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1864 May 7: Camden Expedition and Other News

May 8, 2014

The following is the weekly summary of war news from The Polk County Press of May 7, 1864.

The first item is about General Frederick Steele’s ill-fated Camden Expedition (March 23-May 2, 1864).  Steele’s troops were to march to Shreveport, Louisiana, where they would link up with an amphibious expedition led by Major General Nathaniel P. Banks and Rear Admiral David D. Porter, whose force was to advance up the Red River Valley.  Once all of the parts were joined, the Union force was to strike into Texas. But the two pincers never converged, and Steele’s columns suffered terrible losses in a series of battles with Confederate forces. The Camden Expedition was perhaps the greatest Federal military disaster of the Civil War in Arkansas.  Union forces suffered over 2,500 casualties, lost hundreds of wagons, and failed to take Shreveport or Texas.

The News.

— A dispatch from St. Louis says Gen. Steele had captured Camden, on the Washita river [Ouachita River], north-east of Shreveport, and about ninety miles distant.  There is another report, that Steele is moving towards Shreveport.

— Three thousand rebel cavalry are above Port Hudson, and it is said they intend to lay waste the plantations cultivated by “Yankees.”

— Everything is quiet on the Potomac, Rappahannock, and Rapidan.  Lee’s force is set down now at 100,000 men, and continually increasing.

— Mr. Blair  has introduced a resolution that all State debts contracted for the suppression of the rebellion should be liquidated by the general government.

— The French vessels which went up to Richmond after tobacco have all returned to Hampton Roads, without cargoes, in obedience to a request of our government.

— Reports prevail in Washington that Gen. Banks is to be superceeded [sic] by Gen. Augur [Christopher C. Augur].

— The Congressional committee of investigation have facts showing that an enormous trade is carried on between New York and rebeldom.

— A report has reached New Orleans that Gen. Polk [Leonidas Polk] was at Camp Moore, with from 15,000 to 20,000 rebels, and is to march at once on Port Hudson or Baton Rouge.

— Maj. Gen. Dana [Napoleon J. T. Dana] has been assigned to the Northwest, as an Inspector General, with special directions to get veterans and absentees to the front with the utmost possible dispatch.  He is to commence his work in Ohio.

— Gen. Butler [Benjamin F. Butler] is to take the field, and Gens. Gilmore [sic: Quincy A. Gillmore] and Smith [A. J. Smith] are to command corps under him.

— Orders for drafting have been issued in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, Missouri and Minnesota.

— A caucus of United States Senators has decided not to recognize F. P. Blair [Francis P. Blair] as a Major General, and to recommend his dismissal.

— Gen. Banks’ official dispatches admit a reverse on the first day’s fighting on Grand Ecore, but claims victories on the second and third days.

— Reports from North Carolina state that an attack on Newburne [sic: New Bern] & other places is apprehended.

— The Army of the Potomac is ready for the word to move.

— Thirty-five thousand men in Ohio have reported for duty in the National Guard.

— All reports agree that Gen. Lee [Robert E. Lee] is massing a tremendous army.  Longstreet [James Longstreet] some time since joined him with his command, and now Beauregard with a large force, has gone to Virginia.  From Florida and every possible quarter the troops have been drawn.

— The Chippewa chief Hole-in-the-Day¹ was mortally wounded in a quarrel with another chief, at the United States’ Hotel, Washington, on the 26th ult.

1.  Bug-o-nay-ki (ge)-shig, or Hole-in-the-Day, was not killed until 1868.

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