On this date 150 years ago, the 37th Congress met in the nation's capital for its' regularly scheduled session. The mood there was a less positive one than it had been in July when the Congress had last met. There was continued concern over the reprecussions stemming from the "Trent" affair and there were some that felt that the army in Virginia should have attempted an offensive prior to the coming winter. In general there were criticisms of Lincoln's current military plans which were made up of a three-fold strategy: the plans called for the reaccession of Tennessee to facilitate the position of the army in the heart of the Confederacy; taking control of the Mississippi River and focusing on the eastern theater of war, especially between Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Federal General Henry Halleck was authorized to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in the area commanded by the Department of Missouri.
Newport News, Virginia, was the setting for a naval skirmish between four Union gunboats and the Confederate vessel "Patrick Henry". As a result of the exchange, the "Patrick Henry" sustained considerable damage.