Saturday, December 20, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - December 21-27, 1864

December 21,1864-Union General Benjamin H. Grierson, best known for his cavalry raids at Vicksburg, leaves Memphis to destroy the Mobile and Ohio Railroad in northern Alabama and Mississippi.

December 22,1864-Union General George Stoneman led a cavalry raid to Saltsville in western Virginia and returns to Knoxville. The raid lasted 12 days, covered 460 miles, and his troops capture 900 men and 19 cannon.

December 23,1864-President Lincoln approves the congressional legislation that created the rank of vice admiral. David G. Farragut is the first to hold the rank, equivalent to a lieutenant general.

December 23,1864- Benjamin F. Butler and his 65,000 man expedition finally arrives at Fort Fisher aboard warships under David D. Porter's command. Fort Fisher in Wilmington, North Carolina, is the most formidable coastal fortification in the confederacy. An earth work structure 480 yards long and 60 feet high protects 50 mounted cannon and a 1,500 man garrison under Colonel William Lamb.

December 24,1864-The USS Louisiana, laden with explosives intended to be detonated under the guns of Fort Fisher, prematurely explodes 250 yards away from the objective, with little damage to the fort. The other 60 warships under Admiral Porter's control bombard the fort at a rate of 115 shells per minute, also with little damage.

December 25,1864-General Butler lands 2,200 men 75 yards from Fort Fisher and they move toward the fort, capturing Half Moon Battery as they advance. A strong fire from the 1,500 man garrison and the advance of 500 more men sent by General R.E. Lee checks Butler's advance. Deciding any further assault could be too costly, Butler withdraws and transports his troops to Hampton Roads.

December 25,1864-Butler's hasty retreat results in about 700 Union soldiers remaining trapped on the beach for the next two days.

December 26,1864-General John B. Hood begins to ferry remaining Confederate troops over the Tennessee River at Bainbridge, Tennessee, en-route to Tupelo, Mississippi. This concludes the ill-fated Nashville campaign.

December 27,1864-General Grant learns of General Butler's rebuff at Wilmington and is enraged. The normally docile Grant calls the Fort Fisher attack a complete fiasco and insists that Butler be sacked for "gross and culpable failure". Butler arrives back at Fortress Monroe.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

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

November 23,1864-As General Hood continues the march toward Columbia, Tennessee, skirmishes break out at Fouche Springs, Henryville, and Mount Pleasant, Tennessee.

November 23,1864-The two wings of General Sherman's army converge on Milledgeville, Georgia where state militia and the Federal's engage in more fighting. Additional fighting takes place at Ball's Ferry and at the Georgia Central railroad bridge over the Oconee River.

November 24,1864-Union General Jacob D. Cox, in charge of General Schofield's lead unit, arrives in Columbia, Tennessee just in time to assist the Federal Cavalry troops against General Forrest's Confederate Cavalry, driving them off.

November 25,1864-Southern arsonists under orders from agents in Canada set fire to ten hotels, two downtown theaters, several other buildings, and P.T. Barnum's Museum in New York City. None of the fires resulted in serious damage as they were quickly extinguished. In February, 1865 Confederate Captain Robert Cobb Kennedy, an escapee from Johnson's Island prison and the only arsonist identified, was arrested for setting the Barnum Museum blaze. He was executed on March 23,1865.

November 26,1864-Sanderson, Georgia is the site of more skirmishing between Confederates and elements of Sherman's army.

November 26,1864-In the Nebraska Territory, fighting between Federal soldiers and local Indians sympathetic to the Confederacy takes place at Plum Creek Station and Spring Creek.

November 27,1864-The siege of Petersburg continues. On the James River, the steamer Greyhound, General Benjamin Butler's floating headquarters, is damaged by a coal torpedo believed to have been planted by southern saboteurs.

November 27,1864-General Schofield moves his forces north of the Duck River some 25 miles south of Franklin, Tennessee and burns bridges behind his move. The Confederates of General Hood are believed to be planning their attack from the south.

November 28,1864-Union General John P. Hatch marches 5,500 men from Hilton Head, South Carolina to transports waiting off shore. Sailing down the Broad River, he intends to land at Boyd's Neck and march overland to cut the Savannah and Charleston Railroad to stop Confederate troops from moving from Charleston to Savannah as General Sherman approaches that city.

November 28,1864-Confederate General Thomas L. Rosser leads his cavalry troops on a raid into Maryland where they destroy a bridge on the B&O Railroad. They then move back up the valley into Virginia.

November 28,1864-General Hood deploys part of his force south of Columbia, Tennessee to give the impression that he will attack from the south. He then shifts the bulk of his army east to cross the Duck River above the town and cut off any Union retreat. General Schofield withdraws his Union force across the Duck River before the trap is sprung. Schofield is alerted by Union Cavalry General James Wilson when General Nathan Forrest's Cavalry surprises Wilson at Spring Hill and drives his cavalry toward Franklin in defeat.

November 29-30,1864-General John P. Hatch with a brigade of infantry, a brigade of sailors, and eight cannon marches from Boyd's Neck, South Carolina toward Grahamville. The predominately black soldiers are from the Massachusetts 54th and 55th plus the 32nd, 34th and 35th U.S. Colored Troops. Mislead by poor maps, the Federals march and counter march aimlessly for several hours at night. When the Confederates arrive, the battle, sometimes called the battle of Honey Hill, is a disaster for the Union with 89 killed, 629 wounded and 29 missing. Light losses were recorded by the Confederates.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - October 26-November 1, 1864

October 26,1864-General Hood arrives in Decatur, Alabama, expecting to launch his Tennessee Campaign from that city. He finds that General Forrest has not arrived with his cavalry and that Union troops occupy parts of Decatur. Hood fires on the Union positions but soon moves his Army of Tennessee further west.

October 27,1864-Union forces assault enemy positions on Boydton Road and Southside Railroad southwest of Petersburg, Virginia. General Ambrose P. Hill has strong defensive positions and the Union troops are unable to dislodge them.  The Union has about 40,000 men involved and no more reinforcements available. The Confederates have about 20,000 men on the lines. Union casualties total 1656 in killed, wounded or missing. No report of Confederate loss.

October 27,1864-Lieutenant William B. Cushing led 15 men in an attack on the Confederate ram Albemarle on the Roanoke River. Their steam craft was outfitted to ram through the protective log shell and explode a torpedo next to the hull of the Albemarle. The bold scheme worked and Lieutenant Cushing was promoted to Lieutenant Commander.

October 28,1864-General Hood continues to move his army westward. General Forrest has not arrived yet.

October 29,1864-The Confederates under General Hood cross the Tennessee River and seize the town of Florence. General Forrest is still near Fort Henry and Fort Heiman where a trap has been constructed on the river to snag Federal vessels. Three craft have been captured in the past two days; two transports and the gunboat 'Undine'.

October 30,1864-Union General George Thomas moves Federal Troops out of Chattanooga to Pulaski, Tennessee to be in position to meet the invading Army of Tennessee.

October 31,1864-Nevada enters the United States as the 36th State. Presidential voting has taken place in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania with President Lincoln somewhat assured of re-election. Nevada is expected to give him their 3 electoral votes.

October 31,1864-Seven Federal vessels commanded by William H. Macomb capture Plymouth, North Carolina. From here, the Federals can control traffic on the Albemarle Sound and the Roanoke River.

November 1,1864-To help meet the threat of General Hood's Army, General Alfred J. Smith moves his men to Nashville as reinforcements for General George Thomas.

November 1,1864-General Forrest takes his captured Federal vessels upriver, stopping at Reynolds Island just south of Johnsonville, Tennessee where he prepares another ambush for enemy ships.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - September 14-20, 1864

September 14,1864-The Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley are weakened when General Richard H. Anderson's corps leaves General Early's army to rejoin General R.E. Lee at Petersburg, Virginia.

September 14,1864-General Wade Hampton's Confederate Cavalry rides southwest then southeast and finally northwest toward Coggins Point, Virginia on the Rowdy River. There are about 4,000 head of cattle at Coggin's Point being herded by Union guards. The roundabout Confederate approach is to confuse the Union guards.

September 15,1864-General Hampton's force arrives at Blackwater Creek, Virginia, undetected after riding 18 miles on a circuitous route.

September 16,1864-General Hampton engages and defeats a group of Federal troops herding cattle and leads over 2400 head back to Petersburg. They also take 300 prisoners.

September 16,1864-Rebecca West, a Union spy in Winchester, Virginia, observes the departure of General Joseph Kershaw's Confederate Cavalry with 12 cannon as they detach from General Early's army. She relays the intelligence to General Sheridan and then confers with General Grant concerning strategy at Charlestown, Virginia. The transfer of forces back to Richmond induces General Sheridan to attack immediately.

September 17,1864-John C. Fremont, nominated as a candidate for President at the spring convention of Radical Republicans dissatisfied with President Lincoln's conduct of the war, withdraws from the race. Fremont fears a Democratic victory, leading to recognition of the Confederacy or, at least, the re-establishment of slavery. While still disappointed with the war's progress, he swings his support to Lincoln and pledges to work for emancipation.

September 17,1864-General Jubal Early, outnumbered three to one, advances toward Martinsburg, Virginia, to cut the Baltimore & Ohio RR.

September 18,1864-When his Confederate troops encounter enemy cavalry, General Early falls back toward Winchester again. The 12,000 man Southern force is widely scattered and poorly positioned defensively. General Sheridan decides to attack first thing the next morning.

September 18,1864-General John M. Schofield orders Union cavalry commanded by General Stephen Burbridge to depart Mount Sterling, Kentucky to Saltville on the Virginia border. This diversionary force is to mask the major raid under the command of General Alvan C. Gillem moving from Tennessee into southwestern Virginia.

September 19,1864-General Sheridan attacks the Confederates in Winchester. Bottlenecks develop as the Union troops try to cross the Opequon River and the Confederates outnumber the attackers for a time. By afternoon, the Union is at full force against the Southern breastworks and General Early's troops are forced into a full retreat. The Confederates suffer 3000 men killed or wounded, leaving many on the field. An additional 2000 are taken prisoner. This major victory causes jubilation in the North, especially in the Republican party seeking the re-election of President Lincoln. Republican James Garfield later writes "Phil Sheridan has made a speech in the Shenandoah Valley more powerful and valuable to the Union cause than all the stumpers of the Republic can make."

September 19,1864-The "Lake Erie Conspiracy" takes place as two Confederate agents launch their plan to capture the USS Michigan and free Confederate prisoners being held at Johnson's Island in Sandusky Harbor. The plan fails when Confederate agent Charles H. Cole, aboard the USS Michigan as a plant, is discovered when he signals the boarding party. The other boat is scuttled by Confederate Navy Captain John Yates Beall who is later captured and hanged.

September 20,1864-General Early regroups his scattered forces at Fisher's Hill, Virginia. While he has a strong natural defensive position, he is short of manpower to man it effectively. Union cavalry continues the pursuit.

September 20,1864-President Jefferson Davis travels from Richmond to Georgia to bolster Southern morale in the state.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - September 7-13, 1864

September 7,1864-An additional 573 rounds are fired into the rubble of Fort Sumter with no surrender.

September 7,1864-General Sherman's Special Field Order #67 requires about 1,600 families to begin an evacuation of Atlanta. Sherman's message to the city's mayor--"War is cruelty and you cannot refine it. When peace comes you may call on me for anything. Then I will share with you the last cracker".

September 8,1864-George McClellan accepts the Democratic Party nomination for president but rejects the platform that labels the war a failure. He calls President Lincoln a failure for the way he handled the war and disagrees with the Union push for unconditional surrender and recognition of Emancipation in the South. He insists only on reunion; individual states of the South re-entering the Union with full guarantee of all constitutional rights.

September 8,1864-Federal ships escort an army transport into the Bonsecours River near Mobile and destroy more than 50 Confederate salt furnaces at Salt House Point.

September 9,1864-General Grant urges General Sherman to resume offensive pressure on General Hood's Army. No specific decision on Sherman's next move is discussed but the goal is to keep Hood away from the stalemate at Petersburg/Richmond.

September 9,1864-In Tennessee, General Wheeler completes his raid on Union supply lines and crosses the Tennessee River at Florence, Alabama. Union work crews quickly repair the railroads. The net result of Wheeler's raid is to deprive General Hood of cavalry and additional fighting troops at Atlanta.

September 10,1864-General Sheridan, aware that some of General Early's troops have been moved to Richmond, proposes offensive action at Winchester against Early's remaining strength. General Grant agrees.

September 11,1864-Generals Sherman and Hood agree on a ten day truce to allow the Atlanta citizens to evacuate with their belongings. A citizens committee presents a formal protest and General Sherman is blunt saying "You might as well appeal against the thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war".

September 12,1864-President Lincoln, anxious to break the stalemate between Sheridan and Early at Winchester, Virginia, suggests to General Grant to "quietly but suddenly" supply additional troops to Sheridan to allow him to strike.

September 12,1864-General Sterling Price's Confederates cross the White River, Arkansas, and march to Pocahontas to unite with General Joseph Shelby's Cavalry Division. The Army of Missouri is then organized into three divisions under Shelby, James Fagan, and John S. Marmaduke. Price commands 12,000 men and 14 cannon but about half of his men are untrained or unarmed. His plan is to capture Union weapons as they cross Missouri, marching in three distinct columns.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - August 25-30, 1864

August 25,1864-At Ream's Station, Virginia, General Ambrose P. Hill's 10,000 men assaults the Union II Corps of General Winfield S. Hancock in General Nelson Miles division sector and drives them back. The Confederates then capture several cannon and hundreds of prisoners. When the Union reserves from General John Gibbon's division try to fill the gap, they stumble and eventually run. Nearly 2,000 prisoners are captured in this embarrassing encounter.

August 25,1864-General Early bypasses entrenched Union forces at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia and moves on to Shepherdstown with the intent to try another invasion into Maryland.

August 25,1864-General Sherman is unwilling to attack fully entrenched Confederate forces at Atlanta and his cavalry has failed to cut Confederate supply lines. He commits a large portion of his Division of the Mississippi against the Macon and Western Railroad near Rough and Ready and at Jonesboro, to sever this single supply route. He orders his XX Corps to guard his own supply lines.

August 26,1864-At Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the convention of African Americans calls for a resolution to allow the commissioning of black military officers.

August 26,1864-General Jubel Early crosses the Potomac and enters Maryland for the third time. Union forces skirmish with Early's cavalry at Williamsport.

August 27,1864-Admiral David Farragut requests sick leave from the West Gulf Blockading Squadron at Mobile Bay, Alabama. He has served in the Gulf and Caribbean Sea for over five years.

August 27,1864-General Hood and General Sherman commit large columns of soldiers to the Macon and Western railroad at Jonesboro, Georgia. If Hood fails to save the railroad, he will be trapped inside Atlanta. General Sherman's Army of the Cumberland controls the Montgomery and Atlanta Railroad and his Army of the Tennessee moves to Fairburn, Georgia on the Macon and Western line.

August 28,1864-General Sheridan advances from Harper's Ferry back toward the Shenandoah.

August 29,1864-The Democratic National Convention convenes at Chicago, Illinois. Clement L. Vallandigham, a Copperhead, delivers the keynote speech.

August 29,1864-General Sterling Price again plans to conquer Missouri for the South. He is gathering troops at Princeton, Arkansas for a final attempt.

August 29,1864-A Confederate torpedo mine explodes in Mobile Bay killing five Union sailors with several wounded. Admiral Farragut vows to clear all explosive weapons from the bay before he goes on leave.

August 30,1864-The Democratic Convention adopts a peace platform calling for an immediate end to all hostilities between the North and South. This platform is virtually 'exactly opposite' President Lincoln and the Republican's stand.

August 30,1864-The Northern and the Southern Army units near Jonesboro, Georgia, each with about 20,000 men, make final moves and preparations for a huge battle over the control of the Macon and Western line. General O.O. Howard crosses the Flint River and General Hood moves to push him back across the river.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - August 17-24, 1864

August 17,1864-General Jubel Early attacks the Union rear guard at Winchester, Virginia.

August 17,1864-At Halifax, Nova Scotia, the CSS Tallahassee takes on a supply of coal. U.S. Consul, Mortimor M. Jackson, protests its arrival and alerts Commander George A. Stevens of the USS Pontoosuc at Eastport, Maine that the Tallahassee is in the area.

August 18,1864-The Confederate government again requests the resumption of prisoner exchanges. General U.S. Grant again refuses. The position taken deprives the South of needed soldiers but prolongs the hardship of Union captives.

August 18,1864-General Grant's plan to attack Confederate units near Deep Bottom Run has the desired effect of keeping General Lee from sending reinforcements to the Shenandoah Valley but the Union suffers 2,900 killed, wounded, or missing compared to about 1,500 Southern losses.

August 18,1864-Outside Petersburg, Virginia, General Gouverneur K. Warren's V Corp captures the Globe Tavern and portions of the Weldon Railroad. This extends the Union siege line and forces the Confederates to defend more ground with fewer troops. General Lee's supply line is the Weldon Railroad so General Lee prepares to take it back by force.

August 18,1864-General Sherman's cavalry, commanded by General Hugh Kilpatrick, captures the Atlantic and West Point Railroad and moves on to Lovejoy Station, 20 miles southeast of Atlanta, to attack the Macon and Western rail line.

August 19,1864-At Weldon's Station, Confederates commanded by General Ambrose P. Hill attack General Warren's V Corp and four Union Division supporting from the IX and II Corps. After rugged fighting throughout the day, the Union remains in control but suffers 4,455 casualties while the Confederates records 1,600 lost.

August 20,1864-The Macon and Western Railroad is further damaged at Lovejoy's Station. The Union forces of General Kilpatrick then scramble back toward Atlanta and General Sherman's main Army.

August 20,1864-The USS Pontoosuc fails to stop the Confederate raider CSS Tallahassee, arriving seven hours after the Tallahassee departs.

August 21,1864-General Robert E. Lee abandons the Weldon Railroad outside Petersburg, Virginia when General Hill cannot dislodge the defenders at Globe Tavern.

August 21,1864-General Richard Page, commander at Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay, Alabama destroys the remaining powder supply to avoid any chance hits from Union shells. Admiral Farragut has 25 army cannon and 16 mortars in addition to his Squadron's mounted guns, all directing fire on the fort.

August 21,1864-General Nathan Bedford Forrest captures Memphis in a surprise raid by 2,000 Confederate cavalry. General Cadwallader C. Washburn narrowly escapes in his nightclothes.

August 22,1864-The weary soldiers from General Hancock's units as well as support units of Generals John Gibbons and Nelson Miles plus General David Gregg's cavalry are transferred to Ream's Station on the Weldon Railroad to rest while doing light fatigue duty.

August 23,1864-General Page surrenders Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay, Alabama. Wilmington, North Carolina is the only remaining port open to Southern shipping.

August 23,1864-President Lincoln is pessimistic about his re-election. He is sure that any rival candidate will make promises that will be difficult to keep and he stated "It will be my duty to co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration, as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterwards".

August 24,1864-At Gunter's Prairie, Indian Territory, the 2nd Kansas Cavalry with about 420 troops is attack by 800 Confederate Cherokee's commanded by General Stand Watie and 1,200 Texas cavalry with Colonel Richard M. Gano in command. The Kansas force escapes with 20 casualties. The Southern units move northwest past Fort Gibson and attacks a small Union force at Flat Rock Ford.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago ths week - August 10-16, 1864

August 10,1864-Confederate General Hood dispatches General Wheeler's cavalry to raid Sherman's rail lines above Atlanta and into Tennessee. Wheeler continues these raids until September 10th without much effect. General Sherman has ample supplies stockpiled for this time and the Confederate Army is without Wheeler's cavalry for a month. Another blunder by General John B. Hood?

August 10,1864-General Philip Sheridan leaves Harper's Ferry, enters the Shenandoah Valley, and moves toward General Jubal Early's forces near Winchester, Virginia.

August 10,1864-The transport steamer 'Empress' comes under attack by the Confederate Battery at Gaines Landing, Arkansas, on the Mississippi River. Federal gunboats led by the USS Romeo arrive and silence the battery. The USS Empress takes 63 hits and is ultimately towed to safety. Fighting continues into the next day when the USS Romeo and Prairie Bird are engaged until the Confederate Battery is again silenced.

August 11,1864-General Sheridan continues his pursuit of General Early's Confederate forces as they move back to Cedar Creek, Virginia.

August 12,1864-In a week of heavy raiding by the Confederate cruiser Tallahassee, six Union vessels are taken off New York and seven more off Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

August 13,1864-General Ulysses S. Grant learns that a large Confederate force is being moved from Deep Bottom Run, 11 miles southeast of the Richmond/Petersburg, Virginia area to the Shenandoah Valley. Grant orders General Winfield Hancock's II Corps, General David Birney's X Corps, and the 2nd Cavalry Division of General David M. Gregg to strike the remaining defenses at Deep Bottom Run. A Union breakthrough in this sector would put the Union Army only ten miles from Richmond. Deep Bottom Run is the location of the Darbytown Road skirmish back on July 28th involving both Sheridan and Hancock.

August 13,1864-General Alfred Pleasonton carries out a large scale anti-guerrilla raid against William C. Quantrill's forces in La Fayette, Saline, and Howard Counties, Missouri.

August 14,1864-Confederate infantry under General Richard H. Anderson arrives at Front Royal, Virginia. General Sheridan's lines of communication are threatened by this move. General Wesley Merritt's cavalry scouts near Front Royal to determine strength and intentions of Anderson's units. Sheridan moves back toward Harper's Ferry and settles at Halltown, Virginia.

August 14,1864-Cavalry General Joseph Wheeler destroys track south of Dalton, Georgia. Union troops guarding the supply line from Chattanooga to Atlanta are able to drive Wheeler's Cavalry off.

August 15,1864-Generals Hancock and Birney march down the Charles City Road toward Fussell's Mill in the Deep Bottom Run area. General Gouverneur K. Warren also brings his V Corp from the Union right to strike the Weldon Road.

August 15,1864-Skirmishing at Ceder Creek, Virginia involving General Sheridan's cavalry and General Early's troopers result in a cautious move back toward Winchester. General Grant again cautions Sheridan that President Lincoln's re-election is precarious and any defeat would be embarrassing and must be avoided at all cost. General Wheeler now believes that Sheridan is timid.

August 16,1864-Colonel John Mosby surprises and defeats a Union force at Kernstown and Charleston, West Virginia.

August 16,1864-At Fussell's Mill, Virginia, General Birney's X Corp achieves initial success but General Charles Field arrive to fill the breach. Union losses total about 2,000, twice the Confederate loss.

August 16,1864-At Front Royal, Virginia, Confederate General Richard Anderson is pushed back to the Shenandoah River in hand to hand and sabre fighting. General George A. Custer's Union cavalry brigade, armed with repeating Spencer carbines, sends the Confederates back across the river. General Sheridan now has a clear picture of the strength of the Confederate force and moves back toward Harper's Ferry once again.

August 16,1864-The Confederate raider CSS Tallahassee captures and burns four more Federal vessels of the New England coast.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - August 3-9, 1864

August 3,1864-General Jubal Early withdraws his Confederate cavalry from Maryland into West Virginia. General McCausland's Confederate raiders remain in Maryland. General David Hunter dispatches General Averell's 1,500 man Union Cavalry to find and defeat them.

August 3,1864-Mobile Bay, Alabama is made safer for Union use when armed Union boats sail into the bay at night to mark the torpedo field with bouys and disable as many of the torpedo mines as possible.

August 4,1864-General William T. Sherman continues his strategy of encircling Atlanta. He orders General Schofield's Army of the Ohio with help from General John Palmer's XIV Corps from the Army of the Tennessee to storm Confederate earthworks at Utoy Creek, moving the Union forces just two miles from the strategic East Point railroad junction.

August 4,1864-General McCausland's Confederate cavalry hits the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at New Creek, West Virginia but are repulsed. They move on to Moorefield, West Virginia.

August 5,1864-President Lincoln vetoes a bill proposed by Radical Republicans Benjamin Wade and Henry W. Davis that would allow them to actively campaign to depose Lincoln. The so-called Wade-Davis Manifesto would "check the encroachment of the Executive on the Authority of Congress". The issue is whether Lincoln or Congress will control reconstruction.

August 5,1864-General William Averell is advised of increased Confederate activity around New Creek, West Virginia. Averell's troops approach Moorefield, West Virginia.

August 5,1864-Admiral Farragut launches an all out attack to capture Mobile Bay. The ironclads lead the formation followed by the 14 wooden ships lashed together in pairs and the other supply and smaller boats lashed to the armada on the side away from Fort Morgan where Confederate heavy cannons are located. The USS Tecumseh ironclad strikes a torpedo and sinks within 30 second with 90 crewmen lost. The USS Brooklyn, second vessel in line, suddenly reverses engines and the entire squadron jams up dangerously. Admiral Farragut inquires what the problem is and when told by the Brooklyn's captain "Torpedos!!!", Farragut responds "Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead". The CSS Tennessee tries and fails to ram Farragut's flagship "Hartford" and no further ships are lost. The Tennessee retreats to the protection of Fort Morgan.

August 6,1864-The CSS Tennessee refuses to surrender and tries to attack. Speedier Union vessels surround the Tennessee and ram the ship. The smokestack and steering chains are damaged and Captain Buchannan lowers his flag around 10:00 AM. The last remaining port in the Confederacy is closed.

August 6,1864-General Averell passes through Romney, West Virginia intent on striking the Moorefield area Confederate encampments. Confederate pickets are seized as the Union force moves in.

August 6,1864-Newly appointed Army of the Shenandoah General Phil Sheridan arrives at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.

August 7,1864-President Lincoln questions General Grant over the naming of 33 year old General Sheridan to such an important position. Grant defends the choice stating that he wants an aggressive and headstrong firebrand at the helm.

August 7,1864-General Averell surprises General Bradley T. Johnson's troopers at Moorefield, West Virginia, driving part of the 8th Virginia Cavalry into the Potomac River. General McCausland's camp is also overrun.

August 7,1864-The East Point, Georgia railroad junction is heavily fortified and General Schofield decides not to attack. He orders his men to fortify positions along Sandtown Road.

August 8,1864-Fort Gaines, Mobile Bay, Alabama is formally surrendered after prolonged naval bombardment. Fort Morgan remains in Confederate hands as the Union vessels replenish ammunition and move into position for a bombardment.

August 9,1864-A 12-pound torpedo is detonated by saboteurs on a large Union transport at City Point, Virginia. The blast triggers other stored ordnance to explode throughout the occupied city with 43 Union soldiers lost and 126 injured. The Confederate Army has finished repair on the fortifications damaged by the "Crater" mine.

August 9,1864-General Sherman directs siege guns be positioned on Bald Hill, Georgia. Several large Parrott rifles are placed and bombard Atlanta with about 5,000 shots per day for the next two weeks. The effect on morale of Atlanta occupants is as important as damage.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - July 20-26,1864

July 20,1864-As Jubel Early continues to withdraw into the Shenandoah Valley, Union General William W. Averell's cavalry surprises General Stephen D. Ramsuer's division at Stephenson's Depot, West Virginia. Confederate losses include 73 killed, 130 wounded, 267 captured, and four cannon. General Early reaches Strasburg.

July 20,1864-At Atlanta, General George H. Thomas crosses Peachtree Creek north of the city just as newly appointed Confederate General John B. Hood, an aggressive fighter, attacks with 19,000 Confederate troops. This becomes a day long battle with heavy losses on both sides but is futile for General Hood's as General McPherson continues to extend the ring of Union forces around Atlanta. General Hood plans to attack the next time circumstances favor the offense.

July 21,1864-General James A. McPherson's Union troops attack Confederate defenders near Bald Hill outside Atlanta. Intense artillery fire covers the advance of both sides up the hill but Union troops claim the hilltop. Both sides lose 350 fighters in a technical draw but the Union now has the high point to launch artillery into the center of Atlanta.

July 21,1864-General Hood orders General William Hardee to move out of the Atlanta fortification, march 25 miles to Decatur, Georgia under the cover of night, and get behind and on the flank of the Army of the Tennessee. General McPherson lacks cavalry to detect such a move.

July 22,1864-President Jefferson Davis tries to send General Edmond Kirby-Smith to aid General Hood. The Union controls the Mississippi River so this order does not result in any troop movement.

July 22,1864-The Battle of Atlanta is started by General Hood when General Hardee is ordered to strike General McPherson's Army of the Tennessee east of the city. Hardee fails to move far enough past McPherson's force to flank them and attacks head on. Confederate Generals William H.T. Walker and William Bate charge but are repelled by Union forces under General Grenville M. Dodge's XVI Corps.  General McPherson is reconnoitering ahead of his position when he encounters a Confederate picket and is shot dead. He becomes the highest ranking Union officer killed in the Civil War.

July 22,1864-In continued fighting in Atlanta, General Hood commits Generals Benjamin Cheatham's corps and Gustavus Smith's Georgia militia against General James A. Logan's (McPherson's temporary successor) XV corps. Repulsed across the line, General Hood concedes defeat and withdraws. Losses are 8,000 Confederates and 3,722 Union soldiers. Most devastating is the Union's loss of Ohio General James A. McPherson, popular and capable friend of General William T. Sherman.

July 23,1864-The Louisiana State Convention adopts a new constitution outlawing slavery.

July 23,1864-At Winchester, Virginia, Union General Alfred N. Duffie's cavalry clash with Confederate troopers. Reports of a Confederate resurgence in the valley, including General Early's 14,000 men near Kernstown, Virginia, worries Union commanders.

July 24,1864-General Jubal Early sends his troops against General George Crook's 8,500 Union soldiers at Kernstown. Initial results have Crook's troops withstanding several charges. When flanked by General John Breckenridge's Confederates, Crook's unit escapes toward Bunker Hill, West Virginia. Early's easy victory convinces him to attempt another raid into Pennsylvania while Washington politicians are convinced new, more vigorous leadership is needed in the Shenandoah Valley.

July 25,1864-General Early pursues General Crook's men into West Virginia. Heavy rain impedes both units.

July 25,1864-General George Stoneman's cavalry division prepares for an extended raid to cut the Macon and Western Railroad into Atlanta,Georgia. General Sherman shifts the approach to Atlanta to the north and west of the city when he orders General Logan to march his Army of the Tennessee from the right flank to the left. General O.O. Howard's objective is East Point, Georgia, where the Macon and Western railroad intersects with the Atlanta and West Point rail line, General Hood's last line of supply.

July 26,1864-General U.S.Grant plans a diversion with Generals Winfield Hancock and Philip Sheridan demonstrating north of the James River to cause General Lee to send troops northward. Grant's hope is to weaken the defense of the city prior to the upcoming (July 30th) assault on Petersburg. This would also move Sheridan's cavalry closer to Richmond or the Virginia Central Railroad.

July 26,1864-General Oliver O. Howard is formally given command of the Army of the Tennessee, replacing James McPherson.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - July 6-12, 1864

July 6,1864-The Union presence at Monocacy Junction is increased with the arrival of the 8th Illinois Cavalry. At Baltimore, the 3rd Division, VI Corps arrives to aid in the defense of the city.

July 6,1864-Claiming depredations committed by the Union in the Shenandoah Valley, General Jubal A. Early demands $200,000 be paid to Confederate forces occupying Hagerstown, Maryland.

July 7,1864-General Grant, concerned with the Confederate thrust into Maryland, sends the VI Corps troops of General James B. Ricketts from Baltimore to Monocacy Junction to join General Lew Wallace and his 3,000 men.

July 7,1864-The bombardment of Fort Sumter continues with another 784 rounds fired. Union troops are forced off of James Island, Charleston Harbor with 330 casualties. Southern losses total 163.

July 8,1864-At Soap Creek, Georgia, General Schofield's Union troops cross the Chattahoochee River and flank General Johnston's defensive position. General Joseph E.Johnston begins a move all the way to the outskirts of Atlanta. President Jefferson Davis is displeased by this move and sends General Bragg to consult with Johnston. General Sherman accumulates supplies, now being sent from Montgomery, Alabama to Columbus, Georgia via rail lines recently controlled by Union forces.

July 9,1864-The hastily assembled forces of General Lew Wallace initially stop General Early's Confederate forces at Monacacy Junction but Southern forces soon rout Wallace's unprepared and untrained force. General Early moves on toward Washington, pausing in Frederick, Maryland to demand $200,000. Army recruits,  volunteers, and civilians man the forts on the edge of Washington City.

July 10,1864-President Lincoln calls for calm in Washington. General Early moved through Rockville, Maryland and approached Fort Stevens, lightly held by about 200 inexperienced artillery soldiers. Union reinforcements are sent from several directions and arrive before an attack can be organized.

July 11,1864-General Robert E. Rode's Confederate division marches to Fort Stevens but General Early pulls his exhausted troops back after the hot forced march. The delay allowed Union reinforcements to be in place by the late afternoon when Early decides to attack. General Early learns of the increased defense force and again delays, a move still questioned on several levels.

July 12,1864-General Early withdraws from Washington and is pursued by General Horatio Wright's Federal troops. General Rode's Confederates are chased but they escape. President Lincoln is visiting the parapets and Oliver Wendell Holmes (young officer and later a Supreme Court Judge) shouts "Get down, you fool".

July 12,1864-Leaving Washington City, the Confederates burn down the house of Postmaster General Montgomery Blair.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - June 22-28, 1864

June 22,1864-Confederate General Hood makes a determined but unsuccessful attack on Federals near Zion Church, northwest of Marietta, Georgia. 

June 22,1864-At Petersburg, Virginia, Generals Birney and Wright move out as ordered. They are met by forces commanded by Confederate General A.P. Hill. Birney's forces are driven back with 2962 casualities, including 1600 prisoners, along the Jerusalem Plank Road. Wright's forces are blocked and the effort to extend the siege line largely fails.

June 22,1864-General John Morgan receives command of the Department of Western Virginia and East Tennessee.

June 23,1864-Generals David Birney and Horato Wright repeat the attack with their II and VI Corps. They regain lost ground from the previous day but fail to cut the railroad. It will take eight more weeks for General Grant to mount a larger effort in the sector.

June 23,1864-General David Hunter escapes Confederate General Early's attack in the Shenandoah Valley by retreating westerly. Hunter's move takes him further from Washington, now exposed to attack.

June 23,1864-The heavy ironclad USS Tecumseh leaves the James River and joins the Blockading Forces at Mobile.

June 24,1864-The Maryland Convention meets and votes to abolish slavery in the state.

June 24,1864-U.S. Cavalry commanded by General Philip Sheridan are driven off at Samaria Church, Virginia as they make their way back from the aborted effort at Lynchburg.

June 25,1864-At Petersburg, digging begins when miners from Schuykill County, Pennsylvania conceive a plan to construct a 500+ foot tunnel under Confederate earthworks. The miners are members of Colonel Henry Pleasant's 48th Pennsylvania. The plan is endorsed by General Ambrose Burnside, IX Corp commander and reluctantly approved by General Grant. 

June 25,1864-General Sheridan's Cavalry ferries across the James River and rejoins the main Union army at Petersburg.

June 26,1864-General Early's 14,000 man force occupies Stanton, Virginia with plans to move on to Winchester. 

June 26,1864-General John Schofield leads three brigades of his Army of the Ohio across Olley's Creek at the base of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia against surprisingly light resistance. General Sherman misses an opportunity to profit from this foothold and instead plans a frontal assault against what he believes are thin-spread Confederate forces.

June 27,1864-The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain raged from 9 o'clock until 11:30 AM. Three major uphill assaults resulted in no gain by the Union forces. Federal losses were 1,999 killed or wounded and 52 missing. Two Union Generals are killed. This is the most costly encounter of the Atlanta Campaign.

June 27,1864- President Lincoln accepts the Union's Party nomination to run for President.

June 28,1864-President Lincoln signs legislation repealing the fugitive slave act.

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.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - June 8 -14, 1864

June 8,1864-The Republican convention in Baltimore picks Abraham Lincoln as the Presidential Candidate. A Southern War Democrat, Tennessee Governor Andrew Jackson, is nominated for Vice President. Hannibal Hamlin is dropped as Jackson is expected to get more votes. Two planks in their platform; end the rebellion and ratify the 13th Amendment.

June 8,1864-As General Philip Sheridan moves out of New Castle Ferry, Virginia, scouts inform General Wade Hampton of his move to the northwest. General Hampton correctly guesses that he is headed for Trevilian Station and quickly begins to move his 4,700 troops and three batteries to intercept.

June 8,1864-General Sherman resumes his flanking tactics and moves on Marrietta, Georgia. Confederate Cavalry General Wade Hampton continues to attack the ever longer supply line, forcing Sherman to detach more men to perform rear guard duty.

June 9,1864-General John H. Morgan is driven out of Mount Sterling, Kentucky and heads for Winchester.

June 10,1864-The Confederate Congress authorizes service for all males aged 17 to 50 years old to induct more troops.

June 10,1864-General Morgan enters Lexington, Kentucky, seizes some horses, and moves on to the capital at Frankfort.

June 10,1864-General Nathan Bedford Forrest fails to cut General Sherman's supply line through Tennessee even after he attacks and defeats General Samuel D. Sturgis's larger Union force at Brice's Cross Roads, Mississippi. The Confederates hold the high ground and were more rested than the opponents. The Union forces are routed with 2,240 men killed, missing, or wounded. Forrest suffered the loss of 492 cavalry troops but takes 16 cannon, 1,500 stands of arms, and 192 wagons.

June 11,1864-General Jubel Early is sent to the Shenandoah Valley to stop General David Hunter's forces. General Lee also is positioning Early's forces closer to Washington, D.C. They could turn toward the Union Capital and arrive before General Grant could send troops from near Richmond to defend the city.

June 11,1864-General Sheridan troops confront General Wade Hamptons forces as he arrives at Trivilian Station, Virginia. General Hampton is waiting in the woods. General George Custer's Michigan brigade is directed to turn Hampton's right flank and is successful. Custer continues between General Fitzhugh Lee's division and captures 50 wagons, 800 prisoners, and 1,500 horses. After several hours of hard fighting, General Sheridan arrives with reinforcements and the Southerner scatter.

June 11,1864-General Morgan continues across Kentucky, this time capturing Cynthiana and drawing close to Frankfort.

June 11,1864-The CSS Alabama docks at Cherbourg, France for coal and repairs. The American vice consul in France notifies Captain John A. Winslow of the USS Kearsarge, currently in Dover, England, of Captain Raphael Semmes presence.

June 12,1864-In a move of some 50 miles, General Grant begins to shift his army from Cold Harbor, Virginia to Petersburg, Virginia. General Lee is unaware that a 2,100 foot long pontoon bridge is constructed in eight hours to  cross Grant's Army over the James River. Grant's XVIII Corps under General William Smith is transported to Bermuda Hundred on the James' south bank.

June 12,1864-At Trivilian Station, Virginia, General Sheridan's troops battle cavalry units of General Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee while Union General Alfred Torberts division slows other cavalry units at work destroying the Central Virginia Railroad. This is one the largest all cavalry battles of the war and also very costly with 735 lost on the Union side and about 1000 Confederates lost. General Sheridan is unable to continue the plan to reinforce Union units in the Shenandoah Valley.

June 12,1864-Union troops evict General John H. Morgan from Cynthiana, Kentucky, killing or capturing half of Morgan's men. Confederate survivors go back to Virginia.

June 13,1864-The campaign for Richmond begins when General Lee marches his men to intercept General Grant's Army, believed to be approaching the Confederate Capital. Grant is actually continuing unopposed toward Petersburg and the James River.

June 13,1864-General Jubel Early is detached from the the Army of Northern Virginia and sent, via railroad, to the Shenandoah Valley. Recent Union success in the valley prompts Early's move to Lynchburg.

June 13,1864-The USS Kearsarge departs Dover en route to Cherbourg, France.

June 13,1864-General Samuel D. Sturgis skirmishes with General Forrest's Confederate pusuers at Colliersville, Tennessee. This action ends General Sturgis's career of mismanaged encounters. He spends the rest of the war in Memphis, "awaiting orders".

June 14,1864-The First Session of the second Confederate congress adjourns.

June 14,1864-General Benjamin Butler's Army of the James is bolstered by the arrival of General Smith's XVIII Corps.

June 14,1864-General Joseph Johnston calls a staff meeting of his generals at Pine Mountain, Georgia. Nearby Union forces fire a few rounds from heavy Parrott cannons and General Leonidas K. Polk is killed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - May 25-31, 1864

May 25,1864-General U.S. Grant's Army of the Potomac prepares to move east toward Cold Harbor after little progress along the North Anna River. The Confederates miss a chance to crush Grant's widely scattered army when they fail to attack. General Robert E. Lee is still too ill to order any action.

May 25,1864-In another Union plan to entice Robert E. Lee to be drawn away from Richmond, General David Hunter receives orders to move down the Shenandoah Valley, capture the rail junction at Lynchburg and then threaten Charlottsville.

May 25,1864-Just 25 miles north of Atlanta, General Joseph Hooker, commanding the XX Corps, encounters General John Bell Hood's Confederates. Hooker is repulsed and eventually is force to retire from the field. Union losses are about 1,600.

May 25,1864-In an unsuccessful attempt to sink the CSS Albemarle steam ram, the USS Mattabesett tows two 100 pound torpedoes up the Middle River, North Carolina. Several swimmers jump overboard to get closer to the Albemarle but are detected. They swim to safety, escape capture, and are awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

May 26,1864-Japanese authorities threaten to close the port at Kanagawa to all foreign commerce. Robert H. Pruyn, U.S. Minister to Japan, requests that the USS Jamestown be dispatched to that port as a show of force.

May 26,1864-The Montana Territory is formed by taking land out of the Idaho and Dakota Territories.

May 26,1864-The Union Army of the Potomac turns General R.E.Lee's right flank by crossing the North Anna River and marching toward the Pamunkey River.

May 26,1864-Dallas, Georgia is occupied by Union forces under General James McPherson.

May 26,1864-General Hunter continues toward Staunton, Virginia from Strasburg but is slowed by felled trees and other obstacles put in place by General John Imboden's Confederate Cavalry.

May 27,1864-Between New Hope and Dallas, Georgia the Confederate line is probed by General Sherman's Corp commanders. General Oliver O. Howard's IV Corps is repulsed at Pickett's Mill by General Patrick Cleburne's troops. This success prompts General Johnston to order an attack for the following morning to be led by General John B. Hood.

May 27,1864- General George Custer leads his cavalry in the capture of Hanovertown, Virginia after crossing the Pamunkey River.

May 28,1864-Maximillian, puppet emperor of Austria, arrives in Vera Cruz, Mexico. Maximillian is backed by French Emperor Napoleon III and is opposed to Benito Juarez, Mexican politician turned guerrilla. The United States considers Maximillian's presence a violation of the Monroe Doctrine and sends diplomatic protests but little more is possible due to the Civil War.

May 28,1864-General Hood inspects the Union lines and considers the line strongly entrenched. General Johnston calls off the assault planned for this day.

May 28,1864-Robert E. Lee shifts his headquarters to Atlee's Station, Virginia to have a better view of Union movement toward Richmond. The Army of the Potomac continues down the north bank of the Pamunkey River, looking for a place to cross and attack Lee's right. Union cavalry led by General David Gregg and Confederate General Wade Hampton's troops enter a mounted skirmish at Haw's Shop, Virginia. Hampton's force is armed with long range Enfield rifles and they have the upper hand. General George Custer's Michigan cavalry arrives and the "Wolverines", armed with rapid fire Spencer Carbines, engage the Confederates and force them to withdraw.

May 29,1864-General Lee moves toward Cold Harbor while General Grant continues toward Richmond. Neither commander has firm information about the movement of the opposing force.

May 29,1864-General Jubel A. Early becomes the leader of the Confederate II Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. This corps was formerly under the command of "Stonewall" Jackson.

May 30,1864-General Grant suddenly swings toward Cold Harbor, just 10 miles from Richmond. The Confederates withdraw to a new defensive line at Cold Harbor.

May 30,1864-General Morgan begins his final raid across Union lines by entering Kentucky.

May 31,1864-Radical Republicans meet at Cleveland, Ohio and nominate former Union General John Fremont and General John Cochrane of New York as their Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates. Among Fremont's strongest supporters is African-American Frederick Douglass who feels that President Lincoln is far too lenient toward Southerners in his early plans for Reconstruction.

May 31,1864-While General Grant's Overland Campaign is a series of tactical failures, the end result is a strategic success. In just one month, he has moved from the Rapidan River to the doorstep of Richmond. This was a very bloody month however.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - May 18-24, 1864

May 18,1864-Union cavalry troops capture Rome, Georgia when Confederate General Samuel G. French is dislodged. General Kenner Garrard leads the Union cavalry.

May 18,1864-The last recorded action of the Trans-Mississippi region, also known as the Red River campaign, takes place at Yellow Bayou, Louisiana when Admiral David Porter's fleet is fired on by General John Liddell's cavalry unit.

May 19,1864-New England writer Nathaniel Hawthorne dies at Plymouth, New Hampshire. He was a respected novelist of the era.

May 19,1864-General Richard Ewell attempts a counterattack on Federal troops marching away from Spotsylvania Court House. During this last battle at Spotsylvania, losses mount to about 2,400 total. Grant has lost 17,500 of his 110,000 men at Spotsylvania and 33,000 in the entire Wilderness Campaign. Confederate losses are uncertain.

May 19,1864-General Joseph Johnston orders General John B. Hood to counterattack the scattered Union XXIII Corps but then countermands his order and moves to Allatoona Pass, Georgia. Generals Hardee and Polk protest as they would rather stand and fight.

May 20,1864-General Grant marches toward Hanover Station, 24 mile north of Richmond, with the intent of crushing Lee's Army before they can entrench.

May 20,1864-The Battle of Ware Bottom Church, Virginia, keeps General Butler's troops bottled up at Bermuda Hundred next to the earthworks of General Beauregard's force.

May 21,1864-Secretary of State Seward instructs U.S. minister to France, John Bigelow, to issue a mild protest against French interference with Mexico but to avoid any confrontation until the Civil War is over.

May 21,1864-General Grant gains the strategic initiative over General Lee by flanking the Confederate Army, crossing the North Anna River, and forcing Lee to react or follow.

May 21,1864-Union General Franz Sigel, having lost the battle of New Market, is relieved by General David Hunter.

May 22,1864-General Lee moves into defensive positions along the North Anna River.

May 22,1864-General Sherman again outflanks General Joe Johnston's forces, bypassing them at Allatoona, Georgia. Johnston falls back to Dallas, Georgia.

May 23,1864-The Union II Corps deploys on the northern bank of the North Anna River and the IX Corps occupies Jericho Mills. The V and VI Corps set-up west of Jericho Mills and dig in.

May 23,1864-General John H. Morgan begins an extended raid into Kentucky.

May 23,1864-The side-wheeler USS Columbine runs aground in mud at Horse Landing, Palata, Florida. The 2nd Florida Cavalry captures the crew and burns the vessel. Twenty of the crew members are killed.

May 24,1864-The Army of the Potomac again crosses the North Anna River, this time on a pontoon bridge. General Grant joins with General Sheridan, just returned from his raid near Richmond. General Lee has moved his army into an inverted V formation, trying to entice Grant into a trap.  General Lee suddenly falls ill and no attack goes forward. Grant perceives the danger and moves back across the North Anna.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - May 11-17, 1864

May 11,1864-General J.E.B. Stuart's 4,500 cavalrymen are attacked by a larger Union force under General Philip Sheridan's command at Yellow Tavern, just six miles north of Richmond. Fighting lasts from about 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM with neither force gaining the advantage. General George Custer masses for a charge on the Confederate left and scatters General Lunsford Lomax's brigade. General Stuart leads a sharp counterattack and drives Custer back to his original line but Stuart is mortally shot in the abdomen and dies the next day.

May 11,1864-General Grant enters battle near Spotsylvania Court House despite heavy losses the previous day. Grant's entire II Corps commanded by General Winfield Hancock assaults in column, fully expecting to take the "Mule Shoe". General Lee concludes from reports that Hancock is trying to flank his left and orders cannons to be moved from the Mule Shoe, which becomes vulnerable.

May 11,1864-General Franz Sigel is surprised by General John D. Imboden's cavalry at Port Royal. Imboden takes 464 Union prisoners but Sigel continues down the Shenandoah Valley.

May 12,1864-In fighting that lasted more than twelve hours, General Grant and General Lee lose over 28,000 men. The "Bloody Angle" at Spotsylvania Court House enters the history books. The fact that General Lee technically won, suffering fewer losses, attests to the value of earthen works against a larger adversary.

May 12,1864-General Benjamin Butler's 15,000 man Army of the James leaves their defensive works and move into position at Drewry's Bluff, Virginia.

May 12,1864-General John C. Breckenridge moves to Staunton, Virginia with 5,500 men. His force is made up of regular army soldiers, militia men, and cadets from Virginia Military Institute.

May 12,1864-General Joseph E. Johnston begins a pattern of advance and retreat in advance of General W.T. Sherman's forces. The move from Dalton, Georgia to Resaca is the first in a series of similar moves, all the way to Atlanta.

May 12,1864-The first anti-torpedo (mine) unit is established on the James River by Admiral Samuel P. Lee with the USS Stepping Stone, Delaware, and Tritonia put on 24 hour patrol.

May 13,1864-General Sheridan withdraws from the Richmond area.

May 13,1864-At Drewry's Bluff, Confederate General Robert F. Hoke's 15,000 men are nearly captured by Benjamin Butler's Army of the James but Butler suspends his attack. This tactical blunder, one of several in Butler's questionable leadership career, prompts General Beauregard to counterattack, sending Butler all the way back to Bermuda Hundred.
May 13,1864-Union forces send 1,140 more rounds into the ruble of Fort Sumter where defiant soldiers continue to hold out.

May 13,1864-Dalton, Georgia is occupied by Union forces as they move through Snake Creek Gap. They fail to trap Johnston's Confederate force which moves some 13 miles south of Resaca.

May 14,1864-North of New Market, Virginia, General Sigel's Union forces skirmish General Imboden's Confederates.

May 14,1864-The Resaca Battle takes place with few measurable gains for either side. General George H. Thomas's Division drives General Hood's advance against the Union left back to the starting point.

May 15,1864-The Battle of Reseca resumes as General Joseph Hooker engages General John B. Hood on the Union left. A confusing, costly battle results in heavy losses on both sides in excess of 11,000 men over the two days.

May 15,1864-At New Market, Virginia General Breckenridge occupies a defensive position when General Sigel advances. The fight opens with an artillery dual but Breckenridge orders a Confederate charge, driving Sigel back through New Market to the cheers of the town residents. Union artillery again opens from high ground and stops Breckenridge. A gap opens in the Confederate line and 264 VMI Cadets advance to fill in. The Union troops fall back across the Shenandoah River to Strasburg. Ten VMI Cadets are killed and 47 wounded among total losses for both sides of 1,361.

May 16,1864-In heavy fog at Drewry's Bluff, General Beauregard launches an attack. Due to the fog, a flanking movement to turn General William Smith's XVIII Corps right is undetected. The Confederates are rebuffed but Benjamin Butler withdraws behind fortifications and is unable to effectively move on Richmond or Petersburg as he is bottled up on the Bermuda Hundred Peninsula.

May 16,1864-General Grant again suffers heavy casualties when General Richard Ewell charges across open ground at Spotsylvania Court House. Ewell has 29 cannon in support. General Grant disengages and marches southeast toward Richmond, deciding General Lee's position is too strong.

May 17,1864-General Johnston abandons Resaca and moves toward Kingston, Georgia. General Sherman follows.