Tuesday, October 8, 1861
After commanding at Fort Sumter, Robert Anderson was promoted to Brigadier-General and given command of the Department of Kentucky. With things heating up in that state, he was quickly succumbing to the stress and wear that went with the position. A couple of days prior, he had called upon General William Tecumseh Sherman, who commanded a brigade in Anderson’s Army, to come to his headquarters in Louisville. The two generals had been in daily communication and Sherman was well aware that Anderson was near his breaking point.
Three days prior, Sherman and Anderson wrote General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, bringing him up to speed on the situation. Anderson wished for Sherman to take over and Scott saw no objection, writing on the 6th, that it was to be so.
On this date, Anderson released General Orders, No. 6, relinquishing the command of the department to Sherman. The retiring General hoped that Sherman “may be the means of delivering this department from the marauding bands, who, under the guise of relieving and benefiting Kentucky, are doing all the injury they can to those who will not join them in their accursed warfare.”
For his part, Sherman was reluctant to take command. It was true that he was the senior-most General in the Department and would accept the position, but he was also apparently aware the General Don Carlos Buell, a division commander in McClellan’s Army of the Potomac, was soon to be ordered to replace him.
Sherman’s dislike for his new command was expressed to Senator Garret Davis from Paris, Kentucky on the same day he took up the post: “I am forced into the command of this department against my will ,and it would take 300,000 men to fill half the calls for troops.”
Sherman was also short on equipment. “We are moving heaven and earth to get the arms, clothing, and money necessary in Kentucky,” wrote Sherman to one of his Generals, “but McClellan and Fremont have made such heavy drafts that the supply is scant.”
To Col. Jackson in Owensborough, Sherman admitted that he was “forced to organize and operate with insufficient means and materials.” He added that “they have not sent me a single regular officer from Washington, and so engrossed are they with Missouri, that they don’t do us justice.” Sherman, however, was not one to complain: “The more necessity for us to strain every nerve.”
Through the shortness of men and arms, Sherman wasted no time getting his affairs in order. He turned over his old command at Muldraugh’s Hill to Col. Lovell Rousseau of the 5th Kentucky just before leaving for Louisville. He tapped General Thomas L. Crittenden, son of Senator John J. Crittenden and brother of Confederate General George B. Crittenden, who was currently a brigade commander in Johnston’s Army of the Potomac in Virginia, to organize the Union troops gathering in Owensborough, Kentucky.
It was clear that Sherman expected a Confederate attack to soon materialize. “Kentucky looks for some bold stroke,” wrote Sherman to Crittenden, “and with such men as Jackson, Johnson, Burbridge, Hawkins, and McHenry almost anything might be attempted.”1
The Night Landing at Santa Rosa Island, Florida
Since the start of the war, Confederate General Braxton Bragg commanded Rebel forces in Pensacola, Florida. Fort Pickens, located on Santa Rosa Island, just off the coast from Pensacola, had been held by Union forces for just as long. Bragg wished to attack the island and capture the fort and finally devised a plan to do so.
To enact this surprise attack, Bragg selected Brigadier-General Richard H. Anderson, who took over the command of Fort Sumter after it fell. Bragg hoped that the confusion arising from a night attack would be enough to scatter the outnumbered enemy.
At 10pm on this date, 1,200 Confederate troops from Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana, boarded the CSS Ewing and transport barges towed by the Neaffie. After a two hour crossing of the bay, all the troops were disembarked four miles north of Fort Pickens, which sat on the
southern northwestern tip of Santa Rosa Island.
By 2am, a few hours before sunrise, the Confederates were prepared to march.2
At Fort Pickens, word of the landing came quickly to the fort’s commander, Union Col. Harvey Brown. It was said that sixty Rebels had driven in one of his outposts. Brown, disbelieving in the report, ordered that no alarm be sounded. An hour and a half later, however, Brown received another report of musket fire near the camp of the 6th New York Zouaves, a mile from the fort.3