The American Civil War, day by day - Page 26 - Politics | PoFo

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late wrote:Spoiler alert, the South lost.

I made that joke on the first page. You're late, late. Lol. :D ;)
October 10, Thursday

President Davis writes Major General G.W. Smith of his concern over controlling railroad transportation, the ranks of the generals, the organization of troops, the use of Blacks as laborers, the need for efficient staff officers, and threatened Federal operations.

Federal Brigadier General O.M. Mitchel, former astronomer and popular lecturer, is ordered to organize an expedition into east Tennessee.

There is a light attack by Confederates on Union pickets at Paducah, Kentucky.
October 11, Friday

Brigadier General William S. Rosecrans assumes command of the Federal Department of Western Virginia.

There is a brief skirmish at Harper’s Ferry, and a Confederate schooner is burned by Federals in Dumfries Creek on the Potomac. October 11-16 Confederate troops carry out operations against Amerinds from Fort Inge, Texas.
Wouldn’t you know, I forgot to hit the Submit key yesterday!

October 12, Saturday

On a rainy, stormy night off Charleston, South Carolina, the steamer Theodora evades the Federal blockaders and carries to Cuba two gentlemen whose names will soon be on every tongue. John Slidell of Louisiana has been named Confederate Commissioner to France and James Mason of Virginia Commissioner to Britain. Their main object is to obtain recognition of the Confederacy by the powers of Europe and to purchase military supplies. Their escape is soon reported in the North, and Secretary of State Seward, thinking they are on CSS Nashville, sets about to have the commissioners captured.

The new Confederate ironclad Manassas, aided by two armed steamers, heads down the Mississippi to challenge the Federal squadron near Head of Passes at the mouth of the Mississippi River. USS Richmond is rammed by Manassas and goes aground, as does Vincennes, but both finally are able to withdraw. For a brief spell the blockade is disrupted but not for long, although the incident is ignominious for the Federal Navy.

In other naval affairs the first ironclad of the US Navy, the gunboat St. Louis, is launched at Carondelet, Missouri. Federal Navy Secretary Welles writes that Bull’s Bay, St. Helena, Port Royal, South Carolina, and Fernandina, Florida, are being considered as fuel and supply depots on the Atlantic coast and that an expedition will soon be underway to seize one or more of them.

Jeff Thompson’s Southern raiders advance from Stoddard County in the Ironton area of Missouri, the start of operations which will last until October 25.

There are two days of skirmishes near Clintonville and the Pomme de Terre, Missouri. Skirmishing takes place near Upton’s Hill, Kentucky.

A pro-Union meeting is held in Hyde County, North Carolina.

October 13, Sunday

At Wet Glaize, also known as Dutch or Monday Hollow, near Henrytown, Missouri, sharp action results in dispersal of a Confederate party intent on raiding Federal communications between St. Louis and Springfield.

Another skirmish occurs at Cotton Hill, western Virginia.

Brigadier General Thomas Williams supersedes Brigadier General J.K.F. Mansfield in Federal command in North Carolina.
October 14, Monday

The citizens of Chincoteague Island, Accomack County, Virginia, take the oath of allegiance to the United States before Federal naval officers. “We are united as one man in our abhorrence of the secession heresies,” the residents of the island off the Virginia mainland state.

Missouri State Guard pro-secessionist Jeff Thompson proclaims in southeastern Missouri that he has come to Washington, Jefferson, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, and Iron counties to help residents throw off the yoke of the North. He calls them to “drive the invaders from your soil or die among your native hills.”

There is fighting at Linn Creek and at Underwood’s Farm near Bird’s Point, Missouri.

In command changes Colonel James H. Carleton takes over the Federal District of Southern California, and for the Confederates Major General Braxton Bragg is given command of the Department of Alabama and West Florida.

In Washington President Lincoln authorizes General Scott to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus anywhere between Bangor, Maine, and Washington if necessary, because of suspected subversion.
October 15, Tuesday

A band of Jeff Thompson’s raiders capture a party of Federal soldiers and burn the Big River Bridge near Potosi, Missouri, as a part of the increased activities of the Missourians.

There is a skirmish on the Little River Turnpike in Virginia.
October 16, Wednesday

Union troops capture Lexington, Missouri, from a small Confederate garrison.

A party of Federals seize 21,000 bushels of wheat stored in a mill near Harper’s Ferry, but on their return encounter a band of Confederates; a sharp, brisk fight ensues before the Yankees are able to get back to Harper’s Ferry.

Near Linn Creek, Missouri, there is yet another skirmish.

President Davis is having difficulties with state-conscious soldiers in the Army, and is trying to maintain the state regiments and at the same time create strong army corps. Furthermore, he has to refuse permission to one Kentucky group to leave the army in the east and return to defend their state.
October 17, Thursday

There is speculation North and South about where the Federal coastal invasion, obviously under way, will strike. Flag Officer Du Pont declares that Port Royal, South Carolina, is the most useful as a Federal naval and coaling base.

Having evacuated Munson’s Hill—the outpost closest to Washington—to Fairfax Court House in September, Confederate General Johnston now withdraws from Fairfax Court House and begins consolidating his 41,000 men in a triangular area with Centreville at the apex and a base running from Manassas Junction to the Bull Run battlefield.

There are skirmishes at Fredericktown, Missouri, in which the Federals are successful.

During October the blockade is tightened, with numerous captures off the south Atlantic coast.

President Lincoln asks that jobs be given to two young men whose mother said “she has two sons who want to work.” He adds, “Wanting to work is so rare a merit, that it should be encouraged.”
October 18, Friday

In Washington a Cabinet meeting discusses General Winfield Scott’s possible voluntary retirement.

President Lincoln is having problems between Generals McClellan and Thomas W. Sherman regarding troops for the south coastal expedition. Sherman is asking for more and McClellan is refusing to furnish them from his army.

In Virginia there is a Federal reconnaissance toward the Occoquan River, and another gunboat reconnaissance by Federals down the Mississippi. There is skirmishing near Rockcastle Hills, Kentucky, and at Warrensburg, Missouri. Federal forces move against Missourian Jeff Thompson from Cape Girardeau in the continuing operations in the Ironton area of Missouri.

For the Confederates Major General Mansfield Lovell supersedes elderly Major General David E. Twiggs in command in Louisiana and Texas.
October 19, Saturday

USS Massachusetts and CSS Florida exchange fire in an engagement near Ship Island in Mississippi Sound off the Mississippi shore. It is an inconclusive engagement.

There is a limited action at Big Hurricane Creek, Missouri, but the main interest militarily these fall days turn again to western Virginia. October 19 to November 16 there will be considerable operations in the Kanawha and New River areas, with a goodly amount of skirmishing, but nothing decisive.

Since the Battle of Bull Run or Manassas the area of the upper Potomac Valley from Washington to Harper’s Ferry has been under Federal command of Major General Nathaniel Banks. Pickets have guarded the north bank of the Potomac to ward against possible invasion of Maryland. There has been scouting and brief clashes throughout the fall, but nothing of a major nature.

Among the important ferry points on the river are Edwards’ Ferry and Conrad’s Ferry near Leesburg, Virginia, an outlying position on the Potomac about two-thirds of the way to Harpers Ferry. Confederate General Nathan G. “Shanks” Evans has been stationed by Beauregard at Leesburg to watch the Federals. Nearly opposite Leesburg is Brigadier General Charles P. Stone. General McClellan, having occupied Munson’s Hill and Fairfax Court House following General Johnston’s evacuations, has received word that Johnston is preparing to evacuate Leesburg, and orders a major reconnaissance. Brigadier General George A. McCall, commanding a 13,000-man division, on the nineteenth and twentieth occupies Dranesville, Virginia, south of the Potomac.
October 20, Sunday

General McClellan informs General Stone that General McCall has occupied Dranesville and is sending out a heavy reconnaissance from there, and tells Stone to keep a good lookout on Leesburg and “[p]erhaps a slight demonstration on your part would have the effect to move them.” Stone is an experienced soldier that served with distinction in the Mexican War and as inspector general of the District of Columbia militia maintained order during the hectic April days before troops from the North could rush to Washington’s defense. Now he immediately crosses some troops in the Conrad’s Ferry-Harrison Island-Ball’s Bluff area but withdraws them in the evening. The patrol across from Harrison’s Island mounts Ball’s Bluff and penetrates almost three-quarters of a mile. On the patrol’s return they report seeing a Confederate encampment of about 30 tents, with no guards in sight. General Stone immediately orders a double reconnaissance in force. He will personally supervise the crossing at Edwards Ferry, while Colonel Charles Devens, commander of the 15th Massachusetts and noted Boston lawyer, is ordered to lead the second crossing at Ball’s Bluff in order to attack and destroy the Confederate camp the patrol reported seeing.

In western Virginia General Lee, concerned about the Federal interest in the railroads in and around Staunton revealed by the failed attack Greenbriar River on October 3rd, has reconsidered his plans to push after the Federal forces under Rosecrans that retreated rather than assault his position at Sewell Mountain on the night of the 5th. Instead, he leaves General Floyd to his own devices and orders General Loring to place his entire command in a position to protect Staunton.

In the West Federal forces move from Pilot Knob against guerillas in the Ironton, Missouri, area.

Major General E.V. Sumner relinquishes command of the Federal Department of the Pacific, to be succeeded by Colonel George Wright.

President Davis continues to have problems with Generals Beauregard and Joseph E. Johnston over rank, distribution of regiments, and military planning. These areas of disagreements are slowly building up to a disrupting difficulty for the Confederacy. In a long letter to Beauregard President Davis writes, “My sole wish is to secure the independence, and peace of the Confederacy.”
October 21, Monday

In the earliest hours of the 21st Federal Colonel Charles Devens shoves off from Harrison’s Island in the Potomac. His force, five companies numbering about 300 men, has only three small boats capable of carrying ten men each, so the crossing takes four hours. Before dawn they are joined at the top of the Ball’s Bluff (nearly 100 feet high, studded with rocks and covered with tangles of mountain laurel, named after the previous owner and George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington) by 100 additional men, sent across the river under Colonel William R. Lee, a doughty old West Pointer, to cover the withdrawal. About daybreak Devens sets out for Leesburg looking for the Confederate camp. They find the right ridge, but it soon becomes clear that the camp doesn’t exist—it had been an illusion caused by moonlight filtering through a row of trees. Devens moves on until he can see Leesburg from a ridge not much more than a mile from the town. He sees four tents but no other sign of the enemy, and sends word back to General Stone that he can hold in front of Ball’s Bluff until reinforced.

Though Devens can’t see them there are plenty of Confederates around, an entire brigade of 2,000 men encamped along the Leesburg Turnpike several miles southeast of the town. Their commander, Colonel Nathan G. Evans, an experienced officer and Amerind fighter who had gallantly held against the opening Federal attack at Bull Run, had moved there the previous day to meet the threat posed by General McCall’s occupation of Dranesville to the southeast. During the night a detachment of about forty Confederates had been on sentinel duty less than a mile upriver from Ball’s Bluff and had detected the sounds of Devens’ predawn crossing. They are now heading back to Leesburg to avoid being cut off and at about 7:00 in the morning stumble onto Devens’ Federals. A sharp skirmish ensues.

Both sides send for reinforcements. Colonel Evans now knows that two groups of Federals have crossed the river. He sends three of his four regiments to block the road to Leesburg from Edwards Ferry. To hold Devens in check in front of Ball’s Bluff, he sends seven companies of infantry and cavalry—about 400 men—to join the 40 Confederates who stumbled into Devens’ force. Devens falls back toward the bluff, where he is joined by the rest of his regiment and five more companies of the 20th Massachusetts—668 more men. Thus reinforced, he moves forward again.

Around noon, however, the Confederate commander begins to gain control. Sensing that the main action will occur at Ball’s Bluff, Evans begins hurrying regiments to join the attack. Devens’ men fall back under the assault of the new reinforcements, until at about 2:15 the Federals have retreated back to a large open field fronting Ball’s Bluff.

Atop the bluff, Devens finds a stream of new reinforcements struggling up the cow path. Their commander is Colonel Edward D. Baker, a U.S. Senator from Oregon. He had become a close friend of President Lincoln when they were young lawyers in Illinois, and they had stayed in touch when he went west to California and then Oregon. Lincoln had named his second son after his old friend. Though he has risen to command a brigade he has rejected Lincoln’s attempt to promote him to Brigadier General, saying that rank would be incompatible with his role as a senator.

After Baker reaches the bluff and greets Devens, he begins deploying his troops parallel to the river, each wing extending into the woods on either side. It is not a good formation—to the left beyond a ravine rises a cluster of wooded hills that command the federal position, and the right flank is aligned so that it will be unable to fire to the front if the center of the line advances. In addition, the reserves behind the battle line are fully exposed to Confederate snipers in the woods that surround the field on three sides that soon begin to take a toll.
Colonel Cogswell, a West Pointer and one of the few professional soldiers on the Federal side this day, commander of the Tammany Regiment reaching the top of the bluff shortly after Baker, instantly spots the worst defects of Baker’s deployment and suggests an immediate advance to occupy the high ground on the left, but Baker ignores the advice.

About half an hour later, the reinforced Confederates increase their fire from the woods, the fire so intense that the Federals conclude that they are outnumbered by 3 or 4 to 1. (The Confederates, for their part, think they’re outnumbered by at least the same margin.) Then about an hour later the last Confederate forces join the crescent-shaped Confederate line and the two forces are about equal in strength. However, most of the Confederates had been blooded at Bull Run while for nearly all the Northerners are new to battle.

For a time the Union forces possess superior firepower despite the heavy Confederate musket fire. Baker’s men had manage to bring two light mountain howitzers and a rifled James cannon across the river and up the bluff, and their fire proves effective, shells crashing into the woods to send splinters from trees into hidden clusters of Confederates. But Baker has made another tactical error, stationing the artillery in front of his battle line without sufficient infantry support. One by one, the gun crews are picked off by Confederate musket fire. The two howitzers are almost captured by a Confederate regiment, but the charge is repulsed. Among the Federal casualties of that repulse is a young lieutenant just out of Harvard, Oliver Wendell Holmes. The future justice of the US Supreme Court is hit by two musket balls and carried unconscious from the field. He joins the stream of wounded being carried down the bluff and ferried back to Harrison’s Island.

About a half hour later on the Union left flank, General Baker is about ten paces out in front of his lines urging on his men when a Confederate soldier jumps out of the woods and empties his revolver into him. As Baker crumples to the ground there is a Homeric scramble for his body, a hand-to-hand struggle before the Federals recover the body and send it back across the river.

The Federal position is now desperate with Confederates pressing in from three sides, squeezing the Federals back toward the steep bluff, but Colonel Cogswell, the professional soldier whose advice Baker ignored and who now finds himself the ranking officer in the field, believes it might still be possible to cut through the Confederate line on the left and follow the river downstream three miles to the Federal beachhead opposite Edwards Ferry. He orders a column of attack to form on the left, and one of those freakish—and decisive— incidents occurs. Out of the woods a man rides, waving his hat and shouting, “Come on, boys!” Many of the men forming the column respond with a yell and surge forward, thinking he’s one of their officers. But he’s actually a Confederate brigade staff officer, Lieutenant Wildman, who’s momentarily mistaken the Federals for his own men. Real Federal officers manage to halt some of the charging men, but the rest move ahead into a burst of Confederate fire and are cut up while Lieutenant Wildman makes his escape unharmed. All hope of a breakout on the left now gone, Cogswell orders the men to withdraw to the edge of the bluff and prepare for evacuation.

The terrible irony of their plight is that help is agonizingly near. Just several hundred yards away on Harrison’s Island are 1,000 Federal soldiers, waiting for boats that are slowed by the unloading of the casualties from the battlefield. Another few hundred yards east on the Maryland shore are twice that many men, also lacking adequate ferry service.

And of course, three miles downstream is the Federal beachhead on the Virginia shore opposite Edwards Ferry. General Stone, supervising from the Maryland side, has 2,250 men across. Until he receives word shortly after 5 pm of Colonel Baker’s death he had thought all was well at Ball’s Bluff because Colonel Baker had failed to inform him otherwise. Now with the Confederate detachment Evans left to blockade the road to Edwards Ferry (only 500 men but appearing much larger), a masked battery of field guns, and (wildly exaggerated) reports of as many as 10,000 Confederates opposing him, General Stone orders his force opposite Edwards Ferry to withdraw back to Maryland and rides upstream to take personal command of the forces on Harrison’s Island and the Maryland shore opposite it.

There, at about 6 pm, Stone remembers McCall’s division down at Dranesville and he wires McClellan’s headquarters in Washington asking for help from McCall. The request takes McClellan by surprise—he too has thought that the battle at Ball’s Bluff is going well—but as it happens McCall’s division is no longer in Dranesville. Following his orders to retire when he had completed his reconnaissance, he had started the march back at 8:30 that morning and by now is 20 miles away. McClellan has failed to inform General Stone of this, yet one more of the many Federal failures of communication this day.

Meanwhile, at Ball’s Bluff the final tragic act is being played out. By 6 pm Cogswell’s men have fallen back under his orders to the woods fringing the bluff with their back at the edge of the precipice above the river. The Confederates deploy in a conventional battle formation two ranks deep with skirmishers in front, fix bayonets, and advance, firing as they come until they hammer into the Federal line. Many of the Federals manage to flee down the cow path under heavy Confederate fire; but others fall over the edge, many to their deaths—some killed by the fall, some by the bayonets of those below them. On the beach the scene is no less chaotic with soldiers scrambling through the gathering dark in a futile search for boats, two of the boats having vanished, one so riddled by bullets that it sinks, another loaded with 30-plus wounded capsizing when able-bodied men from the bluff jump aboard. Some men throw themselves in the river without first removing their equipment and heavy clothing and sink like lead. But in all the chaos many Federal officers keep their heads. Captains Bartlett and O’Meara lead some men up the bluff for one last skirmish, then Bartlett takes about 80 men upstream along the shore to where the water is less turbulent, finds a skiff, and gets all the men across to Harrison’s Island five at a time while O’Meara stays behind as a rear guard on the bluff until he’s overwhelmed and captured. Colonel Devens orders his men to discard their weapons and swim for it, and his men insist on bringing him to safety with them on a log. From atop the bluff the Confederates keep firing into the screaming, dying men until, one of them recalls later, “darkness shut down the bloody work and night in mercy drew her sable curtain over the dead.”

It is a dramatic, terrible, costly Federal defeat and a well-fought Confederate victory. Forces were about equal, 1,700 on each side at Ball’s Bluff, also known as Leesburg, Harrison’s Island, or Conrad’s Ferry. But in losses the Federals have 49 killed, 158 wounded, and 714 missing (including 529 captured—among them Colonel Cogswell and Major Paul Joseph Revere, grandson of the Revolutionary War patriot—and probably more than a hundred drowned), for 921 casualties—over half of the Federals that saw action. Confederates have lost 36 killed, 117 wounded, 2 missing for 155 casualties. Senator Baker, despite his somewhat rash advance, will be made a martyr, mourned by Lincoln and the nation. General Stone, stolid defender of Washington earlier in the year, will be accused in the press and elsewhere of friendliness with the enemy, ineptness in command, and downright treason. His imprisonment without being formally charged will have definite political overtones, and although he will later return to service, his career will be forever marred by a defeat for which historians will be more and more disinclined to blame him. McClellan, despite his indefinite and perhaps erroneous orders, will escape criticism. Investigation after investigation will write reams into the official records, but that won’t matter to those who stumbled down the tree- and brush-entangled slopes to their deaths. For the Confederates, Brigadier General Nathan G. “Shanks” Evans has, as at First Manassas, proved a quick-thinking soldier, but his alleged drinking will probably be responsible for his never gaining the rank and reputation his obvious qualifications indicate. In the North—consternation, another defeat; in the South—jubilation, although it is clear the battle means little for Confederate independence.

This same day near Fredericktown, Missouri, Federals under Colonel J.B. Plummer pursues retreating Confederates and fights for three hours south of the town. Gradually the Confederates continue their withdrawal. Losses are moderate. There is action at Rockcastle Hills or Camp Wildcat, Kentucky, and at Young’s Mill near Newport News, Virginia.

In Washington the grief-stricken President writes Roman Catholic Archbishop John J. Hughes for names of those suitable to be appointed chaplains for hospitals.
October 22, Tuesday

The news of the tragedy of Ball’s Bluff races through the North by telegraph and newspapers.

In the Confederacy an important command change is instituted: the Department of Virginia under General Joseph E. Johnston is organized with General Beauregard in command of the District of the Potomac, Brigadier General Theophilus Holmes in the Aquia District and Major General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson the Shenandoah Valley District.

For the Federals, Brigadier General Benjamin F. Kelley is assigned to the Department of Harper’s Ferry and Cumberland.

There is light fighting around Budd’s Ferry, Maryland, on the Potomac.

From the Federal Navy comes the disquieting news that Confederate batteries command all major points on the Potomac below Alexandria. This problem, Fremont in the West, and, of course, Ball’s Bluff occupy the Federal Cabinet.

In Richmond there is concern over affairs in western Virginia, where it is feared the army will have to go into winter quarters, and with the reports of grumbling over the generalship of Robert E. Lee.

In the months since the Confederate victory in New Mexico Territory in July, while Confederate Colonel John R. Baylor has maintained his forward position at Mesilla, Brigadier General Henry Sibley has worked to raise three regiments totaling 3,500 mounted volunteers in San Antonio (equipped in part with artillery and other weapons surrendered by Major General Twiggs when Texas seceded). Now those troops leave San Antonio amid wild cheers from the populace. They will ride the 700 miles across the West Texas desert to Fort Bliss in small detachments, to allow the precious waterholes along the way to replenish themselves. From there in January they will regroup at Fort Thorn, an abandoned Federal post about 40 miles north of Mesilla and 90 miles south of Union-occupied Fort Craig. They will be joined by six companies of Baylor’s 2nd Texas Mounted Rifles and a locally-organized independent unit known as the Brigands.
October 23, Wednesday

In the fighting along the Confederate line in Kentucky there is skirmishing at West Liberty and at Hodgenville, not far from President Lincoln’s birthplace. Sherman continues to worry mightily over Confederate advance in Kentucky. For the South Zollicoffer in east Tennessee and Kentucky worries about Federal operations and pro-Unionists in his area.

In western Virginia Confederate General Floyd seizes Cotton Hill, a high elevation overlooking the Federal encampment at Gauley, and at once begins to harass it by direct cannon fire. This will continue for about three weeks.

The crew of the Confederate privateer Savannah, in prison in New York City since being captured in early June, now go on trial for piracy, the punishment of which is hanging. The trial will last seven days, and during the trial President Jefferson Davis warns that for each privateer found guilty and hung he will order hung a captured Union soldier selected at random. Fortunately for all concerned, the trial will end in a hung jury. Things are not so fortunate for all concerned in the case of the crewmembers from the privateer Jefferson Davis, the prize crew taken from the schooner Enchantress when it was recaptured in late July. On trial at the same time in Philadelphia, several will be found guilty and scheduled to be hung. President Davis fulfills his promise to randomly select a Union prisoner for each man found guilty to be executed as well (among those selected the grandson of Paul Revere, captured at Ball’s Bluff). President Lincoln will eventually back down, and henceforth the crews of captured privateers will be treated as prisoners of war in the same manner as captured Confederate soldiers.
October 24, Thursday

Given impetus by the war, work on the first transcontinental telegraph is completed by Western Union. Though to be often broken by wind, weather, buffalo, and Amerinds, it represents a gigantic step forward in communications. The new segment of the line runs from Denver to Sacramento across the high mountains, linking earlier completed lines.

The people of western Virginia vote overwhelmingly in favor of forming a new state by ratifying the action of the Wheeling Convention.

There is an attack by Confederates on Camp Joe Underwood, Kentucky.

President Lincoln writes Brigadier General S.R. Curtis that he should deliver enclosed orders to Major General Fremont and General David Hunter in the West. The orders, culmination of a long problem, relieve Fremont from command of the Western Department and put Major General Hunter temporarily in his place. However, Curtis is not to deliver the orders if Fremont has fought and won a battle or should “be in the immediate presence of the enemy, in expectation of a battle.”

This same day the President attends the funeral of Colonel and Senator Baker in Washington.

President Davis expresses his worries over the enemy’s plans in northern Virginia, the force gathering for coastal invasion, a possible attack at Yorktown, Virginia (the site of the final major battle of the American Revolution), and a descent on North Carolina, adding, “Oh, that we had plenty of arms and a short time to raise the men to use them!”

The Knoxville, Tennessee, Whig, of pro-unionist Parson William Brownlow is forced by Confederates to suspend publication and Brownlow is charged with treason, one of the few instances of Southern press suppression.
October 25, Friday

With a cry of “Fremont and the Union” the cavalry of Fremont under Major Charles Zagonyi charges into Springfield, Missouri, routing a small Confederate force. It is a relatively minor affair, but is blown up by Fremont partisans into a full-scale battle. Fremont now occupies Springfield, but is far from halting Price’s retreat from Lexington or bringing him to battle. Fremont suspects that his days in command are numbered and is allegedly making arrangements to prevent anyone trying to relieve him from reaching his camp.

A Federal force under Brigadier General Kelley leaves New Creek, western Virginia, in a drive on Romney.

But most important, and unheralded, at Greenpoint, Long Island, the keel of the ironclad Monitor is laid.

President Davis continues to have difficulty with ambitious commanders, including Beauregard, who haven’t received the commissions or commands they expected.

General McClellan meets for three hours this night with a group of senators angry about the disaster at Ball’s Bluff and looking for a scapegoat. They demand an advance to atone for the defeat. Convinced more than ever by the fiasco that his army isn’t ready for action, McClellan coolly disclaims responsibility for the defeat and manages to divert the senators’ wrath by arguing that General in Chief Scott is the real problem, an impediment to active operations who makes the proper coordination of forces impossible. The senators are convinced and will put pressure on President Lincoln.
October 26, Saturday

Federal troops under Brigadier General Kelley take Romney, an important post in the northern part of western Virginia, with few losses. There is also action at South Branch Bridge and Springfield, western Virginia.

The Federal converted gunboat USS Conestoga carries Union troops up the Cumberland River for a successful attack on Saratoga, Kentucky.

Federal Colonel George Wright formally assumes command of the Department of the Pacific, succeeding Edwin V. Sumner.
October 27, Sunday

There is a skirmish at Spring Hill, Missouri. Fremont states at Springfield, Missouri, he is going to pursue and fight Confederate General Price, who is believed to be advancing on Springfield from the southwest. Actually, Price is moving farther from the area every day and has no plans to attack Fremont at this time.

Three Confederate vessels are burned by Federals at Chincoteague Inlet, Virginia.
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