Tricounty News

This Week in the American Civil WarÐFeb. 26-March 4, 1862 (150 years ago) Wednesday Feb. 26, 1862

This Week in the American Civil WarÐFeb. 26-March 4, 1862 (150 years ago)

Wednesday Feb. 26, 1862

Kentucky senator William E. Simms declared in the Confederate Congress that the Confederacy would defend her rights to the last extremity. In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln talked with Major General George B.

McClellan, who was about to go to Harper's Ferry, supposedly to lead offensive operations into Virginia. Mr. Lincoln signed the Loan and Treasury Bill, which created a national currency of United States notes and provided for the sale of stock to finance the currency.

Thursday Feb. 27, 1862

The Confederate Congress gave President Jefferson Davis the power to suspend the privilege of habeas corpus, which was sparingly used. From New York, the U.S.S. Monitor ironclad went to sea for trials and then headed to an unknown destination. President Davis ordered martial law for the threatened cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va.

Friday Feb. 28, 1862

Federal forces under Brigadier General John Pope moved south along the western shore of the Mississippi River from Commerce toward New Madrid, Mo., in another drive against the Confederate heartland in the West. Confederate batteries protected the Mississippi River at Island

No. 10, north of New Madrid. There was an affair at Osage Springs, Ark., near Fayetteville, where yet another Federal column was threatening.

In Washington, President Lincoln talked with Major General George B. McClellan regarding the failure to institute operations at Harper's Ferry. Lincoln learned that the failure occurred because the canal boats sent north to form a pontoon bridge over the Potomac were too large for the locks.

Throughout the Confederacy, it was a day of fasting and prayer, following a proclamation by President Davis. Davis wrote General Joseph E. Johnston, who commanded the main Confederate army in northern Virginia. Davis was aware that the enemy appeared to be concentrating in Johnston's front, and that the general believed his position could be turned. Davis directed Johnston to make sure that the heavy guns could be removed, along with stores, and that lines of retreat be planned.

Saturday March 1, 1862

Major General Henry W. Halleck, commanding Federals in the West, ordered Major General Ulysses Grant at Fort Donelson to proceed south down the Tennessee River to near Eastport, Miss., continuing the advance so well begun. Grant, hurrying from Fort Donelson to Fort Henry, set the machinery in motion for another major movement of his army. Meanwhile, two wooden gunboats went up as far as Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., and silenced a Confederate field battery sent there by General P.G.T. Beauregard. In charge of Confederate troops along the Mississippi, General Beauregard was concentrating his units at Island No. 10, Fort Pillow, and Corinth, Miss. General Albert Sidney Johnston with the remnants of his army was beginning to move from Murfreesboro, Tenn., southeast of Nashville, across country toward Corinth, Miss. Already it was fairly clear that the next Western moves would be down the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers by the Federals. In addition, there was a fight at Sikeston, Mo.

President Davis proclaimed martial law in Richmond and Confederate authorities arrested Virginian John Minor Botts and other pro-Northern sympathizers accused of operating against the South.

Sunday March 2, 1862

The final units of the Confederate garrison of the batteries of Columbus, Ky., under Major General Leonidas Polk, pulled out, leaving the town and bluffs on the Mississippi to the Federals. Most of the 140 guns (two were left behind) were taken south to Island No. 10 and nearby batteries, as that place and Fort Pillow were the new Mississippi River posts. With the end of Columbus, the last fragment of the Confederate Kentucky line was gone and the new defense points were mainly in Tennessee and northern Mississippi. There was a light skirmish near New Madrid, Mo., as advance units of the Federals fought Confederates. In the far Southwest, Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley's Confederates, marching north along the Rio Grande in their invasion of New Mexico Territory, forced the abandonment of Albuquerque by the Federals.

Monday March 3, 1862

On the Mississippi, Federals under Brigadier General John Pope began the siege of New Madrid, Mo. Other Federals occupied evacuated Columbus, Ky., to the north. There was a skirmish at Martinsburg, Va., as Federals occupied that town; Confederates evacuated Amelia Island, Fla.; Cubero, New Mexico Territory was taken by the Confederates; an action occurred at Comanche Pass, New Mexico Territory, and there were several days of Federal operations around Berryville, Ark.

In Richmond, President Davis recalled General Robert E. Lee from Charleston, S.C., to be a military adviser in Virginia.

In Washington, President Lincoln approved a lengthy list of officers for appointment as major and brigadier generals. Major General Henry W. Halleck in St. Louis was authorized by Washington to replace Brigadier General Charles F. Smith in command of the expedition from Fort Henry up the Tennessee, after Halleck accused Major General Ulysses Grant of not reporting properly at the time of Fort Donelson, and other misconduct.

Tuesday March 4, 1862

Confederate forces in New Mexico territory under Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley entered Santa Fe after Federals retired to fort Union to the northeast. The Confederate invasion of the southwest had reached its crest. In Florida, Amelia Island was occupied by Federals.

In command changes, Major General Ulysses Grant was told to stay at Fort Henry, Tenn., as district commander while Brigadier General Charles F. Smith was put in charge of the federal advance up the Tennessee River, a direct slap at Grant by Major General Henry W. Halleck. The Senate of the United States confirmed Andrew Johnson as brigadier general and Military Governor of Tennessee. Major General John C. Pemberton assumed command of the Confederate Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida in place of General Robert E. Lee. President Davis was having difficulties with General Joseph E. Johnston over reenlistment of troops in Virginia, and furloughs. Confederate congressmen wanted more guns for the defense of the Mississippi, although the government was doing all it could to supply such guns.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of Feb. 26-Mar. 4, 1862

1st Minnesota Volunteer InfantryÐOn the march from Leesburg to Winchester, Va.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer InfantryÐOn the march from Louisville, Ky., to Nashville, Tenn.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer InfantryÐAt Shepherdsville, Lebanon Junction and Belmont, Ky., guarding Louisville & Nashville Railroad.

4th Minnesota Volunteer InfantryÐOn garrison duty at Fort Snelling, Minn., Fort Ridgely, Minn., and Fort Abercrombie, Dakota Territory.

Brackett's Battalion of Minnesota CavalryÐOn patrol duty at Fort Henry, Tenn.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery BatteryÐOn garrison duty at

St. Louis, Mo.

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company AÐTraining at Colonel Hiram Berdan's "Camp of Instruction"