Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feb. 28, 1862

Feb. 28, 2012: In response to Pres. Lincoln’s frustration over the canal-boat bridge that was the wrong size, Gen. McClellan sends this letter to the President explaining his motives and decisions. Notice the general’s tone, which is not a little condescending and displays a healthy and flourishing ego:


SANDY HOOK, February 28, 1862. (Received 9.30 p. m.).

ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President:
It is impossible for many days to do more than supply the troops now here and at Charleston. We could not supply and move to Winchester for many days, and had I moved more troops here they would have been at a loss for food on the Virginia side. I know that I have acted wisely, and that you will cheerfully agree with me when I explain. I have arranged to establish depots on that side so we can do what we please. I have secured opening of the road.


—For the first time, Pres. Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy exercises the power given him by the C.S. Congress to suspend the writ of habeas corpus—the very crime for which Southern newspapers and critics have savaged Pres. Lincoln as a "monster." Davis immediately suspends this basic right in Richmond, as well as Norfolk and Porstmouth, declaring martial law.

—The addition of the Gadsden Purchase to the Territory of New Mexico led to increased white settlement in what is now southern Arizona, most of them Southerners and Texans. At the beginning of the war, the Confederacy organizes what is now Southern Arizona and Southern New Mexico into the Territory of Arizona, with the capital at Mesilla, on the Rio Grande. An intended Confederate invasion and capture of Tucson in 1861, which would then go on to capture southern California, was cancelled due to increased Union military presence in California. Tucson residents began raising militia companies. As Gen. Sibley began his 1862 advance up the Rio Grande Valley, he detached Capt. Sherod Hunter and 60 cavalrymen to move east towards Tucson. On this date, in 1862, Hunter’s company enters Tucson, to the adulation of the white population. One of Hunter’s projects was to establish diplomatic relations with Mexico with the view of establishing a Confederate base and port at Guaymas, Sonora, on the Gulf of California. Meanwhile, 5 companies of the 1st California Cavalry Regiment move across the desert to occupy Fort Yuma on the Colorado. Col. Carleton prepares to take the rest of his regiment, nearly 1,000 men, and a battery of artillery, to Fort Yuma and then to invade Arizona and New Mexico from the west.

—Laura Norwood of North Carolina writes a letter to her cousin Ellen Richardson of Mississippi, and offers these patriotic–and romantic–sentiments:

All out of doors is so bright, sunshiny and gay. I am a little afraid that hungriness is very much conducive to despondency when there is no prospect of satisfying the appetite, but although I am feeling the want of food very sensibly just at present, and have been listening for two hours, I mean one hour, was at church two, to Mr. Rankin, the Presbyterian Minister who is dry as a last years cornstalk. Still, I hope nothing like a desponding tone will pervade this letter. If it does, my darling, ascribe it to physical and not mental causes, to the want of dinner but not the absence of devotion to the Cause of our Country, — dearer, far dearer in the hour of its peril than in the day of its many victories. I would here state, before I get any hungrier, that I am in no sense defeated because Buckner, Pillow, Floyd, or whoever it is, is defeated. No Indeed! The Yankees did not capture my spirit of Resistance when they took Donelson. . . . but be it as bad as it may be, I am not conquered or bewildered. Who ever expected that we would gain our independence without a desperate struggle? I certainly did not. And I think if it were gained by a succession of brilliant victories, it would not long abide. A people untried by adversity are unfit to be the founders of a great nation. . . . I am often glad I am not married, but methinks there is some thing very fine in having a brave husband to fight in the glorious battles, and come home and tell about them by the fireside. I declare it would be fine to own such a brave officer as — , Well I wont say who. He is a splendid looking man, as bold and brave as any Knight of the olden time, and therefore worthy of a more beautiful ladye love than myself who care nothing for him any way, nor he for me. Only it would be quite fine, and patriotic to say "My Husband Maj." — . . .

Charles Francis Adam, Jr., an officer in a Massachusetts cavalry regiment in Beaufort, S.C., writes to his father, Charles, Sr., who is U.S. ambassador in England:

Meanwhile I am very well and very comfortable, save in some respects of position with which I will not trouble you and which will cure themselves. To us it is now more of a picnic than war, and I live in as much luxury almost in my tent as I ever did at home. We are all very well and as brown and dirty as nuts, and I have never enjoyed life more than in the army. In fact, my college days seem to have come back to me, but bereft of most of their cares.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Feb. 27, 1862

Feb. 27, 1862: On this date, the new Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia, a made-over armored vessel made from the remnant hull of old Federal frigate Merrimack, is at last finished and ready for service. However, Commodore Forrest of the Gosport Naval Yard, where the Virginia has been built, sends telegrams and letters trying to find ammunition for the Virginia’s guns.

—After McClellan’s “success” at getting a pontoon bridge across the Potomac the day before, on this date he receives delivery of canal barges, which are to be used to construct a more permanent bridge, as the pontoon one is threatening to give way.  However, after having spent hunderds of thousands of dollars on them, the Union engineers find that the boats have been made the wrong size, and will not fit.  McClellan concludes that the advance on Winchester cannot be made, and that his entire timetable for invading Virginia is set back.  Incensed, Pres. Lincoln rages at the equally wroth Sec. of War Stanton:  “Why in the damn nation… couldn’t the general have known whether a boat could go through that lock before spending a million of dollars getting them there. I am no engineer but it seems to me that, if I wished to know whether a boat would go through a hole or a lock, common sense would teach me to go and measure it. I am almost despairing at these results. Everything seems to fail.”

—Bugler Oliver Willcox Norton, a Union soldier in the Army of the Potomac, writes home to his cousin:

I stepped out into the street this morning and one of the boys who stood there said to me: "Norton, there’s something on my back; brush it off." I looked, and what do you think it was? "Couldn’t imagine." He had his knapsack packed and on the outside two woolen blankets, one rubber ditto, one picket tent, pole and ropes, overcoat, pair of boots, haversack with two days’ provisions (Hardees and tiger), canteen with two quarts of coffee, cartridge box with forty rounds and a thirteen-pound rifle. I can only say I didn’t attempt to brush it off, but went back to my tent and found the same thing ready for my back with a bugle for a balance weight. . . . There are many speculations as to where we are going. Some say a general advance is to be made on Centreville and Manassas, some that nothing more is contemplated than moving the camps a few miles further to better situations, others that the division is to go via Washington and Baltimore to Harper’s Ferry. My own opinion is different from all these. I think we are going to—stay here. Cotton has abdicated, corn never was much of an absolute monarch, but "King Mud" is king yet.

—The New York Times publishes this poignant letter from a young Army officer to his father back home in Illinois, telling of his horrifying experiences at the Battle of Fort Donelson:


MY DEAR FATHER: Sad, lonely and down-hearted. I attempt to write you a few lines, to let you know I am alive and unhurt. We have had a most bloody fight; there must have been five thousand to seven thousand men killed and wounded, on both sides. But the enemy surrendered on Saturday evening, we taking about thirteen thousand prisoners. But, dear father, the hardest part of the story is, that out of eighty-five men in my company, only seven came out — the most wholesale slaughter that was ever heard of.
My company was the color company, at which the rebels took particular aim; as fast as one man who carried it would be shot another would take his place; but the flag was brought through. Only one hundred and sixteen remain in the Eleventh Regiment uninjured.
Do not wonder, dear father, that I am downhearted. My boys all loved me, and need I say that, in looking at the poor remnant of my company — the men that I have taken so much pains to drill, the men that I thought so much of — now nearly all in their graves — I feel melancholy. But I do not complain; God spared my life, and for what, the future must tell. I will write you soon again. The Eleventh Regiment will, I think, (what is remaining,) be left to guard the prisoners at Cairo or Alton, whilst they recruit. Whether I shall attempt to raise another company, I do not know at present. Good bye. Let the folks at home know I am safe.
Yours, affectionately,
L.D. WADDELL, Captain Co. E. Eleventh
Regiment Ill. Vol., (what is left of it.)

Feb. 26, 1862

Feb. 26, 1862: Engineers and troops from the 3rd Wisconsin Inf. work to get boats in place at Harper’s Ferry for a pontoon bridge. As a series of pontoons and river barges are secured into place, planks are laid across to form a surface for crossing the bridge. As they conplete the bridge, and "short officer" appears on the bridge: Gen. McClellan, who had arrived in time to be the first across the bridge. Then, he ordered tow brigades to follow him and, as a brass band played, he welcomed them to Harper’s Ferry, which is finally in Federal hands.

—Gen. Sibley and his 2,500 Texas mounted troops march upriver again, leaving Col. Canby and his Union troops in Ft. Craig behind them. The Texans fire a few shells into the town of Socorro, New Mexico, which surrenders. The Rebels find a large haul of provisions there.

Feb. 25, 1862

Feb. 25, 1862: Still stalled on the north bank of the Cumberland, Gen. Buell is visited by the mayor of Nashville, who officially surrenders the city to the Union Army. Jacob Ammen, whose brigade has already occupied the city, sets the guard and provost posts.

Rev. Overton Bernard, a Methodist minister in Edenton, North Carolina, writes in his journal about the fall of Ft. Donelson and vice in the army:

Genls Pillow and Floyd succeeded in cuting their way through the ranks of the enemy and got safe to Nashville with several thousand of their command– That place must fall into the hands of the enemy as it is not well defended. Lord look in mercy upon us in these sad reverses, brought about by our own negligence, and permitted as I fear as a punishment for our national and individual sins. Drunkenness and profanity seem to run to an awful extent in Army, Navy, and some high quarters.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Feb. 24, 1862

Feb. 24, 1862: Nashville, Tennessee - At last, Gen. Buell’s Army of the Cumberland (lately "of the Ohio") enters Nashville and drives out the last Confederate cavalry left to impede their advance. Nashville remains in Federal hands throughout the remainder of the war, and becomes a major depot for Federal operations. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, CSA, retreats south to Murfreesboro with his 20,000 men.

—Gen. Nathaniel Banks, in command of a reinforced division of the Army of the Potomac, sends the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment to build a rope-bridge across the Potomac River into Virginia, and occupy the town of Harper’s Ferry. One man manages to get across.
Gen. Nathaniel Banks, of whom we shall hear more anon

—Private George Michael Neese of Virginia, an artilleryman in Chew’s Battery in the Army of Northern Virginia, writes about the coming of Spring and the onset of military campaigning again, rather poetically, in his journal:

The weather is beginning to grow warm, mild, and sunny. The boys are in good spirits and lively, and seem to be utterly unmindful of the hardships and dangers, deadly encounters and bloody conflicts, that are the attending concomitants of an active and vigorous campaign, which from all ominous appearances is ripe and nearly ready to open, for the breezes that sweep from the north already bear on their bosom the sounding echoes of the approaching footsteps and measured tread of a formidable and determined invading foe. Soon, ah, too soon, the demons of war will be brandishing their glittering blades and fiendishly slashing for human blood, and the dead and dying be scattered over the fields that are now ready to don the blooming livery of spring.
But hie away, ye gloomy reveries, distracting thoughts, and perplexing fears, and let the soothing touch of hope revive my drooping spirits. The war cloud may burst with all its fury and the red fiery eye of battle may glow in all its fiercest wrath, yet I may withstand all its destructive ravages, pass through all its fiery ordeals unscathed and untouched, and live to see the last fragment of war cloud drift away and dissolve in the radiant glow of freedom’s peaceful light.

—Mary Boykin Chestnut of South Carolina writes in her diary: "Congress and the newspaper render you desperate—ready to cut your throat. They represent everything in our country as deplorable. Then comes someone from our gay and gallant army. The spirit of our army keeps us up, after all. Letters from the army revive you. They come as welcome as flowers in May. Hopeful and bright, utterly unconscious of our weak despondency."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Feb. 23, 1862

Feb. 23, 1862: Fayetteville, Arkansas - On this date, the confederate forces in northwest Arkansas, afraid of being flanked by Gen. Samuel Curtis’ Union troops in the Army of the Southwest, abandon their posts and flee south, out of Bentonville, and then decide to continue south from Fayetteville as well, leaving it to the Yankees. As Rebel Gen. Ben McCullough gives the orders, he orders everything useful in Fayetteville to be destroyed, lest it fall into the hands of the Yankees. The evacuation turns into a panic, as the Rebel soldiers begin to steal anything not nailed down in the town. Plunder and looting ensue. McCullough, as his troops are leaving town, sends back his cavalry to burn the town. Louisiana cavalrymen set fire to the military supply warehouses, still full with food, and then the flour mill and the stables. They fired the Arkansas Female College, which had been used as an arsenal, and as artillery shells began to explode, the fire spread generally. One enraged man stopped some cavalrymen and said, "God has rained down fire from heaven upon better men than those that did this!" Since the majority of people in Fayetteville were pro-Union, apparently Gen. McCullough felt no obligation to protect their property. The Union troops came into town later in the day. One Union observer, after observing the occupation, noted this "act of vandalism" by the Rebels: "The rebels left a quantity of poisoned meat behind them, which unhappily was partaken of by the National troops, and resulted in poisoning forty officers and men of the Fifth Missouri cavalry, among them one or two valuable commanding officers. Such deeds entitle the perpetrators to no mercy.—"

—Union soldier Daniel L. Day, with his regiment on the newly-captured Roanoke Island in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, writes about what he has learned of the early English settlers on Roanoke Island, the first English-speaking settlement there:

They gave such glowing accounts of the country and what they had seen that Raleigh, the next year, sent out a colony under one Lane. They occupied this island, but after about a year, during which time they suffered many hardships, returned to England. A year or two later, another expedition was sent out. They also settled here, but after a while the leader of it returned to England for supplies. After an absence of a year or two, he again returned here, but on landing, not a trace of it could be found, and it was never after heard from. A later historian, however, says the Indians who lived on the island claimed that some of their ancestors were white people and could talk out of a book.
—Judith White McGuire of Richmond, writes in her journal about the celebrations in the capital over the newly-inaugurated Davis as President:

Last night was the first levee. The rooms were crowded. The President looked weary and grave, but was all suavity and cordiality, and Mrs. Davis won all hearts by her usual unpretending kindness. I feel proud to have those dear old rooms, arousing as they do so many associations of my childhood and youth, filled with the great, the noble, the fair of our land, every heart beating in unison, with one great object in view, and no wish beyond its accomplishment, as far as this world is concerned. But to-day is Saturday, and I must go to the hospital to take care of our sick— particularly to nurse our little soldier-boy. Poor child, he is very ill

—Union soldier Emmet Cole, in Port Royal, South Carolina, writes home to his sister Celestia at home: "The Peach trees are in full bloom, and vegetation (such as decayes here in the winter season) is putting forth with all the beauties of spring. summer is fast comeing, and we are not used to this climate. and I feel a little dubious about the effect it may have upon the northerners. for I notice here upon most of the Grave stones (some of which date back half a century or more) that the principle disease is Yellow fever. but we may escape without being attacked by it. I had a great deal rather be attacked by the Rebels. . . ."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Feb. 22, 1862

Feb. 22, 1862: Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America, beginning his one six-year term, as the Provisional government gives way to the permanent one. Davis is inaugurated on a very rainy Washington’s birthday—not by chance, either—and the CSA adopts a national seal with a mounted George Washington in the center, festooned with the crops upon which the Southern economy is built: cotton, tobacco, wheat, rice, and sugar cane, with a motto in Latin, Deo Vindice (God Will Vindicate Us). In his inaugural address, he offers these thoughts:
Follow-Citizens On this, the birth-day of the man most identified with the establishment of American independence, and beneath the monument erected to commemorate his heroic virtues and those of his compatriots, we have assembled to usher into existence the permanent Government of the Confederate States. Through the instrumentality, under the favor of Divine Providence, we hope to perpetuate the principles of our Revolutionary Fathers. The day, the memory’ and the purpose, seem fitly associated.
It is with mingled feelings of humility and pride that I appear to take, in the presence of the people and before high Heaven, the oath prescribed as a qualification for the exalted nation to which the unanimous voice of the people has called me. . . .
The experiment instituted by our revolutionary fathers, of a voluntary Union of sovereign States for purposes specified in a solemn compact, had been perverted by those who, feeling power and forgetting right, were determined to respect no law but their own will. The Government had ceased to answer the ends for which it was ordained and established. . . .
Fellow-citizens, after the struggles of ages had consecrated the right of the Englishman to Constitutional. Representative Government, our colonial ancestors were forced to vindicate that birthright by an appeal to arms. Success crowned their efforts, and they provided for their posterity a peaceful remedy against future aggression.
The tyranny of an unbridled majority, the most odious, and least responsible form of despotism has denied us both the right and the remedy; therefore, we are in arms to renew such sacrifices as our fathers made to the holy cause of Constitutional liberty. At the darkest hour of our struggle the Provisional gives place to the Permanent Government. After a series of successes and victories, which covered our arms with glory, we have recently met with serious disasters.–But in the heart of a people resolved to be free, these disasters tend but to stimulate to increased resistance.
To show ourselves worthy of the inheritance bequeathed to us by the patriots of the Revolution, we must emulate that heroic devotion which made reverse to them but the crucible in which their patriotism was refined. [Applause.] . . .

—Judith White McGuire, living in Richmond, writes in her diary:
To-day I had hoped to see our President inaugurated, but the rain falls in torrents, and I cannot go. So many persons are disappointed, but we are comforted by knowing that the inauguration will take place, and that the reins of our government will continue to be in strong hands. His term of six years must be eventful, and to him, and all others, so full of anxiety! What may we not experience during those six years? Oh, that all hearts may this day be raised to Almighty God for his guidance! Has there been a day since the Fourth of July, 1776, so full of interest, so fraught with danger, so encompassed by anxiety, so sorrowful, and yet so hopeful, as this 22d of February, 1862? Our wrongs then were great, and our enemy powerful, but neither can the one nor the other compare with all that we have endured from the oppression, and must meet in the gigantic efforts of the Federal Government.—Major Rutherford B. Hayes, an officer in the 23rd Ohio Infantry serving in western Virginia (and future President of the United States), writes home to his mother:
The recent victories convince everybody that the Rebellion can be conquered. Most people anticipate a speedy end of the war. I am not so sanguine of a sudden wind-up, but do not doubt that the Confederacy is fatally wounded. We are having a gaudy celebration of the 22nd here with the usual accompaniments which delight the children.
Affectionately, your son,
Rutherford.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feb. 21, 1862

Feb. 21, 1862: THE BATTLE OF VALVERDE, New Mexico - Col. Green, assuming active field command of the Rebel Army of New Mexico, pushes an advance detachment of his 5th Texas Cavalry forward to Valverde Ford on the Rio Grande, thus threatening the supply line to Col. Canby and his brigade of Federals in Ft. Craig. Green takes up a position at the ford with 180 of his troopers and sends back word for reinforcement. Meanwhile, Canby sends Col. Roberts with one regiment to the ford. Roberts sends his men charging across the ford at Green’s Texans; although the Yankees take losses, they drive Green’s troopers back. Roberts then brings up Capt. McRae’s battery of artillery and sets up a line there on the east bank of the river. Col. Scurry’s 4th Texas Cavalry, about 500 men, arrive, along with some cannon of their own. The Union artillery, under Capt. McRae, duels with the Rebel guns. Just as the Federals are moving across the river to threaten the Confederate right flank, another battalion of the 5th Texas arrives, and they stop the Federal assault. Capt. Lang of the 5th Texas, charges with his troop, who are equipped with lances, and they are driven back with heavy losses. Federal commander Col. Canby arrives at the battlefield with the rest of his command; Carson’s regiment returns from its futile mission, and Canby begins organizing an assault on the Rebel line. However, Green has re-formed his troops, and leads a charge with over 1,000 Texans towards the Union line. The Federals repulse the Rebels on the Federal right, but on their left, Samuel "Nicaragua" Lockridge, with several companies of the 5th Texas, advancing skirmish-style, pour a heavy fire into McRae’s battery, whose guns fall silent. McRae is killed, as is his antagonist Lockridge, and the Rebel attack falters. The hand-to-hand fighting continues, though, and the Federals begin to take heavy losses. Canby orders a retreat to Ft. Craig, although he leaves behind his wounded and all of McRae’s cannon. The Confederates now control the ford. Confederate Victory.

Losses: Killed Wounded Missing

U.S. 68 139 65

C.S. 36 150 1



—Acting Master Henry L. Sturges, of the U.S. Navy, is aboard the USS Mount Vernon on blockade duty off Wilmington, North Carolina. He writes to a friend back home and reveals an interesting passionate religious faith that is expressed very frankly:

Your kind regards of 23rd ult. came to hand Jnry 13th it affords me much pleasure to hear from you but it makes my heart sad to hear of the death of your child I can deeply sympathize with you by haveing had to pass through those trying moments myself. But its the Lord that giveth and taketh and all we can say is his Holy will be done. We can always feel happy to know that they are with Jesus, and are awaiting to welcome us home to that happy happy shore where trials and troubles are o[v]er. Oh what great inducements are held out to us to reach that Heavenly home, Christ is there. dear friends are there. Blessings are there. and I trust that we will be there, I pray that Jesus will not forsake us but will give us the full assurance that we are accepted of him. I can but say precious Jesus thou art mine, its hard work for me to write my feelings, if I was only with you in person I could then unfold the love to my dear dear Jesus from a sailors heart. pray for me dear Brother and Christ will reward you openly.

—Charles Francis Adams, the U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James (Great Britain), writes to his son Charles, Jr., who is an officer in the cavalry, stationed near Port Royal in South Carolina. Among other things, he refers to his efforts to curtail British sale of the materials of war to the South:
All that I have ever sought for has been the opportunity of developing our policy of repression. At first I confess I had little confidence in its success. But of late I have been thinking better and better of it. And it seems to me that the same impression is growing all around me. . . . The struggle is a tremendous one, and must not be measured hastily. I pity the people of the southern states, but I have no mercy for their profligate leaders, who have wantonly brought them to such a catastrophe.

—Oliver Willcox Norton of the Union Army, writes home to his sister, enthused about the news of the victories at Roanoke Island and Ft. Donelson. Norton gives an apt example of the excesses and fantasies of the soldiers’ rumor mill:
The rebels are beginning to feel heartily sick of their madness, if we may judge by their acts. We hear that Vice President Stephens has resigned and advised the rebels to lay down their arms and surrender. Governor Letcher has done the same. The rebels are evacuating Columbus to escape the fate of their friends in Fort Donelson, and to-day’s Press says that they are leaving Centreville and Manassas to protect Richmond. If this is true we may be following them up in a very short time and completely whip them by the middle of March. Things certainly look brighter every day. The boys are already talking of what they’ll er every day. The boys are already talking of what they’ll do when they get home. I think I shall go home by way of New York and stop there for a short visit. . . .

—Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman of the Union Army notes in his journal certain paradoxes in the management of the Army of the Potomac:

21st.—No grounds yet on which to base an opinion as to when or where we shall go. One day brings us assurances that our Division will in a few days go to Annapolis to join the mortar fleet bound South. The next we hear that we are to advance and take Manassas. To-day we hear that we are shortly to go to Kentucky, and join the fighting army under Buell. There is also a rumor here that the rebels are leaving Manassas in great numbers. If that be true (the President and Gen. McClellan both believe it), we shall probably advance on that stronghold and occupy it ourselves until we are ready for the "on to Richmond " move. But why, if we have been staying here all winter to "bag the enemy" at Manassas, do we now lie still and permit them to leave? This "gives me pause" in my opinions. I do not like such doings, nor can I quite comprehend such Generalship. But it is not for me to criticise the plans of educated military leaders.

Feb. 22, 1862:

Feb. 20, 1862

Feb. 20, 1862: Sibley’s Confederates in New Mexico struggle to reach the Valverde ford on the Rio Grande, but deep sand slows their progress, with some wagons sinking up to their axles.

—Willie Lincoln, son of the President, having suffered for several weeks from typhoid fever, finally on this date succumbs to the common disease and dies. Pres. and Mrs. Lincoln are plunged into grief, and the President into one of his periodic attacks of clinical depression.

—The USS Monitor engages in sea trials off Long Island.

—Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, in command of the western theatre for the Confederate Army, begins to evacuate Nashville, feeling the pinch from Grant’s advance and from Gen. Buell (who has finally begun to advance south).

Feb. 19, 1862

Feb. 19, 1862: Gen. Grant, after the victory at Ft. Donelson, advances troops toward Clarksville, Tennessee, a key railroad junction on the way to Nashville, discovering it unoccupied. Commodore Foote steams up the Cumberland and occupies the town. Grant makes plans to advance on Nashville, even though it is technically outside of his department, and is supposed to be captured by Gen. Buell---who has not made a move toward Nashville.

---The Richmond Daily Dispatch editorializes about the Union victory at Ft. Donelson: "If these bloody barbarians, whose hands are now soaked to the elbows in the life-blood of men defending their own homes and firesides, dream that they are now one inch nearer the subjugation of the South than when they started on their infernal mission, they prove themselves to be fools and madmen as well as savages and murderers."

---As Col. Green of the 5th Texas Cavalry advances towards the Valverde ford on the Rio Grande, Col. Canby of the Federal army sends two regiments of New Mexico troops, commanded by Col. Miguel Pino and Col. Kit Carson, towards Valverde to intercept the Rebels.

Feb. 18, 1862

Feb. 18, 1862: The first elected Confederate Congress convenes today in Richmond, to much fanfare. According to the Richmond Daily Dispatch, "The hall of the House of Representatives, for half an hour previous to the tap of the Speaker’s gavel, was a complete jam, the crowd consisting of the members elect, the members of the Virginia Legislature, citizens, and last, though not least, a considerable number of ladies — all anxious to witness the proceedings incident to an occasion so interesting, and yet so solemn and impressive."

---Gen. Halleck writes to Gen. Buell, asking him to move his Army of the Ohio closer to the Cumberland River, since Halleck wishes Buell to take command over Grant’s army. Buell offers excuses as to why he cannot do it.

---Sergeant Alexander G. Downing, a Union soldier, writes in his diary:
Tuesday, 18th—It is cloudy and quite cool. News came that Fort Henry has been taken and we fired a feu de joie. Some of the boys are afraid that the war will be over before we have a chance to have the honor of being in a battle.

---The Missouri Democrat, in Kansas City, announces that Quantrill and Parker, two notorious Rebel guerillas, were taken by surprise in the town of Independence by part of the 2nd Ohio Cavalry, and suffered "discomfiture and rout."

Feb. 17, 1862

Feb. 17, 1862: Gen. Sibley’s Confederate Army of New Mexico (about 2,500 men in several Texas cavalry regiments and a few Arizona militia) marches north up the Rio Grande Valley, toward Ft. Craig. Sibley cannot lure the Federals (about 3,000) out of the fort.  When Sibley falls ill (or drunk, as the rumor goes), Col. Tom Green takes over command of the Rebels, crosses the Rio Grande to the opposite bank of the river and marches north, to threaten the ford at Val Verde, where the supply line to the fort crosses.

—George Templeton Strong, of New York City, writes in his journal: "Laus Deo again! We are victorious at Fort Donelson. It was doubted by a few until one o’clock. . . . The fort is taken. We have 15,000 prisoners; perhaps an exaggeration."

Feb. 16, 1862

Feb. 16, 1862: THE BATTLE OF FORT DONELSON – Conclusion - This morning, the Confederate forces at Ft. Donelson surrender to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. During the night, Gen. Floyd issues orders for the army to pack up and be ready to march out in three hours. However, the pickets inform him that the Yankees have re-occupied the trenches and now block the way. Floyd concludes that he is too valuable to surrender; he appropriates the only two steamers available for his brigade of Virginia troops, and casts off and steams upriver to Nashville. Command devolves upon Gen. Pillow, who concludes that he, too, is too valuable to surrender, and he leaves with the steamers. (Col Forrest, who cannot abide cowards and fools, refuses to surrender, and leads his own regiment and part of another, mounted, along the icy shallows of the Cumberland River until they are beyond Federal lines, and thus make good their escape.) Command devolves upon Buckner, who sends a man under a white flag to the Union lines (which were forming up to attack), asking Grant for surrender terms. Grant replies:

No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Buckner, who had been a close friend of Grant’s at West Point, and even had loaned Grant money during Grant’s hard years, was angry at such unchivalrous terms. However, he meets with Grant and surrenders 14, 623 men, as well as 20,000 muskets, 48 pieces of field artillery, 17 pieces of heavy artillery, and several thousand horses. Union Victory.

Losses:        Killed      Wounded        Missing        Captured

U.S.              507          1,976                208                0

C.S.              327          1,127                    0                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   14,623

As a result, Grant is lauded in the newspapers across the country, who nickname him "Unconditional Surrender Grant" with his initials.


—Mary Boykin Chestnut writes in her diary: "Awful newspapers today. Fort Donelson a drawn battle. You know that means in our mouths that we have lost it. That is nothing. They are being reinforced everywhere. Where are ours to come from, unless they wait and let us grow some."

—Capt. Bolton of the 51st Penn. Inf. records in his journal:
The men have just discovered that the rebels in trying to escape from the island relieved themselves of everything in the shape of firearms &c in trying to make their escape to their boats, and in wading to them.  They threw away in deep water all their arms and the men would go along the beach and grapple up immense bowie knives, pistols and muskets. The knives were terrible looking weapons, and it is supposed that they intended to butcher us if the chance presented. Very many of the knives were sent home by our men.

—David Schenk of North Carolina writes in his journal on this date:
Events crowd rapidly upon us and every moment seems full of history—The enemy are pressing us at every point and the crisis is also hard. Fort Henry on the Tennessee River has fallen and the enemy steamed down to Florence in Alabama destroying the shipping as they went—Fort Donnelson the key to Nashville has been invested and the fight still progresses with terrific slaughter. Genl Pillow has repulsed them thrice and still holds out.
It will soon be known whether we are able to beat back the invader or not—if Fort Donnelson falls, Bowling Green goes with it and Nashville is gone. Yankee gunboats can travel where land forces are locked by mud and rain and these rivers are highways for them to get in our rear—it seems that it is almost impossible to resist these attacks by water.

Feb. 15, 1862

Feb. 15, 1862: THE BATTLE OF FORT DONELSON, Day 3 - Having failed to launch the planned breakout attack the afternoon of the 14th, Gen. Pillow is ordered by Gen. Floyd to form up and attack this morning. At 7 a.m., the Confederate line moves forward, with Forrest’s dismounted cavalry before them in a skirmish line. Grant, not expecting an attack, is miles away, conferring with Commodore Foote. The Rebel brigades pile into McClernand’s Federals along the Wynn’s Ferry Road, the escape route to Nashville for the trapped Confederates. McClernand’s line begins to give way. He sends to Gen. Wallace for help, and Wallace sends a brigade–but instead of using it to stem the Rebel breakout, McClernand holds it in reserve. Soon, Gen. Buckner’s division, in the Confederate center, begins to move forward in support of Pillow’s attack–which has flanked McClernand’s line, as the Yankees fall back in disorder. Buckner’s attack, however, is moving sluggishly, and McClernand uses the time to re-organize his shattered force, and the Rebel assault has degraded into separate, disjointed regiment-sized fights. Wallace moves the rest of his division to the right, and strikes Buckner’s advance. Gen. Pillow, inexplicably, feels that the victory is won, and orders his brigades to withdraw back to their original trenches, even though the way to escape is open. He and Gen. Floyd and Gen. Buckner engage in bickering over whether they should have withdrawn, and what to do next. Buckner is livid that they are not moving the army out of the pocket, which had been the Confederate goal. Meanwhile, Grant returns to the battlefield, and orders McClernand and Wallace to re-group and attack. He also orders his division on the Union left, Smith’s, to attack. Smith’s division moves forward immediately, and drive the Rebel right back close to the fort itself. Although McClernand is slow to move, Wallace attacks with three brigades, and drives the Confederate line back to their original entrenchments, as the last light of day fades. Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner have a conference that night.

—The Richmond Daily Dispatch publishes an article quoting Gen. James Lane, a die-hard abolitionist Senator from Kansas, as Lane gave a speech in St. Louis:
The other day, while I was talking with the President, Old Abe said to me, "Lane, how many black men do you want to have to take care of your army?" I told him as my army would number 34,000, I proposed to have 34,000 contrabands, in addition to my teamsters and wagon masters. I consider every one of my soldiers engaged in this glorious crusade of freedom a knight errant, and entitled to his squire to prepare his food, black his boots, load his gun, and take off his drudgery. Vanity and pride are necessary adjunct of the soldier, and I do not propose to lower him by mental offices, nor compel him to perform the duties of the slave. So, while I shall elevate the slave by giving him his freedom and making a man of him, I shall also elevate the soldier and leave him no work to do but fighting.

—In camp near Alexandria, Virginia, with the still-idle Army of the Potomac, Private Robert K. Sneden of the 40th New York, a topographical engineer on the staff of Gen. Heintzelman, records in his journal:
Snowing all day. Three inches fell. The artillerymen at Fort Lyon were practicing at the guns all forenoon. The concussion of the 100 pounder Parrotts shook these headquarters to the foundation.  The clerks could not write as usual while I could not make a straight line, owing to the firing. In the evening 9 p.m. we had a fine serenade at these headquarters by the 26th New York Regiment band, which are now stationed at Fort Lyon. Artillery firing was heard down river from 10 to 12 p.m. . . . Fine moonlight with no wind made the cannonading very distinct, and it sounded grand.  The view from headquarters of the river smooth as glass was enchanting. We smoked our pipes on the piazza until after midnight.

Captain William Jordan Bolton, of the 51st Pennsylvania Infantry, with Burnside on Roanoke Island, records in his journal about the aftermath of the battle:
The island . . . is situated a short two miles from the mainline, and is about twelve miles long and three miles wide, and lies very low, and a good part of it an impassable swamp, and in this swamp we fought our first battle, and it is here where the rebel fort (now Fort Russell) stands with her three spiked guns.  Standing on the ramparts of the fort, and looking towards the position of the assaulting column, one could not believe that the position could be taken, but we did get there.

Feb. 14, 1862

Feb. 14, 1862:  THE BATTLE OF FORT DONELSON, Tennessee, Day 2 - In an attempt to repeat their success at Ft. Henry, Commodore Andrew Foote and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant agree that Foote will approach Ft. Donelson with his 4 ironclad and 3 "timberclad" gunboats and reduce the fort by cannon fire. As Foote’s ships draw within range, he finds that the Confederate gunners at Donelson can fire at them for a long stretch of the river before the ships can get close, and that they must approach single file, due to the river’s channel. Foote steams close, and his gunners fire too high at the fort high on the bluff. The Rebel gunners have their range, and begin to do serious damage to the Federal ships. The St. Louis, Foote’s flagship, is hit 59 times and is crippled, with Foote himself wounded, and drifts downstream. The Pittsburg is also crippled and drifts downstream, in danger of sinking.  The Carondelet is hit by 35 shots from the rebels and one shot from a Union ship. As she drifts downstream, she collides with the Pittsburg and damages her rudder. Foote has lost 11 killed and 40 wounded.  He and Grant realize that taking Ft. Donelson will not be done by the Navy.   

Meanwhile, Grant receives 6,000 reinforcements, under the command of Gen. Lew Wallace. As Grant places Wallace in the center of his line, the Confederates begin to realize that they are being hemmed in.  Gen. Pillow and Gen. Floyd agree on a break-out assault. Pillow is to deploy his division and strike at McClernand’s Federal division on the Federal right. Buckner is to follow with his division.  Pillow takes most of the day to form his lines, and as he is about to begin the attack, a Yankee sniper fires at him, missing and killing an infantryman near Pillow.  Pillow is now convinced that his entire movement has been discovered by the Yankees, and he calls it off. Floyd is enraged at Pillow’s decision. 

---Lt. Charles Wright Wills of Illinois writes home to his mother and talks about his regiment’s trials with the local pro-Secesh bushwhackers: "Here there are no forces to fight but a few hundred bushwhackers that will lie by the roadside in the swamp, and I believe they would murder Jesus Christ if they thought he was a Union man. We failed in doing what we wanted to the last trip, but I believe we’ll get even with them yet. I’d hate mightily to get killed by such a pack of murderers. . . ."

Feb. 13, 1862

Feb. 13, 1862: THE BATTLE OF FORT DONELSON, Tennessee, Day 1 - Gen. Grant has his two divisions, under C.F. Smith and John McClernand, in position on the heights surrounding Ft. Donelson. In spite of his orders not bring on "general engagement," musket fire breaks out along the lines. However, Gen. Smith orders 2 brigades forward to silence the Rebel guns on his front. They quickly become ensnared in close-quarter fighting. On the Union right, Gen. McClernand’s troops endure Rebel cannon fire for a while, and then he orders up his own artillery, and hammer the Southern gunners into silence. McClernand takes a brigade forward, but finds himself trapped in an artillery crossfire. After a time, he withdraws back to his line. That morning, Gen. John Floyd of the Confederate Army arrives with another brigade, bringing the Rebel total to 15,000 men, almost as many as Grant’s 17,000. Having thrown away their heavy winter overcoats along the march from Ft. Henry, many Union soldiers are caught by surprise when sleet begins driving in, and the temperature drops below freezing that night.


—In New Mexico, the advance force of the 5th Texas Mounted encounters Colorado Volunteers and U.S. Regulars a few miles south of Ft. Craig, where Col. Edward Canby and his small army of 3,000 are. However, Canby decides not to attack the advance Rebel force.


—Gen. Sterling Price, in command of Southern forces in Missouri, is finally convinced that Maj. Gen. Samuel Curtis of the Union Army is approaching Springfield. Price give the order, and the Rebels abandon Springfield without a shot.

Feb. 12, 1862

Feb. 12, 1862:  Federal troops are landed at Edenton, North Carolina, near Elizabeth City, also an early colonial town.  The Yankees take control of the surrounding countryside.

—Prelude: Ft. Donelson. Gen Grant’s troops begin filing into positions around the hills that surround Ft. Donelson and the nearby town of Dover, Tennessee, thus trapping the 18,000 Confederate troops therein. Foote’s gunboats steam up the Cumberland close to the fort. One gunboat fires a series of salvoes into the fort and withdraws. Col Forrest, with his Confederate cavalry, forms a skirmish line and withstands attacks from an Illinois cavalry regiment for two hours, thus enabling Gen. Buckner to deploy his troops.

---In an attempt to protect Grant’s advance on Ft. Donelson, Gen. Halleck tries to persuade Gen. Buell to advance South to distract any Rebel attempts to reinforce Ft. Donelson. Buell commands an entirely different department, and Halleck’s persuasion falls on deaf ears. Buell deigns not to advance in fear of his own front.

---Judith White Maguire, a refugee, writes in her journal: "12th.—The loss of Roanoke Island is a terrible blow. The loss of life not very great. The ‘Richmond Blues’ were captured, and their Captain, the gifted and brave O. Jennings Wise [son of General Henry Wise, former governor of Virginia], is among the fallen. . . . He is a severe loss to the country. Captain Coles, of Albemarle, has also fallen. He was said to be an interesting young man, and a gallant soldier. The Lord have mercy upon our stricken country!"

—George Templeton Strong of New York writes in his journal:  "Laus Deo! The best day we ahae seen since war began. The Norfolk papers announce Burnside’s occupation of Roanoke Island, the whole rebel force prisoners, the gunboats captured, and Elizabeth City captured and burned; . . . Burnside is pushing on, up Albermarle Sound, it would seem.  Hurrah for Burnside!"

—Mrs. Mary Boykin Chestnut of South Carolina writes in her diary of the Confederate losses:  "Confederate affairs in a blue way. Roanoke taken, Fort Henry on the Tennessee River open to them, and we fear the Mississippi River, too. We have evacuated Romney–wherever that is. New armies, new fleets, swarming and threatening everywhere. . . . England’s eye is scornful and scoffing as she turns it toward us—and on our miseries. I have nervous chills every day.  Bad news is killing me."

Feb. 11, 1862

Feb. 11, 2012: Gen. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee step off in their march to Fort Donelson. Flag Officer Andrew Foote of the Navy steams his gunboats down the Tennessee, up the Ohio, and up the Cumberland toward Ft. Donelson.

Grant's Campaign: Ft. Henry to Ft. Donelson


---At Fort Donelson, Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner arrives with his division and a strategic plan devised by Gen. John B. Floyd and himself under the direction of Gen. A.S. Johnston. The plan called for the Rebels to abandon Ft. Donelson to avoid being trapped, and withdraw to Cumberland City, 12 miles upstream on the Cumberland River, since it was a railroad town and could be easily reinforced. Gen. Pillow denounces the plan, refusing to obey it, and forbids Gen. Buckner from removing any of his troops from the fort, while using the slogan "Liberty or Death!" to express his intention of defending the fort to the death.

---At Ft. Thorn in New Mexico, Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley and his brigade of Texas mounted troops (about 2,500 men) begin to move north. Sibley is taken ill, and so only the 5th Texas Mounted Volunteers move out in front, heading up the Rio Grande Valley toward Ft. Craig, where Col. Edward Canby and 3,800 Union troops await the Rebel advance.

---Never able to bring himself to trust Grant, Gen. Halleck is annoyed that Grant has advanced to take Ft. Donelson without direct orders. Halleck urges Foote to expedite his squadron’s move up the Cumberland, so that he will take the fort instead of Grant.

Feb. 10, 1862

Feb. 10, 1862: THE BATTLE OF ELIZABETH CITY, No. Carolina. Naval Battle. Commander Stephen Rowan of the U.S. Navy is detailed off with a squadron by Flag Officer Goldsborough to sail north into the now-open Albemarle Sound, toward the coastal towns of tidewater North Carolina. This morning they approach Elizabeth City, the oldest town in the state, and find Commodore William Lynch of the C.S. Navy there with his "mosquito fleet" of seven light vessels, with barely enough fuel and ammunition for them, and a skeleton crew in Fort Cobb. Rowan steams his 13 ships in past the fort, with the fort firing away. Rowan and the Union ships ignore the fort and steam into the sparse line of Rebel ships, arrayed on the river in front of the city’s waterfront. The USS Commodore Perry rams the CSS Seabird, sinking her. The CSS Ellis is captured, and three other Rebel ships are purposely run aground and burned by their own crews–the Powhatan, Fanny, and Forrest--and only 2 of the Rebel ships make their escape uprive into the Dismal Swamp and the canal leading to Norfolk. Union Victory.


Losses: U.S. 2 killed, 7 wounded


             C.S. 4 killed


—Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, issues an order to Flag Office David G. Farragut in the Gulf Squadron that Farragut is to take command of what Welles calls "the most important operation in the war"–that is, the capture of the mouth of the Mississippi River and the South’s largest city, New Orleans. Welles details the ships that will be made available to Farragut, including a flotilla of bomb ships–mortar schooner–and an army of 18,000 gathering at Ship Island off the coast of Mississippi. Welles concludes with these heartening words, indicating the U.S. government’s high hopes: "If successful, you open the way to the sea for the great West, never again to be closed. The rebellion will be riven in the centre, and the flag to which you have been so faithful will recover its supremacy in every State.


Very respectfully, etc., Gideon Welles."


—On this date, Lt. Silas Phelps of the Tennessee River Squadron, reports on a raid he made up the river with the three "timberclad" gunboats Conestoga, Tyler, and Lexington, as far south as Florence, Alabama. The river is in Union hands deep into the Confederate interior now. On the raid, Phelps and his flotilla captured and burned river steamers, burned bridges, captured supplies, and even captured a half-finished Rebel ironclad.

--Private David L. Day, with the Union troops on Roanoke Island, writes in his diary about his first encounter with Confederate soldier prisoners:

Feb. 10. The prisoners are a motley looking set, all clothed (I can hardly say uniformed) in a dirty looking homespun gray cloth. I should think every man’s suit was cut from a design of his own. Some wore what was probably meant for a frock coat, others wore jackets or roundabouts; some of the coats were long skirted, others short; some tight fitting, others loose; and no two men were dressed alike. Their head covering was in unison with the rest of their rig; of all kinds, from stovepipe hats to coonskin caps; with everything for blankets, from old bedquilts, cotton bagging, strips of carpet to Buffalo robes. The Wise legion are a more soldierly looking set; they wear gray cloth caps of the same pattern, and long sheep’s gray overcoats with capes. Most of the officers are smart, good looking young men, wearing well-fitting gray uniforms, not unlike those of our own officers.  It is not dress altogether that makes the man or the soldier. I find among these chaps some pretty good fellows. . . . The boys are mixing in among the prisoners, talking over the fight, trading jack-knives, buttons and such small notions as they happen to have, and getting acquainted with each other.

Feb. 9, 1862

Feb. 9, 1862: In Washington, Gen. Charles Stone, who had been in command of the force that was sent to their doom at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, is arrested on trumped-up charges of Treason, after months of hearings, on and off, with the Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. He is even charged with having colluded with the enemy in order to bring about the Ball’s Bluff disaster. Gen. McClellan, his close friend--under pressure from the War Department and Secretary Stanton--finally acquiesces and throws his friend under the bus. Stone is relieved of command and rank, and is remanded to imprisonment in Fort Lafayette, without having been able to face his accusers or examine the evidence against him.

---Mrs. Frances Goggin Parker, of Bedford Co., Virginia, writes to her son, Robert W. Parker, serving in the 2nd Virginia Cavalry Regiment, giving him and his brother George counsel and praise about their behavior in the army, echoing what many mothers felt and hoped:
. . . I trust you have been spared for some good purpose and you will be humbled at the thought of the blessings you have received and be always ready to thank the giver for every mercy bestowed on you as my sons are obliged to be engaged in this distressing warfare – it helps a great deal to keep my spirits up – to hear they get on well with their companions to hear they are steady and prudent not partaking of the vices so common in camp – George told me he had been often begged to play cards – he told them he did not know how and never intended to know – he had been asked if he had any temper that he could get on any way and not swear – he told them swearing done no good no matter what they had to encounter he got on better without it than they did with it – there is no wrong way about any thing that will do in place of the right way – the right way is the safe and pleasant way in every sense of the word . . . .Sergeant Robert Parker would survive to serve throughout the entire War, only to be killed in skirmishing at Appomattox Court House on the morning of April 9, 1865, the day Gen. Lee will surrender to Gen. Grant’s army.

–In southeastern Missouri, 1st Lt. Charles Wright Wills, of the 7th Illinois Cavalry, writes home on this date to his family about the horrors of the internecine neighbor-against-neighbor violence in Missouri:
Novice as I am in riding, the cold and fatigue were so severe on me that I slept like a top horseback, although I rode with the advance guard all the time and through country the like of which I hope you’ll never see. There is a swamp surrounding every hill and there are hills the whole way. Damn such a country. We passed, a small scouting party of us, the bones of seven Union men. They were all shot at one time. I didn’t go with the party to see them. One of our guards went out with a party of nine of the 17th Infantry boys and captured some 20 secesh and brought in, in a gunny sack, the bones of five other Union men. I noticed there were no skulls and asked the guide where they were. He said that "as true as truth the secesh who murdered them had taken the skulls to use for soup bowls." I was talking with a man to-night who had his two sons shot dead in the house by his side last week. A gang of fellows came to the house while he was eating supper and fired through between the logs. He burst open the door and escaped with but one shot in him after he saw that his sons were killed. I can hardly believe that these things are realities, although my eyes and cars bear witness. In my reading I can remember no parallel either in truth or fiction for the state of things we have in this southeastern portion of Missouri. Anyone can have his taste for the marvelous, however strong, glutted by listening to our scouts and the refugees here. I thank God from my heart that dear old Illinois knows nothing of the horrors of this war.

Feb. 8, 1862

Feb. 8, 1862: THE BATTLE OF ROANOKE ISLAND, Day 2 - As the morning breaks, the three brigades that Burnside has put ashore (nearly 10,000 men) begin marching north from Ashby Harbor toward Ft. Bartow. Gen. Foster’s brigade is in the lead, and he engages a fortified Rebel line where a redoubt and battery have been placed, the flat ground in front being all a swampy, muddy morass. Foster stops to dress his lines and find a route of approach. A Rebel infantry "reconnaissance-in-force" detachment of 1,400 men is manning this line, with the battery of guns. As Reno’s brigade comes up behind Foster, Reno moves off to the left to find more solid ground closer to the Rebel line. John Parke arrives with his brigade after the fighting has begun. Foster works two regiments forward, and drives in the Rebel skirmish line, but the Rebel artillery begins to do serious damage to his regiments. Records Private David L. Day of the 25th Massachusetts: "We fired high, low and obliquely, thinking if we covered a wide range of ground, we might possibly lame somebody, and it seemed our shots must have proved troublesome, for they turned their attention to us, pouring musketry and canister shot without stint into the swamp. We were up to our knees in mud and water, so their shot passed over us without doing much damage." Gen. Foster sends more troops forward, and at that moment Reno’s brigade bursts out of the brush off to the left, very close to the Rebel right flank, and pushes forward through the mud. By this point, Gen. Burnside has arrived on the field, and directs Gen. Parke then moves his brigade to the right, past Foster, and sends his men forward. Reno’s brigade smashes through the Rebel right flank, breaking the line, and then turns right and begins firing into the rear of the battery with deadly effect: Confederate artillery fire slackens. Parke’s 9th New York (Hawkin’s Zouaves), wearing red shirts, dashes forward and strikes the Rebel left flank, which breaks and streams toward the rear. The redoubt falls into Union hands, and Gen. Reno’s troops approach Ft. Bartow. Col. Shaw, feeling unable to maintain the forts, surrenders the rest of his force. Gen. Burnside takes possession of 2,500 Confederate prisoners, as well as "complete possession of this island, with five forts, mounting thirty-two guns, winter quarters for some 4,000 troops, and 3,000 stand of arms, large hospital buildings, with a large amount of lumber, wheelbarrows, scows, pile-drivers, a mud dredge, ladders, and other appurtenances for military service. . . ."

Union Victory.
Losses:        Killed        Wounded       Missing      Captured

U.S.              37               214                  13                0

C.S.              23                 58                  62              2,500

After the battle, Private Day offers this sobering observation about the violence of war:
During the action I had seen quite a number hit and led back to the rear, but I had little time to think much about it. After the chase commenced and we marched through the little redoubt and over the ground held by the enemy, and I began to see the mangled forms of dead and dying men, I was filled with an indescribable horror and wanted to go right home. I now began to realize what we had been doing, and thought that, if in this age of the world, with all our boasted civilization and education, men could not settle their differences short of cutting each other’s throats, we were not very far removed from barbarism. But I suppose so long as the nature of man is ambitious and selfish he will try to obtain by force what he cannot attain by other means.

Feb. 7, 1862

Feb. 7, 1862: THE BATTLE OF ROANOKE ISLAND, Day 1 - Confederates have about 3,000 troops on this island, commanded by Gen. Henry Wise, who happens at this point to be flat on his back with pneumonia, and command devolves upon Col. Henry M. Shaw, who has no military training. Burnside has over 10,000 troops with him. Goldsborough steams his squadron into Croatan Sound, between Roanoke Island and the mainland, and opens fire ono Ft. Bartow. He splits part of his flotilla to chase away the Confederate Navy squadron of light coastal vessels, under command of Commodore William Lynch, that come into range. Two vessels, the CSS Forrest and the CSS Curlew, are driven aground. Fort Bartow’s guns are soon bested by the U.S. Navy, and the fort’s only rifled cannon is hit and disabled. Meanwhile, Burnside (advised by an eager escaped slave), decides to land in a small bay on the southwest end of the island. He lands 4,000 men, under Brig. Gen. Jesse Reno, and secure their position. Night falls. By 9:30 PM, Burnside has landed 6,000 men by this point, twice the amount of the defenders.

David L. Day, of the 25th Massachusetts Inf., describes the attack on the fort:

Feb. 7. A thick fog prevailed this morning and continued until about 9 o’clock, when it lifted and the gunboats got under way. Slowly they steamed towards the island and took their positions before the forts, but at a sufficient distance not to incur much damage from them. We were all eagerly watching the movements of the boats, when at about 10 o’clock, we saw a white cloud rise from one of the boats, and the next moment a huge column of dirt and sand rose from the enemy’s works, showing the effect of the shot. The fort replied from all its guns, but their shots fell short as the boats lay beyond their range. The bombardment now commenced in earnest, the boats’ sailing in a circle, and delivering their fire as they passed the fort. Their firing was not rapid, but well directed. The fort’s guns blazed away as rapidly as possible, doing some damage to the boats. . . . It was truly a grand and fearful exhibition! Thousands looked on with breathless suspense, expecting every moment to see the magazine blow up or the rebels strike their colors.

Feb. 6, 1862

Feb. 6, 1862: BATTLE OF FT. HENRY, Tennessee - Flag Officer Foote, with seven gunboats of the US Navy river fleet, at 11:00 AM moves upstream and comes within the range of Ft. Henry, on the east bank of the Tennessee River, and opens fire on the Confederate fort. Ft. Henry is poorly located, and part of its ramparts and much of its parade ground is under water, with the river running high due to an early winter thaw, and unseasonably warm weather. Gen. Tilghman, the Confederate commander, sends most of his garrison marching to Ft. Donelson twelve miles away on the Cumberland River, but retains about 70 men of the 1st Tennessee to work the guns that are not submerged. Foote’s flagship, the USS Cincinnati, opens fire, followed by the Essex, the St. Louis, and the Carondelet; the second line was formed by the Tyler, Conestoga, and Lexington. Capt. Jesse Taylor, of the 1st Tennessee, describes the drama of the USN flotilla’s approach: "When they were out of cover of the island the gun-boats opened fire, and as they advanced they increased the rapidity of their fire, until as they swung into the main channel above the island they showed one broad and leaping sheet of flame."

The Rebel gunners have the range at first, and are accurate, putting a shot in the Essex’s boiler, exploding it and killing several of its crew and injuring more. The Essex, disabled, drops downstream. The Cincinnati sustains over 30 hits. The Yankee naval gunners do not have their range, at first, and are chastised by Foote, who yells at them that each shell costs the government over $20.00, and that they should not be so wasteful. Yankee shells disable two of the fort’s guns, and two other guns burst their breach and explode, killing or wounding most of their crews. One by one, three more Rebel guns are disabled, and Gen. Tilghman is in his shirtsleeves, helping to serve at one of the remaining cannons. Without orders, the Rebels spike their one last useful gun. At this point (about 1:50 PM), Tilghman finally asks for surrender terms, and he and his men are taken prisoner by Foote, and sailors land to occupy the part of the fort that is not underwater. Grant’s troops–Gen. C.F. Smith’s division on the west bank, and Gen. John McClernand’s division on the east bank–have also begun the march to the fort at 11:00 AM, but it takes some hours for them to arrive. McClernand’s men are delayed by the muddy roads, and finally arrive in time to see the fort surrender. Union Victory.

Losses: U.S. 11 killed 31 wounded

C.S. 15 killed 20 wounded 94 captured
Foote's flotilla shelling Ft. Henry

—On this date, coincidentally, Gen. Bushrod Johnson arrives at Ft. Donelson with reinforcements and takes command.

—On this date, the Richmond Daily Dispatch posts an article from the Charleston Mercury, perhaps the most pro-secession newspaper in the South, citing Samuel Johnson, the great English man of letters, and comparing Yankees with ancient Romans: "Dr. Johnson observed, of the ancient Romans, that, ‘When poor, they robbed others, and when rich, themselves.’ What was true of the Romans, is about to be realized of our Yankee neighbors. When poor, they robbed us. From being the most sterile and inhospitable portion of the United States, they became the wealthiest and most prosperous. But there is this difference between the Yankee and the Roman: The Roman was no hypocrite. With his sword in hand, he said, "‘sic volo, sic jubco [jubeo?].’ He was a brave, frank robber; but our Yankee brethren began their robbery with lies — they continued it with lies, and they have ended it with lies." –Charleston Mercury.

Feb. 5, 1862

Feb. 5, 1862: Emmett Cole, of the 8th Michigan Infantry, stationed the Union base at Port Royal, So. Carolina, writes to his brother Edgar about his thoughts of death: "I was sorry to learn by your letter and Celestia that some of the family were sick. still we must expect to meet with sickness adversity & death. whereever we may be on this wide earth I have made up my mind that it is about as apt to visit us in one place as another and I have further resolved that when death calls for me to take a journey with him from this [?]some world in to some other which I hope is more peacefull. I say I am resolved whereever I may be to go without a murmur. for I have a previous understanding, that I must inevitably follow in the wake of the Millions that have lived before me."

–Pamlico Sound, North Carolina: Goldsborough’s fleet at last is cleared by Gen. Burnside to approach Roanoke Island, after a long wait. David L. Day, a young Union soldier, writes in his journal:

Feb. 5. The clink of the windlass is heard on all the boats, hoisting up their anchors, so here we go for a trip up the sound, probably for Roanoke island. This island holds the Albemarle sound and all that part of North Carolina lying on it, and also Southeast Virginia. It is quite an important point, and we learn is strongly fortified. Our fleet consists of about seventy sail of all kinds and makes an imposing appearance. The gunboats, under command of Commodore Goldsborough, take the advance, the transports and other craft following. After a few hours’ sail, the low, pine-covered shore of the old North state presented itself to view. . . . Here we dropped anchor for the night, the gunboats forming a picket guard, and extending themselves nearly to the light-house. The island can be seen through a glass, and tomorrow I expect we shall get a nearer view.

Feb. 4, 1862

Feb. 4, 1862: George Templeton Strong writes in his journal: "Fifty years hence John Brown will be recognized as the Hero or Representative Man of this struggle up to 1862. He will be the Wycliffe of the anti-slavery Reformation. A queer, rude song about him seems growing popular:
John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave (repeat)
But his soul’s a-marching on.
Glory Hally Hallelujah,
Glory Hally Hallelujah,
But his soul’s a-marching on."

–Near Ft. Henry, Gen. Grant lands his 15,000 troops on both banks of the Tennessee River. He faces Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, who has fewer than 3,000 troops to garrison the fort.

Grant and Foote Move on Ft. Henry and the Tennessee River Valley


–In the February 1 issue of Harper’s Weekly, a column by The Lounger (a pen name for George William Curtis) extends praise to Lincoln for crossing party lines and including Democrats (Stanton and Bates) as well as former rivals (Seward and Chase) in his administration:

THE President certainly gives proof of the fact that he regards the question of the suppression of the rebellion to be a purely national question, entirely independent of party. The policy of his Administration, falling upon so critical a time, has been to gather to the national standard all loyal men, whether they were Republicans or Democrats. The peril of the nation annihilates party, and whoever forgets that fact, the President does not. He is the most purely national and loyal Chief Magistrate we have had for many a year.

Feb. 3, 1862

Feb. 3, 1862: Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, with 15,000 aboard transports, departs Cairo, Illinois to steam upriver (south) to Paducah, accompanied by Flag Officer Foote’s gunboats, and then up the Tennessee to attack Ft. Henry.

–John Beauchamp Jones, a clerk in the Confederate War Department in Richmond, notes in his diary: "FEBRUARY 3D. —We have intelligence of the sailing of an expedition from Cairo for the reduction of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River." Apparently, the Rebels have an excellent intelligence network.

–In an effort to prod Gen. McClellan into action, Pres. Lincoln engages in a war of orders, opinions, and rival campaign plans with the general. Lincoln wants an approach overland to Richmond; McClellan resists, finally submitting a plan to put his army on ships and land them on the Virginia Tidewater coast, and march them by a shorter route to Richmond. Little Mac replies that the President’s plan will fail, and will lead to a long, drawn-out campaign of attrition. Lincoln sends the general this rather pointed and tersely-worded letter:

To George B. McClellan
Executive Mansion,
Major General McClellan Washington, Feb. 3, 1862.

My dear Sir: You and I have distinct, and different plans for a movement of the Army of the Potomac---yours to be down the Chesapeake, up the Rappahannock to Urbana, and across land to the terminus of the Railroad on the York River---, mine to move directly to a point on the Railroad South West of Manassas.

If you will give me satisfactory answers to the following questions, I shall gladly yield my plan to yours.

1st. Does not your plan involve a greatly larger expenditure of time, and money than mine?

2nd. Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan than mine?

3rd. Wherein is a victory more valuable by your plan than mine?

4th. In fact, would it not be less valuable, in this, that it would break no great line of the enemie's communications, while mine would?

5th. In case of disaster, would not a safe retreat be more difficult by your plan than by mine?

Yours truly

A. LINCOLN

The President alludes to the question everyone who has seen the plan is asking:  How would the Army be able to guard Washington? McClellan insists on his plan, and in a twenty-two page paper, details how a victory on the Virginia Peninsula is the key to victory for the entire war. Lincoln accedes.

–Gen. Burnside issues orders to his troops as they prepare to approach the Confederate fortifications on Roanoke Island by sea that they should "remember that they are here to support the Constitution and the laws, to put down rebellion, and to protect the persons and property of the loyal and peaceable citizens of the State. In the march of the army, all necessary injuries to houses, barns, fences, and other property will be carefully avoided, and in all cases the rules of civilized warfare will be carefully observed."

Feb. 1, 1862

Feb. 1, 1862: The New York Times publishes an editorial that features the ideas of an unnamed "military authority" who cautions against the On-to-Richmond strategy, instead arguing for an invasion of the Deep South in the West, with just a defensive army to protect Washington:
An eminent military authority of this country, has recently prepared some carefully considered strategical views of the campaign, which have been laid before members of Congress, and, we believe, also before the War Department. This gentleman, in opposition to the received opinion, takes the ground, not only that no "Advance from Washington" is intended; but that none ought to be made, if it were practicable. . . .
This strategical position our authority (a very high one) thinks must strike every military man as the only one which promises success and a speedy close of the campaign. To secure it, he advises at once withdrawing the greater part of the army before Washington, leaving say a garrison of 50,000 men in the intrenchments and on the river, and at once throwing 150,000 drilled and disciplined troops into Kentucky to unite with the armies of Gen. HALLECK and Gen. BUELL for a march upon Nashville. We should then have 300,000 men rapidly advancing on Nashville and North Alabama. Such a force would be irresistible, and Mississippi. Louisiana and Alabama would at once fall into our hands. …
With this plan our authority believes that the rebellion could in effect be broken down in two months, and the turning point in the military campaign be reached.
–Gen. Grant wires to Halleck in St. Louis that he will be prepared to set out for Fort Henry on the evening next. He will have about 15,000 men in two divisions, commanded by Gen. Charles F. Smith (Grant’s former professor at West Point in days gone by) and by Gen. John McClernand, an Illinois politician. The roads being muddy and nearly impassable, Grant will ferry his troops upstream on river transports, accompanied by Flag Officer Andrew Foote and his flotilla of Navy gunboats.

–Private Emmett Cole, of the 9th Michigan Infantry Regiment, stationed near Port Royal in Beaufort, South Carolina, writes home to his friend Marcus back home about the progress of the war:
Mark how does the features of the war look up there. I must say it looks rather dull to me, although our arms have been victorious in Kentuckey and many other parts but little skirmishers and scouting parties will never do tho to be shure they help, but I tell you what there has got to be some hard fighting done yet this is the long and short of it. they have got to be whiped before they will give up and if it is not done by next July it never will be done. what is Mc Lellan [McClellan] waiting for prehaps he knows his own business. but the American people understood that last fall was the time that the heavy blow was to be struck last fall passed and "all was quiet on the Potomac." winter came an open winter too and "all was quiet on the Potomac" the winter [now?] [I nearly?] gone and it is a splendid time for fighting "and all is quiet on the Potomac" next spring will come, then the roads will be too muddy, hence "all will remain quiet on the Potomac" next summer will be to warm and "all will be quiet on the Potomac" . . . . remember what I tell you that if we dont flag them before next July, the Eastern nations will recognize them as a confederacy and their excuse will be to trade. –Gov. Henry T. Clarke of North Carolina writes to the Confederate Secretary of War, Judah P. Benjamin, asking for more reinforcements and the help of military engineers. It is clear to all of North Carolina that Burnside’s army will soon be approaching Roanoke Island:

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Raleigh, February 1, 1862.
Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:
  
SIR: The various and conflicting rumors about the destination of the Burnside expedition is now settled by its rendezvous at Hatteras. It has no doubt suffered from the late storm, but not enough to divert its object or its means of successful assault. If you will glance at the map you will readily perceive the extent of injury both to North Carolina and the Confederacy by an expedition into the interior from any part of Albemarle or Pamlico Sound. And I regret again to allude to our inability to check so formidable an expedition, whatever route it may select, and I have refrained as long as I could from alluding to re-enforcements. I am aware of the zeal you devote to the immense labors before you, and of the great strain pressing on you from every quarter, and that you would send re-enforcements unasked if you had them to spare.

But I will respectfully tender a suggestion, and be gratified if it coincides with your views; that is, to spare us two or three-regiments from the Peninsula, particularly the Fifth North Carolina Volunteers. I make the suggestion on the ground that General Magruder has had every facility in men and good, skillful officers for seven months to fortify the Peninsula; that it has been successfully done; that his intrenchments, fortifications, and guns have been so successfully and extensively done that they can now be defended with one-half of the men required some months ago; that the place will only allow a defensive warfare, and he is prepared for that, and he can now spare some of his force. A commanding general always asks for more, and never consents to give up a single company. Upon these grounds I refer you to this position, where I hope you can spare at least our own regiment.

I thank you for aid of General Wise’s Legion to the Albemarle country, but I regret to say that Roanoke, not having the benefit of engineers and skillful officers, is not much benefited by the last four months’ occupancy of [it] by the Confederate Government. General Wise writes to me that it needs everything, whereas it should have been an impregnable barrier to the Yankees and a protection for a great extent of North Carolina and Virginia. There has been culpable negligence or inefficiency at this place. I hope Colonel Clarke’s (Twenty-fourth Regiment North Carolina Volunteers) regiment, now stationed at Petersburg, will have sufficiently recruited to be serviceable.

I have now to rely on an unarmed and undrilled militia for protection, and a draft which has been made for one-third of them has, I regret to say, developed or occasioned much dissatisfaction.

I tender these suggestions to you most respectfully. Should they fail in enlisting your favor, I shall regret to believe that there are other places besides our coast which claim your protection from overwhelming forces and need more help than we do, for I feel assured of your assistance if it could be spared.

Very respectfully, yours,
HENRY T. CLARK.

Jan. 31, 1862

Jan. 31, 1862: In Great Britain, Queen Victoria once more reiterates her government’s policy of neutrality toward the belligerents in the American conflict. This dampens Confederate hopes for recognition from Britain and other nations—which, as most Southerners believe, is necessary for Southern victory.

–After more than two weeks of struggle, Flag Officer Goldsborough, in command of the U.S. fleet off Hatteras Inlet, sends a message to Washington that Burnside at last has brought the bulk of his expedition over the bar blocking entrance to Pamlico Sound. Burnside intends to advance on the Rebel base at Roanoke Island, where 3,000 men under Gen. Henry Wise await.

–The recently-released Mason and Slidell, envoys for the Confederacy, arrive in London on this date. Mr. Slidell is met with the unwelcome news that Emporer Napoleon III will maintain France’s neutrality. Henry Adams, son of the U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James, writes to his brother, Charles Francis Adams, Jr.: "The two unhung arrived after all. Evidently they are born for the gallows, as the sea casts them out. Their detention of two months was a great stroke of luck for us in my opinion. Their party here [Confederate agents] had made all their preparations for a war [between the U.S. and Britain], and stopped their old game almost wholly. Peace was a great blow to them, and has disconcerted all their plans."

–Due to the orders from Sec. of War Judah P. Benjamin to withdraw Gen. Loring from Romney, Maj. Gen. Thomas Jonathan Jackson attempts to resign his commission in the Confederate Army:
With such interference in my command I cannot expect to be of much service in the field, and accordingly respectfully request to be ordered to report for duty to the superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, as has been done in the case of other professors. Should this application not be granted, I respectfully request that the President will accept my resignation from the Army. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. J. JACKSON, Major-General

Jan. 30, 1862

Jan. 30, 2012: On this date, the Richmond Daily Dispatch, having learned that the commander of Federal troops at the Battle of Mill Springs, George Thomas, is a Virginian, offers this grim pronouncement on Southerners who fight for the North: "The man in the North who sympathizes with the South may still be faithful to his own section, and is probably its most intelligent friend. It is not his home that is invaded, nor any of his interests that are assailed. But we have no words to express our detestation and scorn of the Southern citizen who can side with the North against his own section in a war upon the land which gave him birth, upon its firesides and altars, upon its women and children. Must not the blood that is shed, the blood of his brethren and countrymen, stain his guilty soul and haunt his evil imagination like the blood of murder! Out upon the wretches!"

–Due to orders from Gen. McClellan and Pres. Lincoln, Gen. Halleck orders Gen. Grant (with whom he is barely on speaking terms) to take what troops he has and to attack Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, in cooperation with Flag Officer Andrew Foote’s gunboat flotilla.

–On this date, the USS Monitor is launched at John Ericsson’s shipyard at Greenpoint, Long Island. Asst. Sec. of the Navy Gustavus Fox has warned the administration that the Rebel conversion of the USS Merrimac into an ironclad vessel at Norfolk is going apace, and the Monitor is meant to counter that threat.