Saturday, November 10, 2007

ON THIS DAY: Sunday, Nov. 10, 1861

In western Virginia, much of the fighting ends as the Confederates begin moving troops eastward—in effect, confirming they are losing their grip on the area that will become the new state of West Virginia within two years. It is a serious blow to the Confederacy, not yet fully appreciated by either side.

Unaware of the Confederate departures, Lt. Col. Rutherford Hayes of the 23rd Ohio and some fellow officers climb a promontory called Pepperbox Knob to peek down into the enemy camps on the opposite side of the New River. In his usual good mood, he writes wife Lucy that it has been “a glorious day—exciting and delightfully spent.”

At his headquarters in Cairo, Illinois, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant sits down to write his report to Washington of the battle at Belmont three days before. He takes pains to praise various officers, by name, for their “coolness” and “soldier-like qualities.” To be "mentioned in dispatches" is highly prized by the soldiers named.

In Louisville, Kentucky, Brig. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman awaits the arrival of his successor, Col. Don Carlos Buell. His wife, Ellen, who has rushed to his side, writes of her concerns to Cump’s brother John: “I am puzzled to know what to advise or hope for & I am distressed by his melancholy forebodings....His mind is certainly in an unhealthy state….He thinks the whole country is gone irrevocably & ruin and desolation are at hand…For God’s sake do what you can to cheer him….” Ellen's letter will bring John to Louisville as well.

No comments: