Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Thursday, July 31, 1862 : In response to Union General John Pope's order that citizens be shot as spies, Confederate President Jefferson Davis orders Pope's (U.S.) officers be held as felons and not prisoners-of- war. Friday, August 1, 1862 : President Jefferson Davis had a lot to worry about, with the extremely limited powers of the president under the Confederate Constitution, not to mention he had a war to run. Most of his worries and complaints wound up in his letters to Robert E. Lee, as one went out, today. In it Davis revealed like many Southerners, that he was increasingly concerned about reports that the North was arming Negroes--which they weren’t, yet--and the assumption that these arms were all going to escaped slaves--which they weren’t, either yet. Saturday, August, 2, 1862 : President Jefferson Davis furthered his stand by ordering issued General Order Number 54. This was in response to General Pope’s (U.S.) order that anyone caught helping Confederate forces in areas under his command would be executed. General Order Number 54 stated that General Pope and his subordinate officers would not be treated as prisoners-of-war, if captured and would be held in close confinement. It also stated that if anyone was executed for helping the Confederates, Unionists prisoners selected by lot would be executed in retaliation. John Houston Bills in his diary writes: “Very hot. No change in the aspect of affairs for the better. Negros flocking in with the hope of being freed by the U. S. forces. We shall see.” Sunday, August 3, 1862 : McClellan, having been previously instructed to be more aggressive in his campaign against Richmond, was ordered to withdraw to Alexandria, Virginia, which was a lot closer to Washington, D.C. This was done to bolster the capital’s defence. McClellan claimed that his forces would have been of greater value threatening Richmond. Skirmish on Nonconnah Creek, in Tennessee, near Memphis. Monday, August 4, 1862 : As a result of the failure of his previous request for volunteers, Lincoln called for 300,000 men to serve for only nine months. Despite manpower being an issue, the President refused to accept two African-American regiments raised in Indiana. Abraham Lincoln, issued orders today, that Regular Army commanders were to begin the process of weeding out the incompetents and deadwood officers that were elected, by companies of men they had recruited. This was not received well by most and was not entirely successful, nor done as quickly as it might have been. The U.S. government collects its first income tax which was not too successful either. Most people, just did not pay it!

Tuesday, August 5, 1862 : The battle to retake Baton Rouge, Louisiana today, was led by General John Breckinridge (CSA) as rebels assaulted the Federals under General Thomas Williams (U.S.) in dense fog, driving them back. With help from heavy gunboats on the Mississippi the Union men reformed for a counterattack. Williams was killed almost immediately, but the Confederates were forced to withdraw. The unfinished gunboat C.S.S. Arkansas was no help in the battle; it didn’t arrive until after it was over, due to faulty engines. Captain Alexander A Todd, (CSA) (pictured) brother-in-law to President Lincoln, but fighting for the Confederates, was killed in fighting during an attack on Baton Rouge along with estimated casualties: 849 total (US 371; CS 478).

Wednesday, August 6, 1862 : The C.S.S. Arkansas was the biggest gunboat, the Confederacy ever set sail on the Mississippi River. Now with its engines now refired, it moved into sight of the gunboat U.S.S. Essex, but the engines failed again breaking the “king pins” on the crankshaft. This time, she was blown up and scuttled by her own crew. Thursday, August 7, 1862 : Union cavalry force was at Wood Springs, located about 5 miles east of Dyersburg, Tennessee. They spotted a Confederate cavalry force nearby and was able to sneak up on them and attack. The Confederates, were caught off guard and routed from the area. Near Fort Fillmore, New Mexico, a Union force, commanded by Brig. General E.R.S. Canby, (U.S.) encountered a Confederate force near the fort. They attacked and defeated the Confederates, who were in the process of retreating from Santa Fe.

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