Monday Dec. 23, 1861
TRENT TRIALS TERRIBLY TEDIOUS
Lord Lyons, his diplomatic patience nearing exhaustion, finally
presented his government’s ultimatum. Her Majesty Queen Victoria
hereby made a demand for the surrender of Confederate agents Mason
and Slidell, who had been taken off a British mail ship in mid-ocean
in contravention of maritime law. Up with delay she would not put.
Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner, who had a certain amount of
jurisdiction because the two were being held in a prison in Boston
Harbor, met with President Lincoln and urged that the men be turned
over, on the grounds that they were becoming an embarrassment.
Lincoln was only too happy to agree, noting that "one war at a time"
was entirely enough.
Tuesday Dec. 23, 1862
BAD BEHAVIOR BURNS BUTLER'S BUTT
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler, USA, was not making himself at all
popular as the military governor of New Orleans. (One order said
women who harassed Union soldiers would be arrested and treated as
prostitutes.) On this day Jefferson Davis issued an order that if
Butler were to be captured he should be hanged immediately, rather
than treated as a military prisoner of war. It is not uncommon in
wartime for combatants to demonize their opponents to stir up
support among their own people, but Butler had a special talent for
Wednesday Dec. 23, 1863
TENNESSEE TRANQUILITY TERRIBLY TROUBLING
Things were not nearly active enough in the Department of Tennessee
to suit the Confederate needs. Union forces essentially controlled
the entire state, peace and order was largely in place, and nobody
except Nathan Bedford Forrest was doing much of anything to combat
this. President Jefferson Davis took this day to write a letter to
Gen. Johnston urging more strenuous efforts. He hoped that Johnston
would “soon be able to commence active operations against the
Friday Dec. 23, 1864
FURTHER FIRST FOR FARRAGUT
As part of the true civil war--between the Army and the Navy that
is--the seagoing forces had requested the creation of the rank of
Vice Admiral. This would correspond to the new Army rank of
Lieutenant General. Today Congress approved the rank, and it was
conferred on David G. Farragut. He had also been the first to hold
the then-new rank of Rear Admiral.
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