Saturday, March 29, 2014

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - March 30-April 5, 1864

March 29&30,1864-Forces under Colonel Powell Clayton move south from Mount Elba, Arkansas and surprises a Confederate supply train near Long View on the Sabine River. With 35 captured wagons and 260 prisoners, they return to Mt. Elba and establish a supply route to assist General Frederick Steele.

April 1,1864-General John M. Taylor fails to arrive at Arkadelphia, Arkansas with cavalry reinforcements in time to assist General Steele who departs for the Red River. With scant rations, men and pack animals are put on half rations. Confederate Cavalry under Generals Joseph Shelby and John S. Marmaduke continue to shadow and slow Steele's column.

April 2,1864-General Shelby's Confederate cavalry overtake the Union rear guard unit at Okolona, Arkansas, taking 160 prisoners.

April 3,1864-After encountering Confederate resistance, General Nathaniel Banks and his Army reach Grand Encore, Louisiana where they meet several army transports. The USS Eastport, Cricket, Mound City, Chillicothe, Pittsburg, Ozark, Neosho, Osage, Lexington, Fort Hindeman, and Louisville are carrying General Andrew Smith's corps. The combined armies prepare to move to attack Shreveport.

April 3,1864-Admiral Porter's 13 gunboats and 30 transports have difficulty at the Alexandria Rapids due to low water levels and may not be able to continue to Shreveport.

April 4,1864-The French policies of Napoleon III toward Mexico cause the U.S. House of Representatives to protest, resolving never to  recognition a Monarch in the Western Hemisphere. America extended support of rebel forces under President Benito Juarez. (Ferdinand Maximilian became the second Emperor of Mexico on April 10,1864 and was ruler until he was executed on June 19,1867)

April 4,1864-The Army of the Potomac continues to reorganize. The XI and XII Corps are consolidated under General Joseph Hooker as the new XX Corps. General Jacob D. Cox takes charge of the XXIII Corps, and General Philip H. Sheridan succeeds General David M. Gregg as calvary commander. 

April 4,1864-General John M. Schofield takes charge of the Union Army of the Tennessee's XXIII Corps. Army of the Tennessee commander is General James McPherson. He received command when General W.T. Sherman was promoted on March 12, 1864.   

Sunday, March 23, 2014

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

March 23,1864-The Union I Corps is discontinued and absorbed into the V Corps, commanded by General Gouverneur K. Warren. I Corp had been under General George Sykes since Malvern Hill in June of 1862.

March 23,1864-General Grant returned to Washington from his meeting in Nashville with General Sherman and begins to implement his plan to advance four different armies simultaneously across the South.

March 23,1864-General Frederick Steele cites chronic shortages of food and fodder for troops and pack animals as the reason for delaying the departure of his 10,400 Union troops out of Little Rock, Arkansas. He is to march east and link up with the Red River expedition being led by General Nathaniel Banks. He also was hesitant due to poor roads and the threat of Confederate Cavalry raids. 

March 24,1864-General Winfield S.Scott returns to action for the first time since his injuries at Gettysburg. He is not fully recovered but resumes command of the II Corps, Army of the Potomac.

March 24,1864-The Union III Corp of the Army of the Potomac is disbanded and troops are folded into the II and VI Corps.

March 24,1864-A surprise raid by General Nathan B. Forrest captures Union City, Tennessee then moves on to Paducah, Kentucky, capturing Paducah the following day.

March 24,1864-General Nathaniel P. Butler arrives at Alexandria, Louisiana, a full week behind schedule. He was delayed in starting the Red River expedition due to the need to establish a civilian government in New Orleans. He discovers that General Andrew J. Smith's 10,000 troops have to re-joined General Sherman's Army no later that April 25th, and that water levels on the Red River continue to fall. While Admiral Porter may not be able to navigate the river due to low water, Butler orders the campaign to continue.

March 25,1864-The Army of the Potomac sees another staff change when General David Gregg replaces General Alfred M. Pleasonton as commander of the cavalry.

March 25,1864-At Paducah, Colonel Stephen G. Hicks refuses to surrender to General Forrest and withdraws into Fort Anderson. Forrest decides not to attack the strong fortification but Colonel Albert Thompson charges at the head of his 3rd and 7th Kentucky Cavalry. They are repulsed with bloody losses, including Colonel Thompson being killed. General Forrest does collect about 500 horses from area civilians.

March 26,1864-As Union forces approached Paducah, Kentucky, General Forrest retreats to Fort Pillow, Tennessee on the Mississippi River.

March 27,1864-General Grant rejoins the Army of the Potomac now at Culpeper Court House, Virginia.

March 27,1864-Large numbers of Northern prisoners begin to arrive at Camp Sumter in Andersonville, Georgia.

March 28,1864-General Banks advances from Alexandria, Louisiana to Shreveport.

March 28,1864-A violent anti-war riot in Charleston, Illinois results in gunfire between Union soldiers home on furlough and Knight's of the Golden Circle (Copperheads) in town to hear anti-war congressional candidate John R. Eden's speech. Six are killed and 20 injured. After extended prison time, President Lincoln grants clemency to the 29 Democrats jailed during the riot.

March 28,1864-Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells urges Commander John C. Carter to have the USS Michigan ready to sail as soon as the Lake Erie ice breaks. Rumors of a Confederate takeover of the USS Michigan to raid and release Confederate Prisoners held on Johnson's Island at Sandusky, Ohio have been received.

March 29,1864-General George Meade is convinced by President Lincoln to drop his Court of Inquiry demand concerning newspaper coverage of Meade's performance at Gettysburg.

March 29,1864-Union forces under General Banks reach Natchitoches, Louisiana and move inland to a more direct route to Shreveport. Admiral Porter has been slowed by low water and has lost a vessel. Banks move inland takes his column away from Admiral Porter's gunboats and the protection the gunboats provide. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

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

March 16,1864-After a landing party from the USS Osage under Commander Thomas O. Selfridge occupied Alexandria, Louisiana, General Andrew J. Smith's Union forces strengthened the occupation with support of nine gunboats. This is part of the naval move to Shreveport by Admiral David Porter.

March 16,1864-Confederate Colonel John M. Hughs led a cavalry attack on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad near Tullahoma, Tennessee with 60 Union soldiers captured, several trains destroyed, and 20 African Americans killed.

March 16,1864-Captain Raphael Semmes drops anchor at Capetown, South Africa to take on supplies. The CSS Alabama Confederate Raider has been repaired and is now ready to sail.

March 17,1864-General Nathaniel Banks fails to rendezvous with General Andrew Smith at Alexandria due to the political leadership exchange in New Orleans.

March 17,1864-In a meeting at Nashville, General Grant announces that "Headquarters will be in the field and, until further orders, will be with the Army of the Potomac".

March 18,1864-Arkansas voters ratified a new constitution which included the abolition of slavery.

March 18,1864-The Military Division of the Mississippi combines all Union western army units and General William T. Sherman is formally appointed as commander.

March 19,1864-The Georgia legislature grants President Jefferson Davis a vote of confidence. They also suggest peace talks be arranged with Washington D.C. following the next significant Confederate victory but stipulate "only Southern independence".

March 21,1864-Nevada and Colorado statehood legislation is signed by President Lincoln. Nevada becomes a state on October 31,1864; Colorado statehood is ratified August 1,1876.

March 21,1864-Henderson Hill, Louisiana is the site of Union cavalry defeating Confederate troops and taking 250 prisoners, 200 horses, and four cannon. The Union Cavalry was led by General Joseph A. Mower, disrupting Confederate scouting and reconnaissance.

March 22,1864-General Lew Wallace is named commander of the Middle Department headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland.

March 22,1864-As General Frederick Steele departs Little Rock for the expedition on the Red River, General Nathan Kimball is named commander of the Union Department of the Arkansas.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

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

March 9,1864-Recently promoted General Ulysses S. Grant succeeds General Henry W. Hallack as army general in chief. Hallack becomes Grant's chief of staff. General George Meade remains as the commanding officer of the Army of the Potomac, currently located near Brandy Station, Virginia.

March 9,1864-General Sherman is put in command of all Union armies in the West.

March 9,1864-In retaliation for the ambush and killing of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, Union Cavalry led by General Hugh Kilpatrick burn a grain mill and other property near Carlton's Store in King and Queens County, Virginia.

March 10,1864-General Grant completes a conference with General Meade and departs for Nashville(by rail)for meetings with General Sherman.

March 10,1864-A large Union force pushes skirmishers of Colonel Mosby's Raiders back through Charlestown and Kabletown, Virginia.

March 10,1864-General Nathaniel Banks plans to start the Red River expedition by moving 10,000 men commanded by General Andrew Smith down the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Red River. These troops are on loan from General Sherman's force at Vicksburg. General Frederick Steele leaves Little Rock to advance a column of troops on Shreveport from the west. By seizing Shreveport, he can move on the Texas interior and stop Confederate supplies from moving eastward.

March 11,1864-General Banks is delayed in leaving New Orleans as he must turn over military leadership of Louisiana to the newly appointed Governor, Michael Hahn. General Smith departs as the unit commander with his troops aboard Army transports.

March 12,1864-Admiral Porter leads his armada of 13 ironclads, four tinclads, and four wooden gunboats up the Red River, Louisiana. He pauses to bombard Fort De Russy, Louisiana into submission.

March 13,1864-After receiving a signed petition from African Americans in Louisiana asking for the right to vote, President Lincoln encourages Governor Hahn to draft a new state constitution.

March 14,1864-Federal gunboats remain behind the rest of Admiral Porter's fleet to further reduce Fort De Russy. When General Smith's forces arrive, the fort is seized along with 325 prisoners and 12 cannons.

March 15,1864-Newly elected Governor Hahn of Louisiana receives power to form a civilian authority. The powers previously reserved for military control slowly revert back to politicians. Similar authority transfer was the basis of much of Southern reconstruction after the war ended.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

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

March 2,1864-Ulysses S. Grant is elevated to the rank of lieutenant general by the U.S. Senate.

March 2,1864-In King & Queen County, Virginia, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren's 100 man Union detachment is ambushed. Colonel Dahlgren is killed and 92 of his men are captured. The Confederates recover papers outlining a plot to burn Richmond and assassinate President Jefferson Davis. The U.S. Government and Union General George Meade deny the scheme.

March 2,1864-At the mouth of the Red River in Louisiana, Admiral David Porter's Mississippi Squadron begins to move toward Shreveport and east Texas. One worry for Porter is the decreasing water levels on the river. The squadron proceeds as planned.

March 3,1864-General Grant is ordered to Washington D.C. for an official promotion ceremony.

March 4,1864-Andrew Jackson is promoted to Tennessee Governor by the U.S. Senate. Pro-Union governor Michael Hahn is sworn into office at New Orleans, Louisiana.

March 4,1864-Advanced units of General Sherman's army begins to arrive back at Vicksburg after the Meridian Campaign. There are about 5,000 slaves and 3,000 draft animals with the Army, all having traveled 360 miles since leaving Meridian on February 22nd.

March 5,1864-All Southern vessels are force to donate half of their cargo capacity to government shipments as supplies were running short in the field. This move could also reduce wartime profiteering by the ship owners.

March 6,1864-Confederate gunboats fire on Union forces occupying Yazoo City, Mississippi, forcing the Union troops to vacate the city.

March 6,1864-General Andrew J. Smith is appointed to lead Army elements in the Red River expedition. General Sherman instructs General Smith to fully cooperate with Admiral Davis D. Porter in this joint operation.

March 6,1864-On the North Edisto River, North Carolina, a Confederate torpedo boat rams the USS Memphis twice but the spar torpedo fails to detonate. The spar entered the Memphis eight feet below the water line but the vessels was able to float away.

March 7,1864-General Longstreet was again urged to resume offensive operations in Kentucky or Tennessee by President Davis.

March 8,1864-In a White House Ceremony, General Grant accepts the high honor of being the only general to attain such a lofty rank and the first ever Four Star General. (George Washington retired as a lieutenant general with 'Three Stars' after the Revolutionary War and therefore was outranked by later four and five star generals. This was repaired on October 11, 1976 when Washington was posthumously  promoted "General of the Armies of the United States" with no officer of the United States Army outranking Washington on the Army list.)

March 8,1864-A Union expedition led by General Grenville Dodge to Moulton and Courtland, Alabama nets supplies, ammunition, and provisions. General Franz Sigel is ordered to clear Confederate units out of the Shenandoah Valley immediately after he was appointed commander of the new Department of West Virginia.

March 8,1864-About 100 Copperheads (Northeners sympathetic to the Confederacy) kill five Union soldiers on furlough in Charleston, Illinois.