Saturday, February 22, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - February 23-March 1,1864

February 23,1864-In light of disclosures in the "Pomeroy Circular", Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase does not attend this weeks cabinet meeting.

February 23,1864-In General Sherman's Military District of the Mississippi, General John A. McClernand receives command of the XIII Corps.

February 23,1864-Ending the only major campaign into Florida during the Civil War, the battered column of General Truman Seymour returns to Jacksonville. Seymour left Hilton Head, South Carolina by boat on February 5th, arrived in Jacksonville on February 8th, advanced inland to occupy Gainesville on February 14th, and took a beating at Olustee, Florida on February 20th.

February 23,1864-Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston is forced to move further south to higher ground at Dalton, Georgia by a force of Union troops from the XIV Corps under General John D. Palmer.

February 24,1864-General Palmer continues to skirmish with Confederates near Tunnel Hill, Georgia, testing the strength of Johnston's Army. The Confederates take a strong position at Buzzard's Roost, near Tunnel Hill.

February 24,1864-General Braxton Bragg become de facto chief of staff when President Davis appoints him as Chief of Operations at Richmond.

February 25,1864-After encountering heavy resistance at Buzzards Roost Gap, General George Thomas confirms that General Johnston's Army of the Tennessee is now firmly entrenched around Dalton. Continued pressure applied by General Palmer's XIV Corps and other units lead to the recall of General Thomas J. Hardee's corp previously dispatched to aid General Polk in Mississippi.

February 26,1864-President Lincoln commutes all death sentences for desertion. Guilty deserters will be imprisoned for the duration of the war.

February 26,1864-Following the ill-fated Meridian expedition, General William Sooy Smith arrives in Colliersville, Tennessee, claiming the freeing of 3,000 slaves, burning of 2,000 bales of cotton, capture of 200 Confederates, and causing 314 Confederate losses(killed, wounded, missing). General Sherman dismisses the effort as "unsatisfactory".

February 27,1864-Andersonville Prison near Americus, Georgia receives its first Union captives. The sixteen and one-half acre stockade became known as the worst prison in the South, gaining infamy.

February 28,1864-Plans to free Union prisoners from Libby Prison in Richmond are approved by President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton after they received reports of very poor conditions. General Hugh J. Kilpatrick prepares for an extended raid using 3,500 cavalry troops. Kilpatrick is supported by General George Custer's diversion in Albemarle County, Virginia and General John Sedgwick's VI Corps creating another diversion at Madison Court House. Admiral John Dahlgren's son Colonel Ulric Dahlgren is on General Kilpatrick's staff.

February 29,1864-The U.S. Congress formally revives the rank of lieutenant general at the request of the president.

February 28,1864-Despite inclement weather, General Kilpatrick rides toward Richmond. He plans to split his forces and attack Richmond from two directions.

March 1,1864- President Lincoln nominates General Ulysses S. Grant for the rank of lieutenant general.

March 1,1864-General Kilpatrick calls off the raid on Richmond claiming high water in the James River, a sharp attack by Confederate General Wade Hampton's Cavalry, and heavy resistance from Confederate force in Richmond. Kilpatrick was within two and one-half miles of Richmond when he turned back. Richmond was lightly defended by civilians and invalids, according to reports.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - February 16-22,1864

February 16,1864-At Fairfield, North Carolina, under cover of a heavy snowfall, Union troops capture an entire company of Confederates in their camp.

February 16,1864-Federal troops begin a major campaign against hostile Indians at Fort Walla Walla in Washington Territory.

February 16,1864-Soldiers of the 54th Illinois engage in an altercation in Paris,(Edger County) Illinois. The soldiers disrupt local Democrats opposed to continuation of the war.

February 17,1864-The fourth session of the first Confederate Congress adjourns after suspending writs of habeas corpus related to arrest made by the president or congress, expanded the draft to include all white males aged 17 to 50, and allowed hiring of African American slaves as army laborers. Vice President Alexander H. Stephens protested the writ of habeas corpus but was overruled.

February 17,1864-A Union surprise attack at Piedmont, Virginia results in the capture of 13 of Major John S. Mosby's partisan rangers.

February 17,1864-The CSS Hunley submarine attacks the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor by ramming her spar torpedo under the Housatonic's starboard side. The explosion sinks the Union screw sloop with five sailors drowned. The Hunley signals to shore that all is well but only minutes later, the Hunley sinks with the entire crew lost.

February 18,1864-The Port of Brownsville, Texas is opened to trade by President Lincoln. The Union Blockade is lifted.

February 20,1864-John S. Mosby is promoted to lieutenant colonel but his day is ruined when Union troops raid his headquarters at Front Royal, Virginia.

February 20,1864-The highest percentage loss totals of any battle in the Civil War takes place at Olustee, Florida. Confederate troops under General Joseph Finnegan engage General Truman Seymour's Union forces. Each side has about 5,000 men. The 7th New Hampshire and the 8th U.S. Colored Infantry are pushed back with heavy losses. The 54th Massachusetts and the 35th U.S. Colored Infantry try to stem the tide but are also overrun. Total losses for the Union are 203 dead, 1,152 wounded, and 506 missing(1,861 or 37%). Confederate losses total 93 killed and 841 wounded (934 or 19%).

February 20,1864-General William T. Sherman abandons Meridian, Mississippi and moves back toward Vicksburg, searching for General William Sooy Smith's missing cavalry.

February 20,1864-General William Sooy Smith's cavalry enters an extended fire fight against Colonel Jeffery E. Forrest's Confederate cavalry near Prairie Station, Mississippi.

February 20,1864-Admiral John A.B. Dalgren urges Navy Secretary Gideon Wells to post a reward of $20,000 or $30,000 for capture or destruction of any submarine style craft. This comes after the CSS Hunley sinks the USS Housatonic.

February 21,1864-Partisan ranger's of Colonel John S. Mosby kill 15 and capture 70 in an attack on a Union raiding party near Dranesville, Virginia.

February 21,1864-Cavalry commanded by Colonel Jeffery Forrest continues to skirmish against General William Sooy Smith's cavalry at West Point, Mississippi. Colonel Forrest's older brother, General Nathan B. Forrest, sets up an elaborate ambush but General Smith withdraws, believing he is outnumbered. General Smith calls off any effort to join General Sherman.

February 22,1864-Kansas Senator Samuel Pomroy, believing that President Lincoln cannot win a second term, attempts to have Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase nominated as the Republican candidate. There is a backlash against Chase when the "Pomeroy Circular" is printed. Chase offers to resign from the cabinet but President Lincoln does not accept his resignation.

February 22,1864-General George Thomas checks the position and size of the Confederate Army around Dalton, Georgia, believing that General Joseph E. Johnston may have sent detachments to either General Polk in Mississippi or General Longstreet in Tennessee. General Thomas dispatches General John Palmer's XIV Corps through Ringold Pass onto the plains near Tunnel Hill.

February 22,1864-General Nathan Bedford Forrest's men attack the rear guard of General Smith's cavalry and are repelled. Colonel Jeffery Forrest is killed and General Smith retreats to Pontotoc, Mississippi. General Forrest is low on ammunition and does not follow Smith's retreat.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - February 9-15,1864

February 9,1864-President Abraham Lincoln sits for several photographs during a prolonged session. One portrait taken that day was eventually used on the $5.00 bill.

February 9,1864-Colonel Thomas Rose led 107 prisoners through a tunnel and out of Libby Prison in Richmond. Rose and 47 others were recaptured, two drowned during the escape and the others reached the freedom of Union lines.

February 9,1864-Yazoo City, Mississippi is reoccupied by General Sherman's forces.

February 10,1864-General William Sooy Smith assumes command of the Union cavalry brigade formerly commanded by Colonel George Waring.

February 10,1864-The Confederate raider CSS Florida slips out of the harbor at Brest, France after seven months of repair work. Fog and rain provide cover and the USS Kearsage is unable to stop the escape.

February 11,1864-General William S. Smith, with 8,000 Union troops, departs Collierville, Tennessee and heads for Meridian, Mississippi. His march is delayed by rain, swampy ground, and over 1000 escaped and freed slaves joining the column.

February 11,1864-A B&O Railroad is damaged by Confederate Guerrillas at Kearneysville, West Virginia causing a Union train to derail. Crew and passengers are robbed of valuables.

February 12,1864-After an hour long meeting, President Lincoln approves General Huge J. Kilpatrick's plan to raid Richmond and free Union prisoners.

February 14,1864-Union troops occupy Gainesville, Florida, led by General Quincy A. Gillmore.

February 14,1864-Meridian, Mississippi falls without resistance when General Sherman's large force arrives. Sherman's Army covered 150 miles in eleven days. All buildings, supplies, railroads, and cotton were destroyed over the next five days.

February 14,1864-General William S. Smith's cavalry is overdue in Meridian, Mississippi by several days.

February 15,1864-The Confederate Congress approves $5 million to fund a sabotage campaign based in Canada and aided by Peace Democrats in the Northern States.

February 16,1864-At Fairfield, North Carolina, under cover of a heavy snowfall, Union troops capture an entire company of Confederates in their camp.

February 16,1864-Federal troops begin a major campaign against hostile Indians at Fort Walla Walla in Washington Territory.

February 16,1864-Soldiers of the 54th Illinois engage in an altercation in Paris,(Edger County) Illinois. The soldiers disrupt local Democrats opposed to continuation of the war.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - February 2-8, 1864

February 2,1864-At least 129 Confederate deserters take the loyalty oath to the United States at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

February 2,1864-At New Bern, North Carolina, General Pickett directs General Robert Hoke to withdraw back to Kinston. Little would be remembered of this failed attack except 22 former Confederate soldiers were caught wearing Union uniforms and were subsequently hanged following a controversial 'drumhead' trial. ( A drumhead trial is a court martial in the field so named because a drum head is a flat surface always readily available for use as a table)

February 2,1864-Confederate Commander John T. Woods, aboard one of the boats in the Neuse River near New Bern, directs his crew to capture the USS Underwriter, a side wheel steamer. Failing to get the steam pressure back up, the Underwriter is burned. The Confederate Congress formally expresses thanks to Commander Woods.

February 3,1864-President Jefferson Davis suspends writs of habeas corpus in cases of spying and desertion.

February 3,1864-Departing Vicksburg with 26,800 men, General William T. Sherman heads for Colliersville, Tennessee. The ultimate destination is Meridian, Mississippi, 120 miles to the east. Intending to clear Confederate force from northern Mississippi and to devastate the region by destroying railroads, cotton, wheat, and other food, this is a forerunner of Sherman's "March to the Sea".

February 4,1864-Union forces of General James B. McPherson link up with General Sherman at Champions Hill, Mississippi. About 8,000 Cavalry under General William Sooy Smith also join Sherman's forces. Smith's cavalry left Vicksburg after the main element departed.

February 5,1864-Major John Mosby's attack on the rear guard of a Union unit at Aldie, Virginia results in the capture of several of Mosby's raiders. One of the Confederates captured is Pvt William E. Ormsby, a deserter from Company E, 2nd Massachusets Brigade who joined Mosby on January 24th. He was summarily tried by drumhead court and executed.

February 5,1864-General Sherman's troops approach Jackson, Mississippi after a light skirmish with Confederate forces under General Wirt Adams.

February 6,1864-The Confederate Congress outlaws the possession of U.S. paper money and the importation of luxury items. Half of all food and tobacco exports must be surrendered to Confederate agents before ships leave port.

February 7,1864-The Confederacy formally supports French-controlled Mexico and Napoleon III's government where Emperor Maximilian is the  puppet governor. William Preston becomes Confederate envoy to Mexico City. The Confederate hope is diplomatic recognition and military intervention.

February 7,1864-General Truman Seymour begins a campaign from Jacksonville, Florida to deprive the Confederacy of food, cattle, and grain.

February 7,1864-General Leonidas Polk abandons Brandon, Mississippi as General Sherman's large force approaches.

February 8,1864-Confederate Generals Stephen D. Lee and William W. Loring combine forces at Morton, Mississippi and fall back toward Meridian before the army of General Sherman.