to see hardships before I started and you remember that I told you so. you say I have your Prayers where’er I go. I knew I did. I knew it the while, but Celestia pray not for me alone but for the whole Army and Celestia I do not believe but that Sister’s and Mothers Prayers, as they ascend to Heaven from our Northern Homes will do more toward ending this deplorable war. than all the iron and steel that we possess.

Nov. 16, 1861

Nov. 16, 1861: Two prominent U.S. officials in the Federal government–Postmaster General Montgomery Blair of Lincoln’s cabinet, and Sen. Charles Sumner (R-Mass.)–both officially protest Capt. Wilkes’s actions in stopping a British ship on the high seas in what is now being called the Trent Affair.

Mary Boykin Chestnut writes in her diary: "We fasted and we prayed—and we think our prayers are answered, for lo! good news has come. A another ship with ammunition and arms has slipped into Savannah. If our prayers are to be so effective, let us all spend our days and nights on our knees." She apparently means the CSS Fingal, a CSN blockade runner, which has run aground near Fort Pulaski at the mouth of the Savannah river, loaded with rifles and ammunition much needed by the Rebel troops in the vicinity.

Nov. 15, 1861

Nov. 15, 1861: The USS San Jacinto, comm. Capt. Charles Wilkes, arrives in Hampton Roads at Fort Monroe, a Union base at the tip of the James Peninsula in Virginia, with his two prisoners, Confederate envoys James Mason and John Slidell, who were bound for Europe when Wilkes stopped the British ship (the Trent) on which they were passengers. Mason and Slidell are transferred to another ship, to be taken to Boston to be imprisoned at Fort Warren. Pres. Lincoln and Sec. of State Seward immediately begin meetings to assess the diplomatic impact of this capture, and the U.S. relationship with Britain.

Nov. 14, 1861

Nov. 14, 1861: President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States, designates Nov. 15 as a day of "fasting, humiliation and prayer" for the Southern cause, "to evince their gratitude to Almighty God for the many signal blessings dispensed to our nation during the past, and their entire dependence on HIm for that sustaining power by which alone they can hope to achieve success in the great struggle for liberty and independence in which they are now engaged."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nov. 13, 1861

Nov. 13, 1861: McClellan Snubs President Lincoln--
President Lincoln calls at Gen. McClellan’s home in Washington to confer with the General-in-Chief. After patiently waiting, having been told that the General was not in, Lincoln is surprised to see the General come home–who, without looking in at the parlor or greeting the President in any way, heads upstairs and goes to bed. He sends a note down to say that he will not receive any callers at present. Lincoln’s secretary, John Hay, records the incident in his journal:

"We went in, and after we had waited about an hour, McC______ came in, and without paying any particular attention to the porter who told him the President was waiting to see him, went up-stairs, passing the door of the room where the President and Secretary of State were seated. They waited about half an hour, and sent once more a servant to tell the General they were there; and the answer came that the General had gone to bed.

"I merely record this unparalleled insolence of epaulettes without comment. It is the first indication I have yet seen of the threatened supremacy of the military authorities.

"Coming home I spoke to the President about the matter, but he seemed not to have noticed it, specially, saying it was better, at this time, not to be making points of etiquette and personal dignity."

Nov. 12, 1861

Nov. 12, 1861: The Wilmington Daily Journal [North Carolina] publishes this editorial:

"Will Lincoln back out or will he not? Upon this depends the future character of this struggle. If he does not, then the war on both sides will be one of extermination, as indeed is its present tendency. While the war is confined to the operations of large bodies acting strategically for the attack or defence of frontier positions, it may be confined within the usual rules of national hostility; but when, as in Kentucky and Missouri, the fight rages from county to county and from house to house almost, the result must be to super-add bitter personal and individual hate, to the already sufficiently exasperated feelings of public animosity.—When expeditions land at isolated points like Port Royal, with the view of carrying ruin and desolation to quiet homes, they ought to be sure of success before they leave the shelter of their ships, for they ought to know that the penalty of failure is death."

--Mary Chestnut writes in her diary: "No rosewater war this. The ways of war are not ways of pleasantness."

--The USS W.G. Anderson captures the CS privateer Beauregard in one of the early acts of the blockade.

Nov. 11, 1861

Nov. 11, 1861: Mary Chestnut writes in her diary: "Yesterday Mr. John DeSaussure came, absolutely a lunatic. His preposterous and ill-timed gaiety all gone. He was in a state of abject fright because the negroes show such exultation at the enemies making good their entrance at Port Royal. Cannot see any change in them myself. Their faces are as unreadable as the sphinx. Certainly they are unchanged in their good conduct. That is, they are placid, docile, kind, and obedient. Also as lazy and dirty as ever."

--In Washington, D.C., a celebration is held to honor the new General-in-Chief, George McClellan, including a torchlight parade.

Nov. 8, 1861

Nov. 8, 1861:
The Trent Affair – The Bahama Channel, Caribbean Sea. Confederate envoys James Mason and John Slidell board the British mail packet ship Trent in Havana, Cuba, and sail for Britain. On this date, in the Bahama channel, the Trent is forced to heave to and stop under orders of Capt. Charles Wilkes of the USS San Jacinto. Wilkes sends a boarding party and takes Mason and Slidell prisoner. The British protest this action that violates international maritime law. This incident will grow to international crisis proportions.

--George Templeton Strong of New York attends an organizing meeting in Philadelphia of what will be called the United State Sanitary Commission, a volunteer group dedicated to better care of the soldiers in regard to diet, clothing, medical care, and camp sanitation. As he returns to New York, "we met the distinquished Charles Sumner [US Sen. from Mass.]. He says he knows the instructions given to General [Thomas] Sherman as to his relations with the contrabands of the district he is to occupy and all the secret history of their discussion and settlement in the Cabinet, and that they are equivalent to Emancipation. We shall see. I put no great faith in Sumner, and we may as well effect our landing and secure our foothold before we consider that question." The question, of course, is what to do with the escaping slaves at the new base at Port Royal in South Carolina.

--Mary Chestnut writes in her journal about friends that were near the Port Royal area: "At any rate, Combahee is so near Beaufort. So I drove there at once. I found them at dinner and in fine spirits. No allusion whatever was made to Port Royal."

Nov. 7, 1861

Nov. 7, 1861:

BATTLE OF PORT ROYAL - Port Royal and Hilton Head, South Carolina. 18 Union warships, led by Flag Officer Du Pont in the USS Wabash, steam into the 3-mile wide mouth of Port Royal Sound, to do battle with the small Confederate flotilla there, and Forts Walker and Beauregard, which stand on either side of the entrance. Until this day, modern steam vessels equipped with large-bore shell cannons have never engaged in battle with masonry forts. Du Pont innovates a new tactic of having his ships sail in a circle–a merry-go-round--so that all of them were in motion, and yet firing on the forts was constant. After a while, ships move out of the formation and take up positions whereby they can enfilade the Confederate batteries. After 2 ½ hours, at 12 Noon, the USS Pocahontas, delayed by storms, sailed into position to shell Ft. Walker. The Pocahontas is commanded by Commander Percival Drayton, USN, and fires upon the fort commanded by Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Drayton, his brother, CSA, and whose boyhood home Fish Hall Plantation stands less than a mile from the fort on Hilton Head Island. By 12:30, Gen. Drayton left the fort to find reinforcements, and as he returned around 2:00 PM, he found his men abandoning the fort. A US Navy shore party lands and takes possession of Fort Walker. Across the strait, Fort Beauregard holds out longer, but so many of its guns have been put out of action, that Col. Dunovant, its commandant, orders an evacuation toward the end of the day, and US Navy landing parties take possession also. Flag Officer Josiah Tattnall, CSN, and his flotilla, make no attempt all day to enter the fight, and the Rebel ships retreat upriver. Gen. Thomas Sherman’s 13,000 Union troops land on Hilton Head and later occupy the city of Beaufort most of the surrounding plantation country. Port Royal Sound becomes a major base for the Union blockade, located as it is midway between Chesapeake Bay and Key West.

BATTLE OF BELMONT, Missouri. A little-known Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, in command of Union troops at Cairo, Illnois, is ordered to cross with a reinforced brigade to the west bank of the Mississippi and conduct a "demonstration", reconnaissance-in-force of the Rebel positions at Columbus, Kentucky, where Gen. Leonidas Polk, CSA, has installed 140 large siege guns at a strong position on 150-foot-high bluffs. Grant’s force of 3,000 includes the 27st, 30th, and 31st Illinois Inf. Regiments under Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand, and the 22nd Illinois and 7th Iowa Inf. under Col. Dougherty, plus a squadron of cavalry and a battery of artillery. Advancing south down the river road to Belmont, a Missouri hamlet opposite Columbus, Grant’s force is accompanied by the gunboats USS Tyler and USS Lexington. He reaches the town by 9:00 AM, and launches an immediate attack on the Confederates, under the command of Gen. Gideon Pillow, a Mexican War veteran. Pillow had about 2,700 men, from Tennessee and Arkansas regiments. Grant’s assault threw the Rebels back on their heels, and by 2:00 PM, their line broke, and the victorious Yankees pursued. At this point, the Yankees became "demoralized from their victory." As they capture the Rebel camp, all order and discipline disappears, and looting ensues. Grant tries to rally his troops. Meanwhile, Pillow, aided by reinforcements under Benjamin F. Cheatham and a Louisiana regiments, return and counterattack, pushing the Union troops back. Grant tells his officers "Well, we must cut our way out as we cut our way in." Grant’s men fight their way north to the landings where the transports are, and hold off Confederate advances as the troops board. Although the South claims it as a victory, it is a marginal Union strategic victory, since this battle is what convinces the Confederates to abandon their position at Columbus and retreat south.

Losses: U.S. 120 dead, 383 wounded, 104 captured or missing 607 total

C.S. 105 dead, 419 wounded, 106 captured 11 missing 641 total

Nov. 4, 1861

Nov. 4, 1861: Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, commander of the Dept. of the Cumberland (Kentucky Theatre), offered this assessment of the situation in the West:

"HEADQUARTERS THE DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Louisville, Kentucky, November 4, 1861

"General L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.

"Sir: In compliance with the telegraphic orders of General McClellan, received late last night, I submit this report of the forces in Kentucky, and of their condition.

"The tabular statement shows the position of the several regiments. . . . These regiments are composed of good materials, but devoid of company officers of experience, and have been put under thorough drill since being in camp. They are generally well clad, and provided for. Beyond Green River, the enemy has masked his forces, and it is very difficult to ascertain even the approximate numbers. No pains have been spared to ascertain them, but without success, and it is well known that they far outnumber us. . . . There are four regiments forming in the neighborhood of Owensboro, near the mouth of Green River, who are doing good service, also in the neighborhood of Campbellsville, but it is unsafe to rely on troops so suddenly armed and equipped. They are not yet clothed or uniformed. I know well you will think our force too widely distributed, but we are forced to it by the attitude of our enemies, whose force and numbers the country never has and probably never will comprehend.

"I am told that my estimate of troops needed for this line, viz., two hundred thousand, has been construed to my prejudice, and therefore leave it for the future. This is the great centre on which our enemies can concentrate whatever force is not employed elsewhere. Detailed statement of present force inclosed with this.

"With great respect, your obedient servant,

"W. T. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General commanding."

This assessment, thought to be extreme, leads many in the Army to fear for Sherman’s sanity. He is soon relieved of command.

--Also on this date—Private Newton Wallace, of Co. I in the 27th Massachusetts Volunteer Inf. Regiment, notes in his diary as his regiment travels south to Washington, DC:

"[November] 4th had Refreshments provided by Citizens Ladies of Philadelphia at Soldier’s Refreshment salon. got on Board cars at 3 1/2 AM and started for Baltimore arrived at Perryville & ferried across at 12 1/2 o clocks Got into Baltimore at 5 oclocks got a supper of Bread Cheese & Tea, & started for Annapolis at 8 1/4 oclock Arrived at Annapolis at 11 oclock and were quartered in the Hall’s of the Naval Academy Buildings. & slept soundly the rest of the night."

--Mary Boykin Chestnut notes in her journal: "Had a letter from mother. She wants to get rid of her negroes. Scared by the Witherspoon tragedy."

Nov. 3, 1861

Nov. 3, 1861: On November 3, 1861, The Federal fleet under DuPont begins to assemble off the coast of South Carolina. A warning telegram from Confederate Brigadier General Roswell S. Ripley warns that the large Federal fleet that left Hampton Roads some days before was headed for Port Royal Sound in South Carolina:

CHARLESTON, November 3, 1861.
Enemy passing close in, somewhat scattered. Two of his steamships reported ashore near Georgetown. Crews prisoners. Commodore Tattnall at Port Royal. Am in connection with General Lawton and General Anderson. Desire authority to retain services of General Trapier, should the enemy land, for a time. Port Royal to be reinforced and supplied to-day and to-morrow.

In Port Royal, CSN Flag Officer Josiah Tattnall is assembling his tiny squadron to take on the Federal fleet when it arrives. Tattnall has a total of eight vessels: four small gunboats, a coastal cutter, and three converted tugboats. Each ship is armed with 1 or 2 guns each. Just one warship in Du Pont's armada, the USS Wabash, carries 40 guns.

Mary Boykin Chestnut of South Carolina writes in her journal:

"Now I remember Mr. C[hestnut]’s talk when he came back to our rooms. Lee and the president thought any movement on our part premature. The enemy was still too near his cover. I bear that in mind, and also Mr. C’s praise of General Lee’s clear, soldierly views–and his disgust because I would inteerrupt him to say how handsome General Lee was—such a splendid looking soldier—but that I liked Smith Lee best [R.E. Lee’s older brother]."

Nov. 2, 1861

Nov. 2, 1861: Rev. Bernard adds in his next day’s journal entry:

"I thought of what I written above last night and the possibility of my being in danger of making Shipwreck myself in the Storm and the foregoing being perused as my last journalism. I felt conscientious in not having written in a revengeful spirit and possessed in crossing an humble dependence and trust in God that confusion and disaster would attend the Counsels of the corrupt party in Power."

--Maj. Gen. David Hunter, USA, delivers orders to Gen. Fremont, relieving him of command in the Dept. of the West. Hunter assumes command of the department.

Nov. 1, 1861

Nov. 1, 1861: Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, the 74-year-old general-in-chief of the Army, resigns his post in favor of retirement. Scott, a Virginian who remained loyal to the Union, was a hero of the War of 1812 and of the Mexican War. Pres. Lincoln then appoints 34-year-old Maj. Gen. Geroge Brinton McClellan as General-in-Chief. McClellan has won a few facile victories in western Virginia (although never present on the battlerfield himself), currently commands the Army of the Potomac, and has been actively campaigning behind Scott’s back to get him retired and take his post.
--In western Virginia, Gen. John B. Floyd’s Confederate troops, in a bid to recover the western part of the state, clash for three days with Gen. William S. Rosecrans’ Federal troops, at Gaulery Bridge and Cotton Hill, but are driven back by the Federal troops.
--Off Cape Hatteras, the armada of invasion under Du Pont and Sherman is battered by gale-force winds, scattering the fleet. The USS Sabine is lost in the storm. The fleet limps on to its destination.
--Rev. Overton Bernard, a Methodist minister from Edenton, North Carolina, writes in his diary:

Friday 1st November-We have met with a defeat at Romney, Virginia, some six hundred of our troops being attacked by five or six thousand Lincolnites and compelled to retreat with loss.
   The minions of Lincoln are pressing onward and it is thought they will attempt to invade Virginia and Tennessee from Cumberland Gap.–May they be thwarted.
   A day or two since a formidable fleet left Hampton Roads fifty or sixty vessels including transports–it is thought it is intended to make a most formidable demonstration on some point of our Southern coast.
   Today has been lowering, and tonight between eight and nine o’clock the wind is blowing strongly and increasing. For this I feel thankful, and whilst I would not indulge in a spirit of Vengence, I will humbly invoke the Lord who tempers the Wind to the shorn Lamb, to cause His Winds to blow with violence upon a Fleet sent forth by unprincipled and ungodly Men, filled with hypocrisy and cruel Wrath, and who trample on Laws human and divine, in their unholy WarfareMay disaster befall their Ships and their schemes fail.

Oct. 31, 1861

Oct. 31, 1861: Southern troops attack a Union encampment at Morgantown, Kentucky in a brief but bloody battle. The Rebel attack is beaten off.

Oct. 30, 1861

Oct. 30, 1861: The New York Times re-prints a story from the London Times:

The large factory of cotton goods at Tarragona in Spain, had been obliged to suspend operations owing to the scarcity of the raw material.

From the London Times.

The advices by this packet continue most favorable The agent of the Cotton Company had put in an additional 22 acres [in Jamaica] since the last packet sailed. The Egyptian seed which the Company sent out by the steamers turned out very good, and was in line growth. Some of the cotton planted in May was putting forth blossoms. The Governor was about to plant 40 acres on his estate, adjoining that on which the Company's agent had planted, and was continuing to plant. The season for planting continued favorable, and there was no want of labor. The crop of corn planted with the first cotton was ripening fast, and would soon be stored. The covering of the cobs would serve for making paper pulp, and this, together with the wasting plantain and other such fibres, with which the country abounds, would supply the materials for paper in large quantity. A great number of small settlers had obtained some of the Egyptian seed sent out by the Company, and although discouraged by some of the local papers, very large quantities had been planted by the small settlers in all parts of the island.

A movement is on foot in England, chiefly recommended by anonymous contributors to newspapers, recommending British intervention to destroy the blockade, and release the cotton crop. In commenting upon such a communication, the Manchester Guardian declines to approve the suggestion. The London Star says:

"The price is too heavy -- for it is that of guilt. We have no more right to force our way into American harbors than has a hungry crowd to pillage a corn-store or a baker's shop. The law of nature may entitle the famishing to wrestle with the luxurious, but it does not permit the improvident to release themselves by violence from the grasp of want. It is improvidence of the grossest and most reckless kind that has brought us to our present need. We have voluntarily made ourselves dependent upon America for that which we now allege to be indispensable to our existence. The world was all before us where to choose the sources of our supply. Our own fields were crying out to us for hands to gather their almost spontaneous harvests. We have preferred at once to maintain the slavery of the negro and the poverty of the Hindoo, rather than put forth our strength where it was first due, and would have been most rewarded. Now, are we to take our kinsmen by the throat, and compel them to yield to our will that which is lawfully as well as actually subject to their power? Happily, for our National character, the crime is as nearly impossible as it is wholly indefensible. . . . We should have upon our hands a war stretching from Canada to Mexico, and lay ourselves at the mercy of our European neighbors. The unemployed operatives of the manufacturing districts would have not only leisure enough but motive enough to render any amount of trouble to the rulers that had so madly aggravated distress by crime. And whatever of moral or religious feeling there may be in the country would assuredly be roused into rebellion against a policy that made Britain the ally at once of Slavery, and rebellion, and civil war."

Oct. 29, 1861

Oct. 29, 1861: From the U.S. Navy base at Hampton Roads, Virginia, near Fort Monroe, in the lower Chesapeake Bay, a fleet of 77 ships and 12,000 troops rendezvous and set sail for an undisclosed point on the Southern coast. The naval commander is Flag Office Samuel Du Pont, and the troops are under command of Gen. Thomas W. Sherman (who is not the famous Sherman).

George Templeton Strong of New York City notes in his diary: "The Grand Armada was still in Hampton Roads Saturday. This pause does not seem strong proof of high military capacity in Commander duPont and General Sherman, but perhaps it is all right. The report that these commanders have been ‘sowld’ by a treacherous officer who ran away with the sealed orders in his pocket that show their destination is still current."

Posted in the Richmond Daily Dispatch in Virginia, on this date:
Ranaway--$100 reward.
--Ranaway, on Monday, a Negro Boy, named Essex; about five feet eight inches high; black; state more align fly; about twenty or twenty two years old; weight about 50 pound; formerly belonged to Capt. John Wright, of Plain View, P. O. King and Queen county, Va. The above reward will be paid on his delivery to me at my office, in this city. He may be making his way to West Point Va. He has a wife in the neighborhood. His upper teeth are dark, from tarter on them.

Benjamin Davis. oc 22--ts

Oct. 26, 1861

Oct. 26, 1861: Romney, Virginia - Union forces skirmish with Confederate forces here and force the Rebels to evacuate the area. Romney is a key point that controls the vital Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the rail link between the West and East of the Union states.

Oct. 25, 1861

Oct. 25, 1861: Gen. Fremont finally moves against Rebel Gen. Sterling Price’s invasion of Missouri. Although Price’s army has withdrawn only as far west as Lexington, Gen. Fremont moves his army southwest to Springfield. Fremont is aware that the War Department wants to replace him.

Long Island, New York: At a shipyard in Greenpoint, a keel is laid for a revolutionary type of iron vessel designed by John Ericsson, which will be named the USS Monitor.
Oct. 24, 1861: Washington, D.C. - After conferring for weeks with advisors and his Cabinet, Pres. Lincoln decides to relieve Gen. Fremont of his command in Missouri–a risky political move, since Fremont is revered the nation over as the great Pathfinder, and by Republicans as being strongly abolitionist and the first ever Republican candidate for President in the 1856 elections. Lincoln gives orders to Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, who is dispatched to St. Louis that relieve Fremont and put Gen. David Hunter in command of the Department of the West. Later in the day, the President attends the funeral of his dear friend Col. Edward Baker.

A Southern refugee, Judith White Maguire, writes in her journal:

"Thursday, 24th.—An account reached us to-day of a severe fight last Monday (21st), at Leesburg—a Manassas fight in a small way. The Federals, under General Stone, came in large force to the river; they crossed in the morning 8,000 or 10,000 strong, under command of Colonel Baker, late Senator from Oregon. They came with all the pomp and circumstance of glorious war, and rushed on as if to certain victory over our small force. But when the sun set, where were they?’ They were flying back to Maryland, that her hills might hide and her rocks shelter them. They crowded into their boats, on their rafts; multitudes plunged into the water and swam over; any thing, any way, that would bear them from ‘old Virginia’s shore.’ Our men were in hot pursuit, firing upon them incessantly, until the blue waters of the Potomac ran red with blood. It was a ‘famous victory,’ as old Caspar would say, and I am thankful enough for it; for if they come to kill us, we must kill or drive them back. But it is dreadful to think of the dead and the dying, the widows and the orphans."

Oct. 23, 1861

Oct. 23, 1861: Skirmishing in Kentucky breaks out between Southern and Northern forces, near West Liberty and Hodgenville.

The Writ of Habeas Corpus is suspended in Washington, D.C., and military law is imposed.

George Templeton Strong writes in his diary of a trip to Washington just concluded:

"We had an audience of Lincoln from nine to eleven A.M. Thursday (I think it was Thursday). He is lank and hard-featured, among the ugliest white men I have seen. Decidedly plebeian. Superficially vulgar and a snob. But not essentially. He seems to me clear-headed and sound-hearted, though his laugh is the laugh of a yahoo, with a wrinkling of the nose that suggests affinity with the tapir and other pachyderms; and his grammar is weak."

Oct. 22, 1861

Oct. 22, 1861: The Aftermath of Ball's Bluff---

William Howard Russell, the famous foreign correspondent for the London Times, writes in this journal: "Late at night the White House was placed in deep grief by the intelligence that in addition to other losses, Brigadier and Senator Baker of California was killed. The President was inconsolable, and walked up and down his room for hours lamenting the loss of his friend. Mrs. Lincoln’s grief was equally poignant."

Oct. 21, 1861

Oct. 21, 1861: The CSS Nashville, a US mail steamer captured by the Confederates, has been fitted out as a man-of-war by the Rebel navy to engage in commerce raiding. On this date, the Nashville, commanded by Lieut. Robert Pegram, CSN, braves the Federal blockade at Charleston by slipping out of the harbor at night, and sails for England.

BATTLE OF BALL’S BLUFF, VA: Gen. Stone orders Col. Edward Baker and his brigade to cross the Potomac at Ball’s Bluff and drive off what appears to be a picket station on the hill. Baker sends Col. Devens of the 15th Mass across with a skirmish line, and they encounter only one company of Mississippi troops on Ball’s Bluff. Devens mistakenly reports just the one company of rebels. Devens remains south of the river, and sends a report back to Gen. Stone, who in turn orders Devens to bring his entire regiment over the river and to advance west towards Leesburg in a reconnaissance in force. Stone puts Col. Edward Baker, an English-born Senator from Oregon (and personal friend of Lincoln) in command of the movement. Baker decides to funnel more troops to the bluff to support Devens. Devens’ 15th Mass begins to engage a growing force of Confederates, and the battle rapidly escalates. Devens begins to withdraw, but there are only three small boats, and re-crossing is slowed to a trickle. Devens’ men are pinned down on the river side of the bluff, and begin to take heavy losses. Soon, he was joined by detachments from the 20th Mass, 1st California, and the 42nd New York regiments, plus three artillery pieces that had somehow been able to cross the river. They met the 8th Virginia, the 17th and 18th Mississippi, along with a company from the 13th Mississippi. The lines surged back and forth across the wooded plateau. At one point, Col. Baker arrived with his Californians (who were mostly Philadelphians, actually, and later were renamed the 71st Pennsylvania), and led a Union attack. At the acme of the movement, Baker was shot and killed, and the Union command structure fell apart as a strong counterattack by the Rebels forced the Federals back to the river. Many hundreds of Federals surrendered, and hundreds more, in a panic, ran down the steep bluff to the river and attempted to swim across in battle gear and heavy wool clothes. The victorious Confederate troops fired into the masses of unarmed Yankees trying to swim, and hundreds more drowned. The bodies float past the waterfront downriver in Washington, D.C., before the aghast crowd gathered there. Ironies: Gen. Stone, USA, nominally in command, was not present at the battle, and Gen. Evans, CSA, was behind the lines, according to one of his soldiers, "drinking freely during the day."


U.S.--223 killed, 226 wounded, 553 captured, and an undetermined number missing, believed to be drowned in the river.

C.S.–36 killed, 117 wounded, 2 captured.

Virginia Miller, a Leesburg teenager, writes in her diary: "We saw several wounded . . . frightfully . . . with the blood streaming from his face, from a terrible wound in the head, some with arms and legs wounded and another with his jaw bone crushed. . . . Oh, it was terrible and we were in a state of great suspense and excitement, but had no idea of what a battle was being fought so near us. . . . The musketry was perfectly terrific and we could plainly see the smoke and the dead and wounded of our men and the enemy rapidly increased."

As a result of the battle, Gen. Stone is court-martialed and Congress forms the Joint Committee on Conduct of the War.

Oct. 20, 1861

Oct. 20, 1861: Gen. Nathan "Shanks" Evans of the Confederate Army is ordered to position his brigade in a strong position just south of the Potomac River in a way to cover the two main ford over the river near Leesburg, Virginia. Across the river, General Charles Stone, USA, is order by General McClellan to engage in a "slight demonstration" (alluded to by Meade on Oct. 18) to prod the Rebels at Leesburg into some kind of action, either to reveal their strength there or to shift their position. On this date, Stone’s troops advance to this area and then withdraw after having no significant engagement with the enemy.

Mary Boykin Chestnut, a high-born woman of South Carolina, writes in her diary:
Mercury [Charleston newspaper] today says that Carolinians were sold in the convention [at Richmoned]. It was utterly exasperating in its taunts and abuse of the Confederate government. Simply atrocious. Could they not wait one year? There are the Yankees to abuse. If our newspapers would only let loose their vials of wrath upon them–or pour out, to use the right word–and leave us, until the fight is over, a united people.
It is our only hope. We have élan enough and to spare. If we only had patience and circumspection. If we were horses that could stay. The idea is that in pluck and dash our strength lies. . . . Now, to think the newspapers are trying to take the heart out of us.

Oct. 19, 1861

Oct. 19, 1861: Margaret Meta Ann Morris Grimball, a Southern woman, writes in her journal:

"Things seem to go on so slowly, and are so ruinously low and high that I suppose at the end of it we shall be in a deplorable state. I think it was all right to sepparate from the North but to us as a family it was just ruin. -

"The Northern property was then sold, and we were about to realize something from it the prices last Fall were very high, & now this is all over and the attainment of positions are so difficult the boys have nothing to do now apart from the war. John is a Lieutenant, which he greatly enjoys, but William & Arthur are much in need of Commissions they belong to Militia Companies they do not pay except on service. The regular companies always pay & always have something to do, such a young man as William seems to deserve all distinction, but it is not easily got. - How dreary life is & how sinful we are. - "

Oct. 18, 1861

Oct. 18, 1861: Missouri - In southwestern Missouri, Gen. Jeff Thompson’s Missouri State Militia troops clash with Union troops from the Federal garrison at Cape Girardeau, as covert raids and guerilla warfare sparks across that corner of the state.

Brig. Gen. George Meade writes home to his wife:

"Camp Pierpont, Va., October 18, 1861.

I had just seated myself to write you a nice long letter, when orders came to march to-morrow, requiring me to stir about and give the requisite directions. The enemy, it is understood, have fallen back to their old lines at Bull Run. They have had a force above us at Leesburg, which it is believed they are withdrawing. The object of our expedition is to advance some twelve or fifteen miles to the front, to reconnoitre the country, and also with the hope of cutting off some of their troops coming down from Leesburg. We go with the whole division, some twelve thousand strong, with three batteries of artillery, and if we encounter any of their troops, will have a very pretty chance for a nice little fight of our own."

Oct. 16, 1861

Oct. 16, 1861: Union troops, after many delays, re-occupy Lexington, Missouri, after a minor skirmish with the Rebel troops who have already mostly evacuated the area.

Near Harper's Ferry, Virginia, there is skirmishing between Union and Confederate troops.

Oct. 15, 1861

Oct. 15, 1861: Rumors of a Confederate Navy commerce raider named the Nashville preparing to run out of Charleston, SC, through the blockade, lead to U.S. preparations to intercept her. On this date, three USN gunboats sail out of New York harbor to do so. It is erroneously believed that the Confederate envoys Mason and Slidell are taking passage on the Nashville–who, in fact, have already left Charleston on the SS Theodora.

Oct. 14, 1861

Oct. 14, 1861: Pres. Lincoln takes a risky step in deciding to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, under the emergency powers the Constitution gives to the President. Lincoln gives orders accordingly to Gen. Winfield Scott, commander of the Army.

Oct. 12, 1861

Oct. 12, 1861: Southern irregular bushwhackers under Gen. Jeff Thompson skirmish with Unionists near Pomme de Terre and Clintonville, Missouri, driving them back. Thompson's mounted force pushes from Stoddard County up towards the Ironton district.

--Mouth of the Mississippi River - The ironclad CSS Manassas confronts the USS Richmond and the USS Vincennes, both wooden ships, in a brief battle, and the Manassas drives both ships aground on sand bars. Both USN vessels manage to get free, but the Confederate Navy once again scores a rare victory, breaking Lincoln's blockade, and delaying any Union plans to strike upriver at New Orleans.

--Charleston, South Carolina - Two Confederate envoys--James Mason, Commissioner to Great Britain, and John Slidell, Commissioner to France--slip out of Charleston and past the blockade on board the SS Theodora, a blockade runner. They sail for Cuba, where the envoys (both former U.S. Senators) will take another ship to Europe to engage in alliance-building for the fledgling Confederacy.

Oct. 9, 1861

Oct. 9, 1861: Santa Rosa Island, Pensacola Bay, Florida - Gen. Richard H. Anderson of the Confederate Army, with a few regiments, assaults the Federal shore batteries on this island guarding the approaches to Ft. Pickens, now in Union hands. Reinforcements from Fort Pickens arrive and drive off the Confederate attack, and Pensacola remains in Federal hands.

Oct. 5, 1861

Oct. 5, 1861: Southern California - Federal troops, both Regulars and pro-Union California volunteers, move out on an expedition into the Southern California back-country to intercept a reported Rebel force near Oak Grove and Temecula in San Diego County.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Oct. 4, 1861

Oct. 4, 1861: Mississippi River Delta, Louisiana - Two Rebel blockade runners, the schooners Ezilda and Joseph R. Toone, attempt to run the Union blockade at the Southwest Pass outlet of the river to go upriver to New Orleans, but are fired upon and captured by the (ironically named) USS South Carolina. These blockade runners are found to be carrying nearly 5,000 stand of arms with which to arm Confederate troops.

Washington, DC - John Ericsson of New York, a Swedish immigrant who runs a shipbuilding yard and is an innovative naval architect, receives a contract from the Navy to contruct armored warships of his own design.

Governor's Island, New York - In a Federal prison, Capt. Thomas Sparrow of the 7th North Carolina Infantry Regiment (who had been captured when Ft. Hatteras had surrendered), wrote to his family about a case of wine and some grapes they had promised to send him:
To day the wine turned up, & a basket of grapes for the sick. Mr. D[?]‘s valet had neglected to bring the bottles yesterday. I delivered Mr. D’s note of to day to Lieut. G. & shall write him a note explanatory & apologetic. Requested him to show D[?]‘s note to Coln. L.
Took the basket of grapes (a beautiful collection) & a bottle of wine to the Castle & went to each casemate in both floors among the sick, & made glad their hearts. They expressed themselves glad that some one had thought of them. The wine gave out. All got part of the grapes. I will begin with the second bottle in the morning where the first gave out.

Oct. 3, 1861

Oct. 3, 1861: Governor Thomas O. Moore of Louisiana imposes an embargo on the shipment of cotton to Europe, hoping to place economic pressure on European nations such as England and France, who have sizable textile industries, towards their recognition of the Confederate States as a legitmate government.

Greenbriar, Virginia - Federal troops advance from their base at Cheat Mountain to this place, and rout the Confederate troops in a sharp fight. The Federals capture large herds of livestock which had been intended to supply the Confederate Army.

Oct. 2, 1861

Oct. 2, 1861: Union troops defeat Confederates at skirmished around Charleston, Missouri and Chapmansville, Virginia.

Oct. 1, 1861

Oct. 1, 1861: Magnolia Plantation, North Carolina: William S. Pettigrew writes, in a letter to his younger brother Brig. Gen. James Johnston Pettigrew of the C.S. Army:
Like yourself, I have no patience with the disgraceful Hatteras surrender. It is discreditable to all who have been concerned with it from the first. It was badly constructed & badly defended. The Government at Raleigh are to blame, the officers are to blame, and it is said by some, that the men are to blame. It is a disgraceful page in the history of the state. The effect of the surrender has been most injurious if all I hear is true. It is said that an unsound feeling is beginning to manifest itself, which is calculated to excite the regret of all who are true to the South. Unless the Confederate Government act quickly & vigorously for the defence of the eastern part of the state, they will find, should Butler invade it, a state of things which they will deeply regret & which will surprise them. The subject of who will & who will not take the oath to Lincoln’s Government, is said to be frequently spoken of , Among the cowardly & those who have ever been more attached to the old Union than the new Government, the failure to defend Hatteras appears to have shaken their confidence in the success of Southern arms.

Sept. 23, 1861

Sept. 23, 1861: In St. Louis, the St. Louis Evening News is critical of Gen. Fremont’s inaction during the siege of Lexington, which led to the Union defeat there. Fremont responds by closing down the newspaper’s offices.

Sept. 20, 1861

Sept. 20, 1861: The Siege of Lexington, Missouri - Col. Mulligan, in command of the brigade of 3,600 Federal troops at this city, having held off attacks by Gen. Sterling Price, the Missouri Confederate general who has enveloped the town with his more than 18,000 Rebels, finally surrenders to Price after a week-long siege. Despite his pleas, Gen. Fremont sends no help or reinforcements from St. Louis or Jefferson City to Mulligan. Price loses only 25 dead and an unnamed number of wounded. Mulligan loses only 39 dead, a larger number wounded, but sees the futility of further combat. Confederate victory.

Sept. 19, 1861

Sept. 19, 1861: The Confederates in the Western Theatre (Kentucky-Tennessee) have established a line from Columbus, Kentucky (a now-heavily fortified bend on the Mississippi River) to Forts Henry and Donelson on the Tennessee, and from these forts to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and on to the Cumberland Gap. Near this all-crucial pass, Gen. Zollicoffer's Rebel troops drive away a small force of pro-Union Kentucky regiments, thus preserving Confederate control of Cumberland Gap.

Sept. 18, 1861

Sept. 18, 1861: Louisville, Kentucky - Union forces have occupied Louisville. The Louisville Courier, a blatantly anti-Union newspaper, is denied the use of US Postal services. Federal officials then seize the paper's offices and arrest several of the Courier's staff.

Sept. 16, 1861

Sept. 16, 1861: Kentucky - The US Navy gunboat USS Conestoga sails up the Cumberland River and engages two Confederate gunboats in a brisk battle, capturing both.

Lexington, Missouri: In his attempt to recover central Missouri for the Confederacy, Gen. Sterling Price, CSA, with Missouri, Arkansas, Lousiana and Texas regiments, maneuvers Col. Mulligan's Federal brigade into this city, trapping them. Mulligan digs in and sends to Gen. Fremont, his superior, for reinforcements and instructions.

Sept. 11-12, 1861

Sept. 11-12, 1861: BATTLE OF CHEAT MTN., VA - Gen. Robert E. Lee, in command of the Confederate troops in mountainous Western Virginia, directs Col. Albert Rust to attack Union positions with his brigade in a pass by Cheat Mountain. Gen. Joseph Reynolds of the US Army holds firm against repeated attacks, even though only 300 Union troops are involved. Torrential rain and no reserve supplies force Rust to break off the attacks the next day.

Union Victory. Losses: US 80, CS 90

Sept. 11, 1861

Sept. 11, 1861: Pres. Lincoln writes a letter to Gen. Fremont instructing him by order to withdraw his proclamations that freed all slaves in Missouri and Arkansas and which also confiscated property belonging to any Rebel. He tells Fremont that his edicts must be revised at least to conform to Acts of Congress.

Sept. 10, 1861

Sept. 10, 1861: Battle of Carnifex Ferry, VA - Federal troops, mostly Ohio volunteer regiments, continue their incursion into Western Virginia. Brig. Gen. William Rosecrans takes three brigade south from Clarksburg and attacks Brig. Gen. John Floyd (the former U.S. Sec. of War, now a Confedederate general) at Carnifex Ferry. Stiff fighting during the afternoon produces a total of 250 casualties between the two forces. The battle stalls after darkness falls, But Gen. Floyd, considering the Yankees' superior numbers, as well as the carnage caused by their artillery, retreats during the night, blaming his defeat on Gen. Henry Wise, who did not bring his brigade to Floyd's aid.

Washington, DC - Mrs. Jessie Fremont, wife of Gen. John C. Fremont and his fiery advocate, comes to Washington to see President Lincoln. Mrs. Fremont, worried about her husband's reputation in Washington, has come to denounce her husband's detractors and insist on the President's support for the general and his questionable proclamations in Missouri, where Fremont commands. Fremont still has not retracted his proclamations, as instructed by the President. The interview, by some accounts, is not a calm one.

Sept. 9, 1861

Sept. 9, 1861: Pres. Lincoln, still worried about Gen. Fremont's Proclamation in Missouri and the Martial Law that remains in place in a state that has not seceded, sends Gen. David Hunter to Missouri to "assist" the famous Pathfinder general.

Sept. 7, 1861

Sept. 7, 1861: Near Holcomb Valley, California, in the San Bernardino Mountains, a small Secessionist force, in an attempted robbery, engages in a gun battle with armed travelers going to Big Bear.

Sept. 6, 1861

Sept. 6, 1861: In response to Gen. Polk’s Confederates invading Kentucky, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, in Cairo, Illinois, quickly moves troops with riverboats up the Ohio and occupies Paducah, Kentucky, where the strategically important Tennessee River joins the Ohio. Paducah, a very pro-Secesh town, now becomes a Union base for an invasion of the Deep South in future months. Grant leaves a garrison of troops there under command of Gen. C.F. Smith. Against the wishes of Kentucky’s Gov. Beriah Magoffin, the Kentucky State Assembly issue a proclamation condemning the Confederate invasion under Polk, not the Union move under Grant. Kentucky declares for the Union.

Sept. 3, 1861

Sept. 3, 1861: In violation of Kentucky's self-proclaimed "neutrality," Confederate troops under Gen. Leonidas Polk, led by Mexican War veteran Gideon Pillow, enter Kentucky and move to occupy Columbus, near the confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi. Polk's justification for this invasion is that the Union was about to invade Kentucky also, and he just wanted to beat the Yankees to the punch. The Confederates begin to fortify the river bluffs at Columbus and install heavy artillery there, to command the river.