Monday, March 10, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Monday, March 10, 1862

The Sun Will Rise for Grant

Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant doesn’t realize it yet, but his removal from active command by his jealous, self-seeking superior, Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, is about to end. Halleck is getting what he wanted from Washington, so today he composes a telegram to Grant. Unaware of the machinations and jockeying going on at higher levels, Grant busies himself on the sidelines at Fort Henry. He is limited to forwarding troops and supplies to the Tennessee River expedition he was originally supposed to lead but, it will be a sunnier day for Grant tomorrow.

Elsewhere in the Western Theater of the war, soldiers take time out from their duties to write home.

Nineteen-year-old Pvt. Andrew Altman of Company D, 68th Ohio, now heading southward through Tennessee, is writing his father in Ohio a promise: “I will do my best Durty tricks to Shoot a Reble.” Freed from the grinding monotony of farm work, Altman is one happy soldier: “I are a Seting by a little oak tree by a fire a rosting potatoes. That is nice food for me. I an engoy my Self very much here. All the boys are brothers to me and I to them.”

Altman’s letter closes with the soldier’s typical plea: “Write soon as you can and I will always be ready to receive them. When you write, Send all the war news that you can. We cant get no papers to read here a toll.”

Meanwhile. Capt. Emerson Opdycke of the 41st Ohio, still occupying Nashville, is writing his wife about his idea of Manifest Destiny: “What a military power this war will leave us.I for one hope that our invincible columns will not be disbanded until our eagles perch upon the walls of Quebec, and our banner floats triumphantly over every inch of British North America.”

IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

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