The American Civil War, day by day - Page 69 - Politics | PoFo

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July 14, Tuesday

As a dismal dawn approaches, Lee receives word that nearly all of Ewell’s corps has reached the sodden soil of Virginia. But at Falling Waters, where Lee is keeping an anxious watch, Longstreet’s corps has just started across the pontoon bridge, while Hill’s is still some distance away. A Federal attack now could destroy the Army of Northern Virginia. Yet even though Federal cavalry has discovered as early as three in the morning that the Confederates are on the move, no attack comes. Longstreet’s corps crosses the river, followed by most of Hill’s. Heth’s division, bringing up the rear, is approaching the bridge shortly after 11 am, when firing erupts close by. Buford and Kilpatrick’s Federal cavalry are now hot on Lee’s trail. The most determined assault is led by a regiment in Custer’s brigade commanded by Major Peter Weber, who charge General Heth’s division. Within three or four minutes, many of the Michigan troopers, including Weber, lie dead. Soon more Federals enter the fray, driving the Confederates back toward the river. In the process, General Pettigrew, commander of Heth’s rearguard and one of Lee’s most promising officers, is mortally wounded, and nearly 1,500 grayclad infantrymen are taken prisoner. But the defenders have bought time for Lee’s escape. Before long, Lee is watching the last of his troops cross the Potomac. As Buford’s pursuing horsemen start down the bluff to the river, Lee orders the bridge cut loose. Lee’s Confederate army is south of the Potomac now and Meade’s crestfallen troops trudge through the empty Confederate defenses. Lee has escaped to fight again.

In Washington, President Lincoln cannot contain his despair. “We had them in our grasp,” he tells his secretary, John Hay. “We had only to stretch forth our hands and they were ours. And nothing I could say or do could make the army move.” In a letter he does not sign or send, Lincoln writes to Meade, “ ... I am very—very—grateful to you for the magnificent success you gave the cause of the country at Gettysburg; and I am sorry now to be the author of the slightest pain to you. But I was in such deep distress myself that I could not restrain some expression of it.... Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed immeasureably [sic] because of it.”

After riding all night and through the day—including fighting a skirmish at Camp Dennison, Ohio—Morgan finally calls a halt when they reach Williamsburg late in the afternoon, some two dozen miles beyond Cincinnati, having covered no less than ninety miles in the past day and a half.

Minor skirmishing occurs at Falling Waters and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; Williamsport, Maryland; Elk River Bridge in middle Tennessee; and Iuka, Mississippi. Farther down the coast Confederates carry out a sortie from Battery Wagner on Morris Island near Charleston, South Carolina.

Federal naval forces take Fort Powhatan on the James River. The Union now controls the James up to Chaffin’s and Drewry’s bluffs, Virginia.

The draft riots rage on in New York as the mobs continue to loot and destroy.

For the Confederates, Major General W.H.C. Whiting is named to command the Department of North Carolina.

President Davis, struck with numerous defeats, writes to Senator R.W. Johnson, “In proportion as our difficulties increase, so must we all cling together, judge charitably of each other, and strive to bear and forbear, however great may be the sacrifice and bitter the trial....”
July 15, Wednesday

The violent action of the past two weeks is dissipating now. The draft riots, in their third day at New York, are becoming less virulent.

Skirmishing breaks out at Halltown and Shepherdstown, West Virginia, as Lee’s army slowly moves south up the Shenandoah Valley, to Bunker Hill, twenty miles from the Potomac, where it will remain most of the month for rest and recruitment.

In Ohio, Morgan is feeling confident and expansive as his troops take up the march. “All our troubles are now over,” he tells his staff, anticipating a three-day ride by easier stages to the fords upstream from Buffington, which he had had reconnoitered by scouts before he left Tennessee and which had been reported as an excellent place for a crossing back into Kentucky.

Sherman presses Joseph E. Johnston at Jackson, Mississippi. Other skirmishing occurs near Jackson, on Forked Deer River, and at Pulaski, Tennessee; and Federals occupy Hickman, Kentucky.

President Davis writes Lieutenant General T.H. Holmes in the Trans-Mississippi, “The clouds are truly dark over us.” Davis also writes a long letter to Joseph E. Johnston, with whom he has been bickering over military command and decisions.

President Lincoln issues a proclamation of thanksgiving for the recent victories and sets aside August 6th as a day of praise and prayer.
July 16, Thursday

Thousands of miles from the fighting fronts occurs one of the strangest battles of the Civil War period. USS Wyoming under David Stockton McDougal is one of several vessels searching for the Confederate raider Alabama. Putting in at Yokohama, McDougal finds the foreign colony huddled about the dock and terrified by a recent order of the Japanese lords to expel all foreigners and cut off the oft-used passage known as the Straits of Shimonoseki. McDougal moves into the straits and takes on the Japanese fleet and shore batteries. Junks and streamers swarm around him, but he manages to sink some and destroy a few of the batteries. The engagement is fierce but short, and McDougal is victorious. Wyoming suffers some damage and has five dead and six wounded. Later an international squadron forces the revocation of the oppressive measures. However, the United States has won its first naval battle with Japan.

Back home, General Sherman has pursued Joseph E. Johnston eastward past the recent battle sites at the Big Black River bridge and Champion’s Hill, and back into Jackson. This night, outnumbered and outmaneuvered, Johnstons abandons Jackson, Mississippi, to Sherman. Sherman, having successfully removed the last Confederate threat to Vicksburg, lets him go. As part of the campaigning, skirmishing occurs at Clinton, at Grant’s Ferry on Pearl River, and at Bolton Depot, Mississippi.

In the aftermath of Gettysburg there is also skirmishing at Shepherdstown and Shanghai, West Virginia. Morgan continues to roam in Ohio, but the pursuers are closing in. On James Island, South Carolina, Union troops and war vessels beat off a Confederate assault in an engagement near Grimball’s Landing. In Tennessee Federals scout for a couple of days from Germantown.

While Morgan’s raiders traverse the southern tier of Ohio counties, newspaper editors in his rear recover sufficiently from their fright to begin crowing. “John Morgan’s raid is dying away eastward,” the Chicago Tribune exults, “and his force is melting away as it proceeds. Their only care is escape and their chances are very slight.”

From Bunker Hill, north of Winchester, Virginia, General Lee writes President Davis that “The men are in good health and spirits, but want shoes and clothing badly.... As soon as these necessary articles are obtained, we shall be prepared to resume operations.” That he is still feeling aggressive, despite the setback he has suffered, is shown by his reaction to information that the enemy is preparing to cross the river at Harpers Ferry. “Should he follow us in this direction,” Lee writes Davis, “I shall lead him up the Valley and endeavor to attack him as far from his base as possible.”

Meade’s exchanges with his government, following his laconic report of a rebel getaway, are of a different nature. Halleck is plainly miffed. “I need hardly say to you,” he wires, “that the escape of Lee’s army without another battle has created great dissatisfaction in the mind of the President, and it will require an active and energetic pursuit on your part to remove the impression that it has not been sufficiently active before.” This is altogether more than Meade can take, particularly from Lincoln, who still has sent him no word of appreciation or encouragement, by way of reward for the first great victory in the East, but only secondhand expressions of doubt and disappointment. The Pennsylvanian stands on his dignity and makes the strongest protest within his means. “Having performed my duty conscientiously and to the best of my ability,” he declares, “the censure of the President conveyed in your dispatch ... is, in my judgment, so undeserved that I feel compelled most respectively to ask to be immediately relieved from the command of this army. There Halleck has it, and Lincoln too. They can either refrain from such goadings or let the victorious general depart. Moreover, Meade strengthens his case with a follow-up wire, sent half an hour later, in which he passes along Kilpatrick’s exuberant if erroneous report that his cavalry has captured a whole rebel brigade on the near bank of the Potomac. Old Brains promptly backtracks, as he always seems to do when confronted with vigorous opposition from anyone, blue or gray, except Joe Hooker. “My telegram, stating the disappointment of the President at the escape of Lee’s army, was not intended as a censure,” he replies, “but as a stimulus to an active pursuit. It is not deemed a sufficient cause for your application to be relieved.” In the end Meade withdraws his resignation, or at any rate doesn’t insist that it be accepted.

The unarmed cargo steamer Imperial ties up at New Orleans, Louisiana, flying the Stars and Stripes, having come down the Mississippi from St. Louis. It is the first boat to travel between the two great river ports in more than two years.

In New York City the draft riots have run their bloody course.

Federal General Blunt arrives at Fort Gibson, the Indian Territory, and takes over command from Colonel Phillips. Learning that General Cabbell is moving southwest from Arkansas to join General Cooper in an assault on the fort, Blunt decides to hit Cooper before he can be reinforced and orders his troops on a night march across the Arkansas River.
July 17, Friday

After the previous night’s march, Union General James G. Blunt falls on Brigadier General Douglas H. Cooper’s camp at Elk Creek near Honey Springs in Indian Territory. After a two-hour fight, a sudden rainstorm turns much of the Confederates’ gunpowder into a useless paste, forcing them to quit the fight before General Cabell’s army can get there to help. In this, the largest engagement in the territory, Federal Black soldiers are opposed to Confederate Amerinds.

A day of lesser engagements include a cavalry fight at Wytheville, Virginia, in the southwest; skirmishes near North Mountain Station, West Virginia, and at Snicker’s Gap, Virginia; skirmishing on Stone’s River, Tennessee; and at Bear Creek, near Canton, Mississippi. Federals operate for four days from New Berne to Swift Creek Village, North Carolina.

In Ohio Morgan runs into more resistance and faces serious trouble as his raiders fight near Hamden and Berlin, militiamen quite as determined as the Hoosiers he encountered on his first day on northern soil.

Over the next two days, General Meade crosses the Army of the Potomac over the river it is named for at Harpers Ferry and Berlin, half a dozen miles downstream, complying with his instructions to conduct “an active and energetic pursuit,” although he is convinced that such a course is over-risky. “The proper policy for the government would have been to be contented with driving Lee out of Maryland,” he writes to his wife, “and not to have advanced till this army was largely reinforced and reorganized and put on such a footing that its advance was sure to succeed.” In point of fact, however, he has already been “largely reinforced.” His aggregate present is 105,623 men, including some 13,500 troopers, while Lee, exclusive of about 9,000 cavalry, has a total of 50,178, or barely more than half as many infantry and cannoneers as are moving against him.
July 18, Saturday

At Charleston, the repulse on the 11th might have convinced Major General Gillmore that Fort Wagner is impervious to direct infantry assault, but he has decided to try once more before settling down to siege operations. This time, however, he will first soften the position by intensive artillery bombardment. Both heavy and light guns have been brought up, and Rear Admiral Dahlgren’s warships moved into position. Now Gillmore’s guns, together with the New Ironsides, five more monitors, and five gunboats, throw an awesome barrage of shot at Fort Wagner—enough to establish “several first class iron foundries.” Eventually the defenders stop replying. The bombardment ends, and the Federals prepare for an evening attack.

Gillmore assigns overall responsibility to Brigadier General Truman Seymour, an officer of the garrison that surrendered Fort Sumter at the start of the war. Seymour is grimly determined to see that fort restored to the Union. He taps General Strong, who showed great courage in the previous assault, to lead seven regiments in the first wave of the attack. A second wave will be composed of four regiments commanded by one of Strong’s West Point classmates, Colonel Haldimand S. Putnam. And a third wave of four regiments is to be led by Brigadier General Thomas G. Stevenson. Strong chooses a newly arrived Massachusetts regiment to spearhead the charge—a Black regiment commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, a slight, blond, 25-year-old Boston Brahmin whose abolitionist mother, as she watched the regiment march proudly out of Boston late last May, cried out, “What have I done that God has been so good to me!” The regiment, led by young Whites and manned by freedmen (including two sons of Frederick Douglass), has seen little fighting and is distrusted by many military men, who doubt the ability of Blacks to fight. So when General Strong offers to let the regiment lead, Shaw eagerly accepts. Here is an opportunity to prove the caliber of his men.

Almost immediately it becomes obvious that the bombardment of the sand fortress has failed to subdue the Confederate garrison. Emerging from their bombproof, the Confederates loose a torrent of shot and shell on the Black troops, who are forced to advance in column of companies rather than line of battle on the narrow beach. The soldiers are so tightly wedged together, elbow to elbow, that the bullets and shells from the fort can hardly fail to hit a target. Men fall on all sides as the quick step becomes a double-quick and then a full run. Shaw, in the lead, splashes through the moat and gains the walls of the fort. He is shot through the heart atop the parapet and topples headlong into the fort. The color-bearers go down as well, and the state flag is torn from its staff by a jubilant Confederate. A 23-year-old Black private, William H. Carney, though wounded twice and covered in blood, picks up the US flag and manages to drag it from the field. For this act, he will be the first Black awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. As the regiment falls back, the rest of Strong’s brigade comes up. Some of the soldiers of two regiments from Connecticut and New York manage to climb to the top of the bombproof and the eastern redoubt of the fort, where they engage the Confederates hand to hand. Down the beach General Strong, sword in hand, decides to bring in a Pennsylvania regiment. As he raises the cry, he goes down with a ragged shrapnel wound in his thigh; he will be dead in two weeks.

Now the second wave—Colonel Putnam’s regiments—enter the fray. Reaching the fort, they find a jumble of Federal dead, Black and White alike. Putnam clambers onto the redoubt, beyond which—atop the bombproof—remnants of Strong’s regiments are holding their own against the Confederate defenders. In the gathering gloom, one of Putnam’s regiments mistake the Federals on the fortress for the enemy and fires into their midst. Hit by defenders in front and the attackers coming up behind them, Federals fall by the dozens. As darkness comes, the survivors huddle on the piled-up bodies of their fallen comrades. Putnam has been shot dead along with most of his officers, and at dawn, finding themselves surrounded by the fort’s defenders, the surviving Federals will surrender. During the bloody attack, messages have been sent to the rear urging that the third wave, under Thomas Stevenson, be brought up. But Seymour has been wounded, and General Gillmore is so shaken by his losses that he refuses to commit any more troops. It has been a massacre. The Federals have lost 246 dead, 880 wounded, and 389 missing for a total of 1,515, compared to 36 killed, 133 wounded, and 5 missing for 174 Confederate casualties out of a garrison of 1,785 men.

In ten days on Morris Island, General Gillmore has lost a third of his men, and the capture of Fort Wagner, his immediate goal, seems as remote as ever. Instead of risking another frontal attack, Gillmore decides to try what he trusts will be a less costly method of forcing the garrison’s surrender. He will lay siege to it. Sappers will dig zigzag trenches in front of the parapet, and slowly Gillmore’s big guns will be brought closer and closer to the wall. Meanwhile, the Confederates transfer guns from Fort Sumter to other points in the harbor. For nearly a month the preparations will continue, with Gillmore’s artillery setting up heavy batteries on Morris Island.

In the West, the editor of the Chicago Tribune feels spry enough to manage another verbal sally. “John Morgan is still in Ohio, or rather is in Ohio without being allowed to be still.” It is true; Morgan is still in Ohio, delayed by militiamen he encountered yesterday. Bypassing Pomeroy this morning, 150 miles east of Cincinnati, he has had to call a halt at Chester, just beyond, to wait for stragglers: with the result that the head of his column doesn’t approach the river above Buffington until well after dark. There he receives his worst shock to date. Swollen by two weeks of rain, the Ohio is on an unseasonal boom, and the fords—if they can be called that, deep as they are—are guarded by 300 enemy infantry who have been brought upstream on transports, together with two guns which they have emplaced on the north bank, covering the approaches to the shallowest of the fords. Moreover, if transports can make it this far upriver, so can gunboats; which is something the general hadn’t counted on. Deciding to wait for daylight before attacking, Morgan gives his men some badly needed sleep.

In Sherman’s campaign against Jackson, Mississippi, skirmishing breaks out at Brookhaven. Other fighting occurs near Germantown and Memphis, Tennessee, and Des Allemands, Louisiana. Federals skirmish with Amerinds on the Rio Hondo, New Mexico Territory. There is skirmishing at and near Hedgesville and Martinsburg, West Virginia.

General William Pender, promising Confederate division commander wounded on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg and evacuated to Staunton, Virginia, has an artery in his wounded leg rupture. Surgeons amputate his leg in an attempt to save him, but he dies several hours later.

Federal Major General John G. Foster assumes command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, and Major General John A. Dix takes over the Department of the East. Federal scouts and expeditions lasting for several days move from Cassville, Missouri, to Huntsville, Arkansas; and from New Berne to Tarborough and Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Federal forces enter Wytheville, Virginia, in the southwestern part of the state.

At New Albany, Indiana, George W.L. Bickley, one of the leaders of the Knights of the Golden Circle, is arrested.

President Lincoln commutes a number of sentences of soldiers found guilty of various crimes.

President Davis calls for enrollment in the Confederate Army of those coming under the jurisdiction of the Conscription Act.
July 19, Sunday

Outside Charleston, South Carolina, the men of Fort Wagner bury the hundreds of Federals in mass graves. When a party under a flag of truce asks the fort’s new commander, Brigadier General Johnson Hagwood, to return Colonel Shaw’s body, he reportedly answers, “We have buried him in the trench with his n****rs.” Later Shaw’s father will write General Gillmore, asking him to make no special attempt to recover his son. The father declares, “We can imagine no holier place than that in which he is, among his brave and devoted followers, nor wish for him better company.”

Meade’s Army of the Potomac completes crossing the Potomac at Harpers Ferry and Berlin (now Brunswick), Maryland, in pursuit of Lee. Moving rapidly, the Federal army heads south into Virginia and toward the passes in the Blue Ridge, beyond which lies the Army of Northern Virginia.

At dawn, Morgan sends two regiments forward to the Buffington fords across the Ohio, only to discover that the bluecoats abandoned their position in the darkness, tumbling their guns into the river unobserved and leaving the crossing unguarded for most of the night. But there is no time for crimination or even regret for this lack of vigilance on the part of the scouts; for just then two things happen, both calamitous. A gunboat rounds the lower bend, denying the raiders access to the ford, and heavy firing breaks out at the rear of the long gray line of weary men on weary horses. Two heavy columns of Federal cavalry, 5,000 strong and well rested, have come up from Pomeroy after an overnight boat ride from downstream and have launched an immediate all-out attack on the raiders, who are wedged in a mile-long valley beside the swollen river, awaiting their turns at a ford they can’t use. Morgan reacts with his usual quick intelligence, leading the head of the column out of the unblocked northern end of the narrow valley while the rear guard does what it can to fight off the attackers. But resistance quickly crumples and the withdrawal becomes a rout. Morgan is fortunate, under the circumstances, to lose no more than half of his command, including 120 killed or wounded and some 700 captured—Duke and two more of the Morgan brothers, Richard and Charlton, are among the latter—together with both of his guns and such of his wagons as have managed to keep up. Federal casualties are light.

The 1,000 survivors that manage to escape find a ford this afternoon at Blennerhassett’s Island, a few miles below Parkersburg, West Virginia. The ford is deep, the current swift, and a number of horses and their mounts are swept away and drowned. And when some 300 have made it across the river, the gunboat reappears from below, guns booming, and slams the escape hatch shut. In midstream aboard a powerful horse, Morgan himself could make it across, yet he chooses instead to return to the north bank and stay with the remaining 700 to the bitter end of what, from this point on, is not so much a raid as it is a frantic attempt to avoud capture by the greatly superior forces converging from all points of the compass upon the dwindling column of graybacks.

Elsewhere there is action at Brandon, Mississippi, a part of Sherman’s Jackson Campaign. Amerinds and Federals skirmish on the Rio de las Animas, New Mexico Territory. Federals scout from Danville, Mississippi; and operations in the vicinity of Trenton, Tennessee, last several days.

D.H. Hill replaces William Hardee in command of the Second Corps in Bragg’s Confederate army.

Despite his disappointments over the Gettysburg follow-up, Lincoln is in such good humor that he writes a little doggerel for secretary John Hay.
July 20, Monday

In Virginia skirmishing flares near Barry’s Ferry and at Ashby’s Gap in the Blue Ridge as Meade’s Federal Army of the Potomac moves southward from the Potomac and begins to send troops to cover the passes of the Blue Ridge. Meanwhile, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia begins to move southward in the Shenandoah from the area around Bunker Hill north of Winchester.

On the Ohio River the bedraggled remainder of John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate raiders fight a skirmish near Hockingport, Ohio, and at Coal Hill near Cheshire before turning northward away from the river.

Other action includes fighting at Cabin Creek, Indian Territory; and Tarbourough and Sparta, North Carolina. Federals bombard Legare’s Point on James Island, South Carolina. Federals scout from Memphis, Tennessee, through the 21st; and Federal troops carry out operations against Amerinds through the 26th in Round Valley, California.

USS Shawsheen captures five schooners on the Neuse near Cedar Island, North Carolina.

The Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce expels thirty-three members for refusing to take the oath of allegiance.

New York merchants meet to take measures for relief of Black victims of the draft riots.
July 21, Tuesday

Through the 23rd cavalry and infantry fight at Manassas Gap, Chester Gap, Wapping Heights, Snicker’s Gap, and Gaines’ Cross Roads in the Blue Ridge of Virginia as Federal advance units attempt to gain control of the passes into the Shenandoah in order to determine Lee’s movements. Lee, for his part, has to worry about Meade’s army east of the Blue Ridge interposing itself between the Confederates and Richmond.

Skirmishing erupts at Street’s Ferry, North Carolina, as a Federal expedition moves from New Berne to Tarborough and Rocky Mount.

The Confederates name Brigadier General John D. Imboden to command the Valley District.

In a letter to General O.O. Howard, President Lincoln expresses his confidence in General Meade “as a brave and skillful officer, and a true man.” In addition, the President directs Secretary of State Stanton to renew vigorous efforts to raise Black troops along the Mississippi River.

President Davis writes Lee of his concern over losses resulting from Gettysburg and the problems of reorganization of the units and commands. He also tells Lee of the threat to Charleston Harbor.
July 22, Wednesday

As action increases at Manassas and Chester gaps in the Blue Ridge, Meade orders the Federal III Corps, under Major General William H. French, to move forward and attack Confederates in Manassas Gap tomorrow, so as to push through into the Shenandoah and pierce Lee’s long column moving southward.

In Ohio Morgan’s remnant skirmishes at Eagleport as they flee northward. Federal forces reoccupy Brashear City, Louisiana; and there is skirmishing at Scupperton, North Carolina. A five-day Federal expedition operates from Clinton, Kentucky, in pursuit of Confederate cavalry in the area. The New York Chamber of Commerce estimates that Confederate raiders have taken 150 Union merchant vessels valued at over $12,000,000 (2021 $258,758,095).
July 22, Wednesday

As action increases at Manassas and Chester gaps in the Blue Ridge, Meade orders the Federal III Corps, under Major General William H. French, to move forward and attack Confederates in Manassas Gap tomorrow, so as to push through into the Shenandoah and pierce Lee’s long column moving southward.

In Ohio Morgan’s remnant skirmishes at Eagleport as they flee northward. Federal forces reoccupy Brashear City, Louisiana; and there is skirmishing at Scupperton, North Carolina. A five-day Federal expedition operates from Clinton, Kentucky, in pursuit of Confederate cavalry in the area. The New York Chamber of Commerce estimates that Confederate raiders have taken 150 Union merchant vessels valued at over $12,000,000 (2021 $258,758,095)
July 23, Thursday

Federal troops of French’s III Corps push into and through Manassas Gap in the Blue Ridge and then, facing a brigade of Confederates, are delayed for hours. During those hours Longstreet’s and Hill’s corps of Lee’s army move swiftly southward through the Luray Valley of the Shenandoah to safety. Two divisions of Ewell’s corps come up and establish lines of defense. One Federal brigade attacks at Wapping Heights, but French’s delays mean that Meade has failed to isolate even one corps of the Confederates or to strike a major blow at the enemy. During the night Ewell, too, pulls off, leaving only a light rear guard near Front Royal. The Confederates continue unmolested to Culpeper Court House, below the Rappahannock. Skirmishing also breaks out in the Blue Ridge at Snicker’s Gap, Chester Gap, and Gaines’ Cross Roads.

Morgan’s fast-fading force fights again at Rockville, Ohio. A Federal expedition operates from Memphis to Raleigh, Tennessee.
July 24, Friday

Longstreet’s Confederate corps arrives at Culpeper Court House south of the Rappahannock and south of Meade’s advancing Federals. Troops of the Federal Third Corps move into the Shenandoah Valley to Front Royal and find the Confederates gone. Meade now begins concentrating at Warrenton. The only skirmishing occurs at Battle Mountain, near Newby’s Cross Roads, Virginia.

Again Morgan’s men are forced to skirmish, this time at Washington and Athens, Ohio. Other skirmishes take place in Dade County, Missouri, and between Federals and Amerinds at Cook’s Cañon, New Mexico Territory,

General Lee writes President Davis that after returning to Virginia he intended to march east of the Blue Ridge, but high water and other obstacles have prevented him from doing so before the Federals also crosse the Potomac into Loudoun County. He tells President Davis of his plans to recuperate the army.

Union ironclads and gunboats bombard Battery Wagner in Charleston Harbor. The Federal army continues to advance its siege lines.
July 25, Saturday

Moving farther north in Ohio, John Hunt Morgan’s men fight skirmishes near Steubenville and Springfield. In Virginia there is fighting at Barbee’s Cross Roads, and a Federal expedition to Gloucester Court House. In the West skirmishing occurs at Brownsville, Arkansas; and at Williamsburg and near New Hope Station, Kentucky. The Confederate Department of East Tennessee is merged into the Department of Tennessee under Bragg’s command. Various Federal expeditions operate from Portsmouth, Virginia, toward Jackson, North Carolina; from New Berne to Winton, North Carolina; and along Goose Creek, Virginia. Confederates move into eastern Kentucky.
July 26, Sunday

Down to 364 troopers now because of the increasing breakdown of their horses, the last of Morgan’s raiders are brought to bay at Salineville, on Beaver Creek, near New Lisbon, and there, just off the tip of West Virginia’s tiny panhandle, less than a hundred miles from Lake Erie and only half that far to Pittsburgh, he and those still with him lay down their arms. In the thirty days since leaving Sparta on June 27th, they have ridden more than 700 miles, averaging twenty hours a day in the saddle from the time they crossed the Ohio. Though they have met with disaster in the end, they have at least accomplished their primary objective of preventing an early march southward by General Burnside, in conjunction with Rosecrans’ advance on Tullahoma, which would have made Bragg’s retreat across the Tennessee a far more difficult maneuver than the unharrassed withdrawal it actually was. Though this isn’t immediately obvious, and the raid will generally be considered a foolhardy waste of precious Southern soldiers.

Morgan and his chief lieutenants, captured at Salineville and elsewhere, are brought in triumph back to Concinnati, where Burnside pronounces them ineligible for parole. Nor is that the worst of it. Acting on misinformation that Abel Streight had been so treated after his capture in Alabama three months ago, the authorities order that the Ohio raiders be confined in the State Penitentiary at Columbus for the duration of the war. And there they are lodged before the month is out.

Two prominent Americans die. Sam Houston, Texas patriot, soldier, and statesman, long a towering figure in American politics and Western life, dies in retirement at his home at Huntsville, Texas. He opposed secession, but knew that as long as people turned to it they could not go back. Likewise, John J. Crittenden, who tried so futilely to bring about compromise before the resort to arms, dies in Frankfurt, Kentucky. After a long career in Congress and efforts to keep Kentucky in the Union, Crittenden opposed many Federal political moves, including emancipation. One of his sons has joined the Confederacy and another the Union, and both rise to high rank.

In Virginia military action is slight as the Federals move in and around Warrenton and the Confederates toward Culpeper. In eastern Kentucky Confederate raiders skirmish at London; and in Dakota Territory Federal troops fight Sioux at Dead Buffalo Lake. Elsewhere, a Federal expedition moves from Plymouth to Foster’s Mills, North Carolina; and Union operations from Natchez, Mississippi, last several days.
July 27, Monday

Minor affairs take place near Cassville, Missouri; Rogersville, Kentucky; at the mouth of Bayou Teche, Louisiana; and near Bridgeport, Alabama. In Kansas Federals operate from Baxter Springs to Grand River.

Confederate “fire-eater” William Lowndes Yancey dies in Montgomery, Alabama.
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