Sunday Jan. 19 1862
ZIGGING, ZAGGING ZOLLICOFFER ZAPPED
His superiors had told Gen. George Crittenden not to go north of the
Cumberland River--and he had ignored them and moved his men anyway.
This proved not to be a good idea at all, as he discovered when his
forces were set upon by the troops of U.S. Gen. George Thomas.
Thomas, who was still a year away from getting the title of the
“Rock of Chickamauga”, was still operating under an earlier
nickname, “Old Slow Trot.” He was far from speedy but implacable
once prepared for an attack. They called it the Battle of Mill
Springs. Crittenden’s fellow Gen. Felix Kirk Zollicoffer was also on
the north side of the river and caught up in the fight as well.
Zollicoffer’s habit of wearing a white raincoat proved most
unfortunate, as he was shot dead in the altercation. Most of the
Confederate troops escaped back across the Cumberland, but much
equipment and supplies were left behind.
Monday Jan. 19 1863
FREDERICKSBURG FOLLIES FACE FORCES FORDWARD
Incredible as it may seem, U.S. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, even after
watching the carnage of five futile attacks at Fredericksburg, Va. a
month ago, still felt that an attack on the Army of Northern
Virginia at that town was a winnable proposition. As no one had any
better ideas, Burnside had finally persuaded Lincoln to let him try
it. Therefore the Army of the Potomac was rousted out of their
winter camps around Falmouth and set marching towards the U.S. Ford
across the Rappahannock River. Today the first two of the three
Grand Divisions into which the Army was divided neared the ford. The
reorganization of the army from the Grand Division model into the
smaller, more maneuverable corps structure was still some months
Tuesday Jan. 19 1864
CONFEDERATE CREATIVITY CONNIVES CRUEL COAL
Much is often made of the disadvantages the “agricultural, pastoral”
south faced in fighting the “industrialized, technological” North
during the Civil War. This should not be taken to extremes, however.
The Confederacy certainly had manufacturing capabilities, and
moreover had some very ingenious persons employed in the war effort
to use creativity in weapons design. One such was nasty little item
devised around this time: the “coal torpedo.” It was a hollow lump
of cast iron, the hollow part of which was packed with gunpowder and
sealed. This was then milled, ground and painted until it looked
like a perfectly ordinary lump of coal. All that was required was
for a passerby at a Union naval fueling station to drop this into a
coal pile about to be loaded onto a ship. When the bomb was shoveled
into the ship’s boiler it didn’t even need a fuse to turn it into a
devastating explosive. Not enough were made to have much of an
effect, although one would come close next year in City Point, Va.
Thursday Jan. 19 1865
SAVANNAH SUFFICIENTLY SETTLED, SHERMAN SETS STAGES
The troops of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman had been in command of
Savannah, Ga. and Beaufort, S. C., since just before Christmas.
Songs were already written about the epic march that had gotten them
“From Atlanta to the Sea”, but this was far from being the final
goal of Sherman’s campaign. Today the marching orders went forth, at
least for some groups of soldiers: time to head out. The campaign
was now organized to move in “stages”, and the first forces left
today with the initial goal of Goldsborough, N.C. Their orders were
to be at that place no later than March 15, and not much earlier
either. The movement by stages required coordination of all forces,
with rapid progress by one just as dangerous as slow travel by
another. It would not be easy to do this march in the dead of
winter, even this far south.
Choose a different date