Wednesday, Jan. 22 1862
HYDROLOGICAL HEIGHT HINDERS “HENRY” HUNT
The USS “Lexington” set forth to perform reconnaissance in advance of the planned attack on Ft. Henry, Tenn., with Brig. Gen. Charles F. Smith in charge of the project and Lt. Shirk assisting him. It was a hard winter, with much snow in the mountains and rain in the lowlands; the river was very high, and still rising. This hampered the effort, but not so much that the “Lexington” and the other union gunboats were prevented from firing a few mortar rounds at Ft. Henry. In other Naval action, Lt. Worden reported to his superiors that construction of the radical new gunboat “Monitor” was progressing on schedule. The only delay was caused by late delivery of the 11-inch guns with which the ship would be armed.
via This Day in the American Civil War for January 22.
Friday, Jan. 17, 1862
INTENSIVE INFANTRY INVESTIGATION ICED
Two groups of Union forces were on the move in Kentucky this day…or at least trying to. Troops of Grant’s command, under McClernand, struggled along through increasingly unpleasant weather and ground conditions. Theoretically, they made up one arm of a two-prong assault down the Mississippi, the overall intent of which was to take Vicksburg, Miss., and reclaim the Father of Waters for the union. In practical terms, Grant could not really have expected this to succeed, especially in one of the bitterest winters in memory. Afloat, gunboats under the overall command of Brig. Gen. C.F. Smith were working up the Tennessee River, intending to threatened Ft. Henry. These ships represented the waterborne arm of the two-pronged assault. They were not making much progress: Ice was so bad on the Mississippi that shipping was blocked just below St. Louis.
via This Day in the American Civil War for January 17.