- 21 Jul 2020 13:12
July 22, Tuesday
At Vicksburg Admiral Farragut insists on one more try to destroy the Confederate ironclad ram CSS Arkansas, sending two ships, the ironclad Essex and the ram Queen of the West against it. Commander Porter goes on board the Essex to lead the attack. As the Federal ships open fire, aboard the Arkansas Lieutenant Brown executes a shrewd maneuver. He swings his vessel away from the bank, prow out, to present the smallest possible target. Consequently, neither Union vessel is at first able to land a solid blow. Then, at great risk to his ship, Porter brings the Essex to within five feet of the Arkansas and pours fire into her side. A shot passes through one of the Arkansas’ gunports, and a large hole appears in her armor. Porter is close enough to take the enemy ram by boarding, but the storm of fire from the Confederate batteries and infantry on the bank dissuade him. A shell fragment hits Porter in the head, cutting a slight gash. Finally the Federals give up. The Essex, struck by 42 shots, somehow escapes major damage; the Queen of the West is riddled with balls, but she, too, remains intact and her crew suffers few casualties. The Arkansas loses seven killed and six wounded; but she has withstood another savage Federal attack.
At a Cabinet meeting in Washington President Lincoln surprises most of his advisers by reading the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. It includes warnings of the consequences of the Confiscation Act, renews his offer of compensation to loyal states for gradual emancipation, and proposes that as of January 1, 1863, slaves in all states then in rebellion should be free. After long thought, the President has, independent of consultation, decided upon this course. After a discussion President Lincoln follows Secretary of State Seward’s suggestion that announcement of the emancipation be delayed until the armies achieve a military success.
The Federal War Department issues an order authorizing military and naval commanders within states in rebellion to seize and use for military purposes any real or personal property and to employ Blacks as laborers.
In Virginia there is reconnaissance by Federals from Luray to Columbia Bridge and White House Ford, plus a skirmish at Verdon, and an affair near Westover. Other activities include a reconnaissance July 22-24 by Federals to James City and Madison Court House, and a scout in King William, King and Queen, and Gloucester counties, Virginia.
Major General A.E. Burnside takes command of the IX Corps of the Union Army.
The July 17 skirmish at Cynthiana, Kentucky, has kicked off a hornet’s nest, at least of telegraph messages. Federal Brigadier General Jeremiah T. Boyle, commanding in Louisville, fires off requests for reinforcements in all directions: to Governor Oliver Morton in Indiana, to General Buell in Alabama, and directly to Washington. Morton sends a few raw recruits. Buell wires back that he can spare no troops because he is expecting an attack on his own lines. Lincoln responds by wiring Halleck at Corinth: “They are having a stampede in Kentucky. Please look to it.” Halleck then wires Buell: “Do all in your power to put down the Morgan raid even if Chattanooga expedition should be delayed.”
But by this time Morgan and his raiders were already on their way back, arriving today at Livingston, Tennessee. In just under three weeks, his brigade has ridden 1,000 miles, taken 1,200 prisoners, captured seventeen towns and turned over to local sympathizers a small fortune in Federal property. More important, the raid has distracted Federal attention from the advance on Chattanooga. Although no more than 300 volunteers actually joined the raiders in Kentucky, Morgan persists in his belief that Bluegrass men are anxious to sign up with the Confederate forces. At one point he telegraphs Kirby Smith to assure him that if the general’s army were to advance into Kentucky, “25,000 or 30,000 men will join you at once.” In fact, the recruiters who benefit the most from Morgan’s raid are Federal. More than 7,000 pro-Union men are worried enough about the Confederate raiders to enlist in seven Kentucky cavalry regiments. Volunteers also rush to the colors in Indiana. And in Ohio, a recruiting officer—Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes—is so gratified by the flood of volunteers that he is moved to cheer “Hooray for Morgan!”
Of less pleasant news for the Federals, it is found that George Ellsworth, the expert telegraph operator on Morgan’s staff, has been intercepting most of the Federal dispatches for the past twelve days, thus giving the Confederates warning of Northern operations.
The expert is more aristocratic than the aristocrat, because the aristocrat is only the man who lives well, while the expert is the man who knows better.
—G. K. Chesterton