In northern Virginia, Federals under John Pope advanced on Orange Court House and Gordonsville. Assessing that George McClellan was no longer a threat, Confederate General Robert E. Lee planned to demolish Pope before returning his attention to McClellan. Lee sent Stonewall Jackson to attack Pope south of Culpeper. However, Federals under Nathaniel Banks ambushed Jackson at Cedar Mountain.
The Federals pushed Jackson back until Confederates under A.P. Hill arrived to turn the tide and force Banks to withdraw. This battle indicated that Pope was moving south toward Richmond. This news, coupled with news that McClellan was abandoning the Peninsula, prompted Lee to move his entire Army of Northern Virginia north to confront Pope.
Federal General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck ordered Major General George B. McClellan to move his Army of the Potomac off the Virginia Peninsula. The troops were to move north to Aquia Landing near Fredericksburg, and from there to Alexandria to defend Washington. McClellan had been on the James River for nearly a month.
This ended the failed five-month campaign of McClellan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond. Despite vehement protests that he should remain on the Peninsula, McClellan slowly evacuated. Most of his troops were assigned to guard Washington, while some were transferred to the new Army of Virginia under General John Pope.
In a cabinet meeting,
President Lincoln shocked his members by reading a preliminary draft of what
became known as the Emancipation Proclamation.
Most of the cabinet members
agreed with Lincoln in issuing this proclamation. However, Secretary of State William Seward
suggested that it should not be issued until the Federals achieved a
significant military victory, otherwise it could be interpreted as a desperate
measure on the retreat.
President Lincoln signed several bills into law that intended not only to bolster the war effort but to fulfill Republican Party campaign pledges. Laws related to the war effort included distributing the Medal of Honor for valor in battle and requiring government officials to swear loyalty to the U.S. as a condition of employment.
Laws fulfilling party pledges included disincorporating the Mormon Church because Mormons practiced polygamy (Republicans had pledged to oppose what they called the twin-sins of slavery and polygamy) and authorizing the use of stamps as currency in the absence of metal coins.
The unprecedented spending of taxpayer money under these new laws expanded the size and scope of the Federal government larger than ever before. While some measures were enacted to fight the war, many others were Republican Party agenda items hurriedly enacted while there was no southern opposition.
President Lincoln signed a bill into law allowing military authorities to free slaves in southern territory under Federal occupation. The law also authorized the president to confiscate Confederate property, to employ slaves against the Confederacy, and to colonize slaves outside the U.S. The slave employment provision was highly controversial because it enabled blacks to serve in the U.S. military. Moreover, the War Department could draft blacks into the military at a time when white military service was only voluntary.
The increase in fighting this
summer led to soaring numbers of captured soldiers. To deal with them, the
Prisoners who could not be immediately exchanged were paroled and sent home after pledging not to fight again until the other side received an equal number of parolees. This created massive amounts of paperwork, and its reliance on so-called gentlemen agreements made the system ineffective.
Henry W. Halleck became the
addition, General John Pope continued organizing his new Army of Virginia
Lincoln signed a bill into law granting 30,000 acres of land to states to build
agricultural and mechanical schools. This was the first law granting federal aid to higher education. Ultimately 69 land-grant institutions were established,
This law fulfilled a Republican Party campaign pledge to grant land to settlers and states. Southerners had consistently opposed land grants, arguing that there was no provision in the Constitution for such an act. Moreover, southerners argued that education was a state, not a federal prerogative. This passed largely due to lack of southern opposition in Congress.
More details about this law are available in The Civil War Months, on sale now!
President Lincoln signed a bill into law creating two railroad companies, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific, to build a transcontinental railroad. Each company was given 20 million acres of land and $60 million in taxpayer money. This fulfilled a Republican Party campaign pledge to support so-called internal improvements for favored businesses such as railroads.
Most Democrats opposed taxpayer subsidies for business because they were not among the constitutionally enumerated powers of Congress. Critics also noted that such practices could lead to corruption, fraud, waste, and abuse. The Confederate Constitution had prohibited most types of taxpayer-funded internal improvements, and this law passed largely due to lack of southern opposition in Congress.
This week 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln
signed a bill into law raising income taxes and creating a permanent tax
collection agency (the Internal Revenue Commission) that was the forerunner to the Internal Revenue Service. In
A series of battles that
began in June ended early this month as Confederates under Robert E. Lee steadily
drove the Federals away from the Confederate capital at
Although most of the battles
in this campaign were Federal victories, McClellan had continuously withdrawn
and pleaded for reinforcements. He was criticized in the North for fleeing
after being so close to capturing
In late June, Robert E. Lee
launched a series of attacks against George McClellan’s Federals on the
Meanwhile, McClellan blamed
President Lincoln for refusing to send him enough troops. Lee did not achieve
his primary goal of destroying McClellan’s forces. However,
After the fall of
However, Farragut noted that
In the Western Theater, the
Federal capture of
The capture of