Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 5, 1862

November 5, 1862:  In Virginia, Gen. Sigel’s cavalry scouts verify that Gen. Longstreet’s divisions in gray have occupied Culpepper Court House, and thus blocked McClellan’s possible road to Richmond, if he wanted his Army of the Potomac to beat Lee to the punch.  But McClellan’s leisurely pace is not likely to change, and he shows no signs of it now.  Pres. Lincoln reaches his limit, and decides that it is time to sack McClellan.  On the day after the election, Lincoln feels he can do this safely.  The President hands off the order to Gen. Halleck, and asks him to see that it is delivered to the general.


By direction of the President, it is ordered that Major-General McClellan be relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac, and that Major-General Burnside take the command of that army. Also that Major-General Hunter take command of the corps in said army which is now commanded by General Burnside. That Major-General Fitz. John Porter be relieved from command of the corps he now commands in said army, and that Major-General Hooker take command of said corps.

The general-in-chief is authorized, in [his] discretion, to issue an order substantially as the above forthwith, or so soon as he may deem proper.


---George Templeton Strong rgloomily uminates over the losses to Lincoln's party in the mid-term elections of yesterday, writing in his journal:

November 5.  As anticipated, total rout in this state [NY].  Seymour is governor.  Elsewhere defeat, or nominal success by a greatly reduced vote.  It looks like a great, sweeping revolution of public sentiment, like general abandonment of the loyal, generous spirit of patriotism that broke out so nobly and unexpectedly in April, 1861.  Was that after all nothing but a temporary hysteric spasm?  I think not. . . . We take advantage of the first opportunity of change, for its own sake, just a feverish patient shifts his position in bed. . . . I I am mistaken, and if this vote does endorse the policy of Fernando Wood and John Van Buren, it is a vote of national suicide.  All is up.  We are a lost people. . . . I will forge certificates showing that I was not born in America . . . and become naturalized as a citizen of Venezuela, Haiti, or the Papal States.  But I will not yet believe that this people is capable of so shameful and despicable an act of self-destruction as to disembowel itself in the face of the civilized world for fear Jefferson Davis should hurt it.

---Union army surgeon Alfred L. Castleman, back at the front after his furlough home, writes in his journal about the steady advance of his division:

5th.—Broke camp at 2 in the afternoon; moved four or five miles in a southerly direction, still keeping a few miles to the east of the Blue Ridge. No enemy encountered, and none found to-day by our advanced guard. Troops in fine health and spirits.

---Young Lieut. Josiah Marshall Favill, of the 57th New York Infantry, tells of a dinner invitation to the home of a local planter there in Virginia;

November 5th. Still in camp at New Upperville, doing absolutely nothing, which seems to indicate a good deal of irresolution on the part of somebody. It is generally suspected that we have no plan of campaign and are just sloshing around waiting for something to turn up. Colonel Zook accepted an invitation for himself and staff to dinner at the house of a prominent Southern planter to-day, and we presented ourselves in full uniform. The house was large and stately, with wide halls and lofty ceilings, and the dinner was served in a very noble dining room. The appointments were in keeping with the style of the house, and the dinner proved excellent but very formal. [Mr.] Broom, who is neither formal, nor dignified, soon made himself at home, and at length induced a reasonable amount of sociability. The planter was a member of the Virginia legislature at the time the secession ordinance was passed, and was opposed to it. Finding himself in the minority, he retired to his ancestral domain, and has since endeavored to preserve a masterly inactivity, a difficult thing to do in these times. He gave us many interesting reminiscences of public men in Virginia, apparently knowing every man of note in the State.

---A several yellow fever epidemic continues to sweep through the vital port city of Wilmington, North Carolina. Eleven whites were buried on Nov. 4 alone.

---The British steamer Dart is captured trying to run the blockade off Sabine Pass, Texas, by the schooner USS Rachel Seaman.

---A sharp battle takes place at Lamar, Missouri, between Quantrill’s raiders and two companies of Federal garrison troops.  The Rebels drive the Yankees off, and capture the town, burning part of it.

---At Barbee’s Crossroads, Gen. Pleasanton’s cavalry clashes again with Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry.  The Rebel riders are beaten, and driven off.

---There is a sharp battle on the outskirts of Nashville, where Gen. Negley of the Union army inflicts severe losses on two divisions of Rebel troops, including John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry brigade.



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