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.The Eternal American Battle - Humans V Money

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Friday, September 09, 2011

A VILE HERO

I believe that Harry Croswell may be best explained by a story he told about himself. One of his victims, a local Justice of the Peace named Hagedorn, spotted the young newspaperman about to cross a street in the river port boom-town of Hudson, New York (above). It sat on the east bank of the river, about 30 miles south of Albany. Without warning Hagedorn, an enormous man, leaped from the driver’s seat of his wagon and confronted the unsuspecting Harry. Standing toe to toe, Justice Hagedorn hotly accused Harry of slandering him in his newspaper, and threatened to whip Harry soundly. Harry calmly responded that he did not believe that Hagedorn would “whip” him. The offended justice exploded in a stream of profanity and insults, and then, without touching Harry, spun on his heels, remounted his carriage again and whipped his “poor horse” instead. As the angry Justice disappeared down the street a witness asked Harry how he could have been so certain the J.P. would not have used a horse whip on him, to which Harry replied, “Mainly because I planned to run away.”
Harry lived in a world not so different from our own. True, he never experienced the joys of indoor plumbing, nor the miracles of modern medicine, but his America was a land bitterly divided, plagued by partisanship, confused by conspiracy theories right and left, and afflicted with a media that fanned the flames of discord in the name of profit. Of course, the American republic of Harry Croswell’s day had a valid excuse for its childish behavior; it was little more than a child itself.
First, Congress had passed the Naturalization Act, of June 18, 1798. Openly supported by outgoing President George Washington, (above), this law required anyone applying for citizenship first be a resident for at least 14 years. (At this point it had only been 22 years since the Declaration of Independence)
Then there was the Alien Friends Act, of June 25, which authorized incoming President John Adams (above) to deport any resident alien whom he personally considered dangerous. This was followed by the Alien Enemies Act of July 6, which allowed the President to deport any alien whose original nation was currently at war with the United States. And finally, there was the Sedition Act of July 14, 1798. This made it a crime to publish anything “false, scandalous, and malicious” about the government or its officials. Taken together these were the Alien and Sedition Acts, a sort 18th century version of the Patriot Act.
The acts were the creation of the Federalist President John Adams, supported by his Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton (above).
And few in the country had any doubt that they were aimed at the friends and allies of Vice President Thomas Jefferson (above).
To oversimplify the situation, the Federalists were in favor of a strong central government, while Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans were in favor of strong states. The contest between the two philosophies seemed to have been decided in 1800 when Jefferson was swept into office, succeeding the one term Adams. But as soon as President Jefferson had the reins of power in his hands he began to beat the horse he rode into the White House on, just as President Adams had.
In fact most of this hysteria was started by the Republican side. James Callender, Jefferson’s personal attack dog, actually called George Washington, the father-of-our-country, a traitor. Philip Freneau’s “National Gazette” described Washington’s speeches as the “discharged loathings of a sick mind.” In response the restrained Gentleman of Mount Vernon canceled his subscription to Bache’s paper. But Bache paid for Washington's subscription himself, and continued to mail it to the President’s house.
I am tempted to describe the string of vitriol pouring from Jefferson’s publishers as a sort of Fox Network News of its day. But in fact the Federalists opposition in New York City, funded by Alexander Hamilton, had its own foul mouthpiece in NYC, the Evening Post, a newspaper which eventually became the New York Post, the current paper voice of Fox News in the big apple. In any case, having put himself in the drivers seat, the Sage of Monticello was not shy about using the Federalists weapons he had just denounced. And his first target was 22 year old Harry Crosswell.
The “tall, and manly” Harry Crosswell, was the son of a Connecticut preacher. His tutor had been the old Federalists, Noah Webster, of the dictionary fame. Harry began his career as an assistant editor on the Hudson, New York Federalist newspaper the “Balance”. But in 1802 when Hudson Republicans started an attack sheet called “The Bee”, Harry convinced his publisher to fund a Federalist four page attack sheet in response, called “The Wasp”. He wrote under the pen-name of “Robert Rusticoat”, and pledged that “Wherever the Bee ranges, the Wasp will follow…Without attempting to please his friends, the Wasp will only strive to displease, vex and torment his enemies .” And he did.
Most of his really nasty material Harry reprinted from the pen of James Callender, the ex-confidant of Jefferson himself. In 1801, when Jefferson refused to name Callender Postmaster for Virginia, Callender turned on his one-time master. In his own Virginia newspaper, Callander detailed how Jefferson had fed him word for word the vile attacks upon Washington. And it was Callander who first printed the story of Jefferson’s liaisons with his slave, Sally Hemings, and their many offspring. And Harry reprinted every one of the salacious details in The Wasp.
In January of 1803, Harry Croswell was dragged before three part-time Republican judges and charged with “... being a malicious and seditious man, and of depraved mind and wicked and diabolical disposition, and also deceitfully, wickedly and maliciously devising, contriving and intending, toward Thomas Jefferson, Esquire, President of the United States of America, to detract from, scandalize, traduce and vilify, and to represent him… as unworthy of the confidence, respect and attachment of the people of the said United States…”
Now this was nothing new for Harry. He was constantly being sued by his targets, such as the angry Mr, Hagedorn, J.P. But this time the Jeffersonians were determined to bring the full weight of their political power to bear. Harry’s lawyers requested copies of the indictments; denied. They requested a delay to bring James Callender up from Virginia, to testify; denied. They requested a change of venue; denied. After six months of motions and denials, the case was finally went to the jury, and Chief Justice Morgan Lewis’ instructions sealed Harry’s fate. “The law is settled. The truth of the matter published cannot be given in evidence.”
This was old English Common Law, the standard still in use in the new America. And under its rules, the jury retired at sunset, and at 8 A.M. the next morning convicted Harry. His lawyers immediately filed an appeal for a new trial, and while that was heard, at least Harry was out of jail. That did not seem to help much because over the summer his primary witness for the defence, James Callender, scorned confidant of Thomas Jefferson, and life-long alcoholic, fell into mud flats along the James River in Richmond, and drowned.
Speaking for Harry's defense before the New York state Supreme Court, on February 13, 1804, was Jefferson's nemeses, Alexander Hamilton himself. He argued that the only restraint on publishers should reside not with the government and politicians, but with the “occasional and fluctuating group of common citizens” sitting on juries. Only if a charge was untrue, and only if the writer had reason to know it was untrue, should it be considered slander; or so argued Alexander Hamilton.
Amazingly the New York State Supreme Court agreed. They overturned Harry’s conviction and ordered a new trial. But by then the political winds had shifted. Public opinion had not taken kindly to Republican politicians arguing they should be exempt from public criticism. The New York Legislature even re-wrote their libel and slander laws. But, Thomas Jefferson as not willing to take "no" for an answer, and Harry was brought up on new charges. And he was convicted again. But this time the jury awarded the plaintiff exactly six cents, which wasn’t a lot of money, even in 1804.
Harry Croswell was now made senior editor of "The Balance". But the fire had also gone out of the Federalists cause, and the paper foundered financially. In 1811, having served a short term in debtor’s prison, Harry retired from politics completely; he never even voted again. Instead, he became an Episcopal Minister and eventually was assigned to the Trinity Church in New Haven. He preached there for 43 years. Said one of his flock of the man, “He was not a great preacher, but he had an extraordinary knowledge of human nature, and could ingratiate himself into every man's heart.”
Thus, having applied his talents in a more productive way than politics, Harry Crosswell,  died on March 13th , 1858, at 80 years old.  His life could be divided in two. In the first phrase, he made history. In the second phrase, he made a real difference.
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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME, JULIE MOOO-OOON

I think it was the headline that first grabbed my attention: “Accused Says He Was Just Milking a Goat”. Yes, upon further consideration, it was certainly that headline which caught my eye. But the story out of Tacoma, Washington was not just another sordid tale of Animal Husbandry. It all began on May 8th 2007 when a shocked female tour guide spotted 63 year old Arthur Lawton having his way with the aforementioned ungulate in a barn at Eatonville Pioneer Farm Museum, where he used to work. But at his arraignment on August 9th , Lawton insisted the witness was mistaken and he was just milking the goat, as opposed to the goat milking him. So it is now a classic case of he said/she chewed her cud. But there was more.
There was the October 2006 arrest of a 26 year old Spanaway, Washington man,  allegedly captured by a cell phone camera, engage in intercourse with a four year old pit bull named Sara. But in May a jury acquitted Patrick McPhail, even though the deputy prosecutor Brian Leech said he still felt “…the facts were more than sufficient to merit conviction.” The problem was the “facts” had come from Jesika McPhail, the defendant’s wife, and the jury didn’t believe her canine version of the Rape of the Sabine Women, in part because the alleged cell phone pictures never made it into court, and in their absence the jury thought it more likely a wife would hate her husband enough to file a false police report than that a man would risk having sex with a pit bull. If so, they may have been mistaken, based on what has been labeled ‘The Great Enumclaw Colon-al Mystery.’
This Great Mystery (as if why humans would seek to engage in intimate relations with another species was not mystery enough) began on July 2nd of 2005 when a man drove up to the emergency entrance of the Enumclaw Community Hospital, seeking help for a companion. After medics rolled the unconscious companion into the ER they discovered he was not unconscious, he was dead. By this time the unknown Good Samaritan had vanished. The deceased was identified by his driver’s license as a 45 year old Seattle resident, and an autopsy confirmed what the E.R. docs suspected. He had died of acute peritonitis caused by a perforated colon -  an extensively perforated colon. Conversations with relatives indicated the only connection the deceased had with Enumclaw was that he was boarding two thoroughbred stallions with “friends” at a farm near there.
The police executed a search warrant at the 40 acre farm (above) and found the stallions, as well as other horses, dogs, chickens, sheep and goats. And they also found video tapes showing several men having intercourse the four-footed studs. A cursory search of Internet chat rooms found that the farm was a well known location for bestiality and zoophilia amongst excessive animal lovers. However, none of the horses (or the any of the other animals on the farm) seemed to have been physically harmed, and so the story almost ended there because in 2005 having sex with animals was not a felony in Washington State.
Well, now it is. The Humane Society got into the act and Susan Michaels, a local animal activist, declared war on the “cruelty” of all this animal/human sexual activity, which she perceives is going on. “It’s not natural for animals to do this,” she said. Evidently Susan has never had her leg “humped” by a friend’s dog, or been sprayed by an amorous Tomcat.
But having grown up in farm country I can testify (under oath if need be) to having seen a five legged calf – a young bull standing in a stream with his “excited member” dangling into the cool water . And when that doesn’t cool things off a young bovine Othello has been known to attempt to mount unsuspecting horses, trees, fence posts, tractors, farmers and other assorted animate and inanimate objects. I guess a cow or pig being used for sex is more offensive than using them for food. But while a farmer might be disturbed when coated in bovine sperm,  I’m not sure I would describe him as having been “sexually molested”.
It was the raid on the "Equus Farm" which inspired Washington State Sen. Pam Roach, (R-Auburn) to draft legislation making bestiality illegal in Washington State. She said, "This is just disgusting." And, yes, of course it is. Disgusting.  But arresting a human for animal sexual cruelty is as foolish as arresting the horse for homicide when they don’t stop after the human says, “Please don't step on my head, that hurts.” Forgive me for mounting my libertarian high horse here but I find this application of Victorian morality to the animal kingdom to be a great big pain in the fetlock.
The few scientific studies in this field suggest that something around 8% of humans think about, fantasize about or obsess about zoosexual activity. And how many of those are actually practicing animal husbandry is anybody’s guess -  if anybody should wish to guess. Good Lord, I find it a repellent idea, but than I also find supply-side economics repellent.. But both of those are a human problem, meaning a problem with humans. The idea that the animals are offended by or traumatized by sex with humans in some way is best described as absurd, and treating it as animal abuse leads to some pretty stupid problems.
Such as.....In July of 2007 a Dutch farmer called the police when he caught a man engaging in sex with his sheep, but the case was thrown out because the sheep could not testify she was not a willing participant. On the other hand,  Yorkshire, England, recently, witnesses observed a young man dressed only in black briefs “molesting” three rare English long horned cows, but he “ran off” when the witnesses shouted at him. The farmer, Richard Parish, didn’t seem to worried about his traumatized cows. He said, “English longhorns are  lovely animals, but not that lovely."  And on this subject, I say, usually the law is just beating a dead horse. 
The only case I have been able to document in which any kind of “justice” was actually obtained for the “dumb animal”, occurred appropriately enough just before Valentine’s Day in 2006 when, according to the Juba Post, a Sudanese man named Tombe was caught by a farmer engaging in intercourse with one of his goats. The farmer explained,“When I asked him what are you doing up there? He fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up.” The farmer then called the village elders who decided that since Tombe had used the goat as a wife, he should be forced to marry it, and pay the farmer a dowry of 15, 000 dinars – about $50. “We have given him the goat”, said the farmer, “and as far as we know they are still together.”
So who says that in Sudan you can't get a good rump roast dinner for fifty bucks?  There is no word if Mr. Tombe is still with his new bride, or if he has taken to eating out. But, neither is there word from the animal rights world which they would consider more objectionable, eating a goat or…no, no, even I can’t use that joke.
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Sunday, September 04, 2011

GENIUS - THE SECOND WEEK IN MAY

FRIDAY, MAY 8, 1863
Sherman’s Corps, at last on the eastern shore of the Mississippi river, force marches from Grand Gulf all the way to Harkinson’s Ferry, almost 20 miles on its first full day ashore. General McClernand’s Corps advances to the Big Sandy Creek. And General McPherson’s Corps is now edging toward Utica, Mississippi.
James Birdseye McPherson was a life long soldier, a superb engineer, and universally liked and admired by his peers. He graduated from West Point in 1853, (his roommate had been Comfederat General John Bell Hood) and he then designed defenses for New York City and Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay (below). His Civil War service began at Forts Henry and Donelson, and after the Battle of Shiloh he was promoted to major General, all under General Grant.
He was loved by his troops, and asked no more from them than he himself was willing to risk. A fierce union man and patriot, McPherson would later answer those who criticized his compassion for suffering Southerners in Vicksburg by saying, “When the time comes that to be a soldier, a man must forget…the claims of humanity, I do not want to be a soldier.”
SATURDAY, MAY 9, 1863
Confederate President Jefferson Davis has repeatedly ordered General Pemberton to stay behind his defenses in Vicksburg, while Confederate General Johnston, Pemberton's immediate superior, has urged Pemberton to take the field against Grant. 
Pemberton (above) is inclined to obey Davis. He does not feel he has enough strength to secure Vicksburg and engage Grant as far from the "Gilbralter of the South" as possible. Davis has even attempted to get Robert E. Lee to release Longstreet’s Corps to be sent to Mississippi, for the Vicksburg defense.
But Lee is in the middle of planning his invasion of Pennsylvania, and without Longstreet's corps there can be no such invasion. So, Davis is forced to turn to a man for whom he has no respect. Finally, on this late date, May 9, 1863, Davis authorizes his Secretary of War (as Davis will not even communicate with the man directly) to order General Joseph E. Johnston (above) to “…proceed at once to Mississippi and take chief command of the forces in the field.” He also issues a public call for state militias to defend Vicksburg. It is all he can do to save the situation in Mississippi.
Meanwhile Brigadier General John Gregg’s (above) over strength 3,000 man Brigade, dispatched from Port Hudson, finally arrives in Jackson, Mississippi after a forced march of 80 parched miles along the damaged rail lines from Brookhaven. He posts his men on the Pearl River, just north of town, where they can enjoy some desperately needed water.
Although he is now a Texan, this is familiar territory for Gregg. He attended La Grange College, just across the border in Tennessee (from where Grierson began his cavalry raid). Gregg graduated with a law degree.
At the start of the war Gregg formed the 7th Texas Infantry regiment and was almost immediately captured. He was exchanged almost as quickly and in September 1862 was commissioned a brigadier General and sent to Mississippi, where he fought at Shiloh.
Once his men are rested, Gregg expects to fall on the rear of Grant’s army when the Union General tries to cross the Big Black River on his way to Vicksburg.
SUNDAY, MAY 10, 1863
In Virginia General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson dies of pneumonia, brought on by bed rest demanded by his wounds at Chancellorsville. When told of his death, Lee, who admits he did not know Jackson very well, still cries out, “I have lost my right arm.”
In Mississippi, Union General McPherson’s Corps cautiously approaches Utica, Mississippi, while Sherman’s Corps advances to the Big Sandy River. McClernand’s Corps, has been ordered to slowly move on Clinton, Mississippi.  Moving with McClerand, Grant (above) decides to drop all  “lines of communication” with Grand Gulf behind him. From now on his men are making do with the rations they carry and what they can forage from the countryside. It is a massive gamble.
William T. Sherman will later calculate that each Union soldier in the field requires three pounds of food stuffs each day, in addition to the 13 pounds of “re-supply” required to keep him “effective”. All of this had to be carried in horse or mule drawn wagons that accompanied each regiment and which trailed the army in long supply trains. In addition, each regiment was expected to carry 25% additional supplies for their teamsters - for even though the Civil War has been labeled as “the first railroad war”, its armies were always carried on the backs of horses and mules.
To support each 1,000 men in the field required 40 – 50 wagons (drawn by about 300 mules), to carry foodstuffs (for the humans and animals), tents, blankets, cooking gear, ammunition, tack, horse and human shoes, and one or two ambulances. Each of the horses required 26 pounds of fodder per day and each mule required 24 pounds, half of which the army was required to carry and half of which the animals were expected to find for themselves. When Grant proposed “living of the land” after leaving Port Gibson it was a literal proposal for the animals. Each 2-3,000 pound wagon load of supplies could cover about 20 miles in an eight hour day of marching. As the army marched the supplies would be used up, which would lighten the load a little, but the humans and the animals still had to eat.
On average a Civil War army required one horse for every three men - 20 horses to pull each artillery piece, and six mules to pull each wagon. And that was in addition to the mounts for cavalry and officers – which meant that Grant’s army of 42,000 men required 14,000 horses and mules. And the vast majority of animals in a Civil War army were merely beasts of burden. Each horse and mule lived a short, brutal life, even more so than the humans who controlled them.
Following orders from General Pemberton,  Gregg’s oversized brigade begins another forced march from their positions north of Jackson to Raymond, Mississippi, 25 miles to the west.
MONDAY MAY 11, 1863
Union General McClernand’s Corp, reaches Five Mile Creek in Mississippi. Meanwhile, General Sherman reaches Auburn, Mississippi. But because the roads out of Raymond - still behind Confedereate lines - have not been picketed, travelers from there can come and go as they please. Thus McPherson, advancing out of Utica, is well aware of the presence of Confederate troops in Raymond, but the Confederates are not yet aware of his presence, just half a day’s march south of Raymond. Not wanting to alert the Confederates, the Federals are marching under strict drum and bugle silence. Still, General McPherson’s biggest concern this day is finding water for his men. It is an amazing turn of events considering that for weeks his men have been waist deep in swamps and bayous. It has been the driest Mississippi spring in decades.
In fact it is a year for freakish weather. On January 21, 1863 the Army of the Potomac suffered through the infamous “Mud March”. Days of heavy rain, followed by vicious winds and temperatures in the 30’s, turned yet another attempt to sidestep Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, into a freezing march into hell. Defeated by the weather the Union troops returned to their winter camps and the bumbling General Ambrose Burnside was replaced by the over confident Hooker. A month later, on February 25, a foot of snow and mild temperatures allowed 10,000 rebel soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia to engage in what might have been the largest snowball fight in history.
Early that spring farmers in the upper Midwest sensed a good crop ahead, but May brought drought from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. St. Paul recorded less than an inch of rain over the first 21 days of May, and then on the 22 \23 the city was flooded with a 2 inch downpour – followed by a return to drought conditions and cool temperatures. The Mississippi River is so low that barge and boat traffic through the twin cities is heavily restricted. The droughts in Southern California that year and the next were so severe they killed a quarter of a million cattle in Santa Barbara County, and even more in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, reducing all of the Southern California Rancheros, the foundation of the local economy, to financial ruin. This forces the landowners to search for another crop, which leads to the introduction of the Valencia Oranges from South America. The record of tree rings says that the drought of 1863-64 across the Great Plains and the south western United States was even more severe than the Dust Bowl years of the 1930’s.
Confederate General Johnston telegraphs Pemberton in Edwards, urging him to abandon Vicksburg completly and withdraw to Jackson, Mississippi. Pemberton refuses. He replies instead that he has placed strong forces along the Big Black River and is attempting to build a force “of maneuver” at Raymond. Pemberton’s “plan” is simple; either way Grant turns there will then be a Confederate army in his rear. It seems a brilliant “Napoleonic” plan, but it depends upon communication between two widely separated forces, divided by a powerful and active enemy. And whichever way Grant turns, Pemberton’s strategy has left the Vicksburg & Jackson Railroad unprotected. With so much as a singe mile of additional track destroyed, Vicksburg becomes an albatross around Pemberton’s neck. But Pemberton seems unwilling to accept this reality.
General Gregg’s troops arrive in Raymond late in the afternoon, dust covered and exhausted yet again. One soldier writes, “…when the brigade filed into a field near Raymond to camp, the men were too tired to stand in line long enough to ‘right dress,’ and everyone dropped to rest as soon as we halted.” To his surprise Gregg does not find Wirt Adam’s cavalry in town. Without informing anyone, Adams has galloped ahead to Edwards, Mississippi,  leaving behind only a force of 40 state militia cavalry. Gregg is forced to rouse his own men to guard the Utica road. TUESDAY MAY 12, 1863
General Johnston (above) sends yet another, firmer, warning to Pemberton. He says he has information that Grant's target is Jackson,  and pleads with Pemberton to attack the Union rear. Pemberton replies that he is still not certain which way Grant is going to turn.
In Raymond, General Gregg receives word that the main Federal force is approaching Edwards, Mississippi. But he also knows, finally, that there are Federal troops approaching his own position. He logically assumes this latter group must be a mere raiding party. Just after dawn he parades his men through town to buck up the civilians, and then conceals them on the town's outskirts, along Fourteen Mile creek, with 35 men picketed on the bridge over the creek itself. When the Federal raiding party charges across the bridge Gregg intends to pin them against the river with a furious and overwhelming charge of his own.
Just as Gregg expects, about 10:00 am Federal skirmishers appear at the tree line south of Fourteen Mile Creek. But to Gregg's surprise they are supported by Union artillery, which begins to shell his picket guard with canister. Clearly this is more than a mere raiding party. But Gregg now assumes it is merely a brigade. So he moves his 3,000 men out of canister range behind some low hills, where they can remain hidden, ready to fall upon the Union brigade after it crosses the bridge. Gregg also moves two regiments into woods to his left where they can quickly slip across the creek and capture the Union artillery.
What Gregg does not know it that he is facing General John Alexander “Black Jack” Logan’s entire Third Division, advance guard for McPherson’s 17th. Corps of 16,000 men. Logan may look like a wild man with his intense jet black eyes and tosseled hair but he is a surprisingly good soldier - even if he is yet another of those Stephen Douglas Democratic generals. But the difference between Logan and McClernand, is that Logan is a charismatic leader of men with no dreams of higher command. And he smells Gregg’s trap to his front. Logan allows his men to take a meal break while he posts cavalry on his flanks.
It is after noon before Logan orders his men to advance. But on Logan's right flank, what follows would be a comedy of errors if men were not dieing. The 23rd Indiana regiment crosses Fourteen Mile Creek above the bridge, and stumbles sideways into a Texas Regiment that punishes the Hoosiers and sends their survivors scampering back the way they came. Then the Texans charge across the creek and are caught in a cross fire between an Ohio and an Illinois regiments. They also fall back in retreat.
On the opposite flank, the two Confederate regiments step out of concealment ready to attack, only to discover what looks like an entire Federal division in line of battle in front of them, with another two full Union Regiments outflanking them to their left. In a flash the tables have been turned, and suddenly it is the Confederates who have been suckered into attacking a far superior force. The best that Gregg can now do is to fight a series of desperate delaying actions while he withdraws, covered by the Third Kentucky Mounted Infantry which has just arrived from Jackson. Raymond is abandoned as Gregg falls back on the Mississippi state capital.
The Union casualties at this "Battle of Raymond" are 68 killed, 341 wounded, and 37 missing. Rebel losses are reported as 100 killed, 305 wounded, and 415 captured. But the Union Army reports burying many more Rebel dead than the 100 officially listed, indicating the almost haphazard nature of the force that  Greg threw together at Raymond. McPherson senses this and notifies Grant.
By courier and telegraph Grant notifies Washington of his intention to attack the state capital of Jackson, Mississippi on the 14th. The pace of events around Vicksburg are suddenly picking up.
WEDNESDAY MAY13, 1863
This morning General U.S. Grant orders General McClernand to pull back to a line to the East of Raymond, Mississippi, and hold there to protect the rear of his operations against Jackson. Having thus neutralized any threat from  McClernand (for 24 hours at least) Grant now feels free to join Sherman’s Corp,  as it advances toward Jackson. In the lead is McPherson's Corps, marching through Clinton before turning east toward Jackson. At Clinton, McPherson's men will cross the Vicksburg and Jackson railroad line, and they will pause there long enough to destroy a couple of miles of track and cut the telegraph line to Vicksburg. The jugular of the "Gilbraltor of the South" has been severed.
Late in the afternoon General Joe Johnston’s train finally arrives in Jackson. Here Johnston discovers that half of the 6,000 troops he expected to find have already been defeated at Raymond the day before, while bearing down on him are two Federal army corps: about 24,000 men. Still there are Confederate reinforcements on their way. Another five thousand men will arrive within 24 hours, and six thousand more 24 hours beyond that. But Johnston is certain that Grant will not give him time for those reinforcements to arrive. And he is right. After consulting with the General Gregg, Johnston telegraphs Richmond, “I am too late”. He orders Gregg to defend the Jackson only long enough to evacuate as many supplies as possible. To meet this requirement Gregg throws his first line of defence out two miles beyond the Jackson fortifications to the south and west. Johnston is certain that, if he can get Pemberton to come out of Vicksburg, together they will finally have enough men to crush Grant's army between them.
General Joseph Eggleston Johnston always contended that the shrapnel wounds he suffered at the Battle of Seven Pines in May of 1862, was the best shot “…ever fired for the Confederacy”. Severely wounded in the shoulder and leg, Johnston was replaced as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia by General Robert E. Lee. But the truth is that Confederate President Jefferson Davis, convinced of his own military genius, had already grown frustrated with Johnston’s cautiously formal command style.  A hunting companion described Johnston as reluctant to shoot because he was “…afraid to…risk his fine reputation.” Johnston is elegant and well mannered to a fault. 
In person Johnston exudes elegance, education and culture, and a 19th Century "Star Quality" largely lost on us today. He was described by Stephen Vincent Benet as the "...the little precise Scotch-dominie of a general, stubborn as flint, in advance not always so lucky, in retreat more dangerous than a running wolf". But whether it was circumstances (such as the timing of his arrival in Jackson) or his overly cautious nature, Johnston is always an excellent general… in retreat.
After recovering from his wounds suffered at Seven Pines,  Johnston is sent to the Western Theatre in early 1863 - seemingly to keep him out of Lee’s way and Davis' hair. This time Johnston is given no troops to command. Rather he is limited to advising the dyspeptic and argumentative General Braxton Bragg (above) in Chattanooga, and the indecisive Pemberton in far off Vicksburg. Johnston complains to Davis that “I cannot direct both parts of my command at once”. Still, Davis does not have enough faith in Johnston to allow him to command a theatre reserve, nor enough troops to form one. And after the war, Grant will observe that, “I have had nearly all of the Southern generals in high command in front of me and Joe Johnston gave me more anxiety than any of the others. I was never half so anxious about Lee.”
Late that afternoon, before the telegraph lines to Edwards are cut, Johnston sends the following message to Pemberton; "I have lately arrived, and learn that Major-General Sherman is between us…It is important to establish communication, that you may be re-enforced. If practicable, come up in his rear at once...All the troops you can quickly assemble should be brought. Time is all-important." 
But that night the heavens open and the spring drought is briefly quenched with a massive downpour that falls across the entire state. For awhile, nobody is going anywhere in Mississippi very quickly.
THURSDAY, MAY 14, 1863 
The rain pours down all night, letting up only in midmorning. The roads into and out of Jackson are reduced to quagmires. 
Sherman also senses the rebels are not serious about fighting. So, despite facing water a foot deep across his path, despite facing a continuing downpour, and despite not being certain about the condition of his own soldier’s powder, Sherman orders his men forward at the bayonet. He is looking for weak points. At about 10:00 am they cross Plum Creek and the Lynch Creek Bridge and quickly drive the Confederates back into their fortifications. Meanwhile, to the north, on the Union right flank, General McPherson has pushed two divisions, commanded by Generals Logan and M.M. Crocker, forward to pin down the rebel troops.
General Marcellus M. Crocker is an example of the way the war has reshaped men’s lives. He had been enrolled in West Point when his father’s death required him to return home to Illinois in the fall of 1849. Marcellus then moved to Iowa, where he passed the bar in 1852. When the war broke he immediately raised a company of volunteers. Over the winter of 1861-62 Marcellus was promoted to Brigadier General and commanded troops at the battles of Shiloh and Corinth. In the Vicksburg campaign Crocker commands the 17th division. Later in the war Crocker will be offered the Republican nomination for Iowa governor, but replys “If a soldier is worth anything he cannot be spared from the field; if he is worthless, he will not make a good Governor.”
By noon Crocker and Logan’s men have driven the Confederates back into their fortifications, and McPherson calls a halt to feel out the rebel main lines. At the same time, to the south and west of Jackson, Sherman’s Corp is tapping the Confederate lines at the bridge over Plum Creek, and sends General Tuttles’s division eastward to outflank the rebel line.
There, just after 2:00 pm, General Tuttle finds the fortifications empty. The Confederate General Gregg has received orders to withdraw north along the Central Mississippi Railroad and the Canton Road.
The “Battle of Jackson” has cost Grant’s army 42 dead, 25 wounded and 7 missing. Gregg lost about 845 dead, wounded and captured, affirming Johnston’s decision not to stand and fight with a mix of militia and regulars against a far stronger Union force. Sherman’s men enter the capital of Mississippi at about 4:00 pm, and almost immediately Grant begins issuing orders to abandon the newly won prize.
The goal of the campaign is Vicksburg, and Grant has never lost sight of that. The capture of Vicksburg opens the Mississippi River and cuts the Confederacy in-two. The capture of Jackson is merely a step on the road to that goal. Grant does not have the men to hold the place while he takes Vicksburg. So, even while Grant’s commanders celebrate the capture of yet another Confederate state capital,  he is ordering McPherson’s men onto the road again, to rejoin McClernand’s Corps back to the west. Sherman is to leave two divisions in Jackson, but only long enough to destroy track of the Central Mississippi Railroad, and any manufacturing in the city. By the time Jackson is returned to the Confederacy, Grant means it to be almost worthless.
That night, six miles north of Jackson, and with the telegraph lines, General Johnston sends written dispatches to Pemberton at Edwards, telling him of the capture of Jackson. But he also see’s an opportunity in this calamity. He now commands 11,000 men, and in 24 hours he will have 15,000. He knows that Grant does not have enough men to hold Jackson and take Vicksburg. So he tries, once more, to prod Pemberton, into action against Grant, asking, “Can he supply himself from the Mississippi? Can you not cut him off from it, and above all, should he be compelled to fall back for want of supplies, beat him? As soon as the re-enforcements are all up, they must be united to the rest of the army. I am anxious to see a force assembled that may be able to inflict a heavy blow upon the enemy." But what neither Johnston nor Pemberton realize yet, is that there is no supply line for Pemberton to cut.
This night at Edward’s Station, General Pemberton holds a council of war with his four commanders: Wirt Adams, whose cavalry is now at Edward’s Station is Pemberton’s eyes and ears.
Pembertons's most trusted subordinate is Major General Stevens Bowen (above), who graduated from West Point in 1853.
He is joined by Major General Carter Stevenson (above), who graduated from West Point in 1838; and the most colorful and the most argumentative of Pemberton's three divisional commanders, Major General William Wing "Old Blizzard" Loring.
 In 1862 General Loring (above) had been subordinate to Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. When winter closed in and Jackson took his troops into winter quarters, he ordered Loring to keep his men outside on patrol to an watch the Federals. Loring complained to Confederate Secretary of War, Judah P. Benjamin about Jackson’s “utter disregard for human suffering”.  Benjamin agreed with Loring and gave him permission to bring his men in from the cold. The insulted Jackson thereupon threatened to resign, and Loring was eventually shipped out to Vicksburg, where he could henceforth torment Pemberton.
After the council of war that night, Pemberton replied to General Johnston’s message. “I shall move as early tomorrow as practicable with a column of 17,000 men to Dillions, situated on the main road from Raymond to Port Gibson...The object is to cut the enemy’s communications and to force him to attack me, as I do not consider my force sufficient to justify an attack on the enemy in position or to attempt to cut my way to Jackson.”
Pemberton has thus rejected Johnston’s recommendation that they jointly fall on Grant’s rear. Instead Pemberton has chosen to attack the Union supply trains that must be filling the roads between Grand Gulf and Jackson. The most logical focus for such an attack would be Dillion, midway between the two. Again, looking for the middle ground, Pemberton has chosen an objective right in the middle of "No Man's Land".  
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