Monthly Archives: August 2011

August 31, 1861: Which way will Kentucky go?

The New York Times ran an editorial dissecting Kentucky secessionists’ outrage over a proposed direct tax; in the Times’ analysis, if they secede to avoid the Union tax, they’ll wind up in the Confederacy paying a higher one. It’s another … Continue reading

Posted in Causes of the war, Confederacy, Kentucky, States' Rights | 1 Comment

August 30, 1861: Fremont frees the slaves?

John C. Fremont General Fremont, in command in St. Louis, issued a proclamation on August 30, 1861, declaring martial law, and in a bold move, freeing the slaves of disloyal citizens: All persons who shall be taken with arms in … Continue reading

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August 30, 1861: Grant arrives in Cape Girardeau

General U.S. Grant arrived in Cape Girardeau, where he took command of the Union forces in Southeast Missouri. HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES, Cape Girardeau, Mo., August 30, 1861. I arrived here at 4.30 o’clock this evening and assumed command of … Continue reading

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August 29, 1861: Pillow contemplates invading Kentucky

General Pillow, in a longish dispatch to Gen. Polk, argues that if he can’t take Cape Girardeau on the Missouri side of the river, the best way to block Mississippi traffic is to take Columbus, Kentucky. Of course, Kentucky being … Continue reading

Posted in Gideon Pillow, Kentucky, Leonidas Polk, Missouri | 1 Comment

August 28, 1861: Grant ordered to Cape Girardeau

John C. Fremont General Fremont orders General Grant to Cape Girardeau, as part of a movement to clear the rebel forces from Southeast Missouri. It appears that this movement is ordered just about in time to miss them as they … Continue reading

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August 27, 1861: It sounds worse in the papers

While Thompson had left Commerce, shipping had resumed on the Mississippi, and the Confederates were actually about to retreat, the news in the New York Times made the situation in Missouri sound pretty grim for the Union. By the way, … Continue reading

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August 26, 1861: Retreat!!!

The fighting bishop, Leonidas Polk, tells Pillow to fall back to New Madrid (and Hardee to back off too). They had dithered long enough for the Union to gather sufficient troops to defend Cape Girardeau and St. Louis from Confederate … Continue reading

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August 25, 1861: Thompson bitches to Hardee

It’s a bit unprofessional to blame one officer for delays in your correspondence with another, but I guess Thompson was starting to chafe a bit from his enforced idleness in Swampeast Missouri. From the Official Record, Series 1, Vol. 3, … Continue reading

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August 24, 1861: The Swamp Fox is downhearted

The Swamp Fox started to get discouraged. He knew that the Union was gaining strength as troops from Iowa and Illinois flowed into Missouri, while his own small command was getting by largely on bluff. HEADQUARTERS FIRST MILITARY DISTRICT, MO. … Continue reading

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August 23, 1861: Why Pillow can’t move (again)

Gideon J. Pillow While McClellan was back east developing a reputation for endless dithering and retreating, Pillow was playing his Confederate counterpart in the west. There was always something stopping him from moving north along the Mississippi. Official Record, Series … Continue reading

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