Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 21, 1864

March 21, 1864

---Convinced that Gen. Steele’s Yankees in Arkansas are going to stay put for a while, Gen. Edmund Kirby-Smith, commander of the Confederate Department of the Trans-Mississippi, orders Gen. Sterling Price and his troops south into Louisiana, to Shreveport.  Price has replaced Theophilus Holmes as commander of the Rebels in Arkansas.  Price is reluctant to move south, since his preference always is to strike northward into his native Missouri, to liberate it from the hated Yankees. 

---Red River Campaign:  Battle of Henderson Hill.  Brig. Gen. Albert Lee, commanding the Federal cavalry in this expedition, detaches a brigade under Col. Thomas Lucas, which joins two brigades of infantry under Joseph Mower, to move upstream toward the nearest Rebel outpost.  Lucas’ horsemen run into Rebel cavalry about 13 miles out of Alexandria, and the Federals drive them across the Bayou Rapides and up onto Henderson Hill.  At this point, the Rebels bring up artillery and begin shelling the bluecoats.  Gen. Mower arrives, and decides to keep Lucas on the hill in front (to “amuse” the Rebels) and sends a brigade of infantry and two cannon, along with one of Lucas’ mounted regiments, on a long march around the Confederate flank.  The Federals turn into the Confederate camps and capture all troops there, and then move in behind Henderson Hill, where Col. Vincent and the 2nd Louisiana Cavalry Regiment surrenders, whole.  Gen. Taylor now has no more cavalry.  The total “bag” is over 222 men, 200 horses, 4 cannons, 92 muskets, and a lot of vehicles and equipment for cavalry.  Union Victory.

---The Richmond Daily Dispatch publishes an editorial on the subject of the Union recruiting slaves in Kentucky to fight.  Gov. Bramlette protests to Washington that Kentucky is a loyal state, and that enrolling slaves into the Union army violates state laws:

Affairs in Kentucky–action of Gen. Bramlette on its negro enlistment.

Governor Bramlette, of Kentucky, has written to the President, protesting against the enrollment of negroes, and giving notice that he will enforce the State laws in the matter. –Kentucky, he says having proved her loyally, must be treated as a loyal State, and her Constitution and laws respected. A telegram from Louisville says:

Gov. Bramlette telegraphed to the Provost Marshal General of the State, at Danville yesterday, that if the Government did not stop the enrollment of slaves in the State, he (the Governor) would. He also telegraphed to the Rev. Dr. Robert Breckinridge, the distinguished Union leader, to come to Frankfort.

Mr. Breckinridge replied that he did not approve of the course taken by the Governor at all, and if he expected him to sustain his courses there was no use of his coming to the State capital. He preferred to remain among the people. . . .

The Union men of the State have taken a decided stand in favor of the National Government, and are determined to sustain the proper officers in the enforcement of the Federal laws in the State.

Bramlette has issued an address to the people of Kentucky, in which he says:

In view of the disturbance of the popular mind produced by the enrollment of slaves for the army in Kentucky, it is deemed prudent to make the following suggestions for the benefit and guidance of the people of Kentucky. Your indignation should not prove you to commit acts of violence nor to unlawful deeds. Standing as we have stood and will ever stand for the Constitution and the Union and the enforcement of the laws, we must repel the efforts of the rebellion to overturn our Government by our gallant soldiers in the field, and meet and correct unjust or unconstitutional legislation by legal appeals to constituted tribunes of the Government; and at the ballot box, in constituted modes, overthrow those who pervert or abuse the trust committed to them.

This is the only true mode of maintaining the Constitution and the Union and the enforcement of the laws. The mere act of enrolling the names of slaves does not affect any right of citizens. . . .

It is our duty to obey the law until it is declared by judicial decision to be unconstitutional. Citizens whose property may be taken for public use will be entitled, under the imperative mandate of the Constitution, to just compensation for his private property, so taken for public use. Although the present Congress may not do us justice, yet it is safe to rely upon the justice of the American people, and an appeal to them will not be unheeded or unanswered. . . . Uphold and maintain your Government, as constituted, and obey and enforce its just demands as the only hope of perpetuating free institutions.

Apparently, Gov. Bramlette is allowing the possibility that holding slaves in Kentucky may be considered “perpetuating free institutions.”

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