150 Years Ago This Week: Fighting on all fronts

October 1862

On the upper Missouri River, below Fort Berthold, Dakota Territory, a party of Sioux Indians fought with a boatload of miners on Oct. 11, while Indiana home guards drove a group of Confederate guerrilla fighters out of Hawesville, Ind. Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and his Confederate cavalry completed their second ride around Maj. Gen. George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac, still in western Maryland.

Stuart’s men cut telegraph wires, seized horses and destroyed what military equipment and supplies could not be carried away. Railroad machine shops, depots and several trains were also wrecked. There was a brief skirmish between the Confederate cavalry and Union troops near the mouth of the Monocacy River near Frederick when Gen. Stuart and his men returned to Virginia.

In a lengthy letter to Gen. McClellan on Oct. 13, President Lincoln urged his general to initiate another drive on Richmond. “Are you not over-cautious when you assume you cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing?” The next day, Congressional elections in Iowa, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania resulted in gains by the Democrats, except in Iowa, where the Republicans carried the state.

In Washington, President Lincoln ordered the removal of army bakeries from the basement of the U.S. Capitol building. In Mississippi, Confederate Maj. Gen. John C. Pemberton was promoted to lieutenant general and assumed command of the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. There was fighting on this day at Hazel Bottom, Mo., Trenton, Ark. and in Kentucky at Manchester and Lancaster, as Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Confederates continued their retreat south after their advance in Kentucky towards Ohio had been stopped at Perryville on Oct. 8.

Out on the high seas, the Confederate cruiser Alabama captured and sank the Union grain ship Manchester. U.S. Admiral David Farragut reported from Pensacola, Fla., that Galveston, Corpus Christi and Sabine City, Texas were in Union possession following engagements in each place. Despite shore opposition, a small-boat Union naval expedition cut out and captured a Confederate blockade-runner up the Apalachicola River in Florida. North Carolina Gov. Zebulon Vance called upon the people of the state to furnish blankets, carpets and clothing for the Confederate Army.

In Kentucky on Thursday, Oct. 16, Gen. Bragg’s Confederates moved towards Cumberland Gap without major interference from Union troops. Military draft for militia units began on the same day in Pennsylvania and other portions of the North. The Federal Department of the Tennessee was established under command of Maj. Gen. Ulysses Grant. The next day, Oct. 17, there was resistance to the ineffective Federal militia draft in several Pennsylvania counties, and local troops were called out to quell the opposition and rioting.

Skirmishing between Union and Confederate troops took place the same day in Lexington, Ky., where Maj. Gen. John Hunt Morgan and his Confederate cavalry were making a raid. Fighting occurred at Mountain Home and Sugar Creek, Ark.; Valley Woods and Rock Hill, Ky.; and at Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River in Tennessee. In Washington, President Lincoln asked Attorney General Edward Bates to make out a commission for David Davis of Illinois to serve as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Arthur Candenquist
About Arthur Candenquist 194 Articles
A long-time historian, researcher, lecturer and author, Arthur Candenquist serves as secretary-treasurer of the Rappahannock County Sesquicentennial Committee. He can be reached at AC9725@cs.com.