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.