Jackson’s Saucer is Full of Secrets; Lincoln Must Command

December 31, 1861 (New Year’s Eve – Tuesday) This had certainly been a strange year for Thomas J. Jackson. At its start, he was a professor at the Virginia Military Institute, under the immediate command of William Gilham. The United States flag flew over the parade grounds and they all still held true to theRead More

Burnside Plans His Own Amphibious Assault; Buell Has a Better Idea in Kentucky

December 29, 1861 (Sunday) Since the Union defeat at the Battle of Bull Run, Ambrose Burnside had been promoted from colonel to brigadier-general and placed in command of the rawest recruits in the Army of the Potomac, under General George McClellan. Quickly growing bored of being little more than a glorified drill sergeant, Burnside, alongRead More

No Rest and Little Celebration for Christmas 1861

December 25, 1861 (Wednesday – Christmas) For some, the first Christmas of the war was a time of rest, where drills and military formalities took a short day off. Around Washington, the mood was full of apprehension and gloom over the Trent Affair, as well as gloom, if the past year was considered in theRead More

Stonewall Waits for Loring, Plans Attack Anyway; Floyd to Kentucky

December 24, 1861 (Tuesday, Christmas Eve) Since the Battle of Allegheny Mountain, a week and a half ago, Confederate General William Loring’s Army of the Northwest had been slowly filtering into Winchester, Virginia to fortify General Stonewall Jackson’s numbers for a winter campaign towards Romney. During the long wait, an anxious Jackson again attempted toRead More

Unlikely Union Victory at Rowett’s Station, Kentucky

December 17, 1861 (Tuesday) It had been a month since Union General Don Carlos Buell took over the Department of the Ohio from General William Tecumseh Sherman. For a time, little had changed. Buell was just as reluctant to push forward as Sherman did. Though there was much prodding from Washington, Buell seemed unsure whatRead More

Farewell for a Little Season: The Trial of Alexander Haun, Bridge Burner

December 10, 1861 (Tuesday) It had been ten days since the first two Unionist bridge burners were executed, hanged by a railroad bridge to be a warning to all. On this date, another Unionist, Christopher Alexander Haun, was found guilty by drumhead court martial.1 While waiting for his sentence, Haun was given pen and paperRead More

Bridge Burners Executed; England Gives the US a Week to Reply; Rebels Advancing in Missouri

November 30, 1861 (Saturday) “Two insurgents have to-day been tried for bridge-burning, found guilty and hanged.” -Col. Danville Leadbetter to Confederate Secretary of War Judah Benjamin.1 On the same day that Secretary Benjamin gave the order that those who were found guilty of burning bridges in Eastern Tennessee must be put to death, Col. Leadbetter,Read More

News Reaches England: This Act of Piracy Carried Out By Brute Force

November 27, 1861 (Wednesday) News of the legally-questionable seizure of James Mason and John Slidell, Confederate envoys to England and France, on this date reached England. At the time of their capture, the prisoners were aboard the neutral British vessel Trent in international waters. The news arrived in London in the form of a reportRead More

Are We a Generation of Driveling, Sniveling, Degraded Slaves?

November 26, 1861 (Tuesday) Union officers in Missouri were in a complete fog when it came to the whereabouts, strength and plans of General Sterling Price of the secessionist Missouri State Guards. General Henry Halleck, and many others, believed that he had slipped south, across the Arkansas border. Others believed he was still in orRead More

Leave Their Bodies Hanging in the Vicinity of the Burned Bridges

November 25, 1861 (Monday) The near-permanent smile upon the face of Confederate Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin could be misleading. When it came to those who rebelled against the Rebels’ rebellion, he had nothing but disdain. Some of the Unionists of East Tennessee who had burned five important railroad bridges had been captured. Col.Read More