Monday, December 30, 2013

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - December 29, 1863- January 4, 1864

December 29,1863-General Winfield S. Hancock resumes his active participation in the war by returning to the Army of the Potomac as commander of the Union II Corps five months after suffering serious wounds at Gettysburg.

December 29,1863-Armed boats from the USS Stars and Stripes burn the Confederate Blockade runner Caroline Gertrude near the mouth of the Ocklockonee River, Florida.

December 30,1863-Two Confederate salt works are destroyed at St. Joseph Bay, Florida by crews from the USS Pursuit.

December 31,1863-Navy Secretary Gideon Wells sums up the past year of war saying "The war has been waged with success, although there have been in some instances errors and misfortunes. But the heart of the nation is sounder and it's hopes higher".

December 31,1863-President Davis appoints North Carolina senator George Davis as interim Confederate Attorney General replacing outgoing Wade Keyes.

January 1,1864-Confederate General William "Extra Billy" Smith becomes governor of Virginia. General Smith fought at Gettysburg.

January 2,1864-Suffering manpower shortages, Confederate General Patrick L. Cleburne and other officers petition for the use of African American in the Confederate Army. President Davis ignores the petition and denies a well deserved promotion for Cleburne (to Lieutenant General) because of it.

January 2,1864-George Davis formally replaces Wade Keyes as Attorney General.

January 2,1864-Union troops occupy Santa Catalina Island, off the coast of California.

January 3,1284-General William E. Jones leads his Confederate Cavalry in a surprise attack on General Orlando Wilcox' forces near Jonesville, Virginia. Union losses are 383 prisoners, 27 wagons, and 3 cannons.

January 3,1864-General Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry seizes a large supply train and 250 head of cattle in a raid on Union General Benjamin F. Kelly's force moving in Hardy County, West Virginia. 

January 4,1864-President Davis instruct General Robert E. Lee to begin requisitioning food from civilians as necessary in support of Lee's Army.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - December 22-28, 1863

December 22,1863-Confederate General Leonidas K. Polk becomes commander of the Department of Mississippi and Louisiana.

December 23,1863-Admiral David G. Farragut announced to Navy Secretary Gideon Wells that his flagship, the USS Hartford, is ready to depart. Admiral Farragut is eager to resume active duty but a shortage of crew members delayed his departure.

December 24,1863-Union cavalry leader General William W. Averall concludes his third railroad and bridge raid of the year and returns to Beverly, West Virginia. Confederate General Samuel Jones was unable to intercept Averall's smaller force and was ultimately dismissed as commander of the Western Department.

December 24,1863-Captain Semmes is still active aboard the CSS Alabama, this time capturing and burning the Union bark 'Texan Star'  in the Straits of Malacca, Dutch West Indies.

December 25,1863-Major John S. Mosby's partisan raiders encounter a small Union force near Leesburg, Virginia and several raiders are captured.

December 25,1863-In an unexpected bombardment, the USS Marblehead is hit by 20 rounds from Confederate batteries at Lagareville, South Carolina on the Stono River. Landing parties from the nearby USS Pawnee and USS C.P. Williams drive the Confederate raiders off.

December 26,1863-In the Straits of Malacca, the CSS Alabama's crew captures and burns the Union barks Sonora and Highlander.

December 27,1863-President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton visit Confederate prisoners at Point Lookout, Maryland as a goodwill gesture.

December 27,1863-General Joseph E. Johnston arrives in Dalton, Georgia to take command of the battered Confederate Department of Tennessee,  recently defeated at Chattanooga. General Johnston replaces General Bragg.

December 28,1863-The Confederate Congress abolishes the practice of allowing hired substitutes to replace drafted men.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - December 15-21, 1863

December 15,1863-General Jubel A. Early is appointed commander of the Confederate Valley District, Virginia. General Early leads a sortie from Hanover Junction, Virginia to cut off General Averell at Millborough where he continues to destroy railroad assets.

December 16,1863-Union General John Buford dies of tuberculosis at Washington, D.C. at the age of 37.

December 16,1863-General Averell's cavalry column enters Salem, Virginia, occupies the town, destroys the depot and railroad bridges in the area.

December 17,1863-President Lincoln releases plans for a Federal Bureau of Emancipation to assist freed slaves. Congress fails to enact legislation forming this bureau until March, 1865.

December 17,1863-The steamer 'Chesapeake', commandeered by Confederate sympathizers, is apprehended in Sambro Harbor, Nova Scotia and released back to its original owners.

December 18,1863-General John M. Schofield is removed from duty in Missouri due to his poor handling of civilian affairs. President Lincoln simultaneously sacks the General and promotes him to major general to avoid and ugly conflict in Army leadership.

December 19,1863-The USS Restless, Bloomer, and Caroline patrol off Florida near St. Andrews Bay. In 10 days of raids, they eliminate 290 Southern owned saltworks and 268 buildings.

December 20,1863-The USS Sunflower, USS Fox, and USS Governor Buckingham capture Confederate blockade runners near Frying Pan Shoals, North Carolina, Tampa Bay and Suwannee River, Florida.

December 21,1863-General Jacob D. Cox is appointed commander of the Department of Mississippi and Louisiana, replacing General Schofield.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Civil War - 150 Years Ago This Week – December 8 - 15, 1863

Compiled by Jim Hachtel, President 

Gen. William T. Sherman Memorial Civil War Roundtable

December 8, 1863 - President Lincoln offers his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction in an opening address to the 38th Congress, in session in Washington. All Southerners in any of the seceded states can take a loyalty oath and, when fully 10% of the voters of that state have taken the oath and that state abolishes slavery that state's sitting government can reorganize. Radical Republicans in the north find the offer too conciliatory.

December 8, 1863 - General William W. Averell moves to Salem, Virginia to carry out a raid on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. General Eliakim P. Scammon's cavalry rides from Charleston, West Virginia to Lewisburg in support.

December 9, 1863 - Citing his slow reaction to orders during the Chattanooga Campaign, General Ambrose E. Burnside is replaced as commander of the Department of the Ohio by order of General Grant. The new commander is General John G. Foster. In the Confederate Army, General James Longstreet draws up charges against several members of his staff for slow reaction to his order to storm Fort Saunders at Knoxville.

December 11, 1863 - At Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, a random Union shot hits the ammunition magazine which explodes killing 11 and wounding 41 Confederate soldiers. The defenders refuse to surrender.

December 12, 1863 - Beginning on this date, many supplies sent by Sanitary Commissions and packages from families of men in Southern prisons are refused by Confederate authorities.

December 12, 1863 - Charles City Court House, Virginia is the scene of a Union raid that captures 90 Southerners.

December 13, 1863 - General Mosby's Partisan Raiders attack a sleeping Union camp at Germantown, Virginia. They capture two soldiers and several horses.

December 13, 1863 - A force of 4,000 Union cavalry occupies Bean's Station, Tennessee while in pursuit of General James Longstreet's force as they leave Knoxville. General James M. Shackleford continues to push his Union soldiers further from his supporting infantry. General Longstreet turns on his pursuers and attempts to destroy Shackleford's force but fails. Later that night, Longstreet sends Generals William Martin and William Jones on circuitous routes to get behind General Shackleford's small force.

December 14, 1863 - Using artillery, General Longstreet tries to distract General Shackleford's force while two columns strike their flank and rear. The Union troops make an orderly retreat through Bean's Gap to Blain's Crossroad and dig in behind a rail breastwork. Confederate forces decline to attack this strong position and withdraw. Bean's Station is the last action of the dreary Knoxville campaign. Confederate losses are 182 dead, 768 wounded, and 142 missing (1,092). Union losses are 92 dead, 394 wounded, and 207 missing (693).

December 14, 1863 - Emilie Todd Helm, Mrs. Lincoln's half sister, is granted general amnesty when she visits the White House and takes the loyalty oath.

December 15, 1863 - General Jubel A. Early is appointed commander of the Confederate Valley District, Virginia. General Early leads a sortie from Hanover Junction, Virginia to cut off General Averell at Millborough where he continues to destroy railroad assets.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Civil War - 150 Years Ago This Week – December 1 - 7, 1863

Compiled by Jim Hachtel, President 

Gen. William T. Sherman Memorial Civil War Roundtable

December 1, 1863 - Southern spy Isabella “Belle” Boyd is released from the Federal Prison at Washington D.C. and is again warned to stay out of Union territory. She is suffering from typhoid fever leading to her early release.

December 1, 1863 - General Meade's Army of the Potomac crosses the Rapidan River officially ending the Mine Run campaign. The army enters winter quarters.

December 1, 1863 - Near Mount Sterling, Kentucky, Confederate General Samuel Jones' forces capture Union stores worth $700,000, 250 horses, and 100 prisoners without any loss of men. 

December 2, 1863 - General Robert E. Lee plans a strike on General Meade's army but finds the position completely deserted. General Lee was later quoted as saying, "I am too old to command this army; we should never have permitted those people to get away.”  General Lee was impressed with the strength of Meade's entrenchments and plans to use this tool if he has the opportunity.

December 2, 1863 - General Hardee succeeds General Braxton Bragg as commander of the Army of Tennessee in an emotional ceremony at Dalton, Georgia.

December 3, 1863 - General James Longstreet quits Knoxville, Tennessee and moves into winter quarters at Greenville, Tennessee. Union General Ambrose Burnside fails to pursue Longstreet's move. With Longstreet nearby, General Grant is forced to maintain a sizable Union force in Tennessee to monitor Longstreet's expected moves, possibly to join General Lee in Virginia.

December 4, 1863 - The bombardment of Fort Sumter continues with more than 1,300 rounds fired in the past seven days.

December 4, 1863 - General Longstreet begins to withdraw 15,000 of his men toward Virginia, moving northeast of Knoxville. Cavalry General James M. Shackleford follows with 4,000 troops.

December 5, 1863 - At Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina, a boat crew from the USS Perry is captured while searching for blockade-runners.

December 6, 1863 - General William T. Sherman and staff arrive at the command tent of General Burnside in Knoxville.

December 7, 1863 - The fourth session of the 1st Confederate Congress meets in Richmond, Virginia and following the acknowledgement of failures of the previous year officially proclaims:  "The patriotism of the people has proven equal to every sacrifice demanded by their country's need.” 

December 7, 1863 - The 38th Congress convenes in Washington, D.C. for their first session. Secretary Gideon Welles makes his third annual report of Naval strength. He reports 34,000 seamen, 588 warships displacing 467,967 tons and carrying 4,443 guns. These vessels claim the capture or destruction of more than 1,000 foreign and Southern blockade-runners plus several land batteries and fortifications.

December 7, 1863 - At New York, 15 Confederate sympathizers board the Union steamer “Chesapeake” scheduled to move to Portland. They take control of the Chesapeake and steam to Nova Scotia.