The American Civil War 150th Anniversary – November 12-18, 1862

Here is a look at events in the Civil War 150 years ago this week in November 1862. It was still a little slow this week (except at the US Navy Yard on the 15th!), but things will start picking up next week.

And as always, you can click any image in these posts to enlarge it.

Cumberland Gap

Cumberland Gap in 1862, sketched by Dr. B. Howard, “Harper’s Weekly.” (Library of Congress)

November 12

Military events: Tennessee operations: Bad weather (including the first October snow fall Tennessee’s residents can recall) and lack of food have caused outbreaks of disease in CS General Bragg’s army.

Some 15,000 men are in hospitals in East Tennessee and emergency hospitals have been set up all the way to North Georgia. Desertion and stragglers complicate the picture. Some regiments are down to a hundred men, and Bragg laments that he only has about 30,000 for a new campaign.

Also interdepartmental problems and friction between Bragg and General E. Kirby Smith delay organization of the army. Some of Bragg’s corps commanders are also unhappy with him. Nonetheless, Bragg has decided to place his army in a defensive-offensive position at Murfreesboro where the Confederates can live off the land while enticing US General Rosecrans to leave heavily defended Nashville and attack them. (18)

Holly Springs, MS

Holly Springs, MS, sketched for a January 1863 edition of “Harper’s Weekly.” (Source)

November 13

Military events: Mississippi Operations: General Grant’s cavalry occupies Holly Springs, gaining control of its rail connections. (8)

November 14

Military events: Operations on the Mississippi River: Admiral Farragut arrives in New Orleans seeking troop commitments from US General Butler for an attack on Mobile Bay. Instead, he learns of the Confederate buildup at Port Hudson and the difficulties Butler is having in providing enough troops to hold current Union positions in the area, as well as the captured cities of Galveston, Corpus Christi and Sabine Pass. (12) Both the admiral and the general are unaware that President Lincoln plans to replace Butler with General Banks. (7)

November 15

Military events: Mississippi operations: General Grant is planning to head for Jackson, Mississippi, east of Vicksburg, with General Sherman. However, General-in-Chief Halleck limits the operation to “rapid marches upon any collected forces of the enemy,” though he has approved Grant’s advance to Holly Springs. Meanwhile, US Admiral Porter, on a suggestion from General Sherman, moves several gunboats to the mouth of the Yazoo River, just upstream from Vicksburg. (7)


No, Captain Dahlgren was not the West’s first rocketeer. (Source)

Other: “President Abraham Lincoln had no hobbies, few close friends, and did not go in for theater, music, or other frivolous entertainment. He did have one area of enjoyment that he just could not resist: he loved gadgets. He would go out at any hour to see demonstrations of new devices being shown off by their proud inventors, or undergoing testing by one or another military research office. Today, accompanied by Secretary of State William Seward and Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, he went to the Navy Yard, at the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. They were to watch Capt. John A. B. Dahlgren, commander of the yards, test a device called the Hyde rocket. It was set in its perforated launch tube, fired, and promptly exploded on the “pad”, showering debris all around. Dahlgren, horrified that he had nearly killed his commander-in-chief and wiped out the upper levels of the U.S. Government, ordered development of rocketry cancelled.” (Source.)

Meanwhile, in the Confederacy, the resignation of Secretary of War George Randolph over President Davis’s control of the War Department creates a “profound sensation.” (6)

November 16

Battles: Lebanon, Tennessee: One of CS General John Hunt Morgan’s regiments is forced to withdraw to Baird’s Mill, Tennessee, when it is attacked by a strong force of Union infantry and cavalry. (2)

November 17

Military Events: Two corp of the Army of the Potomac reach the north bank of the Rappahannock River opposite Fredericksburg before General Lee can block them, but Burnside can’t order a crossing yet – the army’s pontoon bridges have been delayed by “a nearly unbelievable set of blunders and red tape.” (3, 17)

Fredericksburg from Falmouth, November-December, 1862

Fredericksburg from Falmouth, November-December, 1862, by A. R. Waud. (Library of Congress)


(1)  The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

(2)  Morgan’s Raiders and The L&N Railroad in the Civil War, by Dan Lee (2011).

(3)  Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson (2003 – see side bar for link).

(4) The Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. N.B. Forrest, and of Forrest’s Cavalry by Thomas Jordan, J. P. Pryor (1868).

(5) The Lincoln Log timeline.

(6) Blue and Gray Timeline.

(7) Henry Halleck’s War: A Fresh Look at Lincoln’s Controversial General-In-Chief, by Curt Anders (1999).

(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.

(13) The Strategy of Robert E. Lee, by J. J. Bowen (1914).

(14) Campaigns of the Civil War.

(15) Antietam timeline.

(16) The Lexington Rifles/1862.

(17) Inside the Army of the Potomac, the Civil War Experience of Captain Francis Adams Donaldson, edited by J. Gregory Acken (1998).

(18) Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862-1865, by Thomas Lawrence Connelly (1971)

(19) Those Damn Horse Soldiers, by George Walsh (2006).

Categories: American Civil War

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