Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Sunday, December 1, 1861 : Lincoln becomes impatient with General McClellan's lack of aggression. Lincoln wanted to know “just how long would it require to actually get [it] (the U.S. Army) in motion?” Little Mac was learning just how long it was going to take to get this command trained and in shape to wage war. It would never be fast enough for Lincoln. The Union gunboat Penguin prevents the Confederate blockade-runner Albion from carrying supplies to the Confederate troops and captures the ship. The Union blockade tightens off the coast of Georgia when the U.S.S. Seminole , commanded by John S. Missroon, captures the sloop Lida .

Monday, December 2, 1861 : The right of habeas corpus (Latin for “produce the body,” more or less) is one of those little Constitutional tidbits that people seldom think about until they find themselves rotting in jail, and the jailers under no obligation to ever let a judge decide whether one belong there or not. It is one of the cornerstones of the American legal system. In the earliest days of the War; Abraham Lincoln had suspended the right in the corridor between Washington and New York, primarily to deal with secessionist elements in Baltimore. Today, he authorized General Henry Halleck (pictured) to do the same in his jurisdiction in the Department of Missouri. This was of very uncertain legality, as the Constitution requires that the Legislature, not the Executive, have this right of suspension. Congress did, later, give retroactive approval, setting what many in later years consider an unforgivable precedent.

Tuesday, December 3, 1861 : Lincoln gave his State of the Union address to Congress. In his speech, Lincoln recommends that “steps be taken” to colonize the slaves who have come across Union lines, along with any freed blacks who wish to emigrate. The Union started its move against New Orleans when ‘ USS Constitution’ arrived at Ship Island at the mouth of the Mississippi River carrying the 26th Massachusetts Regiment. Wednesday, December 4, 1861 : Great Britain announced an embargo on all exports to the US. Thursday, December 5, 1861 : The Federal Congress considers bills to abolish slavery, particularly in Confederate territory. The U.S. Secretary of War announced that Unionist strength stood at 660,971 men of whom 640,637 were volunteers. Naval Secretary Gideon Welles reports 22,000 sailors and marines. The Federal Navy had collected wooden ships of little service and filled them with stones to be used to block the rivers and ports in the Savannah area. Flag Officer Du Pont instead uses the stoneboats as a show of force, enabling him to take Wassaw Sound in Georgia with ease. The Memphis Daily reported: “The Concordia Cavalry (1st Louisiana Cavalry Regiment, Company F, CSA, Concordia Parish, Louisiana), Capt. Benjamin, left their encampment at this point yesterday on the Magenta , for Bowling Green, Kentucky. They bear in their midst a large sized black flag on which appear, in bold relief, death's head and bare bones. These Concordians go to expel, not capture, vandal invaders of their homes and firesides, and they will make their mark.” Friday, December 6, 1861 : Union Brigadier General George G. Meade leads a foraging expedition in search of food into northern Virginia in the area of Dranesville. Saturday, December 7, 1861 : In a scene that mirrored the ‘Trent’ incident, the ‘ USS Santiago de Cuba ’ stopped a British ship, the ‘ Eugenia Smith ’ and a Southerner called J W Zacharie was taken off. Zacherie was a purchasing agent for the Confederacy. When this sort of thing had been done by the Royal Navy against American ships some time earlier it had contributed to the start of the War of 1812. The Memphis Appeal states: “Capt. Reading, of the Farnsworth Guards, will suspend from his recruiting office, No. 6 Adams Street, near Front row, this morning, at 11 o'clock, the largest Confederate flag ever manufactured in the young republic. The size of this flag, we understand, is thirty feet by forty-five. It will be thrown to the breeze with appropriate honors.” Sunday, December 8, 1861 : As this Sabbath was commendably unmarred by acts of mayhem and militarism, it offers an opportunity to note the actions of an unlikely group of war supporters: The American Bible Society. This group, supported entirely by private donations from individuals and

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