This Day in the Civil War: 10/13/10

Sunday Oct. 13 1861

Things were going rather slowly in Sterling Price’s first expedition to retake Missouri for the Confederacy. He and his men had had a success in the siege and battle of Lexington, when Fremont sat in St. Louis fighting political battles rather than military ones. Finally, though, Fremont had gotten a force together and was moving towards where he thought Price might be. As Price wished to discourage this, he attempted to cut the telegraph wires wherever he could. Today’s telecommunication outages took place near Henrytown, at a locale known variously as Dutch or Monday Hollow, and also as Wet Glaize, Mo. Federal scouts caught Price’s people at it, and a small battle ensued.

Monday Oct. 13 1862

The Constitution of the Confederate States of America is in many ways a fascinating document. Modeled almost word for word after the US Constitution, it is best known for its differences from the earlier document, such as a single six-year term for the President as well as repeated references to the everlasting legality of the institution of slavery. The similarities, however, were considerable, and included the right of habeas corpus, the rule that persons could only be arrested on specific charges, and had the right to have these heard before a judge. The Congress today renewed a law authorizing the suspension of these rights. Then they adjourned the second session of the First Congress.

Tuesday Oct. 13 1863

It would have been a case of “déjà vu all over again” if such a phrase existed at this time, because Robert E. Lee seemed to be retracing the exact steps and maneuvers as had occurred before the dreadful Second Battle of Bull Run, or Battle of Manassas in the Southern nomenclature. The Army of Northern Virginia had crossed the Rapidan and headed north, before curving west as though to cut between Gen. George Meade’s Army of the Potomac and the city they were supposed to protect, Washington D.C. Meade seemed intent on keeping his position near Richmond, and Lincoln was in a state of near-hysteria. Again he wired Meade, “How is it now?” Finally on the move, Meade today responded that he was headed for Manassas and Centerville, and was no longer likely to be cut off from the capital.

Thursday Oct. 13 1864

John Singleton Mosby was technically a cavalryman, but really belonged to that category known as “Confederate raiders.” Rather than scouting and screening for an army of infantry, he and his men operated independently, taking supplies, tearing up communications lines, and generally raising hell wherever they could. They raised a great deal today when they tore out some railroad tracks. The next train along naturally derailed, and Mosby’s men pounced. Great was their glee when they discovered the Army payroll was on board. Relieving the two Union paymasters of $173,000, they compounded their nuisance value by burning the train.

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