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A Weekly Look Back at the Civil WarSeptember 29, 1861/2011

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Perhaps One Southerner Could Whip Ten Yankees


Historian James M. McPherson writes,  


"With all the advantages of fighting a defensive war on its own territory, in which stalemate would be victory, perhaps the South was right in its belief that one Southerner could whip ten Yankees -- or at least three. And in the war's early stages, the average Confederate cavalryman or infantryman probably was a better soldier than his enemy. Most Southern boys learned to ride and hunt as an essential part of growing up. Most Rebel soldiers did not have to be taught to shoot; many Yankees did. Martial values were more central to Southern than to Northern culture . . . . The South's less modernized society proved a military advantage during the first half of a war in which the traditional martial qualities of man and horse gave way slowly to the modernized superiority of industry and the iron horse."




Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 190

Lincoln and Davis Each Meet With Their Generals 


Lincoln, May 1861
President Abraham Lincoln 
October 1, 1861.
On this Tuesday, by coincidence, President Lincoln and President Davis each met with his generals to discuss overall strategy. Both sides felt public pressure to engage the enemy, but they also faced problems with supplies, recruitment, and training.

Lincoln met with his Cabinet, General Winfield Scott, and General George McClellan, and ordered that preparations be made for a major operation against the Confederacy in the east. He also appointed General Benjamin Butler of Massachusetts to head the Department of New England, charged with recruiting and training soldiers from the region.



Jefferson Davis
President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis
President Davis met in Centreville, Virginia with Generals Joseph E. Johnston (Robert E. Lee's predecessor), P. G. T. Beauregard, and G. W. Smith.

Although the populous was pressing for Confederate forces to take the offensive, it was decided that the army in Virginia was not yet adequately supplied or large enough to invade the North, and that it would have to remain on the defensive, at least until the spring.

"While the generals advised concentration in Virginia, it was recognized that politically, as well as militarily, the Confederacy had to defend numerous points on its vast frontier." 






E.B. Long with Barbara Long, The Civil War Day By Day: An Almanac, 1861-1865, p. 123. See also 1400 Days: The Civil War Day by Day, p. 48  


October 2, 1861. With rumors of corruption in the War Department increasing, Lincoln mentioned the growing unpopularity of Secretary of War Simon Cameron. Cameron would step down three months later.


Philip Kunhardt, Lincoln, An Illustrated Biography, p. 160.


October 5, 1861. The contract is signed for the construction of an entirely new kind of warship, an ironclad. Armed with a pair of guns in a revolving turret, the first such ship will be the USS Monitor. It would change naval history.


USS Monitor
The USS Monitor



Chris Bishop and Ian Drury, 1400 Days: The Civil War Day by Day, p. 48  

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