Thursday, August 22, 1861
New York newspapers named by the Grand Jury convened on August 16, were banned from the United States Postal Service. The order came directly from Montgomery Blair, Lincoln’s Postmaster General, who wrote “none of the newspapers published in New York city which were lately presented by the grand jury as dangerous, from their disloyalty, shall be forwarded in the mails.”
The listed included the New York Daily News, the Daily Journal of Commerce, and weeklies like the Freeman’s Journal and the Eagle.
In Philadelphia, as the morning train from New York pulled into the station, Federal Marshals went through the bundles of newspapers on board and seized every single copy of the New York Daily News. The sale of the paper within the city of Philadelphia was suppressed.
As the express train for Baltimore and Washington stopped in Philly, more copies of the Daily News were confiscated, including 500 copies for Annapolis, Alexandria, Baltimore and Washington and over 1,000 copies bound for Louisville.
With that work behind them, the Federal Marshals stopped all work at the Christian Observer by taking possession of the paper’s officers. Their crime was running an editorial that referred to the national conflict as an “unholy war.”1
Floyd Steals a March… on Wise?
The night previous, rival Confederate Generals Wise and Floyd of the Army of the Kanawha in western Virginia, planned their next move after the skirmishes at Dogwood Gap. With the Union pickets thrown west towards Gauley Bridge, the Generals decided that Wise should move to attack Carnifex Ferry (twenty miles northeast of Gauley). A regiment of Union troops was believed to be at Cross Lanes, five miles beyond. Floyd’s command would remain at Dogwood Gap, keeping an eye on the Yankees to their front.
On the morning of this date, General Wise and his Legion began to slosh their way north towards Carnifex Ferry via Sunday Road, a muddy seventeen miles. There was a shorter route, but Floyd wanted Wise to use the more circuitous road in the fear that they would be spotted by Union troops.
During the skirmishing at Dogwood Gap two days prior, Union General Cox ordered Col. Tyler’s regiment to move from Cross Lanes to Twenty Mile Creek to better cover the left flank at Gauley Bridge. This left both Carnifex Ferry and Cross Lanes unguarded. When Wise stepped off, neither he nor Floyd knew of this development. However, not long after Wise left Dogwood Gap, Floyd received word that Cross Lanes had been abandoned.
Marching seventeen miles in one day, through the heavy rain and thickening ankle-deep mud is no simple task. Wise and his men made it to Carnifex Ferry and found it abandoned. He ordered the men of his Legion to rest and cook their rations.
As they were doing this, from the south rode General Floyd with his entire brigade behind him. When he had heard that Union Col. Tyler had abandoned Cross Lanes, Floyd ordered his men to fall in and they immediately moved towards Carnifex Ferry via the shorter road he had warned Wise not to use.
Wise was furious and rightly so. Floyd’s unannounced move left the James River and Kanawha Turnpike unprotected and open to the Union forces at Gauley Bridge. If held, it would cut off the Army of the Kanawha from its supply base at Lewisburg.
From Wise, Floyd ordered a regiment and four pieces of artillery to be transfered to his (Floyd’s) command, as per Lee’s order of the day before. He later upped the asking to 100 cavalry troopers. Wise’s men, whose tents did not arrive until nightfall, spent the day in the rain. It wasn’t until late afternoon when Floyd ordered Wise to return with his Legion to Dogwood Gap the following day.2
- The Political History of the United States of America, During the Great Rebellion by Edward McPherson, Philp & Solomons, 1864. [↩]
- When I originally wrote this post (back in March), I neglected to add a source for this part. More than likely, it was Lee vs. McClellan; The First Campaign by Clayton R. Newell and Rebels at the Gates; Lee and McClellan on the Front Line of a Nation Divided by W. Hunter Lesser. [↩]