Saturday, February 22, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - February 23-March 1,1864

February 23,1864-In light of disclosures in the "Pomeroy Circular", Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase does not attend this weeks cabinet meeting.

February 23,1864-In General Sherman's Military District of the Mississippi, General John A. McClernand receives command of the XIII Corps.

February 23,1864-Ending the only major campaign into Florida during the Civil War, the battered column of General Truman Seymour returns to Jacksonville. Seymour left Hilton Head, South Carolina by boat on February 5th, arrived in Jacksonville on February 8th, advanced inland to occupy Gainesville on February 14th, and took a beating at Olustee, Florida on February 20th.

February 23,1864-Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston is forced to move further south to higher ground at Dalton, Georgia by a force of Union troops from the XIV Corps under General John D. Palmer.

February 24,1864-General Palmer continues to skirmish with Confederates near Tunnel Hill, Georgia, testing the strength of Johnston's Army. The Confederates take a strong position at Buzzard's Roost, near Tunnel Hill.

February 24,1864-General Braxton Bragg become de facto chief of staff when President Davis appoints him as Chief of Operations at Richmond.

February 25,1864-After encountering heavy resistance at Buzzards Roost Gap, General George Thomas confirms that General Johnston's Army of the Tennessee is now firmly entrenched around Dalton. Continued pressure applied by General Palmer's XIV Corps and other units lead to the recall of General Thomas J. Hardee's corp previously dispatched to aid General Polk in Mississippi.

February 26,1864-President Lincoln commutes all death sentences for desertion. Guilty deserters will be imprisoned for the duration of the war.

February 26,1864-Following the ill-fated Meridian expedition, General William Sooy Smith arrives in Colliersville, Tennessee, claiming the freeing of 3,000 slaves, burning of 2,000 bales of cotton, capture of 200 Confederates, and causing 314 Confederate losses(killed, wounded, missing). General Sherman dismisses the effort as "unsatisfactory".

February 27,1864-Andersonville Prison near Americus, Georgia receives its first Union captives. The sixteen and one-half acre stockade became known as the worst prison in the South, gaining infamy.

February 28,1864-Plans to free Union prisoners from Libby Prison in Richmond are approved by President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton after they received reports of very poor conditions. General Hugh J. Kilpatrick prepares for an extended raid using 3,500 cavalry troops. Kilpatrick is supported by General George Custer's diversion in Albemarle County, Virginia and General John Sedgwick's VI Corps creating another diversion at Madison Court House. Admiral John Dahlgren's son Colonel Ulric Dahlgren is on General Kilpatrick's staff.

February 29,1864-The U.S. Congress formally revives the rank of lieutenant general at the request of the president.

February 28,1864-Despite inclement weather, General Kilpatrick rides toward Richmond. He plans to split his forces and attack Richmond from two directions.

March 1,1864- President Lincoln nominates General Ulysses S. Grant for the rank of lieutenant general.

March 1,1864-General Kilpatrick calls off the raid on Richmond claiming high water in the James River, a sharp attack by Confederate General Wade Hampton's Cavalry, and heavy resistance from Confederate force in Richmond. Kilpatrick was within two and one-half miles of Richmond when he turned back. Richmond was lightly defended by civilians and invalids, according to reports.