On Tuesday, October 14, 1862, elections were held throughout the North. Democrats won 35 congressional seats previously held by Republicans and won the governor’s post in both New York and New Jersey, while taking statewide races in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Vastly outnumbered in New England, Democrats still achieved nearly 45 percent of the vote in all state races and nearly 50 percent in the congressional contests. Even where Republicans won their vote, totals declined in comparison to their 1860 vote.
The Confederate War Department on Friday, October 10, 1862 ordered Major General John B. Magruder to command the Confederate District of Texas. Magruder’s reassignment to the western theatre of war was the result of his lackluster performance during the Seven Days Battle for Richmond.
On Monday, October 13th, President Abraham Lincoln, worried about J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate cavalry operating north of the Potomac, requested information from General George McClellan. In a lengthy correspondence, Lincoln chided the commander of the Army of the Potomac, asking “Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you can not do what the enemy is constantly doing?”
By mid-October 1862 there was growing opposition within the Confederate nation on conscription. Common folks complained that the draft exempted planters who owned 20 or more slaves, as were certain overseers and skilled laborers such as druggists, school teachers, miners, and those deemed by the government to be in crucial industries. In addition, the law allowed affluent citizens the privilege of buying "substitutes" or paying $300 to avoid the draft.
On Thursday, October 9, 1862, at Robert E. Lee’s urging, General J.E.B. Stuart left with eighteen hundred Confederate cavalry on a ride which would take him across the Potomac, into the North, and around McClellan’s Army of the Potomac. Stuart had accomplished a similar feat in June during the Seven Days Battle for Richmond.
On Wednesday, October 8, 1862, the most significant battle fought in Kentucky occurred west of Perryville, when Union troops under General Don Carlos Buell attacked General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate forces. Both armies struggled for supremacy, with Buell unaware until late in the day that a major conflict was actually being fought.
Five warships of the Union Gulf blockading squadron in early October 1862 effectively forced the surrender of the important Confederate port at Galveston, Texas. The Federal ships gave Galveston’s civil and military authorities four days to remove the women and children from the town, threatening to shell the city if it was not surrendered by the end of the fourth day.
Many in the South were openly critical of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had been announced after the Battle of Antietam. In early October 1862, one of Richmond’s most prominent newspapers, the Whig, acknowledged that with a dash of Lincoln’s pen, the South’s investment in slavery would be destroyed, if the southern independence effort failed.
On Saturday, October 4, 1862, General Earl Van Dorn’s Confederates renewed their assault against General William Rosecrans’ Federals at Corinth, Mississippi. As the estimated 22,000 man Confederate force moved forward, Union artillery swept the field causing heavy casualties, but the Rebels continued onward.
After the battle of Iuka in September 1862, General Earl Van Dorn’s Confederates and those of General Sterling Price were combined. On October 3, 1862, this newly structured Confederate army under the leadership of Van Dorn attacked Union forces guarding the critical transportation hub of Corinth, Mississippi. After severe fighting, the Confederates exploited a gap in the Union line and continued to press the Federals until they fell back to an inner line of fortifications closer to Corinth.