Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11, 1862

October 11, 1862: Gen. Stuart’s Wild Ride, Part 3 - Early this morning, Gen. J.E.B. Stuart orders his men to torch the railroad yards, machine shops, and U.S. Army warehouses in Chambersburg, since they are unable to destroy the railroad bridge. 
Rebels in Chambersburg, Penn.

Stuart then decides to return by a different route—and once again have the audacity to ride completely around McClellan’s army. He turns his brigade east towards Gettysburg, but turns south at Cashtown to Fairfield. By evening, the Rebels have reached Emmitsburg, Maryland. They rest briefly and, having heard of Federal cavalry patrols nearby, decide to move on. The ride continues through the night. William Blackford, one of Stuart’s troopers, records his memories of the night march:

It is no small tax upon one’s endurance to remain marching all night; during the day there is always something to attract the attention and amuse, but at night there is nothing. The monotonous jingle of arms and accoutrements mingles with the tramp of horses’ feet into a drowsy hum all along the marching column, which makes one extremely sleepy, and to be sleepy and not to be allowed to sleep is exquisite torture.

By the morning of the 12th, the gray troopers are in Hyattstown, Maryland, directly east of McClellan’s Federals in Harper’s Ferry. McClellan, in response, sends out a host of small detachments to scour the countryside.

—Sec. of the U.S. Navy, Gideon Welles, notes in his journal about the first news of Stuart’s raid:
October 11, Saturday. We have word which seems reliable that Stuart’s Rebel cavalry have been to Chambersburg in the rear of McClellan, while he was absent in Philadelphia stopping at the Continental Hotel. I hope neither statement is correct. But am apprehensive that both may be true.

—On this date, the New York Times editorializes somewhat more generously than yesterday on Buell’s performance as a general:
We may not yet know the full extent of the collision between the great armies, at Perryville, nor the results which its issue will bring. Perhaps other and harder fights are yet to be fought on or near that ground. But what we have heard is the index of all that will follow. The army of Gen. BUELL is one that will fight to annihilation; retreat or surrender, or pause in its work — never!

---—The Richmond Daily Dispatch, ever ready to protest violations of civil liberties of white people by Lincoln’s government, publishes an editorial:
A few days since some Black Republican speculators in the substitute business, who had violated the orders of the War Department, were sent to Fort Lafayette. The Abolition papers, however, made a great howl over it, and they have been released. There are, however, scores of better men and truer patriots in there than those released, in whose behalf not a word is uttered. . . . If there is but one man unjustly deprived of his liberty, it ought to arouse every American to instant action. The principle is the same. Our liberties are overthrown, and the rights of the individual are left to the whim or caprice of some upstart official. There is a day of retribution coming, however, for the murderers of liberty and the persecutors of Democrats amongst us. As Mr. Valiandignam says in his excellent speech, which we publish this week, "the measure they have meted out to us shall be measured to them again." Yes, that it will, "shaken down and pressed together.""The arrest of Dr. Olds," chuckles the Abolition tyrants of the Evening Post,"and the summary squelching of Charles Ingersoll, show that the Government is wide awake!" Yes, indeed, it is wide awake. It can conquer unarmed men, and that seems to be about the extent of its victories.

—Sergeant Alexander G. Dowling, of the 11th Iowa Infantry, records some interesting details in his journal (upon his regiment’s return to Corinth) about the army rations, which most of us in our day would find surprising. Recording yesterday that they had no regular rations, and had been eating fresh beef and sweet potatoes, they now get their regular rations again:
Saturday, 11th—We were routed out this morning at 1 o’clock and started for Corinth, seventy miles distant. It soon began raining, and after marching six miles in the rain we met our provision train. We stacked our arms by the roadside, drew some rations and had a good square meal again. The hard-tack and coffee, with the bacon broiled on our ramrods in the fire, tasted mighty good—better than any pound cake eaten at home.
But, then, perhaps his mother made very poor pound cake.

—The Cincinnati Gazette publishes a notice of a small battle near Helena, Arkansas, where Maj. Rector of the 4th Iowa Cavalry encountered a larger force of Texas Rangers, under Lt. Col. Giddings. The Iowa troopers routed the Rebels, capturing a host of prisoners, including Lt. Col. Giddings.

—Near Bulls Bay, South Carolina, the U.S.S. Restless, on blockade duty, captures the Elmira Cornelius attempting to run the blockade.

—In nearby Charleston, the Confederate Navy launches a new ironclad gunboat named the Palmetto State, a ship paid for entirely by subscription and fundraising by the ladies of South Carolina.

—On this date, the CSS Alabama overhauls and captures the S.S. Manchester, a U.S. ship loaded with grain and cotton. After re-supplying from the Yankee ship, the Rebel sailors burn the Manchester.

—Seventeen miles from Winchester, Virginia, a detachment of 300 Federal cavalry, under Colonel McReynolds, falls upon the camp of Confederate cavalry under the command of Col. John Imboden, and capture "a major, lieutenant, twenty-five privates, a large number of horses and mules, one thousand blankets, a quantity of ammunition, brass cannon, wagons, firearms, clothing, and Colonel Imboden’s private papers."


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