Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August 8, 1862

August 8, 1862: Eastern Theater, Bull Run Campaign - Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s troops advance northward, along the line of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, approaching Barnett’s Ford over the Rapidan River. Pope’s Army of Virginia (Union) is about to collide with part of the Army of Northern Virginia (Confederate). Confusing nomenclature. Union cavalry under Gen. George Dashiell Bayard skirmishes with advancing Confederates as the two armies make contact. Bayard and Buford, with cavalry, and Crawford with his brigade of infantry, constitute the Union advance force. A.P. Hill’s division is the Confederate advance force. Since the skirmishing is happening on this front, near a hill called Cedar Mountain, Pope orders Banks and Sigel to converge at Culpepper, north of the mountain, with their corps. Gen. Rufus King near Fredericksburg prepares to march west to reinforce Pope.

—On this date, Sec. of War Stanton issues two orders: One that prevents anyone eligible for military service from leaving the country, and another that suspends the writ of Habeas Corpus for persons arrested for disloyal activity, especially discouraging men from joining the army.

—As the officers of the now-destroyed CSS Arkansas come to visit the Morgan girls and their friends, Sarah relates this amusing incident:
Those girls did me the meanest thing imaginable. Mr. Talbot and I were planning a grand combined attack on Baton Rouge, in which he was to command a fleet and attack the town by the river, while I promised to get up a battalion of girls and attack them in the rear. We had settled it all, except the time, when just then all the others stopped talking. I went on: "And now, it is only necessary for you to name the day —" Here the girls commenced to giggle, and the young men tried to suppress a smile; I felt annoyed, but it did not strike me until after they had left, that I had said anything absurd. What evil imaginations they must have, if they could have fancied I meant anything except the battle!

—Charles Wright Wills continues his log of events and people, with some unfortunately uncomplimentary—but alas, very common and characteristic—reflections on the negroes:
My pet negro got so lazy and worthless I was compelled to ship him. I’ll take back, if you please, everything good that I ever said of free negroes. That Beauregard nigger was such a thief that we had to also set him adrift. He stole our canned fruit, jellies and oysters and sold some of them and gave parties at the cabins in the vicinity. This was barely endurable but he was a splendid, smart fellow and the colonel would have kept him, but he got to stealing the colonel’s liquor. That of course, was unpardonable, when the scarcity of the article was considered. . . . Orders have been given us to put every woman and child (imprison the men) across the line that speaks or acts secesh, and to burn their property, and to destroy all their crops, cut down corn growing, and burn all the cribs. That is something like war. ‘Tis devilish hard for one like me to assist in such work, but believe it is necessary to our course. Having been very busy preparing reports and writing letters all day, feel deuced little like writing you. People here treat us the very best kind, although they are as strong Rebels as live. Bring us peaches and vegetables every day. I can’t hardly think the generals will carry out the orders as above, for it will have a very demoralizing effect upon the men. I’d hate like the deuce to burn the houses of some secesh I know here, but at the same time don’t doubt the justice of the thing.

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