Tuesday Dec. 3 1861
PRESIDENT PONDERS PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS
Abraham Lincoln's fame today is certainly not based on his thoughts
in the field of economic abstraction, but he did tackle the subject
in, of all places, his State of the Union message to Congress this
year. “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital,” he wrote.
“Capital is only the fruit of Labor, and could never have existed if
labor had not first existed. Capital has its rights which are as
worthy of protection as any other rights.” Some later thinkers have
actually tried to make Lincoln out to be a sort of proto-Marxist on
the basis of this address. “The struggle of today, is not altogether
for today--it is for a vast future also,” he concluded. Little did
he know how right he would turn out to be.
Wednesday Dec. 3 1862
YOCKNAPATALFA YIELDS TO YANKEE
It was a day made up primarily of scattered skirmishes in both
Eastern and Western theaters of the war. The Army of the Potomac was
either in winter camps guarding the perimeter of Washington, D.C.,
or else perched on the bluffs across the Rappahannock River from
Fredericksburg, Va. Further west was an attack on a Union supply
train on Hardin Pike near Nashville, Tenn., and a few shots
exchanged near Moorefield, western (but not yet West) Virginia. In
Mississippi, more action was going on, as was to be expected
considering that Ulysses S. Grant was leading an army through the
countryside. Fighting broke out at Prophet, Free Bridges, Spring
Dale and Oakland, all on or near the Yocknapatalfa River.
Thursday Dec. 3 1863
DAHLGREN DESCRIBES DEFENSE DETAILS
Running a naval blockade, especially in the maze of waterways,
islands, canals, marshes and areas which are some combination of all
of the above like Charleston Harbor, is not as easy as it may seem.
Admiral John Dahlgren laid down some ground rules today. Four
monitor-class ships were assigned the duty, with two to be in use
each night. One was to operate far up the channel of the harbor,
where it could keep an eye on Ft. Sumter and Ft. Moultrie, as well
as watch for commercial shipping trying to sneak out, and at the
same time watch for and defend against aggressive vessels such as
torpedo boats, picket boats and, oh yes, floating mines. The second
ship was to lay further out to keep an eye on the first, and go to
its aid if necessary. Finally, Dahlgren added, just in case the
captains might forget, their duties included “taking care at the
same time not to get aground, and also to change the position when
the weather appears to render it unsafe.”
Saturday Dec. 3 1864
TENNESSEE TENTATIVELY TRAPS THOMAS
Gen. George H. Thomas had been holding Nashville, Tennessee for some
time now, and his forces had just been augmented by those of Gen.
John Schofield. On the way to link up with Thomas, Schofield had
inadvertently done wonders to boost the Union's chances, by engaging
in the Battle of Franklin, in which the Confederate forces had been
hurled at Union defenders in repeated charges, resulting in
tremendous casualties and the irreplaceable loss of six generals.
Hood could not attack; against the Nashville fortifications it would
have been suicidal. All he could do was proclaim that Thomas and
Schofield were trapped, and send Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry on
harassing raids. Thomas, meanwhile, was being prodded from
Washington to go on the attack himself.
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