Saturday Aug. 17 1861
MERGER MAKES MASSIVE MILITARY MODULE
Running a war is a complicated business. The United States had
already been divided up into departments. These were reshuffled
today with the Departments of Northeastern Virginia, Washington (DC)
and the Shenandoah being merged into the Department of the Potomac.
This also resulted in the formation of the Army of the Potomac,
which would get all the press, and commit most of the bloodshed, in
the Eastern Theater of the war. Maj. Gen. Henry “Old Brains” Halleck
was appointed to command.
Sunday Aug. 17 1862
STUART SIGNED TO SADDLE SUPREMACY
Many of the most famous people in the War of the Rebellion had to
work their way up the the high positions they occupied. One such
case occurred today as the Confederacy gave official recognition to
the cavalry-commanding skills of Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart.
Jeb was appointed to lead all the cavalry forces of the Army of
Northern Virginia. The Southern cavalry was a vastly superior
organization at this stage in the war, and would continue to be
until better commanders worked their way up in the Federal army.
Monday Aug. 17, 1863
SHELLS SLAM SUMTER SEVERELY
Several new holes had appeared last week in the walls of the fort
where the Civil War began. These were only love pats as the guns
were being sighted in and set for proper elevation. Today the REAL
bombardment began in earnest. The oversized rifled Parrott cannon on
Morris Island were joined by other weaponry on Mossie Island as well
as gunboats. The shooting was not completely one-sided though.
Gunfire from Ft. Wagner killed Captain G. W. Rodgers, chief of staff
to Union Admiral John Dahlgren.
Wednesday Aug. 17, 1864
GRANT GETS GRIP GUARANTEE
The siege of Petersburg dragged wearily on. The weather was
oppressively hot, as is hardly uncommon in August in Virginia, and
the sheer inactivity was leading to frustration in many quarters.
Every attempt at frontal assault had failed at an unspeakable cost
in blood, and Grant’s intention was to maintain the siege. He wrote
to Lincoln for confirmation that he approved this plan, and today
got his answer. Lincoln wrote back that Grant should “hold on with a
bull-dog gripe [sic], and chew & choke, as much as possible." The
President was better at strategy than spelling, which was not all
that standardized in those times anyway.
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