The American Civil War, day by day - Page 25 - Politics | PoFo

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September 22, Sunday

President Lincoln, writing to a friend, says Fremont’s proclamation “as to confiscation of property, and the liberation of slaves, is purely political, and not within the range of military law, or necessity.”

The Confederate government calls upon Arkansas and Mississippi for ten thousand men each for service in the West.

Federals carry out a reconnaissance from Cairo, Illinois, toward Columbus, Kentucky, with a skirmish at Mayfield Creek.

Federal jayhawker James Henry Lane of Kansas and his men, who have been committing numerous depredations on the Kansas-Missouri border (as have their Confederate counterparts), raid, loot, and burn the town of Osceola, Missouri. This is another incident in the cruel, irrational infighting in western Missouri and eastern Kansas, where no man knows where his neighbor stands and isn’t always sure about himself.
September 23, Monday

Federal troops descend upon Romney, western Virginia, September 23-25 with affairs at Mechanicsburg Gap and Hanging Rock Pass. There is also fighting at Cassville, western Virginia, and Albany, Kentucky.

In St. Louis Fremont closes the Evening News and arrests the editor for criticizing the conduct of the Lexington siege.

At the same time in Washington Lincoln is discussing with Secretary of State Seward the problem of Fremont himself.
September 24, Tuesday

President Lincoln, General McClellan, other officers, department heads, foreign dignitaries, and others review artillery and cavalry near Washington.

Since McClellan’s appointment to command of the Army of the Potomac, no one has worked harder knocking the army into shape than “Little Mac” (he wasn’t actually that little—only half an inch shorter than the average recruit—but his stocky build made him look otherwise). Twelve-hour days in the saddle inspecting the sprawling tent-cities that now surround Washington aren’t uncommon as the three-month recruits have mustered out to be replaced by many more three-year recruits that need to be drilled incessantly in maneuvers at the regimental, brigade, and eventually division level. The provisioning and outfitting of all the new men needs to be organized and maintained. As well, unfit officers need to be weeded out with the aid of new selection boards that Congress has authorized (within eight months 310 officers will have either resigned rather than face the exacting Army officers on the boards or been cashiered), and new brigadier generals appointed to command the dozens of new brigades. One Washington joke is that a boy threw a stone at a dog on Pennsylvania Avenue—he missed the dog but hit three new brigadiers.

Among the best of the new lot—and certainly the most colorful—is Philip Kearny, a millionaire adventurer and socialite who fought with the French Chasseurs d’Afrique, a crack light cavalry outfit, in Algeria in 1840. He served as a dragoon captain in the Mexican War, where he lost an arm at Churubusco leading a charge. That didn’t stop him from serving with the French Army of Napoleon III against the Austrians in 1859; with his reins clenched in his teeth as he swung his saber with his single hand, he led charges with such valor that he was awarded the Legion of Honor. Still living in Paris when the war broke out, he returned to sign up and received the commission needed to command the New Jersey Brigade in early August. He has probably seen more battle than any other general in the Army of the Potomac. He quickly got his brigade into shape, leading one New Jersey soldier to report, “He’s the top Brigadier in the whole army. And if he ain’t, at least he’s the richest.”

There is a light skirmish at Point of Rocks, Maryland.
September 25, Wednesday

General Lee’s headaches in western Virginia are partially alleviated when General Wise receives an order from Secretary of War Benjamin directing him to report in person and “with the least delay” to the Adjutant General in Richmond. Wise considers mutiny, but then, advised against it by Lee, decides against it and leaves, muttering imprecations. Lee has investigated Wise and Floyd’s positions and decided that Floyd is in no immediate danger and so to maintain Wise’s position at Sewell Mountain and withdraws a part of Floyd’s force there while indicating to Floyd his desire that Floyd join him with the rest.

Smithland, Kentucky, at the mouth of the Cumberland River and not far from Paducah, is occupied by Federal troops.

There is fighting near Lewinsville, Virginia; Canada Alamosa, New Mexico Territory; near Chapmansville, western Virginia; and at Kanawha Gap as the forces of Lee and Rosecrans feel each other out in the Kanawha Valley.

Two Federal ships duel with a Confederate battery at Freestone Point, Virginia.

President Lincoln’s secretary, John G. Nicolay, purchases a mahogany sofa for the executive offices for $24.

President Davis continues to dispute with General J.E. Johnston over reinforcements, supplies, strategy, and policy in general.

By now the Confederate commerce raider Sumter is operating off South America’s east coast.

Until October 5 a Federal expedition will range from San Bernardino to Temecula Ranch and Oak Grove, California.
September 26, Thursday

It is a day of “humiliation, prayer and fasting” in the North. But the fighting goes on anyway with skirmishing near Fort Thorn, New Mexico Territory; at Hunter’s Farm near Belmont, Missouri; and at the mouth of the Muddy River in Kentucky. A Federal expedition goes out from Cumberland Ford on September 26-30, with light skirmishing, in Laurel County, Kentucky.

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston sends a letter to the Secretary of War requesting that the President, the Secretary of War, or someone representing them should join him and General Beauregard to discuss whether their army can be reinforced enough to resume offensive operations.
September 27, Friday

General McClellan meets with President Lincoln and the Cabinet and holds a rather heated discussion over military policy as there are increasing cries for action by the Federal forces in Virginia.

A skirmish near Norfolk, Missouri, is the only fighting of even moderate note.
September 28, Saturday

Confederate forces will evacuate Munson’s Hill, Virginia, near Alexandria, after a brief affair near Vanderburgh’s House today and on the 29th.
September 29, Sunday

President Lincoln tells a complaining Governor Oliver P. Morton of Indiana, “As to Kentucky, you do not estimate that state as more important than I do; but I am compelled to watch all points.”

General Loring with his 9,000 men joins General Lee at Sewell Mountain, western Virginia, fortunately for Lee since General Floyd has refused to leave his position. This will allow Lee to use Floyd's force of about 2,000 to facilitate the transport of supplies and to serve as a necessary reserve. This arrangement also saves Floyd’s face, as he has staked his reputation on the necessity of holding Meadow Bluff. Meanwhile Federal forces under General Rosecrans are approaching Sewell Mountain. Lee, holding a naturally strong position and not having been able to accumulate the necessary supplies for a sustained offensive, will decide to stay in his defensive positions.

There is skirmishing at Albany and Hopkinsville, Kentucky; Travisville, Tennessee; and Berlin, Maryland.

Brigadier General Daniel H. Hill of the Confederate Army is ordered to North Carolina as it is feared there will be further Federal action there.
September 30, Monday

The month comes to a quiet end, but it is clear that there is considerably more war to be fought on both sides. President Lincoln is concerned with Fremont in Missouri, stabilizing the situation in Kentucky, and the rising impatience over inaction in Virginia. In western Virginia rains and the rough country impede operations in the struggle for control of the pro-Union area. The Confederacy is fighting to establish a strong front in Kentucky, is apprehensive over the ever-increasing Federal army along the Potomac, and has to watch threatened spots on all its boundaries, including 3,500 miles of seacoast.

President Davis arrives at Fairfax Court House in response to General Johnston’s request on the 26th.
October 1, Tuesday

President Davis, Generals Joseph E. Johnston, Beauregard, and G.W. Smith hold a conference on grand strategy at Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia, within twenty miles of Washington, D.C. The main topic is the future of the army in Virginia and what it should or should not do. Recognizing the cry of the populace for an offensive, General Beauregard lays out his plan, with Johnston’s approval, to resume offensive operations with a sudden thrust across the Potomac to divide the Union by seizing the strip of territory lying between Pittsburgh and Lake Erie. When the Federal army comes out from behind its Washington entrenchments, he would administer the rap that would accomplish its disintegration, then go about his business of division and conquest. Beauregard admits that the odds are long, but argues that they are shorter than they are likely to be at any time thereafter. Davis can see the advantages of the plan, but has an issue with the manpower the generals are asking for—with 40,000 troops, Beauregard states that he will need an additional 10,000 while Johnston holds out for 20,000. The Federal navy has carried out its first two amphibious operations, is preparing its third, and every governor whose state borders on salt water (all but two) is certain the blow will be aimed at him and loudly calling for help. The two Federal invasions that have taken place have already threatened to cut Richmond off from the South Atlantic states, and the situation along the Gulf is almost as In the end Davis says that no reinforcements can be sent without “a total disregard for the safety of other threatened positions.” That ends all talk of a fall offensive, the Confederate Army will have to wait for a Union attack and the distant spring.

The transport and supply steamer Fanny is captured in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, by three Confederate vessels. A considerable quantity of stores and thirty-one Federals are taken.

The Federal War Department creates the Department of New England under command of Major General Benjamin F. Butler, which is mainly a mechanism for recruiting troops to be used in future expeditions; in this case it turns out to be the New Orleans campaign force.

President Lincoln writes a memo, probably on this day, calling for a movement into east Tennessee and toward Cumberland Gap, with particular attention to the railroad connecting Virginia and Tennessee. He also asks for an expedition on the east coast which will become the Port Royal operation of November.

Meanwhile, the Federal Cabinet meets with Generals Scott and McClellan.
Doug64 wrote:October 1, Tuesday

President Davis, Generals Joseph E. Johnston, Beauregard, and G.W. Smith hold a conference on grand strategy at Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia, within twenty miles of Washington, D.C.

That's astounding, and just shows how vulnerable Washington DC was throughout most of the Civil War. The location of the capital of the new nation had been chosen precisely because it was approximately midway between the northern and southern states, to try to avoid the split which, indeed, eventually happened. A fine idea in principle, but flawed in practice. Lol.

Nowadays, of course, the Union forces would just have drone-striked that Confederate meeting. Lol! :lol:
Potemkin wrote:That's astounding, and just shows how vulnerable Washington DC was throughout most of the Civil War. The location of the capital of the new nation had been chosen precisely because it was approximately midway between the northern and southern states, to try to avoid the split which, indeed, eventually happened. A fine idea in principle, but flawed in practice. Lol.

Hey, it's a fine idea ... so long as you remain a single country. But there's a reason why the various what-ifs I've read set after the South wins have the US moving its capital, usually to Philadelphia.

Nowadays, of course, the Union forces would just have drone-striked that Confederate meeting. Lol! :lol:

Of course, nowadays that meeting wouldn't be less than twenty miles from enemy lines, and probably in a fortified bunker. Times have changed....
October 2, Wednesday

There is a brief skirmish at Springfield Station, Virginia; in Missouri Federals from Bird’s Point near Cairo, Illinois, break up a Confederate camp at Charleston.

The Confederate government makes a peace treaty with the Great Osage Amerind tribe.

Governor A.B. Moore of Alabama issues a proclamation against tradesmen charging exorbitant prices for necessities.
October 3, Thursday

Federal troops from Cheat Mountain in western Virginia make a reconnaissance to the Greenbrier River and retire after an engagement. This attack, though repulsed, demonstrates the Union interest in the railroads in and around Staunton.

Other Federal troops occupy the Pohick Church area, Virginia.

Governor Thomas O. Moore of Louisiana issues a proclamation banning the sending of cotton to New Orleans “during the existence of the blockade.” This is part of a plan to withhold cotton from Europe, to add weight to the cause for recognition of the Confederacy.
October 4, Friday

Confederates attack an Indiana regiment at Chicamacomico, North Carolina, near Hatteras Inlet. There is also skirmishing near Edwards’ Ferry, Maryland, and Buffalo Hill, Kentucky.

Two Confederate blockade runners with cargoes of arms are captured by USS South Carolina off Southwest Pass below New Orleans.

President Lincoln watches a balloon ascension, confers with officials on Fremont’s Department of the West, and approves a contract for ironclad warships to be built by John Ericsson of New York.

The Confederate government signs treaties with the Shawnee and Seneca Amerinds.
October 5, Saturday

Federal sailors burn a Confederate privateer at Chincoteague Inlet, Virginia.

The London Post editorially backs British recognition of the Confederacy, while the London Times seems to incline to the Union.

Brigadier General Joseph K.F. Mansfield is assigned to the Federal command at Hatteras Inlet.

Federal troops in California operating since September 23 have carried out an expedition from San Bernardino to Oak Grove and Temecula Ranch against alleged pro-Confederates.

The pickets of General Lee’s forces at Sewell Mountain, western Virginia, report that the Federals that had approached and encamped against them are in motion. The Confederates prepare, but no attack comes.
October 6, Sunday

When the sun rises on Sewell Mountain, western Virginia, General Lee finds that the movement in the Federal camp his pickets reported the previous day was General Rosecran’s forces falling back instead preparing an assault. Lee will decide to pursue, ordering Floyd to take 4,000 men to the south side of New River with orders to move against the Federals and cut their communications at Gauley Bridge. This accomplished, Generals Lee and Loring are to press forward and drive the Federals out of the region about the Hawk’s Nest. This done, they can then drive them out of Kanawha Valley.

Confederate blockade runner Albert is captured by the Federal Navy off Charleston, South Carolina.
October 7, Monday

Federal gunboats Lexington and Tyler, operating on reconnaissance from Cairo, Illinois, toward Lucas Bend, Missouri, engage Confederate shore batteries at Iron Bluffs on the Mississippi, not far from Columbus, Kentucky.

Federal General Fremont leaves St. Louis en route to Springfield, Missouri, in his belated movement after Missourian Sterling Price, who is withdrawing from Lexington. He has his adjutant order General Grant to feint against General Polk at Columbus, Kentucky, to prevent him from reinforcing Price. In doing so, Grant is to make a show of aggression on both sides of the Mississippi, keeping his troops “constantly moving back and forward ... without, however, attacking the enemy.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of War Cameron is sent west on an inspection trip, and President Lincoln sends a letter with him to Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis asking his judgment as to whether Fremont should be relieved.

In Washington conferences and meetings are held by the Cabinet and others with the President in regard to Fremont and military problems.

The Pony Express is officially discontinued after a brief but spectacular eighteen-month career.

The Confederate government signs a treaty with the Cherokees.
October 8, Tuesday

Brigadier General William T. Sherman supersedes Brigadier General Robert Anderson in command of the Union Department of the Cumberland with headquarters at Louisville. The veteran of Fort Sumter, a Kentuckian useful in this command, has been suffering for some time from nervous exhaustion, which now apparently takes the form of a severe breakdown. Anderson will never return to active service. Sherman, aggressive in his command, will soon make such demands for troops and will express so much concern for his position that he, too, will be deemed, probably with some justification, on the verge of nervous collapse.

There is a light skirmish at Hillsboro, Kentucky.
October 9, Wednesday

A band of a thousand Confederates under General Heron Anderson land on Santa Rosa Island near Fort Pickens in Pensacola Bay, Florida, the night of October 8-9 in order to break up Federal batteries. After routing one Federal camp the Confederates are forced to withdraw by Union reinforcements from the fort.

President Lincoln continues his round of Cabinet meetings, hearing a report by General McClellan on military operations.
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