Saturday, January 10, 2015

Civil War 150 Years ago this week - January 11-17,1865

January 11,1865-The Constitutional Convention in Missouri votes to outlaw slavery in that state.

January 11,1865-General Rosser's Confederate Cavalry surprises the Union camp at Beverly, West Virginia and attacks in spite of freezing weather. They overwhelm the 8th and 34th Ohio Cavalry units with little resistance. One hundred horses, 583 men, 600 rifles and 10,000 much needed rations are confiscated.

January 12,1865-Francis P. Blair, an important Maryland politician, meets with Jefferson Davis in Richmond to discuss avenues to peace between the North and South. Blair's scheme would be to mount a joint north/south military expedition into Mexico against the French. President Davis dismisses that route but agrees to send a delegation to Washington to confer with resident Lincoln in February.

January 12,1865-In Washington D.C., Secretary of War Stanton meets with Garland Frazier and 19 other African-American leaders to discuss how to best assimilate freed slaves into the general population. Frazier suggests that blacks farm small plots of land until they can purchase farms and further states "We have confidence in General Sherman, and think that what concerns us could not be in better hands".

January 12,1865-President Davis sends a message to General Richard Taylor urging him to send troops from Tupelo, Mississippi to the Carolina's to reinforce General Hardee in his operations against Sherman's army.

January 13,1865-General Alfred Taylor lands 8,000 troops outside Fort Fisher, Wilmington, North Carolina. Four brigades of white troops take up assault positions while one brigade of black soldiers dig strong fortifications across the peninsula.

January 13,1865-Admiral Porter's fleet begins the bombardment of defensive position at Fort Fisher, North Carolina.

January 13,1865-General John Bell Hood resigns from the Army of Tennessee at Tupelo, Mississippi. General P.T.G. Beauregard takes temporary command.

January 14, 1865-Union troops under General Terry disrupt General Braxton Bragg's reinforcing troops from entering Fort Fisher. Ultimately about 350 Confederates get into the fort bringing that garrison to roughly 2,000 men.

January 14,1865-Admiral Porter continues to bombard Fort Fisher. With the entire armada mounting 627 heavy cannon firing at a combined rate of 100 rounds per minute from less that 1000 yards range, they silence Fort Fisher's cannon within hours.

January 15,1865-General Terry leads an all out attack on Fort Fisher while a naval brigade advances on the northeastern salient and army troops approach from the rear, storming entrenchments and parapets. In day long fierce fighting, all three Union brigadier are killed or wounded. Eight hours of hand to hand fighting results in the Confederates being overpowered by 10:00 PM. The last port in the Confederacy is controlled by Union forces.

January 15,1865-General John Schofield's XXIII Corps moves by transport vessels from Clifton, Tennessee to Cincinnati, Ohio, then on to Washington D.C. They are eventually deployed in North Carolina.

January 15,1865-Edward Everett, former congressman from Massachusetts, dies at Boston at the age of 71.

January 16,1865-Francis P. Blair reports to President Lincoln on the recent discussions with Jefferson Davis concerning possible negotiated peace between the North and the South. Lincoln turns down any scheme designed to shift attention to Mexico and the expulsion of France from that country.

January 16,1865-The Confederate Senate passes a resolution advising the president to appoint Robert E. Lee as general-in-chief, return General Joseph Johnston to commander of the Army of Tennessee, and make General Beauregard overall commander of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. This resolution will effectively take military matters out of the presidents hands.

January 16,1865-General Sherman issues Special Field Order #15 to provide for the some 10,000 former slaves and refugees. The order sets aside all abandoned or confiscated land along the coast of Georgia, including coastal islands, for the resettlement of freedmen. The order specifies each family to hold not more than 40 acres with congress to specify "regulation and title" rules at a later date. At the end of the Civil War, Sherman insists that this was met as a temporary measure.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - January 4-10, 1865

January 4,1865-The build-up of forces to assault Fort Fisher at Wilmington, North Carolina continues. General Alfred Terry lands 8,000 Federal troops at Bermuda Landing, Virginia. Admiral David D. Porter's strategy to reduce Fort Fisher is to use a brigade of naval infantry and U.S. Marines to storm the front of the fort while the army troops hit the rear.

January 4,1865-At Pond's, Mississippi, General Benjamin Grierson completes his raid against the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. He has recorded 20,000 feet of bridge and roadway destruction plus 20 miles of telegraph wire removed and 14 locomotives, 95 rail cars, and 300 army wagons destroyed.

January 5,1865-To "unofficially" encourage peace negotiations, President Lincoln allows James Singleton to pass through Union lines and enter the Confederacy. Singleton, a Virginia born resident of Illinois was active in the Morman Wars, served as a militia officer in Illinois, an Illinois State Representative, and was active in Canadian/United States discussions throughout the Civil War.

January 6,1865-Representative J.M. Ashley of Ohio renews a drive to approve the 13th Amendment by declaring "If slavery is wrong and criminal, as a great body of Christian men admit, it is certainly our duty to abolish it".

January 6,1865-President Davis claims that a "whispering campaign" against him is undermining Confederate morale. He sends a caustic letter to Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens stating "I assure you that it would be to me a source of the sincerest pleasure to see you devoting your great and animated ability exclusively to upholding the confidence and animating the spirit of the people to unconquerable resistance against their foes."

January 7,1865-General Edward O.C. Ord replaces General Benjamin Butler as commander of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina. By seniority rank in the Union Army, Butler is next in line to succeed Grant in overall command. General Grant is the driving force for this move citing Butler's recent blunders.

January 7,1865-The Union XIX Corps moves more of their soldiers to Savannah from the Shenandoah Valley.

January 7,1865-Admiral David Farragut meets with President Lincoln and Navy Secretary Gideon Wells at the White House.

January 7,1865-French Emperor Napoleon III sells the French built ironclad Sphinx directly to the Confederacy where she is christened CSS Stonewall and is probably the most powerful Confederate vessel during the war.

January 8,1865-Admiral David Porter and Army General Alfred Terry finalize the Fort Fisher assault plans when they meet off shore near Beaufort, North Carolina.

January 8,1865-General John A. Logan resumes command of the Union XV Corps in Tennessee.

January 8,1865-General Thomas Rosser and his 300 Confederate Cavalrymen begin a 75 mile ride from Staunton to Beverly, West Virginia through wind driven snow to raid a well stocked Union encampment. The Confederate cavalrymen are near starvation.

January 9,1865-Secretary of War Stanton is sent to Savannah by President Lincoln. Reports of mistreatment of African-American refuges by General Sherman's men is the topic. This springs from the Ebenezer Creek incident that occurred back on December 9,1864, when Union General Jefferson C. Davis ordered the pontoon bridge removed before all of the ex-slave camp followers were able to cross.

January 9,1865-New York Democratic Representative Moses Odell endorses a constitutional amendment to outlaw slavery by saying "The South by rebellion has absolved the Democratic party at the North from all obligation to stand up longer for the defense of it's cornerstone".

January 10,1865-The Constitutional amendment debate continues and becomes heated. New York Representative Fernando Wood supports a no vote arguing that passage of the amendment will negate any chance for peaceful reconciliation with the South.

January 10,1865-General Rosser's Confederate cavalry reaches Beverly, West Virginia and prepares to storm the Union position at dawn.