Monday, October 1, 2012

September 30, 1862

September 30, 1862: 

*First Battle of Newtonia, Missouri – The Confederates have been trying to build up their forces in southwestern Missouri for some time.  The Union, meanwhile, have been aggressively recruiting native American troops from the pro-Union refugees that the pro-Southern Cherokees have driven out of the Indian Territory.  The town of Newtonia had ample crops and grist mills to provide food for an army, and so Col. Douglas Cooper of the Confederate Army sends troops there to secure the town.  Union troops are at Fort Scott in Kansas, and in Springfield, Missouri---both within striking distance of Newtonia.  Gen. James Blunt at Fort Scott sends out two brigades of 1,500 troops under Col. Frederick Salomon, who has two regiments of the newly-made Indian Home Guard under his command.  Most of them are Cherokee and Creek, but there are also a company each of Delaware, Seneca, Kickapoo, Quapaw, and Shawnee---along with two companies each of Osage.  The Confederate force under Cooper also has Creek, Cherokee, and also Seminole.  The Federals advance cautiously, but they do not know how poorly armed the Rebels are.  TheRebels attack, and the Federals retreat, but they meet with reinforcements, and so regroup and counterattack, driving the Rebels back, the Indians in blue fighting the Indians in gray.  The Rebels also bring up reinforcements, and drive the Federals back on their heels---and their retreat turns into a rout, with very little order being preserved.  Confederate Victory.

Losses:   U.S.   245               C.S. 100

---Now that the Maryland campaign is over, the squabble between Stonewall Jackson and A.P. Hill is revived.  Jackson has not pressed charges, but Hill still rankles over the insult, and demands that a court of inquiry in order to clear his name.  He writes to General Lee: 

   I respectfully say to the general that I deny the truth of every allegation made by Major-General Jackson, and am prepared to prove my denial by any number of honorable men, including members of General Jackson's own staff. If General Jackson had accorded me the courtesy of asking an explanation of each instance of neglect of duty as it occurred, I think that even he would have been satisfied, and the necessity avoided of keeping a black-list against me. It is hardly necessary to remark that these charges made by General Jackson are of a serious character, involving my reputation and standing as an. . . .  I again respectfully, reiterate my request for a court of inquiry, to involve the matter of these additional allegations, and ask that a speedy answer be given me.

Jackson, having read Hill’s letter, adds his own to it, apparently not as keen on preferring charges against Hill as he was before:

Respectfully forwarded, with the accompanying charge and specifications respecting Major General A. P. Hill's neglect of duty.
    They are not forwarded because I deem a judicial investigation of his conduct necessary, but it appears proper that as I arrested him for neglect of duty, and he insists upon having his case investigated, that I should forward the charge and specifications, so as to enable the commanding general to order a general court-martial for the investigation, should the interest of the public service so require. . . .

---Pres. Lincoln, worried about McClellan’s inaction, here nearly 2 weeks after the Battle of Antietam, determines to visit McClellan in the field.  He will be accompanied by Gen. John McClernand of Illinois, Ward Lamon, and the president of the B&O Railroad, among others.

---McClellan is unaware how little patience Washington has for him lately, and his dispatches back to the War Department hint at how disappointed he is that he is not being given thanks, or anywhere near enough credit for beating Lee.  Gen. Halleck, however, is heapint praise on Little Mac:  The valor and endurance of your army in the several conflicts … are creditable alike to the troops and to the officers who commanded them. . . . A grateful country while mourning the lamented dead will not be unmindful of the honors due the living.”

---The Richmond Daily Dispatch publishes a singularly candid editorial criticizing the Emancipation Proclamation that not only reveals the Southern conviction that the War is about slavery, but also reveals a hefty contempt for the Constitution:

The Yankee Government has at last laid aside all disguise. . . . For the proclamation itself, it does not in the least alter the character of the war. It has been an abolition contest from the beginning, and is no more an abolition contest now than it was at first. The Yankees have stolen and set free all the negroes who were willing to go, . . . This document is merely curious, from the clear demonstration which it affords, of the entire possession which the abolition party has taken of the Federal Government, and the utter prostration of the last remnant of what used with so much unction to be termed by the canting knaves of New England”the bulwark of our liberties” –we mean that ridiculous old Constitution of the United States, which no party ever paid any attention to when they were strong enough to disregard it, and from which no party too weak to justify its position with the sword ever received the slightest protection

---Federal surgeon Alfred L. Castleman writes in his journal of his reunion with his family:

30th.—Left Hagerstown at 8 this forenoon. Stopped five hours at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and now again am on the way to ——, and I hope to meet with no more delays.  Reached home a little after midnight, found my family all well, and I verily believe are glad to see me.

---Gideon Welles, U.S. Sec. of the Navy, writes in his journal about Major Key, a staff officer who may have inadvertently revealed an alarming prevailing sentiment in the Union Army officer corps---that the War should not crush the South or slavery: 

The President informed us of his interview with [Maj.] Key, one of Halleck’s staff, who said it was not the game of the army to capture the Rebels at Antietam, for that would give the North advantage and end slavery; it was the policy of the army officers to exhaust both sides and then enforce a compromise which would save slavery.

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