Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Wednesday, January 1, 1862 : A new year brings new rules; President Lincoln declares slavery in the Confederate states unlawful. Editorials in Northern papers are full of thoughts about what is to be done with slaves, should they win their freedom. Most all seem to favor the idea of returning them to tropical climates elsewhere – Haiti or Liberia, for example. Also, today, the first U.S. income tax (3% of incomes more than $600, 5% of incomes more than $10,000) goes into effect. Collecting from citizens would prove to be difficult. William Luther Bigelow Lawrence, a Nashville lawyer before the Civil War wrote in his diary: “Every preparation is being made to fasten the yoke of bondage upon the beautiful & chivalrous Southern country, but our people are determined to be forever free & independent of the Northern fanatics & tho the war may be long & bloody we will never submit”. The Memphis Appeal reports on the resignation of General Gideon Pillow (CSA) and describes his emotional good-bye to his troops. Pillow, who has resigned after a dispute with General Leonidas Polk (CSA), will reconsider his resignation a few days later and will be reinstated by Jefferson Davis. Thursday, January 2, 1862 : “Stone Wall” Jackson (CSA) Brigade reaches Unger's Store, West Virginia, traveling over rough mountain roads in bad weather. The Union finally acquires machine guns, and Colonel John W. Geary's 28th Pennsylvania Infantry is the first unit to receive the guns for battle. Newspapers such as the Memphis, Tennessee, “Argus” were noting that the Confederate armies were taking huge numbers of men out of productive work, and they weren’t doing any fighting either. Plus, taxes were too high. Friday, January 3, 1862 : Confederate troops in Greenville, Tennessee, hang two East Tennesseans who were caught burning the Lick Creek Bridge. The Confederate Stonewall Brigade reaches Bath, West Virginia and tries, unsuccessfully, to surprise Union troops. Confederate President Jefferson Davis writes a letter to the governor of Mississippi expressing his concern over the presence of Union troops on Ship Island near Biloxi, Mississippi. Davis warns that the Union is planning an offensive that will likely be aimed at New Orleans or Mobile. Confederate troops at Big Bethel, Virginia evacuate following a skirmish. Saturday, January 4, 1862 : General George McClellan (U.S.) was flat on his back suffering from typhoid fever, and President Lincoln was operating directly as “commander-in-chief” sent General Don Carlos Buell (U.S.) in Kentucky a telegram asking when, he might be able to commence a long-awaited movement into eastern Tennessee, an area of considerable Union sympathy. Buell sent a noncommittal reply, as he was not sure the move was a good idea and was in no hurry to begin it. Sunday, January 5, 1862 : Brig. General Zollicoffer (CSA) sends out a proclamation to the state of Kentucky explaining that his continuing presence in Kentucky is not to invade them, but to protect them from incursions by abolitionists and other “Northern hordes.” Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson captures the city of Bath, Virginia (neither name is the same today; the town is known as Berkeley Springs, West Virginia) and chases the Federals to the Potomac River. The Federals across and enter Hancock, Maryland. Jackson orders the mayor to surrender the town, but he refuses. Jackson then allows women and children to leave. He then shells the town from across the river. Jackson's troops burn the railroad bridge over the Great Cacapon River in Western Virginia and damage a dam on the C&O Canal along the Potomac. Monday, January 6, 1862 : Reports spread of arson in several Southern cities that leaves enormous devastation behind: Charleston has $12,000,000 damage; Montgomery is “set a fired in six different places by slaves”; a million dollars of commissary stores in Nashville are destroyed; a fire in Norfolk flattens the Custom-house, the post office, and a number of other buildings; public buildings in Richmond, a powder-mill in New Orleans, and the entire town of Greenville, Alabama, are burned. The Senate urged Lincoln to replace McClellan because of his seeming lack of activity. However, Lincoln supported McClellan (U.S.). Tuesday, January 7, 1862 : Not wanting to cross over the Potomac into Maryland, Jackson’s Confederate troops retreat and after a fight at Blue's Gap, in now West Virginia, travel toward Romney, in now West Virginia though the mountains in an ice storm that even made walking difficult. The troops are surprised by Union forces at Hanging Rock Pass, but they eventually reach Unger's Store. Three Union

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