The American Civil War, day by day - Page 17 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15003365
May 7, Tuesday

Governor Isham Harris of Tennessee tells his legislature that he has agreed upon a military league between the state of Tennessee and the CSA and submitted it for ratification by the legislature. The Senate approves 14 to 6 with four not voting or absent and the House approves 42 to 15 with eighteen absent or not voting. To all intents and purposes Tennessee is now in the Confederacy, though the people will have to approve the secession in June.

The Confederate Congress approves a bill which authorizes President Davis to accept into volunteer service such forces as he might deem expedient for the duration of the war.

President Lincoln orders Colonel Robert Anderson to recruit troops for the Union from Kentucky and western Virginia. The President also reviews Elmer Ellsworth’s flashy New York Fire Brigade of Zouaves, receives a committee from a governors’ convention, and tells his secretaries that the question is “whether a full and representative government had the right and power to protect and maintain itself.”

In Knoxville, Tennessee, there is a serious riot between pro-Union and pro-secessionist elements, with several shots fired and one man mortally wounded.

Citizens of the North have already contributed $23,277,000 to the war effort, aside from the usual taxes.
#15003579
May 8, Wednesday

It appears that Maryland is swinging toward the Union, with transportation by rail through the state restored, troops coming into Washington, and Union men being heard more and more. However, there are still pockets of intransigent pro-secessionists in the state.

In the South the Richmond Examiner says, “We need a dictator” to win the war. At the same time the Southern press agree not to publish news of military movements, a pledge soon to be violated by both sides.
#15003780
May 9, Thursday

President Davis signs the bill approved by the Confederate Congress May 7, authorizing the acceptance of volunteers.

There is an exchange of shots between USS Yankee and Confederate shore batteries at Gloucester Point, Virginia, as the blockade of Virginia waters is being increased.

In Washington the Lincolns hold a reception and the President reviews troops and watches gunnery practices.

While Federal troops keep coming into Washington, pro-Confederate units leave Maryland for Virginia.

The Confederate Navy sends James D. Bulloch to Britain to purchase ships and arms, a mission ably carried out.

USS Constitution and US steamer Baltic arrive at Newport, Rhode Island, to set up the Naval Academy dispossessed from Annapolis for the duration.

Troops from abandoned Fort Cobb in the Indian Territory join the column of Colonel William Emory marching through the territory of Kansas.
#15003973
May 10, Friday

St. Louis explodes into action. The pro-Union elements in the city, including the vocal German group, are organized under Captain Nathaniel Lyon, temporarily commanding the arsenal, and Francis Preston Blair, Jr., politician and member of the well-known Blair family. In addition to a few regulars, the unionists have organized some political marching clubs into Home Guards. The State Militia, on the other hand, is largely pro-secessionist or at least opposed to supporting the Union war effort. Governor Claiborne Jackson has made this abundantly clear. On May 6 the militia had gathered in Lindell’s Grove in the western part of the city under command of General D.M. Frost, former army officer turned politician. The camp has definite Southern overtones, with streets unofficially reported to be named “Davis Avenue” and for Beauregard and other Confederates. Surplus arms from the arsenal have been sent into Illinois, but the unionists fear that the militia at Camp Jackson, named for the governor, will attack the arsenal; therefore the camp must be taken. The story is that on May 8 Lyon, dressed as an elderly woman, drove through the camp as a spy, but this is highly dubious, for all the information needed is readily available. Late on May 8 a boat had brought boxes marked “marble” to the city. They turned out to be loaded with mortars and guns for the secessionists. Frost’s militia camp is set to disband May 11, and he denies any covert intentions. Lyon, urged on by Blair, decides to take the camp because of their “unscrupulous conduct, and their evident design....”

Violent, sometimes almost wild in his patriotism, Lyon leads possibly seven thousand men against the roughly seven hundred at Camp Jackson. Frost has neither attacked the arsenal nor retreated. Surrounded, he surrenders without a shot. During the march back to the arsenal the prisoners are guarded by the Germans and regulars. Excitement has been extreme in the city for days, with cries of “Hessians” against the Germans, and equally strong anti-Southern feelings expressed. A crowd of the curious and agitated views the march, including one William T. Sherman and his son, and of course it happens—someone pushes or shoves, a shot or two rings out, and then more and more with the unionists firing into the crowd. Accounts are many, facts few. When it is over, some twenty-eight or twenty-nine people are dead or mortally wounded, including, reportedly, a child in arms. Mobs storm through the streets of St. Louis when night falls; all saloons are closed.

Elsewhere, the Maryland legislature passes a resolution imploring President Lincoln to cease prosecuting the war against the South; authorities in Washington still almost hourly expect fighting in Maryland.

The President himself continues to be involved with the business of appointments, both civil and military.

Off Charleston USS Niagra begins a blockade patrol.

In Montgomery President Davis signs an act of Congress calling for purchase abroad of six warships, arms, and stores. Secretary of the Navy Mallory urges the building of ironclads because the obvious inequality of the Confederate Navy will have to be offset by quality, strength, and invulnerability.

The Confederate government in Montgomery places Virginia Major General Robert E. Lee in command of Confederate troops in Virginia.

The Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Alabama announces its withdrawal from the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.

A peculiar weapon known as the Winans steam gun is captured by Federals while being sent south from Baltimore.
#15004206
May 11, Saturday

The rampant crowds in St. Louis continue to mill in the streets. At the northwest corner of Fifth and Walton, the Fifth Reserve Regiment tangles with the crowd and again firing breaks out. Six or seven more persons die in the fray. William S. Harney arrives back in the city to resume his federal command, much disturbed by Lyon’s action. Slowly people become calmer, but the scars remain. Much discussion ensues; some feel St. Louis has been held for the Union, others feel the whole affair wrong. At any rate, with or without the Camp Jackson affair, St. Louis does remain Union and the secessionist voices gradually quiet.

At San Francisco business is suspended, flags wave, and people crowd the streets for a patriotic pro-Union demonstration complete with procession and speeches. But at the same time there are strong pockets of pro-secessionists in California, along with others who favor neutrality or even an independent Republic of the Pacific.

Likewise a large Union meeting occurs at Wheeling, western Virginia.
#15004237
Doug64 wrote:May 11, Saturday
At San Francisco business is suspended, flags wave, and people crowd the streets for a patriotic pro-Union demonstration complete with procession and speeches. But at the same time there are strong pockets of pro-secessionists in California, along with others who favor neutrality or even an independent Republic of the Pacific.

This gives some indication, I think, of how close the United States came to complete dissolution as a nation-state in the 1860s. It almost fractured into three (or more) separate 'republics', and this process would likely have accelerated if Lincoln had not decisively brought the Confederacy to heel. This was the gravest crisis the United States had faced since its founding less than a century earlier, and could easily have unravelled everything the Founding Fathers had worked so hard to create.
#15004250
Potemkin wrote:This gives some indication, I think, of how close the United States came to complete dissolution as a nation-state in the 1860s. It almost fractured into three (or more) separate 'republics', and this process would likely have accelerated if Lincoln had not decisively brought the Confederacy to heel. This was the gravest crisis the United States had faced since its founding less than a century earlier, and could easily have unravelled everything the Founding Fathers had worked so hard to create.

I don't think there was much chance of California breaking away, but it does make for an interesting "what if," doesn't it? Don't forget that there was Utah as well. While there wasn't any more of a chance of Utah breaking away than California, if the latter had gone independent (more likely than joining the Confederacy, I think), an independent "Deseret" might well have followed--we might be all in on the Constitution, but we weren't very happy with Washington at the time, it had been less than three years since the Utah War (May 1857 to July 1858, otherwise known as "Buchanan's Blunder"). And work on the transcontinental railroad didn't begin until 1863, so any attempt to reconquer the seceding territories would have taken months just to get there, much less win through, something that wouldn't have been easy if it could have been done at all, not through Emigration Canyon. And would Lincoln have diverted the resources needed for that reconquest with the war on back east? Not likely. As I think he'll say about a later diplomatic kerfluffle with Great Britain, "One war at a time."
#15004326
May 12, Sunday

In St. Louis General Harney, now back in Federal command, issues a proclamation saying the public peace must be preserved and the laws obeyed.

There are reported attempts to damage railroads and bridges near Frederick and Baltimore, Maryland.
#15004329
Doug64 wrote:I don't think there was much chance of California breaking away, but it does make for an interesting "what if," doesn't it?

Indeed. And before the railroads and highways connected the disparate parts of the continental USA, California was a long, long way from the East Coast. And what did they have in common with the East Coast?

Don't forget that there was Utah as well. While there wasn't any more of a chance of Utah breaking away than California, if the latter had gone independent (more likely than joining the Confederacy, I think), an independent "Deseret" might well have followed--we might be all in on the Constitution, but we weren't very happy with Washington at the time, it had been less than three years since the Utah War (May 1857 to July 1858, otherwise known as "Buchanan's Blunder"). And work on the transcontinental railroad didn't begin until 1863, so any attempt to reconquer the seceding territories would have taken months just to get there, much less win through, something that wouldn't have been easy if it could have been done at all, not through Emigration Canyon. And would Lincoln have diverted the resources needed for that reconquest with the war on back east? Not likely.

Indeed. The USA was at a dangerous stage of its development during this period - it was young enough for a sense of national identity not to have taken permanent hold yet, and it was old enough to have vastly expanded beyond the bounds of the original thirteen colonies. The whole thing might easily have hit a brick wall....

As I think he'll say about a later diplomatic kerfluffle with Great Britain, "One war at a time."

If only Adolf Hitler had taken his advice.... ;)
#15004331
Potemkin wrote:Indeed. The USA was at a dangerous stage of its development during this period - it was young enough for a sense of national identity not to have taken permanent hold yet, and it was old enough to have vastly expanded beyond the bounds of the original thirteen colonies. The whole thing might easily have hit a brick wall....

A sense of national identity had taken a strong, permanent hold ... in the North. Without it, there likely wouldn’t have been a war at all. But the real reason I don’t think California was likely to break away is because it didn’t really cost in anything to stay in. Yes, there was a war on, but without the transcontinental railroad it was a long way away.

If only Adolf Hitler had taken his advice.... ;)

Yeah, lucky he didn’t, or all of Europe could have ended up speaking Russian! :eek:
#15004336
Doug64 wrote:A sense of national identity had taken a strong, permanent hold ... in the North. Without it, there likely wouldn’t have been a war at all. But the real reason I don’t think California was likely to break away is because it didn’t really cost in anything to stay in. Yes, there was a war on, but without the transcontinental railroad it was a long way away.

Indeed. Washington's yoke was light, and as the Chinese proverb has it, "the Emperor is far away...." :)

Nevertheless, there was not yet a strong sense of national identity in the USA as a whole, which is why the Civil War occurred at all. Basically, we're just agreeing with each other that the nation was split during this period (and arguably still is).

Yeah, lucky he didn’t, or all of Europe could have ended up speaking Russian! :eek:

That's a debate for a different time I think.... ;)
#15004342
Potemkin wrote:Nevertheless, there was not yet a strong sense of national identity in the USA as a whole, which is why the Civil War occurred at all. Basically, we're just agreeing with each other that the nation was split during this period (and arguably still is).

That about sums it up—if there had been a strong sense of national unity throughout the entire nation, there would have been no war; if there had been only a weak sense of national unity throughout the entire nation there would have been no war, or at least a very short one.
#15004456
May 13, Monday

Without permission from Army Headquarters Brigadier General Benjamin F. Butler moves troops from Relay Station, Maryland, into Baltimore and takes possession of Federal Hill. Butler claims he had reports of a riot in the city. He adds that he found several manufactories of arms, supplies, and munitions meant for the “rebels.” Generally the move meets with approval in the North, and probably does help keep down pro-Confederate activity, while at the same time rousing considerable resentment.

Queen Victoria officially issues a proclamation declaring Britain’s determination to maintain a strict neutrality between contending parties in America, and to accord to both sides the rights of belligerents. British citizens are warned against assisting either side. US.Minister to Britain Charles Francis Adams arrives in London in the evening to learn the news. Adams had been instructed to try to prevent recognition of the South as a belligerent.

The Southern Baptist Convention meeting at Savannah tenders to the Confederacy their confidence and trust. The Virginia Union Convention assembles at Wheeling, western Virginia.

General McClellan receives his orders issued on May 3rd placing him in charge of the Department of the Ohio for the Federals.
#15004659
May 14, Tuesday

In one of the strange anomalies of war, the Confederates had allowed the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Harper’s Ferry to continue operating in the main line between Washington and the West. This was due to an unwillingness to alienate the people of Maryland. T.J. Jackson, however, determines to obtain some much needed rolling stock for the South. Therefore he rules that the coal trains cannot move at night and then, during the morning operations, bags a large number of trains, sending many of the locomotives to Winchester and Strasburg, Virginia.

In Baltimore General Butler is extending his rule of the city, seizing suspected arms and persons, including Ross Winans, noted inventor of the steam gun.

At Hampton Roads four blockade runners are taken by Federal vessels.

President Lincoln writes to Robert Anderson, now in Western command, that he should help pro-Union men in Kentucky receive arms from Cincinnati, despite the neutrality of Kentucky.

General Harney in St. Louis issues another proclamation maintaining that citizens should disregard the bill passed by the legislature raising pro-secessionist state troops.

In Montgomery the Confederate Congress requests that President Davis declare a day of fasting and prayer.

Governor Thomas H. Hicks of Maryland calls for four regiments to protect Maryland or the capital of the United States.
#15004895
May 15, Wednesday

The Confederates name Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston to command troops near Harper’s Ferry now under T.J. Jackson.

Off New Orleans the Confederate privateer Calhoun captures the bark Ocean Eagle from Rockland, Maine.

Nathaniel Lyon in St. Louis sends the Fifth Missouri Infantry out to Potosi, Missouri, in Washington County to aid pro-Union citizens.

Federal Brigadier General George Cadwalader is named to replace Brigadier General Butler in command of the Department of Annapolis, including Baltimore. Butler is sent to command Fort Monroe, the extremely vital Federal base in Virginia at Hampton Roads.
#15005098
May 16, Thursday

Tennessee is officially admitted to the Confederacy by Congress at Montgomery.

A Kentucky legislative committee on Federal relations proposes that the state remain neutral.

Commodore John Rodgers is ordered to set up Federal naval command on the rivers of the West under General Frémont’s command.
#15005303
May 17, Friday

President Davis signs a bill authorizing a loan to the Confederacy of $50,000,000 and the issuance of treasury notes. The President also signs a bill admitting North Carolina to the Confederacy contingent upon approval of the ordinance of secession and ratification of the Constitution.

John T. Pickett is named Special Agent of the Confederate States to Mexico.

The California legislature pledges the state’s support to the Federal government.

Chief John Ross issues a proclamation of neutrality for the Cherokees in the Indian Territory.
#15005559
May 18, Saturday

Arkansas is officially admitted to the Confederacy with her congressmen taking their seats at Montgomery.

At Sewell’s Point near Norfolk, Virginia, two Federal vessels briefly engage a Confederate battery.

President Lincoln writes Missouri political leader Francis P. Blair, Jr., that Blair should withhold the discretionary order sent him the day before to remove General Harney from St. Louis command. Harney had been relieved April 21 and restored May 8 and had gone back to St. Louis. Blair is watching Harney closely, feeling he is too tolerant of the pro-Confederate elements in St. Louis and Missouri. Delegates both pro- and anti-Harney had called on Lincoln.

The mouth of the Rappahannock River is blockaded, completing the increasingly effective blockade of Virginia.
#15005878
May 19, Sunday

The Confederate garrison at Harper’s Ferry is being reinforced by troops from the deep South as the position is strengthened.

Captures by US naval vessels of Confederate shipping slowly but steadily increase.

Two federal ships again duel with the Confederate battery at Sewell’s Point, Virginia, in Hampton Roads.
#15006083
May 20, Monday

In convention assembled at Raleigh, delegates vote unanimously for secession of North Carolina. At the same time the delegates ratify the Confederate Constitution, but defeat a move to submit the Constitution to popular vote.

Governor Beriah Magoffin of Kentucky issues a proclamation of neutrality. He forbids “any movement upon Kentucky soil” or occupation by either government and forbids citizens to make hostile demonstrations.

The Provisional Congress of the Confederacy votes to move the capital of the nation from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia, a move calculated to ensure the support of Virginia.

In midafternoon US marshals throughout the North descend upon telegraph offices and confiscate dispatches for the past year. The action is designed to uncover evidence against pro-secessionists and Confederate agents.
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