Monday Dec. 9 1861
CRITICAL CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE CONFIRMED
There are few things a general hates more that a crowd of civilians
hanging around, asking questions, and acting like it has the right
to demand answers. That, essentially, is what the generals of the
United States got today, as Congress passed legislation creating a
body called the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.
Originally a creation of radical senators who were outraged by the
disastrous Battle of Ball’s Bluff and determined to find someone to
blame for the fiasco, it would last for the length of the War.
Hundreds of witnesses would be summoned to testify before this body
over the course of the war. In some cases this proved to be an
immense waste of time, with the praise and censure issued more on
political grounds than military, but there was also generated a huge
amount of testimony which explained in greater detail than the
Official Reports, the planning and execution of many operations.
Tuesday Dec. 9 1862
BURNSIDE BRIGADES BRACE FOR BATTLE
On the heights opposite Fredericksburg, Va., the Grand Divisions of
the Army of the Potomac were being prepared for the strife to come.
Orders were issued to the division commanders today to supply their
men with 60 rounds of ammunition apiece, and to prepare three days’
supply of cooked-in-advance rations. Aside from these preparations
there was little going on. The Confederate defenders had burned the
bridges over the Rappahannock River, and the waterway was far too
deep, not to mention cold, to wade across this time of year. Action
had to wait on the arrival of pontoon bridges, which were on the way
from Washington, but moving slowly.
Wednesday Dec. 9 1863
BITTER BLACKS BATTLE BELITTLEMENT
There was no question that racism was as rampant in the North as it
ever was in the slaveholding south, and that certainly included a
great many members of the United States military. There were few
dedicated abolitionists like Robert Gould Shaw who were proud to
command units of the United States Colored Troops, but many who
found it mortifying. One of these latter was in command at Ft.
Jackson, Louisiana, downriver from New Orleans. His loathing for
this posting was translated into cruel and abusive treatment of the
black soldiers under his command. Today they decided that this was
behavior up with which they would no longer put, and they rose in
mutiny. Other white officers at the installation managed to halt the
uprising before blood was shed. This was not the first mutiny to
happen at Ft. Jackson, but the last one was committed by Confederate
troops after Farragut bypassed them to take New Orleans.
Friday Dec. 9 1864
TARDY THOMAS TEETERING TERRIBLY
U.S. General George H. Thomas did not get his nickname of “Old Slow
Trot” for nothing. It was not his decision making or command in
battle that was slow, as reflected in his other nickname “The Rock
of Chickamauga” commemorating his solid defense during that battle
which allowed the rest of the Union force to retreat to Chattanooga
and safety. But he was not going to attack before he was ready, in
this case Hood’s forces outside of Nashville. U.S. Grant had
actually written out the orders relieving Thomas of command today
and his replacement by Schofield. However, protocol required that
Grant send this order through Gen. Halleck, while Halleck said it
had to come straight from Grant. While this was being settled a
heavy ice and sleet storm struck Nashville, making fighting
impossible. Thomas’ career remained in the balance.
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