Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Wednesday, August, 21, 1861 : Cherokee Chief Ross (pictured) and the Executive Council called a general assembly of the tribe at Tahlequah, OK. With the Union forces defeated at the Battle of Bull Run and Wilson Creek, Missouri; these early confederate victories perhaps influenced Chief Ross’ decision to join the South. By a voice vote, approximately 4,000 men attending the convention voted to join the South. Soon after, Ross called up volunteers to form a mounted regiment for the South under command of Colonel John Drew. Thursday, August 22, 1861 : The Vicksburg Whig says that nearly every lady, old and young, in Warren county is busily engaged knitting socks for the soldiers—and that the result of their labor will soon be collected together, and sent on to the army. The worthy example should be followed in every county, city and town throughout the South. The New York Times writes, “With increasing numbers of Indian attacks on stagecoaches and settlers, U.S. forces in the Southwest are rapidly being diminished by the large numbers of Southern soldiers who are resigning their posts and returning to the South to support the Confederacy.”

Friday, August 23, 1861 : Hardeman County plantation owner/ planter, merchant, and civic leader, John Houston Bills (The Pillars) wrote in his diary: “I go to Union City to visit R. H. Wood & his Company in camp. I find 1/3 of his men sick of Measles. The 22 nd Reg. (Freemans) of which Capt. R.H. Woods Company is part, muster in the forenoon each day & perform well, also late in the evening. My daughter Evelina, (wife of Capt M.T. Polk) is delivered of a daughter, a promising child weighting 7 ½ lbs.” Tennessee Governor Harris declares Kentucky’s policy of armed neutrality a hostile act. The Memphis Daily Appeal writes, “The Drummer's Flag.—We have been shown an elegant flag of silk with the stars beautifully worked, which was presented by the ladies of Randolph to little Bedford, the ten year old drummer of the first regiment of Tennessee volunteers.” Saturday, August 24, 1861 : At Richmond, Virginia, President Davis names James M. Mason as commissioner to Great Britain and John Slidell as commissioner to France. In Washington, Mrs. Rose Greenhow and Mrs. Philip Phillips are arrested on charges of corresponding with Confederates. Allan Pinkerton, head of the recently-formed Secret Service, apprehended Greenhow and placed her under house arrest. Leaked information was traced back to Greenhow's home, and upon searching her home for further evidence, Pinkerton and his men found maps of Washington fortifications and notes on military movements. Lincoln informs Kentucky Governor Beriah Magoffin that he cannot and will not remove pro-Union forces from neutral Kentucky. Sunday, August 25, 1861 : In these relatively early days of the War, some days just went by without major battles, and some were even lacking in minor skirmishes. Sundays in particular were still largely respected as days of rest rather than raiding. This is not to say that peace prevailed entirely in the land however. There were some scuffles near Piggot’s Mill in western Virginia. The remaining war-related hostilities were in New Mexico Territory, and tended to involve Confederate forces battling with Indians rather than Yankees. This was not pleasing to the Confederate high command, which hoped to recruit native forces as allies, who had at least as much reason to hate Washington as the Southerners did. Monday, August, 26, 1861 : The Battle of Kessler's Cross Lanes in Nicholas County, Virginia (now West Virginia) begins in the early morning. Confederate General John B. Floyd surprised attack the Federal troops of the 7th Ohio Infantry, led by Colonel E. B. Tyler, while they were fixing their breakfast. The Federal soldiers were badly defeated and scattered. This surprise attack also known as the Battle of Knives and Forks had estimated casualties: 285 total (U.S. 245; CS 40) men, including killed and captured. Hardeman County plantation owner/ planter, merchant, and civic leader, John Houston Bills (The Pillars) wrote in his diary: “Return home as far as Jackson, where we are stopped by the bridge across the Forked Deer burned. It rained all day. I have with me a very sick soldier named Brown.”

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