The American Civil War, day by day - Page 51 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15129120
October 22, Wednesday

It appears, after two weeks of skirmishing and less than vigorous pursuit, that Bragg’s Confederate army is making good its escape from Buell in Kentucky following the Battle of Perryville. The response from General in Chief Halleck to Buell’s refusal to pursue was sharp: Buell should not retire but instead should “drive the enemy from Kentucky and East Tennessee. If we cannot do it now, we need never to hope for it.” The President, Halleck wrote in a later message, “does not understand why we cannot march as the enemy marches, live as he lives, and fight as he fights, unless we admit the inferiority of our troops and of our generals.” Buell readily admits exactly that. “The spirit of the rebellion,” he complains today in a long account of his problems, “enforces a subordination and want which public sentiment renders impossible among our troops.” Because of this fortitude, plus a willingness among the Confederates to impose the death penalty, “the discipline of the rebel army is superior to ours.”

Cotton speculation causes President Lincoln to say that individuals purchasing cotton should not impose terms not included in the Federal rules.

Fighting occurs at two points in Arkansas, Helena, and Huntsville; at Van Buren, Missouri; Snickersville, Virginia; and Confederate cavalry under General Joseph Wheeler take London, Kentucky. A Union attack on Pocotaglico or Yemassee, South Carolina, is repulsed after several skirmishes October 22-23. A Federal expedition from Fort Donelson to Waverly, Tennessee, will fight several times October 22-25. There is a skirmish at Fort Wayne, Indian Territory, near the Arkansas border.
#15129176
The President, Halleck wrote in a later message, “does not understand why we cannot march as the enemy marches, live as he lives, and fight as he fights, unless we admit the inferiority of our troops and of our generals.” Buell readily admits exactly that. “The spirit of the rebellion,” he complains today in a long account of his problems, “enforces a subordination and want which public sentiment renders impossible among our troops.” Because of this fortitude, plus a willingness among the Confederates to impose the death penalty, “the discipline of the rebel army is superior to ours.”

As Sherman was later to say, "War is all hell." And if you're not willing to put your own troops through hell in order to gain an advantage over the enemy, then you're probably not going to win.
#15129185
Potemkin wrote:As Sherman was later to say, "War is all hell." And if you're not willing to put your own troops through hell in order to gain an advantage over the enemy, then you're probably not going to win.

The difference between Grant and Sherman versus McClellan and all the others like him is, while they both put their soldiers through hell, Grant actually accomplished something solid for the price they paid.
#15129187
Doug64 wrote:The difference between Grant and Sherman versus McClellan and all the others like him is, while they both put their soldiers through hell, Grant actually accomplished something solid for the price they paid.

So did Sherman....
#15129346
Oxymoron wrote:So did Sherman....

True, and I did mention Sherman in the first part of my sentence.
#15129347
October 23, Thursday

Bragg’s Confederate army passes into Tennessee through Cumberland Gap on their retreat from Kentucky. It has been a dismal 200-mile journey over rough and muddy roads. Many of the troops have no shoes, and their clothing hangs in shreds. Along the way they have found little to eat; parched corn is all that has kept many from starvation. More than 15,000 troops have been struck down during the march by typhoid, scurvy, dysentery, and pneumonia.

President Lincoln obviously disagrees with General Buell’s assessment of the inferiority of Federal troops, thinking that the inferiority rather resides in their general. Today he relieves Buell and replaces him with Major General William S. Rosecrans. The Union has retained Kentucky by default, but the problem of East Tennessee remains, and the Administration wants it solved. Halleck’s letter of instructions to Rosecrans about his new duties ends with a stern warning: “Neither the country nor the Government will much longer put up with the inactivity of some of our armies and generals.”

President Davis writes of his worries over the pro-Union sentiments of east Tennessee.

CSS Alabama continues to prowl the seas and raid Federal shipping, adding frequently to its list of captures.

There is a skirmish at Clarkton, Missouri; and Waverly and Richland Creek, Tennessee; the Goose Creek Salt Works near Manchester, Kentucky, are destroyed by Federals.
#15129620
October 24, Friday

Fighting is confined to a skirmish near Fayetteville, Arkansas; an affair on St. Helena Island, South Carolina; skirmishes as Manassas Junction and near Bristoe Station, Virginia; and at White Oak Springs, Tennessee. A Federal expedition October 24-26 chases guerillas from Independence to Greenton, Chapel Hill, and Hopewell, Missouri. October 24-26 there will be military operations in the La Fourche District, Louisiana.
#15129875
October 25, Saturday

President Lincoln, piqued at McClellan’s delays after Antietam, wires the commander of the Potomac, “I have just read your dispatch about sore tongued and fatiegued [sic] horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigue anything?” McClellan, of course, defends his cavalry and operations, pointing out various reconnaissance and raids.

Meanwhile, General Grant is formally named commander of the Thirteenth Army Corps and the Department of Tennessee, which now includes everything along the Mississippi River south of Cairo. Grant sends a proposal to Halleck in Washington. He wants to stop protecting railroads and supply depots and begin to move south toward an objective worthy of some effort: Vicksburg.

There is skirmishing near Zuni, Virginia; Lawrenceburg, Kentucky; Donaldsonville, Louisiana; Helena, Arkansas; and near Pike Creek and Eleven Points, Missouri.
#15130080
October 26, Sunday

Nearly six weeks after the Battle of Antietam, McClellan finally sets his army—reinforced to 110,000 men—in motion. His vanguard crosses the Potomac over a new pontoon bridge at Berlin, five miles downstream from Harpers Ferry. Following Lincoln’s suggested “inside track,” the troops then march south toward Warrenton, Virginia, where McClellan intends to concentrate his forces before pushing on.

In Washington President Lincoln writes McClellan that he “rejoiced” that the army has begun to cross the Potomac. In an interview with the English Quaker leader Mrs. Eliza P. Gurney, President Lincoln is reported to have said, “If I had my way, this war would never have commenced; if I had been allowed my way this war would have been ended before this, but we find it still continues.”

General Lee, in the Shenandoah Valley, has used his two-month respite to reorganize and resupply his battered forces. With the Confederate Congress’s authorization of the creation of corps Lee has made official his two “wings” into corps and promoted James Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson to lieutenant general to give them the rank to command them.

Confederate General Bragg completes the evacuation of Kentucky, retiring into Tennessee toward Knoxville and Chattanooga. No sooner do they reach Knoxville then Bragg receives a peremptory summons from his old friend, President Davis. The telegram reads: “The President desires that you will lose no time in coming here.”

The rigors of the retreat makes Bragg’s Kentucky invasion seem all the more pointless and wasteful. Now his principal subordinates are almost in open revolt, his men are bitter and disheartened, and there is a growing public outcry across the Confederacy for his removal. Jefferson Davis is not one to yield hastily to public opinion, though. He blames much of the furor on his political enemies, alleging that they are attacking him though his well-known friendship with Bragg. Davis is deeply concerned, however, by the criticism from Bragg’s officers and men. Generals Polk, Kirby Smith, and Hardee are all vociferous in their condemnation of Bragg’s leadership. Where Buell blames his reverses on lack of discipline, Bragg the disciplinarian rails against the citizens of Kentucky. But he is apparently somewhat abashed by the uproar, and for once he isn’t contentious in his meeting with the President. Instead, he adopts a straightforward, modest manner. He tells Davis that the retreat from Kentucky was necessary to save his starving army.

And in fact, Bragg has something to show for his efforts. He has inflicted 25,000 Federal casualties, and he has captured ammunition and more than thirty pieces of artillery and hundreds of wagons, horses, mules, and guns. The army is intact, albeit half its original size. Moreover, in the aftermath of the Confederate defeats at Iuka and Corinth, Bragg’s is the only force in the field able to resist a Federal drive into the Deep South. Along with his explanation, Bragg offers President Davis a new plan of operations: Bragg will move his army to Murfreesboro and from there attack Nashville. Eventually, Davis pronounces himself satisfied, sends Bragg back to Tennessee to resume his command, and moves quickly to neutralize Bragg’s rebellious generals. He calls Leonidas Polk and Kirby Smith to Richmond, hears them out, placates each of them with the third star of a lieutenant general, and persuades them to return to their duties. Davis has in mind one more remedy for the dissension in the west, but for the time being he keeps it to himself.

Samuel Heintzelman succeeds Banks in command of the defenses of Washington.

There will be operations from October 26 through November 10 in Loudon, Fauquier, and Rappahannock counties of Virginia.

Indianola, Texas, falls to Union gunboats.
#15130286
October 27, Monday

Along the coasts the blockade continues its vigilance, with two blockade runners reported captured as the pressure on Confederate commerce increases.

There was fighting at Fayetteville, Arkansas, and at Georgia Landing, Louisiana, as well.
#15130572
October 28, Tuesday

The Federal Army of the Potomac under McClellan continues its movement southward into Virginia from Maryland. The march is east of the Blue Ridge in the general direction of Warrenton. Meanwhile, Lee moves to thwart the advance of the Army of the Potomac by once again dividing his army. He leaves Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley and takes half the army on a swift, 60-mile march south and east through the passes of the Blue Ridge.

General Bragg sends Major General John C. Breckinridge take command of the Army of Middle Tennessee at Murfreesboro. Breckinridge arrives with his 6,000-man division under Bragg’s typically vague instructions to prepare “for the defense of Middle Tennessee or an attack on Nashville.”

There is action at Oxford Bend on the White River near Fayetteville, and at McGuire’s, Arkansas.
#15130897
October 29, Wednesday

President Lincoln tells General McClellan, “I am very much pleased with the movement of the Army. What do you know of the enemy?”

President Davis, plagued by trying to defend many areas, writes the governor of Alabama, “Our only alternatives are to abandon important points or to use our limited resources as effectively as the circumstances will permit.”

There is skirmishing at Island Mount, Missouri; Sabine Pass, Texas; on the Blackwater in Virginia; opposite Williamsport, Maryland, on the Potomac; and near Petersburg, western Virginia.
#15130899
President Davis, plagued by trying to defend many areas, writes the governor of Alabama, “Our only alternatives are to abandon important points or to use our limited resources as effectively as the circumstances will permit.”

Davis knew perfectly well how horribly vulnerable the Confederacy was. If only McClellan had been equally as conscious of this. Where did McClellan think the Confederacy was getting these huge inflated imaginary troop numbers from, or the resources to clothe, feed and arm them? :eh:
#15130923
@Potemkin, that is a question that has been bothering historians for generations, and I believe occurred to some even then. The easy answer is confirmation bias on a scale that just grew more massive as those tens of thousands of troops failed to materialize on the battlefield, as hard as that is to believe about someone as intelligent as McClellan.
#15131140
October 30, Thursday

Following his victories in Mississippi, Major General Rosecrans is transferred to Nashville, Tennessee, succeeding General Buell in command of the newly created Army of the Cumberland, largely due to the escape of Bragg’s Confederates. The burly, six-foot-tall Rosecrans—dubbed Old Rosy by his troops—is 43 years old when he takes command of what is now designated the Army of the Cumberland. He has blond hair, a close-cropped beard and a large, hooked, red nose described by a contemporary as “an intensified Roman nose” in a sly reference to Rosecrans’ hard drinking. Quick to anger, the general is just as quick to forgive. He will berate an officer terribly and then restore the man to good humor with moderating gestures and smiles. Rosecrans is a passionate convert to Catholicism and often engages his staff in nocturnal religious discussions, in one period keeping them up until 4 am for ten nights in a row. He has enjoyed a modestly successful wartime career. Early last year, he joined General McClellan’s Department of the Ohio as a colonel of engineers. Serving in western Virginia, he rose rapidly in rank and assumed command of the Federal forces there when McClellan was called to Washington. Sent later to join Grant in Tennessee, Rosecrans drove Sterling Price from Iuka in September and defeated Earl Van Dorn at Corinth earlier this month, in both cases after heavy fighting. By that time, Buell’s timidity had become painfully obvious, and Rosecrans appears to President Lincoln to be one of the few real fighters among the Federal generals. Grant professes himself to be “delighted” that Rosecrans is no longer under his command: Rosecrans, he feels, is not good at coordinating with fellow officers and will do better with an independent command. Rosecrans’ future under Grant would have been highly problematical; according to one account, Grant had intended to relieve him from duty this very day. The soldiers of Rosecrans’ new command, in the manner of the times, express their enthusiasm for his promotion by bellowing an artless song: “Old Rosy is our man, Old Rosy is our man. He’ll show his deeds where’er he leads. Old Rosy is our man.”

Emperor Napoleon III of France proposes to Russia and Great Britain that they should unite in making overtures of mediation in the American Civil War.

Major General Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel, astronomer, lecturer, and prominent Union officer, transferred to command of the Department of the South at his request in order to escape subordination to Major General Buell, dies of yellow fever at Beaufort, South Carolina.
#15131355
October 31, Friday

There was a skirmish at Franklin, Virginia, and another near the falls of the Kanawha, western Virginia. A Union scout is undertaken in Monroe county, Missouri; and on this day and November 1, Federal forces bombard Lavaca, Texas. Other Union contingents advance from Bolivar, Tennessee, and Corinth, Mississippi, upon Grand Junction, Tennessee, in preliminaries of Grant’s move upon Vicksburg.
#15131633
November 1862

Little but memory is left of the three Confederate thrusts of late summer and early fall. Lee is back in Virginia and McClellan’s Army of the Potomac has begun to move again, through slowly and with numerous delays. Bragg is gone from Kentucky, his Army of Tennessee not much injured. The new Federal commander, Rosecrans, still has a formidable enemy to contend with. In northern Mississippi Van Dorn has failed to do much against the Corinth area except to sustain losses, and Grant is preparing an overland campaign down the north-south railroad, aimed at Vicksburg. News of the successful Confederate sea raider Alabama is seeping in, but the blockade is still there, and continually tightening. For the South, the faint hope of foreign recognition seems further away than ever. In the North there is scattered resistance to the draft. The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is still a subject of controversy. But at least the immediate threats of Confederate invasion are gone. At the moment, in fact, the war seems to be dragging.

November 1, Saturday

November opens with McClellan finally back on Virginia soil but hardly in active pursuit of Lee’s army, which is still licking its own wounds after Antietam. In Kentucky the new Federal commander, William S. Rosecrans, is preparing to resume operations against Confederate Braxton Bragg, who has escaped nearly intact from his drive toward the Ohio River.

On the Mississippi, Grant, is setting in motion a plan for a speedy conquest of Vicksburg. He will begin slowly moving southward from the Tennessee border along the tracks of the Mississippi Central Railroad, gathering forces as he goes. His course will parallel the great river and about sixty miles to the east. He plans to sweep inexorably through Mississippi, carefully extending and maintaining his lines of supply as he progresses, until he reaches Jackson. There he will cut the railroad line between that city and Vicksburg, and flank the river port—at which point he expects to take Vicksburg with relative ease, if it doesn’t first surrender. Confederate operations of the fall have been partially successful, but in a defensive-offensive sense have bought little but time. Strangely enough, Grant is not the only general contemplating an attack on Vicksburg. Even as he commences the campaign, he hears persistent rumors that another Federal commander—Major General John McClernand—is raising an army north of the Ohio River and that he intends, with Washington’s blessing, to move down the Mississippi and launch an amphibious attack on the port. Grant can scarcely believe that such an operation will be mounted in his department without consultation. Yet troops recruited by this rival general are arriving on the scene.

At Knoxville, General Bragg’s Confederate army is suffering cruelly from exposure and disease. More than 15,000 troops fill hospitals from eastern Tennessee to northern Georgia. With six inches of snow on the ground in eastern Tennessee, the remaining 27,000 troops lack clothing, equipment, and shelter to protect them from the bitter winter. They are also short of food, although plenty of provisions are stockpiled in the area. The Confederate government has decreed that supplies in eastern Tennessee are to be reserved for the exclusive use of the Army of Northern Virginia, whose campaign in the East is considered to be more important. While Bragg’s men are foraging desperately across the countryside, nearby warehouses are shipping eastward thousands of cattle and hogs, barrels of flour, bushels of wheat, and sides of bacon.

Today, the first elements of that suffering army begin their move to Chattanooga, then to Tullahoma, and finally through the Stones River valley toward Murfreesboro. General Bragg has put into motion his promised plan to move against the Federals at Nashville.

General Butler in New Orleans issues orders tightening pass requirements and authorizing discharge from confinement of all “slaves not known to be the slaves of loyal owners.”

President Davis continues to worry about the relations of the Confederate states to the central government, the raising of troops, and the danger of Federal invasion of the coasts.

November 1st through the 12th a Federal expedition from New Berne will fight several skirmishes at Little Creek and Rawle’s Mill, North Carolina. Operations early in the month will be carried out in Boone and Jackson counties, Missouri, and Berwick Bay, Louisiana. Other fighting this day occurs at La Grange, Arkansas, and in Henderson County, Kentucky.
#15131748
November 2, Sunday

There is minor fighting in Virginia at Philomont and Snicker’s Gap in the Blue Ridge. The latter is occupied by McClellan’s army.

Mrs. Lincoln is visiting New York City.
#15131980
November 3, Monday

There is a skirmish near Harrisonville, Missouri, and an expedition by Federals along the coasts of Georgia and east Florida lasting until the tenth. Among the regiments used in this last operation is the First South Carolina Volunteers (African Descent) under Colonel Thomas Westworth Higginson. This Black regiment, still incomplete and somewhat unofficial, was not to be mustered until the first of the year, but it has been slowly growing out of the earlier abortive attempts to form Black regiments on the southeastern coast.

Longstreet’s Confederate corps arrives at Culpeper Court House, Virginia, thus getting in front of McClellan, who is twenty miles to the northeast in the Warrenton area. Jackson’s corps of Lee’s army remains in the Shenandoah Valley. From this position the Army of Northern Virginia can oppose a Federal march on Richmond.

In Minnesota, the five-man military commission appointed by Colonel Sibley to investigate the Santee Sioux uprising finishes its work. The trials of the Sioux prisoners were deficient in many ways, and the officers who oversaw them did not conduct them according to military law. Some of the 392 trials lasted less than 5 minutes. No one explained the proceedings to the defendants, nor were the Sioux represented by defense attorneys. Unsurprisingly, the commission finds 307 of the Sioux tried guilty of murder and rape.
#15132295
November 4, Tuesday

Democrats make sizable gains in Northern state and congressional elections, especially in New York where Democrat Horatio Seymour is chosen governor. Strong Democratic gains are also made in New Jersey, Illinois, and Wisconsin, adding to those of the October elections. The Republicans keep control of the House of Representatives, however, with victories in New England, the border slave states, California, and Michigan. Undoubtedly war weariness accounts for many of the Democratic victories.

General Grant’s forces occupy La Grange and Grand Junction, Tennessee, important rail and road keys to northern Mississippi, as plans for a drive on Vicksburg progress.
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