Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 1862

October 22, 1862:  A Democrat-oriented newspaper in Seneca County, New York, publishes an editorial that plays the race card with a vengeance:
Abolition and Amalgamation.

 These beautious and fragrant twins, – offsprings of the Republican party, have taken a fixed position among the political facts of the day. President LINCOLN, after a season of heartless coquetry with the conservative sentiment of the country, has finally proclaimed the end aim of this war to be the abolition of slavery; and the establishment of the negro element, as an independent governing power in the far off South. To accomplish this, the blood and treasure of the north is to be poured out like water. For this end, thousands of the best lives in this country are to be sacrificed and tens of thousands of millions of dollars wrested from the people by a hungry hoard of Republican tax-gatherers, are to be spent. – One tenth of the proceeds of the industry of the country are to be annually taken from the people to pay the interest on current expenses; and a debt, as unending as the returns of the seasons, is to be fastened upon the future. Verily, the good time foretold by songsters, has come. Free speech and a free press, aye, even free white men, have ceased to be; but in their place we have free plunder for partizans, free taxes for the people, and free negroes to support.

—Gen. George McClellan writes to Gen. Halleck, and tells him that he will probably begin to advance again southward, but keeping his army between Washington and the Rebel army.

—Gen. Lee writes to Pres. Davis and, supposing that McClellan will “do little more this fall than to organize and instruct his new troops,” asks Davis’s advice on Lee’s plan to quarter his troops for the winter.

—Old Fort Wayne, Indian Territory: Battle of Maysville - Gen. Blunt’s column, about 3,000 strong, is on the trail after the Confederate Col. Douglas Cooper and his cavalry, who were camped near Old Fort Wayne, just across the Arkansas state line in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).  Blunt arouses the 2nd Kansas Cavalry Regiment soon after 4:00 AM, and sends word to awaken the rest of his two brigades.  Blunt rides with the 2nd Kansas, and sends a few companies to circle around behind the Confederate camp and catch them by surprise.  But the Federals find the Confederates gone—who apparently have known that Blunt is coming.  Cooper has put his supply train in motion first, and left a rear guard to guard their retreat.  (Cooper has about 7,000 men, and does not realize that he outnumbers Blunt by 2 to 1.)  Blunt, about this time, discovers where the Rebels are, but also discovers that he has only one regiment with him.  In the pre-dawn confusion, word did not get passed down to the rest of his division, who are still asleep in their camp.  He sends back to awaken them—but, not waiting Blunt proceeds to advance with just the 2nd Kansas anyway.  The Rebel rear guard is larger than the 2nd Kansas, and is near Maysville, commanded by Col. Michael Buster, and consists mostly of Cherokees of Col. Stand Watie’s 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles. 
Col. Stand Watie, 1st Cherokee Rifles

When Blunt’s Kansans deploy into line of battle, he sees that his numbers are too small.  Then, Capt. Samuel Crawford, with a battlion of the Kansas troopers, about 250 men, dashes forward on their own to seize the Confederate artillery, totally without orders, to Gen. Blunt’s shock and dismay.  But the brash dash by Crawford succeeds in an unexpected way.  The crews of the Rebel cannon were surrounded, and they instantly surrender—and the rest of the Rebel infantry dissolves and flees down the road.  Watie and his mounted Cherokees still stand, but the Union 3rd Indian Home Guard regiment appears on Blunt’s left, and they exchange shots with Watie’s Cherokees until the Rebel riders retreat also.  More Federal troops arrive, and a battery unlimbers and begins to toss shells into the retreating Southern column.  Blunt orders a pursuit, but Cooper manages to save his ammunition train and keep retreating down to Fort Smith in the Arkansas River Valley.  Results: many secessionist Cherokees become convinced that the Confederate cause is in decline.  Many desert and swell the ranks of Blunt’s Home Guard Indian regiments, simply switching sides.  This odd battle turns out to be a Union victory.
Brig. Gen. James Blunt (no relation to the singer)

—Meanwhile, in Huntsville, Arkansas, Gen. Schofield drives Gen. Hindman’s Rebel brigades out of the town in a brief fight.

---Near Van Buren, Arkansas, a force of Union cavalry engages in a sharp fight for an hour and routs the much-larger Confederate cavalry detachment opposing them.

—The Richmond Daily Dispatch, in an editorial, calls for the Conscription Law to be passed and applied, since it is clear that the Yankees have big plans for new invasions:

 The Yankees had not only determined on, but had already begun to levy a new force of six hundred thousand men. That force, we declared, would be raised in a very short time, and we were not wrong. It is already in great part; drilling as rapidly as it can and by the time the cold weather sets in it will be upon us. We shall have another "on to Richmond," and that is a very short time. The advance of McClellan indicates thus much. . . .  An invasion is designed to which that we have yet seen of invasion is mere child's play.

The editors scold the Confederate Congress for moving too slow on this bill.  But although the editors have every confidence that Southern men will meet the emergency with “promptness and gallantry”, they warn of a dire struggle ahead:
We have no belief that we can be finally beaten here upon our own soil, fighting for our altars and our firesides — But we must dismiss all illusions, agreeable as they may be, and learn to look at the grim reality. It is war in its most gloomy aspect that we are called upon to endure.

—The U.S.S. Penobscot overtakes and captures a British blockade runner, the Robert Bruce, off of Shalotte Inlet in North Carolina. 

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