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.