Jef­fer­son Davis kills a gen­eral

Rappahannock News - - SCHOOL & SPORTS NEWS - Arthur Can­den­quist [email protected]

On Satur­day, Sept. 27, the Sec­ond Con­scrip­tion Act of the Con­fed­er­ate Congress au­tho­rized Pres­i­dent Jef­fer­son Davis to call out men be­tween the ages of 35 and 45 for mil­i­tary ser­vice. In Wash­ing­ton, Pres­i­dent Lin­coln in­ter­ro­gated Maj. John Key and or­dered his dis­missal from mil­i­tary ser­vice for al­legedly say­ing that the ob­ject of the Bat­tle of An­ti­etam or Sharps­burg was “that nei­ther army shall get much ad­van­tage of the other; that both shall be kept in the field un­til they are ex­hausted, when we shall make a com­pro­mise and save slav­ery.” Such views were wide­spread in Gen. Ge­orge McClel­lan’s army and Mr. Lin­coln was par­tic­u­larly ag­gra­vated with Gen. McClel­lan’s lack of ag­gres­sive ac­tion since Sept. 17.

In Ken­tucky, both Fed­eral and Con­fed­er­ate forces were march­ing north. A Fed­eral ex­pe­di­tion from Colum­bus to Cov­ing­ton took place on Sept. 28. The next day, at a ho­tel in Louisville, the Galt House, Union Brig. Gen. Jef­fer­son C. Davis (no re­la­tion to Con­fed­er­ate Pres­i­dent Jef­fer­son F. Davis) got into a ver­bal al­ter­ca­tion with Brig. Gen. Wil­liam “Bull” Nel­son. Gen. Davis had been slapped in the face by Gen. Nel­son af­ter he said Gen. Davis had in­sulted him. Gen. Davis walked out and re­turned a few min­utes later with a re­volver and shot Gen. Nel­son, mor­tally wound­ing him. Gen. Davis was ar­rested by Maj. Gen. Don Car­los Buell’s chief of staff, but the mur- der charges were never pros­e­cuted, and Gen. Davis was re­stored to ser­vice with the help of his po­lit­i­cally pow­er­ful friend, Gov. Oliver Mor­ton of In­di­ana.

Septem­ber closed with Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army in Vir­ginia march­ing south to­wards Culpeper County, and in Mis­sis­sippi, the Con­fed­er­ate Army of West Ten­nessee, num­ber­ing some 22,000 un­der Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn, marched north from Ripley to Corinth, Miss., where Maj. Gen. Wil­liam Rose­crans was in com­mand of Union forces. Pres­i­dent Lin­coln trav­eled from Wash­ing­ton to Gen. McClel­lan’s head­quar­ters near Sharps­burg, Md., to con­fer with his army com­man­der and try to get him to march his army south to de­stroy Gen. Lee’s army. Mr. Lin­coln noted that Gen. McClel­lan’s troops num­bered 88,000 of­fi­cers and men. The pres­i­dent felt that the Mary­land cam­paign had been a half-hearted ef­fort on Gen. McClel­lan’s part, and, look­ing at the thou­sands of men in the Army of the Po­tomac, the Pres­i­dent re­marked, “this is Gen. McClel­lan’s body­guard.”

On Oct. 1, Maj. Gen. John C. Pem­ber­ton as­sumed com­mand of the new Con­fed­er­ate Depart­ment of Mis­sis­sippi and East Louisiana, re­plac­ing Maj. Gen. Van Dorn, who was with his troops in north­east Mis­sis­sippi. Gen. Pem­ber­ton, a Penn­syl­va­nian by birth, es­tab­lished his head­quar­ters at Vicks­burg, Miss., on the Mis­sis­sippi River. In re­ac­tion to Pres­i­dent Lin­coln’s Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion, the Rich­mond Whig ed­i­to­ri­al­ized: “It is a dash of the pen to de­stroy four thou­sand mil­lions of our prop­erty, and is as much a bid for the slaves to rise in in­sur­rec­tion, with the as­sur­ance of aid from the whole mil­i­tary and naval power of the United States.”

At Corinth, Con­fed­er­ates un­der Maj. Gens. Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price at­tacked the Fed­eral forces un­der Gen. Rose­crans. Af­ter se­vere fight­ing and piece­meal as­saults, the Fed­er­als were driven back into strong de­fen­sive po­si­tions closer to the city. By night­fall Oct. 3, the fight­ing ended, with the is­sue of which army was suc­cess­ful very much in doubt. The over­all Union com­man­der, Maj. Gen. Ulysses Grant, at Jack­son, Tenn., was not sure where the Con­fed­er­ate at­tacks would be made or what the out­come of the bat­tle might be. Fight­ing re­sumed again early on the morn­ing of Satur­day, Oct. 4.

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