Civil War Timeline‎ > ‎1861‎ > ‎

Part Thirty Three

This week in the war:  

     Sunday, November 24, 1861: At this time of year, the weather for fighting is not that ideal.  Difficult as it may be for an army to fight, when they have insufficient protection from cold, it becomes downright impossible when the artillery can’t move, because the roads are half-frozen mud from fall rains and snows.  At times like this more action shifts more to far South for action.  A two day battle was finishing up in Pensacola, Fl.  There were Confederate installations ashore. There was also a Union outpost, which was known as Fort Pickens.  In concert with two Union gunboats, the USS Niagara and USS Richmond which were operating in the area, Fort Pickens’ guns were opened up on the Southern fortifications. Targets included Fort McRee, Fort Barrancas, and the Pensacola Navy Yard.  After two days of fighting, the results were negligible on either side.  

     Memphis Daily Appeal reported: The Blockade vs. Chestnuts.—Yesterday, as we rode by a wagon and steers on Peach-Tree Street, we overheard a countryman tell his wife (we suppose) to "try and sell them 'ar ches'nuts while I git this jug filled." "What mus I ax fur 'em?" said the wife.  "Why, fifty cents," replied he.  We halted and inquired if they were fifty cents a bushel.  With a speculative stare he turned and looked at us and said, "No, sir, fifty cents a peck."  We replied that we bought them last winter at fifty cents a bushel.  "Yes," said he, "but dad fetch it there wan't that infernal block-cade on 'em then."   We went on to dinner.—Atlanta Confederacy.  (Have you priced them lately???)

     Monday, November 25, 1861 He was the nearly-illiterate son of a backwoods Tennessee blacksmith.  He took over the support of his large family at the age of 16 when his father died, and by now, age 40, was a wealthy Memphis merchant.  The regiment he raised and commanded set forth today on their first mission, to Kentucky.  Debate still rages today, whether he should be officially considered a “cavalryman” in the classic sense, or as mere “mounted infantry”.  Having no training in either, Nathan Bedford Forrest (CSA) (pictured) didn’t care either way.  His philosophy of “get there first, with the most men” made him one of the most feared Confederate commanders of the Western theater.

     Tuesday, November 26, 1861: The state of West Virginia was now created as a result of dispute over slavery with Virginia.

     Wednesday, November 27, 1861: Eleven days ago, Captain Charles Wilkes committed the most famous act of his career; his USS San Jacinto waited until the British registry ship mail packet Trent left Havana, Cuba.  Once they were in international waters Wilkes had ordered the ship to heave to, under threat of arms, removed Confederate Commissioners Slidell, Mason, and their aides.  Such an offense against Her Majesty's ship outraged all of London.  Eight thousand troops were immediately dispatched for Canada to fortify the border, and orders went to the shipyards for construction of new warships.  Queen Victoria was not amused.  A Union expeditionary force leaves Hampton Roads, VA for Ship Island, Mississippi, to set up a base of operations against New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area.  Forrest’s (CSA) cavalry crosses the Duck River east of Columbia, pushing back the Federal Cavalry under Gen. James Wilson (US). 

     Thursday, November 28, 1861Lincoln observes Thanksgiving at the White House.  No boarder states had it easy during the war, Missouri was no different.  Its elected Governor Claiborne Jackson was pro-secession, but exiled in Arkansas.   The state’s government was in chaos.  The Confederate Legislature “accepted” the admission of Missouri into the Confederacy today and ordered a star added to the flag in her honor, but in fact the major cities and Mississippi River banks were firmly in control of the Union.

          Friday, November 29, 1861: Planters along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina burn cotton to prevent it from falling into Federal hands.  The future commander of the U.S.S. Monitor, Lieutenant John Lorimer Worden, arrives in Washington, following seven months as a prisoner of war in Montgomery, Alabama.

     Saturday, November 30, 1861: The “Trent Affair”, as it was beginning to be called on both sides of the Atlantic was heating up.  The British Foreign Secretary, Lord John Russell, wrote to the British ambassador in Washington that he, on behalf of the British government, was to express in the strongest terms Britain’s outrage over what happened to the ‘Trent’.  Lyons was to demand the immediate release of Slidell and Mason and a formal apology from the Federal government.  In a private letter, Russell told Lyons to give the Federal government 10 days before closing the embassy and cutting diplomatic relations.  The Royal navy was put on alert and the Guards regiments were told to prepare to sail to Canada.