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.