Tuesday Dec. 10 1861
AGGRESSIVE ACTION ALONG ASHEPOO
The United States Navy was lacking in many areas of ships and
supplies, but one thing it had was some aggressive ship commanders.
One such, Lt. James W. A. Nicholson, was in command of the USS Isaac
Smith, and he and his crew pulled a slick maneuver today. Nicholson
proceeded carefully up the Ashepoo River in South Carolina until he
got to Otter Island. Upon this land there had been built a small
fort by the Confederates, but at this time it had been deserted.
Nicholson landed part of his crew there and took possession of it.
The Navy men managed to hang onto it until regular Army
reinforcements could be brought in, and it remained in Federal
Wednesday Dec. 10 1862
FALMOUTH FEARS FOR FREDERICKSBURG FATE
The Army of the Potomac was making its final preparations today for
the assault across the Rappahannock River tomorrow. Rations were
being cooked, weapons checked, ammunition issued. Most importantly,
the pontoon rafts which would be used to build temporary bridges
across the waterway were checked over and readied. The men on the
bluffs of Falmouth were not the only ones contributing to this
threat to the Army of Northern Virginia. As far south as North
Carolina operations were being carried out against roads, railroads
and supply lines which might be used to reinforce Lee, Longstreet
and the other southerners. Unfortunately the problems of
communication and scheduling led to many of these attacks,
particularly the one against the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, being
carried out days or a week after the battle of Fredericksburg was
Thursday Dec. 10 1863
LINGERING LANGUOR LEAVES LINCOLN
In this day and age, when the President of the United States
undergoes a mandatory physical once a year with the results widely
reported in the public press, it is difficult to remember just how
recently such candor about the Presidential person has developed.
Even in the 1940’s a president could serve most of four terms and
not have much of the public aware that he was confined to a
wheelchair; in the 1860’s it was not difficult at all to hide an
executive affliction from common knowledge. President Abraham
Lincoln was becoming more active today, to the great relief of his
family and staff. He had suffered for several weeks from an attack
of varioloid. The symptoms and suffering were approximately those of
adult measles or chickenpox, much worse than those of childhood
particularly in the days before aspirin. The disease, in fact, was a
mild form of smallpox.
Saturday Dec. 10 1864
SHERMAN SCOUTING SOUTHERN SAVANNAH
The march from Atlanta to the Sea was so nearly over that the men
with Gen. William T. Sherman could smell the salty ocean air--but
they weren’t quite there yet. With a mere 18,000 men to defend
Savannah, Gen. William Hardee was forced to be creative. The area
around the city was a prime rice-growing area, and Hardee put even
the land to work for him by flooding the already-harvested rice
paddies. This creative tactic, besides causing no harm to
agricultural land, had the profound effect of forcing Sherman’s men
to keep to the roadways instead of being able to just march across
the open countryside as they had been in the habit of doing.
Although Sherman’s men were well-supplied, the horses were in need
of forage which was waiting for them on Union Navy ships offshore.
Between the horses and their hay, however, waited one more obstacle:
Ft. McAllister, on the Ogeechee River.
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