Friday, November 22, 2013

December 30, 1862 - January 5, 1863

Compiled by Jim Hachtel, President
Gen. William T. Sherman Memorial Civil War Roundtable

December 30, 1862 - Colonel John Morgan encounters Union forces near New Haven, Kentucky. He moves on to destroy railroads, bridges, and the towns of Carter's Depot and Union, Kentucky are captured. Meanwhile, Union General Samuel P. Carter raids Confederate positions in Tennessee.

December 30, 1862 - Nathan B. Forrest's Confederate Raiders encamp at Parker's Cross Roads, Tennessee with plans to refloat their sunken flatboats at Clifton and cross the Tennessee River to safety. Scouts detect a large Union force nearby and Forrest decides to fight rather than run.

December 30, 1862 - The 43,000 men of the Army of the Cumberland under General William S. Rosecrans enters Murfreesboro, Tennessee after a three-day, 30-mile march in bad weather. Rosecrans' line is established across Stone's River from the 37,000 men Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg. As the two armies settle in for the night, the military bands from the opposite camps "serenade" each other with competing tunes, including the sentimental "Home Sweet Home."

December 31, 1862 - President Lincoln approves the house vote to establish West Virginia as the 35th state.

December 31, 1862 - Cavalry General J.E.B. Stuart's latest foray behind enemy lines takes his unit to Culpeper Court House, Virginia where 200 captives and 20 wagons are seized.

December 31, 1862 - The Battle of Stone's River (Murfreesboro) begins. General Bragg launches the first assault and destroys Union General Richard W. Johnson's division. Union Generals Philip Sheridan, Alexander McCook, and Jefferson Davis fall back slowly giving General Rosecrans time to bring up fresh units. General Bragg fails to deploy four brigades of General John C. Breckenridge's command and the first day of the battle is a draw. The term "Hells half acre" is used to describe a heavily wooded section of the battlefield named Round Forrest.

December 31, 1862 - Union Colonel Cyrus L Dunham's forces are surrounded by General Nathan Forrest's Cavalry at Parker's Crossroads and many Union soldiers are already waving the white flag when Colonel John Fuller's 3rd Cavalry Brigade arrives from Clarksville and attacks the Confederate line from behind. The Confederates panic, then retreat, leaving cannons, wagons, and equipment behind. General Forrest saves his command by his order "Charge them both ways." This is a setback for Forrest with heavy losses but he continues to disrupt the Union assault on the important target, Vicksburg.

December 31, 1862 - The USS Monitor ironclad sinks in a gale off Cape Hatteras as it is being towed from Hampton Roads to Beaufort, North Carolina.

January 1, 1863 - President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation becomes law. "I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated states, and parts of states, are, and henceforth shall be free" is the core wording. Britain and France are now far less likely to support the South.

January 1, 1863 - President Lincoln does not accept General Ambrose Burnsides' resignation. Burnsides claims that none of the divisional commanders demonstrate faith in his capacity as a strategist or as a leader.

January 1, 1863 - At Murfreesboro, General Rosecrans and General Bragg suspend activity while dead and wounded are attended. Rosecrans moves back to a secondary line of defense along Stone's River and orders Colonel William Beatty to move his troops to high ground directly in front of General Breckenridge's division on the Confederate right. Bragg believes that he has superior numbers and is confused when Rosecrans does not give up the fight. Both sides expect resumption of combat the next day.

January 1, 1863 - General Sherman pulls his forces out of the Yazoo region north of Vicksburg.

January 1, 1863 - General John Magruder leads a surprise attack on Galveston, Texas. After an all day hard fought battle in and around Galveston Harbor, the Confederates prevail and Galveston remains in the hand of the South the rest of the war. Several vessels from both sides are sunk and causalities are moderate.

January 2, 1863 - General Joseph Wheeler leads his cavalry twice around the Army of the Cumberland at Stone's River. He takes 1,000 wagons and hundreds of prisoners.

January 2, 1863 - General Bragg decides to renew the battle with a frontal attack by Breckenridge's force, just where the opposition is the strongest. General Breckenridge protests but is ordered to attack. After some early Confederate success, General Rosecrans ordered his artillery chief, Captain John Mendenhall, to mass all 57 cannons on the river's higher west bank where the cannon fire can sweep the open ground across the river. This major battle is the costliest in causalities of any Civil War battle when calculated as percentage of loss of the fighting force present. Confederate losses were 13,249 of 41,400 present and Union losses of 10,266 of 34,739 present. While a technical Union win, neither army recovered for six months and Bragg's Army was never again effective or at their former strength. Bragg also suffered criticism and lack of leadership questions. (Some historical sources claim the percentage of loss at 29.9% and the loss at Gettysburg at 30%.)

January 2, 1863 - General Nathan B. Forrest's Cavalry Troops refloat the sunken flatboats and cross the Tennessee River at Clifton.

January 2, 1863 - Morgan's Raiders also move back into Tennessee. Their latest raid shows 1,800 prisoners and over $2 million in destruction of bridges and supplies.

January 2, 1863 - New Madrid is again occupied by the Union.

January 2, 1863 - General John A. McClernand takes command of the 32,000 man Army of the Mississippi at Milliken's Bend, Louisiana. His corps commanders are General George W. Morgan-I Corps and William T. Sherman-II Corps.

January 3, 1863 - Confederates of Bragg's Army fall back to Shelbyville and Tullahoma, Tennessee. General Rosecrans does not vigorously pursue.

January 4, 1863 - Henry W. Halleck, Army General in Chief, orders General U.S. Grant to rescind his December 17, 1862 General Order #11 which ordered the expulsion of all Jews from his department.

January 4, 1863 - General McClernand moves 32,000 Federal troops from Millikan's Bend, Louisiana into Arkansas, without prior clearance. Generals Morgan and Sherman are ordered to capture the Confederate outpost at Fort Hindman, 50 miles up the Arkansas River at Little Rock. Admiral Porter supplied gunboats and transports for this troop movement but Porter disliked McClernand so General Sherman negotiated this agreement.

January 5, 1863 - Federal forces occupy Murfreesboro, Tennessee as General Bragg moves his army southward.

January 5, 1863 - General Ambrose Burnside again tenders his resignation stating in part "to relieve you from all embarrassment in my case." President Lincoln again refuses to accept the resignation.