Sunday, October 21, 2007

ON THIS DAY: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 1861:

The bad news about Col. Baker’s fatal encounter at Ball’s Bluff spreads throughout the North, but in Richmond, Confederate authorities are worried about their losses in western Virginia. There is considerable dissatisfaction over Gen. Robert E. Lee’s leadership there.

The Union's embarrassment at Ball's Bluff (or "Leesburgh") dominates the war news, while its success at Fredericktown, Missouri, gets much less attention.

Calm settles on Union forces west of the Appalachians. Called to a meeting at western department headquarters in St. Louis, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is spared a day of writing reports and messages. In Kentucky, Brig. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman takes pen in hand to write Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas in Washington. “You know my views,” the ever-worried Cump writes. "This great centre of our fields [is] weak, far too weak, and I have begged and implored till I dare say no more.” In western Virginia, always sanguine Maj. Rutherford B. Hayes is enjoying the weather and waiting for something to happen—but when it does, he is sure Union forces will prevail. But even he looks eastward as he waits for decisive action in the war.

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