This Day in the Civil War

Tuesday Sept. 10 1861

Carnifix Ferry was a small water transportation system in western Virginia of negligible military significance, but it was fought over today anyway. Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd was set in a good defensive position to face the attack of the Federals under Gen. William Rosecrans. In fact, his men refused to budge despite repeated attacks. After nightfall though, Floyd determined that he was sufficiently outnumbered that he could not hold out forever, so he withdrew towards Dogwood Gap. Further west, Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston was appointed head of a Confederate department which included Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and Kentucky.

Wednesday Sept. 10 1862

Gen. George McClellan was sure of only two things: his country was being invaded, and he had no good information as to where the invaders were. He was starting to get indications, though: reports from cavalry scouts today informed him that the Army of Northern Virginia had departed from the area of the Monocacy River, and were heading away from Frederick, Maryland. The picture was becoming clear enough that McClellan made the decision to speed up the progress of his Army of the Potomac, which up to now had been more or less milling around Washington, DC to protect the capital.

Thursday Sept. 10 1863

These were tough days to be in the newspaper business in Raleigh, N.C. The editor of the Raleigh “Standard” had been printing editorials advocating peace and rejoining the Union, a stand which so angered Confederate troops that they went to his office and tore it apart. Gov. Vance spoke soothingly to them and they dispersed without burning the building. Then a mob of residents of the town decided that they were vexed with the Raleigh “Journal” for having an editor who was just as rabid in his editorials, even if they were pro-secessionist, and they went and ripped up the offices of that paper in turn. Gov. Vance was obliged to come out and speak soothingly again. Farther west, Confederate troops evacuated from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Saturday Sept. 10 1864

The Fawn was an inoffensive little boat, engaged yesterday in the hauling of mail on the Albermarle and Chesapeake Canal. Today she did so no longer, because she had been seized and burned by a force of Confederates. An extremely irate Lt. Cmdr. Earl English, of the USS Wyalusing, landed in nearby Elizabeth City, N.C., determined to locate and punish whoever had committed this act. He went to far as to round up and detain 29 leading citizens of the town for interrogation and possible detention as hostages against repetition of such misdeeds. He was reluctantly persuaded to release them when they were able to convince him that the mail boat had in fact been burned by men from the CSS Albermarle and that no resident of the town had been involved or benefited by the act.

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