This Day in the Civil War

Wednesday Oct. 2 1861

Even at this early stage of the War, persons in position to charge more for their goods or services were beginning to do so, and those in the position of having to pay these higher prices were beginning to complain bitterly about it. While a great deal of economic disruption occurred on both sides, the effects were worse, sooner, in the South. Today Gov. A. B. Moore of Alabama issued a proclamation denouncing tradesmen and suppliers of government equipment who overcharged for their products. Repealing economic laws would prove somewhat more difficult.

Thursday Oct. 2 1862

It is well known that war is a stimulus to new technology. Abraham Lincoln, in fact, was such a fan of any new gadget or gizmo that came down the pike that he would frequently go out to see new devices in action, from an early machine gun (called the “coffee mill gun”) to tethered balloon flights intended to spy out enemy movements. It should not be thought, however, that the Confederacy was lacking in technological innovation or the willingness to use it. Today a telegraph machine was installed right in the office of Confederate Secretary of War George W. Randolph. The line to which it was connected ran all the way to Warrenton, Va. This was, unfortunately, occasionally tapped by Yankee vandals who would send messages of their own, sometimes deceitful and sometimes simply rude.

Friday Oct. 2 1863

It was bad enough for Gen. William S. Rosecrans and his army penned up in Chattanooga. Gen. Bragg’s Confederate forces controlled all the roads to the south, the road to Bridgeport to the north, and the Tennessee River besides. Joe Wheeler’s cavalry troops were rampaging in the rear, cutting off most of what few supplies were getting through over the rough trail through Walden’s Ridge and the Sequatchie. Encounters with Wheeler’s men led to skirmishes in Anderson’s Cross Roads, Valley Road around Jasper, and over by Dunlap, Tenn. What Bragg did not know, however, was that down the road from Bridgeport was about to come marching 20,000 men and 3,000 horses led by Gen. Joseph Hooker. The 11th and 12th Corps of the Army of the Potomac had made the almost 1200 mile journey in just over a week.

Sunday Oct. 2 1864

The interestingly named hamlet of Kennesaw Water Tank was the scene of fierce fighting today between the forces of Gen. John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee and the rail line supplying Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s Federal forces in Georgia. The Tennesseans did quite a number on the tracks, ripping them up and in some cases turning them into “Lincoln bow ties.” The method for this procedure was to build a roaring fire and lay the rails on top of it until the metal began to melt and soften. Then the rails would be taken to the nearest tree and hastily wrapped around it and left to cool. The resulting product could not be simply spiked back into place and a new rail would have to be obtained.

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