Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29, 1862

March 29, 1862: Eastern Theatre, Peninsula Campaign. Gen. Samuel Heintzelman, commander of the 3rd Corps of the Army of the Potomac, on Gen. McClellan’s instructions, pushes a reconaissance in force up the James Peninsula, toward Yorktown, to acsertain the Confederate strength there. In his report, he tells McClellan that Gen. Magruder has only about 8,000 troops for sure, and calculates that Magruder cannot have any more than 18,000.

—Union soldier Oliver Willcox Norton of the 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry, writes home about their advance on the Peninsula and capture of Great Bethel:

The main body of rebels had left in the morning. They have gone to Yorktown. We have orders to have three days’ cooked rations on hand, so I think we shall be after them soon. When we came back we burned all the log barracks and brush houses at the forts. All the houses here are burned and the whole country is a desert. It is one of the most beautiful sections, naturally, I have ever seen. The soil is very rich and the surface perfectly level.

—Western Theatre. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, with his Army of the Ohio, has finally set out for the link-up with Grant’s Army of the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing. After weeks of being held up at the Duck River, the bridges having been destroyed, the water level falls rapidly. Gen. William "Bull" Nelson’s division wades across the river on this date, to push on toward the rendezvous.

—Gulf Theater: William C. Holton, of the U.S. Navy, on board the USS Hartford, Farragut’s flagship, writes in his diary of a scouting sortie by Farragut’s fleet up to Forts Jackson and St. Philip: 
March 29th. Nothing of importance is occurring now-a-days to mark one day from another. Yesterday, Capt. Bell, with the gunboats Kennebeck, Wissahickon and Winona, ascended the river to the forts, when Fort Jackson opened fire on them, and after firing about one hundred rounds at us our vessels hauled off. They discovered the position of the defenses, also a chain stretched across the river just below Forts Jackson and St. Philip, on eight schooners anchored between the forts. Our squadron is still gradually collecting. Capt. Porter’s mortar fleet is already here, but our large ships are not all over the bar.

—Union soldier Luman Harris Tenny writes in his journal: 

"March 29th. Had a good bath in the creek, and washed my clothes—new experience. Very warm and sultry."

—Lt. Charles Wright Wills, of the 7th Illinois Cavalry in southwest Missouri, writes about the possibility of a naval battle at Island No. 10, and muses for a while on what would happen if the Southern naval fleet broke through, and steamed up into Union territory:
About the worst feature of the case would be the Southern officers sparking our girls as we do theirs now and the worst yet is, there is no doubt the girls would take to it kindly, for they do here, and I’m satisfied there is no difference in the feminines of the two sections, except that ours do not say "thar" and "whar." I see that it requires a good many "ifs" and "theirs" to arrange a case of this kind, but I assure you that it is not out of the range of possibilities. How’d you like to see a "Captain St. Clair de Monstachir" with C. S. A. on his buttons, making calls in Canton?

—The Richmond Daily Dispatch publishes an editorial excoriating those who are engaging in the illicit trade of cotton across enemy lines to Northern buyers:
We are sorry to hear, upon what we consider a reliable source, that a brisk trade in cotton has been going on from a principal Southern seaport, as many as twenty vessels being engaged in the illicit traffic, that a large amount has found its way over Texas to Mexico; that a new device has been lately hit upon of selling it to Union men in East Tennessee, who are accumulating the article in that region to be disposed of to the Yankees, and that disloyal men in North Alabama are openly selling it to the invaders. Such conduct as this is infamous. It is meaner and falser than Yankeeism a thousand times, because Yankeeism, although engaged in invasion, and not in defence, will not, with all its love of money, sell us a single article we need, whilst we, who are defending all that men hold dear, for the sake of base greed and Inure, sell that which is the very life-blood of our country.

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