Sunday, June 15, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - June 15-21, 1864

June 15,1864-Copperhead Clement Vallandigham returns to Dayton, Ohio from his exile in Canada. He resumes trying to secure a negotiated peace with the Confederacy.

June 15,1864-The House votes 95 to 66 against a joint resolution abolishing slavery. The 13th Amendment fails to receive a two-thirds majority vote.

June 15,1864-The U.S. Congress passes legislation granting equal pay to black soldiers following several months of African American soldiers refusing to accept their pay if it was less than white soldiers received.

June 15,1864-Confederate Cherokees shell the Union steamer J.R.Williams at Pleasant Bluffs, Arkansas. General Stand Watie leads the capture of the vessel which is carrying rations for Fort Gibson, Indian Territory where about 5,000 Indian refuges friendly to the Union are being garrisoned.

June 15,1864-General William F.(Baldy)Smith and 12,500 men of the XVIII Corps approach lightly defended Petersburg, Virginia and are reinforced by General Winfield Hancock's II Corps. General Smith decides not to attack at night. General P.G.T. Beauregard rapidly funnels nearly 14,000 defensive troops into Petersburg.

June 16,1864-President Lincoln addresses the Sanitation Fair in Philadelphia.

June 16,1864-General Meade arrives in Petersburg with the entire Army of the Potomac, a move still unknown to the Confederates. General William Smith has immediate success capturing a mile of trenches on the outer perimeter but fails to press his numerical superiority, later judged one of the most costly mistakes of the war.

June 16,1864-Pushed by Sherman's army at Marietta, Georgia, General Joseph Johnston retires to a new position at Mud Creek, Georgia.

June 16,1864-Confederate General Jubal Early arrives at Charlottesville, Virginia but nearly half of his II Corps is delayed on the railroad. Only about 4,000 men aid the defense at Lynchburg.

June 16,1864-The CSS Alabama begins to take on coal and munitions at Cherbourg, France.

June 17,1864-An explosion at the Washington Arsenal kills 18 and injures 20 workers.

June 17,1864-Union General David Hunter attacks Lynchburg, Virginia which is defended by forces commanded by Generals John Breckenridge and John Imboden. General Early's reinforcements help to stiffen the resistance. General Hunter breaks off the engagement and encamps for the night.

June 17,1864-The CSS Florida captures and sinks the Union brig W.C. Clarke at sea.

June 18,1864-General David Birney takes command of the II Corp, replacing the ailing Winfield Hancock.

June 18,1864- The siege of Petersburg begins with the arrival of General Lee's 50,000 man Army of Northern Virginia. Lee's tired and hungry troops defend a 26 mile line plus four railroads that are his lifeline for supplies. General Grant has 110,000 men in his Army of the Potomac plus a steady influx of reinforcement and replacements. The strong southern defense is soon tested when soldiers of Union General David B. Birney's command probe the defensive line and are repulsed.

June 18,1864-General David Hunter again attacks at Lynchburg and is hindered by accurate Confederate Artillery fire compared to his own inexperienced gunners. General Hunter concludes that he is outnumbered. He halts the engagement and withdraws. General Early, actually with a smaller force, pursues the retreating Union forces and gains the initiative.

June 18,1864-General Johnston leaves Pine Mountain, Georgia and moves to the strong defensive entrenchment at Kennesaw Mountain.

June 19,1864-About seven miles outside the Cherbourg, France harbor, the USS Kearsarge engages the CSS Alabama. Captain John H. Winslow heads directly for the Alabama and Captain Raphel Semmes easily maneuvers out of the path. Circling ever closer, the ships are broad side at 400 yards when Semmes fires a round and misses. The Kearsarge is struck by a 100 pound round that fails to explode. The Alabama takes several direct hits with hull damage while protective chains on the Kearsarge cause all 28 rounds that hit the Kearsarge's hull to do little damage. Deteriorated powder from lengthy exposure to salt water may have been a factor in the Alabama's "weak" hits. The CSS Alabama sank. Captain Semmes and Lieutenant John M. Kell were picked up by a sightseers boat crew and others were also rescued.

June 20,1864-General Sherman's army reaches the Confederate defensive lines at Kennesaw Mountain.

June 21,1864-President Lincoln visits the Union troops in Petersburg. He is warned to keep his head down as he is wearing his distinctive stovepipe hat.

June 21,1864-At Petersburg, General Grant attempts to stretch the Confederate defenses thin by moving his troops further south and west than the defensive line can cover. He also sends two corps with cavalry to break the Confederate supply line.

June 21,1864-Union General Joseph Hooker's XX Corps reaches the extreme left of the Confederate's earthworks at Kennesaw Mountain. General Johnston moves General John Bell Hood's corp from their position on the far right flank to the endangered left.