This Day in the Civil War

Monday Nov. 4 1861
STONEWALL SEEKS SHENANDOAH SHOWDOWN

Thomas Jonathan Jackson, who since the Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) had become known by the nickname of “Stonewall,” got a new assignment today. The continuing challenge of organizing both civil government and military commands was continuing in the new Confederacy. There had just been created a new District, confined to a particular area of a particular state which indeed had functioned as almost a land unto itself since the first days of settlement by the white man. Jackson had grown up there, living in several areas as a child and as a young man traveled in it extensively. Stonewall Jackson was named today as commander of the Shenandoah Valley District.



Tuesday Nov. 4 1862
REPUBLICAN REJECTIONS RAISE REBEL RELIEF

Unlike today, when general elections are held on the same day across the country, in the nineteenth century these things were done on a more state-by-state basis, not unlike the sort of schedule observed for primary elections. One set of states had held their elections for governors, senators and members of house delegations last month. Another group held their elections today, and the Republicans took a beating. The Democratic candidates won the governor’s race in New York, and made inroads in the number of members of the House of Representatives. They had made gains in those states which voted in October too, but it was not enough to give them control of the House, dashing Confederate hopes that such a change might increase the odds of Congressional opposition to the war.



Wednesday Nov. 4 1863
BRAGG BRACES FOR BOLD BURNSIDE BLOW

James Longstreet’s corps had been detached from the Army of Northern Virginia after Gettysburg and sent West to assist Braxton Bragg in the defense of the Confederate cause in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia border regions, and particularly in and around Chattanooga. Today Bragg made the drastic decision to give Longstreet away again, and sent him to East Tennessee. While Bragg has been preoccupied with Rosecrans' (and now Grant’s) forces in Chattanooga, Federal forces under Ambrose Burnside had quietly taken Knoxville, Tenn., and the vital railroad lines that passed through it. This cut off Bragg and the western armies from direct contact with Virginia. The consequences were dire from both military and political points of view.



Friday Nov. 4 1864
DEVILISH DEEDS DREADFULLY DAMAGE DEPOT

“That devil Forrest” reached the climax of his ingenious naval-cavalry campaign today, using the captured USS Undine as well as his own artillery to virtually demolish the US supply depot at Johnsonville Tenn. Shells rained down on Federal gunboats, transports, barges, overstuffed warehouses, loaded wagon trains, and supplies stored in the open. One disastrous round struck several barrels of whiskey, and the burning liquor ran in all directions and started still more fires. Gen. William T. Sherman, whose troops were supposed to be among the recipients of the destroyed supplies, was furious. Several officers at Johnstonville were censured for negligence for failing to fend off Forrest’s foray.

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