Monday, November 26, 2012

November 25, 1862

November 25, 1862:  In northwest Arkansas, Gen. Marmaduke, with 2,000 Southern cavalry troopers, has made a base at Cane Hill (about 25 miles southwest of Fayetteville) and is busily foraging the countryside for provisions.  He writes to Gen. Hindman, his superior, and urges him to bring the rest of the Army of Arkansas northward and thus press their advantage.  On the Federal side, Gen. James Blunt with about 5,000 infantry and cavalry are camped just west of Bentonville.  When Blunt sends a cavalry detachment to scout out the Rebels, they run into Rebel scouts long before Cane Hill, and Blunt discovers that there really are Rebels too near.  He begins to plan an attack.  Part of his plan involves getting the Federal troops under Brig. Gen. Francis Herron, in Springfield, Missouri, to bring down his troops to support Blunt.

---Confederate artilleryman George Michael Neese writes in his journal this evening of a huge store of tobacco in Winchester that Gen. Stonewall Jackson has ordered destroyed lest it fall into the hands of the Federals, describing in poignant and poetic style the tragic loss of so much prime Virginia weed: 

We are camped about a mile from where the tobacco was burned, but I smelled the burning sacrifice all day, and this evening at dusk I went to the great funeral pyre, which was beyond the southern limits of town near a group of weeping willows not far from the Front Royal pike. There was a large stock of fine-looking tobacco burning, when I saw it after dark, and many a glorious quid had then already gone up in the curling aromatic smoke from the fire that was burning all day. The sacrificial flame shot its dancing light through the dusky shadows of night and its golden lances were caught by the drooping branches of the willows that were weeping over the funeral pyre. A strong guard of soldiers were standing around the fire, with fixed bayonets, to keep sacrilegious sinners from snatching with irreverence the incense from the glowing censer. I heard to-night that the tobacco destroyed to-day was worth about seventy-five thousand dollars.

---Capt. A.W. Shirk, of the USS Lexington, is fired upon by Rebels on the west bank of the Mississippi near Helena, Arkansas, and he returns fire.  After some heavy-gun sparring for a while, Shirk sends men ashore, who capture contrabands and a large deposit of cotton.

---A detachment of Rebel cavalry, operating behind Union lines, cross the Potomac River into Maryland, and at Poolesville seize a government telegraph station and its operators.

---Rebel cavalry raids Henderson, Tennessee, burns the rail depot, and captures a company of Union infantry.

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