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RE: Civil War 150th

 
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RE: Civil War 150th - 1/2/2014 12:50:42 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

General Joseph Johnston wrote a reply to President Davis. Surprisingly, he was more diplomatic about the inaccuracies in his Commander-in-Chief's missive. But he did lay out in detail what an advantage in numbers the Union army facing him had. The letter also showed that the South's manpower problems extended to its slaves:

Dalton, January 2, 1864.

Mr. President:

I have received the letter which you did me the honor to write to me on the 23d ultimo. Having been here but six days, during four of which it rained heavily, I have not been able to observe the condition of the army. I judge, however, from the language of the general officers, that it has not entirely recovered its confidence, and that its discipline is not so thorough as it was last spring. The men are, generally, comfortably clothed; a few shoes and blankets are wanting in each brigade, which the chief quartermaster promises to supply very soon. According to the return of December 20th, the effective total of the army (infantry and artillery) is not quite thirty-six thousand; the number present about forty-three thousand; that present and absent about seventy-seven thousand. The reports of the adjutant-general show that about four thousand men have returned to the ranks since the battle of Missionary Ridge. My predecessor estimated the enemy’s force at Chattanooga, Bridgeport, and Stevenson, at about eighty thousand. Major-General Wheeler reports that about two-thirds of his cavalry is with General Longstreet. He has about sixteen hundred in our front; Major-General Wharton has eight hundred and fifty near Rome, and Brigadier-General Roddy, with his brigade, is supposed to be near Tuscumbia-his strength not reported. I am afraid that this cavalry is not very efficient — that want of harmony among the superior officers causes its discipline to be imperfect. I will endeavor to improve it during the winter. The artillery is sufficient for the present strength of the army, but is deficient in discipline and instruction, especially in firing. The horses are not in good condition. It has about two hundred rounds of ammunition. Its organization is very imperfect. We have more than one hundred and twenty rounds of infantry ammunition, and no difficulty in obtaining more. The chief quartermaster reports that, besides the baggage-wagons of the troops, he has enough to transport eight days rations, but that will leave no means of transporting forage and other stores of his department. The teams are improving, but are far from being in good condition. One hundred and twenty wagons are expected from the Department of Mississippi, promised by Lieutenant-General Polk. The army depends for subsistence upon an officer at Atlanta (Major Cummings), who acts under the orders of the Commissary-General.

[...]

But, to make victory probable, the army must be strengthened. A ready mode of doing this would be by substituting negroes for all the soldiers on detached or daily duty, as well as company cooks, pioneers, and laborers for engineer service. This would give us at once ten or twelve thousand men. And the other armies of the Confederacy might be strengthened in the same proportion. Immediate and judicious legislation would be necessary, however. I earnestly ask your Excellency’s consideration of this matter. A law authorizing the Government to take negroes for all the duties out of the ranks, for which soldiers are now detailed, giving the slave a portion of the pay, and punishing the master for not returning him if he deserts, would enable us to keep them in service. This is the opinion of the seven or eight ranking officers present. My experience in Mississippi was, that impressed negroes run away whenever it is possible, and are frequently encouraged by their masters to do so; and I never knew one to be returned by his master. I respectfully suggest the division of this army into three corps, and, should your Excellency adopt that suggestion, the appointment of lieutenant-generals from some other army.

Very respectfully,

J. E. Johnston.


For slaves, service with the Confederate military seems to have been hard indeed. Even with the Army of Tennessee, they preferred to return to their old masters, and Johnston was known to be more generous with rations for slaves than were most Southern army commanders.


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 1021
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/6/2014 7:54:26 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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Early January 1864:

January and February were generally the quiet months of the Civil War. Even where it did not not snow, heavy rains made movement and re-supply difficult. But the far south states, Florida, Texas and Louisiana, did not suffer from these problems. Florida's main value to the Confederacy was its production of salt from seawater. (Salt was crucial both for preserving meat and for tanning shoe and saddle leather.) But the coastal plants were best raided by the Navy rather than overland marches.

The Lincoln Administration therefore turned its eyes on Texas and Louisiana. Theater commander Nathaniel Banks was very willing to mount a campaign here, for he was a political general with his eye on the White House in this Presidential election year. If he could destroy the Confederate Trans-Mississippi army and help himself to the cotton in western Louisiana, his prospects would be greatly improved.

But William T. Sherman had his own ideas. He planned to split the state of Mississippi by marching to the town of Meridian, destroying an important rail hub and widening the buffer zone around the important Mississippi River traffic. As Grant had before, he encouraged Washington to order Banks to march on the blockade-running port of Mobile, Alabama, which would make defense against his Meridian campaign all but impossible. This, however, meant going east, instead of west towards the cotton fields. The prize was too tempting for the Treasury department to ignore.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 1/7/2014 3:28:36 AM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1022
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/7/2014 4:21:56 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In the eyes of most Civil War generals, there was no worse military crime than desertion. On both sides, firing squads were considered the proper way of dealing with soldiers abandoned their posts and duties. But the senior officers on both sides had to deal with commanders-in-chief who were more lenient than they. Just the day before, Jefferson Davis had commuted the death sentence of a young private. On this date, although it was almost certainly coincidence, Abraham Lincoln also set aside the capital sentence a deserter was under. Asked for an explanation, he replied, “Because I am trying to evade the butchering business lately.” It is surprising that he should have been asked, for Lincoln already was well known for commuting death sentences, especially for cases of desertion, and even more so if the convicted soldier was young.

Both Davis and Lincoln had practical as well as sentimental reasons for leniency. There was an elastic border between desertion and "straggling", the failure to rejoin one's unit promptly. In the days before mechanized transport became widespread, and when maps were hand-drawn or not available at all, it could take a week or two for a lost soldier to catch up to his outfit. If he was likely to be sentenced to death in the meantime, he might as well not make the attempt. Most families still lived in rural areas rather than cities, and were quite willing to conceal their sons in barns or nearby woods.

Still, the generals on both sides already sensed that 1864 would make manpower demands to surpass anything that North or South had seen yet. A reluctance at the top to impose discipline did not seem to be helpful.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1023
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/9/2014 4:02:02 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Slaves no longer had to make it all the way to Canada to achieve freedom. In areas where the Union had advanced, or even where the Union lines were only a few hours away, there was a stream of runaways. Realizing the advantage this gave to the North, money was occasionally smuggled to areas further away, making trips of several days possible. On this date, diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut recorded that the problem had even reached to the house of President Davis:

January 9th . . . The President's man, Jim, that he believed in as we all believe in our own servants, "our own people," as we call them, and Betsy, Mrs. Davis's maid, decamped last night. It is miraculous that they had the fortitude to resist the temptation so long. At Mrs. Davis's the hired servants all have been birds of passage. First they were seen with gold galore, and then they would fly to the Yankees, and I am sure they had nothing to tell. It is Yankee money wasted.

I do not think it had ever crossed Mrs. Davis's brain that these two could leave her. She knew, however, that Betsy had eighty dollars in gold and two thousand four hundred dollars in Confederate notes.

Everybody who comes in brings a little bad news - not much, in itself, but by cumulative process the effect is depressing, indeed.

-- Mary Boykin Chesnut, A Diary From Dixie


By one census, Virginia would lose 60 percent of its slaves even before the fall of Richmond in 1865.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1024
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/10/2014 3:32:40 AM   
nicwb

 

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quote:

It is Yankee money wasted.



What I find interesting is that Mrs Chestnut can only seem to see the providing of the money as some sort of espionage attempt as opposed to simply trying to help people escape slavery. Truly the war was being fought between two different countries.

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1025
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/10/2014 7:41:12 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

William T. Sherman's command was a large one, even though he had less seniority than Nathaniel Banks. Crunching the numbers, he decided he could pull together a force of 20,000 men for his expedition across the state of Mississippi. He would not be able to spare as many once he lent units to Bank's proposed Red River expedition, so the key would be to complete his own operation before that of Banks got underway. That meant everything had to be done before the end of February.

Fortunately, if you wanted Union troops moved out quickly, Sherman was the man for the job. On this date, having finished his first Christmas visit home in two decades, he was on the move down the Mississippi River, and arrived in Memphis. It had not been an easy or safe trip, for even the mighty Mississippi has problems with ice in January. Large cakes of ice had bumped against the gunboat Juliet that Sherman was using, and more than once threatened to sink the vessel. But Sherman was not to be deterred, and his luck held.

In Memphis he found local commander Stephen Hurlbut, also a Major General like Sherman himself. Fortunately Sherman had the seniority, and in any case Hurlbut was perfectly willing to go on the offensive. Sherman ordered him to collect two good divisions, and also sent the word by telegraph to the other Corps commanders for what men they could spare. Also at Memphis was Brigadier General William Sooy Smith with about 2,500 cavalry. Sherman decided this force would make a good feint in the northern part of the state, but it was not large enough to deal with Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was raiding northern Mississippi and western Tennessee. Smith was ordered to collect more troopers.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to nicwb)
Post #: 1026
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/11/2014 4:00:01 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Senator John B. Henderson of Missouri submitted a joint resolution for a Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation had in theory freed the great majority of the slaves in America, but obviously it could not be enforced in the Confederacy. Once the Southern states had been put back under Union authority, however, the rebellion would be over and the Proclamation, which was only legal as a war measure, would be questionable. Since the Constitution as originally written had recognized slavery (counting each as three-fifths of a free man for the purposes of representation), it could only be truly abolished by a full amendment.

Since I flatter myself that I am writing for an international audience, a review of the requirements for an amendment to the U. S. Constitution is not out of place. One way is, by request of two-thirds of the state legislatures, to convene a Constitutional convention. This way has never actually been adopted. The second way is more like the passing of a Federal law but more difficult: the amendment must be passed by a "super-majority" of two-thirds in both the Senate and the House. Unlike a federal law, the amendment does not then require the signature of the President, but it must then be approved by three-quarters of the states. (Those like myself ancient enough to remember the Equal rights Amendment will recall this was the hurdle that it stumbled on.)

Proposals for such an amendment had been made before, but had failed to make it through the House and Senate committees. The votes were there in the Senate, but not yet in the House, and three-quarters of the states included the Southern states as well, since Lincoln insisted that secession was not valid. This time, however, the victories of 1863 had given new confidence to the abolitionists. The fear of alienating the border states had largely passed, and every month the Emancipation Proclamation was in force made it more popular among Northern voters. The Senate Judiciary Committee took up the resolution and began working on the appropriate wording.





Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1027
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/13/2014 4:03:30 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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Mid-January 1864:

In both North and South, speculators were reviled for buying too much of various commodities, and thus causing inflation that badly hurt nearly everyone else. In the North, speculation in gold was considered especially odious, because gold was the currency standard, and so it affected the price of nearly everything. The New York Stock Exchange patriotically refused to allow trading in gold. But the fortunes to be made were irresistible, and to be fair, there was a need for some exchange for exports and imports. It was probably on January 13, 1862, in a basement on William Street in New York City, that a market for the exchange of "greenback" paper dollars to gold opened. (One source says 1864, but I now believe this to be in error.) It would soon be known as the Gold Room. However, it was about this time 150 years ago that the prices the Gold Room established began to be regularly printed in the newspapers, which led to acceptance virtually throughout the North.

When greenbacks were first issued, they were supposed to be convertible into gold dollars on an even basis. Not surprisingly, this conversion was suspended during the Civil War, as both North and South found it necessary to print money far beyond their reserves. Thus, the price of gold became a bet on the fortunes of the Union, and whether it would eventually be able to cover its greenbacks. In January, the quoted price was 152; in other words, 152 greenback dollars to buy 100 dollars in gold coin, (approximately 4.8 troy ounces). Although this meant that greenbacks had lost about one-third of their original value, it was an improvement from some of the local prices before the victories of Vicksburg and Gettysburg.




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1028
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/15/2014 12:01:48 AM   
Dinsdale44

 

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Jeb Stuart wasn't a dolt, actually. He was an incredibly brave and rather intelligent man with an excellent grasp of cavalry tactics and a solid understanding of the value of mid-19th century cavalry, their limitations as well as their strengths and he was much feared by the Union forces. That's why Lee valued him so much. His service was stellar until the summer of 1863. Many of the Southern victories before then happened because of the excellent intelligence his cavalry scouting provided, and the denial of that same intelligence to the Union side by his forces' superb screening of the Army of Virgina from their eyes.

His problem was ego.

Up until his separation from the Army of Virginia during the Gettysburg thing, his record was virtually unblemished. Then he started reading the newspaper articles about himself (from both the North and the South), embraced the bull, and forgot about his real his job: being the eyes and the screen for the Army of Virginia. He started to believe that he and his men were invincible, even after the shock of Brandy Station. It came from overconfidence on several levels. Strategically he thought that the war in the east was all but won. Many Confederates believed this after Chancellorville. Wasn't true. Also like many Confederates, he had come to despise his enemy as incompetent and cowardly after they had been beaten so many times, when to this point they had been merely poorly led at the higher levels. Like many on his side, he tended to ignore the large number of Confederate casualties that had resulted from all of these victories.

Stuart's cavalier and rather foolish attempt to charge around the Army of the Potomac, which separated him from Lee for several crucial days, helped to lose the Battle of Gettysburg for the South. That is true. (Few know that Lee actually agreed to it ahead of time....another story)
But dolt? Don't think so.

(in reply to Obsolete)
Post #: 1029
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/17/2014 4:21:26 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In eastern Tennessee, sane commanders should have had their armies in winter quarters. But there was still pressure on the Union side to push James Longstreet's rebels out of Tennessee altogether. A force of Northern cavalry had probed in the area, trying to defeat or drive back the Confederate horsemen and open the way for a Yankee advance.

Longstreet saw an opportunity, While the cavalry were skirmishing, he mobilized most of his infantry and sent them to the area, hoping to surprise the Federal troopers with an irresistible attack. But the Northerners had called for reinforcements of their own, including rising star Philip Sheridan and his division. On this date, the Union cavalry fell back, but the Confederate attack in turn ran into a determined infantry defense at the town of Dandridge.

A sharp fight ensued, but the Southerners were unable to overrun the Union lines before darkness set in. The Federals in turn realized that they were facing an entire corps, and retreated during the night. They had lost about 150 casualties in all. Confederate casualties are unknown, but were probably at least as great since they were attacking, and unsuccessfully.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 1/18/2014 8:08:51 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1030
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/19/2014 2:19:06 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Arkansas Constitutional Convention in Little Rock adopted a clause banning slavery in the state. The conventioners knew that nothing less would be acceptable to the Republican-controlled Cogress in Washington, and they naturally wanted to have the Senators and Representatives of the new, Union-loyal govcernment seated. To be fair, it should also be noted that some of the conventioners voted for the clause because they wanted to remove black people entirely from the state. For decades afterwards, there were "sundown towns" in Arkansas, where blacks faced violence if found within the town limits after sundown.

But the Convention did make a positive contribution. The wording of the anti-slavery clause borrowed from the "Wilmot Proviso", which had attempted to ban slavery in all the territory aquired from the Mexican War. The Senate Judicial Committee working on the 13th Amendment took note.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1031
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/22/2014 6:02:47 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

It was time for a re-shuffling of Union leaders in the West. Since the Arkansas Constitutional Convention was producing an acceptable constitution, military governor Frederick Steele had been instructed by President Lincoln to proceed with the formation of a ciclian government. On this date a Unionist named Isaac Murphy was named provisional Governor of the state. There was now yet another state where two men claimed to be the rightful Governor.

General William Rosecrans' career had not been finished by the debacle at Chickamauga, On this date, he was appointed Military Governor of the Department of Missouri. It was no plum assignment, however, since the department had also included Kansas and both states were experiencing brutal guerrilla warfare. To make it easier to handle, the department was reduced to Missouri alone. Rosecrans relieved John Schofield, who had been heavily criticised for being too lenient on pro-slavery men. Schofield was quite happy to look forward to a field command.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1032
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/26/2014 9:36:23 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

A second "Battle of Athens" occurred. There had been one in 1861 in Northeast Missouri, but this one took place in northern Alabama. 600 troopers of the 1st Alabama Cavalry attempted to drive out the presumptuous hundred Yankees who had taken possession of the town. But the resulting action further reinforced the lesson that cavalry was no longer an arm of decision on the battlefield. Though the attackers outnumbered the defenders six to one, and there were not even any fortifications, the Northerners held their position. After two hours, the Confederates retired, having lost about 30 casualties against 20 for the Federals.

The Union soldiers were a part of the 9th Illinois Mounted Infantry. More and more, the Northern cavalry was assuming this role: using the mobility given by their horses to take a position, then dismounting and fighting on foot. Fast-firing rifles and carbines using metal cartridges were especially valuable for this, and were something the Southerners could not easily duplicate, The weapons themselves could be smuggled in or captured, but the quantities of ammunition needed by repeating weapons could not be turned out by the weak Confederate industry.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1033
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/28/2014 7:36:51 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Clashes continued in eastern Tennessee. The Northerners wanted James Longstreet and his corps out of the state, while Longstreet wanted to expand the area under his control to get more forage. Union cavalry under General Samuel Sturgis, with the aid of some infantry and artillery, had routed Confederate cavalry the day before. On this date, however, rebel infantry reinforcements arrived, and the Yankees had the worst of it. The defeat was not without energetic fighting, however, and Longstreet found himself closer to the action than he might have preferred:

I rode a little in advance of Johnson's command. The enemy, advised of the approach of infantry, made his final charge and retired south towards Marysville. In his last effort one of his most reckless troopers rode in upon head-quarters, but Colonel Fairfax put spurs to his horse, dashed up against him, had his pistol at his head, and called "surrender" before the man could level his gun. The trooper was agreeably surprised to find it no worse. The enemy's move to Marysville left us in possession of the foraging grounds.
James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1034
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/1/2014 3:14:51 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Two and a half years into the war, the Union still had no army rank higher than Major General (two-star). This meant that a division commander with seniority could technically outrank his corps or army commander. The Confederacy had moved quickly to address this problem, but in Washington, things moved more slowly. On this date, the House of Representatives passed the legislation to re-institute the rank of Lieutenant General in the United States Army. And everyone knew who the rank would go to: Ulysses Simpson Grant, the hero of Vicksburg and Chattanooga.


William T. Sherman would stay a Major General, but he was the commander of an army and the Department of Mississippi. This was far enough south so that his troops did not have to go into winter quarters, and he intended to make use of that situation. The largest Confederate force remaining in Mississippi was about ten thousand men around the town of Meridian, under Leonidas "Bishop" Polk, and this would be Sherman's target:

On the 1st of February we rendezvoused in Vicksburg, where I found a spy who had been sent out two weeks before, had been to Meridian, and brought back correct information of the state of facts in the interior of Mississippi. Lieutenant-General (Bishop) Polk was in chief command, with headquarters at Meridian, and had two divisions of infantry, one of which (General Loring's) was posted at Canton, Mississippi, the other (General French's) at Brandon. He had also two divisions of cavalry--Armstrong's, composed of the three brigades of Ross, Stark, and Wirt Adams, which were scattered from the neighborhood of Yazoo City to Jackson and below; and Forrest's, which was united, toward Memphis, with headquarters at Como. General Polk seemed to have no suspicion of our intentions to disturb his serenity.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


To keep the Southerners confused, Sherman also requested coordinated movements in Louisiana and Tennessee. One column was to march east from New Orleans, headed for the Gulf port of Mobile, Alabama. Another column under George Thomas was to probe the defenses of the Confederate Army of Tennessee at Dalton, Georgia. This would prevent any reinforcements to Polk's force. There was one more factor to worry about, and that was the Rebel cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest. Sherman had selected a man named William Sooy Smith to deal with that threat:

We proposed to make up an aggregate cavalry force of about seven thousand "effective," out of these and the twenty-five hundred which General Smith had brought with him from Middle Tennessee. With this force General Smith was ordered to move from Memphis straight for Meridian, Mississippi, and to start by February 1st. I explained to him personally the nature of Forrest as a man, and of his peculiar force; told him 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 most determined offensive, overwhelm him and utterly destroy his whole force. I knew that Forrest could not have more than four thousand cavalry, and my own movement would give employment to every other man of the rebel army not immediately present with him...
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


But on this date, Smith did not move. He did not have all of his troopers assembled: one unit was icebound all the way back in Kentucky.




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1035
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/3/2014 2:30:29 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Accordingly, on the morning of February 3d, we started in two columns, each of two divisions, preceded by a light force of cavalry, commanded by Colonel E. F. Winslow. General McPherson commanded the right column, and General Hurlbut the left. The former crossed the Big Black at the railroad-bridge, and the latter seven miles above, at Messinger's. We were lightly equipped as to wagons, and marched without deployment straight for Meridian, distant one hundred and fifty miles.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


Sherman had hoped that Leonidas Polk, his opposite number on the Confederate side, was unaware of the mustering of Union forces. Actually Polk had learned that Sherman was about to advance, but crucially, he did not know Sherman's target. Polk therefore gave top priority to defending Mobile, Alabama, for the loss of that harbor for blockade runners would have been a serious blow to the Southern economy.

The otherwise little-remembered Meridian Campaign was significant not for what it would achieve but what it would lead to later. It would be a valuable learning experience for the famous March to the Sea nine months later.




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1036
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/4/2014 2:31:32 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The blockade runner Nutfield came to grief while trying to make port in New River Inlet, North Carolina. (Near modern-day Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune.) She was intercepted by the USS Secaucus, and chased until she ran hard aground. The Northerners were unable to re-float her, and so set her afire. There would be no prize money for the ship, but the Yankees had thoughtfully salvaged the cargo first. Much of it was rifles, which was a loss to the Confederacy but not much value for the Union, which by this time was turning arms in satisfactory quantity. But there was also a treasure for both sides on board: stocks of quinine.

At this point in history, quinine was the only good treatment for the scourge of malaria. (Some results could be had with low doses of arsenic, but this was obviously a poor substitute.) The drug, extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree, was in high demand but short supply because the trees only grew in the area of Peru and the neighboring countries. It is estimated that a million men were stricken with malaria during the course of the Civil War, and though only about 8,000 men actually died from it, many of the remainder were out of action as much as if they had been wounded on the battlefield.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1037
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/6/2014 2:37:59 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

For the third time, Sherman's troops entered the luckless city of Jackson, Mississippi. There had not been as much resistance this time, not because the Rebels had lost heart but because the troops they had on the spot were hopelessly outnumbered by the two full corps under the Northern commander. The Confederate cavalry probed wherever it could, but Sherman had anticipated just that and kept his columns close together.

After the previous two occupations, there was little of the town infrastructure left for the Yankees to burn. There was one surprising survival: the current city hall of Jackson. There are rumors that the building contained a Masonic Lodge and Sherman ordered it spared, being a Mason himself. It seems more likely, however, that one wing was being used as a hospital at the time, and not even the harshest anti-Southerners among the Federals were willing to burn a place containing wounded soldiers.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1038
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/9/2014 2:16:26 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Sherman and his army captured the town of Morton, Mississippi. This was over half-way to their objective of Meridian, and they had reached it in just six days. This in spite of stops to tear up railroad tracks and burn government buildings (and, shamefully, some of the private mansions) along the way. In the meantime, the supposedly faster-moving cavalry column under William Sooy Smith had not even started from Memphis.


At this point in the war, the main holding place for captured Union officers was a converted ship supply warehouse in Richmond named Libby Prison. It was an unpleasant place -- a section which occasionally flooded from the adjacent James River was known as "Rat Hell" -- and the Northerners were even more motivated to escape than most. Led by Colonel Thomas Rose and Major A. G. Hamilton, they had chipped through a chimney, gotten to the basement, and from there proceeded to dig an escape tunnel over the course of 17 days. On the night of this date, the Yankees began to go through the tunnel, first in groups of two and three, for the exit of the tunnel was still within the warehouse grounds and there were Confederate sentinels.

But the Southerners did not consider that escape from the building was possible. Moreover, the sentinels were from a different unit than the prison guards, and were there primarily to keep thieves away. There was almost a stampede among the prisoners when it became clear the plan was working. Somehow the senior Northern officers managed to keep a semblance of order, stopping the stream of escapees before dawn and replacing the bricks in the chimney so that nothing seemed out of the ordinary. A total of 109 men had escaped.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1039
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/10/2014 4:49:04 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Libby Prison in Richmond, the Confederate guards began their morning rounds as if it were any other day. It was not until the morning roll call came up 109 men short that they realized a major escape had been made. By that time, the Yankee escapees had up to a twelve hour start, and many were already out of Richmond. (Sadly, two had drowned in the James River.) The Southern capital went into a near frenzy, and every foot-soldier and cavalryman in the city was mobilized to hunt the prisoners down.

But the fugitive Northerners had the advantage of two different escape routes. Some made their way south-east down the peninsula to Union-held Fort Monroe. They were familiar with the territory because they had been captured during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862. Others adopted the tactics of runaway slaves, and "followed the drinking gourd" and the North Star to the Army of the Potomac in northern Virginia. A remarkable 59 out of the 109 escaped officers would eventually reach Union-held territory and freedom, making it the most successful escape of the Civil War.

However, Colonel Thomas Rose, who had done more than any other man in organizing the escape, was not one of the successful ones. Frustratingly, he had made it to less than an hour's walk to the Union forces at Williamsburg when he was recaptured by Rebel pickets. He was placed in solitary confinement for a time, but the Southerners felt he was "too hot to handle", and would exchange him for a Confederate Colonel at the end of April.





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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1040
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/11/2014 3:24:41 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

At Memphis, Tennessee, Union cavalry commander William Sooy Smith finally decided to move out. The extra cavalry brigade he had been waiting for had arrived two days earlier, but Smith decided to gives its horses an additional period of rest. Now he had 7,000 troopers, which he deemed sufficient to oppose the estimated 4,000 Rebel horsemen under Nathan Bedford Forrest. (Actually, Forrest had only 2,500 under his command, but he would be able to call on local infantry.)

The delay had left the Northern army under William T. Sherman somewhat exposed on its northern flank. Fortunately for the Federals, the Confederates were also having problems with units not moving. Richmond had requested Joseph Johnston to detach part of his Army of Tennessee to help with the defense of Mobile, which was thought to be Sherman's ultimate target. Johnston sent no troops, correctly pointing out that they could not reach Mobile in time. By this date, they probably could not even have reached Meridian, Mississippi, which was Sherman's actual objective, for the Yankee infantry was only three days away.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1041
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/12/2014 3:41:36 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

Although just the day before, U. S. Grant had wired that "I deem it of the utmost importance to drive Longstreet out immediately", on this date he changed his mind. General Foster had been relieved in eastern Tennessee by John Schofield, but before he went Foster had talked with Grant and brought up some of the problems with attacking the Confederates in the area. Grant thought it over and agreed, and sent out the appropriate telegram to Washington:

Major-General Halleck,
General-in-Chief, Washington:

General,—I have got General Thomas ready to move a force of about fourteen thousand infantry into East Tennessee to aid the force there in expelling Longstreet from the State. He would have started on Monday night if I had not revoked the order. My reasons for doing this are these: General Foster, who is now here (or left this morning), says that our possession of the portion of East Tennessee is perfectly secure against all danger. The condition of the people within the rebel lines cannot be improved now after losing all they had. Longstreet, where he is, makes more secure other parts of our possessions. Our men, from scanty clothing and short rations, are not in good condition for an advance. There are but very few animals in East Tennessee in condition to move artillery or other stores. If we move against Longstreet with an overwhelming force he will simply fall back towards Virginia until he can be reinforced or take up an impregnable position. The country being exhausted, all our supplies will have to be carried from Knoxville the whole distance advanced. We would be obliged to advance rapidly and return soon whether the object of the expedition was accomplished or not. Longstreet could return with impunity on the heels of our returning column, at least as far down the valley as he can supply himself from the road in his rear. Schofield telegraphs to the same effect. All these seem to be good reasons for abandoning the movement, and I have therefore suspended it. Now that our men are ready for an advance, however, I have directed it to be made on Dalton, and hope to get possession of that place and hold it as a step towards a spring campaign. Our troops in East Tennessee are now clothed; rations are also accumulating. When Foster left most of the troops had ten days’ supplies, with five hundred barrels of flour and forty days’ meat in store, and the quantity increasing daily.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. Grant, Major-General.


Acting on the principle that it is easier to get forgiveness than permission, Grant had already instructed that furloughs be given to his veteran troops. He wanted them rested for the major campaign that was sure to begin in the spring.


In Mississippi, the Confederate cavalry that had been probing around Sherman's army finally found an opening, and very nearly bagged Sherman himself:

Toward evening of the 12th, Hurlbut's column passed through Decatur, with orders to go into camp four miles beyond at a creek. McPherson's head of column was some four miles behind, and I personally detached one of Hurlbut's regiments to guard the cross-roads at Decatur till the head of McPherson's column should come in sight. Intending to spend the night in Decatur, I went to a double log-house, and arranged with the lady for some supper. We unsaddled our horses, tied them to the fence inside the yard, and, being tired, I lay down on a bed and fell asleep. Presently I heard shouts and hallooing, and then heard pistol-shots close to the house. My aide, Major Audenried, called me and said we were attacked by rebel cavalry, who were all around us. I jumped up and inquired where was the regiment of infantry I had myself posted at the cross-roads. He said a few moments before it had marched past the house, following the road by which General Hurlbut had gone, and I told him to run, overtake it, and bring it back. Meantime, I went out into the back-yard, saw wagons passing at a run down the road, and horsemen dashing about in a cloud of dust, firing their pistols, their shots reaching the house in which we were. Gathering the few orderlies and clerks that were about, I was preparing to get into a corn-crib at the back side of the lot, wherein to defend ourselves, when I saw Audenried coming back with the regiment, on a run, deploying forward as they came. This regiment soon cleared the place and drove the rebel cavalry back toward the south, whence they had come.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman



The commander of the infantry regiment had seen the dust of an approaching column, and concluded that his troops were no longer needed. But the dust was actually from a small group of staff officers, plus a small detachment of supply wagons. Luckily for Sherman, the men escorting the wagons managed to hold off the Rebel horsemen just long enough (though they lost four or five mules in the skirmish).

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1042
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/14/2014 3:36:04 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

In Meridian, Mississippi, Confederate commander Leonidas Polk had decided not to defend the town. He had only 10,000 men on hand and no reinforcements were coming. The report was that Sherman had 35,000 men bearing down on his force. This was more than 10,000 higher than the actual figure, but that was still more than enough to capture Meridian. Warned by the fate of Vicksburg, Polk had decided to save his army and accept the loss of the town, which was what every Confederate army commander faced with that decision would do from now on.

By mid-day the evacuation was complete, including all the military stores Polk could load onto trains or wagons. The Confederates had also attempted to slow Sherman's advance as best they could, felling trees across the roads and burning bridges. But the only real effect was to annoy the Federal infantrymen, who had to stop marching and stand in ranks every so often while the "Pioneers" cleared the trees and rebuilt the bridges. In the afternoon Sherman's advance units entered the town. The Northerners had hoped to link up with their cavalry there, but there was no sign or word from the troopers under William Sooy Smith. (They were making good progress, not having yet encountered the Rebel cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest, but were still days behind schedule.) Nonetheless, there was plenty for the infantry to do. As Sherman reported, "We at once set to work to destroy an arsenal, immense storehouses, and the railroad in every direction."




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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 2/14/2014 8:18:30 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1043
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/17/2014 3:29:24 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

In Meridian, Sherman and his force continued to wait for news of the Northern cavalry force which was supposed to join them. But there was no word, which was unfortunate for the citizens of Meridian, because the longer the Yankees stayed the more they found to burn. Sherman had ordered that no private houses be touched, but the mansions of the wealthier Southerners were too tempting, and Sherman turned a blind eye to this disobedience.

The bad news of the seizure of Meridian had by now reached Richmond, along with the Confederacy's inability to do much about it:

February 17th. - Found everything in Main Street twenty per cent dearer. They say it is due to the new currency bill.
I asked my husband: "Is General Johnston ordered to reenforce Polk, they said he did not understand the order."
"After five days' delay," he replied. "They say Sherman is marching to Mobile. When they once get inside of our armies what is to molest them, unless it be women with broomsticks?"
-- Mary Boykin Chesnut, A Diary From Dixie


In Washington, the decision to leave Longstreet and his force of Rebels in eastern Tennessee was approved, but not without the nomination of a scapegoat:

Washington, D. C., February 17, 1864.
Major-General Grant, Nashville, Tenn.:

General,—Your letter of the 12th instant is just received. I fully concur with you in regard to the present condition of affairs in East Tennessee. It certainly is very much to be regretted that the fatal mistake of General Burnside has permitted Longstreet’s army to winter in Tennessee. It is due to yourself that a full report of this matter should be placed on file, so that the responsibility may rest where it properly belongs.

H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief.



In Charleston harbor, the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley and her crew were finally considered ready for an attack mission. They had practiced extensively since October, at one point making a dive lasting two hours subsisting only on the air inside the narrow vessel. The weather in the area was calm, and after arrangements with shore observers, the submarine departed from the dock at 7:00 p.m. and headed for the Union blockading fleet.

It is likely that Hunley's skipper, Lieutenant George E. Dixon, had already picked his target. The 1,240-ton sloop USS Housatonic was probably the most hated ship of the Yankee squadron, for she had participated in capturing two blockade runners carrying invaluable cargoes (medicine and steam engines) as well as bombarding the Confederate forts in the area. The Hunley was propelled by hand cranks, so it took about an hour and three-quarters until she was in position for her final approach on the Northern ship.

The watch on board the Housatonic spotted the Hunley, but by that time the submarine was too close to evade. The Union sailors opened fire with small arms, with no apparent effect. The submarine rammed home her "spar torpedo", a metal container of gunpowder with a spike to stick in her opponent's wooden hull. The plan was then for the Hunley to back away and detonate the gunpowder charge with an electric wire. How far the Confederate vessel managed to back away will never be certain, but the charge was successfully exploded. The Housatonic was fatally damaged and sank in five minutes, though the water was shallow enough so that part of her masts remained above the surface. Some reports say that the entire Northern crew was saved, but the more reliable accounts indicate two officers and three crewmen lost their lives.

The Hunley was also lost, with all eight men aboard her. A blue light, the signal for a successful attack, was reported by a Union lookout and a Confederate shore observer. But no other trace of the submarine appeared for over a century until her wreck was discovered buried in the mud near where the Housatonic had sunk. Perhaps a bullet from a Northern rifle had opened a leak, or perhaps the crew had been rendered unconscious by the concussion of the explosion. Nonetheless, whatever had happened afterwards, the Hunley had carried out the first sinking of an enemy warship by a submarine in history.





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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1044
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/20/2014 3:38:40 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

Although Florida is now known for citrus farms, a surprisingly large part of the state's economy in 1864 was cattle. Preserved in the salt readily obtained from the coastal waters, Florida beef was a key part of the eastern Confederacy's food supply after the Northerners obtained complete control of the Mississippi River. To squeeze the Southern economy even further, and to stay active during the winter months, the Union had mounted an expedition against Jacksonville and the surrounding area in northeastern Florida.

Under the command of Quincy Gillmore, the expedition had achieved some success. Jacksonville was captured, and cavalry raids further into the interior disrupted the cattle herds. A number of slaves escaped into the Federal lines, and many enlisted in Union "colored" regiments, including the 54th Massachusetts of Fort Wagner fame, which had been brought there to fill its depleted ranks.

Gillmore was the military commander of the Department of the South, which comprised the southeastern coastal area all the up through South Carolina. He soon found it necessary (and more comfortable) to return to his headquarters at Hilton Head. (Which is a favored vacation destination to this day.) Brigadier General Truman Seymour was left in command, and he decided to advance, though his instructions had been simply to hold what had already been taken.

However, the alarm had gone out to the Confederacy, and a force of about 5,000 Southerners under Brigadier General Joseph Finnegan had been scraped together to block the Yankees. This was very close to the number of Seymour's Federals. The Rebels prepared a line of defensive earthworks, but their forward patrols skirmished with the advance Northern scouts in the early afternoon of this date. Both sides sent the rest of their men to the sound of the guns, and a furious battle erupted about two miles from Confederate defenses.

But nothing else seemed to go right for the Northerners. The Confederates had the edge in troop experience, and when one Union regiment became confused because of a wrong order, the disruption spread. The Southerners managed to capture several cannon, and the Yankees were forced back. Battle lines stabilized for a short time as the Rebels ran low on ammunition, but for once their supply system was working well, and more was delivered to the front-line troops after a short delay.

The Union commander realized that the battle was lost, and ordered a withdrawal. Along with another colored regiment, the famous 54th Massachusetts was designated as rear-guard, and since they were among the most experienced of the Northern soldiers, they did the job well. A number of wounded and considerable equipment had to be abandoned, however. There are reports that the black wounded were killed on the battlefield by roaming bands of Southerners.

The butcher's bill was enormous for the numbers involved, especially for the North. Union losses were 203 killed, 1,152 wounded, and 506 missing or captured, or roughly 34 percent of their forces. The Confederates lost 93 killed, 847 wounded, and 6 missing, just short of 19 percent but still heavy. However, they had essentially ended Federal attempts to seize any more of Florida for over a year.

At Meridian, Mississippi, time was up. William T. Sherman and his force had still heard nothing about the cavalry under William Sooy Smith that had been supposed to rendezvous with them. Sherman turned his troops back to the west, and their home base of Vicksburg. They left a devastated town behind them, and railroad tracks torn up for twenty miles (32 km). Sherman would write that "I was determined to damage these roads so that they could not be used again for hostile purposes during the rest of the war." In this he failed, for the Confederates had trains running through the rail hub again within a month. But the effort stretched their rail-repairing abilities to the limit; there would not be enough material left to make good the still-greater damage that Sherman and a larger army would wreak on the "March to the Sea". The Union troops had also done something that makes little of a mark on history but was of immeasurable value towards those involved: they had free about two thousand slaves along their way.

By coincidence, on about this date, Smith had also decided to turn his cavalry around. Scouts reported Confederate forces under Nathan Bedford Forrest closing in (though in fact the Yankee troopers outnumbered the Rebels). Especially, Smith had managed to free about a thousand slaves, and he knew well their freedom would be short unless he could get them back to Union-controlled territory.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1045
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/22/2014 5:02:30 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Dalton, Georgia, units from the Union Army of the Cumberland probed the Confederate defensive lines. Southern commander Joseph Johnston had been expecting a major attack, and soon convinced himself he had one on his hands. But Northern commander George "Rock of Chickamauga" Thomas was one of the few generals unwilling to risk a major assault against fortifications. His purpose was primarily to hold the Rebel Army of Tennessee in place and prevent it from being used against Sherman's expedition to Meridian. In this he succeeded, but he was slow: Sherman and his men were already on their way back to base.


Near Okolana, Mississippi, Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry caught up with the withdrawing Union cavalry under William Sooy Smith. Forrest had only 2,500 Rebels against 7,000 Yankees, but the Northerners were more concerned with getting back to their base and less with fighting. The battle became a running engagement, with the Federals deploying in successive positions, but then falling back when the Confederate attacks applied more pressure than the rearguard cared to deal with.

Finally, the Northerners mounted a counter-attack, but Forrest and his men were ready. Volley fire put a stop to the charges, though they got within 40 yards (37 m) of the Confederate lines. The Union troopers resumed their retreat, and Forrest discontinued the pursuit when he learned that his men were now low on ammunition.
Casualties were light: the Union lost about 100 men overall, while the Confederates lost about 50. But one of the dead was Forrest's younger brother Jeffrey.


In Washington, another political scandal erupted. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase had continued to work behind the scenes to get himself elected President instead of Lincoln in November. He had secretly formed a committee headed by Kansas Senator Samuel Pomeroy (below). Earlier in the month, the committee had distributed a circular to a hundred leading Republicans, intending to mobilize support. The circular derided Lincoln, saying "should he be reelected, his manifest tendency towards compromises and temporary expedients of policy will become stronger during a second term than it has been in the first."

As was almost inevitable given the number of recipients, the circular was leaked to the press, especially the New York Constitutional Union, which printed it for all the public to read. The reaction was the exact opposite of what Chase would have wanted. The circular was seen as disloyal, so much so that Chase denied any prior knowledge of it. (But a decade later the main author of the circular would testify that Chase had been fully informed about it.) Lincoln cleverly acknowledged Chase's protestation of innocence and promised to "answer a little more fully when I can find time to do so." By appearing to remain calm and above underhanded machinations, Lincoln's support was boosted tremendously. People who had thought that Lincoln's re-nomination, at least, was a sure thing now realized the President needed their active support -- and they gave it.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1046
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/26/2014 4:20:21 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Dalton, Georgia, the Yankees threw in the proverbial towel. They had spent over four days looking for a weak spot in the Confederate positions, but the Rebels under Joseph Johnston had countered every move. Union commander George Thomas had been ill when the shooting began, but by now he had come to view the Southern defenses for himself. Unlike many of his more aggressive fellow generals, he was not the man to throw away his men's lives assaulting well-manned entrenchments. His Army of the Cumberland would fall back to its encampments -- for now.


Although the Union Army was significantly larger than the Confederate Army, the Southerners had been far in advance in creating the higher ranks. In the North, division commanders, corps commanders, and army commanders were all technically the same rank: major general. Considerable shuffling around had to be done so that generals of the larger units had seniority over those leading the smaller units. On this date, the act reviving the rank of lieutenant general in the United States Army was finally passed into law -- but there would only be one of them.

Also in Washington, President Lincoln had already gained a reputation for refusing to sign off on the death sentences imposed by the military courts, especially for cases of desertion. Now he made his policy more formal, ordering that deserters would be imprisoned for the duration of the war rather than executed. Naturally, a number of generals grumbled. Why would a man risk death on the battlefield when he could escape with a few years' imprisonment? But an extraordinary number of men did just that. Indeed, the major cause of desertion for both sides seems to have been the pressure to help their families, who were often destitute without the men to work the farms or other jobs.


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1047
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/27/2014 3:45:26 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Because of U. S. Grant's anger after discovering improperly exchanged Confederates at Chattanooga, and because the two sides could not agree on the exchange of black Union soldiers, the exchange of prisoners continued to dwindle. It was clear that much more prison capacity would be needed. On this date, a large stockade which had been constructed on cleared land near the town of Americus, Georgia, was opened and took in its first Northern prisoners. It covered 16.5 acres (67,000 sq. m) of land at first, but soon it would be enlarged to 26.5 acres (107,000 sq. m). From the first, conditions were poor: a creek running through it served as both the source of drinking water, and the latrine. No permanent shelters were provided for the captive Yankees, simply tents and not in adequate numbers.

The stockade was formally named Camp Sumter, but it would become known to infamy by the name of the railroad station where most of the prisoners would arrive -- Andersonville.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1048
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/28/2014 7:25:26 PM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, a force of 4,000 Northern cavalry set out from the Union lines. They could not be accused of thinking small, for their intended destination was nothing less than Richmond itself. Primarily, it was the prisoner of war camp on Belle Isle, a small island in the James River. (Today, it is mainly a city park.) Since the (mostly) successful escape of Union officers from Libby Prison, Lincoln had wanted to do something for the enlisted men. Cavalry general Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, who was reckless enough that he had already earned the nickname "Killcavalry", had come up with a plan to raid Belle Isle, and he had gone over the head of his commander, George Meade, and presented the plan to Lincoln. The President approved, but instructed Kilpatrick to work out the details with Secretary of War Stanton.

The plan seems to have been that the main body of the cavalry under Kilpatrick would take the direct approach, heading towards Richmond from the north. They would do the usual damage, tearing up railroad tracks and burning bridges, and also distrubuting copies of Lincoln's proclamation of amnesty for states rejoining the Union. This would draw Confederate attention and troops. Meanwhile, a column of about 500 troopers would swing wide to the west, then seize Belle Isle from that direction. Exactly what the orders were for this column after the prisoners on Belle Isle were freed is a matter of controversy to this day.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1049
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/1/2014 3:55:52 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Washington, the grade of Lieutenant-General having become law, the nomination of Ulysses Simpson Grant was sent to the Senate.


In Virginia, the Union cavalry raid was not going well. Although the main body of Yankee horsemen was doing considerable damage and attracting much Confederate attention, that attention was inflicting casualties. And things looked to be getting much worse: a large body of Southern troopers under Wade Hampton was now on the track of the Northerners. The Federals would not be able to return the way they came. Moreover, the goal of distracting the Rebels so that the smaller column could get through had failed. The alarm was out for the 500 cavalry under Colonel Ulric Dahlgren as well.

Ulric Dahlgren, though in the Army, was the son of famed Admiral John Dahlgren, the inventor of the Dahlgren cannon which the Northern ironclads were using. He had planned to cross the James river and attack Belle Isle directly, but the Federals did not know the area well enough to know where the river could be forded. Usually local black men and women could be relied on to help the Northerners, but on this occasion they encountered one Martin Robinson, who had been a slave but had won his freedom. He led them to a ford, but recent rains had left the water too high to cross. Dahlgren had threatened to hang Robinson if he played them false, and sadly, the Colonel made good on the threat.

Dahlgren decided to follow the north bank of the James, and attack Richmond proper, apparently hoping to break through to Belle Isle. In the evening, hearing cannon fire from the larger group of Northern cavalry under Kilpatrick, Dalhgren's men made their attempt. Both assaults were handily repulsed, with loss of men and horses. (Dahlgren's group of not quite 500 troopers lost 60.) Now nothing remained but to retreat back to Union-held territory.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 1050
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