The American Civil War, day by day - Page 81 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15206536
January 10, Sunday

At Memphis, Tennessee, General Sherman finds General Hurlbut busy carrying out instructions he had sent him to prepare two divisions for the trip down the Mississippi and the long march that will follow. While there, Sherman also confers with W. Sooy Smith, stressing the need for promptness and a vigorous celerity if his cavalry, with nearly twice the distance to cover from their starting point at nearby Collierville, are to reach Meridian, Alabama, at the same time as the infantry, who will set out simultaneously from Vicksburg. Smith’s cavalry are to ride southeast to Okolona, visiting such destruction upon the inhabitants of this 100-mile swath across north Mississippi as his schedule permits, then turn south along the Mobile & Ohio, scourging the heart of the Black Prairie region with fire and sword, all the way to his projected link-up with the infantry at Meridian, another 130 miles below, for the combined march eastward across the Tombigbee. Something else Sherman stresses as well, which if neglected could bring on a far worse result than being thrown off schedule. This is what Sherman refers to as “the nature of Forrest as a man, and of his peculiar force,” a factor he first learned to take into account at Fallen Timbers, after the Battle of Shiloh, where his attempt at pursuit was brought to a sudden, unceremonious halt by one of Forrest’s headlong charges, delivered in defiance not only of the odds, but also of the tactical manuals he had never read. Sherman explains to Smith “that in his route he was sure to encounter Forrest, who always attacked with a vehemence for which he must be prepared, and that, after he had repelled the first attack, he must in turn assume the more determined offensive, overwhelm him and utterly destroy his whole force.” Without scoffing at the danger, Smith exhibits a confidence in the numerical advantage his superior’s foresight as assured him for the impending confrontation with the so-called Wizard of the Saddle, declaring that the best procedure will be “to pitch into Forrest wherever I find him.”

Neither a greenhorn nor a braggart, Smith is a West Pointer like his commander and fellow Ohioan, who is ten years his senior, and has risen on ability in the army to which he returned on the outbreak of the war, interrupting what had promised to be (and later will be) a distinguished career as a civil engineer. Graduating with Sheridan and McPherson, he commanded a brigade at Shiloh while these other two Ohioans were still low-ranking staffers, and he led a division with such proficiency throughout the Vicksburg Campaign that Grant soon afterwards made him his chief of cavalry. What is more, in the case of this present assignment, his confidence in his combat-tested ability as a leader is greatly strengthened by a look at the composition of the force he will be leading. In addition to the five regiments he brought with him from middle Tennessee, he will have at his disposal a Memphis-based division under Ben Grierson, who rode to fame over nearly the same route nine months ago, and a veteran brigade already ordered to join him from Union City, up near the Kentucky line. Out of this total of better than 12,000 cavalry, he will select the 7,000 he is to have in his hard-riding column, armed to a man with breechloading carbines and accompanied by twenty pieces of artillery, double-teamed for speed. This will give him not only twice as many troopers as are with Forrest, whose newly recruited division is all that stands between Smith and his objective, but also the largest and best-equipped body of Federal horsemen ever assembled in the western theater. It is small wonder that he expresses no doubt that he can accomplish all that is asked of him.

Action includes a skirmish at Mossy Creek and a two-day Federal scout from near Dandridge to Clark’s Ferry, Tennessee; a skirmish at Loudoun Heights and a Federal scout to Sperryville, Virginia; plus skirmishing at Petersburg, West Virginia; and King’s River, Arkansas.

Off the south Atlantic coast the blockade is tighter than ever, with numerous blockade runners captured by the Federals. But blockader USS Iron Age is lost off Lockwood’s Folly Inlet, South Carolina, after it goes aground and is bombarded from land.
#15206650
January 11, Monday

Senator John B. Henderson of Missouri proposes a joint resolution in the US Senate abolishing slavery throughout the United States by amendment (the 13th) of the Constitution.

Two blockade runners are captured off Florida and two others forced ashore and burned off Lockwood’s Folly Inlet, North Carolina. Federals scout near Lexington, and a two-day Union expedition operates from Maryville up the Little Tennessee River, Tennessee.
#15206774
January 12, Tuesday

Skirmishing increases toward mid-January but still there is no large-scale fighting. Action takes place near Mossy Creek, Tennessee; Marshall, Kentucky; Accotink, Ellis’ Ford, and a Federal raid operates on Northern Neck, Virginia. A two-day affair occurs at Matamoros, Mexico, where two Mexican factions are warring and Federal troops are sent in to protect and remove the US Consul, L. Pierce.
#15206931
January 13, Wednesday

President Davis tells General Joseph E. Johnston at Dalton, Georgia, that for the army to fall back would be so detrimental, both militarily and politically, that “I trust you will not deem it necessary to adopt such a measure.”

President Lincoln tells General Banks at New Orleans to “proceed with all possible dispatch” in constructing a free state government for Louisiana; he also urges Major General Quincy A. Gillmore to cooperate in reconstructing a loyal government for Florida.

Skirmishes erupt at Ragland Mills, Bath County, Kentucky; near Collierville, Tennessee; near Ely’s Ford, Virginia; at Sevierville and Shultz’ Mill, Cosby Creek, Tennessee, January 13-14. A two-day Federal scout probes from Pine Bluff to Monticello, Arkansas.
#15207059
January 14, Thursday

Watching affairs in the West, President Davis tells General Johnston that, if necessary, troops should be sent to Mobile or north Mississippi. Johnston is to advise Davis as to the proper course.

Fighting occurs at Dandridge and Middleton, Tennessee; Shoal Creek, Alabama; and Bollinger County of Missouri. Union scouts operate from Collierville, Tennessee, and to Baldwin’s Ferry, Big Black River, Mississippi.
#15207226
January 15, Friday

Southern newspapers in January try to build up Confederate spirits and gird the people for the struggle sure to come.

President Lincoln is paying more and more attention to reconstruction in individual states.

Fighting is confined to a skirmish near Petersburg, West Virginia. There is Federal scouting in Jackson County, Missouri.
#15207413
January 16, Saturday

A fairly severe two-day engagement between cavalry units is fought at and near Dandridge, Tennessee, with considerable casualties. Eventually the Federals withdraw toward Strawberry Plains. Other fighting occurs in White County, Tennessee; Oak Ridge, Mississippi; and near Turkey Creek, Virginia. Until the middle of February sporadic operations take place in northwestern Arkansas.

Federal Major General Samuel R. Curtis assumes command of the reestablished Department of Kansas.
#15207534
January 17, Sunday

Federals scout from Brownsville, and skirmishing occurs at Lewisburg, Arkansas, and at Ellis’ and Ely’s fords, Virginia.

A fire kills two officers in their quarters at Camp Butler, Springfield, Illinois, and destroys quantities of quartermaster’s supplies.
#15207677
January 18, Monday

Substantial opposition to the Confederate conscription law continues to develop in western North Carolina, and protest meetings are held throughout the winter.

Federals skirmish with Confederate guerrillas at Grand Gulf, Mississippi. Union pickets drive off Confederates in an affair at Flint Hill, Virginia.
#15207803
January 19, Tuesday

The Arkansas pro-Union Constitutional Convention at Little Rock adopts an anti-slavery measure.

Skirmishes take place at Branchville, Arkansas, and at Big Springs near Tazewell in east Tennessee. Federal scouts from Williamsburg, Virginia, last several days.

In Washington the Administration continues to be concerned over the problem of cotton trading with people in Confederate territory.
#15207975
January 20, Wednesday

Federal naval vessels make a reconnaissance of Forts Morgan and Gaines at the mouth of Mobile Bay. Confederates have long feared a Federal attack against the city, and not without cause—General Grant considers such an attack the logical next step and repeatedly pushed for it.

Skirmishing breaks out at Tracy City, Tennessee, and Island No. 76 on the Mississippi. For ten days there are minor operations in the District of North Carolina.

President Lincoln suspends five scheduled army executions. The President also tells General Frederick Steele, commanding in Arkansas, that in view of the proposed anti-slavery state constitution, an election should be ordered at once.
#15208114
January 21, Thursday

Indicative of the trend in many areas of the occupied Confederacy, pro-Northern citizens of Tennessee meet at Nashville and propose a constitutional convention and abolition of slavery.

Limited military action includes skirmishing at Strawberry Plains and Armstrong’s Ferry, Tennessee, through tomorrow; a scout from Chattanooga by Federals to Harrison and Oltewah, Tennessee; other Union scouting from Rossville toward Dalton, Georgia, and the Confederate lines, through the 23rd; five days of reconnaissance by Federals on the Matagorda Peninsula, Texas; and five days of Yankee scouting in Arkansas from Waldron to Baker’s Springs.

Distillation of whiskey is forbidden in the Federal Department of the Ohio, due to the scarcity of grain.
#15208294
January 22, Friday

In an important shake-up Major General Rosecrans is named commander of the Federal Department of the Missouri, replacing Major General J.M. Schofield. Schofield, replaced because of the political uproar between moderate and radical Union men, soon takes over the Department of the Ohio.

Isaac Murphy is inaugurated provisional governor of Arkansas in the restored pro-Union government, pending elections in the spring. He has been chosen by the State Convention. President Lincoln tells an Arkansas delegation to Washington that he will not appoint a separate military governor but will leave administration to General Steele, now in command of the state, until the new state government can be set up.

In military operations some Federal forage wagons are captured near Wilsonville, Tennessee. Fighting occurs at Germantown and Ellis’ Ford, Virginia; Subligna, Georgia; and at Clear Creek and Tomahawk in operations in northwest Arkansas.
#15208453
January 23, Saturday

President Lincoln approves a policy whereby plantation owners would recognize the freedom of their former slaves and hire them by fair contracts in order “to re-commence the cultivation of their plantations.” He urges the military authorities to support such a free-labor system.

The Treasury Department annuls most restrictions upon trade in Kentucky and Missouri.

Minor fighting increases somewhat, with a skirmish near Newport, Tennessee; an affair near Woodville, Alabama; a Union scout from La Grange, Tennessee, to Ripley, Mississippi; an affair at Cowskin Bottom, Indian Territory; a four-day Federal scout from Patterson, Missouri, to Cherokee Bay, Arkansas; an affair at Bailey’s on Crooked Creek, with skirmishing on Rolling Prairie in northwest Arkansas; and a Union scout from Charles Town, West Virginia, to Woodstock, Virginia, until the 25th.
#15208602
January 24, Sunday

While the principal fronts remain quiet, small fights and guerrilla depredations continue. Operations take place near Natchez, Mississippi; Confederates capture some Union pickets at Love’s Hill near Knoxville, Tennessee; and a skirmish flares at Tazewell, Tennessee. Federals undertake a two-day expedition up the James River in Virginia.
#15208657
January 25, Monday

Union forces evacuate Corinth, Mississippi, in a move to consolidate their occupation points in the West. Skirmishing occurs at La Grange, Tennessee; Mount Pleasant, Mississippi; Bainbridge Ferry and near Sweet Water, northern Alabama; on the Little Missouri River and at Sulphur Springs, Arkansas. A Federal expedition operates from Scottsborough, Alabama, toward Rome, Georgia until February 5th. In Florida an affair takes place at Bayou Grand.

In Charleston, as the intermittent firing on Fort Sumter continues, the Courier says, “The whizzing of shells overhead has become a matter of so little interest as to excite scarcely any attention from passers-by.”

Fire destroys Confederate hospital buildings at Camp Winder near Richmond.

At Memphis, Tennessee, General Hurlbut embarks for Vicksburg with two divisions for the campaign against Meridian and Selma. General Sherman will follow in two days.
#15208776
January 26, Tuesday

President Lincoln officially approves new trade regulations for dealing with former Confederate territory and for so-called “trading with the enemy.” He orders suspension of execution in nine cases.

In Tennessee skirmishing erupts near Knoxville and at Sevierville; in northern Alabama at Athens; and in Arkansas at Caddo Gap. An affair occurs in the San Andres Mountains in New Mexico Territory.
#15208950
January 27, Wednesday

President Davis asks General Braxton Bragg to come to Richmond from Montgomery, Alabama, if his health permits.

President Lincoln tells General Steele in Arkansas that Steele and the civilian authorities can handle details of the new Arkansas government so long as the free state constitution provisions are retained.

Fighting includes action at Fair Gardens or Kelly’s Ford, and near Knoxville, Tennessee; on the Cumberland River, Kentucky; near Thoroughfare Mountain, Virginia; and forays until February 7th in Hampshire and Hardy counties, West Virginia.
#15209066
January 28, Thursday

There are operations around New Berne, North Carolina, until February 10th; a skirmish at Dallas, Arkansas; an affair at Lee’s House on Cornersville Pike, Tennessee; and skirmishes near Jonesville, Virginia.
#15209236
January 29, Friday

Cavalry skirmish at Medley, West Virginia. Confederates attack the steamer Sir William Wallace on the Mississippi, an example of their continuous harassment of Union shipping. Skirmishes flare near Cobb’s Mill, northern Alabama, and near Benn’s Church and Smithfield, Virginia. An affair occurs near Gloucester Court House, Virginia. Through February 23rd a Federal cleanup expedition operates from Vicksburg to Waterproof, Louisiana. Bombardment at Charleston intensifies through the 31st with 583 rounds fired. The Confederates add a new ironclad, Charleston, to their defenses.
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