The Civil War This Week: Nov 24-30, 1864

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Thursday, November 24

In Tennessee, Major General John Schofield’s Federal Army of the Ohio arrived at Columbia ahead of General John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee, beating the Confederates to the important river crossing on the main road to Nashville. The Federals took a strong position south of the Duck River.

In Georgia, Major General William T. Sherman’s Federal Army of the West continued southeast from Milledgeville. Confederate President Jefferson Davis told General William Hardee, commanding Confederates at Savannah, about Sherman, “When the purpose of the enemy shall be developed, every effort must be made to obstruct the route on which he is moving, and all other available means must be employed to delay his march, as well to enable our forces to be concentrated as to reduce him to want of the necessary supplies.”

U.S. Attorney General Edward Bates resigned from President Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet. Bates, a conservative Republican, had been a target of Radicals who urged Lincoln to dismiss him.

Northerners observed a national day of thanksgiving according to President Lincoln’s proclamation. In the siege lines outside Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia, the 120,000-man Federal Army of the Potomac enjoyed feasts of turkey, chicken, fruits, and pies. Despite their lack of food, the 57,000-man Confederate Army of Northern Virginia ceased firing out of respect for the Federal holiday.

Skirmishing occurred in Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas.


Friday, November 25

Lieutenant John W. Headley and five Confederate agents attempted to burn New York City. They rented several rooms at various hotels and set fire to them, hoping the fires would spread and destroy the city in “one dazzling conflagration.” Fires were set in 19 hotels along with Barnum’s Museum, but all were quickly extinguished. Authorities caught only one saboteur, who was hanged for setting fire to Barnum’s. The plot made sensational headlines but did little to either damage New York or affect the war.

In Georgia, William T. Sherman’s Federals moved toward Sandersville, with General Henry Slocum’s wing of the Federal army clashing with General Joseph Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry.

In Tennessee, John Schofield’s Federals entrenched north and south of the Duck River at Columbia.

Federals clashed with Native Americans in the Nebraska and New Mexico territories. Skirmishing occurred in Louisiana.

Saturday, November 26

Henry Slocum’s Federals entered Sandersville, Georgia.

John Bell Hood’s main Confederate force arrived in front of Federal positions south of the Duck River at Columbia, Tennessee.

Joseph Holt refused President Lincoln’s offer to serve as attorney general.

A Federal expedition began from Lewisburg, Arkansas. Skirmishing occurred in the Virginia, Missouri, and the Nebraska Territory.

Sunday, November 27

In Tennessee, John Schofield learned that John Bell Hood’s Confederates intended to flank him and withdrew across the Duck River to defenses at Spring Hill. This guarded the main road (and potential escape route) to Franklin and Nashville. Schofield received incorrect reports that General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate cavalry had crossed the Duck to the east above Columbia.

In Georgia, Joseph Wheeler’s Confederates clashed with Federal cavalry under General Judson Kilpatrick in two days of fighting at Waynesboro.

Saboteurs allegedly destroyed the Federal steamer Greyhound on the James River in Virginia. Greyhound was the headquarters of Major General Benjamin F. Butler, commanding the Army of the James. Butler was unharmed.

Federal expeditions began from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Little Rock, Arkansas. Skirmishing occurred in West Virginia.

Monday, November 28

In Tennessee, Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates crossed the Duck River above Columbia, with the rest of John Bell Hood’s army ready to follow. Fighting ensued between the armies.

Skirmishing increased in Georgia, with cavalry clashing near Davisboro and Waynesboro.

Thomas L. Rosser’s Confederate cavalry moved to New Creek, west of Cumberland, Maryland, and captured many prisoners and supplies on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. This proved the Confederates were not yet ready to admit defeat in the Shenandoah Valley.

Skirmishing occurred in Virginia and Kansas.

Tuesday, November 29

Early this morning, John Bell Hood’s Confederates crossed the Duck River and tried cutting John Schofield off at Spring Hill from the main road to Franklin and Nashville. The armies skirmished until halted by darkness. During the night, Schofield withdrew his entire force to Franklin without Confederate detection. This failure to notice Schofield’s withdrawal prompted charges and countercharges of dereliction of duty among the Confederate high command. The “Spring Hill Affair” became one of the most controversial non-combat events of the war.

Colonel John M. Chivington and about 900 Federal troops attacked a camp of some 500 Arapaho and Cheyenne Natives at the Sand Creek Reserve in the Colorado Territory. Ignoring claims that the Natives were peaceful, the Federals murdered some 450 men, women, and children. Chivington reported, “It may perhaps be unnecessary for me to state that I captured no prisoners.” Among those killed was Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle, who had previously surrendered to Federals and quit the warpath.

The U.S. press initially celebrated the Sand Creek incident as a great victory to end the Colorado War. However, officials were horrified upon learning of the mass genocide. After three separate investigations, U.S. officials condemned the massacre and paid indemnities to the victims’ families.

In Georgia, William T. Sherman’s Federals continued advancing, skirmishing near Louisville. Skirmishing also occurred in West Virginia, South Carolina, and Louisiana.

Wednesday, November 30

The Battle of Franklin occurred, as John Bell Hood’s Confederates launched a massive assault on Federal positions in late afternoon. Despite heavy losses, Confederates captured outer defenses before being repulsed by Federal reinforcements. Hood finally pulled back late this evening. Federals suffered 2,326 casualties while Confederates lost 6,252. Among the Confederate dead were six generals, including Patrick Cleburne (the “Stonewall” Jackson of the West) and S.R. “States’ Rights” Gist.

In Georgia, William T. Sherman’s Federals continued advancing, skirmishing at Louisville.

President Jefferson Davis wrote to General P.G.T. Beauregard, commanding the Confederate Military Division of the West (east of the Mississippi River), that Sherman “may move directly for the Coast.” He urged Beauregard to concentrate all nearby Confederates to destroy Sherman’s army before it reached the coast. Davis, unaware of Hood’s defeat at Franklin today, thought Hood would have an impact on Federal strategy.

Confederates repulsed Federals from Hilton Head attacking Grahamville near the South Carolina coast. Skirmishing occurred in Virginia, West Virginia, and Georgia.


Primary Source: Long, E.B. and Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 600-04

The Civil War This Week: Nov 17-23, 1864

November 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Thursday, November 17

Major General William T. Sherman’s Federal Army of the West headed east and south toward the Georgia coast, taking four routes to confuse the Confederates.

A Washington newspaper reported that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln expressed gratification to a Maryland committee about the recent election results, stating they confirmed “the policy he had pursued would be the best and the only one that could save the country.”

Confederate President Jefferson Davis wrote to a group of Georgia state legislators that he strongly objected to any attempt on the part of Georgia to negotiate a peace with the U.S. separate from the Confederacy.

Federal expeditions began from Brashear City, Louisiana and Little Rock, Arkansas. Skirmishing occurred in Alabama and eastern Tennessee.


Friday, November 18

William T. Sherman’s army advanced between the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers in Georgia. Sherman traveled with the left wing.

President Davis told General Howell Cobb at Macon, Georgia to “get out every man who can render any service even for a short period” to oppose Sherman and to employ slaves in obstructing roads.

Heavy storms and other unknown factors delayed Confederate General John Bell Hood’s advance into Tennessee, but he was now ready to begin.

Skirmishing occurred in West Virginia and Missouri.

Saturday, November 19

Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown called for all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 55 to oppose William T. Sherman’s march, but few men were available.

President Lincoln ordered the blockade lifted at Norfolk, Virginia, Fernandina and Pensacola, Florida.

A Federal expedition began from Terre Bonne, Louisiana. Federals clashed with Native Americans in the Nebraska Territory. Skirmishing occurred in Alabama.

Sunday, November 20

In Georgia, William T. Sherman’s Federals clashed with cavalry, militia, and “pickup” troops at Clinton, Walnut Creek, East Macon, and Griswoldville.

Federals and Natives clashed in Kansas.

Monday, November 21

John Bell Hood’s 38,000-man Confederate Army of Tennessee moved out of Florence, Alabama to begin his invasion of Tennessee. Hood’s goal was to wedge his force between the Federal Army of the Ohio at Pulaski and the Army of the Cumberland at Nashville.

William T. Sherman’s Federals defeated state troops at Griswoldville, and fighting erupted near Macon, Gordon, Eatonton, and Clinton. None of these clashes hampered Sherman’s advance.

President Lincoln wrote to Mrs. Lydia Bixby that he had learned she was the mother of “five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle…” But of Mrs. Bixby’s five sons, two had been killed, two had allegedly deserted the army, and one was honorably discharged.

Tuesday, November 22

General Henry W. Slocum’s wing of William T. Sherman’s Federal army captured the Georgia capital of Milledgeville; the legislators fled after passing a levee en masse. The Federal advance continued, as foragers nicknamed “bummers” ransacked and burned homes and buildings along the way.

President Davis wired Georgia officials “that every effort will be made by destroying bridges, felling trees, planting sub-terra shells and otherwise, to obstruct the advance of the enemy.” Davis ordered General Braxton Bragg from Wilmington, North Carolina to Georgia to join Generals P.G.T. Beauregard and William Hardee to assemble an army to stop Sherman.

John Bell Hood’s army entered Tennessee. As Hood advanced, Major General John Schofield withdrew his Federal Army of the Ohio from Pulaski to Columbia to avoid being flanked.

Wednesday, November 23

John Schofield’s Federals moved from Pulaski toward Columbia, as John Bell Hood advanced toward the same point.

William T. Sherman’s Federals regrouped in and around Milledgeville, with fighting erupting. William Hardee took command of troops opposing Sherman; Hardee did not know Sherman’s intended route and had too few troops to stop the Federal advance.

U.S. General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant conferred with President Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and Chief of Staff Henry W. Halleck in Washington.

Federal expeditions began from Fort Wingate in the New Mexico Territory and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Skirmishing occurred in Tennessee and Louisiana.


Primary Source: Long, E.B. and Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 597-600

The Civil War This Week: Nov 10-16, 1864

November 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Thursday, November 10

Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals prepared to return to Atlanta after briefly pursuing General John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee into Alabama. Confederates under General Nathan Bedford Forrest arrived at Corinth, Mississippi on their way to join Hood’s army.

A large crowd gathered on the White House lawn and serenaded President Abraham Lincoln in celebration of his reelection. Speaking from a second floor window, Lincoln said, “It has long been a grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of the people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence, in great emergencies… We cannot have free government without elections, and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.”

In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, General Jubal Early’s Confederate Army of the Valley moved north from New Market. Skirmishing occurred in Tennessee and Missouri.


Friday, November 11

Federal troops destroyed bridges, foundries, mills, shops, warehouses, and other useful Confederate property at Rome, Georgia before heading toward Kingston and Atlanta.

At a White House cabinet meeting, the sealed document disclosing Lincoln’s doubts about the election and pledging cabinet members to support the president-elect after the election was opened. Cabinet members had signed the document without reading it on 23 August.

In Kentucky, Federal authorities arrested three supporters of Democratic presidential candidate George B. McClellan. Lieutenant Governor Richard Jacob was arrested and banished to the Confederacy; a Kentucky elector for McClellan and the editor of the Louisville Journal were also arrested. Lincoln pardoned the latter two and reinstated Jacob in February 1865.

A Federal ship landed at Savannah, Georgia to unload 3,000 ill Confederate prisoners of war; some 500 died on the voyage. About 13,000 Federal prisoners were exchanged at Savannah and Charleston, of which 8,000 were ill.

Saturday, November 12

William T. Sherman concentrated his four corps of 60,000 men for the march from Atlanta to the Atlantic Ocean. Federals destroyed Atlanta to prevent residents from returning. This added to southern bitterness toward Sherman’s policy of “total war” on southern property and civilians. Sherman instructed Major General George H. Thomas to defend against Confederate General John Bell Hood’s imminent invasion of Tennessee.

Sherman’s marching orders included bringing no supply trains, instead foraging and looting for subsistence. Destruction of property was prohibited except when ordered by corps commanders as retaliation for attacks on the marchers. Slaves who could be used as laborers could join the marchers, but no general exodus of slaves was permitted. The marchers would begin at 7 a.m. each morning and cover 15 miles each day.

Skirmishing occurred in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and Missouri.

Sunday, November 13

A large part of Jubal Early’s Confederate army left the Shenandoah and rejoined General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Richmond and Petersburg. Having marched 1,700 miles and fought 75 engagements since July, Early’s men had made remarkable attempts to threaten Federals in the Valley and even outside Washington, despite being heavily outnumbered.

A Federal expedition began from Pemiscot County, Missouri. Federals clashed with Native Americans in Kansas.

Monday, November 14

William T. Sherman’s Federals prepared to move out of Atlanta. The city’s destruction continued.

George H. Thomas prepared his Federals around Nashville, Tennessee. Major General John M. Schofield commanded two Federal corps at Pulaski, south of Nashville. Meanwhile, John Bell Hood awaited the arrival of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates at Florence, Alabama before moving north.

President Lincoln accepted the resignation of George B. McClellan and named Philip Sheridan to the rank of major general in the Regular Army. Lincoln wrote to General Stephen Hurlbut, commanding the Department of the Gulf, that he had heard rumors of “bitter military opposition to the new state Government of Louisiana.”

Skirmishing occurred in Tennessee and Kansas.

Tuesday, November 15

William T. Sherman’s Army of the West began its “march to the sea.” The Federals moved southwest in two columns, encountering little resistance along the way as they sang “John Brown’s Body” and other northern patriotic songs.

This evening, Federal Chief Engineer Orlando Poe burned Atlanta’s industrial area, including the oil refinery, which soon spread to other buildings and resulted in massive explosions as regimental bands played. Reporter David Conyngham of the New York Herald wrote, “The heart was burning out of beautiful Atlanta.” Sherman had ordered that no private residences be touched, but looters had been at work for the last four days. Poe estimated that 37 percent of Atlanta was destroyed.

Skirmishing occurred in Tennessee and Louisiana.

Wednesday, November 16

William T. Sherman left Atlanta in ruins. Having cut communication lines in the rear, northerners would hear little from Sherman in coming weeks. Skirmishing erupted at various points. Sherman wrote, “My first object was, of course, to place my army in the very heart of Georgia.” The army, consisting of 218 regiments (52 from Ohio alone) and a cavalry unit, took four different routes to confuse whatever enemies there may be.

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates joined John Bell Hood’s army at Tuscumbia and Florence.

Federal expeditions began from Barrancas, Florida; Brookfield and Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Skirmishing occurred in Virginia.


Primary Source: Long, E.B. and Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 595-97

The Civil War This Week: Nov 3-9, 1864

November 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Thursday, November 3

C.S.S. Undine challenged three Federal gunboats on the Tennessee River at Johnsonville, Tennessee, but they refused to fight. Undine had been a Federal vessel captured by General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates in their effort to disrupt Federal river traffic.

Skirmishing occurred in Missouri.


Friday, November 4

Nathan Bedford Forrest placed artillery outside the Federal supply base at Johnsonville and shelled the nearby ships, warehouses, and wagon trains. Confederates estimated the damage at $6.7 million. Forrest lost the vessels he had captured, but he disrupted Federal supply lines around Nashville and diverted Federal troops from other regions to stop the threat. Federal authorities censured officers at Johnsonville for negligence, and Major General William T. Sherman (commanding Federal troops in the Western Theater) fumed, “… that devil Forrest was down about Johnsonville and was making havoc among the gun-boats and transports.”

Major General John C. Breckinridge led a “miscellaneous force” from southwestern Virginia that drove Federals back to Tennessee before withdrawing.

Saturday, November 5

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates continued on toward Corinth, Mississippi to link with General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee.

Federal expeditions began from Rolla, Missouri, and Fort Smith, Arkansas. Federals operated against Native Americans in the Colorado Territory. Confederates captured two Federal steamers on the Big Sandy River in West Virginia. Skirmishing occurred in Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, and Missouri.

Sunday, November 6

In Chicago, Federal authorities arrested Confederate ringleaders of a plot to take over the city and free Camp Douglas prisoners.

General Sterling Price’s Confederates fought at Cane Hill, Arkansas as part of their continued withdrawal from Missouri. Federals clashed with Native Americans in the Nebraska Territory.

Federal expeditions began from Vicksburg, Mississippi; Callaway County, Missouri; and New Creek, West Virginia. Skirmishing occurred in Georgia and the Colorado Territory.

Monday, November 7

The 2nd session of the Second Confederate Congress assembled in Richmond, Virginia. President Jefferson Davis’s annual message optimistically explained that the loss of Atlanta and the Shenandoah Valley gave the military more flexibility by freeing it from having to defend cities or regions: “There are no vital points on the preservation of which the continued existence of the Confederacy depends.”

Davis urged legislation to buy slaves and use them for military purposes, then free them when their service ended. This was a controversial first step toward recruiting slaves as combat soldiers. Davis concluded that he was willing to negotiate with the U.S. on peace, but only if the U.S. recognized southern independence, not “our unconditional submission and degradation.” He stated that “no peace is attainable unless based on the recognition of our indefeasible rights.”

Davis sent a telegram to John Bell Hood urging his army to attack William T. Sherman’s Federals “and subsequently without serious obstruction or danger to the country in your rear advance to the Ohio River.”

A Federal expedition began from Stony Creek, Virginia, and other skirmishing occurred in Virginia.

Tuesday, November 8

Abraham Lincoln won a second term as U.S. president, winning 55 percent of the popular vote and 212 electoral votes. The Democratic ticket of George McClellan and George Pendleton won only 21 electoral votes (New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky). Lincoln spent most of the evening at the War Department reading telegraphic returns. By midnight, it was clear he won in a near landslide.

Soldiers voted overwhelmingly for Lincoln (116,887 to 33,748), indicating they wanted to finish the job they had been sent to do. Military victories at Mobile Bay, Atlanta, and the Shenandoah Valley contributed to Lincoln’s reelection. Radical Republican John C. Fremont’s withdrawal from the race also played a part, as did McClellan’s repudiation of his own party’s “peace platform” that called for peace at any cost, including southern independence and continuing slavery.

Wednesday, November 9

Early this morning, citizens serenaded Lincoln at the White House.

William T. Sherman organized his Federal army at Atlanta into a right and left-wing in preparation of advancing through Georgia to the Atlantic Ocean. This was a highly risky strategy because Sherman’s men would be “detached and cut off from all communication with the rear.” They would also be cut off from supply lines, instead ordered to “forage liberally on the country” and confront Confederate soldier or civilian resistance with “a devastation more or less relentless.”

President Lincoln and General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant had been reluctant to approve this march, but now that Lincoln had won reelection, there was no political consequence for failure, so they authorized Sherman to go ahead.

Skirmishing occurred in Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas.


Primary Source: Long, E.B. and Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 592-95

The Civil War This Week: Oct 27-Nov 2, 1864

October 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Thursday, October 27

The Battle of Hatcher’s Run occurred outside Petersburg, as the Federal Army of the Potomac tried stretching to the left in another effort to extend the Confederate defenses under siege. The Federals advanced about 12 miles southwest of Petersburg and threatened the Confederate-held South Side Railroad. Confederates repulsed the advance at Hatcher’s Run and Burgess’ Mill, retaining control of the Boydton Plank Road and South Side Railroad. Federals suffered 1,758 casualties while Confederate losses were uncertain. The siege of Petersburg continued with ongoing fortification construction, sharpshooting, skirmishing, picketing, and patrolling.

U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton canceled the delivery of beef to the 30-acre Elmira prisoner of war camp in upstate New York. Stanton’s War Department also blocked efforts by camp commandant Benjamin F. Tracy to obtain other foodstuffs and supplies. Inmates lived in tents and suffered from rampant diseases such as smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia while subsisting on bread, water, and captured rats in what they called “Hellmira.”

In its one-year existence, Elmira’s mortality rate was nearly 25 percent while the rate in other Federal prison camps averaged about 12 percent. Elimra’s rate nearly matched the 28 percent mortality rate at the notorious Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia. However, food and medical supplies were much scarcer in the Confederacy, which was under Federal blockade.

This evening, a Federal torpedo sunk C.S.S. Albemarle on the Roanoke River near Plymouth, North Carolina. A steam launch crept up beside Albemarle and detonated the torpedo at the end of a pole. The Federal launch was badly damaged, but the 15-man crew escaped by jumping into the water.

Confederate guerrillas attacked the Federal steamer Belle Saint Louis at Fort Randolph, Tennessee. Skirmishing occurred in eastern Tennessee.


Friday, October 28

Following up the Battle of Westport on 25 October, Federals under James Blunt defeated Jo Shelby’s Confederate detachment at Newtonia, Missouri. General Samuel R. Curtis, the overall commander of Federal forces in Missouri, prepared to destroy the entire Confederate force under overall command of General Sterling Price.

General John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee continued moving west across northern Alabama in preparation for invading Tennessee. Hood hoped that invading Tennessee would draw Federals under General William T. Sherman out of Atlanta. However, Sherman learned of Hood’s westward movement and began returning his pursuing troops to Atlanta. General George Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland, stationed at Nashville, was assigned to confront Hood.

Skirmishing occurred in Virginia and eastern Tennessee.

Saturday, October 29

This morning, General William S. Rosecrans, commanding the Federal Department of Missouri, recalled troops from Samuel Curtis’s command to guard various posts. This left Curtis with too few troops to pursue Sterling Price’s Confederates. Price escaped, but his army was no longer an effective fighting force. Besides disrupting some supply lines and diverting Federal troops from other areas of battle, Price’s invasion of Missouri failed to help the overall Confederate war effort.

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates captured the Federal ship Mazeppa, which carried 9,000 pairs of shoes.

Skirmishing occurred in Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri.

Sunday, October 30

Advance units of John Bell Hood’s Confederates reached Tuscumbia and Florence, Alabama. William T. Sherman stopped pursuing Hood, saying, “Damn him! If he will go to the Ohio River, I’ll give him rations. Let him go north, my business is down south.” Sherman tried convincing the Lincoln administration to approve his plan to march through Georgia to the Atlantic Ocean. However, Lincoln was reluctant because failure could cost him reelection next month.

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates badly damaged the gunboat Undine on the Tennessee River and captured it with two transports.

C.S.S. Olustee, formerly the raider Tallahassee, ran the Federal blockade at Wilmington, North Carolina and took six prizes during the first week of November.

Monday, October 31

John Bell Hood arrived at Tuscumbia and reinforced his Confederates across the Tennessee River at Florence. This became Hood’s base for invading Tennessee and attacking George Thomas in the hopes of forcing William Sherman to leave Atlanta and chase him.

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates arrived at Fort Heiman and organized captured Federal gunboats into a makeshift Confederate “navy” to attack Federal shipping on the Tennessee River.

A Federal naval squadron of seven ships commanded by William H. Macomb captured Plymouth, North Carolina on the Roanoke River after dueling with shore batteries.

By presidential proclamation, Nevada became the 36th state. Nevada was rushed into statehood mainly because voters were mostly Republicans who could deliver electoral votes to President Lincoln in next month’s election. Nevada became known as the “Battle State” for gaining statehood during the war.

Tuesday, November 1

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates moved south up the Tennessee River with their “navy” of two captured vessels, advancing on Johnsonville.

A Federal expedition began from Bermuda Hundred, Virginia. Skirmishing occurred in West Virginia, Tennessee, and Missouri.

Wednesday, November 2

Federal gunboats on the Tennessee River ran one of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s captured vessels aground. C.S.S. Undine was damaged but escaped.

U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward told the mayor of New York of rumors from Canada that Confederate agents planned to set fire to the city on Election Day.

Skirmishing occurred in Arkansas.


Primary Source: Long, E.B. and Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 589-92

The Civil War This Week: Oct 20-26, 1864

October 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Thursday, October 20

Three Federal forces closed in on General Sterling Price’s Confederates in northwestern Missouri: General Alfred Pleasonton’s cavalry, A.J. Smith’s infantry, and Major General Samuel R. Curtis’s Army of the Border. Citizens had not joined the Confederate invasion as Price had hoped.

President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation setting aside the last Thursday in November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to Almighty God the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.” This marked the second consecutive year that Lincoln called for a day of thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November; this later became a permanent national holiday.

In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, General Jubal Early’s Confederates withdrew after yesterday’s rout at Cedar Creek, fighting at Fisher’s Hill. Native Americans attacked settlements in the Platte Valley of the Nebraska Territory. Skirmishing occurred in Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arkansas.


Friday, October 21

Sterling Price’s Confederates repulsed Federal defenders and forced the evacuation of Independence, Missouri. Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals stopped pursuing the Confederate Army of Tennessee under General John Bell Hood at Gaylesville, Alabama as Sherman tried determining Hood’s next move.

People serenaded President Lincoln at the White House in celebration of the Federal victory at Cedar Creek two days ago. Lincoln proposed three cheers for “all our noble commanders and the soldiers and sailors…”

Skirmishing occurred in Florida, Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, and Alabama.

Saturday, October 22

Sterling Price’s Confederates fought at Independence and reached Westport (now part of Kansas City). The Federal forces closing in on Price (under overall command of Samuel Curtis) outnumbered him by nearly three-to-one. Price planned to attack and defeat the Federal force in his front before turning to attack and defeat Federal cavalry behind him.

John Bell Hood’s Confederates moved to Guntersville, Alabama on their way to Hood’s planned invasion of Tennessee. Hood moved west across northern Alabama due to a high Tennessee River and low supplies.

Federal naval forces captured blockade runners off Charleston, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina. The illicit Confederate trade was more lucrative and dangerous than ever. Confederate guerrillas attacked a Federal transport on the White River near St. Charles, Arkansas. A Federal expedition began from Brashear City, Louisiana. Federals and Native Americans clashed in the Nebraska Territory.

Sunday, October 23

The Battle of Westport occurred at Sterling Price’s Confederates attacked Federals in their front under James Blunt. The fight surged back and forth until Price pushed Blunt back across Brush Creek. The Federals then regrouped and attacked the Confederate left as Alfred Pleasonton’s cavalry pushed back the Confederate rear guard. This forced Price to withdraw down the Missouri-Kansas state line. This battle effectively ended Confederate resistance in not only Missouri, but in the entire Trans-Mississippi Theater. Each side lost some 1,500 men, which was a much more devastating figure for the undermanned Confederates.

Monday, October 24

Sterling Price’s Confederates continued withdrawing, moving slowly and protecting their long supply train as the Federal pursuit was delayed.

President Lincoln told the 189th New York Volunteers, “While others differ with the Administration, and, perhaps, honestly, the soldiers generally have sustained it; they have not only fought right, but, so far as could be judged from their actions, they have voted right…”

Federal expeditions began from Issaquena County, Mississippi and Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Skirmishing occurred in Georgia and Florida.

Tuesday, October 25

Sterling Price’s Confederates continued withdrawing in Missouri, as Federals pursued and clashed with various units. A Federal cavalry charge at Mine Creek inflicted 1,060 Confederate casualties and resulted in the capture of Generals John Marmaduke and William L. Cabell. About one-third of the Confederate supply train was either captured or destroyed.

A Federal expedition began from Blackwater Bay, Florida. Skirmishing occurred in Alabama as John Bell Hood’s Confederates continued moving west. Skirmishing also occurred in Virginia and Arkansas.

Wednesday, October 26

Sterling Price’s Confederates continued withdrawing from Missouri, fighting at Glasgow and Albany along the way. Alfred Pleasonton’s Federal cavalry stopped pursuing and returned to Fort Scott, Kansas. Samuel Curtis’s Federals continued pursuing, but there were discrepancies over command.

John Bell Hood’s Confederates clashed with Federals at Decatur, Alabama as they were unable to cross the Tennessee River there.

Captain Samuel P. Cox’s Missouri militia ambushed William “Bloody Bill” Anderson and his partisans near Richmond, Missouri. The militia killed Anderson, placed his head on a telephone pole, and dragged his body through town before burying it in an unmarked grave. Anderson had been one of the most notorious “Border Ruffians” who burned homes, looted towns, and murdered soldiers and civilians, often torturing and scalping his victims.

Federal expeditions began from Vidalia, Louisiana.; Little Rock, Arkansas.; and Brownsville, Arkansas. Skirmishing occurred in Virginia and West Virginia.


Primary Source: Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 586-89

The Civil War This Week: Oct 13-19, 1864

October 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Thursday, October 13

Maryland voters approved a new state constitution that included abolishing slavery by just 375 votes (30,174 to 29,799). The measure would have been defeated had Unionist Governor Augustus Bradford not allowed absentee soldiers to vote.

General John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee continued disrupting Federal supply lines in northern Georgia, seizing the important railroad north of Rome to Tunnel Hill, which included Dalton and Tilton. Confederate partisans under John S. Mosby wrecked a section of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad near Kearneysville, west of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. This included burning a passenger train and stealing $173,000 from army paymasters.

Federal President Abraham Lincoln tallied the estimated electoral college vote in next month’s presidential election to be 120 for the “Union Vote” and 114 for the “Supposed Copperhead Vote.” Lincoln also continued working to furlough as many soldiers as possible so they could go home and vote.

Confederates probed Federal positions in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Federals scouted against Native Americans in the Sacramento Mountains of the New Mexico Territory. Skirmishing occurred in the Nebraska Territory and Texas.

Friday, October 14

General Sterling Price’s Confederate invasion of Missouri continued, as Price issued a proclamation requesting that citizens join his army and redeem Missouri from Federal control. Fighting erupted at Danville. Other skirmishing occurred in Maryland, Virginia, Arkansas, and Texas.

Saturday, October 15

A Confederate detachment under Jo Shelby captured Federal troops at Sedalia, Missouri after a hard fight that included citizens and home guards.

President Davis detached General Braxton Bragg as his chief of staff and sent him to command defenses at Wilmington, North Carolina, which was the Confederacy’s last major seaport.

Funeral services were held for U.S. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who died on 12 October. President Lincoln and other prominent officials attended the funeral. A Federal expedition began from Bernard’s Mills, Virginia. Skirmishing occurred in Mississippi, Georgia, eastern Tennessee, and Louisiana.

Sunday, October 16

Federal expeditions began from City Point, Virginia and Devall’s Bluff, Arkansas. Skirmishing occurred in Georgia, eastern Tennessee, and Louisiana.

Monday, October 17

John Bell Hood’s Confederates began withdrawing to Gadsden, Alabama, practically giving up on harassing Federal supply lines. Hood planned to attack Chattanooga and capture all supply lines to Atlanta, thus isolating Major General William T. Sherman’s Federal Army of the West in enemy territory.

General P.G.T. Beauregard assumed command of the Confederate Military Division of the West. Lieutenant General James Longstreet returned to his corps command in General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia after recovering from wounds received at the Battle of the Wilderness in May.

Kentucky Governor Thomas Bramlette ordered state authorities to arrest Federal troops attempting to interfere with the upcoming elections. He instructed, “If you are unable to hold a free election, your duty is to hold none at all.”

Governors of six Confederate states (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi) met at Augusta to define a unified defense policy. The governors approved eight resolutions supporting President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate government.

Sterling Price’s Confederates captured Carrollton and burned Smithville, Missouri as they approached Lexington in northwestern Missouri. Skirmishing occurred in Virginia and Kentucky.

Tuesday, October 18

Federal Major General Philip Sheridan was summoned from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to Washington to discuss future operations. Meanwhile, Confederates scouted Federal positions at Cedar Creek; the Federals were unaware that Confederate General Jubal Early was planning one last, desperate attack to destroy Sheridan’s army.

In Liverpool, England, women supporting the South held a benefit for Confederate soldiers at St. George’s Hall. Skirmishing occurred in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, eastern Tennessee, and Missouri.

Wednesday, October 19

The Battle of Cedar Creek erupted at 5 a.m. when Confederates attacked the Federal right and left; many Federals were still asleep when the attack began. The Federals slowly withdrew as Confederates wasted time looting camps. Philip Sheridan returned from Washington and urged his men to counterattack. When the men cheered him, Sheridan yelled, “God damn you! Don’t cheer me, fight!” The Federals rallied near Middletown.

By 4 p.m., Federals drove off the tired Confederates, as Jubal Early’s entire line virtually crumbled. The retreat soon became a rout. Federals suffered 5,665 casualties while Confederates lost 2,910, including Major General Stephen D. Ramseur. Sheridan became a northern hero. Jubal Early wrote to General Robert E. Lee, “I found it impossible to rally the troops… The rout was as thorough and disgraceful as ever happened to our army… If you think that the interests of the service would be promoted by a change of commanders, I beg you will have no hesitation.” Early withdrew to New Market, where his army gradually dispersed.

Lieutenant Bennett H. Young and 21 Confederate raiders attacked St. Albans, Vermont, about 20 miles from the Canadian border. The group robbed the town’s three banks of a total of $208,000. They rounded up the town residents, killing one and wounding another before fleeing back into Canada. Canadian authorities arrested Young and 12 raiders but refused to extradite them to the U.S. because of Canada’s neutrality. About $75,000 was recovered. Nobody stood trial for the raid, which was the northernmost land action of the war.

Marylanders in Washington serenaded Lincoln in support of their new state constitution. Lincoln addressed both the news and rumors that Democrats planned to immediately seize control of the federal government if they won the upcoming elections: “Most heartily do I congratulate you, and Maryland, and the nation, and the world, upon the event… I am struggling to maintain government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling especially to prevent others from overthrowing it.”

General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates left Corinth, Mississippi to cooperate with John Bell Hood’s move to Alabama and Tennessee. Sterling Price’s Confederates pushed James G. Blunt’s Federals at Lexington back to the Little Blue River in Missouri. The Confederate Navy officially received C.S.S. Shenandoah after fitting out in the Medeira Islands. Skirmishing occurred in Georgia and Arkansas.


Primary Source: Long, E.B. and Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971) p. 583-86


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