Here is a belated look at events of the Civil War 150 years ago this week in October, 1862.
Military events: Confederate Heartland Offensive: Buell, thinking that Bragg will turn and fight him at Danville, leaves Louisville in the hands of the US Military Governor General Jeremiah Boyle and sets out for Bardstown, his corps taking different routes. Constant skirmishes with Confederate guerrillas and raiders, along with lack of plentiful water because of the drought, and short supplies, make the journeys difficult. (2)
Iuka and Corinth Operations: The combined army of Generals Van Dorn and Price marches along the Memphis & Charleston Railroad to Pocahontas, Tennessee. Grant is aware of the movement but unsure of their ultimate destination. (19)
Tennessee Operations: General Nathan Bedford Forrest finds only a small force (the 32nd Alabama, formed in April 1862 but already with combat experience) and one artillery battery (Freeman’s Battery) at Murfreesboro, but some 2500 militia and cavalry recruits – all new – at Lavergne nearby, under the command of General S. R. Anderson (according to his online biographies, General Anderson had resigned from the Confederate army for health reasons and returned home in May 1862; perhaps this was something informal he did before rejoining the army in 1864). Forrest sends the 32nd Alabama to Lavergne. (4) This is just a guess, but Forrest showed up a few days later with another battalion, under W. C. Bacot, with whom he had fought in Alabama earlier in the war (all I could find on Bacot is here, while a working link to Russell’s 4th Cavalry is here). I suspect Forrest then left the new troops under the more experienced 32nd Alabama men and went out to tap his Alabama network for any and all troops he could find. There wouldn’t be any readily available documentation on that, but certainly the battalion didn’t materialize out of thin air.
Western Theater: President Davis replaces General Van Dorn with General John C. Pemberton, who will be responsible for, among other things, the defense of Vicksburg. (6) On the Mississippi, US Commander David Dixon Porter is given command of the newly organized Mississippi Squadron (formerly the Gunboat Squadron) and the rank of admiral. “In the months that followed, the gunboats constantly patrolled the river to protect Union communications, to gather information on Confederate activity, and to cut the flow across the Mississippi of food and men to Confederate armies in the East. The effects of the Union control of the Western Rivers was demonstrated when KATAHDIN, KINEO and two other Union gunboats intercepted a drove of some 1,500 cattle from Texas at Donaldsonville, LA, and loaded them on transports for passage to New Orleans. The value of this beef to the South could be attested to by the fact that, 4 miles below Donaldsonville, about 3,000 infantrymen supported by 9 field pieces struck back at the ships in a desperate attempt to recapture the cattle. The gunboats opened fire promptly and in about 20 minute drove the Confederates from their position. This was also period of constant stress and peril for the gunboats. ‘We are constantly under fire…as we pass up and down the river,’ Lt. Commander Roe, of KATAHDIN, reported. ‘Our fighting is a savage Indian warfare. The troops and guns are concealed, and watch for us as we pass along and fire and flee.'” (12)
Other: Eastern Theater: President Lincoln visits Harper’s Ferry on his way to Antietam. (6)
Battles: Iuka/Corinth Operations: Skirmish near Ramer’s Crossing of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. (17)
Military events/Other: Confederate Heartland Offensive: Members of the shadow Confederate Kentucky government join generals Smith and Bragg in Frankfort for the inauguration of Confederate Governor Richard Hawes.
Iuka/Corinth Operations: Generals Van Dorn and Price bivouac their army at Chewalla, and Grant realizes they are heading for Corinth. (19)
Other: Eastern Theater: President Lincoln visits General McClellan at Sharpsburg. (6)
Battles: Iuka/Corinth Operations: The Battle of Corinth/Second Battle of Corinth begins.
Battles: Iuka/Corinth Operations: The Battle of Corinth/Second Battle of Corinth ends.
Military events/Other: Confederate Heartland Offensive: Richard Hawes is inaugurated as Confederate governor of Kentucky. However, artillery fire from one of Buell’s divisions under General Joshua Sill interrupts the proceedings and the Confederates retreat. General Bragg is convinced that Buell’s entire army is massed around Frankfort and engages the small Union detachments in the area, while the remainder of his army falls back to Perryville. (18)
Military events: Confederate Heartland Offensive: Two of Buell’s corps rendezvous at Bardstown, and at a conference with his second-in-command General Thomas and General Crittenden, Buell decides to tackle them at Perryville. (2)
Western Theater: Mississippi Squadron: The Confederate transport Dan is boarded and captured on Calcasieu Lake, Louisiana. (12)
Military events: Confederate Heartland Offensive: Buell and his two corps move out of Bardstown to rendezvous with General McCook a few miles ahead and advance on Perryville. (2)
Iuka/Corinth Operations: Confederate attack on Confederate camp at Corinth. (17) Does anyone have any more information on this?
Battles: Tennessee Operations. Federal forces from Nashville launch a surprise attack on Confederate troops at Lavergne. The 32nd Alabama holds, but the new recruits “broke and dispersed through the country.” Eventually, the Alabamans are overwhelmed and captured. General Forrest, at Murfreesboro, hurries to the scene with Bacot’s Battalion and Freeman’s Battery, but finds the Yankees gone, already returned to Nashville. Forrest deploys Bacot’s veterans to guard the approaches from Nashville and for the next four weeks, intensively trains the existing new troops and welding the incomplete collection of volunteers and militia in Tennessee into formal military units. (4)
Military events: Confederate Heartland Offensive: Union and Confederate forces skirmish over water near Perryville. (18)
Iuka/Corinth Operations: General Grant orders General Rosecrans to stop pursuing General Van Dorn. Rosecrans resents the order and things start to deteriorate between him and General Grant. (8)
(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.
(14) The Strategy of Robert E. Lee, by J. J. Bowen (1914).
(18) Antietam timeline.
Categories: American Civil War