The American Civil War, day by day - Page 22 - Politics | PoFo

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August 2, Friday

The Federal Congress passes the first national income tax measure, calling for 3 percent on incomes of over $800. The bill also provides for new and stiffer tariffs.

Northern forces abandon Fort Stanton, New Mexico Territory, in the face of the Confederate invasion of the Southwest.

At Dug Springs, Missouri, not far from Springfield, a skirmish shows the Federals that opposition forces of Missourians and Confederates are in the area.

In southwestern Missouri there is a Federal reconnaissance from Ironton to Centreville.

While General Nathaniel Lyon is expecting serious trouble in southwestern Missouri, the department commander, General Fremont, is steaming down the Mississippi from St. Louis with eight boats and reinforcements, which are enthusiastically welcomed at Cairo, Illinois.

At Fort Monroe, Virginia, General Butler bans the sale of intoxicating liquors, but soldiers find ways of evading the order. Whiskey is found in the gun barrels of pickets and in hair oil bottles.
August 3, Saturday

Fighting is still meager, with only a skirmish at McCulla’s Store, Missouri, and at Mesilla, New Mexico Territory.

In Washington activities are much more brisk. President Lincoln and his Cabinet confer on a memorandum of General McClellan regarding military affairs. Prince Napoleon of France visits the President at noon and finds a notable lack of ceremony at the White House. In the evening the Lincolns give a dinner for the prince.

Federal congressional acts approved include one for construction of one or more armored ships and floating batteries, and another for better organization of the Army. A number of military commissions are affirmed by the Senate. The Navy orders certain Southern ports to be blockaded by sinking old vessels loaded with stone in the main channels, a method that will prove ineffective.

In Baltimore military authorities seize a steamer after finding aboard contraband consisting of arms, ammunition, percussion caps, and quinine, all meant for the South.

The ladies of upstate New York send Lincoln thirteen hundred havelocks, a headdress supposed to keep dust and heat from the soldiers and made in great numbers with loving care, but rarely used by the men.

A balloon ascension is made at Hampton Roads from the deck of a Federal vessel.

Scouting after Amerinds occupy Federal troops until the twelfth from Fort Crook to Round Valley, California.
August 4, Sunday

A quiet Sunday, and in New York a meeting is held to combat intemperance in the Federal Army.

In Richmond President Davis writes Beauregard at Manassas that as far as following up the Federal retreat at the last battle is concerned, “it would have been extremely hazardous to have done more than was performed.”
August 5, Monday

The Federal Congress is winding up its thirty-four-day special session. Measures approved by Lincoln include an authorization for the President to enlist seamen for the entire length of the war; a tariff increase; issuance of new bonds; and a new, direct $20,000,000 real estate and income tax. After January 1, 1862, the income tax of 3 percent on incomes over $800 is slated to go into effect.

Fighting is confined to skirmishes at Athens, Missouri; and opposite Point of Rocks, Maryland; in Virginia.

Federal troops under General Nathaniel Lyon are falling back on Springfield, Missouri, from Dug Springs upon reports that a large force of Confederate and Missouri state men are moving upon the major city of southwestern Missouri.

The Confederate prize bark Alvarado is run ashore and burned by USS Vincennes near Fernandina, Florida. Off Galveston, Texas, a few shots are fired by blockaders, replied to by Confederate shore batteries.
August 6, Tuesday

The Federal Congress adjourns after approving all acts, orders, and proclamations concerning the Army and Navy issued after March 4, 1861. President Lincoln is at the Capitol to sign bills, including one freeing slaves employed or used by Confederates in arms or labor against the United States, and another establishing increased pay for the private soldier. He hesitates, but signs the first act that confiscates property used for purposes of insurrection against the nation.

As a Kentucky congressman declares in the House that Kentucky is still firmly in the Union, near Lexington a pro-Union camp named Dick Robinson is established over the protest of pro-secessionists and neutralists.
August 7, Wednesday

The village of Hampton, Virginia, near Fort Monroe is burned by Confederate forces under Brigadier General John Bankhead Magruder in operations against Butler’s Federal forces. Magruder says he had learned Butler intended to use the town for what he calls “runaway slaves” and what Butler calls “contraband.” Butler claims the few residents remaining were given fifteen minutes to leave and that it was a “wanton act.”

Federal authorities order construction of seven special ironclad gunboats of a new type from James B. Eads of St. Louis for operation on western waters. These, along with some converted steamers, will become the backbone of the Union river flotilla.

From August 7th through the 10th there is a small Federal expedition from Cape Girardeau, operating to Price’s Landing, Commerce, Benton, and Hamburg, Missouri.
August 8, Thursday

President Davis signs acts of the Confederate Provisional Congress to grant commissions to raise volunteers by persons of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware; for deporting enemy aliens; and for public defense.

There is a brief skirmish at Lovettsville, Virginia.

Amerinds attack an emigrant train near Great Salt Lake, Utah Territory.

Newly named Brigadier General U.S. Grant assumes command of the District of Ironton, Missouri.

The office of the Concord, New Hampshire, Democratic Standard is mobbed by soldiers of the First New Hampshire Volunteers because of an article reflecting on them.

The Fifteenth Massachusetts leave Worcester and are said to be “all tall, muscular, men, possessing the lightness of limb and full development of natural powers which denote the true specimen of a soldier.”

Secretary of War Cameron writes General Butler in reply to his request for clarification of the policy on Blacks coming into Federal lines: while the fugitive slave laws must be respected in the states of the Union, in the states in insurrection the situation is different, and the problem varies in military areas. Of course, those slaves escaping from Confederate slaveholders cannot now be returned.
August 9, Friday

Confederate and Missouri state troops are moving closer to Springfield, Missouri. They are now ten miles to the southwest along an insignificant stream called Wilson’s Creek. The evening of the ninth the Federal Army, commanded by Nathaniel Lyon, leaves Springfield to seek the secessionists.
August 10, Saturday

Approaching Wilson’s Creek southwest of Springfield, Missouri, after a night march, General Lyon has a stroke of luck—thanks to the heavy rain, the Confederate commanders placed their pickets under shelter so their ammunition would stay dry, and so Lyon’s main force of about 3,600 men isn’t discovered until dawn and the flanking movement of about 1,200 men under Sigel isn’t detected at all. As soon as Lyon sees he is detected he deploys his troops and advances at the double up the northern slope of the soon-to-be-named Bloody Hill where he quickly forces back a 600-man Confederate detachment armed with shotguns. To the south, at the sound of guns to the north, Sigel’s artillery opens up on a Confederate regiment from Arkansas at their cookfires only 500 yards away, which breaks and runs from the surprise bombardment.

The battle is a nightmare of blundering maneuver. On the southern slope of Bloody Hill, the two armies struggle clumsily and savagely to gain control of the summit. Lyon’s men wait with increasing anxiety for Sigel’s men to sweep up the south slope of Bloody Hill and take the Confederates in the rear. But Sigel is in trouble. After his original surprise attack he has continued circling to his right until he’s nearly three quarters of the way around the Confederate army. There he is intercepted by McCulloch’s hastily formed force, and once again the lack of standard uniforms plays a part as Sigel mistakes the mass of gray-clad men for Union men from Iowa. Before he can realize his mistake the Confederates charge in a howling frontal attack while batteries on the hills to the west and east open fire, enfilading Sigel’s lines. The Federals break and run, leaving behind five cannon. Sigel will manage to get back to Springfield with a small escort.

Now the whole Confederate army, at this point almost three times the number of Lyon’s force, turns on the remaining Federals. The opposing lines are less than 300 yards apart, but the scrub conceals them from each other. For hours on end the lines approach again and again within less than fifty yards of each other, fire, then fall back a few paces to reform, reload, and advance again. The Union line seems about to buckle, though the Federal artillery still dominates the field, breaking up every Confederate attack. Lyon is wounded in the head and leg by fragments from a bursting shell, but though he fears the day is lost he mounts a horse and leads one more charge. As he gallops over the crest of Bloody Hill a bullet takes him full in the chest and knocks him off his horse.

With Lyon’s death the battle dwindles, both sides fought to exhaustion. The two armies slowly disengage. The Federals, with not an officer left above the rank of major to take over command, fall back toward Springfield; the Confederates are too spent to follow. But Springfield is not far enough; the Federal army will withdraw clear back to Rolla, Missouri, southwest of St. Louis, abandoning a huge section of the state to the Confederates and pro-secessionists. The loss of Lyon, the defeat of Sigel and his German troops, the retreat of the main Federal force, loss of a primary outpost in Missouri, all emphasize the Confederate victory.

Another significant battle has been fought and won by the South, this time beyond the Mississippi. But Wilson’s Creek, Oak Hills, or Springfield is described by one soldier as being “a purty mean-faught fite.” The figures prove it: Federal total for duty 5,400, killed 258, wounded 873, missing 186 for a total of 1,317; Confederate effectives 11,000, killed 279, wounded 951 for a total of 1,230. In one third the time, and with less than one-third the number of troops involved, more than half as many men have fallen along Wilson’s Creek as had fallen at Bull Run. An argument between McCulloch and Price over who is to command has been settled in favor of Ben McCulloch. Both leaders and their somewhat ragtag Southern forces have performed well in victory.

President Lincoln calls on Lieutenant General Scott to try to ease friction between the General-in-Chief and youthful George B. McClellan.
August 11, Sunday

The disorganized and beaten Federals pull away from Wilson’s Creek, leaving the Springfield area to the Confederate and pro-Southern Missouri troops. Confederate sympathizers in Missouri and elsewhere take heart.

There is a minor affair at Hamburg, Missouri.

In the Kanawha Valley of western Virginia, Brigadier General John B. Floyd, former member of President Buchanan’s Cabinet and one-time governor of Virginia, assumes command of Confederate forces. The appointment will be a controversial one and lead to trouble between Floyd and Henry A. Wise, now Floyd’s subordinate and also a former governor of Virginia.
August 12, Monday

In Missouri Confederate General Ben McCulloh proclaims the victory at Wilson’s Creek and says “Missouri must be allowed to choose her own destiny.” He says Union people will be protected, but “you can no longer procrastinate. Missouri must now take her position, be it North or South.”

Home Guards are organized in California to cooperate with the Federal army there.

President Lincoln designates the last Thursday in September “as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all the people of the nation.”

Three wooden gunboats—Tyler, Lexington, and Conestoga, converted from riverboats—arrive at Cairo. They are to bear the brunt of the river war for months, until the ironclads are ready.

A Confederate detachment rides into an ambush set by Chief Nicholas of the Mescalero Apaches in the Big Bend country south of Fort Davis, Texas. Fifteen Southerners are killed, only the Mexican guide escaping. Generally the Confederates are taking little offensive action against the Apaches, involved as they are with the invasions of the Southwest. Amerind depredations are rapidly increasing.
August 13, Tuesday

There is a skirmish near Grafton, western Virginia.

In Washington Lincoln confers with General McClellan and with now Brigadier General Robert Anderson when the hero of Fort Sumter dines with the President.

In Richmond President Davis discharges from arrest Thomas A.R. Nelson of Tennessee, who had opposed his state’s actions, as the policy of the Confederacy is “not to enter into questions of differences of political opinion heretofore existing.”
August 14, Wednesday

Major General John Charles Fremont declares martial law in St. Louis, Missouri, city and county, which is followed by the suppression of two allegedly pro-Southern newspapers.

Members of the Seventy-ninth New York Volunteers mutiny near Washington and refuse to obey orders. Their desire for a furlough is one of the grievances. A number are arrested and the entire regiment put under guard.

President Davis proclaims the banishing of enemy aliens who do not acknowledge the authority of the CSA.

Brigadier General Paul O. Hebert is assigned to command Confederate forces in Texas.
August 15, Thursday

Federal Brigadier General Robert Anderson of Fort Sumter fame is named commander of the Department of the Cumberland, consisting of Kentucky and Tennessee, with headquarters at Cincinnati.

There is a brief Federal expedition from Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. Meanwhile, unionists in Missouri fear that the Confederate forces of McColluch and Price will further invade the state. Fremont calls for reinforcements, and Lincoln sees to it the War Department requests the governors of western states to aid him.

Sixty men of the Second Maine who have refused to obey orders are transferred to fatigue duty on Dry Tortugas off Key West, Florida.

Federal troops operate until August 22 against Amerinds from Fort Crook to the Pitt River, California.
August 16, Friday

President Lincoln proclaims that the inhabitants of the Confederate States “are in a state of insurrection against the United States, and that all commercial intercourse,” with certain exceptions, between loyal and rebellious states is unlawful.

Charges of disloyalty for alleged pro-Southernism are brought against the New York Journal of Commerce, Daily News, Day Book, Freeman’s Journal, and Brooklyn Eagle in US Circuit Court.

An alleged pro-secessionist or peace meeting is broken up at Saybrook, Connecticut.

There are Federal operations around Fredericktown, Missouri, and for four days around Kirksville, Missouri.
August 17, Saturday

The Federal departments of Northeastern Virginia, of Washington, and of the Shenandoah are merged into the Department of the Potomac, from which the main Northern army in Virginia—the Army of the Potomac—takes its name.

Lincoln appoints Henry Wager Halleck a major general in the Regular Army and also secretly provides for a commission as Brigadier General of Volunteers for Simon Bolivar Buckner of Kentucky. Buckner, however, declines and will later join the Confederate Army.

Elderly but competent Major General John E. Wool supersedes Benjamin F. Butler in command of the Department of Virginia. Butler will go on to head forces organizing to attack the Cape Hatteras area.

There is minor fighting at Hunnewell, Palmyra, and Brunswick, Missouri.

Orders are issued providing for forty cents per day and one ration for nurses in the Northern Army.
August 18, Sunday

Another quiet Sunday with a skirmish of cavalry at Pohick Church, Virginia, and a minor Confederate attack near Sandy Hook, Maryland.
August 19, Monday

The Confederate Congress at Richmond agrees to an alliance with Missouri and virtually admits the state into the Confederacy. The state officially has two governments, one Union and one Confederate. Another act authorizes a produce loan of $100 million to be taken up by planters to help finance the war.

In Washington President Lincoln makes several appointments. He names George H. Thomas of Virginia as Brigadier General and orders Major General Henry W. Halleck, then in California, to report to Washington. It is thought Halleck will be named to a top command.

Newspapers at West Chester and Easton, Pennsylvania, are raided by unionists, and a publisher in Haverhill, Massachusetts, is tarred and feathered by a mob for alleged pro-Southern sentiments.

There is a skirmish at Klapsford, Missouri; Federal forces from Bird’s Point, opposite Cairo, are railroaded to Charleston, Missouri, and defeats a force of Missouri state troops.
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