The American Civil War, day by day - Page 52 - Politics | PoFo

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November 5, Wednesday

To President Lincoln, it looks like the enemy has gotten away again. McClellan has failed his test. Lincoln confides to his old friend and trusted adviser, Francis Preston Blair, that he “had tried long enough to bore with an auger too dull to take hold. He has got the slows, Mr. Blair.” There is more to it. Lincoln has indulged McClellan’s “slows” before, but times have changed. As a conservative Democrat, McClellan stands for limited war and compromise. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation has doomed all possibility of meeting the Confederacy halfway. For the North, the war is now being waged not only to preserve the Union but to abolish slavery. McClellan, with his overwhelming caution and his reluctance to sacrifice the lives of his soldiers, does not possess the ardor to fight such an all-out war.

So today Lincoln has orders drawn up relieving McClellan of command of the Army of the Potomac and replacing him with General Burnside. Secretary of War Stanton is so worried that McClellan might refuse to step down, or that the army might mutiny, that he arranges extraordinary procedures for delivering the orders. He entrusts them to his high-ranking assistant, Brigadier General Catharinus P. Buckingham, and instructs him to take a special train to the army’s field headquarters north of Warrenton.

There is a Federal reconnaissance from La Grange toward Somerset, Tennessee; action near Nashville; an affair near Piketon, Kentucky; a skirmish at Jumpertown, Mississippi; and action at Lamar, Missouri; as well as operations lasting several days from Helena to Moro, Arkansas; in Augusta, Bath, and Highland counties, Virginia; and Pendleton and Pocahontas counties, western Virginia.
B0ycey wrote:Perhaps you maybe in the mist on a new civil war for you to write daily blogs on @Doug64.

Regardless of his possible mental state I find his contribution to this thread neutral and useful, and I would like to express my appreciation on that.

That said, his posts here are pretty different from his posts elsewhere.
B0ycey wrote:Perhaps you maybe in the mist on a new civil war for you to write daily blogs on @Doug64.

Unlikely. Things are nowhere near as bad as they were in the 1850s and 1860s.
@B0ycey, unlikely, as @Potemkin says we aren’t there yet, and if Trump picks up four of the five major states left (or Nevada and three of the major states), then we aren’t likely to get there.

@Patrickov, thanks, much appreciated. :D
Doug64 wrote:@B0ycey, unlikely, as @Potemkin says we aren’t there yet, and if Trump picks up four of the five major states left (or Nevada and three of the major states), then we aren’t likely to get there.

It was of course a joke. But I expect riots, especially if Trump tries to steal Nevada. Your boy has lost by the way.
@B0ycey, the states that haven’t been called yet, haven’t been called for a reason. But that’s a discussion for a different thread.
November 6, Thursday

While General Breckinridge waits at Murfreesboro for the rest of the main Confederate army to arrive, he frets that the Federals will learn how small his force is (only his 6,000-man division) and drive him south. As a show of strength, he has ordered a new series of cavalry raids by Forrest and Morgan. Today Morgan attacks toward Nashville from the north, while Forrest attacks from the south. Both cavalry forces skirmish vigorously with Federal troops but with few significant results. Forrest will say that he believes the Confederates could have taken Nashville at any time and should have. But it is too late: Rosecrans and the Army of the Cumberland will march in tomorrow.

There is skirmishing at Martinsburg, western Virginia; Garrettsburg, Kentucky; Old Lamar, Mississippi; and a Federal reconnaissance from La Grange, Tennessee, toward Lamar, with further skirmishing. Federal expeditions from Fort Scott, Kansas, will operate November 6-11.
November 7, Friday

General Buckingham arrives at his first stop on his mission to relieve McClellan of his command, Burnside’s headquarters near Salem, in the midst of an unseasonably early snowstorm. Burnside, as he has on two previous occasions, refuses to accept command of the army, protesting that he is not qualified. But when Buckingham, acting under Secretary of War Stanton’s instructions, informs him that if he does not accept it the command will go to Hooker, his bitter rival, he relents.

Buckingham and Burnside then board the train together and ride a few miles up the line to Rectortown. It is about 11 pm, and McClellan is writing a letter to his wife when the two generals appear at the entrance to his tent. McClellan receives them cordially. He has girded himself for this moment; he has heard about the special train and expects to be sacked. The shock comes with the news of his successor: his old friend Burnside, whom he now regards as “not fit to command more than a regiment.” McClellan carefully conceals his emotions as he reads the orders to return immediately to his home in Trenton, New Jersey, where he is to await “further orders”—orders that will never come. In response to Burnside’s pleas, however, he agrees to remain for a few days to help with the transition in command.

On the face of it, McClellan’s opinion of Burnside is overwrought—whatever Burnside’s fellow officers and subordinates think of his abilities, and the opinions are remarkable diverse, almost everyone agrees that he has a captivating personality. There is a certain brigandish air about his casual dress, the pistol slung low on his hip, the broad-brimmed hat atop his balding, impressive head. He smiles frequently, remembers names, looks after the welfare of his troops, wins friends with ease, takes orders well, and conveys to the world an air of sturdy competence. But his dashing appearance disguises some critical flaws in his character. He is obstinate, unimaginative, and unsuited for high command. Those who know him sense it eventually. It is to Burnside’s credit that he understands his limitations and freely confesses them. And it will be an enduring tragedy that his superiors don’t listen to him. But Lincoln needs a leader for the Army of the Potomac, and he has few men from which to choose. The other eligible corps commanders all have disqualifying flaws: Edwin V. Sumner, at 65, is too old; William B. Franklin is uninspired and too much imbued with what Lincoln has called McClellan’s “slows”; Hooker is troublesome and too junior in rank. Burnside, on the other hand, is a brave, loyal, and youthful officer, one who has done well in North Carolina and seems free of McClellan’s influence despite their friendship. As so often happens in this war, Lincoln is forced to choose not the ideal man for the command, but the one who presents the fewest apparent liabilities.

The dread with which Burnside anticipates his new responsibilities deepens to depression after he reads his first order from the general in chief of the Union Army, Henry W. Halleck: “Report the position of your troops, and what you propose doing with them.” It is a straightforward, even elementary request. Yet, as Burnside will later comment, “I probably knew less than any other corps commander of the position and relative strengths of the several corps of the army.” Moreover, there is no time for him to learn. President Lincoln wants action, and he wants it immediately; delay is what has caused McClellan’s downfall. Now Burnside has a painful choice—he can continue McClellan’s march that President Lincoln has so firmly suggested, despite the obstacle that Longstreet’s corps presents at Culpeper Court House; he can try to get between the two halves of Lee’s army and deal with them separately; or he can come up with an alternative plan of action. But the President is clearly in no mood to be told that the Army of the Potomac is going into winter quarters.

At the same time Fitz John Porter is relieved from his corps command. Porter, a pro-McClellan corps commander charged with willful disobedience at Second Manassas, is replaced by Joseph Hooker.

Lincoln places the ram fleet on the Mississippi under navy control despite War Department objections.

For the Confederates, General Bragg, resuming command of the Army of the Mississippi after a brief absence, puts one army corps under former bishop Leonidas Polk and the other under William Hardee.

All the good will General Rosecrans has received from the soldiers he leads, his fellow officers (if rather mixed in the case of General Grant), and from President Lincoln cannot change the fact that his men, having marched 700 miles, have outdistanced their supplies. The problems that have undone General Buell remain to be solved. Buell had already started the army toward Nashville, Tennessee, when he was relieved at the end of October, and Rosecrans hasn’t changed those orders. But the relocation to Nashville doesn’t end the Federal supply difficulties, in spite of the fact that the city is located on the Cumberland River and served by the railroad from Louisville, Kentucky. The river is still too low for navigation, and the railroad is still being torn up regularly by Confederate cavalry raids.

There is increased fighting in Tennessee at Gallatin, Tyree Springs, and White Range; as well as at Boonesborough, Rhea’s Mills, and Marianna, Arkansas; Clark’s Mill in Douglas Country, Missouri; and at Spaulding’s or Sapello River in Georgia.
November 8, Saturday

The Federal Army of the Potomac, concentrated in the area of Warrenton, Virginia, is rocked by the news of McClellan’s dismissal.

In Tennessee Grant continues reconnaissance from La Grange, with some skirmishing extending to Hudsonville, Mississippi.

There is also action on the Cumberland River near Gallatin, Tennessee; Burkesville, Kentucky; Marianna, La Grange, and Cover Creek, Arkansas; and Cato, Kansas. Confederate cavalry carries out an expedition November 8-14 from Hardy into Tucker County, western Virginia.

In another command change, Major General Nathaniel P. Banks is named to command the Union Department of the Gulf, replacing Major General Ben Butler, whose dictatorial rule of New Orleans has brought charges and countercharges of cruelty, speculation, and dishonesty. In receiving his orders it is made clear to Banks that “The President regards the opening of the Mississippi River as the first and most important of our military and naval operations.” The same day General Butler closes up all the breweries and distilleries within the department.
November 9, Sunday

General Burnside’s new responsibilities as commander of the Army of the Potomac have made him physically ill, but he has attacked his problems vigorously nevertheless, and today he forwards to Washington a bold new strategy for the capture of Richmond. He proposes concentrating his forces along the route southwest toward Gordonsville to convince Lee that the Federals intend to continue their drive in that direction. Then Burnside will move his army rapidly southeastward from Warrenton to Fredericksburg, on the Rappahannock River. Burnside explains that by shifting toward the east the army will stay closer to Washington and its base of supplies. It will also be on a more direct route to Richmond, for Fredericksburg stands on the main road midway between the two capitals. Burnside aims to cross the Rappahannock, take Fredericksburg before Lee can block him, then move south and seize Richmond.

Burnside knows that everything depends on speed; the attack on Fredericksburg, he stipulates, should be made “as soon as the army arrives in front of the place.” To streamline his operations, he proposes to reorganize his command by creating three “grand divisions,” as he labels them, each containing two corps and each with its own staff. To command the grand divisions he would name three major generals: Sumner, Franklin, and Hooker. At their disposal are well over 100,000 troops. The rest of Burnside’s proposal deals with the problems of supplying his enormous army. He requests that thirty canalboats and barges be loaded with goods and sent down the Potomac to a new supply base at Belle Plain, ten miles northeast of Fredericksburg. He wants additional wagon trains of supplies along with a huge herd of beef cattle to move overland from Alexandria to the Rappahannock crossing. And most important, Burnside asks for enough pontoons to build several floating bridges across the Rappahannock.

Federal cavalry under Ulric Dahlgren make a sensational dash into Fredericksburg, Virginia.

There is skirmishing on the south fork of the Potomac in western Virginia, and a Union expedition into Greenbrier County, as well as a Federal reconnaissance from Bolivar Heights. Other actions are at Huntsville and Dry Wood, Missouri; between Fayetteville and Cane Hill at Boston Mountains, Arkansas; and at Silver Springs and Lebanon, Tennessee.
November 10, Monday

General McClellan gets an opportunity to say goodbye to his troops—for him a most reluctant farewell. Most of the men feel the same way. When McClellan reviews his troops for the last time this day, there are scenes of great emotion. In a flamboyant gesture of affection and protest, the color-bearers of the Irish Brigade fling down their banners in his path. Soldiers weep, mutter about marching on Washington, and call out in his wake, “Send him back! Send him back!” Some of the men break ranks and gather around McClellan as he rides past them. Others, writes Colonel Charles Wainright, “could be seen gazing after him in mute grief, one may almost say despair, as a mourner looks down into the grave of a dearly loved friend.” The idolization of Little Mac continues despite his defeats and failures in battle, although some officers and men have come to recognize his shortcomings. The feelings of the army present a problem to its new commander, Burnside. Major General Hooker takes over for Fitz John Porter in command of the Fifth Corps.

Since late summer General McClernand has politicked for an independent command, even approaching President Lincoln directly. But in the process he has won the quiet enmity of General-in-Chief Halleck and Secretary of War Stanton—the officials he has bypassed in going to the President—and they have worked to cut McClernand down to size. Thus the official orders he has been issued give him substantially less independence than he envisioned—he is to lead the new Illinois regiments he has raised against Vicksburg, but with two crucial qualifications. He can make his move, read the orders, only “when a sufficient force not required by the operations of General Grant’s command shall be raised.” Moreover, McClernand’s operation is “subject to the designation of the general-in-chief.” In other words, Grant remains in overall command, and Halleck intends to keep a tight rein on the operation. Now that Grant has gotten wind of McClernand’s politicking, he sends a telegram to Halleck, demanding to know what is going on. “Am I to understand that I lie still here while an expedition is fitted out from Memphis, or do you want me to push as far south as possible? Am I to have Sherman under my orders, or is he reserved for some special service?” The answer is swift and seems decisive: “You have command of all troops sent to your department, and have permission to fight the enemy where you please.”

There is skirmishing at Charles Town, western Virginia, and operations along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad in Virginia.

President Lincoln is informed by Major General John Pope of the death sentences on 307 Sioux in a telegraphic dispatch from Minnesota. His response to Pope is: “Please forward, as soon as possible, the full and complete record of these convictions. And if the record does not indicate the more guilty and influential, of the culprits, please have a careful statement made on these points and forwarded to me. Please send all by mail.” The list of 307 is pared to 303 before it is sent to him.
November 11, Tuesday

General McClellan boards his train at Warrenton Junction. The general steps out onto the rear platform of his car and calms the distraught men of his honor guard with a little speech. “Stand by General Burnside as you have stood by me,” he urges them, “and all will be well. Goodbye, lads.” Then the train steams slowly out of the station carrying Little Mac away from the war for the last time.

Militarily this is a day of lessened activity except for a Confederate demonstration at New Berne, North Carolina, and a skirmish at Jefferson, Virginia.
November 12, Wednesday

General Burnside’s request to reorganize the Army of the Potomac is immediately approved, but there is little enthusiasm in Washington for Burnside’s plan of action. General in chief Halleck comes to Warrenton to talk with Burnside and argues for the Gordonsville line of advance to Richmond. But he doesn’t express his opinion officially, and leaves the decision to the President. Lincoln is skeptical. He has tried for months to get McClellan to close in and fight the Confederate army, and now the new commander is proposing to skirt that army and move on the Confederate capital. But in the end Lincoln gives his approval, commenting succinctly that the plan “will succeed, if you move very rapidly; otherwise not.”

During Burnside’s meeting with Halleck he believes he has made it clear to Halleck that he intends to march down the north side of the Rappahannock and cross the river at Falmouth. Halleck, on the other hand, is under the impression that Burnside has agreed to modify his plan, so that the army will cross the river at a ford upstream from Fredericksburg, then march along the south bank. In that case, there is obviously little urgency about the pontoons, and Halleck doesn’t immediately act on Burnside’s request for them.

There is some action along Stone’s River in Tennessee, and operations November 12-14 about Suffolk, Virginia, including skirmishes at Providence Church and Blackwater Bridge.
November 13, Thursday

Federal troops take possession of the valuable rail center of Holly Springs, Mississippi, after a brief skirmish. Other skirmishes are near Nashville, Tennessee; and Sulphur Springs, Virginia; as well as an expedition on the Georgia coast lasting until November 18.

Bragg begins moving the main body of the Army of Tennessee north from Chattanooga toward Murfreesboro to join Breckenridge.

President Lincoln charges Attorney General Edward Bates with enforcement of the Federal Confiscation Act.
November 14, Friday

President Lincoln approves Burnside’s moves for driving on Richmond as the new commander of the Army of the Potomac reorganizes his force into grand divisions: the Right Grand Division under Major General Edwin V. Sumner, the Center Grand Division under Major General Joseph Hooker, and the Left Grand Division under Major General William B. Franklin. Word of Burnside’s need for the pontoons reach Brigadier General Daniel P. Woodbury, who is responsible for virtually all of the pontoon bridge materials in the army. He orders Major Ira Spaulding of the 50th New York Engineers to prepare two shipments of pontoons, to be sent on different routes in hopes at least one will make it.

There is fighting at Waterloo, Zuni, and Jefferson, Virginia.

In Tennessee Bragg is concentrating his army around Tullahoma, southeast of Nashville.

In New Orleans a proclamation calls for election of members of the US Congress from portions of the state held by Federals.
Fasces wrote:shit thread. no year.

1862, as a couple minutes of online research would find.
Fasces wrote:K, so you skipped the buildup and the initial onset of hostilities in1861. wonder why?

No, I didn’t. The first post of the thread was Election Day, 1860.
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