Saturday Oct. 26 1861
CONVERTED CONESTOGA CARRIES CUMBERLAND COMBATANTS
No, this was not a covered wagon, but a ship. In the early days of
the War there were simply not enough warships, on either side, to
accomplish the work that needed to be done. Therefore, civilian
vessels were impressed into service and outfitted for war as best as
could be done. One such, the USS Conestoga, officially a gunboat
because a few cannon had been bolted to her deck, carried Union
troops up the Cumberland River today to wage an attack on Saratoga,
Kentucky. The assault, in fact, was successful.
Sunday Oct. 26 1862
POKEY PROFESSIONALS PASS POTOMAC
It had taken almost daily telegrams, sometimes more than one per day
and of increasing levels of impatience, sweet-talking, sarcasm,
pleading, and finally direct orders, but at long last McClellan was
on the move. The Army of the Potomac, which had sat essentially
immobile since the Battle of Antietam, commenced today to move
across the river for which they were named. The action marked the
first large-scale intrusion into Confederate territory by Union
forces in more than a month. Lincoln could finally send a telegram
to Gen. George McClellan telling him that he “rejoiced” at the news
of the army movement.
Monday Oct. 26 1863
TURCHIN TAKES TENNESSEE TRAIL
Operations got under way today to open U.S. Grant’s planned “Cracker
Line”, to get supplies more directly into the Union army trapped in
Chattanooga. If direct attack had been possible it would have been
tried long since, so a certain amount of sneaking around seemed
preferable. At 3 a.m. 24 pontoon boats full of Ohioans and the 1st
Michigan Engineers drifted silently with the current of the
Tennessee River around Moccasin Point opposite Raccoon Mountain. As
the mountain was quite infested with Confederates, the party linked
up with Brig. Gen. John Basil Turchin’s brigade on the Point.
Turchin’s men had likewise marched in the dark to the rendezvous.
The first step to establish the Line had been taken.
Wednesday Oct. 26 1864
ARMY ACTION AGGRAVATES ALABAMA
The Army of Tennessee was one of the Confederacy’s finest fighting
forces, but it was cursed for most of its existence by leaders whose
qualities did not compare to those of the fighting men. Today those
leaders required the army to “demonstrate” on one bank of the
Tennessee River, across from which was the Union-occupied city of
Decatur, Ala. This demonstration consisted primarily of marching
around and occasionally firing off a volley of gunshots, to give the
impression of a larger force and possibly alarm the Union commander
into falling back from the position. The Union commander did not do
anything of the sort, so the Confederates abandoned hopes of
crossing there and proceeded westward to another ford.
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