150 years ago, July 1862

by James Durney on July 2, 2012 · 1 comment

150 years ago, July 1862

One month ago, the Army of the Potomac listened to Richmond’s church bells.  Now they are at Harrison’s Landing covered by gunboats on the James River.  On the first, the Battle of Malvern Hill ends the Seven Days’ Campaign.  The Army of Northern Virginia has suffered 20,141 causalities, about 4,300 more than the Army of the Potomac has.  In doing so, the AoNV has saved the Confederacy, gained a commander and became a legend.  Lincoln and McClellan face a firestorm of criticism as their working relationship falls apart.  The North stopped accepting new regiments anticipating victory this summer.  They expected the fall of Richmond would cause the Confederate States of America to surrender.

In the West and Trans-Mississippi, the war continues to go well for the North.  Their armies win battles as they slowly advance.  General Curtis continues to advance in Arkansas as Grant consolidates Tennessee and Mississippi.  Grant’s position improves when General Halleck moves East to become General in Chief.

General John Pope is given command of the new Army of Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley.  The Radicals in Congress are very happy with Pope even as they like McClellan less each day.   Pope moves quickly to position his army attempting to remove the pressure on McClellan.  Halleck expresses the “hope” that the two armies will work together.  The Army of the Potomac withdraws its’ sick and wounded from Harrison’s landing to Washington.  This is the first step in a general withdrawal.

John Hunt Morgan makes his first raid into Kentucky.  Some men cross the Ohio River and capture the town of Newburg, Indiana.  Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky are in an uproar demanding troops to protect them.

Nathan Bedford Forrest raids Tennessee capturing the important town of Murfreesboro capturing the garrison.

Joseph Wheeler slips 70 miles behind Union lines to attack bridges and communications.  Morgan, Forrest and Wheeler are an embarrassment but these raids do not result in more than temporary damage.

Braxton Bragg abandons Mississippi, moving the bulk of the army to Tennessee.  Sterling Price at Tupelo and Earl Van Dorn at Vicksburg command the remaining Confederate forces.  Bragg never established who is in command causing problems later.  The transfer of Bragg’s 31,000-man army 776 miles from Tupelo to Chattanooga is the largest Confederate railroad movement of the war.  When completed, Bragg and Kirby-Smith start planning to invade Kentucky.  The South expects Kentucky to revolt and rally to their side as soon as their armies invade.  They have, to a lesser degree the same expectations for Maryland.

On the Mississippi River, the ironclad CSS Arkansas is creating real problems.

Apaches under Mangas Coloradas and Cochise fight California troops at Apache Pass in New Mexico Territory.

Lincoln approves pensions for widows and children, which leads to Federal pensions for all Union veterans in time.

Fewer people hold the idea that slavery will survive the war each month.  In spite of McClellan’s urging Lincoln not to “make war” on slavery, Lincoln sends a compensated emancipation plan to Congress.  Any slave state that willing abolishes slavery will receive funds from the Federal Government.  The plan fails in the face of united opposition from the states.  Horace Greeley writes Lincoln urging him to free the slaves.  Lincoln reads a draft of an emancipation proclamation at a cabinet meeting.  Seward suggests that issuing the proclamation after a string of defeats is not a good idea.  A discussion of employment Negros as soldiers is inconclusive.  However, the Second Confiscation Act mandates freedom for slaves reaching Union lines except in loyal border states.  Free slaves are eligible for assistance to emigrate from the United States.

The Congressional Medal of Honor created for naval personnel includes the army.

All federal employees are required to take the “Ironclad test oath”.  In time, federal contractors, attorneys, jurors and passport applicants will be required to take the oath too.

Both sides agree to a POW exchange.  The system fails due mutual abuses, recognition that the North is getting less benefit than the South and the introduction of Negro soldiers in 1863.

Martin Van Buren, the eighth president, dies.

Belle Boyd accused of being a spy is captured.

D. H. Hill is transfers to the Carolinas.

Ship 290 departs Liverpool for “sea trails”.  Charles F. Adams badgers Lord Russell to seize ship 290 as it is being built for the CSA.  Lord Russell manages to wait until the ship is out of his reach.  Ship 290 becomes the CSS Alabama and destroys 60 merchant ships causing major friction between the two nations.  Years after the war, Great Britain will settle multiple claims from Lord Russell’s lack of action.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Fred Ray July 2, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Jim, gotta mention one pet thingee of mine. There is no “Congressional Medal of Honor”, never has been. It’s the Medal of Honor, period. Congress does have its own medals like the Congressional Gold Medal and Congressional Medal of Freedom, and yes all military medals have to be approved by Congress, but the Medal of Honor is not a “Congressional” medal.

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