The American Civil War, day by day - Page 46 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15112758
August 12, Tuesday

Confederate General Kirby Smith sends his cavalry from Knoxville, Tennessee, on a wide sweep ahead of the route of his planned invasion of Kentucky.

By stationing troops at vital points along his supply lines, Union General Buell has been able to repel raiders south of the Cumberland. But to the north, as Buell will write, “the depredations were prosecuted with increased vigor. Our cavalry was totally insufficient to cope with these incursions, which it must be said, also, were seldom resisted by the infantry guards with vigilance and resolution.” Today, for example, Confederate raiders under John Hunt Morgan sweep into Gallatin, Tennessee, a town on the vital railroad between Nashville and the Federal supply center at Louisville. After the Confederates capture the garrison, burn the depot, and destroy some trestles, they turn their attention to an 800-foot railroad tunnel that has been cut through a mountain north of the town. Morgan’s men set fire to a captured train loaded with hay and push it into the tunnel; the timber supports catch fire and burn until the tunnel collapses.

With the railroad now closed for months and Kirby Smith on the move in Kentucky, Buell begins debating whether he should withdraw toward Nashville or confront the Confederates somewhere else in central Tennessee. In the end, he will decide to concentrate the Army of the Ohio at McMinnville, on the Cumberland Plateau northwest of Chattanooga, where he will be in a position to block any advance by General Bragg.

To the west there is skirmishing between Stockton in Cedar County and Humansville, and at Van Buren, Missouri; a Federal expedition from this day to the fourteenth from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to Independence, Missouri; and between this day and the eighteenth from Camp Gamble, Missouri, a Federal expedition goes searching for guerrillas.

USS Arthur captures the Southern vessel Breaker at Aransas Pass, and Elma and Hannah are burned to avoid capture by Federals off Corpus Christi, Texas.
#15113019
August 13, Wednesday

General Lee receives the first inklings that General McClellan’s army is on the move, both overland to Fort Monroe and down the James River, perhaps withdrawing entirely from the Peninsula. Though this would eliminate the immediate threat to Richmond, Lee perceives a greater danger: If McClellan then joins General Pope west of Washington, they will together muster 130,000 men, enough to fight their way into Richmond from the north. Lee cannot be sure that McClellan’s withdrawal is what it seems to be; he is worried about a feint. Nevertheless, he swiftly makes the sort of decision that separates great general from mediocre ones. He will shift Longstreet’s command of 30,000 men north to join Jackson, even though that will uncover the Confederate capital. Lee sees that everything depends on speed: Jackson and Longstreet must deal with “the miscreant Pope” before McClellan’s men arrive and tip the odds in the Federals’ favor. The one advantage left to Lee is time. He is on a railroad line to the new front, whereas McClellan faces huge logistical problems in moving an army by steamer up Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac and reassembling it in northern Virginia, and Lee judges that the desperate situation demands a desperate remedy. Besides, Lee feels that he knows McClellan rather well and does not believe that he will attack. So today Longstreet’s divisions depart by train, leaving a bare 25,000 troops to defend Richmond.

In fact, McClellan is this very day imploring Washington to let him advance on Richmond. But Washington quenches this last flicker of belligerence. In the end, Lee’s estimate of Federal intentions proves correct.

Leaving a single division to face Union General Morgan in the Cumberland Gap, General Kirby Smith marches eagerly out of Knoxville, Tennessee, with three divisions of 9,000 men.

The steamers George Peabody and West Point collide in the Potomac River, with the loss of seventy-three lives, many of them convalescent soldiers of Burnside’s corps.

In Virginia there are reconnaissances and skirmishes toward Orange Court House. Skirmishes also occur on Yellow Creek or Muscle Fork, Chariton River, Missouri; at Huntsville and Medon, Tennessee; and on Black River, South Carolina. On this day and the fourteenth there are skirmishes at Blue Stone, western Virginia.

His work for the Confederacy in England complete, James Bulloch leaves Liverpool aboard the steamer Bahama with Raphael Semmes, the man chosen to captain the Enrica once she is armed, at his side.
#15113180
August 14, Thursday

President Lincoln receives a deputation of free Blacks at the White House to which he says, “But for your race among us there could not be war.... It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated.” He advocates colonization in Central America and promises them help in carrying out the project.

Two army corps of McClellan’s Army of the Potomac, the Third and Fifth, moves from Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, to Aquia Creek, August 14-15. There is a reconnaissance from Newport to Swansborough, North Carolina; August 14-17 a Federal expedition from Ozark to Forsyth, Missouri; and August 14-19 Union cavalry covers the rear of the Army of the Potomac from Harrison’s Landing to Williamsburg, Virginia. Skirmishes are at Barry, Missouri, and Mount Pleasant, Tennessee.
#15113362
August 15, Friday

In Minnesota, Little Crow is already angry at government agent Thomas Galbraith going back on his word to make a preliminary distribution of food to the Amerinds of the Lower Agency, as he had promised to do on the 4th. He becomes even angrier when, during a council at the Lower Agency today, some traders assembled there refuse to sell their stock on credit pending the arrival from the government of the Santee Sioux’s $71,000. “We have no food, but here are these stores filled with food,” Little Crow yells at Galbraith. If no provisions are forthcoming, he adds, “we may take our own way to keep ourselves from starving. When men are hungry they help themselves.” At this point Galbraith seeks the traders’ advice. After consultation, their leader, a trading-post operator named Andrew J. Myrick, turns to leave, snapping, “So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry, let them eat grass or their own dung.” His ruthless remark is translated to hundreds of Amerinds standing nearby. After a moment of shock they disperse, some making angry gestures and threats. Nevertheless, for the moment all seems peaceful.

This morning, General Lee’s entire army is moving north from Richmond to take up position on the Rapidan River, beyond which General Pope’s men are massed in the vicinity of Culpeper. Lee still has a few days to deal with Pope before McClellan’s troops begin to arrive.

There is a skirmish at Clarendon, Arkansas, and a Federal expedition from Fredericksburg to Port Royal, Virginia.
#15113517
August 16, Saturday

The Federal Army of the Potomac under McClellan completes the evacuation of Harrison’s Landing as its troops move north to Aquia Creek and Alexandria, Virginia, to aid Pope against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, which is advancing from Gordonsville.

The Confederate Army of Kentucky under Major General Edmund Kirby Smith crosses the Cumberland Mountains into Kentucky from Tennessee.

August 16-22 there are operations about Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, including several skirmishes. Federal troops are defeated in an action near Lone Jack, Missouri, but Confederate raiders are driven off by Northern reinforcements. From August 16-25 a Union gunboat expedition on the Mississippi, with some troops, leave Helena, Arkansas, captures a Confederate steamer at Millikin’s Bend, and causes other destruction. In western Virginia there is a skirmish at Wire Bridge; and others at Meriwether’s Ferry, Obion River, Tennessee; and Horn Lake Creek, Mississippi. Other operations include a Union reconnaissance August 16-17 toward Louisa Court House, Virginia, and the August 16-18 bombardment of Corpus Christi, Texas, by Federal naval vessels.
#15113640
August 17, Sunday

In Minnesota, Thomas Galbraith, confident that all is well, leaves the Lower Agency for Fort Snelling with a semi-military company he has recruited of halfbreeds and agency employees. Little Crow, dressed in his best Sunday clothes, attends services in the Lower Agency’s Episcopal chapel.

But this afternoon four Santee youths, returning from a deer hunt north of the Minnesota River, come upon the White farming settlement of Acton. There one of the youths steals some eggs belonging to a local farmer. A second youth objects that the theft will get them all in trouble, and is accused of cowardice. Stung, he boasts that he is not afraid to steal eggs or even, if the opportunity arises, to kill a White man. The opportunity comes all too soon. Before leaving Acton, the young Amerinds become involved in a target-shooting contest with some of the townspeople. Suddenly and for no evident reason, the Amerinds shoot five of the Whites, including two women, before fleeing. Arriving back at their own villagers the youths announce what they have done. Some of the villagers fear that troops will be sent to punish all the Santees. Bu the angrier villagers approve of the youths’ actions, arguing that the time has finally come for a war of extermination against the Whites.

News of the murders spreads fast. Late this night the head warriors of the Lower Agency villages assemble at Little Crow’s home to decide what to do. Little Crow is sure that the Sioux cannot defeat the settlers and the US army and so opposes a conflict, but the resentments of a decade are voiced and those arguing for war gain the upper hand. Finally Little Crow reverses himself and agrees to lead an uprising. He warns that they are fools that will be overwhelmed, but that he is no coward and will die with them. Some Amerinds will refuse to participate and others even risk their lives hiding White friends, but several hundred Sioux are on the warpath, ready to release their pent-up hatred in an orgy of murder and pillage.

In Virginia, at this point General Pope has about 55,000 Union soldiers under his immediate command. His troops are scattered within the angle formed by the conjunction of the Rapidan to his front and the Rappahannock to his rear. Across both rivers pass the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. This is Pope’s slender lifeline to his massive supply depot at Manassas Junction and to reinforcements arriving from Alexandria—and General Lee intends to exploit its vulnerability. At the moment Lee has about the same number of men as Pope, which he considers good odds. His plan calls for Major General Jeb Stuart—today assigned to command all the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia—to demolish the railroad bridge over the Rappahannock, cutting Pope off from his base of supply. At the same time Lee, moving behind the cover of Clark’s Mountain, east of the railroad, would cross the Rapidan and attack Pope’s left flank, smashing him before McClellan’s reinforcements can arrive.

All this is better in theory than in practice, however. Logistical problems have delayed Lee’s offensive for two crucial days. Then the redoubtable Stuart is surprised and almost captured by a detachment of Federal cavalry. While he escapes, one of his staff officers is not so fortunate—and in Captain Norman Fitzhugh’s dispatch case is an order outlining Lee’s plan.

There is a reconnaissance toward Forge Bridge, Virginia; a skirmish near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky; and August 17-27 a Federal expedition from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to Hickory Grove, Missouri.
#15113826
August 18, Monday

Shortly before dawn, the town of New Ulm, in the verdant Minnesota River valley, is clamorous with excitement—a brass band playing and many of the village’s 900 inhabitants crowded in the main street and cheering as a party sets off with five wagons. It is a glorious summer morning with a great red sun “tingeing all the clouds with crimson, and sending long, scarlet shafts of light up the green river valley and upon the golden bluffs on either side,” writes 14-year-old Mary Schwandt, one of the many German-immigrant families that have recently established farms on the prairie nearby. The party is on a mission to enlist volunteers for the Union Army. Minnesota became a state only four years before, and much of its land is still raw frontier, dotted here and there with isolated trading posts, Army forts, and villages of Sioux, Chippewa, and Winnebago Amerinds. But Minnesota’s 200,000 White settlers, a third of them foreign-born, yield to no other state in Unionist enthusiasm. The state has provided volunteers all out of proportion to their population. Now in a jovial mood and full of their patriotic mission, the recruiters rattle westward past pioneer homesteads on the prairie. But they only make it five miles before encountering a man lying in the middle of the road, shot. As the recruiters jump down to aid him, several Sioux, stripped to the breechcloth and painted for war, open fire from the brush. Two recruiters fall dead, and others are wounded. The survivors, unarmed, scramble back into the wagons, driving two of them at the Amerinds in an attempt to run them down. Having scattered the attackers, the survivors pile the dead and wounded in another wagon and race back to town.

New Ulm is alerted before they get there, a lone rider galloping through the village shouting, “The Indians are coming—they have murdered the recruiting party!” first to respond is Sheriff Charles Roos, who gathers thirty men with rifles and shotguns and starts up the road taken by the party. As the two groups join up the county militia turns out, armed with a collection of weapons ranging from rifles to pitchforks, and other townspeople frantically begin barricading the streets with wagons, boxes, and barrels. No one can believe what is happening. The Sioux of the river valley have lived as peaceful neighbors of the settlers for years. True, there are stories that the Sioux have been complaining of ill-treatment by government agents appointed to administer Amerind affairs. But no one dreamed that the tribe was plotting violence. The unprovoked attack on the recruiting party comes as a harsh surprise, and the village’s worst fears are soon confirmed. Throughout the morning and afternoon, dozens of terrified refugees straggle into town, telling of murders, mutilations, rapes, and the burning of homes and farms. Among the first victims is the trader Andrew Myrick—his corpse will be found later with its mouth stuffed full of grass. Frightened by the reports, many of New Ulm’s townspeople join the refugees on their flight to St. Paul, the state capital, and to Fort Snelling, both located more than 100 miles to the northeast, near the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers.

It isn’t long before Santee braves clash with uniformed troops. The commander of Fort Ridgely’s 78-man garrison of Minnesota volunteers, a young captain named John S. Marsh who has no experience fighting Amerinds, rashly sets off with a detachment of 46 soldiers and an interpreter for the Lower Agency, which is under attack. Despite the evidence of tomahawked bodies and the warnings of refugees whom he passes on the road, Marsh boldly goes on to Redwood Ferry, about one mile below and on the opposite side of the Minnesota River from the agency. The ferryman has been killed, but his boat is on the shore. An Amerind on the far bank, indicating friendship, calls to the troops to cross. But before the troops can move, they are hit by a volley fired by Amerinds hidden in the woods across the stream. An instant later other Amerinds, who have crept up behind Marsh’s men, attack their rear. About half of the troops are killed, and the remnant takes flight through the tall grass that lines the riverbank. Some of the troops make a stand in a thicket, but they are running out of ammunition. Marsh urges his men to escape by swimming the stream. When they hesitate he jumps in first, but halfway across he suffers a cramp and drowns. Sergeant Bishop assumes command of the survivors, and they straggle back to Fort Ridgely during the night. Twenty-five soldiers have been killed and five more wounded in the ambush. Only one Amerind has been killed.

Come night, as pickets patrol near signal fires and residents continue to build barricades, New Ulm’s leading citizens gather to plan the town’s defense; they send a message to Governor Ramsey asking for 1,000 troops plus wagonloads of ammunition. Then, because St. Paul is too far away to get help to them quickly, the leader of the unfortunate recruiting party, a weary Henry Behnker, mounts a horse at midnight and sets out for the nearer town of Traverse des Sioux to ask the valley’s leading citizen, Judge Charles E. Flandrau, to hurry to the rescue with local volunteers.

In Virginia, General Pope, having learned of General Lee’s plans to move against his army, immediately orders his troops north of the Rappahannock. The Federals move rapidly through the intense heat and suffocating dust, cheered off by the elated Virginia citizenry.

General Kirby Smith’s 9,000 infantry have laboriously worked their way northwest from Knoxville, Tennessee, onto the plateau of the Cumberland Mountains, and then turned northeast, bypassing General Morgan’s troops in the Cumberland Gap. It has been a hard march through a mountainous land parched by the drought. There is little foraging, and the supply wagons have lagged far behind. Today they swarm into Barboursville, Kentucky, squarely in Morgan’s rear and athwart his supply line to Lexington. Morgan, realizing that he has been outflanked, will soon evacuate the Cumberland Gap, withdrawing his forces into eastern Kentucky.

The second session of the Confederate Congress meets in Richmond. President Davis sends a message reviewing the progress of the war and of the Confederate nation. He says the prospects “give assurance to the friends of constitutional liberty of our final triumph in the pending struggle against despotic usurpation.” He inveighs against the alleged atrocities of the Yankees, naming especially Benjamin F. Butler. He calls for increasing the army and does not minimize the difficulties facing the Confederacy. “We have never-ceasing cause to be grateful for the favor with which God has protected our infant Confederacy,” he concludes.

There are skirmishes and operations at White Oak Ridge, Missouri; Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana; Rapidan Station and Clark’s Mountain, Virginia; Huttonsville, western Virginia; in Tennessee at Dyersburg and on the Tennessee River near Waggoner’s. Colonel R. Mason of the Seventy-first Ohio surrenders the important city of Clarksville, Tennessee, to Confederate forces without a fight. Colonel Mason will later be dismissed from service “for repeated acts of cowardice in the face of the enemy.”
#15113996
August 19, Tuesday

Federal troops carry out an extensive raid on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad August 19-21, with skirmishes at Pilot Knob, Drake’s Creek, and Manscoe Creek, near Edgefield Junction, and on the Hartsville Road near Gallatin, Tennessee. Another Union expedition operates from Rienzi to Marietta and Bay Springs, Mississippi, on the same days, and there is a scout August 19-20 from Woodville to Guntersville, Alabama. A Federal expedition against the Snake Amerinds in Idaho lasts from this day to October 11. There is a skirmish on Clear Creek, Arkansas.

In Minnesota, as the survivors of the attempt to relieve the Lower Agency straggled back to Fort Ridgely during the previous night, Lieutenant Thomas P. Gere, whom the now-dead Marsh left in charge of the fort, has alerted his tiny garrison of effectives, then dispatched a message to Fort Snelling and Governor Ramsey asking for reinforcements. Gere’s courier makes the 125-mile trip in 18 hours, changing horses frequently on the way. During his headlong dash he overtakes Galbraith and the agent’s small company of irregulars, known as the Renville Rangers that had left the Lower Agency two days before, turning them back to assist Gere. The courier is only one of these first alarms to have reached St. Paul this afternoon, informing Governor Ramsey that the largest massacre carried out by Amerinds in the nation’s history has struck his state. More than 350 people, among them five members of Mary Schwandt’s family, are already dead and an unknown number, including young Mary, are captives of the Amerinds. Whole counties are being depopulated; dozens of towns and settlements are in deadly peril.

Back at Fort Ridgely, the inexperienced 19-year-old Lieutenant Gere finds himself with daunting responsibilities. If the Amerinds overrun Fort Ridgely, the way will be open for them to destroy every downriver settlement as far as St. Paul. Further, more than 200 refugees, mostly frightened women and children, are crowded into the fort’s log hospital, surgeon’s quarters, and stone barracks. And now a stagecoach arrives from St. Paul carrying $71,000 in gold—the Amerinds’ long-delayed annuity. Gere tells no one about the kegs of gold coins, and with the help of the stagecoach guards hides them in a building. Compounding Gere’s problems is Fort Ridgely itself. A mere cluster of detached buildings with no stockade, it is an easy target. The lieutenant disposes his few defenders as best he can, aided by a massively built artillery sergeant named John Jones, who stayed at the fort to look after some artillery left there when the Regulars were withdrawn last year. Jones has taught some of Gere’s Minnesota volunteers to load and fire his four artillery pieces, enough to form three small gun crews that are now posted at three of the fort’s corners.

The fort might have been easily overrun this morning, when a large Sioux war party appears on the prairie. But instead of attacking, the Amerinds hold a long, animated council. The leading chiefs—Little Crow, Mankato, and Big Eagle—understand the fort’s strategic importance and argue for an immediate assault. But they are overruled by a majority of the warriors, who think it will be easier and more rewarding to attack and loot New Ulm. Everywhere in the valley, Amerinds are enriching themselves with plunder. At New Ulm there are shops to be pillaged and women to be captured. The soldiers at the fort can wait, the warriors insist. With dissension splitting their ranks, the Amerinds ride away, most of them heading for New Ulm. The rest, including the chiefs—who want no part of an attack on women and children—return to their villages.

The soldiers and civilians in Fort Ridgely have no idea why the Amerinds have left, but they are nevertheless relieved. Their mood is brightened further during the day as reinforcements arrive—fifty men of Company C of the 5th Minnesota under Lieutenant Timothy J. Sheehan, who have marched through the night and covered 42 miles in nine and a half hours; Galbraith’s about four dozen Renville Rangers, turned back by the courier Lieutenant Gere sent out the previous night; and a small group of armed civilians from the town of St. Peter. As the senior officer, Lieutenant Sheehan takes command of the fort whose defenders, including those refugees who are armed, now number about 180.

The people of New Ulm have also been preparing themselves for attack. When 100 Sioux warriors begin shooting from a bluff overlooking the town, the Amerinds receive a warmer welcome than they expected. While the women and children huddle in buildings and behind barricades, the town’s militiamen under their elected leader, Jacob Nix, effectively return fire and keep the Santees at a distance. None of the reinforcements Henry Behnke rode to summon last night have yet appeared; but lacking their chiefs’ leadership, the Amerinds make no concerted attack and do little damage other than burning a few of the town’s outlying buildings. A late afternoon thunderstorm dampens the Amerinds’ ardor, and with the arrival of sixteen mounted men—the first to respond to Behnke’s appeal—the fight ends. Seventeen townspeople have lost their lives, eleven of them members of a hapless party trapped on the prairie outside of town. The Sioux losses will never be known. Come night, Judge Charles Flandrau, whom Behnke awoke before dawn at Traverse des Sioux, marches in with 125 volunteers. Other citizens’ units continue to arrive, and eventually Flandrau, who is elected overall commander, will have almost 300 men ready to defend New Ulm should the Amerinds return.

The Federal Department of the Ohio is created, made up of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Kentucky east of the Tennessee River and including Cumberland Gap. Major General H.G. Wright is named to the command.
#15114226
August 20, Wednesday

By this afternoon, Little Crow and the other chiefs have persuaded about 400 warriors to move against Fort Ridgely, Minnesota. Following an intricate plan of attack devised by Little Crow, the Amerinds surround the post, then pause while Little Crow seeks to distract the defenders by riding back and forth on the prairie west of the fort as if seeking a parley. Then at a signal, Amerinds on the east side launch a sudden charge. At the same time, other Sioux creep up wooded ravines toward the northeast and the southwest corners of the post. They succeed in occupying some log huts on the fort’s north side. But Artillery Sergeant Jones’s artillery crews, supported by the infantry’s steady fire, drives them back. Cannister fire rips into the ravines, halting the Amerinds there, and the battle settles into long-range firing and ineffectual attempts by the Amerinds to set the buildings on fire with burning arrows. Afraid of the artillery, which they have never faced, the Sioux finally withdraw when night falls.

While violence and terror grip his state’s villages and farms, Governor Ramsey has begun organizing a relief expedition. His first move was to appoint a friendly political rival, Henry Hastings Sibley, colonel of the state militia, directing him to assemble all the recruits he can find and head for the Minnesota River. Sibley, 51, has no military experience, but as a longtime fur trader in the region, he knows the Sioux and the frontier country well. Taking charge of four newly formed companies of the 6th Minnesota Infantry at Fort Snelling, today Sibley starts for Fort Ridgely.

Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune in a letter dated the nineteenth and labeled “The Prayer of Twenty Million,” questions the President’s policy on slavery. “We complain that the Union cause has suffered ... from mistaken deference to Rebel slavery.... All attempts to put down the Rebellion and at the same time uphold its inciting cause are preposterous and futile.”

In Virginia, Confederate cavalry pursuing General Pope’s retreating army clash with Federal troopers under Brigadier General George Bayard. Though the Federals get the worst of it, the 26-year-old Bayard buys enough time for the tail of Pope’s column to cross the Rappahannock.

There is action at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Pilot Knob and Edgefield, Tennessee. In Missouri August 20-27 there is a Union scout in Wayne, Stoddard, and Dunklin counties.

General Kirby Smith informs General Braxton Bragg that he is leaving Barboursville, Kentucky, for Lexington, where he can get supplies. As an afterthought he explains that he will thus provide a diversion for Bragg’s operations against General Buell’s Federal army threatening Chattanooga. Again, Bragg meekly accepts Smith’s declaration. In fact, Smith has little reason for confidence. His men are weary, short of supplies, and harassed by bushwhackers. Behind them is General Morgan’s hostile army and ahead of them a Federal force of unknown size.

The steamer Bahama arrives at Terceira Island in the Azores with James Bulloch and Captain Raphael Semmes onboard. They begin overseeing the refitting of the Enrica with various provisions, including armaments and 350 tons of coal, brought there by Agrippina, the new ship's supply vessel. After three days of back-breaking work by the three ship’s crews, Enrica will be equipped as a naval cruiser, designated a commerce raider, for the Confederacy. Following her commissioning as CSS Alabama under Captain Semmes’ command, Bulloch will return to Liverpool to continue his secret work for the Confederate Navy.

The Confederate Department of the Trans-Mississippi is set up to include Missouri, Arkansas, the Indian Territory, Louisiana west of the Mississippi, and Texas. Major General Richard Taylor, CSA, is assigned to command of the District of West Louisiana.
#15114433
August 21, Thursday

News of the Sioux uprising in Minnesota reaches the East, and many Northerners—including Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune—jump to the conclusion that Confederates are somehow to blame and worry that the massacre heralds the start of a Confederate-fomented uprising by all the Western tribes. Such suspicions are unfounded, no Confederate agents are roaming Minnesota. Nevertheless, the Civil War has much to do with the massacre. The Confederate military victories of 1862 have convinced many Amerinds that the US government is not only vulnerable but doomed to defeat.

In Virginia, General Lee’s soldiers reach the Rappahannock to find the opposite heights well manned by troops ready to dispute any crossing. Lee makes several exploratory stabs, but the opposite bank of the Rappahannock is consistently higher than the near bank, and wherever Lee probes, men and guns are looking down on him. Time is leaking away.

Fearing a second attack by General Breckinridge’s Confederates, Federal troops retire from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to New Orleans.

There is an affair on Pinkney Island, South Carolina; and a skirmish at Neosho, Missouri.

In the North the issuing of postage stamps for small currency begins.

In Tennessee Braxton Bragg crosses the Tennessee River above Chattanooga preparatory to the start of a new campaign.

President Davis proclaims that Federal Major General David Hunter and Brigadier General John W. Phelps should be treated as outlaws and if captured should be held as felons because they are organizing slaves for the Union Army. Phelps himself this day resigns from the Union Army because Washington has disavowed his policy.
#15114644
August 22, Friday

After a day of heavy rain, Little Crow’s Santee Sioux reappear at Fort Ridgely, Minnesota. This time there are almost twice as many warriors, including 400 Sissetons and Wahpetons who have come from the Upper Agency villages to join the fighting. Wearing camouflage of grass, leaves, and clusters of wildflowers in their headbands, the Amerinds creep up the ravines and among trees and bushes until they are almost upon the buildings before springing forward. Musketry from the defenders, firing from behind barricades and from windows in the buildings, check the Amerinds everywhere except at the fort’s southwest corner, where the warriors seize the stables and the sutler’s store. Artillery shelling soon dislodge them, but also sets the buildings on fire. At the same time, Amerind attempts to set fire to other buildings fail; the roofs are still damp from yesterday’s rain, and the fire arrows fizzle out. The battle rages through the afternoon. Little Crow is wounded slightly, and the Amerinds mass around Chief Mankato for a final charge against the vulnerable southwest corner. Simultaneous shots from a mountain howitzer and 24-pounder land among them, the Amerinds flee, and the battle is over. Despite the intensity of the struggle, only six Whites have been killed and fewer than 20 wounded in the two fights at the fort. But it is a costly reversal for Little Crow. About 100 of his men have been killed and many more wounded.

General Jeb Stuart takes 1,500 cavalrymen and two guns, and rides far up the Rappahannock River in Virginia to cross the unguarded Waterloo Bridge. He then skirts General Pope’s flank, intending to cut the Orange & Alexandria Railroad to the north. Charging out of a raging thunderstorm on what Stuart will remember as “the darkest night I ever saw,” the Confederate horsemen strike the Federal camp at Catlett’s Station, on the railroad 10 miles behind the Federal lines. Only when he arrives does Stuart learn that this is also Pope’s headquarters. Pope is away and the nearby railroad bridge over Cedar Run is too wet to burn and too stout to chop down, but Stuart manages to seize Pope’s dispatch case.

President Lincoln replies to Horace Greeley’s “The Prayer of Twenty Millions,” by writing the New York editor, “ ... I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be ‘the Union as it was.’ ... If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that....”

General Butler in New Orleans authorizes enlisting free Blacks as Federal soldiers.
#15114895
President Lincoln replies to Horace Greeley’s “The Prayer of Twenty Millions,” by writing the New York editor, “ ... I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be ‘the Union as it was.’ ... If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that....”

...which strongly suggests that the Civil War was entirely avoidable. Lincoln was not some fanatical Abolitionist like John Brown; his motive in fighting the Civil War was to preserve the Union, and that was his only motive. The South seceded from the Union when Lincoln was elected President, when in fact that was wholly unnecessary - they could have worked out a deal with Lincoln. So long as it preserved the Union, Lincoln would probably have signed up to it. Once the South seceded, of course, there could be no compromise.
#15114899
August 23, Saturday

The Sioux make a second attempt on New Ulm, Minnesota. Smarting from their repulse from Fort Ridgely yesterday, they appear west of the town about nine in the morning, spreading out and charging while shouting their war cries. Judge Flandrau has deployed a number of his citizen-soldiers on the prairie to meet the charge. They break and run, allowing the Amerinds to occupy some buildings in town. But the defenders rally and fight back bravely. For a time the Sioux have the upper hand, many buildings catch fire and the Amerinds advance behind dense clouds of smoke. To meet the crisis, Flandrau concentrates 60 of his men for a countercharge. They go forward at a run, cheering loudly, and their assault breaks the attack. By nightfall the Sioux have given up.

General Jeb Stuart has returned to report to General Lee, and as General Pope had read Lee’s mail, now Lee is reading his—and finds the news bad. The first contingents of General McClellan’s troops are near at hand. Yesterday Fitz-John Porter’s V Corps arrived at Aquia Landing, off the Potomac. Though the corps’ artillery is in disarray—horses on one ship, guns on another—and his infantrymen have only 40 cartridges apiece, he is moving west quickly to join Pope. Heintzelman’s III Corps, which lacks artillery altogether, is landing at Alexandria and will soon move southward, followed by Franklin’s VI Corps. Soon Pope will have 70,000 men. The time is already past for a head-on attack across the Rappahannock.

Lee now makes another decision that is breathtaking in its audacity—one so risky that for a long time the Federal command will refuse to believe that he would do such a thing and thus be slow to respond. Though military dogma calls for concentrating one’s force when faced with an enemy of superior numbers, Lee decides to divide his small army. He will send Jackson with 25,000 men, including Stuart’s cavalry, in a great circle to the north of Pope while Longstreet’s 30,000 demonstrate on the Rappahannock to conceal the move. Maneuvers toward Washington invariably stir Union fears, and Lee is sure that Pope, when threatened by the flanking move, will fall back to cover his line to the capital. The day after Jackson leaves, Longstreet will follow on the same circuitous route to the north. The two forces will then reunite and strike Pope a mighty blow while he is off balance. The plan is hazardous in the extreme. If Pope grasps Lee’s intentions, he can move his army to keep the two elements separated and destroy them one at a time.

Extensive small fighting increases along the entire war front. In Missouri it occurs at Four Mile, Hickory Grove, and near Wayman’s Mill or Spring Creek; in Louisiana at Bayou Sara; in Kentucky at Big Hill; in Mississippi at Greenville; in Alabama at Trinity; in Tennessee near Fort Donelson; in western Virginia at Moorefield; and in Virginia at Rappahannock Station, Beverly Ford, Fant’s Ford, Smithfield, Sulphur or Warrenton Springs. A train is captured between Harper’s Ferry and Winchester by Confederates.

Federal Major General Horatio G. Wright assumes command of the Department of the Ohio.

US sloop of war Adirondack is wrecked on a coral reef near Little Abaco, West Indies, but the crew is saved.
#15114906
Potemkin wrote:...which strongly suggests that the Civil War was entirely avoidable. Lincoln was not some fanatical Abolitionist like John Brown; his motive in fighting the Civil War was to preserve the Union, and that was his only motive. The South seceded from the Union when Lincoln was elected President, when in fact that was wholly unnecessary - they could have worked out a deal with Lincoln. So long as it preserved the Union, Lincoln would probably have signed up to it. Once the South seceded, of course, there could be no compromise.

No, the problem was that while Lincoln acknowledged that he as president would have no right to act against slavery in the states, he was one hundred percent against allowing slavery to expand beyond its current limits and both the North and the South believed that slavery needed to expand to survive—partly because of the way plantations used up the soil and so the planters were moving ever westward (though that had its limits, due to climate), but also because of new states; the South had already lost any hope of gaining a majority of the House, and maintained its control in the Senate only due to the way new states had been brought in as pairs to keep things balanced plus the support of some likeminded Northern senators. With the Republican ascendancy, the South was looking at the eventual permanent loss of control of any of the three branches of the Federal government.
#15114907
Doug64 wrote:No, the problem was that while Lincoln acknowledged that he as president would have no right to act against slavery in the states, he was one hundred percent against allowing slavery to expand beyond its current limits and both the North and the South believed that slavery needed to expand to survive—partly because of the way plantations used up the soil and so the planters were moving ever westward (though that had its limits, due to climate), but also because of new states; the South had already lost any hope of gaining a majority of the House, and maintained its control in the Senate only due to the way new states had been brought in as pairs to keep things balanced plus the support of some likeminded Northern senators. With the Republican ascendancy, the South was looking at the eventual permanent loss of control of any of the three branches of the Federal government.

So there was no deal which could have been worked out to the mutual satisfaction of the North and the South, and no amount of reasonableness or willingness to compromise on Lincoln's part would have done any good at all.

It looks like events unfolded with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy.... :|
#15114909
@Potemkin

Not with the rise to power of an explicitly anti-slavery party in the North (and one that considered slavery to be a moral evil as well as a social one) and the South considering slavery to be essential to a way of life they considered superior to the North’s, no. They’d managed to keep things together with the Mason-Dixon Line, the paired new states, and the gag rule in the House on the issue of slavery, but it just wasn’t sustainable and by the end everyone was pretty much done trying. The ironic thing is that with the rise of “scientific” racism, if the South had just stuck with the North for a few more election cycles the anti-slavery movement would have probably lost steam—the Southern attitudes about race were actually the wave of the future.
#15114913
Doug64 wrote:@Potemkin

Not with the rise to power of an explicitly anti-slavery party in the North (and one that considered slavery to be a moral evil as well as a social one) and the South considering slavery to be essential to a way of life they considered superior to the North’s, no. They’d managed to keep things together with the Mason-Dixon Line, the paired new states, and the gag rule in the House on the issue of slavery, but it just wasn’t sustainable and by the end everyone was pretty much done trying. The ironic thing is that with the rise of “scientific” racism, if the South had just stuck with the North for a few more election cycles the anti-slavery movement would have probably lost steam—the Southern attitudes about race were actually the wave of the future.

Indeed, the manner in which the practice of slavery and the ideology of slavery (so-called "scientific" racism) were out of sync with each other is one of the most interesting aspects of the North Atlantic slave trade. When the slave trade was at its height in the 17th and 18th centuries, it had almost no ideological justification. The ideology of "scientific" racism peaked decades after the practice of slavery had ended, when its ideology was no longer needed, and indeed was counter-productive from an economic and social perspective. And it took almost a century for that useless and harmful ideology to finally fade away....
#15114923
Potemkin wrote:The ideology of "scientific" racism peaked decades after the practice of slavery had ended, when its ideology was no longer needed, and indeed was counter-productive from an economic and social perspective.

“Scientific” racism was still needed to justify imperialism. (Makes you wonder what current cultural memes are being justified by “science.”) Of course, it also turned out to be a monkey trap for the European empires because even as it justified those empire it destroyed any chance of making them permanent by closing the door on assimilating at least the upper classes of the conquered.

It’s another of the odd bits of history, the way attitudes changed between the period of the expansion of the Roman Republic/Empire and 19th century US/Europe. The Romans had to justify their conquest of civilized states, but no one really cared what they did to barbarians. The US’s imperialistic war against Mexico in order to steal its northern Territory was unremarkable, how the game was played between the nations of the West, but we had to justify how we treated the barbaric Amerinds.
#15114925
Doug64 wrote:“Scientific” racism was still needed to justify imperialism. (Makes you wonder what current cultural memes are being justified by “science.”) Of course, it also turned out to be a monkey trap for the European empires because even as it justified those empire it destroyed any chance of making them permanent by closing the door on assimilating at least the upper classes of the conquered.

Indeed. Though it's noteworthy that the British, at least, made a serious attempt to assimilate the Indian upper classes during the Raj. It was, in fact, essential to do this if we were to have any hope of maintaining our control over that vast sub-continent. And the only way to make an empire permanent is by colonising it with one's own ethnic group. This worked in North America and Canada, which are predominantly Anglo to this day, but obviously failed in India, since India was already densely populated and had (and still has) a climate and a set of diseases hostile to northern Europeans. North America was an unspoilt paradise by comparison, and so thinly populated that colonisation was a serious option.

It’s another of the odd bits of history, the way attitudes changed between the period of the expansion of the Roman Republic/Empire and 19th century US/Europe. The Romans had to justify their conquest of civilized states, but no one really cared what they did to barbarians. The US’s imperialistic war against Mexico in order to steal its northern Territory was unremarkable, how the game was played between the nations of the West, but we had to justify how we treated the barbaric Amerinds.

This probably goes back to Rousseau's cult of the "noble savage", and even farther back to Las Casas' defence of the Native Americans against the depredations of the Spanish conquistadors. And they derived those attitudes from Christianity, of course - it was easy to portray the Native Americans as being pre-lapsarian innocents in a Garden of Eden before the Europeans intruded into their sinless world.... Total nonsense of course, but as Marx pointed out, all ideologies are utter nonsense to justify what we have already decided to believe.
#15114929
@Potemkin

Careful with the “Native American” label, my earliest ancestor on this continent arrived in the early 1600’s and the latest, so far as I know, in the 1850’s. I think my family counts as native Americans. ;)

And actually, while many in the Indian upper classes (plural intentional, for most of the British occupation Indians did not consider themselves a single people) did adopt British ways and many of the British cultural values, they were not permitted to assimilate into the British Empire’s ruling structure—they were always aware that they were second-class in their own country, always a dangerous situation for any empire (as Solomon’s son learned the hard way).
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