Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26, 1862

October 26, 1862: Gen. William S. Rosecrans responds to the order to take command of the Army of the Cumberland with a rather strange telegram to Gen. Halleck (and to Pres. Lincoln) which reveals a high level of unease in the general:

CAIRO, ILL, October 27, 1862 - 11.40 A. M.
(Received 4 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General- in- Chief:
    I was astonished at your dispatch. I am obeying orders as fast as the ordinary mans of travel will carry me. My telegraph only means to say, as I could not get conveyeance from Cairo before this morning, I would spend the time in completely winding up my affirs at Corinth instead of lying idle at Cairo. If you desire more, please say what, and it shall be done if possible.


In return, Halleck sends this reprimand:
WASHINGTON, D. C., October 26, 1862.
Major-General ROSECRANS,
   Your telegram of yesterday tothe President has bee sent tothe War Deaprtment. Your conduct in this matter is very reprehensible, and I am directed to say that unless you immediately obey the orders sent to you you will not receive the command.

General- in- Chief.

Maj. Gen. William Starke Rosecrans, U.S.A.

Vicksburg Campaign Begins: Gen. Ulysses S. Grant has Vicksburg and control of the Mississippi River in view as he begins his campaign to capture the Gibraltar of the Mississippi. Assemblilng his army in Tennessee, he plans to advance overland down through the state of Mississippi and then take Vicksburg from behind, on the landward side, since approaching the city from the river—or finding solid ground close enough land troops on—is theoretically unlikely. But a few miles down the Mississippi Central Railroad, which Grant plans to use as his line of advance, Gen. Sterling Price of the Confederate Army (under the overall command of John C. Pemberton) is assembling a force calculated to stop Grant, at Holly Springs.


—President Lincoln, determined to keep tabs on McClellan’s movements, sends this telegram to the general partly to mollify Little Mac about the horses comment, and to compliment him that he is finally crossing the Potomac into Virginia:

EXECUTIVE MANSION WASHINGTON, October 26, 1862. 11.30am
Yours, in reply to mine about horses, received. Of course you know the facts better than I; still two considerations remain: Stuart’s cavalry outmarched ours, having certainly done more marked service on the Peninsula and everywhere since. Secondly, will not a movement of our army be a relief to the cavalry, compelling the enemy to concentrate instead of foraging in squads everywhere? But I am so rejoiced to learn from your despatch to General Halleck that you begin crossing the river this morning.

—Two Federal gunboats, the USS Clifton and USS Westfield, attack the port of Indianola, Texas, and take possession of the port and town.

—The CSS Alabama overtakes a schooner, the Crenshaw, from New York, bound to Scotland with a load of flour. The Crenshaw is condemned and burned at sea.

—Laura M. Towne, a Northern woman in the Sea Islands off South Carolina, writes in her diary about the brutal way the Union army is "recruiting" black men for the army:

[Diary] October 26.
At church to-day Captain Randolph and Colonel Elwell were present. They came to see the colored men and to recruit, or rather with an eye to recruiting. But there were no able-bodied young men to be seen. They had all taken to the woods at the sight of epaulets, guessing the errand. The seizure and transportation to Pulaski of those men from the village has had a very bad effect. No man likes to be seized and taken from home to unknown parts — specially as they were taught to expect it by their masters; these people hate it, for they think they will surely be sent to Cuba.

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