150 years ago today, Ulysses S. Grant arrived in Washington after being named general-in-chief of all U.S. Armies.
By this time, the Civil War was in its fourth year and Grant was considered a hero in the North for having captured Confederate armies at Fort Donelson, Tennessee (1862) and Vicksburg, Mississippi (1863). Grant had also broken the Confederate siege of Chattanooga and drove that army out of Tennessee. Federal successes in the war’s Western Theater were largely due to Grant.
The Eastern Theater was a different matter. The Federal Army of the Potomac had been consistently thwarted in its efforts to destroy Robert E. Lee’s Confederates and capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. After winning a costly victory at Gettysburg the previous year, the Federals had stalled. Grant was promoted to change that.
The U.S. Congress passed a bill restoring the dormant U.S. Army rank of lieutenant general, or top general of all armies. Only two men had ever held such a rank before: Winfield Scott (by brevet only) and George Washington. The bill was sponsored by Elihu Washburne, a congressman representing Grant’s hometown of Galena, Illinois, and President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law with the clear intention of nominating Grant to take the new position. The Senate quickly confirmed Lincoln’s nomination, and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton summoned Grant to Washington to receive his new commission and assignment.
Grant arrived in Washington on March 8, 1864 unrecognized. But when he and his 14-year old son entered the Willard Hotel and registered as “U.S. Grant and son, Galena, Illinois,” word spread quickly that he was in town. Patrons in the dining room gave him three cheers when Grant and his son entered. After dinner, Grant proceeded to the weekly reception at the White House.
Grant was cheered by the reception attendees, and when he met Lincoln for the first time, the president personally greeted him, “Why, here is General Grant. Well, this is a great pleasure, I assure you!” In the East Room, Grant stood on a sofa for nearly an hour so that cheering guests could see him and shake his hand.
In a formal ceremony the next day, Lincoln presented Grant with his new commission and both men read brief prepared statements. Lincoln said, “as the country herein trusts you, so, under God it will sustain you…” Grant said, “With the aid of the noble armies that have fought in so many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving upon me…”
Lincoln told Grant, “I wish to express my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to this time, so far as I can understand it. The particulars of your plans I neither know nor seek to know.” In Grant, Lincoln hoped he had finally found the commander who could destroy the Confederacy and win the war.
Grant soon established his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac in northern Virginia. He would personally direct operations against Robert E. Lee and his legendary Confederates. Within two months, Grant and Lee would face off in the most horrible and destructive battles of the war.
The Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed every adult male the right to vote regardless of race, creed, color, or condition of previous servitude. This was a noble gesture to expand suffrage, but politics played a key role in the amendment’s passage.
The amendment was introduced by George S. Boutwell, a Massachusetts congressman who belonged to the radical faction of the Republican Party. The Radical Republicans sought to advance black rights by subjugating southern whites after the Civil War. At that time, many southern whites were barred from voting for not only having supported the Confederacy, but for opposing the Republicans. In submitting the amendment, Boutwell declared that Republicans could no longer “escape this issue as a Congress and as a party.”
The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments had granted freedom and equal rights to former slaves. Many believed that granting them the right to vote would complete the emancipation process by empowering them to protect their freedom and equality through the ballot box. More importantly, Republicans were confident that former slaves would consistently vote for the party that freed them, thus permanently solidifying Republican power in the South.
The new amendment caused serious political concerns. Since only former Confederate states were required to allow black men to vote, northern states actually placed greater restrictions on voting rights than the South. Most prospective voters in the North had to be white men, pay taxes or own real estate, or pass literacy tests to cast a ballot; Californians excluded the Chinese from voting to discourage the influx of Chinese immigration. Most northerners did not want these restrictions superseded by a constitutional amendment.
Democrats opposed the amendment because voting had always been considered a privilege, not a right for all men. And states, not the federal government, had traditionally regulated voting rights. The Fifteenth Amendment would transform the U.S. from a collection of sovereign states as the founders envisioned into a centralized nation. Many accused Republicans of singling out “the colored race as its special wards and favorites” because uneducated former slaves would likely vote for Republicans.
Northern moderates balked at the amendment’s original language, which guaranteed not only voting rights, but the right to hold public offices as well. This was because they wanted to maintain current laws in the northern states prohibiting blacks from being elected public officials. Thus, the public office guarantee was removed.
It was also decided not to prohibit the use of literacy or loyalty tests, ownership of property, or the payment of taxes as a prerequisite to vote. This appeased moderates who still wanted states to maintain some control over the voting process. It was also feared that removing loyalty tests would restore voting rights to former Confederates, most of whom would vote Democratic and offset the Republican votes of former slaves in the South.
Women were ignored, which outraged feminist leaders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. These leaders opposed the amendment because it would confer voting rights upon men regardless of their education or knowledge of the voting process, while denying those same rights to educated, politically savvy women. This amendment shattered the longtime alliance between abolitionists and feminists in the dual quest for black and female equality.
Despite objections, the amendment was finally drafted in language that secured its passage in Congress. There were loopholes around granting universal male suffrage in Section 1, but Section 2 gave Congress the right to act if it was determined that the amendment was being violated. The amendment was then sent to the states for ratification.
At the time, the Republican-controlled Congress was denying federal representation to three southern states (Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas) for violating the Republican Reconstruction program. Congress required all three states to ratify the Fifteenth Amendment as a condition for restoring representation. Requiring states to ratify an amendment when they had no federal representation (which disqualified them from ratifying an amendment in the first place) prompted questions about the ratification’s legality.
Nevertheless, the amendment garnered the three-fourths majority needed to become part of the Constitution. Northerners believed that this was the final step in helping former slaves become free and equal citizens. According to the New York Times, “… the work of the Republican party… ends with the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment.” Future President James A. Garfield said, “The Fifteenth Amendment confers upon the African race the care of its own destiny. It places their fortunes in their own hands.”
However, the political wrangling over the amendment’s language enabled southern states to impose various restrictions on voting rights after Reconstruction ended. These restrictions carefully avoided singling out blacks, but by imposing literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and property ownership requirements, they effectively excluded most blacks from voting in the South for nearly a century.
 Eric Foner, Reconstruction: The Unfinished Revolution, 1865-77 (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 446-47
 Claudine L. Ferrell, Reconstruction (Greenwood Guides to Historic Events 1500-1900) (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003), p. 44
 Foner, p. 446-47; Ferrell, p. 49
 Foner, p. 446-47; Ferrell, p. 44, 50
 Bowers, p. 295; Foner, p. 446-47
 Foner, p. 446-47
 Foner, p. 446-47; Ferrell, p. 50
 Howard Ray White, Bloodstains: An Epic History of the Politics That Produced the American Civil War, Volume 4, Political Reconstruction and the Struggle for Healing (SouthernBooks on Kindle), Ch. 1Q69
 Ferrell, p. 50; Foner, p. 446-47
Wednesday, March 2
The U.S. Senate confirmed President Abraham Lincoln’s appointment of Ulysses S. Grant to lieutenant general. After enduring a series of unsuccessful commanders, Lincoln hoped that Grant would be the general to finally destroy the Confederacy.
In the Federal raid on Richmond, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren’s Federal detachment fell back after Dahlgren learned that Judson Kilpatrick’s main force had withdrawn. The detachment was ambushed by General Fitzhugh Lee’s Confederate cavalry while crossing the Mattaponi River; Dahlgren was killed, and about 100 of his 500 men were captured. Southerners were outraged by unsubstantiated reports that papers found on Dahlgren’s body indicated a plot to assassinate President Jefferson Davis.
Meanwhile, Kilpatrick hurried east under pursuit by General Wade Hampton. The failed raid on Richmond ended with 340 Federals killed and nearly 1,000 horses killed, disabled, or captured. A diversionary unit under General George A. Custer returned to Federal lines after its successful raid of Albemarle County.
A Federal expedition began from Larkin’s Landing, Arkansas. Skirmishing occurred in Mississippi.
Thursday, March 3
The U.S. Congress authorized the Treasury Department to sell another series of war bonds. The sale of 10-year bonds was intended to generate $200 million to help finance the war.
Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton summoned Ulysses S. Grant from his Nashville headquarters to Washington to receive his new lieutenant general commission and assignment. Skirmishing occurred in West Virginia, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Friday, March 4
The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Andrew Johnson as military governor of Tennessee. A pro-Union state government was initiated in Louisiana, and new Governor Michael Hahn assumed the powers formerly held by Federal military authorities.
The main portion of General William T. Sherman’s Federal forces returned to Vicksburg after destroying Meridian, Mississippi. Skirmishing occurred in Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Saturday, March 5
The Confederacy required every sea vessel to provide at least one-half of its freight capacity for government shipments. This intended to minimize profiteering through blockade running and to better facilitate government efforts to obtain badly needed supplies.
Major General John C. Breckinridge assumed command of the Confederate Department of Western Virginia. Confederate raiders under John Taylor Wood captured a telegraph station and two Federal steamers at Cherrystone Point, Virginia. Skirmishing occurred in Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Sunday, March 6
Federal forces withdrew from Yazoo City, Mississippi. Confederate torpedo boats failed in an attack on U.S.S. Memphis on the North Edisto River in South Carolina. Skirmishing occurred in Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
Monday, March 7
President Davis wrote to Lieutenant General James Longstreet, whose Confederate forces were camped at Greeneville in eastern Tennessee: ”It is needless to point out to you the value of a successful movement into Tennessee and Kentucky, and the importance–I may say necessity–of our taking the initiative.”
President Lincoln wrote to Congressman John A.J. Creswell of Maryland expressing support for the immediate emancipation of slaves in that state, even though he preferred gradual freedom. Lincoln stated, “It needs not to be a secret, that I wish success to emancipation in Maryland. It would aid much to the end of the rebellion.”
Under terms of the Pacific Railway Act of 1862, President Lincoln designated the western boundary of Iowa as the starting point for the Union Pacific Railroad to begin westward construction on a transcontinental railroad. Iowa was chosen largely because of the state’s role in nominating Lincoln for president in 1860. Council Bluffs was selected as the specific starting point, coincidentally a town in which Lincoln had bought property in 1859.
Newspapers in Richmond reported the first arrival of black prisoners of war. Skirmishing occurred in Alabama and Mississippi.
Tuesday, March 8
Ulysses S. Grant arrived in Washington unrecognized, but word quickly spread that he was in town, and he was warmly received at Willard’s Hotel. Grant then proceeded to the weekly reception at the White House, where he met President Lincoln for the first time. In the East Room, Grant stood on a sofa so the cheering guests could see him.
Skirmishing occurred in Alabama and Louisiana.
Primary Source: E.B. Long and Barbara Long, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 471-73
Wednesday, February 24
Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed General Braxton Bragg, former commander of the Army of Tennessee, to command overall military operations. Despite Bragg’s defeat at Chattanooga last November, he still held Davis’s trust.
Federal President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law containing several military provisions, such as: 1) offering slaveholders $300 for each slave who enlisted in the military; 2) increasing bounties for volunteers; 3) redefining draft quota credits; 4) increasing penalties for draft resistance; 5) subjecting blacks to the military draft; and 6) providing non-combat military positions to those objecting to war for religious reasons.
In Washington, Congress began debating on restoring Louisiana to the Union as a reconstructed state. In northern Georgia, skirmishing occurred at various points as part of the Demonstration on Dalton. Other skirmishing occurred in Mississippi. A Federal expedition began from Camp Mibres in the New Mexico Territory.
Thursday, February 25
Major General John C. Breckinridge was given command of the Department of Western Virginia, replacing Major General Samuel Jones. Breckinridge, a former U.S. vice president, had been condemned in the North as a traitor and denounced in the South after being censured by Braxton Bragg for poor performance at Chattanooga.
In northern Georgia, Confederates repulsed a Federal probing attack in the Demonstration on Dalton. The Federals returned to the main army the next day. Federal expeditions began from Whiteside’s Gap, Tennessee and from Stevens’s and Frick’s Gaps, Georgia. Skirmishing occurred in Mississippi.
Friday, February 26
Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals skirmished during their withdrawal after destroying Meridian, Mississippi. The cavalry portion of Sherman’s army returned to Memphis amid constant harassment from General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates.
President Lincoln issued a memorandum expressing confidence in controversial General Benjamin F. Butler. Lincoln also ordered that all death sentences for deserters be commuted to imprisonment for the war’s duration. The U.S. Senate passed the House bill reviving the military rank of lieutenant general. Skirmishing occurred in Tennessee.
Saturday, February 27
The first Federal prisoners of war arrived at a new Confederate prison camp near Americus, Georgia. Food shortages in Richmond had prompted Confederate officials to create a new camp deeper in southern territory. Its official name was Camp Sumter, but it became known as Andersonville. The camp quickly became overcrowded with a severe lack of food, clothing, shelter, and health care. With few Confederate resources to care for them, Federal prisoners were ravaged by disease and death as the name “Andersonville” became notorious in the North.
In northern Georgia, a final skirmish ended the Demonstration on Dalton. Federals destroyed Confederate salt works at St. Marks, Florida. Skirmishing occurred in Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, and the Arizona Territory.
Sunday, February 28
President Lincoln approved General Judson Kilpatrick’s plan to conduct a Federal cavalry raid on the Confederate capital at Richmond. The main force consisted of about 3,500 men under Kilpatrick and Colonel Ulric Dahlgren. They planned to invade Richmond at two points, distribute copies of Lincoln’s amnesty pledge, and liberate Federal prisoners of war. The force crossed the Rapidan River and skirmished at Ely’s Ford, while a separate cavalry unit under Brigadier General George A. Custer launched a diversionary raid in Albemarle County.
Federal Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas was sent west to address administrative issues in the Mississippi River Valley. Among the issues were increasing problems with handling freed slaves, restoring farms, and trading cotton and other contraband.
A Federal expedition began from Gloucester County, Virginia. Skirmishing occurred in Tennessee and Mississippi.
Monday, February 29
President Lincoln approved the bill restoring the lieutenant general rank. Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s success in the Western Theater had prompted Congress to revive the rank so Lincoln could bestow it upon him. The bill had been sponsored by Congressman Elihu Washburne from Grant’s home town of Galena, Illinois. Only two men had ever previously held such a rank: Winfield Scott (by brevet only) and George Washington.
In the Richmond raid, Judson Kilpatrick split his Federal command, keeping most troopers and sending Ulric Dahlgren’s detachment south. Confederates in Richmond learned of the Federal raid and began preparing defenses.
Federal expeditions began from Petersburg, West Virginia and Rolla, Arkansas. A Federal naval reconnaissance began on the Black and Ouachita Rivers in Louisiana. Skirmishing in Virginia, Mississippi, and California.
Tuesday, March 1
In the Richmond raid, Judson Kilpatrick’s Federal detachment approached Richmond from the north, while Ulric Dahlgren’s force circled southward, crossed the James River, and approached the capital from the south. However, Confederate knowledge of the raid cost the Federals the vital element of surprise. Richmond clerks, wounded soldiers, veterans, and home guards were assembled to defend the city.
President Lincoln nominated Ulysses S. Grant for the new rank of lieutenant general. Skirmishing occurred in Florida.
Primary Source: E.B. Long and Barbara Long, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 468-471
I just returned from a road trip to Mississippi to attend the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Okolona. I had a wonderful time, and I’m highly appreciative of the hospitality that I received. I sold several copies of both The Civil War Months and The Reconstruction Years, and I was fortunate enough to meet many Civil War and American history buffs willing to tell me their stories.
So many people worked so hard to make this event happen. From what I learned, this was the first reenactment at Okolona in over 20 years.
I took this early morning photo of the battlefield:
Here’s a picture of my table among the sutlers/vendors at the event:
And being so close to Tupelo, I had to visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley:
I would like to acknowledge all the folks that I met at this great event:
The Battle of Okolona details
Pace Confederate Depot from Baldwyn, Mississippi
The Enchanted Hourglass from Florence, Alabama
Tippah Tigers Camp 868 Sons of Confederate Veterans from Ripley, Mississippi
There’s another event in Mississippi in June, with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads. I hope to be there for that one too!
Jacob Coxey led an army of unemployed men in a march on Washington, but government could not be relied upon to solve their problems.
The Panic of 1893 led to the worst economic depression in U.S. history up to that time. Quarry owner Jacob Sechler Coxey of Ohio responded by assembling a group of unemployed workers to serve a “petition on boots” by marching on Washington to demand jobs. Officially called the Army of the Commonweal in Christ, it became popularly known as Coxey’s Army.
This was the first major protest march on the capital. Coxey sought to persuade the federal government to print $500 million in paper money, then spend it on public works projects such as road construction and infrastructure improvement. However, this failed to consider that inflating the money supply would devalue the currency already in existence, thus raising the cost of living and making everybody poorer. And if government “make-work” jobs were necessary and cost effective, they would have already been handled by private interests.
Nevertheless, as many as 20,000 “Coxeyites” headed to Washington through various routes. Although Coxey’s group started from Ohio, many others started from as far as the Pacific coast. Some hijacked trains before they were stopped by authorities. Besides that, the march was relatively peaceful, with many westerners supporting the movement. Up to 5,000 people held a picnic to honor Coxey in Nebraska.
Coxey himself started out at the head of 100 people, including his son Legal Tender Coxey, from Massillon, Ohio on March 25, 1894. The number grew to about 500 as they passed through Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, westerners faced increased hostility as they begged their way east. Newspaper coverage was largely positive, but some expressed concern about the “hobo army” coming into their towns. Coxey had boasted that he would lead over 100,000 men into Washington, but by the time he arrived, only 500 followers were with him.
Some 10,000 supporters watched Coxey’s Army enter Washington on May 1. They marched to the Capitol, where Coxey planned to deliver a speech. But instead they were met by 1,500 federal troops. Unbeknownst to Coxey, an 1882 law required petitioners to first seek permission from the U.S. vice president or the House speaker to set foot on Capitol grounds. Police barred them from proceeding, but Coxey and two others climbed a fence and were arrested for trespassing on the Capitol lawn. With Coxey’s arrest, his followers dispersed and the movement quickly faded. 
The march on Washington was cheered by some and derided by others. Responding to the notion that the country was suffering from an economic sickness, a Chicago newspaper scoffed, “The country is sick just to the extent that its people try to lean on the government instead of standing upright on their own two feet.” Conservatives likened Coxeyite demands for government aid with high tariff supporters in that both sought “to be supported… at public expense.” In fact, Coxey’s movement was so unpopular that most politicians disavowed it to avoid voter backlash.
On the 50th anniversary of Coxey’s march on Washington, a 94-year old Coxey finally delivered his speech on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. By that time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal had handed out everything Coxey requested and more. However, it did nothing to alleviate unemployment, as government can only fund public works by taking money from private interests and taxpayers, who are much more effective at stimulating the economy when given the freedom to put their money to use.
Coxey’s Army was the largest protest march on Washington up to that time. But it was just one of several so-called “Industrial Armies” organizing to protest the misery of the depression and demand government action. Regardless of whether or not government complied with their demands for aid, the lesson was that government dependence could not make things better.
 David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace (ed.), The People’s Almanac (New York: Doubleday, 1975), p. 205; Robert W. Cherny, American Politics in the Gilded Age (Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1997), p. 114-15; Heather Cox Richardson, West from Appomattox (Yale University Press, 2008), p. 285
 Wallechinsky and Wallace, The People’s Almanac, p. 205; Cherny, American Politics in the Gilded Age, p. 114-15; Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), p. 294
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxey%27s_Army; http://history1800s.about.com/od/organizedlabor/ss/Coxeys-Army-1894-March.htm; Richardson, West from Appomattox, p. 285; http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Coxey’s_Army?rec=583
Wednesday, February 17
C.S.S. Hunley, an experimental “semi-submersible,” rammed and sank U.S.S. Housatonic in Charleston Harbor. Housatonic became the first ship ever sunk by a submarine. However, the collision also destroyed Hunley, killing her crew. This innovative attack panicked the Federal blockading fleet, but submarines remained ineffective in warfare until the 20th century.
The Confederate Congress authorized suspending the writ of habeas corpus to prevent “disloyal” activities such as spying, deserting, associating with the enemy, and engaging in disloyal public assemblies. The president and secretary of war were the only two officials authorized to order arrests under the suspension.
The Confederate Congress repealed the Partisan Ranger Act, ending the practice of independent southerners forming their own military units. The repeal was supported by General Robert E. Lee, who expressed concern about the increasing guerrilla warfare and lawlessness. Certain units, including those under John S. Mosby and Hanse McNeill, were exempted. Others continued operating anyway since the Confederacy had no resources to enforce the law.
The First Confederate Congress ended its fourth session amid growing discontent with President Jefferson Davis and his administration’s handling of the war effort.
President Davis moved to transfer troops from General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee to General Leonidas Polk’s army being threatened in Mississippi. Federal expeditions began from Warrenton, Virginia and Motley’s Ford, Tennessee. Skirmishing occurred in Mississippi and Arkansas.
Thursday, February 18
President Abraham Lincoln wrote to Massachusetts Governor John Andrew that if “it would be really true that Massachusetts wishes to afford a permanent home within her borders, for all, or even a large number of colored persons who will come to her, I shall be only too glad to know it…” Lincoln opened the port of Brownsville, Texas to non-military trade.
General William T. Sherman’s Federals continued their destruction of Meridian, Mississippi, as Federals supporting Sherman clashed with Confederates at Aberdeen. A Federal expedition began from Ooltewah, Tennessee. Skirmishing occurred in Georgia, Tennessee, and Missouri.
Friday, February 19
President Davis conferred with Admiral Franklin Buchanan on plans to defend against a potential Federal attack on Mobile, Alabama. Skirmishing occurred in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri.
Saturday, February 20
The Battle of Olustee occurred in Florida as 5,500 Federals under Brigadier General Truman Seymour were confronted by about 5,000 Confederates under Brigadier General Joseph Finegan in a pine forest west of Jacksonville. After heavy fighting until dark, the Federals broke in confusion and ultimately withdrew to Jacksonville. The Federals suffered 1,861 casualties, while the Confederates lost 934. This was the largest battle fought in Florida and one of the bloodiest of the war in terms of casualty percentage. Despite the defeat, the Federals maintained control of Jacksonville.
William T. Sherman’s Federals withdrew from Meridian due to Sherman’s concern that his supporting cavalry force under William Sooy Smith was in danger of Confederate attack. The Federals’ return to Vicksburg ended the Meridian campaign, and Confederates quickly began repairing the town.
A Federal expedition began from Helena, Arkansas. Skirmishing occurred in Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Sunday, February 21
William Sooy Smith’s Federal cavalry retreated toward Memphis after losing several skirmishes with Confederates under General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Smith had destroyed railroad facilities, cotton, and corn, and hundreds of former slaves joined his forces.
President Davis expressed concern about the growing Federal threats to Mississippi, northern Georgia, Charleston, eastern Tennessee, and northern Virginia. A Federal expedition began from New Creek, West Virginia. Skirmishing occurred in Virginia.
Monday, February 22
The Battle of Okolona occurred as Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates attacked William Sooy Smith’s retreating Federals in northern Mississippi. The fight became a five-mile running Federal defeat, with a Federal counterattack preventing a rout and enabling Smith’s main force to return to Memphis. Despite the death of his brother, this was one of Forrest’s greatest victories.
Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase offered to resign over the “Pomeroy Circular,” a pamphlet issued by Kansas Senator Samuel C. Pomeroy that opposed President Lincoln’s reelection and endorsed Chase to replace him. This threatened to split the Republican Party during an election year, which delighted Democrats. In his letter of resignation, Chase denied having any prior knowledge of the circular, but evidence suggested that Chase had approved its distribution.
Pro-Union voters elected Michael Hahn as governor of military-occupied Louisiana. Major General George H. Thomas’s Federal Army of the Cumberland advanced southeast from Chattanooga to probe General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate positions around Dalton, Georgia.
Confederates raided Mayfield, Kentucky. Skirmishing occurred in Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri.
Tuesday, February 23
In northern Georgia, George H. Thomas’s Federals attacked Confederates at Catoosa Station and Tunnel Hill in what became known as the “Demonstration on Dalton.” President Davis warned Joseph E. Johnston that “the demonstration in your front is probably a mask.”
President Lincoln held his weekly cabinet meeting without Treasury Secretary Chase. However, he did not yet accept Chase’s resignation, concluding that he could neutralize a potential rival by keeping Chase in the cabinet, thus preventing him from openly campaigning for the presidency.
In Richmond, a buyer’s panic occurred as the price of food and whiskey skyrocketed. A Federal expedition began from Springfield, Missouri. Skirmishing occurred in Mississippi.
Primary Source: E.B. Long and Barbara Long, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 465-468