- 10 Jan 2020 14:15
January 10, Friday
Grant’s Federal troops in the cold and damp leave the Cairo, Illinois, area and move toward Columbus, Kentucky. Meant largely as a diversionary action to take attention from Union operations toward east Tennessee, Grant leads his men on a dreary, wearisome march with little fighting. By January 21 they will be back in Cairo, mission accomplished, and a lot learned about winter marching.
Farther east in Kentucky, at Middle Creek, near Prestonburg, Federal forces under Brigadier General James A. Garfield advances against Confederates under Humphrey Marshall. Garfield is unable to penetrate the Confederate lines or force them back, but after the engagement both sides retreat, and both claim victory. It is another event in the slow developing Federal drive toward east Tennessee.
In a Confederate command change the Trans-Mississippi District of Department No. 2 is set up under command of Major General Earl Van Dorn. Van Dorn is actually President Davis’s third choice for the position—the new department essentially supersedes the authority of General Sterling Price, the pre-war governor of Missouri, and pro-Price Missourians have objected so strenuously to Davis’s first choice, Colonel Henry Heth of Virginia, that Heth has declined the appointment. So has Davis’s second choice, General Braxton Bragg, who declines to risk his reputation in an area where, he writes, “so much as been lost, and so little done.” Colonel Thomas Snead, Price’s adjutant, will write, “We were delighted [with Van Dorn’s appointment], for he was known to be a fighting man, and we felt sure he would help us regain our state.”
President Lincoln, still anxious over his armies, writes the Secretary of War that he is exceedingly discouraged over the failure to launch an offensive in the West. “As everywhere else, nothing can be done, he says. At the same time the President is considering the problem of Secretary of War Simon Cameron, who has appended a strong anti-slavery statement to his official report without permission. There are repeated charges of corruption in the War Department, and demands for Cameron’s ouster.
On this same day President Lincoln visits the office of his able Quartermaster General, Montgomery C. Meigs, saying, “General, what shall I do? The people are impatient; Chase has no money and tells me ha can raise no more; the General of the Army has typhoid fever. The bottom is out of the tub. What shall I do?” Meigs points out that McClellan has been in bed for three weeks and might be incapacitated for three more, and suggests that Lincoln convene a White House conference. Lincoln does so, meeting with several Cabinet members and two of McClellan’s corps commanders, saying, “If General McClellan does not want to use the Army, I would like to borrow it.” In this and subsequent meetings they discuss possible avenues of attack.
In the US Senate Missouri senators Waldo P. Johnson and Trusten Polk, pro-Confederates, are unanimously expelled.
The first auction of confiscated cotton from Port Royal, South Carolina, is held in New York.
We are all ignorant, only in different ways, and no one is as ignorant as an educated man outside his own field.
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.