Friday Nov. 8 1861
TRENT TAKING TENDS TO TURMOIL
James M. Mason of Virginia and John Slidell of Louisiana were
Confederate agents. They were by no means spies, but openly
appointed by Jefferson Davis to lobby the cause of the Confederate
States of America in the halls of London and Paris respectively.
They had boarded the British mail ship Trent in Havana with their
wives, children and secretaries. The US authorities knew of their
mission but not their point of departure, so when Captain Charles
Wilkes of the USS San Jacinto happened to dock in Havana at the same
time, he was on his own. He waited for the Trent to leave harbor,
followed, and on the high seas pulled alongside and forced them to
stop. Mason, Slidell and their secretaries were removed, prompting
outrage from the British captain.
Saturday Nov. 8 1862
BEER BAN BUMPS BEN “BEAST” BUTLER
US Gen. Benjamin Butler had had the unenviable job of administering
the occupied city of New Orleans, where he had employed some
creative, if unorthodox, methods to induce the population to comply
with Union orders. Aside from padlocking some newspapers, and
confiscating others to produce more Union-oriented journalism,
Butler's most famous act was his “woman order”, stating that females
who abused, disrespected or threw the contents of chamber pots on
Union soldiers would be treated as common prostitutes rather than
“ladies.” The last straw, though, was an order closing all breweries
and distilleries in the town. He was sacked and replaced with Gen.
Nathaniel Banks, who was told to worry about the campaign to reopen
the Mississippi River, not the liquor market.
Sunday Nov. 8 1863
MEADE MAKING MUDDY MANEUVERING
The late-fall campaign in northern Virginia continued today with
much marching, although not much in the way of pitched battles. Gen.
George Meade was maneuvering across the Rappahannock with no
particular offensive objective in mind except to force Lee to keep
on the move as well. There were skirmishes at Jeffersonton, the
familiar territory of Brandy Station, Warrenton, Rixleyville,
Culpepper Court House, and the extremely well-named Muddy Creek.
Weather is not our friend in Virginia in November.
Tuesday Nov. 8 1864
ELECTRIFYING ELECTION ELATES EXECUTIVE
This was Election Day, one of the few you can call "one of the most
important elections in the history of the United States of America"
without fear of exaggeration. The contestants were the Republican
incumbent Abraham Lincoln, who had replaced his somewhat lackluster
vice president Hannibal Hamlin with Tennessee Senator (and Democrat)
Andrew Johnson in a symbolic gesture of unity, on one side. On the
other was Gen. George McClellan, former commander of the Army of the
Potomac, running with George H. Pendleton of Ohio. Extraordinary
efforts were made to allow soldiers to vote, either by arranging
leaves or actually casting ballots in the field, which one would
expect to benefit McClellan as he had been a very popular commander.
The soldier vote, however, went even stronger for Lincoln than the
civilian vote did, and the Republican ticket was victorious. In the
electoral vote, Lincoln took every state except Delaware, Kentucky
and New Jersey.
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