President Abraham Lincoln, amid the dawning awareness of a divided nation that the Civil War would not be ended quickly, confides with his cabinet on July 22, 1862, that he was preparing an initial draft of the Emancipation Proclamation — what would become one of the defining documents of his presidency. But his cabinet advised him not to make any public announcement of a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation until after a Union victory — an opportunity that would not present itself until after the Battle of Antietam in September 1862.
That September, Lincoln would declare all slaves in those areas still in rebellion against the federal government to be free within 100 days. Essentially, Lincoln signaled to his cabinet, 150 years ago this week in the Civil War, that he would make the conflict as much a war on ending the secession as a war to win the freedom of slaves, adding moral force to the Union cause. This July 150 years ago, the Union was absorbing the reality that its top general had essentially failed in his large-scalle campaign to seize Richmond, Va., capital of the Confederacy. And fighting is continuing elsewhere as the bloody conflict drags on.
The Associated Press reported on July 27, 1862, from Nashville that Union forces in Tennessee were being harassed regularly by guerrillas of a bold Confederate cavalry leader, Nathan Bedford Forrest. The tenth Ohio regiment guarding the Memphis and Charleston railroad near Nashville was the latest to fall under attack this week by a "large force of guerillas," AP reported. "Thirty or forty of the regiment are said to have been killed." AP reported. The dispatch added Forrest was reported to be now en route from Tennessee to Kentucky "with the object it is supposed of making a descent on the Louisville railroad."