Cabinet issues plague both presidents, but Abraham Lincoln is even more dismayed with his generals. Who can be trusted?
1 – Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant begins preparations for the first Vicksburg Campaign.
4 – In midterm elections, Republicans lose dozens of U.S. House seats and two governorships to Democrats, but gain seats in the U.S. Senate.
5 – President Lincoln issues orders relieving Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan of command of the Army of the Potomac.
6 – Direct telegraph communication is established between New York and San Francisco.
Confederates Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and James Longstreet are promoted to lieutenant general.
7 – Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside assumes command of the Army of the Potomac
8 – Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler is relieved as commander of the Union Department of the Gulf and replaced by Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks. But first, Butler closes all breweries and distilleries within the department.
15 – George W. Randolph resigns as Confederate secretary of war.
21 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis appoints James A. Seddon as his new secretary of war.
1 – Lincoln proposes constitutional amendments that would compensate every state that abolished slavery by 1900, guarantee permanent freedom to slaves freed during the war and compensate Union loyalist slave owners, and provide colonization outside the United States for consenting freed slaves.
10 – The U.S. House approves a bill authorizing the creation of the new state of West Virginia; the Senate had approved statehood in July.
11 – Federal forces occupy Fredericksburg, Va.
13 – The Battle of Fredericksburg results in a huge defeat for Burnside and the Army of the Potomac.
16-20 – Lincoln faces a crisis as Republicans in Congress press the
president to reshuffle his Cabinet and insist that Secretary of State William H. Seward resign. Both Seward and Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase offer their resignations, but Lincoln refuses them.
17 – General Grant issues the infamous General Orders No. 11, expelling Jews from the Department of the Tennessee for trade violations with Southern planters.
Union forces re-occupy Baton Rouge, La.
20 – Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn’s Confederates raid Grant’s supply depot at Holly Springs, Miss., capturing 1,500 Union prisoners and destroying nearly $1.5 million in military supplies.
26 – The USS Red Rover, captured from the Confederate Navy earlier in the year, is commissioned the U.S. Navy’s first hospital ship.
Thirty-eight Sioux are hanged for their attack on settlers in Minnesota, effectively ending the Sioux uprising.
29 – Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s attempted advance toward Vicksburg is repelled by Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton’s Confederates during the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou, Miss.
31 – Lincoln signs the act authorizing the statehood of West Virginia, which will formally become a Union state the following June.
The Battle of Stones River, pitting Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’ Federals against General Braxton Bragg’s Confederates, begins at Murfreesboro, Tenn.
The ironclad USS Monitor sinks in a storm near Cape Hatteras, N.C. Sixteen of 62 crew members perish.