Chronological History of the American Civil War
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$12 million he spent in barely a month. Some of this was for gunboats and uniforms, but an amazing amount was spent on “fortifications”, food and parties. Fremont’s response: he put Blair under arrest, and cancelled the march to Lexington. Monday, September 16, 1861 : Today, Hardeman County plantation owner/ planter, merchant, and civic leader, John Houston Bills (The Pillars) wrote in his diary: “The remains of Monroe Hardeman who died in Knoxville arrived & is buried in the Polk Cemetery beside his Mother this day. His servant says he died of Typhoid Diares. He lived in Caldwell County, Texas & was the oldest son of Thomas Jones Hardeman, Esq. formally of this County & first Cousin of Mrs. Bills the first. This day is excessively hot.” (Thomas Hardeman – our first county court clerk for whom the county is named, his desk is in The Little Courthouse Museum). In Missouri, Union reinforcements sent to Lexington were captured en route by the Confederates who knew their movements beforehand. Confederate forces evacuate Ship Island, Mississippi at Gulfport leaving the Island open to occupation by Union troops. Tuesday, September, 17, 1861 : The Union takes possession of Ship Island, Mississippi, with the landing party from the U.S.S. Massachusetts. The Island will become an important staging and refueling site for the blockading squadrons. Wednesday, September 18, 1861 : The Confederates launched a major assault on Lexington, Missouri. The Union defenders were cut off from their fresh water supplies by Confederate snipers. Lincoln and his cabinet continue to discuss the conduct of Fremont. Thursday, September, 19, 1861 : The Cumberland Gap became the principal passage between the
eastern and western theaters of operation in the Upper South during the war. Whichever side held the high ground here held the Gap. Today, the Confederates make a strong defense around Cumberland Gap, Bowling Green, and Columbus. General Felix Zollicoffer (a Tennessee newspaperman with no military training) led 5,400 Confederate troops to drive pro-Union Kentucky troops out of the vicinity of Barboursville, Kentucky. Friday, September, 20, 1861 : Confederate forces captured the hills around Lexington, Missouri, thus making the city
even more open to artillery attacks. An attempt to get supplies to the Union defenders via the river system failed when the Confederates captured the supply boats along with their supplies.
Saturday, September, 21, 1861 : For eight days the Confederates of Sterling Price had had a small Federal unit, the “Irish Guard” under Col. James A. Mulligan, surrounded and besieged in Lexington, Missouri. Mulligan, hopelessly outnumbered, refused to surrender because he was expecting a relief column to be sent by James Fremont (US) from St. Louis. Fremont never showed up. Lexington finally fell to Confederate forces. Along with 1,600 prisoners, the Confederates also found $1 million – the Union forces payroll. Fremont’s perceived failure to help the Union defenders at Lexington badly counted against him in Washington DC.
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