Saturday, January 28, 2012

February 1, 1862 (Friday): Prisoner Exchange Proposal

General Joseph E. Johnston

HEADQUARTERS, Centerville, February 1, 1862.

Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN, Commanding U. S. Army.
    SIR: I am instructed by the Secretary of War of the Confederate States to propose to you to enter into arrangements for an exchange of prisoners of war on terms in accordance with the usages of civilized warfare. This proposition is intended to be general; to embrace not merely the prisoners of war taken by the armies near the Potomac but to apply to those taken by all the forces of either belligerent. The terms of exchange which seems to me appropriate are those which have been established in modern war--equal exchange of those having similar rank and equivalent values where there is not equality of rank.
In the hope that your answer will be favorable and that we may thus together take at least one step to diminish the sufferings produced by this war, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

General, C. S. Army.

Official Records, Series II., Vol. 3, Part 1, Page 231.

Early in the war prisoners, especially officers, were often released on parole and allowed to go home provided they could procure the release of a prisoner of equal rank.  But these were informal exchanges since the United States government did not wish to give tacit recognition to the Confederacy by negotiating with it.  This letter resulted in discussions being opened with the first meetings between the two sides taking place later in February.

January 31, 1862 (Thursday): Jackson Asks to Be Relieved

General Thomas J. Jackson

HEADQUARTERS VALLEY DISTRICT, Winchester, Va., January 31, 1862.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:.
   SIR: Your order requiring me to direct General Loring to return with his command to Winchester immediately has been received and promptly complied with..                        
    With such interference in my command I cannot expect to be of much service in the field, and accordingly respectfully request to be ordered to report for duty to the superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, as has been done in the case of other professors. Should this application not be granted, I respectfully request that the President will accept my resignation from the Army..
    I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major-General, P. A. C. S.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 5, Part 1, Page 1053.

Loring's officers had managed to persuade Richmond their position at Romney was untenable, conditions intolerable, and morale low enough to impact re-enlistment.  Reacting to his authority being challenged, Jackson requested to be relieved of his command and returned to duties at V.M.I.  He also opened channels to Governor Letcher, gaining political backing against interference from the War Department.  Were conditions at Romney as intolerable as suggested by Loring's men?  Medical reports from Hunter McGuire and others indicated many of the troops returning to Winchester from Loring's command at Romney were not likely ill, just disaffected.  Was the position important?  The destruction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad remained an objective of the Confederates after the Romney Campaign.  Was the position tenable?  An engineer who examined the position thought it untenable with so small a force, but the Union commanders in the area showed no inclination to move against it in winter conditions.  Jackson himself worried about the command being cut off, Johnston suggested removing his command.  It is likely Jackson did leave the troops at Romney in a vulnerable position, but he did have reinforcements at Winchester to cover them should an attack appear imminent.  At the same time, the Romney position was more an irritant to the Union than an actual threat and it is probably not unreasonable to think the controversy had more to do with Jackson's ideas regarding discipline than with military necessity.  

January 30, 1862 (Wednesday): The Fort Henry Campaign Begins

Fort Henry Campaign

Brigadier General U. S. GRANT,
Cairo, Ill.
   SIR: You will immediately prepare to send forward to Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, all your available forces from Smithland, Paducah, Cairo, Fort Holt, Bird's Point, &c. Sufficient garrisons must be left to hold these places against an attack from Columbus. As the roads are almost impassable for large forces, and as your command is very deficient in transportation, the troops will be taken in steamers up the Tennessee River as far as practicable. Supplies will also be taken up in steamers as far as possible. Flag-Officer Foote will protect the transports with his gunboats. The Benton and perhaps some others should be left for the defense of Cairo. Fort Henry should be taken and held at all hazards. I shall immediately send you three additional companies of artillery from this place.
   The river front of the fort is armed with 20-pounders, and it may be necessary for you to take some guns of large caliber and establish a battery on the opposite side of the river. It is believed that the guns on the land side are of small caliber and can be silenced by our field artillery. It is said that the north side of the river below the fort is favorable for landing. If so, you will land and rapidly occupy the road to Dover and fully invest the place, so as to cut off the retreat of the garrison. Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson, U. S. Engineers, will immediately report to you, to act as chief engineer of the expedition. It is very probable that an attempt will be made from Columbus to re-enforce Fort Henry; also from Fort Donelson at Dover. If you can occupy the road to Dover you can prevent the latter. The steamers will give you the means of crossing from one side of the river to the other. It is said that there is a masked battery opposite the island below Fort Henry. If this cannot be avoid or turned it must be taken.
   Having invested Fort Henry, a cavalry force will be sent forward to break up the railroad from Paris to Dover. The bridges should be rendered impassable, but not destroyed.
A telegram from Washington says that Beauregard left Manassas four days ago with fifteen regiments for the line of Columbus and Bowling Green. It is therefore of the greatest importance that we cut that line before he arrives. You will move with the least delay possible. You will furnish Commodore Foote with a copy of this letter. A telegraph line will be extended as rapidly as possibly from Paducah, east of the Tennessee River, to Fort Henry. Wires and operators will be sent from Saint Louis.


Series I. Vol. 7, Part 1, Page 122.

Halleck was not completely confident of the success of Grant’s expedition.  But reports of observers sent to the area of Fort Henry consistently stated the fort could not be defended.  It is interesting to see the cautious Halleck pressing for a forward movement at least in part based on the false rumor Beauregard had 15 regiments of infantry with him on the way west.

January 29, 1862 (Tuesday): McClellan Passes On A Rumor

Capitol During the War

WASHINGTON, January 29, 1862.

Major-General HALLECK and Brigadier-General BUELL:
A deserter just in from the rebels says that Beauregard had not left Centreville four days ago, but that as he was going on picket he heard officers say that Beauregard was under order to go to Kentucky with fifteen regiments from the Army of the Potomac. 


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 7, Part 1, Page 571.

It took only three days from the official orders to Beauregard to head west for word to reach McClellan.  Unfortunately, it carried with it camp gossip saying 15 regiments would accompany him.  It gives some idea of how misinformed McClellan was of the size of the rebel army that he could give credence to the idea the Army of the Potomac could spare this large a force.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January 28, 1862 (Monday): America's Zola

Secretary of War Stanton

ORDER,}                                                        WAR DEPARTMENT,
  NO. __ }                                     Washington City, D. C., January 28, 1862.
     Ordered, That the general commanding be, and is hereby, directed to relieve Brig. Gen. C. P. Stone from command of his division in the Army of the Potomac forthwith, and that he be placed in arrest and kept in close custody until further orders.
                                                                        EDWIN M. STANTON,
                                                                                      Secretary of War.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 5, Part 1, Page 341.

Coming one day after Lincoln issued orders for the Union armies to all move forward on a date certain, despite advice from McClellan, Stanton here orders the arrest of one of his officers, General Stone, without charges.  The administration made a scapegoat out of Stone, a Democrat, after Lincoln’s close friend Senator Baker brought on the disaster at Ball’s Bluff with his rash mishandling of his command.  Disaffected New York officers engaged in a whisper campaign against Stone, accusing him of having Southern sympathies.  Abolitionists condemned him for returning slaves who came within his lines (as the law required).  A Pinkerton spy, British citizen and New York newspaper reporter Francis Buxton, ominously sent word of signal lights seen across the Potomac before the battle.  The Committee on the Conduct of the War became involved and pressed for Stone’s arrest.  Although Lincoln later denied knowing of the arrest order, records of the Committee’s proceedings showed they visited Lincoln immediately before the arrest and outlined the accusations against Stone.  Stone would become an American Zola, illegally held without charges under harsh conditions until finally Congress passed a bill requiring the administration to adhere to the Articles of War and bring charges within 8 days and a trial within the 30 days.  The administration’s response was consider the time limits as starting from the passage of the bill (although Stone had been held for five months), holding him another 30 days.  The motivation for ruining Stone, according to Stanton, was that he served as an example to other (presumably Democrat) generals.  After the war Stone served as the chief engineer for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January 27, 1862 (Sunday): Lincoln Orders An Advance

Portion of General Orders No. 1 in Lincoln's Handwriting


Numbers 1.
Washington, January 27, 1862.
     Ordered, That the 22nd day of February, 1862, be the day for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces. That especially the army at and about Fortress Monroe; the Army of the Potomac; the Army of Western Virginia; the army near Munfordville, Ky.; the army and flotilla at Cairo, and a naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready to move on that day.
    That all other forces, both land and naval, with their respective commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey additional orders when duty given..
    That the heads of Departments, and especially the Secretaries of War and of the Navy, with all their subordinates, and the General-in-Chief, with all other commanders and subordinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for prompt execution of this order.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 5, Part 1, Page 41.

Lincoln, frustrated with McClellan's inaction and pressed by the Radical Republicans to force a forward movement, ordered a general advance.  It ultimately spurred action in the west, but did not force McClellan to move.  McClellan presented his views to the administration on the advantages of moving on Richmond by river approaches up from the Peninsula.  Lincoln was more concerned with opening lines to Richmond from the West by freeing the B&O Railroad from the threat of attack by Jackson and from the East by taking the Confederate batteries along the Potomac.  At this point the Republicans did not dominate Congress sufficiently for Lincoln to sack McClellan.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 26, 1862 (Saturday): Beauregard Goes West

Colonel Roger A. Pryor

                 Richmond, Va., January 26, 1862.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON, Centreville, Va.:
   SIR: Inclosed you will find an order detaching General Beauregard from the army under your command and assigning him to do duty at Columbus, Ky., which you are requested to forward to him at once.  Regretting that the exigencies of the public service force us to deprive you of the aid of this valuable officer, I still entertain undiminished confidence in your capacity, with the aid of the able generals who still surround you, to maintain the position which you have thus far successfully defended.
   I am, your obedient servant,
                                                            J. P. BENJAMIN,
                                                                  Secretary of War.

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, Manassas, Va.:
   SIR:  Colonel Pryor has reported to the President, as the result of his interview with you, that you would cheerfully accept the command of the defenses at Columbus, Ky., and that your absence from the Army of the Potomac would not seriously impair its efficiency.  He therefore desires that you proceed at once to report to General A. S. Johnston, at Bowling Green, Ky., and thence proceed, as promptly as possible, to assume your new command at Columbus, which is threatened by a powerful force, and the successful defense of which is of vital importance.  You are authorized to take with you your present staff or such members of it as you wish to accompany you.
    I am, your obedient servant,
                                                            J. P. BENJAMIN,
                                                                   Secretary of War.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 5, Part 1, Page 1048.

Beauregard had been advancing plans through the fall for the invasion of Maryland.  Rebuffed by the administration, he requested transfer to New Orleans, which he believed would soon be attacked.  And he had angered Davis when his reports of the Battle of Bull Run were published, blaming the President for preventing the pursuit and destruction of McDowell’s forces.  The move solved a difficult personnel situation without sacrificing a general who still retained the confidence of the troops of public, as well as giving Albert Sydney Johnston a much needed field commander.  The Colonel Pryor mentioned was Roger A. Pryor, a former member of the House of Representatives and well known "fire eater" before the war.  After the war he moved North and went into law practice with Ben Butler, becoming late in life a New York state supreme court justice.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January 25, 1862 (Friday): Balloons and Ice Don't Mix

Potomac River Overlook Near Edwards Ferry

                                           POOLESVILE, January 25, 1862.

Professor Lowe,
      National Hotel, Washington:
   The balloon Intrepid got an inch of ice on it last night and is reported much injured.  Hurry up the smaller one.
                                                                                    C. P. STONE,

Official Records, Series III., Vol. 3, Part 1, Page 269.

Stone used Lowe’s balloon to keep tabs on the Confederate forces near Leesburg.  The balloon was tethered near Edwards Ferry, and could see Fort Evans, encampments near Goose Creek, and the town itself.  The reports of observers offer remarkable detail, making it all the more striking that authorities eventually refused to continue Lowe’s services over his relatively small salary (about that of a colonel).

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 24, 1861 (Thursday): "Trampled by Political Canabalism"

Civil War Era Newspaper

NEW YORK, January 24, 1862. 

His Excellency W. H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, Washington.
    EXCELLENCE: I take the favor to inform you that in the city of New York is published a paper-under the name New-Yorker Journal, a paper which has much circulation and in consequence of it a great influence as it is published every day, Sundays excepted. This New-Yorker Journal is a thorough-paced secession paper, and unloyal to the highest degree to this present Govenment, in witness whereof I inclose an exemplar of it for the better information of [your] excellence.
   With consideration of the highest regard, I have the honor to be, respectfully, your excellency's obedient servant,


[Inclosure. - Trenslation of extracts from New-Yorker Journal, January 24, 1861.]
[Numbers 1.]
We live in a period of the highest political excitement. Opinion, the holy living fire to which man owes his God-like qualities, is again degraded to a dumb idol to be used for human sacrifice, and the position for the freest development of civilized culture is trampled by political cannibalism.
[Numbers 2.]
No compromise with the negro party. This alone can be the basis of a successful effort to bring about a reconstruction of the Union. No compromise with a party which under any circumstances would tread the white man's rights under foot. Away with a party which would offer these rights to the imaginary claims of the negro.
[Numbers 3.]
The great delusion of the moment consists in this that we of the North idly think we have nothing more important to do than to bring back the seceding Confederates into the Union, whilst in truth we have to watch over, first, personal liberty; second, the supremacy of our own race throughout the continent; third, the welfare of millions of all races.
[Numbers 4.]
The question lies between civilization and barbarism - growth - flourishing prosperity - happiness through upholding the laws of nature or degradation, and chaotic desolation through contending against them.
[Numbers 5.]
That such contest is no child's play is shown by the gigantic dimensions which such conflicts have assumed in earlier centuries. Those who take part therein on the side of civilization must be ready with steady decision and moral courage to appear on the field of conflict.
[Numbers 6.]
The melancholy condition of public affairs arises from this, in the North these matters are looked at on one side only and that the wrong (unright) side.
[Numbers 7.]
The cause of right which has its representative in this paper we shall endeavor to maintain in entire fulfilment of the promises above stated.
[Numbers 8.]
The thoroughly false principle that sovereign States can "rebel" is that which solely and alone now as for eighty years leads us into a most pernicious war. The misery springing therefrom will alone teach us the only true political wisdom by which the Government confined to the realization of just principles would successfully avoid all that management of matters which especially leads to corruption.
[Numbers 9.]
Can a State rebel or be at the same time sovereign and subject? As little as a farther can be his own son, a king his own vassal. Our States exist absolutely, not under Congress; they are not subject to Congress, and yet the war is waged by us solely in the idea that they are.
[Numbers 10.]
The abolitionists first speechified and quarreled and platformed the Southern States out of the Union and now draw the sword to fight them again into it. Astonishingly wise people.
[Numbers 11.]
The abolitionists want to force the Southern negroes to work for wages against their own and their owner's will. Astonishingly sagacious people.
[Numbers 12.]
The Albany Argus says that the great Republican party had failed to attain its purpose. This is not true. The purpose was to get the Government into its hands so as to fill its pockets as full as the Democratic party if not fuller. This purpose it had attained superbly. That the confederation should thereby get to land don't trouble that party.
[Numbers 13.]
Virginia has not sent funds to England to pay up the State indebtedness. This may give opportunity to the English Govenment to intervene to the satisfaction of their subjets, as Spain, France and England are now doing in Mexico.
[Numbers 14.]
It is under consideration to abolish the tariff in the Confederate States. It will not long ere the North must follow. Good again; thanks to competition. Everything has its two sides in this wonderful world.
[Numbers 15.]
The Albany Evening Journal assures the Argus that the Republican party will not let go their purpose of sustaining the Union, on which the City News observes that neither of the existing parties can save the Union and least of all the Republican. Well who is to do it? The opposition party; to which we devote our time and strength so long as it is the party of the future, of the Constitution, of moral force and operates in that spirit in which the grand and beautiful confederation was framed.

Official Records, Series II, Vol. 2, Part 1, Page 503.

The Secretary of State routinely worked with the Postmaster-General's office to remove the mailing privileges of papers opposed to the war.  It is possible the writer is referring to the New York Journal, but it is not clear this is the one mentioned.  More likely it is one of the many small newspapers in New York City at the time which were little noted and are less remembered.  With such turgid prose it is hard to imagine its turn on the New York stage was long, although the image of someone being trampled by a cannibal is vivid.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 23, 1862 (Wendesday): The Romney Rebellion

                                                 ROMNEY, VA., January 23, 1862.
    MY DEAR SIR:  I write you a few lines to enlist your influence as to the public man in behalf of that portion of the Army of the Northwest stationed at this place.  A portion of General Loring’s command comprises the force here.  This part of the army, during the last summer and fall, passed through a campaign in Northwestern Virginia, the character of which in point of suffering, toil, exposure, and deprivations has no parallel in this war, and scarcely can be equaled in any war.  After all this hardship and exposure, and many, with much labor, had built winter huts, a call was made upon them to march some 150 miles to Winchester.  This march was made about the 1st of December, in very inclement weather, but with a cheerfulness and alacrity that has seldom been witnessed under similar circumstances.  After arriving at Winchester an expedition was ordered to Morgan County and to this place.  This was also cheerfully undertaken by the men, as well as the officers, with the expectation on every side that after the object of the expedition was accomplished, this force, which had passed through eight months of incessant toil, would be permitted to retire to some convenient point and enjoy a short respite, preparatory to the spring campaign, rendered the more necessary by the terrible exposure since leaving Winchester, which has emaciated the force to almost a skeleton, compared to what it was on marching from that place.
    Now we are ordered to remain here during the remainder of the winter.  A more unfavorable spot could not be selected.  We are willing to endure all that men can bear when our cause requires it; but where there is a discretion, that discretion should be exercised in favor of men who have seen such hard and continued service.  This place is of no importance in a strategical point of view; the country around it has been exhausted by the enemy, and its proximity to the enemy and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad will wear us away (already greatly reduced) by heavy picket and guard duty.  Besides this, there is no suitable ground and not sufficient wood here upon and by which men can be made comfortable.  We have not been in as uncomfortable a place since we entered the service.
   By going to Winchester we could be much better situated and save a vast expense in the transportation of supplies; or we could go to Moorefield, in Hardy County, where there is the greatest abundance of forage, and where the Government has a large number of fat cattle.  At the latter point we can effect every military object that we can effect here.  We all must be impressed with the great importance of raising and army for the next summer.  With the benefit of a short furlough for the men, I am satisfied that at Winchester I could have enlisted 500 of my regiment for the war.  With the present prospect before them, I do not know that I could get a single man.  Still, if the men could yet be placed in  a position where their spirits could be revived, many of them would re-enlist for the war.
   This is a public consideration that ought not to be overlooked.  All of the officers of this army take the same view of the case that I have above presented, and all are endeavoring to effect the same object that I am.
  I will ask you, in view of these facts, to see the Adjutant-General, the Secretary of War, and the President, if necessary, and impress these considerations upon them, and by doing so you will perform a public service as well as confer a favor upon a meritorious army.
   I would say more, but deem it unnecessary.  I have written to Hon. Walter Preston upon the same subject.
   Yours, respectfully,
                                                                                    SAML. V. FULKERSON
                                                            [Colonel Thirty-seventh Virginia Infantry.]

Official Records, Series I. Vol. 5, Part 1, Page 1040.

Jackson wanted to destroy one of the railroad bridges across the North Branch of the Potomac west of Cumberland and thus the forces in his front off from supplies coming from the west, forcing them to withdraw troops from his front.  But Loring’s command was not, by Jackson’s reckoning, in condition to move.  By leaving them in Romney in winter quarters he hoped to maintain the threat, taking with him Garnett’s brigade to Winchester to counter the possibility of Banks crossing the Potomac.  At the time Loring’s men were petitioning all and sundry to be removed from Romney, Jackson was asking for an additional regiment of cavalry to be sent there because he was apprehensive of Romney being cut off and also wanted it in order to destroy a key railroad bridge.  Johnston was inclined to order Jackson to concentrate his force and the War Department was increasingly apprehensive of a Union move across the Potomac.  To round things out, Jackson was tone deaf to the comfort of Loring’s troops or the appearance of taking the Stonewall Brigade to Winchester while leaving them in the inhospitable environs of Romney.

In the archives of VMI is a letter from Fulkerson (who was killed in the Seven Days Battles) which does a good job describing the contradictory feelings many of his officers had towards him.   It reads, in part,
"He (Jackson) is a singular man and has some most striking military traits of character and
some that are not so good."  On Fulkerson's death Jackson wrote his parents, "...permit me to say Col. S. V. Fulkerson was an officer of distinguished worth.  I deeply felt his death."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

January 22, 1862 (Tuesday): Smith Surveys Fort Henry

General C. F. Smith
Camp at Callaway, Ky., January 22, 1862. 

Headquarters District of Cairo, Ill.:
    SIR: Finding it would take the greater part of to-day to distribute our stores, I went up in the Lexington to have a look at Fort Henry. As the river is now 14 feet above its very low stage a week since, we took the right-hand (our right) channel of the island, just below the fort, and got about 2 1/2 miles from it, drawing a single shot from the enemy, which fell, say, half a mile short; this in response to four several shots fired at them. There were evidently from 2,000 to 3,000 men there. The appearance of the work corresponds, as far as could be discovered, with the rough sketch that General Grant has seen in my quarters at Paducah. The hill on the west bank, which commands the fort some 60 feet or so, seems to be covered by a thick growth of timber. Judging by the number of roofs seen in the fort it must cover considerable space.
    I think two iron-clad gunboats would make short work of Fort Henry. There is no masked battery at the foot of the island, as was supposed, or, if so, it is now under water. Two stern-wheel steamers were at the fort, but moved away rapidly at our first gun.
    The Dunbar, a fast side-wheel steamer, plies up and down, and was chased last evening by the Lexington without effect. She is said to be armed with two 12-pounder rifled guns. The commander of the Lexington thinks she has not been altered in any way.
    I shall resume my march at 8 o'clock to-morrow morning, at which time the Lexington and transport Wilson will start for Paducah, carrying some sick men and the mail.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 7, Part 1, Page 581.

The 17 gun works at Fort Henry were known to be defective from early on, but Confederate authorities were slow to respond to memos from engineers who saw the work.  Forts Henry and Donelson anchored the left of the Confederate forces in the theatre.  Taking the two would turn the Confederates under Albert Sydney Johnston out of Bowling Green, Kentucky.  As Smith notes, it would not be difficult to make short work of Fort Henry, which was partially flooded. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

January 21, 1862 (Monday): By Whose Authority?

Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio

Washington, January 21, 1862.
                    Secretary of War:
   SIR:  I am instructed by the joint committee upon the present war to inquire of you whether there is such an office as commander-in-chief of the Army of the United States, or any grade above that of major-general.  If so, by what authority is it created?  Does it exist by virtue of any law of Congress, or any usage of the Government?
    Please give the information asked for at your convenience.
         I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                            B. F. WADE,
                                                                    Chairman, &c.

Official Records, Series III., Vol. 1, Part 1, Page 804.

With each passing day the war was becoming more politicized.  The Committee on the Conduct of the War was driven by radical Republicans who had a profound distaste for the Democrat McClellan.  They found him timid and believed also he and his commanders were too easy in relations with Southerners in areas occupied by the Army.  Meeting with the Committee in a few days, McClellan would leave believing (or at least telling associates) the meeting had gone well.  But as seen here, the Committee was already sharpening its knives.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 20, 1862 (Sunday): The Burnside Expedition Sights Land

Defenses of Roanoke Island (Library of Congress)

GOLDSBOROUGH, January 20, 1862-10 p. m. 

General COOPER,
Richmond, Va.:
Just received the following via Washington, N. C.:
    At 4 p. m. yesterday (19th) there were in the sound at Hatteras 100 sail of the enemy, and 25 steamers, large-class, outside. They had pressed into the service all the pilots; three had made their escape and gave this information. The pilots report that the fleet is destined for New Berne, Washington, Hyde County, and Roanoke, and that a portion of them would move this morning.
    Please send the arms for the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-seventh Regiments by special train, and such re-enforcements as can be spared.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 51, Part 2, Page 448.

As Shakespeare said, "Problems come not singly but in battalions."  For the Confederacy in January of 1862 many of those problems related to the naval capacity of the Union forces.  In the West, Union gunboats were about the business of securing the Mississippi.  In the east, an expeditionary force had already landed and taken Port Royal Sound and now Burnside's troops were preparing a landing in eastern North Carolina.  Gatlin, in charge of all North Carolina militia forces, had scant troops or (as seen in this case) arms.  Coastal defenses were inadequate and were not nearly a match for Union firepower.   

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January 19, 1862 (Saturday): The Battle of Logan's Cross Roads

Mill Springs Battlefield (NPS)

                                                DIVISION HEADQUARTERS.
                                         Gainesborough, Tenn. January 29, 1862.

   SIR: I would most respectfully state that on the morning of the 19th of this month, at 12 oclock, I moved from our intrenchments, on the north side of Cumberland River, and attacked the enemy in position about 10 miles from camp.  The battle commenced about 7 a.m. and lasted until 10.30 a.m. the same day.  The enemy had a superior force to my own, although the information in my possession previous to the battle was that their strength was a little less, or about equal.  Re-enforcements were added to them during the engagement.  After three and a half hours of hard fighting my forces yielded to the overpowering numbers of the enemy, and, retiring, occupied our intrenchements the same afternoon.  The enemy pursued me in force and established their batteries in front of my position.  The range of their guns being superior to ours, together with the scarcity of provisions, and none to be had in the country, I deemed it advisable the same evening to cross the river, and took up my line of march for this place.  From all the information in my possession the enemy’s loss in killed and wounded was greater than ours.  We lost in killed and wounded not exceeding 300.
   The enemy sought evidently to combine their forces stationed at Somerset and Columbia, and, when such junction was made, to invest my intrenchments.  I deemed it proper, therefore, to make an attack before the junction could be effected, feeling confident, from the reports of the cavalry pickets, made at a late hour, that the waters of Fishing Creek were so high as to prevent them from uniting.  My information in that respect was correct.
   A heavy rain occurred during the progress of the engagement, and in consequence a great many of the flint-lock muskets in the hands of my men became almost unserviceable.
   I am pained to make report of the death of Brig. Gen. F. K. Zollicoffer, who fell while gallantly leading his brigade against the foe.  In his fall the country has sustained a great loss.  In counsel he has always shown wisdom, and in battle braved dangers, while coolly directing the movements of his troops.
   I will soon as possible reorganize my command.  Supplies, camp and garrison equipage, &c., are coming to me daily from Nashville by steamboat.
   In a few days I will make a report in more detail.
       I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                                        G. B. CRITTENDEN,

                                                            Richmond, Va.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 7, Part 1, Page 104.

With Zollicoffer having established position with a swollen river to his rear, Crittenden decided the best course was to move forward and engage Thomas’ Union force.  After meeting some initial success, the Confederate attack faltered when Zollicoffer was killed after mistakenly riding into Union lines.  Crittenden rallied the Confederates for about 30 minutes, but a Federal counterattack turned the rebel left and broke the entire line.  Crittenden managed to get his force off on a small sternwheeler and two old flatboats, but abandoned most of his heavy equipment (including 12 guns, small arms, 150 wagons, over 1,000 horses and mules, and a large amount of commissary stores.  One sign of the extent of the route is the amount of time it took Crittenden to make his report (10 days).

January 18, 1862 (Friday): A Superior Force to the Front, A River to the Rear

General George B. Crittenden

Reports of Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden, C. S. Army, commanding division.

Beech Grove, Ky., January 18, 1862.
   SIR: I am threatened by a superior force of the enemy in front, and finding it impossible to cross the river, I will have to make the fight on the ground I now occupy.
    If you can do so, I would ask that a diversion be made in my favor.
          I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                                           G. B. CRITTENDEN,
                                                               Major-General, Commanding.

                           Headquarters Department of the West.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 7, Part 1, Page 103.

Felix Zollicoffer was charged with covering Cumberland Gap.  After securing the gap in November he moved forward to Mill Spring on the Cumberland River (70 miles northwest), digging in at Beech Grove.  With Thomas’ Union force advancing, Crittenden arrived to take personal command, finding his previous order to move Zollicoffer’s force back across the river had not been complied with.  Complicating matters, the river now was flooded. Crittenden would soon decide an advance to contact with Union forces near Logan’s Crossroads, 10 miles away, was preferable to defending a position with a river to its rear.

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 17, 1862 (Thursday): The Most Difficult Enemy Is Ourselves

Fort Wyman Site 1958, Rolla Mo. (

SAINT LOUIS, January 17, 1862.
                    Commanding, &c, Rolla:
    GENERAL:  Yours of yesterday is received.  I regret to inform you that neither the Pay nor Quartermaster’s Department have any money.  Troops are sent from here to Cairo without pay.  I can do no better for you.  The moment money is received the forces under your command shall be supplied.  They were all paid to the 31st of October.  Some here and in North Missouri are not paid for September and October.  I have done everything in my power for the troops at Rolla, and they have no cause to complain of me.
   The truth is that Congress is so buy discussing the eternal (derogatory racial term) question that they fail to make any appropriations, and the financial departments are dead broke.  No requisitions for money are filled.
   The extra-duty pay will be forthcoming as soon as we get any money.  Assure these men that they will be paid, but they must have patience.  I am doing everything in my power for them.
   We must all do the best we can to make the men comfortable and contented till we get more means.  I rely on you to use all your powers of conciliation, especially with the German troops.  You told me you could manage them, and I rely on you to do it.  At present we have more difficulties to conquer with our own men than with the enemy.
    Yours, truly,
                                                                      H. W. HALLECK,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 8, Part 1, Page 826.

The removal of Fremont from command had been very unpopular with Missouri Republicans and German speaking soldiers.  The pay issue afforded Fremont’s allies the opportunity to stir discontent against Halleck.  Their ultimate objective was to make Sigel at least the number two in command in Missouri and regain access to patronage in the state.  Halleck attempted to move units with key rebellious officers to other posts around the state, but many of the officers found their way back to Saint Louis to advocate against him from there.