Saturday, March 1 1862
GRANT GOING GREAT GUNS
Ulysses S. Grant was the hero of the North these days following his
forces’ victories at Ft. Henry and Ft. Donelson. This adulation was
not universal, especially in the households which were receiving
notice that a family member had become a casualty in the operation.
The focus on Grant also involved overlooking the contributions of
quite a few others, of course, especially the US Navy. The level of
cooperation achieved between the Army and Navy during the operations
on the Western rivers was extraordinary. Today Grant’s boss, Maj.
Gen. Henry Halleck, cut him new orders. He was to proceed south, up
the Tennessee River, toward Eastport, Miss. The first skirmishes
occurred at an obscure place called Pittsburg Landing, Tenn.
Sunday, March 1 1863
SOUTH SUFFERING SEVERE SNOWS
The new month brought no improvement to the situation in the
Confederacy, most of which was still shivering under one of the
worst winters in memory. The means to cope with the inclemency was
waning rapidly as well, as the system for the distribution of food
was increasingly disrupted. The climate was not as bad in the
Western Confederacy, and Vicksburg was still unconquered, but there
was famine approaching in Richmond. The Southern railway system had
long suffered from a bizarre system in which track widths in each
state were slightly different. This meant that a cargo of wheat from
Texas, or beef from Florida, might have to be offloaded from one car
to another every time a state border was crossed. It made moving
large masses long distances extremely difficult.
Tuesday, March 1 1864
RICHMOND RAID RUDELY REPULSED
Gen. Judson Kilpatrick’s cavalry forces, now divided into two units,
were nearing Richmond on their mission to free the Union prisoners
of war. Neither party knew that Richmond knew they were coming. The
prison in the heart of the national capital had been a source of
nervousness to the citizenry since the beginning. Rumors of planned
escapes had swept the city regularly. Now that an actual attack was
coming the city arose. A home guard was hastily organized, made up
of recuperating wounded soldiers, old men, and plain civilians.
Clerks put down their pens and took up guns. And they did their
job--Kilpatrick was repulsed and forced to retreat. He gave up and
headed east. Dahlgren, approaching from the west with 500 men, met a
force headed by Custis Lee. Realizing that Kilpatrick had failed,
Dahlgren ordered his men to withdraw in the night.
Wednesday, March 1 1865
ABOLISHMENT AMENDMENT ACCEPTED, AVOIDED
The Thirteenth Amendment had fought a long battle through a
contentious Congress just to make it to the ratification process.
Now it was wending its way through the legislatures of states that
had themselves been torn over the issue of slavery for decades. In
perhaps the oddest coincidence of the process, on this day the
amendment was ratified in Wisconsin--and rejected in New Jersey.
This is not as suprising as it may seem today. Wisconsin had never
allowed slavery, but it was perfectly legal in the Garden State. In
fact, it took the eventual passage of the 13th Amendment to free the
last nine slaves in New Jersey.
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