Here is a belated look at events of the Civil War 150 years ago this week in September, 1862.
Military events: Confederate Heartland Offensive: CS General Kirby Smith occupies the state capital Frankfort, Kentucky, and waits there for General Bragg’s forces to arrive. (18) General Heth’s move toward Cincinnati elicits a strong alarm there over the next several days. Bragg and Forrest are in the area of Sparta, Tennessee, and Bragg orders the cavalry commander to observe and harass the rear of Buell’s army, as well as protect Bragg’s left flank. Forrest gets reinforcement with four Alabama companies of his old regiment, as well as some artillery pieces. Between now and September 8th, Forrest and his men will have many skirmishes with Union troops. (4)
Antietam/Sharpsburg: General Lee moves north through the Shenandoah with 55,000 men. Advance elements cross into Maryland. (20) President Lincon orders Generak Halleck to organize immediately an army for active operations from all material within his control independent of forces needed for defense of Washington and to put this army in field. (5)
Western Theater: On the Mississippi River, after being fired on from waterfront buildings, a US gunboat shells Natchez until the mayor surrenders unconditionally. (12)
Military events: Confederate Heartland Offensive: Some 70,000 untrained, inexperienced volunteers have swelled Union ranks to protect Cincinnati. US General Wright asks Ohio’s governor to send no more. (18) Meanwhile, General Buell realizes Bragg is heading for Kentucky. Buell starts five divisions northward, paralleling Bragg’s march and heading for Bowling Green, instead of intercepting him, in order to protect the L&N Railroad. Although Buell also leaves behind three divisions to guard Nashville, Governor Andrew Johnson is dismayed, blurting out to a friend, “Moody, we are sold out! Buell is a traitor! He is going to evacuate the city and in forty-eight hours we shall be in the hands of the Rebels!” (2)
In Washington, General McClellan establishes a guard at President’s residence on the grounds of the Soldiers Home. (5)
Military events: After Manassas/Second Manassas, “Pope is relieved of his command and assigned to command operations against the Sioux in Minnesota. Subsequently, Pope charges McDowell and Porter with disobeying the Joint Order and causing the defeat. McDowell is relieved of command of his corps, shelved for two years, and eventually sent to the Pacific Coast to command Union forces there. Porter is court martialed and dismissed from the service in January 1863. The convinction is reversed in 1879, fourteen years after the war’s end.” (14)
Military Events: Antietam/Sharpsburg: The main body of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia enters Frederick, Maryland. McClellan moves out of Washington with an 87,000-man army in pursuit, believing he is facing 120,000 Confederates. (20)
Western Theater: Having lost access to foreign commerce with the fall of New Orleans, Confederates are now heavily reinforcing Port Hudson, Louisiana, to prevent Union gunboats from blockading the mouth of the Red River, where Southern supplies are now moving. Their batteries fire today on a Union gunboat. (12)
Military events: Antietam/Sharpsburg: Moving north through Maryland, Lee’s men destroy the Baltimore & Ohio railroad bridge over the Monacacy River. (6)
Confederate Heartland Offensive: General Forrest rejoins Bragg at Glasgow, Kentucky, and is ordered to report to General Polk’s corps. Polk sends the cavalrymen that night to seize the Elizabethtown and Bardstown Road above Munfordville. (4)
Military events: Antietam/Sharpsburg: General Lee issues Special Order No. 191, outlining his plans for the campaign. Copies are sent to all his commanders, but the one for D. H. Hill is lost. General Hill, though, receives his order from General Jackson and no one realizes one copy is missing. (20)
Confederate Heartland Offensive: At Munfordville, General Forrest’s cavalry encounters Union troops that are waiting to capture them. The Confederate horsemen force the Federals to withdraw, and carry on with their mission. Their horses are very weary and Forrest’s falls and rolls on him. The general is bruised and dislocates his shoulder, “causing much pain for several days.” (4)
Western Theater: Skirmish near Rienzi, Mississippi. (19)
(3) Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson
(4) The Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. N.B. Forrest, and of Forrest’s Cavalry by Thomas Jordan, J. P. Pryor
(5) The Lincoln Log timeline.
(7) Henry Halleck’s War: A Fresh Look at Lincoln’s Controversial General-In-Chief, by Curt Anders
(8) Grant Chronology, Mississippi State University.
(9)”The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government” (Vol. II), Jefferson Davis.
(10) Civil War Home’s “The Eastern Theater: 2nd Manassas, Antietam and Fredericksburg.”
(11) The Army of Northern Virginia in 1862, by William Allan (1892)
(12) Conquest of the Lower Mississippi. BrownWaterNavy.org.
(15) A Year of Glory, August 1862, part 2.
(16) The Strategy of Robert E. Lee, by J. J. Bowen (1914).
(20) The Maryland Campaign.
Categories: American Civil War