Sunday, March 23, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - March 23-29, 1864

March 23,1864-The Union I Corps is discontinued and absorbed into the V Corps, commanded by General Gouverneur K. Warren. I Corp had been under General George Sykes since Malvern Hill in June of 1862.

March 23,1864-General Grant returned to Washington from his meeting in Nashville with General Sherman and begins to implement his plan to advance four different armies simultaneously across the South.

March 23,1864-General Frederick Steele cites chronic shortages of food and fodder for troops and pack animals as the reason for delaying the departure of his 10,400 Union troops out of Little Rock, Arkansas. He is to march east and link up with the Red River expedition being led by General Nathaniel Banks. He also was hesitant due to poor roads and the threat of Confederate Cavalry raids. 

March 24,1864-General Winfield S.Scott returns to action for the first time since his injuries at Gettysburg. He is not fully recovered but resumes command of the II Corps, Army of the Potomac.

March 24,1864-The Union III Corp of the Army of the Potomac is disbanded and troops are folded into the II and VI Corps.

March 24,1864-A surprise raid by General Nathan B. Forrest captures Union City, Tennessee then moves on to Paducah, Kentucky, capturing Paducah the following day.

March 24,1864-General Nathaniel P. Butler arrives at Alexandria, Louisiana, a full week behind schedule. He was delayed in starting the Red River expedition due to the need to establish a civilian government in New Orleans. He discovers that General Andrew J. Smith's 10,000 troops have to re-joined General Sherman's Army no later that April 25th, and that water levels on the Red River continue to fall. While Admiral Porter may not be able to navigate the river due to low water, Butler orders the campaign to continue.

March 25,1864-The Army of the Potomac sees another staff change when General David Gregg replaces General Alfred M. Pleasonton as commander of the cavalry.

March 25,1864-At Paducah, Colonel Stephen G. Hicks refuses to surrender to General Forrest and withdraws into Fort Anderson. Forrest decides not to attack the strong fortification but Colonel Albert Thompson charges at the head of his 3rd and 7th Kentucky Cavalry. They are repulsed with bloody losses, including Colonel Thompson being killed. General Forrest does collect about 500 horses from area civilians.

March 26,1864-As Union forces approached Paducah, Kentucky, General Forrest retreats to Fort Pillow, Tennessee on the Mississippi River.

March 27,1864-General Grant rejoins the Army of the Potomac now at Culpeper Court House, Virginia.

March 27,1864-Large numbers of Northern prisoners begin to arrive at Camp Sumter in Andersonville, Georgia.

March 28,1864-General Banks advances from Alexandria, Louisiana to Shreveport.

March 28,1864-A violent anti-war riot in Charleston, Illinois results in gunfire between Union soldiers home on furlough and Knight's of the Golden Circle (Copperheads) in town to hear anti-war congressional candidate John R. Eden's speech. Six are killed and 20 injured. After extended prison time, President Lincoln grants clemency to the 29 Democrats jailed during the riot.

March 28,1864-Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells urges Commander John C. Carter to have the USS Michigan ready to sail as soon as the Lake Erie ice breaks. Rumors of a Confederate takeover of the USS Michigan to raid and release Confederate Prisoners held on Johnson's Island at Sandusky, Ohio have been received.

March 29,1864-General George Meade is convinced by President Lincoln to drop his Court of Inquiry demand concerning newspaper coverage of Meade's performance at Gettysburg.

March 29,1864-Union forces under General Banks reach Natchitoches, Louisiana and move inland to a more direct route to Shreveport. Admiral Porter has been slowed by low water and has lost a vessel. Banks move inland takes his column away from Admiral Porter's gunboats and the protection the gunboats provide.