Monthly Archives: December 2011

December 31, 1861: Lincoln gives some military advice

Lincoln was not a hands-off commander-in-chief. Perhaps with some justification, he felt his generals needed prodding, and he was willing to provide it. In this dispatch, he encourages Halleck and Buell to work together to keep the Confederates from concentrating … Continue reading

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December 30, 1861: More on Illinois cotton

The Illinois State Register continued its exploration of the prospects for cotton production in southern Illinois, the region known as “Egypt” for its great rivers. This editorial, reproduced from the Prairie Farmer, speaks approvingly of the Illinois Central Railroad’s efforts … Continue reading

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December 29, 1861: Grant assesses the situation

In this dispatch to St. Louis, general Grant notes the problems with state militia troops not yet mustered into Federal service, secessionist harassment of Unionists in Kentucky, the failing morale of Jeff Thompson’s secessionist guerrillas in Missouri, and the continuing … Continue reading

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December 28, 1861: Black “apprentices” to grow cotton in Illinois?

The Illinois State Register ran an editorial first quoting at length from the Chicago Tribune, then taking the Trib to task for proposing to bring black “apprentices” into southern Illinois to grow cotton. As the Register points out, such “apprentices” … Continue reading

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December 27, 1861: The Cumberland Gap, and Unrest in Kentucky

Col. James E. Rains The strategically important Cumberland Gap was one of the best routes connecting Kentucky and Tennessee to Virginia across the Appalachian mountains. Long used by Native Americans, it was widened by a team of loggers under Daniel … Continue reading

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December 26, 1861: Halleck reports on Pope and Price in Missouri

Halleck General Halleck, in command of the Western theater, reported to McClellan about the recent victory of Union troops in Missouri, and the current state of affairs. As he points out, the people in the interior of Missouri were largely … Continue reading

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December 25, 1861: The Yankee war on Christmas

On Christmas Day, 1861, the Richmond Daily Dispatch took an editorial swipe at the Yankees and their war on Christmas. The editorial touches on some common themes. First, the South’s origin myth among the noble Norman “Cavaliers”. “Christmas has always … Continue reading

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December 24, 1861: Even mistletoe doesn’t cheer up Cairo

Cairo, 1861 Captain George Dodge wrote home to northern Illinois. Apparently Cairo wasn’t to his liking. It is indeed low and swampy. From the Rock Island Argus: Letter From Capt. Dodge. CAMP MCCLERNAND, Cairo, Dec. 24, 1861. FRIEND DANFORTH: Dear … Continue reading

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December 23, 1861: Two items from the Richmond Dispatch

I reproduce here without comment two adjacent items from the Dec. 23 Richmond Daily Dispatch: A faithful negro. –A correspondent of the Troy (Ala.)Advertiser, who was engaged in the late bombardment near Pensacola, relates the following noteworthy incident of a … Continue reading

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December 22, 1861: Grant sends troops to the Big Muddy

Even with the Union firmly in command at Cape Girardeau and Cairo, smuggling to the Confederates was going on only a few miles north of Cape. The “Big Muddy” in this dispatch is not a nickname for the Mississippi, but … Continue reading

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