Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20, 1862

November 20, 1862: At Falmouth, Virginia, while Burnside is fretting about his missing pontoon boats, Gen. Joseph Hooker arrives with his two corps. On the other side of the river, at Fredericksburg, the divisions of Ransom and McLaws arrive, and in nearby Spotsylvania are Hood’s and Anderson’s divisions, with Pickett’s division close behind.

—Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, recently sacked as commander of the Army of the Potomac, visits New York City and makes public appearances to adoring crowds. His visit is sponsored by the Democrat Party. After spending most of the day trying to locate the general, several hundred people gathered in the street in front of the Fifth Avenue Hotel, where the Seventh Regiment band and the Young Men’s Democratic Association were expected to serenade him. The New York Times gives details:
At 20 minutes of 11 o’clock the Young Men’s Democratic Association appeared in front of the hotel, with Capt. RYNDERS’ gun, and band and gun began to play. With them there came several hundred citizens, who enlivened the occasion by cheers for Gen. MCCLELLAN and reseated groans for Gen. FREMONT and Mr. GREELEY. There was a call for three cheers for Gen. BURNSIDE, which was responded to with one faint cheer, and a die-away. At length the General appeared, accompanied by Mr. LUKE COZZENS, President of the Young Men’s Democratic Association, and the assemblage gave cheer after cheer, lasting for fully a minute.
After the music, the crowd calls upon Gen. McClellan for a speech. He thanked them for their appreciation, and praised New York as having been liberal in furnishing material and men for the war. To the crowd’s disappointment, he did not trash Lincoln or anyone in the government. The Capt. Rynders mentioned, apparently, was a power broker and political organizer in city Democratic politics, and a leader of the Five Points gangs that controlled so much illegal activity in the city.

—In the New Orleans Delta, in the U.S.-occupied city, the editors publish a letter written by "a colored soldier," who is serving in the 1st Regiment of Louisiana Native Guards, one of the first black regiments in the national army, and who are deployed at Lafourche Landing in Cajun country:
I address you this letter, hoping that you may publish it in your columns, which are read daily by at least five or six hundred of their friends. When we left the city, on the 25th ult., we were from 850 to 875 strong. We arrived at this place on the 1st inst., 600 to 845 strong—only about thrity men having fallen out, and these from sickness. We have not, as yet, had the pleasure of exchanging shots with the enemy. But we are still anxious, as we have ever been, to show to the wolrd that the latent courage of the African is aroused, and that, while fighting under the American flag, we can and will be a wall of fire and death the enemies of this country, our birth-place. When we enlisted we were hooted at in the streets of New-Orleans as a rabble of armed plebeians and cowards. I am proud to say that if any cowardice has been exhibited since we left Camp Strong . . . it has been exhibited by the rebels. Most of the 1st Louisiana Native Guards were free blacks, and most of them literate.

—William Lyon, a Union officer stationed at the captured Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River in Tennessee, writes home to his wife, Adelia, about the garrisons usual activity of chasing down Rebel irregulars:
Fort Henry, November 20, 1862.—Four of our companies go up the river tomorrow on an expedition. I do not go. Do not be frightened about guerillas. They are great cowards and will not fight if they can help it. They are mere thieves, and a thief is always a coward. I do not at all fear being killed. Something constantly assures me that I am coming home to you safely. Now, don’t get up a presentiment the other way.

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