Monday, April 28, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - April 27 - May 3,1864

April 27,1864-The Confederacy asks Canada for assistance in negotiations with the U.S. Government. President Davis sends a special commissioner to Canada.

April 27,1864-The CSS Alabama, a Confederate Raider under Captain Raphael Semmes, captures and burns the Federal bark 'Tycoon' in Brazilian waters. It turns out to be the last ship captured by the CSS Alabama.

April 27,1864-General Steele's 13,500 men escape Camden, Arkansas and head for Little Rock. They are 70 miles behind Confederate lines, low on supplies, mired in mud, outnumbered, and Confederates are in pursuit. General Edmond Kirby-Smith lays a pontoon bridge over the Ouachita River, losing several hours, and Steele gains some distance ahead of the Confederates.

April 27,1864-Admiral Porter's second attempt to run past Confederate batteries on the Red River at Alexandria, Louisiana results in the loss of the pump steamer "Champion #3" and damage to the USS Hindman and the USS Juliet. The USS Neosho arrives from downstream to assist. The three vessels proceed below Alexandria.

April 28,1864-Union forces pound the remnants of Fort Sumter with 510 additional rounds.

April 28,1864-General Egbert B. Brown orders Union forces in Johnson County, Missouri, to pursue Confederate Guerrilla William C. Quantrill.

April 28,1864-Receding water levels cause Admiral Porter to consider scuttling his squadron's three remaining vessels to prevent their capture. His message to Navy Secretary Gideon Wells states "you may judge my feelings at having to perform so painful a duty".

April 29,1864-Duty fees on all goods coming into the United States were increased by 50% to help fund the war.

April 29,1864-General Steele's Union column reaches the Saline River at Jenkin's Ferry and prepares to cross on a pontoon bridge. Confederates in pursuit are close behind.

April 29,1864-While Admiral Porter is nearly stranded at Alexandria, Colonel Joseph Bailey proposes a series of dams to raise the river level to seven feet, then open a chute and let the vessels slip through. Porter said "the proposition looks like madness and the best engineers ridicule the plan" but Porter asks General Banks to assign troops to try the plan. The result proves to be one of the most remarkable improvisations of the entire war.

April 30,1864-President Davis orders all captured slaves found fighting for the Union to be returned to their rightful owners "on proof and payment of charges".

April 30,1864-President & Mrs. Davis mourn the death of their five year old son, Joe Davis. The lad died of injuries from a fall at the Confederate White House in Richmond.

April 30,1864-The Battle of Jenkin's Ferry takes place when General John S. Marmaduke attacks the rear guard of General Steele's army. Steele manages to get the bulk of his army across the Sabine River to safety and rescues most of the rear guard soldiers. General Kirby-Smith lost his final chance to destroy Federal forces in Arkansas. The North lost 521 while the South lost 442 at Jenkin's Ferry. The U.S. 2nd Colored Infantry murdered an unknown number of prisoners in retaliation for the atrocities inflicted on African American soldiers at Poison Springs on April 18, 1864.

May 1,1864-Colonel John S. Mosby captures eight wagons at Bunker Hill, West Virginia during a raid on General Franz Sigel's army.

May 2,1864-The first session of the second Confederate Congress begins at Richmond. President Davis opens with a speech accusing the North of "barbarism" due to "plunder and devastation of the property of noncombatants, destruction of private dwellings, and even of edifices devoted to the worship of God".

May 2,1864-General Franz Sigel leads 6,500 Union troops out of Winchester, Virginia toward New Market. His orders are to destroy food and cattle in this Southern "breadbasket" territory.

May 3,1864-President Lincoln's cabinet meets with the President to discuss the recent murder of African American prisoners at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

May 3,1864-General Grant begins the move of his 122,000 man army to an area called the Wilderness which is between General Lee's forces and Richmond, Virginia. General Meade disputes this strategy and wants to assault Lee's left flank. General Lee is confident his 66,000 men can hold off the larger force due to the tough terrain in the Wilderness area.

May 3,1864-General Steele's forces make it back to Little Rock ending the failed Red River Campaign. The disgruntled troops lost 2,750 of their members, nine cannons and 640 wagons. The Union was able to maintain partial control of the Trans-Mississippi Confederacy.