The American Civil War, day by day - Page 74 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15192655
Doug64 wrote:@Potemkin, I don't know how things went across the pond, but in the US drinking has been a major problem for families, which is where the overlap with the women's rights movement came from. While Prohibition turned out to be a flop, due to the no-compromise fanaticism of its supporters, the problem it was intended to combat was real.

It was a problem in Britain too, but the response to that problem was nowhere near as moralistic or as fanatical as it was in the USA. Most British working class men spent most of their lives permanently pickled, but nobody seemed to care much. Licensing hours were only introduced in pubs during the First World War because too many workers were rolling up to work in the munitions factories as drunk as a skunk. Apart from its effect on the war effort, nobody cared about this 'problem', then or now. This fanatical, moralistic opposition to drinking seems to be something unique to American culture, and I'm struggling to find an explanation for it.
#15192690
@Potemkin, take the situation you describe with the factory workers then imagine what it would have been like to be married to one of those drunkards, or have one as a father. Then remember that divorces were hard to get where they were possible at all, the divorced woman would be penniless since her husband owned all the property and the court was unlikely to give her any of it (and so far as I know alimony wasn’t a thing), without any real job prospects even if she had any of the skills needed, and he would almost certainly be given custody of the children. Now imagine that there are tens of thousands of women trapped in that situation at least, and you can see how both the Temperance Movement and Women’s Rights Movement could become popular with a large part of the population, and how they could become linked so tightly.
#15192698
Doug64 wrote:@Potemkin, take the situation you describe with the factory workers then imagine what it would have been like to be married to one of those drunkards, or have one as a father. Then remember that divorces were hard to get where they were possible at all, the divorced woman would be penniless since her husband owned all the property and the court was unlikely to give her any of it (and so far as I know alimony wasn’t a thing), without any real job prospects even if she had any of the skills needed, and he would almost certainly be given custody of the children. Now imagine that there are tens of thousands of women trapped in that situation at least, and you can see how both the Temperance Movement and Women’s Rights Movement could become popular with a large part of the population, and how they could become linked so tightly.

Indeed, but why did it happen in America but not in Britain (or indeed anywhere else), where conditions were just as bad if not worse? This is what requires explanation.
#15192722
September 30, Wednesday

Bragg notifies General Wheeler today “that the brigade of Colonel Dibrell shall remain at Cleveland,” thus overruling Wheeler’s order issued yesterday. When Forrest meets with Bragg in early October, he will receive assurances that his entire corps would be returned following Wheeler’s cavalry raid on the Federal supply lines. The raid will run from today to October 17th. The raid opens with a skirmish at Cotton Port Ford, Tennessee.

Skirmishing at Neersville and Woodville and destruction of Confederate salt works at Back Bay, Virginia, also marks the day. Mild bombardment of Fort Sumter continues in Charleston Harbor.
#15192814
October 1863

As the third autumn of the war arrives, the South is still besieged, but breathes a bit easier than during the disastrous midsummer. Confederates have been successful at halting the drives on Charleston and Texas, and have won at Chickamauga. On the other hand, the North is in Chattanooga and troops are rallying to their relief; east Tennessee has fallen to the Federals, as has Little Rock, Arkansas. The Union advance may have been dulled momentarily, but is not reversed. In Virginia, now that both Lee and Meade have sent troops to the West, there are questions about what will happen next. Bragg is harassed by the continuous bickering among his generals that has blighted his entire career. Nothing has been done to date to garner the victory fruit from Chichamauga.

October 1, Thursday

General Wheeler leads 5,000 Confederate cavalrymen under Brigadier Generals William Martin and John Wharton across the Tennessee River west of Chattanooga and rides north into the Sequatchie Valley.

In Virginia investigations and skirmishing occur near Culpeper Court House, Auburn, and Lewisville. Elsewhere, fighting breaks out at Elizabethtown, Arkansas, and near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. From Nashville President Lincoln is informed that all the XI Corps and part of the XII Corps en route to the Chattanooga area have passed through the Tennessee capital. The President advises General John M. Schofield, in command in Missouri: “Your immediate duty, in regard to Missouri, now is to advance the efficiency of that establishment, and to so use it, as far as practicable, to compel the excited people there to leave one another alone.”
#15192910
October 2, Friday

A skirmish flares near besieged Chattanooga. Fighting also erupts at Pitt’s Cross Roads in the Sequatchie Valley, Anderson’s Cross Roads, Valley Road near Jasper, and near Dunlap, Tennessee, all part of Wheeler’s annoying Confederate cavalry raid—after destroying a small wagon train, Wheeler sends about half his force northwest under Wharton toward the Federal garrison in McMinnville. Wheeler and Martin then attack and devastate an 800-wagon Federal caravan at Anderson’s Crossroads, burning more than 300 of the vehicles and shooting or sabering the mules. Federal cavalry is in hot pursuit. Brigadier General George Crook’s division closes from the northeast, while Colonel Edward M. McCook’s division comes north from Bridgeport. McCook is first on the scene, with two regiments. As they approach Anderson’s Cross Roads, they see dense smoke, caused by the burning wagons. The Confederates draw up successive lines of battle, only to be dispersed by Federal saber charges. McCook inflicts almost 300 casualties on the raiders and recaptures some wagons and mules. Meanwhile, Federal reinforcements are arriving, within a few days about 20,000 men and 3,000 horses and mules under Hooker have arrived at Bridgeport from the Army of the Potomac, having traveled 1,159 miles in seven to nine days. Once there, however, Hooker can do little: To march into Chattanooga will serve only to add his men to the 35,000 soldiers already starving there. Four more divisions, under Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, had been sent east from Memphis and Vicksburg before the Battle of Chickamauga. But Halleck ordered them to repair the Memphis & Charleston Railroad as they march so that they can supply themselves. As a consequence they have made little progress.

Elsewhere, fighting is limited to skirmishes at Carthage, Missouri; Greeneville, Tennessee; and Vance’s Store in Arkansas.

The Augusta, Georgia, Constitutionalist defines a major problem of the Confederate citizen in Mississippi and elsewhere: “If he takes refuge further East, he is censured for leaving home; and if he remains home to raise another crop in the Confederate lines, as soon as the Union enemy again presses forward, his supplies will once more be taken by the Confederate cavalry, and his cotton committed to the flames again!”
#15193031
October 3, Saturday

On the Gulf Coast near New Orleans, General Banks attempts once more to gain a foothold in Texas following the failure at Sabine Pass. Leery of any more coastal operations, Banks directs General Franklin to prepare an expedition that will ascend the Bayou Teche, a broad stream heading generally north into central Louisiana, then strike overland through western Louisiana and enter Texas near Beaumont. Franklin assembles his army, now swollen to almost 20,000 men, at Fort Bisland on the lower Teche and today begins advancing slowly.

The six-day secondary bombardment of Fort Sumter from Morris Island ends after 560 shot. Confederate batteries on James and Sullivan’s islands respond irregularly to the Federal fire.

In the Chattanooga area, Crook’s Federal cavalry division pursues Wharton to McMinnville, but not fast enough—today the town falls to the Confederates. Crook does succeed in blocking Wharton’s progress toward Murfreesboro, though. There’s also skirmishing at Hill’s Gap near Beersheba, Tennessee.

Elsewhere, fighting takes place at Bear Creek, Tennessee; Forked Deer Creek, Mississippi; and Lewinsville, Virginia. Federal operations in Bates and Vernon counties, Missouri, last four days.

The Federal War Department orders enlistment of Black troops in the slave states of Maryland, Missouri, and Tennessee.

President Lincoln issues a proclamation of thanksgiving, calling for observance on the last Thursday of November in gratitude for the blessings of the past year and “in humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience....”

Even as attempts to reinforce the besieged Rosecrans in Chattanooga flounder, the Confederate command structure is also embroiled in controversy. Braxton Bragg, like Rosecrans, has followed the Battle of Chickamauga with a purge of supposedly errant officers. Blaming General Leonidas Polk for the delay on the morning of the battle’s second day, Bragg relieves him of command and sends him to Atlanta to await orders. Bragg also sacks General Thomas Hindman for missing the opportunity to trap General James Negley’s division at McLemore’s Cove the week before the battle proper. President Davis, writing General Bragg, tries to smooth over the acrimonious controversy that has arisen once more between Bragg and General Polk. Davis tells Bragg, “The opposition to you both in the army and out of it has been a public calamity in so far that it impairs your capacity for usefulness....”
#15193034
Potemkin wrote:This fanatical, moralistic opposition to drinking seems to be something unique to American culture, and I'm struggling to find an explanation for it.

Vladamir Illych Lenin wrote:Death is preferable to selling vodka!

When it comes to the issue of Alcohol, my sympathies lie with born again Protestants, the Mormons, Adolph Hitler, Lenin and the Taliban.
#15193049
Rich wrote:When it comes to the issue of Alcohol, my sympathies lie with born again Protestants, the Mormons, Adolph Hitler, Lenin and the Taliban.

In Tsarist Russia, the selling of alcohol was a state monopoly. It's therefore hardly surprising that Lenin opposed it - not only was the Tsarist system exploiting and oppressing the working class, it was profiting from selling them the drink they used to drown their sorrows too.
#15193060
@Rich, @Potemkin, one historian whose lectures I listened to about the history of the nomads of the steppes described the line between the Christian Rus and the Muslim steppe nomads as the Hashish line--it was the line across which people weren't willing to give up their vodka for dealing with northern winters. Guess what the drug of choice was south of the line....
#15193180
October 4, Sunday

The Confederate cavalry invasion of Missouri, led by Jo Shelby, presses northward from the southwestern part of the state. There is action at Neosho and skirmishing at Widow Wheeler’s, Oregon or Bower’s Mill, Missouri. Wheeler’s cavalry, having taken McMinnville, Tennessee, skirmish nearby. In the Federal Bayou Teche operation an affair occurs at Nelson’s Bridge near New Iberia, Louisiana. In Virginia a six-day Federal expedition moves from Yorktown into Matthews County; in west Tennessee and northern Mississippi Confederate cavalry under J.R. Chalmers operate until the 17th.

President Lincoln tells General Rosecrans at Chattanooga, “If we can hold Chattanooga and East Tennessee, I think the rebellion must dwindle and die. I think you and Burnside can do this....” He further suggests harassing or attacking Bragg’s besieging Confederate army. The fact is, the President himself is no longer quite so sure of the advisability of moving Burnside from Knoxville to support Rosecrans. For one thing, Burnside’s Army of the Ohio is encountering supply problems almost as severe as those afflicting Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland. The single wagon road through Cumberland Gap is proving inadequate to keep Burnside’s men in food, ammunition, and other necessities. If Burnside moves even farther from his already strained supply line, he might find himself in serious trouble. Moreover, the inactivity around Chattanooga in the weeks following Chickamauga perhaps indicate a Confederate change of plan. Bragg doesn’t seem to be preparing an attack, Lincoln observes to Rosecrans; it now appears much more likely that the Confederates will try “a concentrated drive at Burnside.” As is often the case, the President’s observation is prescient.

“ ‘All quiet on the Potomac,’ Nothing to disturb autumnal slumbers,” Stanton wires the Chattanooga quartermaster, proud of his management of the transfer west of two corps from the army down in Virginia, which apparently has been accomplished under Lee’s very nose without his knowledge, or at any rate without provoking a reaction on his part.

In self-defense, General Bragg’s subordinates are attempting to once again have him replaced as commander of the Army of Tennessee. Arrayed against Bragg is a formidable roster of generals, headed by James Longstreet, Polk, D.H. Hill, and Simon Buckner, all corps commanders. Today these officers—and eight other generals commanding divisions or brigades—send a formal petition to Jefferson Davis urging Bragg’s removal. “The fruits of the victory at Chickamauga have now escaped our grasp,” the petitioners say; the army is “stricken with a complete paralysis.” They attribute this situation to the poor state of Bragg’s health, which they say “unfits him for the command of an army in the field.”
#15193252
October 5, Monday

At 10:00 pm on a hazy night, a peculiar craft steams out of Charleston harbor. Christened the David, this cigar-shaped, steam-driven, 50-foot-long vessel, bearing a torpedo on a spar at its bow, is on a mission of extreme danger and great import—to sink the New Ironsides. Riding so low in the water that she is nearly invisible, the David gets to within fifty yards of her quarry before before a sharp-eyed lookout spots her. Challenged, a crewman on the David replies with a blast from a shotgun, and the attacking vessel proceeds toward the great ship at full speed. As Federals pepper the waters around her with small-arms fire, the David rams her torpedo against the New Ironside’s hull. Then comes the explosion of sixty pounds of powder, not enough to disable the Federal vessel but more than enough to send her into port for repairs. The David makes good its escape despite the four-man crew having to fight for life in their nearly swamped vessel. The incident alarms US Navy officers, who fear that next time the torpedo might carry a heavier charge. The David becomes the model for several sister ships, but the war will end before they can see action.

Citizens and soldiers of Federally occupied Nashville are alarmed. Confederate cavalry under Joe Wheeler skirmish near Readyville, Tennessee, and then destroy an important railroad bridge over Stone’s River near Murfreesboro, temporarily breaking the vital supply line to troops near Chattanooga. Other Confederate raiders under Jo Shelby fight Federals at Stockton and Greenfield, Missouri. Still a third raider, James Ronald Chalmers, is active for the South in fighting at New Albany, Mississippi. Additional skirmishing takes place at Syracuse, Missouri; Greenwell Springs Road, Louisiana; and Blue Springs in east Tennessee.

More troops move from Memphis toward Chattanooga to help Rosecrans’ beleaguered army.

President Lincoln tells a group of Missouri dissidents that he will not fire General Schofield from command in St. Louis and adds that “I hold whoever commands in Missouri, or elsewhere, responsible to me, and not to either radicals or conservatives.”
#15193363
October 6, Tuesday

General Blunt’s luck runs out. Riding toward Fort Smith in Arkansas with an escort of 100 men, Bunt runs into the notorious guerrilla leader William C. Quantrill and his band of 400 cuttthroats who are attacking the small Federal outpost at Baxter Springs, Kansas, during their journey to Texas for winter quarters. The 150-man garrison has holed up and is fighting back successfully when Blunt and his retinue appear. Because Quantrill’s raiders are wearing Federal uniforms, Blunt thinks at first that they are part of the garrison. Realizing the mistake, his escort fires a single volley, then scatters. More than 70 of Blunt’s party are overtaken and ruthlessly shot down. Humiliated and shaken, Blunt eventually reaches Fort Smith, only to find he has been relieved of command.

Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry continues to cause trouble in Tennessee, this time with skirmishing at Christiana, Readyville, Wartrace, and Garrison’s Creek near Fosterville. Chalmer’s Confederate cavalry fights at Lockhart’s Mill on the Coldwater River, Mississippi. Shelby’s men are engaged at Humansville, Missouri. Additional fighting breaks out in the East Tennessee Campaign at Glasgow, Kentucky, and Morgan County, Tennessee. Other action occurs in Arkansas at Waldron; and near Catlett’s Station, Virginia.

President Davis is deeply disturbed by the petition from the Army of Tennessee officer corps and the command problems that it reveals. First, he intercedes on behalf of General Polk, who he likes. But General Bragg refuses to reinstate Polk; instead, he prefers formal charges against him. These will be dropped by the War Department and Polk restored to his command, but he will not serve any longer under Bragg. Then, as the uproar grows increasingly virulent, President Davis boards a train for the long journey to South Carolina, including threatened Charleston, to north Georgia, and to Bragg’s army besieging Chattanooga. Davis hopes “to be serviceable in harmonizing some of the difficulties” in Bragg’s command.
#15193520
October 7, Wednesday

Skirmishing flares at Hazel River, and at Utz’s and Mitchell’s fords, Virginia. Confederate raiders are still active in the West, Wheeler at Farmington, Blue Springs, and Sim’s Farm near Shelbyville, Tennessee; Shelby near Warsaw, Missouri. Other action is seen at Evening Shade and Ferry’s Ford, Arkansas; in the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory; and at Charles Town and Summit Point, West Virginia. Federals scout in the Spring River country of Arkansas until the 10th. A Union expedition from Sedalia to Marshall, Missouri, lasts until the 17th. US Navy men burn two steamers on the Red River.

President Lincoln asks Governor Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, “What news have you from Rosecrans’ Army ... ?”

Federal signalmen intercept wigwag messages indicating that Lee’s rebels are preparing some sort of movement in the camps beyond the Rapidan.
#15193642
October 8, Thursday

A quiet day, but fighting breaks out near James City and along Robertson’s River, Virginia, and near Chattanooga. In the East Tennessee Campaign there is a Federal reconnaissance to Olympian Springs, Kentucky.
#15193774
October 9, Friday

Word comes from Union cavalry outposts that Lee is on the march, across the Rapidan and heading west and north around Meade’s flank and headed toward Washington, much as he did when he maneuvered bold John Pope out of a similar position, fourteen months ago, and brought him to grief on the plains of Manassas. Meade’s army has suspected a major move for several days and now it is underway. Presently things will be anything but quiet on the Potomac, deep in the Federal rear, for Meade is soon headed in that direction, too, and the indiciations are that there is going to be a Third Bull Run orManassas.

Lee has been wanting to take the offensive ever since his return from Pennsylvania. “If General Meade does not move, I wish to attack him,” he told President Davis in late August. The detachment of Longstreet soon afterward seemed to rule this out, however, since it reduced Lee’s strength to less than 50,000, whereas the Federals had nearly twice that number in his immediate front. Also, there was the problem of his health, a recurrence of the rheumatic malady that racked him in early spring. Then came the news of the glorious victory at Chickamauga, which was like a tonic to him. Glorious the victory had been, but he presently learned that it was a long way from complete, which meant that the detached third of his army would not be rejoining him anything like as soon as he hoped. Then came a second tonic-like report. Two of Meade’s corps have been sent west to reinforce Rosecrans, with the result that the odds against Lee have been reduced from two-to-one to only a bit worse than eight-to-five. He has taken the offensive against longer odds in the past, and now he prepares to do so again, not only for the same reasons—to relieve pressure on Richmond, to break up enemy plans in their formative stage, and to provide himself with more room to maneuver—but also by much the same method. What he has in mind, now that reports of the Union reduction have been confirmed, is a repetition of the tactics he employed against Pope in a similar confrontation on this same ground; that is, a march around the enemy flank, then a knockout blow delivered as the blue mass draws back to avoid encirclement.

Once he has decided he moves quickly. Today two corps of the Army of Northern Virginia begin their march up the south bank of the Rapidan, westward beyond the Union right, then north across the river. The last time Lee did this, just over a year ago, he also had only two corps in his army. Longstreet and Jackson had led them then; now it is Ewell and A.P. Hill, two very different men. Another difference is in Lee himself. He rode Traveller then; now he rides in a wagon, so crippled by rheumatism that he can’t mount a horse.

Action in Virginia includes a skirmish near James City and a five-day Federal expedition to Chesnessex Creek. Down in the Teche country of Louisiana troops fight at Vermillion Bayou; in Missouri, Shelby’s raiders skirmish near Cole Camp; in the East Tennessee Campaign fighting breaks out at Cleveland, and skirmishing at Elk River, near Cowan, and at Sugar Creek.

Wheeler’s Confederate raiders conclude their operations against Federal communications between Nashville and Chattanooga by recrossing the Tennessee River at Muscle Shoals, Alabama. They have suffered damaging losses, totaling at least 700 killed or wounded. They have nevertheless hurt the Federals badly. Wheeler has destroyed several railroad bridges, about 500 wagons, and, most seriously for the Federals besieged in Chattanooga, more than a thousand mules.

President Davis arrived in Atlanta yesterday, and this day proceeds northward through Marietta toward Bragg’s army. At Atlanta and Marietta Davis praises Georgia’s war effort, eulogizing the patriotism of the troops. He is greeted by cheers. When he arrives at the siege of Chattanooga there are more cheers from the soldiers and bands playing. There are cries of “Speech!” but Davis declines gracefully. “Man never spoke as you did on the field of Chickamauga,” he tells the soldiers, “and in your presence I dare not speak.” But later he does make a speech, in which he chides the army for its poor opinion of its commander. The troops, President Davis will say, should crown their achievements with “harmony, due subordination and cheerful support to lawful authority.”

This night, Davis presides over one of the oddest councils of the war. Except for Polk, whose place is taken by Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham, all the corps commanders are present—as is Bragg, of course—and after discussion of the military situation Davis asks for comment on Bragg’s fitness to command. Since Bragg himself is there, staring stonily at the wall, the situation is extremely uncomfortable. When Davis insists on a response, Longstreet declares “that our commander could be of greater service elsewhere.” The other corps commanders concur. On this uneasy note the meeting ends. Bragg must be profoundly embarrassed, but he knows something the other officers don’t: Before the session Davis assured Bragg that he wouldn’t be relieved of command. Davis is one of the few people who genuinely likes the irascible general. Besides, the President can’t come up with anyone to replace Bragg as commander of the Army of Tennessee. Even before leaving Richmond, Davis had concluded that there is no one else to whom he can entrust the command.
#15193870
October 10, Saturday

Extensive skirmishing breaks out in the Rapidan area of Virginia as Federals probe to find the meaning of Lee’s advance northward. Fighting takes place at Russell’s Ford on Robertson’s River, Bethesda Church, James City, and Racoon, Germanna, and Morton’s fords. Once more Lincoln wires his commander Meade the familiar words, “How is it now?” Meade thinks Lee will move into the Shenandoah.

Shelby’s Confederates are active again in Missouri, with fighting at Tipton, Syracuse, and La Mine Bridge. Elsewhere action occurs at Tulip, Arkansas; Ingraham’s Plantation near Port Gibson, Mississippi; and, in the East Tennessee Campaign, at Blue Springs and Sweet Water, Tennessee, and Salyersville, Kentucky. Three Federal expeditions operate for several days: from New Berne to Elizabeth City and Edenton, North Carolina; from Memphis to Hernando, Mississippi; and from Gallatin to Carthage, Tennessee.

President Davis, with Bragg’s army in north Georgia, surveys the military scene and tries to establish harmony among the dissident generals.

General Grant receives hand-delivered orders to travel to Cairo, Illinois, and report to Washington by telegraph. He immediately turns over command of the Union forces at Vicksburg to General McPherson and begins his journey up the Mississippi.
#15193912
October 11, Sunday

The Army of Northern Virginia’s cavalry wing, commanded by Jeb Stuart, has been organized into two divisions, one under Wade Hampton and the other under Fitzhugh Lee, both of whom have been promoted to major general. Hampton is still recovering from his Gettysburg wounds; Stuart leads his division himself, covering the right flank of the infantry on the march, and has left Fitz Lee to guard the river crossings while the rest of the army moves upstream. After two days of swinging wide around Cedar Mountain—rich with memories for A.P. Hill, not only because he is a native of the region and spent his boyhood in these parts, but also because it is here that he saved Jackson from defeat in early August last year—the gray column enters Culpeper from the southwest. Meade had his headquarters here, and three of his corps had been concentrated in the vicinity, with the other two advanced southward to the north bank of the Rapidan. Now he is gone, and his five corps are gone with him. Like Pope, he is falling back across the Rappahannock to avoid being trapped in the constricting apex of the V described by the the confluence of the rivers.

Beyond Culpeper, however, Stuart comes upon the cavalry rear guard, drawn up at Brandy Station to fight a delaying action on the field where more of the troopers of both armies fought so savagely four months ago. In the resultant skirmish, which he calls Second Brandy, Jeb has the satisfaction of driving the enemy horsemen back across the Rappahannock, only failing to bag the lot, he declares, because Fitz Lee doesn’t arrive in time after splashing across the unguarded Rapidan fords. At any rate, he feels that the question of superior abilities, which some claim wasn’t decided by the contest here in June, is definitely settled in his favor by the outcome of this second fight on the same ground. Elated though he is, he doesn’t fail to show that he has learned from his mistakes on the recent march into Pennsylvania. Not that he admits that he made any; he didn’t then, doesn’t now, and won’t later; but he keeps in close touch with the commanding general, sending a constant stream of couriers to report both his own and the enemy’s position. “Thank you,” Lee says to the latest in the series, who has ridden back to inform him that the blue cavalry is being driven eastward. “Tell General Stuart to continue to press them back toward the river. But tell him, too,” he adds, “to spare his horses. It is not necessary to send so many messages.” Turning to Ewell, whom he is accompanying today, he says of this staff officer and another who had reported a few minutes earlier, “I think these two young gentlemen make eight messengers sent to me by General Stuart.”

Lee is in excellent spirits, partly because of this evidence that his chief of cavalry has profited from experience; for whatever profits Stuart also profits Lee, who depends heavily on his former cadet for the information by which he shapes his plans. Then too, the pains in his back have let up enough to permit him to enter Culpeper on his horse instead of on the prosaic seat of a wagon, and though he prefers things simple for the most part, he also likes to see them done in style. Moreover, there is an exchange which he enjoys in the course of the welcome extended by the old men and cripples and women and children who turn out to cheer the army that has delivered them from this latest spell of Federal occupation. Not, it seems, that the occupation has been entirely unpleasant for everyone concerned. At the height of the celebration, one indignant housewife strikes a discordant note by informing the general that certain young ladies of the town have accepted invitations to attend band concerts at John Sedgwick’s headquarters, and there, according to reports, they have given every sign of enjoying not only the Yankee music, but also the attentions of the blue-coated staff officers who were their escorts. Lee hears the superpatriot out, then looks sternly around at several girls whose blushes prove their guilt of this near-treason. “I know General Sedgwick very well,” he replies at last, replacing his look of mock severity with a smile. “It is just like him to be so kindly and considerate, and to have his band there to entertain them. So, young ladies, if the music is good, go and hear it as often as you can, and enjoy yourselves. You will find that General Sedgwick will have none but agreeable gentlemen about him.”

Lee has it in mind to intercept Meade’s withdrawal up the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. He cannot divide his army, as he did against Pope, using half of it to fix the enemy in place while the other half swings wide for a strike at his rear; he lacks both the transport and the strength, and besides, with the bluecoats already in motion, there isn’t time. But he can attempt a shorter turning movement via Warrenton, along the turnpike paralleling the railroad to the east, in hope of forcing Meade to halt and fight in a psotion that will afford the pursuers the chance, despite the disparity in numbers, to inflict what the dead Stonewall called “a terrible wound.” Accordingly, the Culpeper pause is a brief one. Ewell pushes his men hard to close the gap between them and the cavalry up ahead, beyond Brandy and the Rappahannock crossings. Stuart skirmishes with the blue rear guard all the rest of the day and tomorrow, banging away with his guns and gathering stragglers as he goes.

As for Meade, he feels himself to have fallen among lawyers, men who can do with logic and figures what they like. He is determined that if he is to go the way of McDowell and McClellan, of Pope and McClellan again, of Burnside and Hooker, he will at least make the trip to the scrap heap under his own power. In the absence of orders or “sanction” from above, he will accept the consequences of his own decisions and no others, least of all those of which he disapproves; he will fall, if fall he must, by following his own conscience. Thus, by a reaction like that of a man alone in dangerous country—which Virginia certainly is—his natural caution is enlarged. In point of fact, he believes he has reasons to doubt not only the intentions of those above him, but also the present temper of the weapon they placed in his hands three months ago and have recently diminished by two-sevenths. Of the five corps still with him, only two are led by the general who took them to Gettysburg, and these are Sykes and Sedgwick, neither of whom were seriously engaged in that grim struggle. Of the other three, the badly shot-up commands of Reynolds and Sickles are now under Newton and French, who have shown little in the way of ability during or since the return from Pennsylvania. Warren, who has replaced the irreplaceable Hancock, is essentially a staff man, untested in the exercise of hs new, larger duties. This is part of what lies behind Meade’s remarks, both to his wife in home letters and to trusted members of his staff in private conversations, that he dislikes the burdern of command so much he wishes the government would relieve him.

So when Lee comes probing around Meade’s right, over the past two days, though he knows that Lincoln and Halleck will not approve, he does as Pope had done: pull out of the constricting V to get his army onto open ground that will permit maneuver. He tells Lincoln he is falling back to the Rappahannock: “The enemy are either moving to my right and rear or moving down on my flank.” Actually they are moving by the Federal right flank, seeking to get behind the Army of the Potomac.

Heavy skirmishing continues between the Rapidan and Rappahannock in Virginia as Lee’s army gains momentum in its newest move northward. Fighting erupts near Culpeper Court House, Griffinsburg, Morton’s Ford, Stevensburg, near Kelly’s Ford, and near Warrenton or Sulphur Springs.

In the West Shelby’s Confederates capture Boonville, Missouri, on the Missouri River. Other action includes fighting near Fayetteville, Arkansas, and at Brazil Creek, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. In Tennessee Chalmers’ Confederate cavalry fight at Collierville, and in east Tennessee skirmishes break out at Henderson’s Mill and Rheatown.
#15194036
October 12, Monday

President Lincoln, for the third time, asks General Meade, “What news this morning?” Reports of the Confederate offensive in Virginia circulate widely. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia is indeed moving west and north of Meade in the general direction of Manassas and Washington. Skirmishing flares at Jeffersonton and Gaines’ Cross Roads, Brandy Station or Fleetwood, Hartwood Church, and near Warrenton Springs in Meade’s rear.

Raids continue in the West: Wheeler fights at Buckhorn Tavern near New Market, Alabama; Shelby at Merrill’s Crossing and Dug Ford near Jonesborough, Missouri; and Chalmers near Byhalia, Quin, and Jackson’s Mill, Mississippi. Skirmishes takes place at West Liberty, Kentucky, part of the east Tennessee campaigning; at Webber’s Falls, Indian Territory; and at Tulip, Arkansas. Troops operate against outlaws from Fort Garland, Colorado Territory, for several days.

President Lincoln writes General Rosecrans at Chattanooga that he and Burnside in east Tennessee now have the enemy “by the throat.” The facts on the ground are rather different. The destruction of so many draft animals by the Wheeler raide has greatly increased the burden on those remaining—just as Wheeler intended. Desperately needed supplies are dumped on the trail to lighten the loads; otherwise the wagons might not get through at all. Miscalculations throw supply into confusion. On one occasion the mountain route becomes so filled with wagons trying to reach Chattanooga that there is no room for empty wagons trying to get back. A colossal traffic jam results. As the siege wears on, it becomes more and more difficult to feed the mules, along the trail or in Chattanooga. Half-starved, they chew on trees, fences, wagons, and anything else they can reach. This autumn, 10,000 draft animals die.

The people in the town aren’t much better off. Food in Chattanooga grows so scarce that men steal corn from the horses or hunt for it on the ground where the animals have eaten. By mid-month, officers frequently are being assailed by cries of “Crackers!” from men who are now eager to see more of the usually despised hardtack. There is much conjecture about when a new supply route—a “Cracker Line”—might be opened to relieve the siege. The civilians suffer most of all. While the Army command is making some effort, however inadequate, to feed the soldiers, the noncombatants have no one to help them. They are not only hungry but miserable, living in squalor in what had once been a pretty, prosperous town. The civilian residents of Chattanooga and the 35,000 men of the Army of the Cumberland are jammed together in an area of one square mile. The civilians, their houses having been torn down to provide fuel for the campfires, are crowded into the center of this enclave. Their shacks surpass “in filth, numbers of occupants and general destitution the worst tenements in New York City.” Most of the civilians eventually flee the town, picking their way painfully north over Walden’s Ridge. An officer reports encountering ill-clad women and children on the trail “exposed to the beatings of the storm, wet and shivering with cold. I have seen much of misery consequent upon this war, but never before in so distressing a form as this.”

Amid all this hardship—and with worse trouble threatening—Rosecrans, says Charles Dana, seems “dazed and mazy” and “insensible to the impending danger.” Although the commanding general orders that steamboats be built and the railroads repaired, he has no concrete plan. He does take the time to apportion blame for the defeat at Chickamauga: Rosecrans’ attempt to shift blame for Chickamauga by relieving Generals McCook and Crittenden of their commands at the end of September has done nothing to distract attention from his own deterioration. President Lincoln is well aware of the situation: Dana is sending reports critical of Rosecrans to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, which the Secretary is sharing with the President. Lincoln does what he can to shore up the unsteady Chattanooga commander and assures him of Washington’s continued support.
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