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150 Years Ago: Sunday, February 2, 1862


Working with gunboats under Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote, early this morning Brigadier-General Ulysses S. Grant begins his advance towards Fort Henry, Tennessee with almost a dozen steamers, 15,000 troops and necessary supplies.

Less than five miles east of Manassas in Centreville, Virginia, General Joseph E. Johnston writes to General Samuel Cooper, the Adjutant General and Inspector General, on his concerns regarding lack of arms and absent leaders. One of his regiments had twenty-three men recently return from the hospital and all are without arms. On January 27, the Confederate Congress had approved recruitment for up to 125 companies (35-40 men in each) to serve for twelve months; Johnston wonders how they are to provide arms to these new recruits if they can’t even provide ones for the men currently enlisted? He also reminds Cooper that he has a division and five brigades that are without their generals, along with a great number of colonels and other field-officers who are sick or injured. With the absence of leadership being strongly felt, he suggests that Colonel A.P. Hill and five others are more than qualified to be promoted to brigadier-generals.

At the northern tip of Virginia lies the city of Winchester, where General Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson attends services at Kent Street Presbyterian Church with his wife Anna and the Graham family, with whom they were staying with for the winter. On this stormy day, Jackson is calm and introspective, and spends much of his time praying for guidance. Three days ago Jackson had resigned from the Confederate Army, writing Secretary of War J.P. Benjamin:

“With such interference in my command I cannot expect to be of much service in the field; and accordingly respectfully request to be ordered to report for duty to the Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington; as has been done in the case of other Professors. Should this application not be granted, I respectfully request that the President will accept my resignation from the Army.”

Benjamin has not yet responded to Jackson’s request. But word of the letter has spread across the state, stunning soldiers and citizens. No one can even begin to imagine fighting a war against the Yankees without their Stonewall.

Poet and abolitionist Ralph Waldo Emerson is introduced to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln by Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner. Two days ago Emerson gave a public lecture at the Smithsonian on the topic of slavery, stating “The South calls slavery an institution… I call it destitution. Emancipation is the demand of civilization.” He had voted for Lincoln in 1860, but was frustrated that Lincoln was more interested in preserving the Union than eliminating the institution of slavery. Lincoln is familiar with Emerson’s work and had even seen him lecture in the past. Whatever is said between the two of them this day does soften Emerson’s opinion of Lincoln.

About thecivilwarproject

Like many others, I have a passion for the Civil War era, and for decades have chosen to spend my much of free time researching this topic - particularly the people, as the human component is what I find most fascinating. The site is not a source of revenue for me, nor is it tied in with a company or individual behind the scenes. It is my own personal venture. It is because of this genuine bond of respect and affection I feel towards this period in our history that I created "The Civil War Project." If this is your first time visiting the site, I welcome you and thank you for your interest. If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to contact me at thecivilwarproject@yahoo.com.

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