Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 1862

July 30, 1862: Eastern Theater - Gen. Halleck now being installed as General-in-Chief of the U.S. Army, he begins to hint to McClellan that the Army of the Potomac ought to do something. But Little Mac is still convinced that he is outnumbered by 200,000 Confederate troops to his 100,000, even though he knows that Jackson has already moved to the northwest with nearly 30,000 troops. McClellan insists that he must have more reinforcements, and that the Confederates are receiving massive reinforcements on almost a daily basis. He never offers any evidence for these assertions.

—Gen. John C. Breckinridge is sent by Gen. Van Dorn south from Mississippi on the railroad with two small divisions of Confederate troops to re-invade Louisiana and to re-take Baton Rouge, the state capital. Breckinridge believes the city to be militarily worthless, and nearly impossible to defend, but dutifully deploys his troops and steps off to advance on Baton Rouge.

Gen. John C. Breckinridge, CSA

—On the Mississippi River, the steamer Sallie Wood, used for transporting supplies and wounded men, is fired upon from several masked Rebel batteries until its boiler is pierced and it loses steam. The wood is beached on Island No. 84, and eventually the Rebels come to take possession of it. Only the captain of the boat and a few soldiers escape capture. The USS Carondelet steams upriver to find out what happened, and shells each one of the battery positions, and rescues the handful of sick men who have escaped capture.

—In Paris, Kentucky, bushwhackers under Joe Thompson raid the Unionist town, imprisoning the Sheriff and town officials, plundering the townspeople of their cash and specie, forcing the Court Clerk to issue indictments against citizens of the town, and then forcing the townsfolk to cook a great dinner for he and his guerillas, which eventually swells to nearly 400 before the day was over. They loot the stores in town, loading a wagon with the plunder. Soon after Thompson rides out of town, the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry arrives, under command of Lt. Col. James, and gives chase. They soon overtake the guerillas, killing 27 and capturing 39 (30 of whom had been wounded and left behind by the fleeing Secesh).

—Sergeant Alexander Downing of the 11th Iowa Infantry writes in his journal of his regiment’s movements in northern Mississippi:
Wednesday, 30th—We camped on a large "secesh" plantation last night. The owner of it being a general in the rebel army, we made ourselves at home, killing all the cattle that we wanted and taking all the honey that we could carry away with us. We started at 8 o’clock this morning and marched fourteen miles, when we bivouacked for the night.
—In New York City, George Templeton Strong—a Wall Street lawyer, a key figure in the NYC Republican Party, and a leading force for the Sanitary Commission—muses on the possibility of using black soldiers:
I greatly fear that we are on the eve of some vast calamity. Why in the name of anarchy and ruin doesn’t the President order the draft of one million fighting men at once and the liberation and arming of every able-bodied Sambo in Southronia? We shall perish unless the government begin singing in that very key. . . .
George Templeton Strong

—A soldier of the 3rd New York Artillery Regiment writes home to the hometown newspaper in Seneca County of the dangerous situation with Rebel guerillas and bushwhackers near the Union-occupied town of Newbern, North Carolina:
A few nights since, the guard stationed in that position of the city most inhabited by fisherman and the poorer classes, was fired upon and severely wounded. The house was immediately surrounded, and its inmates, (seven men,) arrested and lodged in jail. The following day a strict search was instituted, which resulted in finding in it, and the adjoining houses, a quantity of fire arms, and a keg of powder. The buildings were soon demolished by the soldier mob. Since then all suspicious houses, have been searched, and over one hundred different styles of fire arms, found. One of the men arrested, acknowledges he fired the shot and has been recognized as a paroled soldier taken at Roanoke. Rumor says he is to be hung.

For a long time a roving band of guerrillas have been prowling about the country in the vicinity of our camp. (Bachelor’s Creek, seven miles west of Newbern, on the lines of the A.A.N.C.R.R.) and committing lawless depredations on the property of men known Union proclivities. The commanding officer of the post, after making several applications to Gen. FOSTER, received an order to "clean them out." . . . We were now in the vicinity of the "Rebs," and much caution was necessary. We had not proceeded far, when turning a short bend in the road, we came suddenly upon the post of the outer piquet. He was a brave fellow, and very cooly aimed his carbine at the Cavalry Sergeant, but the cap snapped without igniting the powder. . . . The house near by – the reported headquarters of the band – was surrounded and searched, but the bird had flown. An old man, however, was taken, who informed us that at the house of one French, a notorious rebel, two miles further up the road, were quartered a detachment of the 2d N.C. Cavalry. . . . Again we took up our lines of march at a rapid rout step, until within one hundred rods of the house, when Lieut. RANDOLPH, commanding the artillerymen, (then acting as infantry,) proceeded to the rear, while the cavalry and remaining infantry took the front.The attack was admirably planned, and reflects credit upon the officer in command. I venture to say men were never more surprised then were they when our cavalry and infantry came down upon them with one of those "awful yells," at a double quick. . . . many of them were run down by our cavalry, while the most obstinate ones were either killed, or wounded, but few escaping unharmed. The rout was complete as appearances at the house would indicate. . . .

The prisoners taken are withal, well informed men, and expressed no little surprise at the kind treatment they received at our hands. They are now in jail, and have, I understand, declined taking the oath of allegiance.

—An editorial entitled "Stand Together" appears in the Valley Spirit, a newspaper of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, reflecting the broad base of contention on the slave issue and the Cause of the war, appearing even in the politics of small towns, especially as the mid-term elections of Fall 1862 begin to loom on the horizon. The editors offer a conservative view of the government’s cause—that it is Union, and not the negro, that we are fighting for:
The united effort of the loyal men of the nation is needed to meet and suppress this Rebellion. What tends to preserve the Union is salvation to the country, but what tends to break in upon it, is fraught with danger! The sole common bond of the Union is the Constitution.

If we look at the border line of this terrible struggle--to Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri, there is really but one opinion among the Union men. They ask nothing of the General Government but fidelity to the national compact; absolutely nothing but what every United States officer is sworn to observe. Eighty thousand men in the field; the Home Guard larger still, to keep at bay the secession tiger that prowls about their homes; the language of their Representatives and Senators in Congress--all attest the sincerity of their unionism. All speak of a patriotism worthy of the olden time; and implore an infatuated radical majority, in the name of all that is dear to country, to desist from the atrocious and bloody revolutionary programme of emancipating the four millions of slaves at the point of the bayonet; but, in good faith, to stand solidly by the Constitution, and thus restore the Union as it was: that is, revive the social, commercial, religious, political intercourse that endeared our several political communities in the sacred relations of one nation. . . . If there be one principle settled distinctly by the Constitution, it is that to the States exclusively belong the determination of their local institutions. All this, however, goes for nothing with the radicals. They seem to care nothing for fundamentals. Now, of themselves, they are of little account. But the Secessionists at the South, at this hour get hold of this Abolition stuff, and reproduce it in their newspapers and speeches, falsely magnify it, charge it on the whole north, and thus succeed in arraying the Southern people in solid phalanx against what they term the "Abolition Lincolns." This is the constant testimony from the South. . . .

Now, the remedy for all this is only in the people and through the ballot-box. The good and true men of the country must unite against the reckless demagogues who seek to destroy confidence in all but Abolition Generals, like Fremont, and the abolition plan of emancipation; and must insist that their public servants, sinking the negro question, shall address themselves to the sole work of meeting and suppressing this rebellion. . . .

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