This Day in the American Civil War for January 15

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 1862


Edwin McMasters Stanton was confirmed by Congress as Secretary of War, two days after being nominated. Formerly Attorney General (during the Buchanan Administration), the choice had political elements of a most interesting nature. Stanton had made a number of public statements exceedingly critical of Lincoln. Moreover, he was quite well known to be a friend of Gen. McClellan, who was not devoid of political dreams of his own. Stanton would be a controversial figure in history–held by some analysts to be sneaky, dishonest and underhanded; regarded by others as one of the prime movers in the victory of the Union in the War. It is entirely possible that both are true.

via This Day in the American Civil War for January 15.

This Day in the American Civil War for January 14

Tuesday Jan. 14 1862


Gen. Ambrose Burnside was supposed to be leading an invasion force of nearly 100 ships to Hatteras Inlet, N.C. Instead he was spending his time on continuous rescue missions as the ships of his fleet were torn by fierce winds and storm. Many were being driven onto shoals and sandbars as their anchor lines were dragged or broke entirely. Burnside was seen on one tugboat personally leading a rescue party to the “City of New York” which was loaded with stores; he was willing to let the stores go but wanted to rescue the crew. All of this chaos was going on within the relative shelter of the inlet; many of the ships of the mission had not made it even that far, could not attempt the entrance as long as the wind blew, and were at the mercy of the storm on the open ocean. As this was taking place in the dead of winter the storm was probably not a hurricane in the technical sense, but few cared to debate the finer points of meteorological terminology.

via This Day in the American Civil War for January 14.

First Battle of Bull Run

First Battle of Bull Run – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The 150th of First Bull Run (First Manassas for the southern leaning) was this past weekend in Virginia. There were several notable things about this battle, primary of which was the haphazard nature of the fighting. There was the give and take of normal combat, small victories and defeats as brigades on both sides took their objectives or were driven back.

The sudden reversal and precipitous route of Union general McDowell’s forces meant that the rebellion was not to be defeated so easily and the union was to remain divided for some time. These were armies lead by professional soldiers but manned by ninety day volunteers who by the time McDowell marched on Centerville, VA many were ready to go home.

I have been to this battlefield. There were two battles fought here, a year apart and the contrast can’t be more striking when you take in the ground covered by the first battle and then view landmarks from the second. The armies who fought the second battle were almost twice the size and more ably lead, having had a year’s worth of campaigning under their belts and the amateurs weeded out (though some would argue with that statement given some of the union leadership still at this time).

Bull Run proved that the confederacy was an organized force that would not be defeated in one grand battle and that the north would not give up in its desire to reunite the states and defeat the confederacy.

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