The American Civil War, day by day - Page 20 - Politics | PoFo

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July 1, Monday

The Federal War Department issues orders for raising US troops in Kentucky and Tennessee as mobilization continues on both sides.

Four members of the Baltimore Police Board are arrested by Federal authorities for alleged pro-Confederate activities in the city.
July 2, Tuesday

The Commanding General of the US Army, Winfield Scott, is authorized by the President to suspend the writ of habeas corpus on or near any military line between the city of New York and Washington, presaging further suspension of the privilege.

Troops of Federal Brigadier General Robert Patterson cross the Potomac at Williamsport, Maryland, into the Shenandoah Valley. General Scott and General Patterson, two aged warriors, have argued over operations until finally on a bright midsummer day Patterson moves. It is part of the Federal plan to have Patterson march into the Shenandoah Valley to hold Confederate troops there while the main Union army carries out a major attack toward Manassas. Meanwhile, the Confederates under Joseph E. Johnston have much the same idea—hold Patterson in the valley and then shift their forces quickly to join Beauregard for offensive action toward Washington. Moving toward Martinsburg, western Virginia, the Federals push Confederate outposts before them, and there is a brisk skirmish at Falling Waters or Hoke’s Run, western Virginia, a Union success ... though a young lieutenant colonel of Confederate cavalry, James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart, distinguishes himself.

In Washington President Lincoln reviews troops and confers with Major General Charles Fremont, who is slowly heading west to take command in Missouri, source of much worry to Federal authorities.

Colonel Thomas J. Jackson receives his commission as a Confederate brigadier general.
July 3, Wednesday

Federal troops of General Robert Patterson advance to Martinsburg, western Virginia, with Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate outposts falling back toward Winchester, Virginia.

In New Mexico Territory Union forces abandon Fort McLane.

Galveston, Texas, is now blockaded as the Northern Navy extends its operations.

President Lincoln confers with his Cabinet on his message for Congress, due to convene the next day in special session.
July 4, Thursday

Independence Day. The great national holiday has come again and sees a country divided and at war. Patriotism is supreme as always, on both sides.

In Washington the special session of the Thirty-seventh Congress gathers after being called by the President to deal with war measures. Many feel it should have been called sooner. Galusha A. Grow of Pennsylvania is elected Speaker of the House.

President Lincoln signs a temperance declaration (also signed by ten previous Presidents).

There is a small skirmish at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, as part of the Federal advance into the Shenandoah, and another in Missouri at Farmington, south of St. Louis.

Six blockade-runners are taken off Galveston, Texas, and two more on July 5.
July 5, Friday

In the message sent to Congress (dated July 4 but read to Congress July 5) the President outlines events since March 4, including the suspension of functions of the Federal government in areas of secession. Mr. Lincoln says he has exhausted all peaceful measures to solve the difficulties, and the Administration vows to hold all public places and property. The President reviews the Fort Sumter crisis and points out that to “abandon that position, under the circumstances, would be utterly ruinous....” He denies that the South needed to assault Fort Sumter, as it was not an aggressive threat to them. The issue “presents to the whole family of man, the question, whether a constitutional republic, or a democracy—a government of the people, by the same people—can, or cannot, maintain its territorial integrity, against its own domestic foes.” And thus war came. The President then outlines the action instituted to mobilize and fight the war. He indicates that some measures taken were perhaps beyond the power of the President but since they were a public necessity he trusts Congress will ratify them. Mr. Lincoln then recommends “that you give the legal means for making this contest a short, and decisive one; that you place at the control of the government, for the work, at least four hundred thousand men, and four hundred millions of dollars.” The President goes on to make a strong case for the indivisibility of the Union and denies that secession is possible. He praises the quality of the men filling the ranks on both sides of the conflict, and offers that as further proof of the undesirability of breaking up the Union: “So large an army as the government has now on foot, was never before known, without a soldier in it, but who had taken his place there, of his own free choice. But more than this: there are many single Regiments whose members, one and another, possess full practical knowledge of all the arts, sciences, professions, and whatever else, whether useful or elegant, is known in the world; and there is scarcely one, from which there could not be selected, a President, a Cabinet, a Congress, and perhaps a Court, abundantly competent to administer the government itself. Nor do I say this is not true, also, in the army of our late friends, now adversaries, in this contest; but if it is, so much better the reason why the government, which has conferred such benefits on both them and us, should not be broken up.” He argues that this is “a People’s war. On the side of the Union, it is a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men—to lift artificial weights from all shoulders—to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all—to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life.... Our popular government has often been called an experiment. Two points in it, our people have already settled—the successful establishing, and the successful administering of it. One still remains—its successful maintenance against a formidable [internal] attempt to overthrow it. It is now for them to demonstrate to the world, that those who can fairly carry an election, can also suppress a rebellion—that ballots are the rightful, and peaceful, successors of bullets; and that when ballots have fairly, and constitutionally, decided, there can be no successful appeal, back to bullets; that there can be no successful appeal, except to ballots themselves, at succeeding elections. Such will be a great lesson of peace; teaching men that what they cannot take by an election, neither can they take it by a war—teaching all, the folly of being the beginners of a war.” He ends with the sorrowful statement of his duty and a call for Congress to join him: “It was with the deepest regret that the Executive found the duty of employing the war-power, in defense of the government, forced upon him. He could but perform this duty, or surrender the existence of the government.... He sincerely hopes that your views, and your action, may so accord with his, as to assure all faithful citizens, who have been disturbed in their rights, of a certain, and speedy restoration to them, under the Constitution, and the laws. And having thus chosen our course, without guile, and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear, and with manly hearts.” For the most part the President’s message is met with enthusiastic approval of congressmen.

In southwest Missouri with the itinerant government, Governor Claiborne Jackson, Confederate, is concerned about Nathaniel Lyon and the Federal troops in his rear. Now he discovers that Franz Sigel and his Germans are near Carthage in front of him. The Federals have around 1,100 men to some 4,000 partly unarmed Confederates. The governor’s force, largely in civilian clothes, forms a line of battle and awaits Sigel’s attack. The nondescript Missouri Southerners are hard pressed at first until their cavalry flanks both ends of Sigel’s line. This forces the Federals judiciously to retreat, although the Northerners use their artillery to advantage. The Germans retire through Carthage and the Confederate pursuit ends at dark. Union losses are put at 13 killed and 31 wounded, and Confederates report 40 to 50 killed and 120 wounded. At any rate, the Federal advance into southwest Missouri has received a setback. Sigel moves back to join Lyon at Springfield. Governor Jackson marches southward to meet Sterling Price’s army.

In Virginia there is a small skirmish near Newport News.
July 6, Saturday

The campaign in western Virginia becomes active again with skirmishing at Middle Fork Bridge east of Buckhannon.

At a Cuban port CSS Sumter deposits seven prizes taken in the first major commerce-raiding foray of the Confederates. They are later released by Cuba.

Federal Secretary of War Cameron can report that 64 volunteer regiments of 900 men each, together with 1,200 regulars, are in readiness around Washington. These 60,000 men, composing not one-fourth of the men now under arms in the North, are prepared to march against the center of the rebellion whenever the Commander in Chief sees fit to order the advance.

The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captures the schooner Enchantress and places a prize crew aboard her to return her to port.
July 7, Sunday

There is skirmishing for several days at Bellington and Laurel Hill, western Virginia, and also one day of fighting at Glenville, where Federal troops are continuing their pressure on Confederate forces in the western counties of Virginia. There is a skirmish at Great Falls, Maryland. The pattern of frequent skirmishes and affairs is now becoming evident, nearly three months after war began.

Clement L. Vallandigham, Representative in Congress from Ohio and already known as favoring peace, visits Ohio regiments in Virginia and is greeted at one camp by a shower of stones, shouts, and anger which almost precipitates a riot.
July 8, Monday

Confederate Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley is ordered to Texas to take command of Southern efforts to expel Union forces from New Mexico Territory. Since before secession irregular forces have been gathering under the guise of a “buffalo hunt,” but really with the aim of conquering at least part of the Southwest for the South.
July 9, Tuesday

Slight action east and west—at Vienna, Virginia; and near Monroe Station, Missouri.
July 10, Wednesday

After concentrating three brigades at Buckhannon and one at Philippi, western Virginia, McClellan is ready to move against Robert S. Garnett’s much smaller Confederate force at Laurel Hill and Rich Mountain. With four regiments and cavalry Brigadier General William Starke Rosecrans, under McClellan, presses forward with a skirmish at Rich Mountain. At the same time Brigadier General T.A. Morris moves with a portion of the Federals from Philippi toward Laurel Hill.

Meanwhile, Fort Breckinridge, New Mexico Territory, is abandoned by the Federals.

The Confederate government concludes a treaty with the Creek Amerinds, the first of nine treaties arranged by agent Albert Pike.

President Lincoln writes Simon B. Buckner, inspector general of the Kentucky state guard and with Confederate leanings, that he does not at present intend to send an armed force into neutral Kentucky.

The imperial Russian government instructs its ministry in Washington on its policy of neutrality.
July 11, Thursday

At Rich Mountain in western Virginia, about 2,000 of McClellan’s Federal troops, under the command of Rosecrans, attacks the position of Confederate Lieutenant Colonel John Pegram. Marching over rough terrain, Rosecrans surprises Pegram’s left and, using an unguarded mountain path, gets behind him, cutting off withdrawal to Beverly. To the north at Laurel Hill or Mountain, T.A. Morris’s Federals demonstrates against Garnett’s main force. At Rich Mountain Pegram has about 1,300 men, all told, and Garnett some 4,000 at Laurel Hill. On the Federal side, Morris has about 4,000 and McClellan and Rosecrans about 8,000. Rosecrans loses 12 killed and 49 wounded, while Confederate reports of losses are unreliable. By midnight Garnett has evacuated his camp at Laurel Hill and, thinking falsely that he is unable to get to Beverly, turns off over Cheat Mountain into Cheat River Valley.

To the west and south Jacob D. Cox leading another Federal column of about three thousand begins his movement by boat and foot up the Great Kanawha Valley toward Charleston, western Virginia and Brigadier General Henry A. Wise, former governor of Virginia, from the junction of the Ohio and Great Kanawha rivers.

The US Senate expels the senators from Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Texas, plus one from Tennessee. This is mere formality; they have already left.
July 12, Friday

Confederates under Garnett are retreating from Laurel Hill into the Cheat River Valley after the defeat on July 11. About half of Pegram’s command from Rich Mountain escapes to Staunton, Virginia. McClellan occupies Beverly, western Virginia, about noon. To the north Morris and his Federals are pursuing Garnett.

Jacob Cox’s Federal column is well advanced up the winding river of the Great Kanawha Valley, moving into the craggy mountains.

Albert Pike signs treaties for the Confederates with the Choctaw and Chickasaw Amerind nations in the Indian Territory.
July 13, Saturday

Attempting to save a part of his Confederate army, Brigadier General Robert S. Garnett crosses Cheat Mountain in his continuing retreat from Laurel Hill into Cheat River Valley. T.A. Morris with troops of McClellan’s command has pursued Garnett in the rain. About noon the skirmishing begins as the Confederates try to protect their slowly moving wagons. Action increases at Corrick’s Ford. Garnett himself is killed a little further on while trying to withdraw his skirmishers. The Federal pursuit is now discontinued. At Rich Mountain, Pegram is forced to surrender about half his original force. The victory opens the road for McClellan to Beverly. McClellan with the main Federal force was supposed to attack when Rosecrans made his move, but did not do so. McClellan receives much credit for the victory, which, most historians will agree, really belongs to Rosecrans, who originated the idea and performed the difficult part. At Corrick’s Ford the Confederates suffer an estimated 20 killed and wounded and some 50 captured, with a total loss for the campaign of around 700, including the 555 men of Pegram. Federals suffer only some 10 casualties, by one report.

Other Federal troops fight an action at Red House near Barboursville, as part of the campaign along the Kanawha River in western Virginia.

McClellan’s campaign plus the other operations in western Virginia give the Union control of the mountain area, rivers, and other communications lines, and protects Northern east-west railroads. In addition, raiding parties from the area can constantly threaten Virginia itself. The fighting may not have been major compared to what is to come, but the significance of the western Virginia campaign will often be overlooked.

President Lincoln signs a bill empowering him to collect customs at ports of delivery and to declare the existence of insurrection where the law cannot be carried out.
July 14, Sunday

The blockade at Wilmington, North Carolina, is set up by USS Daylight, but will soon require a large number of vessels.

Brigadier General Henry Rootes Jackson at Monterey, Virginia, assumes command of Confederate forces that have escaped from the Rich Mountain-Laurel Hill-Corrick’s Ford fighting.

Pressure is mounting steadily in the North for an advance by McDowell’s army into Virginia. From the beginning of hostilities there has been such a demand, but now it rises to a crescendo with Horace Greeley’s “Forward to Richmond” on the masthead of the New York Tribune, and other such agitation. As a preliminary, Federal troops carry out a reconnaissance from Alexandria. News of the victories in western Virginia only increases the impatience for action in the North. Furthermore, General Patterson in the Shenandoah seems stalled south of Harper’s Ferry, where he opposes J.E. Johnston’s Confederates.

The first Confederate council of war is held in the parlor of the Spotswood Hotel, where President Davis has temporary quarters. Beauregard has sent an aide down from Manassas to propose that with 20,00 men from Johnston he will shatter the Union army to his front, then return the reinforcements to Johnston along with 10,000 of his own men to crush the smaller army facing him in the Shenandoah Valley and march on Washington from the north while Beauregard attacks the city from the south; together they will dictate terms to Lincoln in the White House. This plan is opposed by General Robert E. Lee, currently President Davis’s military assistant, on not only the obvious grounds that Johnston has barely more than half the men Beauregard is asking for, but also on grounds that the Union army will simply retire into the Washington fortifications until it has built up enough strength to come out and turn the tables on the Confederates. Davis accepts Lee’s judgment, finding that it coincides with his own, and sends the aide with instructions to await the Federal advance.
July 15, Monday

A small force of Confederate cavalry fights with front units of General Patterson’s Federals advancing from Martinsburg to Bunker Hill, north of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. “Granny” Patterson, as some soldiers call him, has been ordered to keep General Johnston from moving to reinforce Beauregard. He says he will attack if occasion presents itself, but he seems reluctant to find the occasion and will stay at Bunker Hill for a day before withdrawing to Charles Town. It isn’t much of a demonstration and certainly doesn’t frighten anyone.

In western Virginia there is a slight skirmish at Bowman’s Place on Cheat River as the campaign in that area slows down.

As the news of victory in western Virginia spreads over the North, the name of McClellan becomes a household word and he is the first real “hero general” of the war for the Federals. While the campaign was well planned by McClellan and well handled by his underlings, in the opinion of many future historians, McClellan has reaped a reputation that overran the events.

Out in Missouri there is a minor skirmish at Mexico and another at Wentzville.
July 16, Tuesday

“Forward to Richmond! Forward to Richmond—The Rebel Congress must not be allowed to meet there on the 20th of July! BY THAT DATE THE PLACE MUST BE HELD BY THE NATIONAL ARMY!” For nearly a month now the New York Tribune and others have been raising that cry. Now the Federal army under Irvin McDowell moves out westward from the Potomac in the general direction of Centreville and Manassas, Virginia. McDowell’s approximately 35,000 men parade from the Washington area, making only six miles westward and slightly south the first day. As the jubilant Federals march out “on the sacred soil of Old Virginia” they believe they are on their way to Richmond, singing “John Brown’s Body” (the tune that would later become “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”).

At Manassas Brigadier General Beauregard has been in command since June 1; by now his Confederate force numbers some 22,000 men. He has been expecting a Federal advance and there have been numerous rumors. Also he is planning on a quick switch of Joseph E. Johnston’s troops from the Shenandoah to Manassas to enlarge his army.

Out in western Virginia there is a slight skirmish at Barboursville.

The Confederate prize crew of the schooner S.J. Waring is surprised and captured by the Yankee prisoners on the vessel led by William Tighman, a Black. The vessel will get to New York on the 22nd.
July 17, Wednesday

The morning papers of Washington carry the news—the Federal armies are advancing! General Beauregard reads it and, in fact, had heard it the night before by message sent from spy Mrs. Rose Greenhow in Washington. The Confederate commander wires President Davis that his outposts have been assailed and that he has “fallen back on the line of Bull Run near Manassas.” Davis tells Beauregard reinforcements are coming. Richmond orders J.E. Johnston to move his force from the Shenandoah to Manassas “if practicable.” Practicable it proves, because General Patterson has pulled his Federals back to Charles Town rather than keeping pressure on the enemy by moving towards Winchester as ordered. Johnston is thus allowed to disengage and cross the mountains to aid Beauregard. On the Manassas front there is skirmishing at Fairfax Court House and Vienna as McDowell’s Federals continue their march out from Washington. At Fairfax Court House they halt for the night, McDowell reporting his men too exhausted to go on. There they find large quantities of supplies and equipment left by the hastily departing Confederates.

Out in Fulton, Missouri, there is a light skirmish.

On the Great Kanawha where Jacob D. Cox is advancing into western Virginia toward Charleston, the Federals are held up temporarily in the action at Scarey Creek where Confederates of Brigadier General Henry A. Wise blocks their advance up the river valley.

President Lincoln approves a loan passed by Congress for $250 million in bonds and notes.
July 18, Thursday

McDowell’s Federal Army of Virginia moves slowly and with care from Fairfax Court House, Virginia, to Centreville, arriving about noon on a very warm day. It has taken the army two and a half days to cover twenty miles. Confederates under J.E. Johnston are moving much more rapidly by foot and rail from the Shenandoah Valley, heading toward Beauregard at Manassas. He leaves behind his sick men with a small guard, and his movement is screened so well by his cavalry, under its commander Colonel J.E.B. Stuart, that General Patterson, tasked with preventing such movement with a superior Federal force, fails to learn about it for two days.

Beauregard at Manassas now has a line about eight miles long on Bull Run. Contemplating operations against the Confederate right, McDowell sends men of Brigadier General Daniel Tyler under Colonel I.B. Richardson toward Blackburn’s Ford in a reconnaissance that goes further than ordered. A fairly strong engagement follows, in which James Longstreet’s men repulse the Federals at Blackburn’s Ford. There is also skirmishing at Mitchell’s Ford. Confederate losses are put at 15 killed and 53 wounded. Federal losses in the action that was not ordered by McDowell are 19 killed, 38 wounded, and 26 missing. Some of the Federal three-month volunteers whose enlistments had expired simply marched away from the battlefield in spite of the pleas of the Secretary of War. The fighting does reveal the Confederate strength and wooded nature of the terrain on Beauregard’s center and right flank, and causes McDowell to rethink his battle plan. For the Confederates the action, which they will later, confusingly, call the Battle of Bull Run, gives confidence to the men. Davis tells Beauregard, “God be praised for your successful beginning.”

Other action this day, outside Virginia, is at Martinsburg and Harrisonville, Missouri.
July 19, Friday

McDowell’s Federals bring forward supplies and prepare for further advance. The delay gives the Confederates time to strengthen their defenses along Bull Run, and, most important, Johnston’s men from the Shenandoah are pushing hard to arrive on time. In fact, when the First Brigade of General Jackson halts at the village of Paris at 2:00 am, the troops are so exhausted that he stands guard himself, alone, until dawn so that all of his men can rest. A few months later they will think of nothing of such a march, but at this time this is probably the best trained brigade in either army. Still, Jackson’s brigade arrives at Manassas Junction by 4:00 pm. That evening at the Wilbur McLean House General Beauregard and his generals are surprised when General Jackson walks in and reports his arrival. Other troops of Johnston are behind him, some delayed by traffic problems on the single-line Manassas Gap railroad.

There are a couple of minor affairs at the Back River Road and at New Market Bridge, Virginia.

General McClellan issues an order congratulating his army for the victories in western Virginia and not too indirectly congratulating himself as well.

In northern Missouri Brigadier General John Pope proclaims that all who have taken up arms against the Union will be dealt with “without awaiting civil process.”
July 20, Saturday

About sunrise more men of Joseph E. Johnston arrive to join Jackson’s 2,500 now at Manassas to reinforce Beauregard’s threatened Confederates. To the new force 1,400 more troops are added about noon, and Johnston himself arrives. There is a conference that night with Johnston, now the top commander, and Beauregard, to plan the Confederate attack. The strategy will be to swing with the Confederate right flank against the Federal left. Meanwhile, on the Federal side, McDowell has his plans too. They also call for a flanking movement, but by the Federal right against the Confederate left. Strangely, this could result in both armies going in a circle. Both plans are good; now it is a matter of execution by the newly gathered armies.

President Lincoln receives a report on McDowell’s army from Secretary of War Simon Cameron, who has been out to Headquarters.

In Richmond President Davis, anxious to go to the front, is doing all he can to aid Beauregard and Johnston. But the Confederate Congress convenes today at the Capital, with a sense of excitement at the “big battle” of the war impending to the north. In his message, read to Congress, President Davis tells of the new states of Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia joining the Confederacy and the shifting of the capital to Richmond. After discussing the background of secession, the President reports on the raising of armies, the abundant crops, the financial situation, and the eagerness of citizens to join the Army; “To speak of subjugating such a people, so united and determined, is to speak a language incomprehensive to them.”

Brigadier General William W. Loring is assigned to command the Confederate Northwestern Army in western Virginia.

Far to the west a Federal expedition operates from Springfield to Forsythe, Missouri, until July 25.
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