The American Civil War (1860-1865)
1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865
1860 - U.S. Census. U.S. population: 31,443,321. Total number of slaves in the Lower South : 2,312,352 (47% of total population). Total number of slaves in the Upper South: 1,208758 (29% of total population). Total number of slaves in the Border States: 432,586 (13% of total population). Almost one-third of all Southern families owned slaves. In Mississippi and South Carolina it approached one half. The total number of slave owners was 385,000 (including, in Louisiana, some free Negroes). As for the number of slaves owned by each master, 88% held fewer than twenty, and nearly 50% held fewer than five. The geographical center of the United States lies somewhere near Chillicothe, Ohio. New York City became the largest Irish city in the world with 203,740 Irish-born out of a total population of 805,651.
January 25, 1860 - The Fire-Eaters. In a speech to the House of Representatives, Lawrence M. Keitt, Congressman from South Carolina, declares: "African slavery is the corner-stone of the industrial, social, and political fabric of the South; and whatever wars against it, wars against her very existence. Strike down the institution of African slavery and you reduce the South to depopulation and barbarism . . . The anti-slavery party contend that slavery is wrong in itself, and the Government is a consolidated national democracy. We of the South contend that slavery is right, and that this is a confederate Republic of sovereign States." Keitt is among a group of radical sectionalists ("Fire-Eaters") whose ready acceptance of secession materially contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War. Others included William L. Yancey, Edmund Ruffin, Robert Rhett, Louis T. Wigfall, Nathaniel Beverly Tucker, John A. Quitman, William Porcher Miles, and James Dunwoody Brownson DeBow, publisher of DeBow's Review.
February 24, 1860 - Alabama's Joint Resolutions on Secession. The General Assemby of Alabama passes Joint Resolutions, to take effect the election of a Republican to the presidency, including a call for a convention "to consider, determine and do whatever in the opinion of said Convention, the rights, interests, and honor of the State of Alabama requires to be done for their protection."
February 27, 1860 - Lincoln's Speech at Cooper Institute. Abraham Lincoln addresses gathering at the Cooper Institute in New York, attacking slavery and insisting that the Federal government has "the power of restraining the extension of the institution."
March 6, 1860 - Lincoln's Speech at New Haven. Abraham Lincoln gives speech in New Haven, Connecticut: "Whether we will or not, the question of Slavery is the question, the all absorbing topic of the day. It is true that all of usand by that I mean, not the Republican party alone, but the whole American people, here and elsewhereall of us wish this question settled, wish it out of the way".
March-June, 1860 - First Japanese Embassy arrives in San Francisco on March 9 en route to Washington D.C. Japan's Tokugawa government had sent its first official envoys to exchange treaty ratifications based on agreements concluded in 1858 between Townsend Harristhe first American ambassador to Japan (appointed U.S. Consul to Japan in 1854 after Commodore Perry's opening of Japan)and the Japanese government. The Powhatan carried the seventy-plus Japanese delegation, with its two principal ambassadors, Masaoki Shinmi and Norimasa Muragaki, on to Panama where the delegation crossed the Isthmus of Panama by train, and once again, set sail for Washington, D.C. The arrival of the Japanese was a major event in America. The U.S. Congress provided a $50,000 budget to entertain the envoysa considerable sum at that time. In the course of their travels, the delegation spent three weeks sightseeing in Washington before making official visits to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and finally New York. While in Washington D.C., the mission paid its official visit to President James Buchanan at the White House, reviewed troops and were entertained by military brass bands. They also visited a session of Congress whose noisy atmosphere, as Ambassador Muragaki humorously remarked, "resembled somewhat that of our fish market at Nihonbashi." At the end of June 1860, the Japanese envoys departed on the ship Niagara to make their return journey to Japan.
March 21, 1860 - U.S. signs extradition treaty with Sweden.
April, 1860 - Seventh Inning Stretch. Baseball's ritual for relieving spectator fatiguethe "7th-inning stretch"was commonly adopted. The custom had superstitious origins. It was thought to bring good luck to the home team, since "7" was a winning number at dice.
April 3, 1860 - The Pony Express began fast overland mail service, operating between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif. It offered 8-10-day delivery, with an "emergency" time of 7 days, 7 hours. Riders changed horses at 153 stations, spaced from 7 to 20 mi. apart. The route followed the old emigrant trail to the Platte River, through South Pass to Fort Bridger in Wyoming, then south around the lower end of the Great Salt Lake to Carson City, Nev., and through Donner Pass to Sacramento. Financially, the service was a failure and ended in October 1861, after completion of transcontinental telegraph line. Letters cost $5 an ounce to send, and took 17-18 days to travel nearly 2,000 miles between San Francisco, California, and St. Joseph, Missouri.
April 23-May 3, 1860 - Democratic Convention opens in Charleston, South Carolina. Shortly after the convention began on April 23, the Southern Democratic delegations began to press their long-rumored plan to walk out unless a plank calling for passage of a federal slave code for the territories was included in the party platform. Such a code, they hoped, would secure the practice of slavery not only in the North, but in the largely unsettled areas of the expanding nation. The Convention was deeply divided. Stephen Douglas was the clear favorite of Northen Democrats, while Southerners demanded that the Democratic party come out with a platform in clear defense of slavery. Southern delegates were already opposed to Douglas, the party's leading candidate, over his Freeport Doctrinea concept Douglas put forth during the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 that a territory's failure to pass laws enforcing slavery would, by default, outlaw slavery in that territory. Moreover, the "fire-eaters" among the Southern Democrats actually wanted the Republican candidate to win the election, thus hastening the secession of the slave states. When Douglas' anti-slavery plank was finally voted into the platform over a previous vote in favor of a pro-slavery plank, 50 Southern delegates made good their promise and dramatically walked out of the convention. The loss of those 50 left the convention without enough delegates to give Douglas the nomination. The convention went through 54 ballots but Douglas failed to acheive the needed 2/3 of the votes. The remaining Northern Democrats voted to adjourn and reconvene in June in Baltimore.
May 9, 1860 - Constitutional Union Convention. The Constitutional Union Party, a short-lived political group, was a haven in the election of 1860 for Whigs and Know-Nothings unwilling to join northern or southern Democrats or the Republicans. The Constitutional Union party had its genesis in Democratic divisions over the Lecompton constitution, the collapse of the Whigs, and the problems of the American, or Know-Nothing party. The Whigs' collapse had left anti-Democratic southerners adrift without a political party. Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky, Henry Clay's successor in border-state Whiggery, set up a meeting among fifty conservative, pro-compromise congressmen in December 1859, which led to a convention in Baltimore on May 9, 1860. Its members nominated for president John Bell of Tennessee, a border-state Whig and large slaveholder who had opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Lecompton constitution, and for vice president Edward Everett, president of Harvard University and a former secretary of state and Cotton Whig in the Fillmore administration, on a platform of "the Union as it is and the Constitution as it is." Bell and Everett ran a lackluster campaign, winning only 39 of the possible 303 electoral votes. They carried the three border slave states of Virginia (15), Kentucky (12), and Tennessee (12). Bell and many other Constitutional Unionists later supported the South during the Civil War, and the party and its purpose disappeared.
May 18, 1860 - Republican Convention. The Republicans assembled their national convention in Chicago's "Wigwam" on May 16, 1860, a wooden building, constructed in only six weeks. The delegates considered three top candidates: William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Abraham Lincoln. Republican Party leadership of 1860 liked Lincoln's politically pristine background and "rail-splitter from a log cabin" image. They also saw Abe as the only candidate who could deliver votes from the "Old Northwest," which then included the state of Illinois. On the second evening of the convention, delegates were treated to a performance of the play Our American Cousin at Chicago's McVicker's Theater. In 1865, Lincoln would be assassinated while watching the same play in Ford's Theater. The delegates adopted a party platform considered more moderate than their 1856 effort. Slavery and polygamy were no longer referred to as "twin relics of barbarism," the raid of John Brown on Harper's Ferry was criticized, and economic issues were emphasized. Nominations were offered on the third day of the convention, May 18, 1860. After three ballots, none of the candidates had received the 233 votes needed for nomination. Lincoln came close (231 1/2 votes) and at that point, the Ohio delegates changed their four votes from Ohio favorite son, Salmon P. Chase to Lincoln, making Honest Abe the Republican presidential nominee.
June 18-23, 1860 - Democratic Convention. Democrats reconvene in Baltimore, Maryland. The adherents of Stephen A. Douglas complete the destruction begun at Charleston by refusing to seat the Yancey delegation from Alabama. Deep South delegates again withdraw from the Democratic Convention. (June 22). The Constitutional Democratic Party is organized under guidance of William L. Yancey, and John C. Breckinridge was nominated for the Presidency. The "Regular" Democrats nominate Douglas (June 23) and adopt the platform of the 1856 Cincinnati Convention with 6 additions: 1) that the Party will abide by the decisions of the Supreme Court on the powers of a Territorial Legislature and of Congress over the institution of slavery within the Territories; 2) that the United States afford protection to all its citizens, whether at home or abroad, and whether native or foreign born; 3) that Constitutional Government aid insure the construction of a Railroad to the Pacific coast at the earliest practicable period; 4) that the Island of Cuba be acquired on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain; 5) that the enactments of the State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect; and 6) that it is in accordance with the interpretation of the Cincinnati platform, that restrictions imposed by the Federal Constitution on the power of the Territorial Legislature over the subject of the domestic relations, as determined by the Supreme Court, should be respected by all good citizens, and enforced with promptness and fidelity by every branch of the general government.
June 23, 1860 - Congress establishes the Government Printing Office.
September 21, 1860 - Yancey's Equal Rights Speech. William Lowndes Yancey delivers his "Equal Rights in a Common Government" speech in Washington, D.C. The fiery Yancy says, "Revenues have been raised at the rate of two or three dollars in the South to one from any other section for the support of this great Government, but the South makes no complaint of mere dollars and cents. Touch not the honor of my section of the country, and she will not complain of almost anything else you may do; but touch her honor and equality and she will stand up in their defence, if necessary in arms. . . . No matter who may be elected, no matter what may be done, still they (the North) will stand to the Union as the great cause of their prosperity. . . ."
October 19, 1860 - Reagan's Letter Against the North. Rep. John H. Reagan of Texas publishes a letter pointing out, among other things, the Northern desire to "strike down the sovereignty and equality of the States," the taking of private property in slaves with no compensation, and the promotion of Hinton Rowan Helper's book The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It (1857) which called for the abolition of slavery because it was retarding the economic development of the South and limiting the opportunities of its nonslaveholding white majority and recommends "treason, blood, and carnage as a proper campaign document" for the Republicans.
October 30, 1860 - Stephen Douglas, one of four presidential candidates, brought his campaign to Atlanta, where he spoke against secession.
November 5, 1860 - South Carolina Governor William H. Gist asks the legislature for a state convention if the Republicans win the election.
November 6, 1860 - Election of 1860. Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th President of the United States defeating Stephen Douglas (Northern Democratic Party), John C. Breckinridge (Southern Democratic Party), and John Bell (Constitutional Unionist Party). Of the total 4,682,069 votes cast, Lincoln received 1,866,452 (39.9%). Lincoln won an overwhelming Electoral College victory: 180 of 303 possible electoral votes, but the eighteen states voting for him were all above the Mason/Dixon line. He received no electoral votes in 15 of the 33 states and his name did not even appear on the ballot in ten Southern states. Lincoln's opponents together totaled 2,815,617almost a million votes more than he got. Lincoln's Vice President was Hannibal Hamlin of Maine.
November 7, 1860 - Joseph Brown's Message on Federal Relations. Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown delivers his long Special Message on Federal Relations encouraging separate state action on secession rather than waiting for a convention of Southern states to jointly decide the issue. His message points out, among many positive issues, Southern economic strength and it ends with "To every demand for further concessions, or compromise of our rights, we should reply, 'The argument is exhausted,' and we now 'stand by our arms.'"
November 10, 1860 - South Carolina legislature approves bill calling for secession convention to begin December 17, 1860.
November 14, 1860 - Mississippi Gov. John J. Pettus issued a call for a special session of the legislature on November 26 "to consider necessary future safeguards for Mississippi."
November 20, 1860 - Georgia legislature approves bill for election of delegates to a secession convention to take place January 2, 1861, and convention January 16, 1861.
November 21-26, 1860 - Abraham Lincoln goes to Chicago from Springfield for five days to discuss cabinet appointments with his Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin.
November 26, 1860 - Mississippi Gov. John J. Pettus advises a secession convention be called, and a bill was passed dealing with elections of delegates, setting dates, etc.
December 3, 1860 - U.S. Congress Convenes. The 36th Congress of the United States, second session, begins in Washington, D.C
December 4, 1860 - Buchanan's Annual Message to Congress. President James Buchanan delivers his annual message to Congress, blaming fanatical abolitionism for destroying the country. He admits the sovereignty of each state but that the Federal Government would defend the forts if attacked. He said slavery was on the way out, and he proposed a constitutional amendment protecting property rights in slaves. He condemned secession and said the election of one of our countryman was no legitimate reason to leave the Union, but he admitted he had no power to coerce a state. William H. Seward writes to his wife that Buchanan showed "conclusively that it is the duty of the President to execute the lawsunless somebody opposes him; and that no State has a right to go out of the Union unless it wants to." The message was condemned in both the North and Southin the South, because the President condemned secession, and in the North, because he proposed no way to deal with it.
December 4, 1860 - The Committee of Thirty-three is created by the U. S. House of Representatives composed of one representative from each of the 33 states, to analyze the crisis. The Chairman of the Committee, Ohio Rep. Thomas Corwin, reports a slavery protection amendment on January 4, 1861, which was never ratified.
December 8, 1860 - South Carolina Representative Meet with Buchanan. A South Carolina delegation of U. S. House Representatives warns President Buchanan not to attempt reinforcement of Fort Sumter, which would be an act of coercion and war. The delegation presented Buchanan with a written statement promising not to attack the forts but admonishing him not to try to reinforce them. The South Carolinians got the impression there would be no change in the military situation in Charleston Harbor, and they promised to try and prevent any accidental confrontation. They implore him to negotiate with South Carolina Commissioners so the state could get title to all Federal property by paying for it. The South Carolina Representatives asked Buchanan not to make any change in the disposition of troops at Charleston, and particularly not to strengthen Sumter, a fortress on an island in the midst of the harbor, without at least giving notice to the state authorities. What was said in this interview was not put in writing but was remembered afterward in different ways with unfortunate consequences.
December 8, 1860 - Howell Cobb Resigns as Secretary of the Treasury. Howell Cobb, Sr., confronted with the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency, abandoned his faith in the Union, resigned as Buchanan's Secretary of the Treasury, and forcefully urged Georgia's secession.
December 10, 1860 - Lincoln wrote Sen. Lyman Trumbull: "Let there be no compromise on the question of extending slavery. If there be, all our labor is lost, and, ere long, must be done again. The dangerous groundthat into which some of our friends have a hankering to runis Pop. Sov. Have none of it. Stand firm. The tug has to come, & better now, than any time hereafter."
December 10-12, 1860 - In response to Louisiana Governor Thomas O. Moore's request, the Louisiana legislature met in Baton Rouge and two days later, on December 12, 1860, passed a bill setting January 7, 1861, as the day to elect delegates, and January 23, 1861, as the date of a secession convention to be held in Baton Rouge.
December 13, 1860 - Southern Manifesto. Twenty-three representatives and seven senators from the South issue "a manifesto which urged secession and the organization of a Southern Confederacy." This Southern Manifesto was authored by Louis Trezevant Wigfall.
December 14, 1860 - The state of Georgia calls for a convention to discuss a Southern Confederacy. Only South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama are invited.
December 17-20, 1860 - South Carolina Secession Convention. On December 17, 1860, the 169 delegates from the state of South Carolina convened at the Baptist Church in Columbia, but due to the presence of smallpox in Columbia, decide to reconvene the next day in Charleston. David F. Jamison opened the convention and his speech included: "I trust that the door is now forever closed to all further connection with our Northern confederates; for what guarantees can they offer us, more strictly guarded, or under higher sanctions, than the present written compact between us? And did that sacred instrument protect us from the jealousy and aggressions of the North, commenced forty years ago, which resulted in the Missouri Compromise? Did the Constitution protect us from the cupidity of the Northern people, who, for thirty-five years, have imposed the burden of supporting the General Government chiefly on the industry of the South?"
December 18, 1860 - Lincoln's Letter to Stephens. Abraham Lincoln writes Georgia's Alexander "Little Alec" Stephens, one of the South's most outspoken Unionists, to assure him that he (Lincoln) will not interfere with slavery in the South, directly or indirectly. Stephens continued to oppose separation right up to the time it became a fait accompli for Georgia in January 1861.
December 18, 1860 - Committee of Thirteen. A committee of the United States Senate was formed to investigate the possibility of a "plan of adjustment" that might solve the growing secession crisis, called the Committee of Thirteen because of the number of its members. The most prominent compromise was the submitted John J. Crittenden of Kentucky. Proposals for compromise were also submitted by committee members Robert Toombs of Georgia, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, and William H. Seward of New York. However on the motion of Jefferson Davis, it was decided that no proposal would be reported as adopted unless supported by a majority of the Republicans and a majority of the Democrats serving on the committee. Under this restriction, the committee was unable to agree upon a satisfactory "plan of adjustment" and so reported to the Senate, on December 31, 1860.
December 18, 1860 - Crittenden Compromise. The Crittenden Compromise was one of several last-ditch efforts to resolve the secession crisis of 1860-61 by political negotiation. Authored by Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden (whose two sons would become generals on opposite sides of the Civil War) it was an attempt to resolve the crisis by addressing the concerns that led the states of the Lower South to contemplate secession. The compromise contained preamble, six proposed constitutional amendments, and four proposed Congressional resolutions by which the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was, in effect, to be reenacted and extended to the Pacific; the federal government was to indemnify owners of fugitive slaves whose return was prevented by antislavery elements in the North; "squatter sovereignty" (the right to decide if slavery should exist or not) in the territories was to be sanctioned; and slavery in the District of Columbia was to be protected from congressional action. Crittenden's Compromise was submitted to the newly created Committee of Thirteen on December 20. On March 2, 1861, the Plan was narrowly defeated in the Senate. Two months earlier, Crittenden had introduced a resolution calling for a national referendum on these proposals, but the Senate never acted on this resolution.
December 18-20, 1860 - South Carolina Secedes from the Union, On December 18, South Carolina Secession Convention reconvenes in Institute Hall in Charleston. At 1:15 p.m. on December 20, all the attending delegates unanimously voted (169-0) for secession. At 7:00 p.m. that same day, the delegates marched into Institute Hall and began signing the Ordinance of Secession and after two hours, at 9:00 p.m., convention President David F. Jamison proclaimed "the State of South Carolina an independent commonwealth." The Ordinance adopted read: "We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance adopted by us in convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the "United States of America," is hereby dissolved. Done at Charleston the 20th day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty. D.F. Jamison: Delegate from Barnwell and President of the Convention, and others." The Declaration of Secession for South Carolina states, "We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection." South Carolina was followed out of the Union within two months by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.
December 26, 1860 - South Carolina Calls for Southern Confederacy. The South Carolina Secession Convention proposes that a convention meet in Montgomery, Alabama, to create a constitution for the new Southern Confederacy.
December 26-27, 1860 - Anderson Transfers his Forces to Fort Sumter. Major Robert Anderson, commanding the federal forts in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, dismantles Fort Moultrie on the north side of the harbor, spikes its guns, and removes its garrison to the island stronghold Fort Sumter, which was supposed to be far more defensible. At Charleston his action was interpreted as preparation for war; and all South Carolinians saw in it a violation of a pledge which they believed President Buchanan had given their congressmen, three weeks previous, in that talk which had not been written down. After South Carolina troops seize Fort Moultrie on December 27, Buchanan announces that Fort Sumter will be defended against attack and orders a ship to sail there with supplies.
December 27, 1860 - Kentucky Governor Magoffin calls special secession of the legislature to meet January 17, 1861, to discuss federal relations.
December 27-28, 1860 - South Carolina Commissioners Meet with Buchanan. Commissioners from South Carolina "empowered to treat . . . for the delivery of forts . . . and other real estate" held by the Federal Government within their State arrive in Washington, D.C. Greatly excited and fearful of designs against them, the South Carolina commissioners held two conferences with President Buchanan on December 27 and 28. They believed that he had broken his word, and they told him so. Deeply agitated and refusing to admit that he had committed himself at the earlier conference, he said that Robert Anderson had acted on his own responsibility, but he refused to order him back to the now ruined Fort Moultrie. Buchanan, however, was virtually ready to give way to the demand of the commissioners. He drew up a paper to that effect and showed it to the Cabinet. Then the turning-point came. In a painful interview, Jeremiah S. Black, Secretary of State and long one of his most trusted friends, told him of his intention to resign, and that Attorney General Edwin M. Stanton would go with him and probably also the Postmaster-General, Joseph Holt. The idea of losing the support of these strong personalities terrified Buchanan, who immediately fell into a panic. Handing Black the paper he had drawn up, Buchanan begged him to retain office and to alter the paper as he saw fit. To this Black agreed. The demand for the surrender of the forts was refused; Anderson was not ordered back to Fort Moultrie; and for the brief remainder of Buchanan's administration Black acted as prime minister.
December 31, 1860 - Senate Committee of Thirteen reports that all proposals defeated in committee. The Crittenden Compromise was the only one that received serious attention.
January 3, 1861 - Georgia seizes Fort Pulaski. Fort Pulaski, a brick fortification on Cockspur Island, Georgia, at the mouth of the Savannah River, was built in 1829-47 by the U.S. government and named for Casimir Pulaski. The fort was seized by Georgia troops on January 3, 1861. It was recaptured by a Union force under Q. A. Gillmore on April 11, 1862, after a two-day bombardment in which the Federals used rifled cannon for the first time in the war.
January 3, 1861 - Florida Secession Convention convenes in Tallahassee.
January 3, 1861 - Senate Republicans oppose Crittenden's proposal that would allow the public to vote in a referendum on his compromise, though it had some support. Mid-Southern and border state congressmen meet and form a committee to look at compromises.
January 3, 1861 - Delaware votes not to secede from the Union.
January 4-5, 1861 - Alabama Seizes Federal Installations. A full week before Alabama secedes from the Union, Gov. A. B. Moore orders the seizure of federal military installations within the state. By the end of the next day Alabama troops controlled Fort Gaines, Fort Morgan, and the U.S. Arsenal at Mount Vernon
January 6-12, 1861 - Florida Seizes Federal Installations. Florida seizes the federal arsenal at Apalachicola on January 6. The next day Fort Marion at St. Augustine is handed over to the Confederates on the basis of a receipt for the Fort and all of its contents signed by Confederate authorities and given to the Union commander. At the time of the secession crisis, Fort Pickens had not been occupied since the Mexican War. Despite its dilapidated condition, Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, who was in charge of United States forces at Fort Barrancas, determined that Pickens was more defensible than any of the other posts in the area. His decision to abandon Barrancas was hastened when, around midnight of January 8, 1861, his guards repelled a group of men intending to take the fort. Some historians note that this could be considered the first shots fired by United States forces in the Civil War. Shortly after this incident, Slemmer destroyed over 20,000 pounds of powder at Fort McRee, spiked the guns at Barrancas, and evacuated about eighty troops to Fort Pickens. On January 12 Florida and Alabama troops occupied the mainland bases and demanded that Slemmer surrender Fort Pickens. He refused these demands and held his position until an informal agreement, or "truce," was established between the Buchanan administration and Florida. Southern troops would not attack Pickens as long as Union troops remained aboard nearby ships and did not reinforce the fort. Fort Pickens remained in Union hands throughout the Civil War.
January 7, 1861 - Farewell Address of Sen. Robert Toombs of Georgia to the United States Senate.
January 7, 1861 - Mississippi Secession Convention convenes in Jackson, Mississippi.
January 7, 1861 - Alabama Secession Convention convenes in Montgomery.
January 7, 1861 - Louisiana election to delegates to secession convention.
January 7, 1861 - Tennessee Calls Secession Convention. Tennessee Special Secession of the thirty-third legislature called by Governor Isham G. Harris meets in Nashville. Governor Harris delivers a long, passionate message outlining Northern aggressions against the South, from raising to martyrdom John Brown, to harboring one of his criminal fugitive sons. The legislature, among other things, agrees to allow a vote of the people "for or against" a secession convention, and at the same time to elect delegates to the convention.
January 7, 1861 - Personal Explanation of the Hon. W. R. W. Cobb, of Alabama, is delivered in the U.S. House of Representatives, pointing out, among other things, that the Republicans, elected by a minority of voters, have no mandate for anything.
January 7, 1861 - Letcher's Message on Federal Relations. Governor John Letcher of Virginia delivers his "Message on Federal Relations" to the Virginia legislature. Letcher points out the Northern hatred of South, advocates a convention of Northern and Southern delegates to try and work out problems, or to separate peaceably. He rails against John Brown, complaining that Brown should have been denounced by the North but was not. He cites the New England's secessionist attempt with the Hartford Convention, blames New England for all the nation's troubles, and includes a glowing economic vision of free trade and rapidly growing Southern ports.
January 7, 1861 - Sen. John J. Crittenden speaks passionately in the U. S. Senate for his Compromise.
January 8, 1861 - Buchanan's Message to Congress. President James Buchanan sends to Congress a message asking for pause, North and South, and saying the situation was beyond presidential control and the country needed to hear from the ballot box before a war started. He supports the Crittenden Compromise and the division of the territories by the old line of the Missouri Compromise.
January 9, 1861 - Mississippi Secedes from the Union. Mississippi becomes the second state to secede when the Mississippi Secession Convention passes a secession ordinance 84-15. The Declaration of Secession for Mississippi states, "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth."
January 9, 1861 - Relief Ship to Ft. Sumter Fired Upon. An unarmed merchant ship, Star of the West, carrying Union recruits to reinforce Robert Anderson at Fort Sumter, was fired on. Anderson, cut off by land by South Carolina's secession two weeks earlier, had moved his 75 men out to the red brick fortress in Charleston harbor. Rebel Charles Haynesworth, a Citadel cadet, fired a handgun at the ship, shooting the first shot of the Civil War. In a later volley, a cannonball was put across the Star's bow, alerting the Southern militiamen at Sullivan Island's Fort Moultrie. They hit the unarmed vessel twice before it turned about and fled.
January 10, 1861 - Florida Secedes from the Union. Florida becomes the third state to secede. On January 3, 1861, convention delegates chosen in pursuance of the act of the general assembly, approved November 30, 1860, assembled in the house of representatives in Tallahassee. On January 10, the secession ordinance was adopted by a vote of 62-7. The text of the ordinance is as follows: "We, the people of the State of Florida, in convention assembled, do solemnly ordain, publish and declare: That the State of Florida hereby withdraws herself from the Confederacy of States existing under the name of the United States of America, and from the existing government of said States, and that all political connection between her and the government of said States ought to be, and the same is hereby totally annulled, and said union of States dissolved, and the State of Florida is hereby declared a sovereign and independent nation, and that all ordinances heretofore adopted, in so far as they create or recognize said Union, are rescinded, and all laws or parts of laws in force in this State, in so far as they recognize or assent to said Union be, and they are hereby repealed."
January 11, 1861 - Alabama Secedes from the Union. Alabama becomes the fourth state to secede, by a vote of 61-39.
January 11, 1861 - Resolution of New York Legislature. New York Legislature passes anti-Southern resolution entitled Concurrent resolutions tendering aid to the President of the United States in support of the Constitution and the Union which starts "Whereas, treason, as defined by the Constitution of the United States, exists in one of more of the States of this confederacy; and whereas, the insurgent State of South Carolina, . . .". It goes on to say that the N.Y. Legislature "is profoundly impressed with the value of the Union, and determined to preserve it unimpaired." A copy of this resolution was sent to all the governors.
January 14, 1861 - Corwin Amendment. With the U.S. House Committee of Thirty-three unable to reach agreement on a compromise, Ohio Rep. Thomas Corwin, Chairman of the House Committee of Thirty-three, proposed a constitutional amendment protecting slavery where it exists that could never be further amended without approval of slaveholding states. In a stunning feat of linguistic legerdemain, the Corwin committee delivered to the House floor a draft amendment to protect slavery that never mentioned the words "slave" or "slavery" at all: "No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State." Significantly, the proposed amendment did not address the burning issue of moment: the power of Congress to bar slavery from territories that were not yet states. The amendment passed the House as Joint Resolution No. 80 on February 28 by a vote of 133 to 65, which was two-thirds of the members present. In the subsequent parliamentary wrangle over whether that met the Constitution's requirement of two-thirds of the House, opponents of the amendment lost. On March 2, the Senate acted in favor of the proposed amendment by a vote of 24 to 12, with anti-slavery Senator Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio attempting to derail itor at least to demonstrate his disgust for itby asking unanimous consent to vote first on a bill relating to guano deposits. Another opponent of the amendment, Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, lodged an appeal of the decision by Senate President Pro Tem Solomon Foot of Vermont that the votetwo-thirds of the members presentmet the Consitutional two-thirds requirement; but Trumbull joined 32 other senators in upholding the action, leaving Wade the sole senator opposing it. A young Henry Adams observed that the measure narrowly passed both bodies due to the lobbying efforts of Abraham Lincoln, the President-Elect. Ratification efforts began quickly after the resolution's adoption by Congress and included a public endorsement in Lincoln's first inaugural address. The proposal was ratified by the legislatures of Ohio (May 13, 1861) and Maryland (January 10, 1862). Illinois lawmakerssitting as a state constitutional convention at the timealso approved it, but that action is of questionable validity. The amendment was considered for ratification in several additional states including Connecticut, Kentucky, and New York but was either rejected or died in committee under neglect as other pressing wartime issues came to preoccupy the nation's attention. The Corwin Amendment was never ratified.
January 16, 1861 - The Senate refuses to consider the Crittenden Compromise, one of several failed attempts to ease tension between the North and South.
January 17, 1861 - Kentucky legislature meets and its House tables a convention bill, 54-36. The Senate bill also died in committee. Resolutions encouraging Southern states to stop seceding, as well as denouncing coercion by the Federal Government were passed. The legislature then adjourned until March 20.
January 18, 1861 - Massachusetts legislature offers money and men to maintain the Union.
January 19, 1861 - Georgia Secedes from the Union. Georgia becomes the fifth state to secede on a vote of 208-89 at a convention held in Milledgeville, Georgia. Georgia's Declaration of Secession is approved stating, "For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic."
January 21, 1861 - Withdrawal of Southern Congressmen. Members from the seceding states had designated January 21, as the day of their mass resignations. One by one, Southern members of the House and Senate stood in the well of each, making their resignation speeches. In the Senate, Benjamin Fitzpatrick, former Governor of Alabama, and President pro tem of the United States Senate, 1857-60, offered his good-byes, followed by Senator Clement C. Clay, Jr. of Alabama, son of Clement Comer Clay, who had chaired the Committee of Fifteen which drafted the Constitution of 1819, as a pre-requisite to Alabama statehood. The Senators from Florida, David Yulee and Stephen Mallory withdraw, as well as Jefferson Davis of Mississippi. In his Farewell Address Davis noted that "nullification and secession, so often confounded, are indeed antagonistic principles. Nullification is a remedy which it is sought to apply within the Union, and against the agent of the States. It is only to be justified when the agent has violated his constitutional obligation, and a State, assuming to judge for itself, denies the right of the agent thus to act, and appeals to the other States of the Union for a decision; but when the States themselves, and when the people of the States, have so acted as to convince us that they will not regard our constitutional rights, then, and then for the first time, arises the doctrine of secession in its practical application." In the House, Representatives from Alabama withdraw: James A. Stallworth, James L. Pugh, David Clopton, Sydenham Moore, George S. Houston and Jabez L. M. Curry. Only Williamson R. W. Cobb, that old Jacksonian populist of Bellefonte, did not join. Cobb was his own man, and would be no mere follower in the massive walkout. Instead, he waited nine days and on January 30, this sole representative from Alabama submitted his own resignation.
January 21-23, 1861 - Northern Legislatures Pledge Support for Union. New York legislature pledges support to the Union on January 21, followed by the legislatures of Wisconsin (January 22), Massachusetts (January 23), and Pennsylvania (January 24).
January 26, 1861 - Louisiana Secedes from the Union. The Secession Convention in Louisiana, in session since January 23, 1861, approves an ordinance of secession (by a vote of 113-17), becoming the sixth state to secede. Governor Thomas Overton Moore appoints Brig. Gen. Braxton Bragg to head the state army and supports the formation of the Confederacy.
January 29, 1861 - Kansas Admittted to the Union. After years of confrontations, often violent, between pro- and anti-slavery squatters attempting to have their say in whether slavery would be legal in the state, "bleeding" Kansas is admitted to the Union as the 34th State, with an antislavery constitution.
February 1, 1861 - Texas Secedes from the Union. Texas becomes the seventh state to secede. Its convention votes for secession from the Union by a vote of 166-8, pending ratification by the people. (In a general election, held on February 23, 1861, voters ratified secession by a better than three to one margin). In the Texas Declaration of Secession it states, "In all the non-slaveholding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or colora doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States".
February 4-27, 1861 - Washington Peace Conference. The Washington Peace Conference met at Willard's Dancing Hall, adjoining Willard's Hotel in Washington, from February 4-27, 1861. The conference was convened at the request of the Virginia legislature on January 18, but only some of the states sent representatives. Ultimately 131 members participated from the 21 states still in the Union. Present on the first day were delegates from New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa, 14 states. During the conference delegates arrived from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois and Kansas. The convention had invited delegates from all states, including those that had already seceded, but the seven seceding states of the deep South boycotted. In addition Arkansas, California, Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota did not send representatives. The meeting was primarily a forum for the upper South to express their moderate aims. The Convention sent representatives to meet with President Buchanan. Former president John Tyler of Virginia was the presiding officer. Among the delegates were men of distinction and leadership, including David Wilmot of Pennsylvania, David Dudley Field of New York, Reverdy Johnson of Maryland, William C. Rives of Virginia, and Salmon P. Chase of Ohio. The conference consciously modeled itself after the Constitutional Convention of 1787, but many of its delegates were, in striking contrast, elderly and past their political prime. Tyler himself was seventy-one. The meeting was characterized as an "old gentlemen's convention," its delegates as "venerable," and less politely as "fossils." Their proposals were framed as a single amendment to the Constitution of seven sections. In its essence it is very similar to the Crittenden Compromise, although slightly different in wording and some of the details, borrowing a bit from some of the proposals made to the Committee of Thirteen. The amendment was brought up in the Senate on February 27, 1861, by Senator Lazarus W. Powell of Kentucky, but it was unsatisfactory to the Republicans, who objected to it on the ostensible ground of the incompetency of the conference to prepare amendments for congressional action, and to the southern senators, who preferred secession to any amendment without a formal acceptance by Republican votes. The amendment was satisfactory only to the Union-loving Democrats of the Middle and Border States. On the last day of the session an effort made to substitute the conference amendment for senator Douglas' amendment, as contained in the house resolutions, was voted down by a vote of 34 to 3. In the House various attempts were made from February 27 until March 3 to introduce the conference amendment, but all were unsuccessful.
February 4-March 16, 1861 - First Session of the Provisional Confederate Congress. The Convention of representatives from South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and Alabama meet in Montgomery, Alabama, and become first session of provisional Confederate Congress. Unlike the later bicameral Confederate Congress, the Provisional Congress consisted of only one house. The First Session of the Provisional Congress lasted from February 4 to March 16, 1861. On February 8, the Convention adopts a Provisional Constitution. The following day the deputies elect unanimously a Confederate Provisional President: Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, former United States Secretary of War and Senator, a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer, considered by most a moderate. He was not in attendance at the convention. Georgia's Alexander "Little Alec" Stephens, is also elected unanimously, as Vice-President. Among the deputies of the First Session were Jabez L. M. Curry, David Peter Lewis, John Gill Shorter, and Robert Hardy Smith of Alabama; James Patton Anderson of Florida; Francis Stebbins Bartow, Howell Cobb, Sr., Thomas R.R. Cobb, Alexander Hamilton Stephens and Robert Augustus Toombs of George; Charles Magill Conrad of Louisiana; Robert Woodward Barnwell, Christopher Gustavus Memminger, William Porcher Miles, James Lawrence Orr of South Carolina; and John Gregg, John Hemphill, William Beck Ochiltree, Sr., John Henninger Reagan, and Louis Trezevant Wigfall of Texas. Following the Battle of Fort Sumter in April 1861, the remaining states to secede sent delegates to the Confederate Congress, which met in three additional sessions between July 1861 and February 1862 in the Confederate Capitol of Richmond, Virginia.
February 9, 1861 - Tennesseans vote against calling a secession convention, 69,675 to 57,798.
February 11, 1861 - Abraham Lincoln gave his Farewell Address to Springfield, just a day before his 52nd birthday. The journey to Washington D.C. took 12 days. Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln leave their homes on the same day, Davis headed to Montgomery, and Lincoln to Washington, both taking circuitous routes. In Montgomery, Alexander Stephens is inaugurated as Vice-President.
February 11, 1861 - The House of Representatives unanimously passes a resolution guaranteeing non-interference with slavery in any state.
February 13, 1861 - Col. Bernard Irwin, Asst. Army Srugeon, attacks and defeats hostile Chiricahua Indians in the Apache war in Arizona, the first action for which a Medal of Honor is awarded.
February 13, 1861 - Virginia Secession Convention Convenes. The Virginia secession convention assembled in Richmond. Called for by a special session of the General Assembly, the group convened to determine whether Virginia should secede from the Union. Although the 152 delegates gathered in the capitol that first day, most of their meetings took place in the Virginia Mechanic's Institute, at the corner of Ninth and Franklin streets.
February 15, 1861 - The Montgomery convention, acting as the provisional Confederate Congress, resolves to take Fort Sumter by force if necessary.
February 18, 1861 - Inaugaration of Jefferson Davis. In Montgomery, Alabama Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as the first and only President of the Confederate States of America, stating clearly that he hoped for peace. Davis pointed out that the Confederacy was living proof that "governments rest upon the consent of the governed, and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish governments whenever they become destructive of the ends for which they were established." Davis also reiterated Southern economic strength and plans for free trade.
February 18, 1861 - Federal Troops Surrendered in Texas. Brig. Gen. David Twiggs, a Southern sympathizer, surrenders the military forces and stores under his command in Texas to Colonel Ben McCulloch, representing the State of Texas. Twiggs was labeled a traitor in the North and he was dishonorably dismissed from the U.S. army for "treachery to the flag" on March 1, 1861.
February 18, 1861 - Arkansians vote 27,412 to 15,826 in favor of calling a secession convention.
February 21, 1861 - Confederacy Establish Postal Service. After being cut off from the U. S. Postal Service the Confederate States of America organized their own post office with John H. Reagan as Postmaster General.
February 28, 1861 - Territory of Colorado Organized. The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859 had brought large numbers of settlers to the Denver area, although the population collapsed following an initial mining boom. The Colorado Territory was organized as a United States territory on February 28, 1861 and Colorado attained statehood in 1876 (earning it the monicker the "Centennial State").
February 23, 1861 - Texas Ratifies Secession. Texas voters ratify secession, 34,794 to 11,235.
February 23, 1861 - Lincoln Arrives in Washington, D.C. Abraham Lincoln arrived by train in Washington, D.C., at 6 a.m., accompanied by a friend, Ward H. Lamon, and detective Allan Pinkerton. The last leg of his hitherto public journey eastwardfilled with parades, rallies, and speecheswas undertaken in great secrecy. Lincoln's advisers, high military and civilian authorities, and railroad officials were all much concerned about his physical safety. There were rumors of an extensive plot to assassinate him when he passed through Baltimore. Lincoln reluctantly agreed to go from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Washington, via Philadelphia and Baltimore, in secrecy and with considerable security undertaken by the railroad. Accompanied by Lamon and Pinkerton, Lincoln left Harrisburg after dinner on February 22, on a special train to Philadelphia. There they connected with the Baltimore train late that evening, arriving in Baltimore about 4 a.m., where they were switched to the Baltimore & Ohio tracks for the trip to Washington. At Washington, Lincoln was met by Illinois Representative Elihu Washburne, who escorted him to Willard's Hotel. The manner of Lincoln's arrival was ridiculed by his enemies and criticized by many friends. According to Lamon, Lincoln soon regretted the midnight journey to Washington as unworthy of the leader of a great republic. But Lincoln's advisers, like Lamon, believed the plot to assassinate him was genuine and that his life was endangered from the moment he crossed the Maryland line.
February 23, 1861 - The Peace Conference reports to Congress six proposed constitutional amendments but none are accepted. The U.S. House of Representatives votes down one proposal after another. The Crittenden Compromise finally dies.
February 27, 1861 - Davis Appoints Peace Commissioners. Confederate President Jefferson Davis appoints three commissioners (Martin Crawford, John Forsyth, and A.B. Roman) to negotiate with the Federal government. All requests for an unofficial interview with Sec. William H. Seward are declined.
March 2, 1861 - Morrill Tarriff Act of 1861. The Morrill Tariff of 1861 was a major protectionist tariff bill instituted in the United States. The act is informally named after its sponsor, Rep. Justin Morrill of Vermont, who designed the bill around recommendations by economist Henry C. Carey. The tax is significant for severely altering American commercial policy after a period of relative free trade to several decades of heavy protection. It replaced the Tariff of 1857. The Morrill Tariff is also remembered as a contentious issue that fueled sectional disputes on the eve of the American Civil War. The immediate effect of the Morrill Tariff was to more than double the tax collected on most dutiable items entering the United States. In 1860 American tariff rates were among the lowest in the world and also at historical lows by 19th century standards, the average rate being around 18% ad valorem. The Morrill Tariff immediately raised this average to 37%, and in subsequent years was revised upward until in 1864 (when it could only be collected from states under Union control) the average rate stood at 47%. The act passed the United States House of Representatives by a strictly sectional vote during the first session of the 36th Congress on May 10, 1860. Virtually all of the northern representatives supported it and southern representatives opposed it. The bill was headed toward adoption in the United States Senate when Senator Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia, a free trade advocate, employed parliamentary tactics to delay the vote until the second session after recess. This second session did not meet until after the 1860 election, so the move guaranteed that the tax issue would come up during the campaigns that fall. During the campaign the Republican Party endorsed higher tariffs in their 1860 platform and campaigned on a protectionist ticketespecially in states like Pennsylvania (home of powerful Congressman and iron producer Thaddeus Stevens) and New Jersey where several industrial interests backed the rate hike. A large majority of Southerners opposed the tax increase because it hurt them financially and campaigned against it (though protective tariffs could benefit Louisiana's sugar plantation owners from Caribbean imports). Unlike the north where manufacturers benefited from protection, the south had few manufacturing industries. Most of the southern economy depended on the export of crops like cotton and tobacco, which were hurt on the world scene by policies that adversely impacted international trade. Returning in December, after the election, the Senate again took up the Morrill bill and intensely debated it for the next several months. On February 14, 1861 the new President-elect Abraham Lincoln publicly announced that he would make a new tariff his priority if the bill did not pass by inauguration day on March 4: "According to my political education, I am inclined to believe that the people in the various sections of the country should have their own views carried out through their representatives in Congress, and if the consideration of the Tariff bill should be postponed until the next session of the National Legislature, no subject should engage your representatives more closely than that of a tariff." On February 28 the Senate finally voted on and adopted the Morrill Tariff. The vote was again on sectional lines and came at the height of the secession crisis, but many southern senators had already resigned their seats to side with their states (somewhat ironically, thus ensuring easy passage). It was one of the last bills signed by outgoing Democratic president, James Buchanan of Pennsylvania. The bill was proposed after the Panic of 1857, which northerners such as Henry Carey blamed on the country's free trade policya problem he claimed the bill would rectify with protectionism (economists now recognize that the Panic of 1857 was caused by other unrelated factors). The main purpose of the Morrill Tariff's high rates was the protection of industrial manufacturing, located mostly in the northeast, from foreign competitor products. Due to the penalties it imposed on foreign traded goods the act formented hostility and condemnation of the United States from abroad. Anger over the new American tariff caused many British commentators and politicians to express sympathy for the new Confederate States of America over the north. The high rates probably also contributed to the rapid decline in British exports to the United States in the early summer of 1861.
March 2, 1861 - Congress Adopts Constitutional Amendment Protecting Slavery. Congress passes a joint resolution amending the Constitution that would protect slavery where it existed, and that protection would be beyond amendment by Congress. The text of the resolution read: :"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State." This measure was approved by some states, but the war cut short the effort. The Senate rejects another attempt by John J. Crittenden, this one to adopt, as a constitutional amendment, the result of the Peace Convention. This was Crittenden's last attempt at compromise.
March 2, 1861 - Dakota and Nevada Territories Created. Congress creates Dakota and Nevada Territories out of the Nebraska and Utah territories. By early 1861 hundreds of settlers had migrated to the region of the Dakota, establishing communities in what is now South Dakota at Vermillion, Yankton, and Bon Homme, and occupying farms in the surrounding lands. On March 2, 1861, President James Buchanan signed the act establishing Dakota Territory, which included all of present-day North and South Dakota, as well as large portions of Wyoming and Montana. The first legislature of the Dakota Territory met in what is now Yankton, South Dakota, in 1862. In 1868 the creation of the Wyoming Territory established the western boundary of the Dakotas. The southern boundary was fixed in 1882. The Nevada Territory was an organized territory of the United States from March 2, 1861 until October 31, 1864, when it became Nevada, the 36th state. Prior to its designation as a territory, the area was part of western Utah Territory and was known as Washoe, after the native Washoe people. Despite the silver wealth of Nevada, and the ever-increasing population of miners that came to exploit it, Nevada was not quite populous enough to warrant statehood, but the Union's need for silver and the generally anti-slavery bent of its people trumped the population problem and led to statehood. The territorial capital was Carson City; James Warren Nye was the first and only territorial governor. The secretary of the territory was Orion Clemens, older brother of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain).
March 4, 1861 - Inauguration of Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as 16th President of the United States of America. Special Senate Session of 37th Congress convenes. At his inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln attempted to avoid conflict by announcing that he had no intention "to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." He added: "The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without yourselves being the aggressors."
March 4-24 1861 - Missouri Declares Neutrality. On March 4 the Missouri State Convention begins its meetings in St. Louis, under the presidency of Sterling "Pap" Price, to consider the secession of the State of Missouri from the Union. On March 5 a military bill, giving the Governor sweeping military empowerment is proposed, but it is rejected by the Missouri legislature at Jefferson City. On March 9 the Committee on Federal Relations at the Convention in St. Louis issued its report that in a "military aspect secession and connection with a Southern Confederacy is annihilation for Missouri." It also resolved that 1) "No adequate cause for the withdrawal of Missouri from the Union." 2) Belief that all the "seceded States would return to the Union if the Crittenden proposition were adopted". 3) It would "entreat the Federal Government not employ force against the seceding States . . ." On March 11 Gen. Frank P. Blair requests that Capt. Nathaniel Lyon take command of the troops at the St. Louis Arsenal. On March 21 the Missouri State Convention adjourns after voting against Secession, stating "no adequate cause [existed] to impel Missouri to dissolve her connections with the Federal Union." The final vote was 98-1. Missouri attempts neutrality but the Federal invasion in May pushed many Unionists into the Confederate camp. As in Kentucky, pro-Union and pro-Confederate governments were established, the latter run in exile by Governor Claiborne F. Jackson. Missouri became a Confederate state in November 1861. Its thriving prewar economy was devastated and its people terrorized by brutal guerrilla warfare.
March 1861 - Flags of the Confederacy. The first official flag of the Confederacy was "The Stars and Bars," which was flown from March 5, 1861 to May 1863. It caused confusion on the battlefield because it was so similar to the Stars and Stripes of the Union forces. The second national flag of the Confederacy was "The Stainless Banner," which was put into service on May 1, 1863. To avoid battlefield confusion between the Stars and Bars with the Union's Stars and Stripes, this new flag was designed with the battle flag placed in the first quarter. This flag, however, had its own problem: when the battlefield was windless, it was sometimes mistaken for a flag of surrender because all that could be seen was the field of white. The "Battle Flag" of the Confederacy is square, of various sizes for the different branches of the service: 48 inches square for the infantry, 36 inches for the artillery, and 30 inches for the cavalry. It was used in battle from November 1861 to the fall of the Confederacy. The blue color on the Southern Cross in the battle flag was navy blue, as opposed to the much lighter blue of the Naval Jack. The Stars and Bars were too easily confused in the smoke of battle with the Stars and Stripes, resulting in very real military mistakes. To remedy this, General Pierre G.T. Beauregard of the Army of Virginia and others sought a better design and Beauregard was the first to adopt the flag from the design of William Porcher Miles. Miles' rectangular design was sized down to a square to aid folding and carrying in battle. The flag is also known by historians as the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. This flag proved so popular, that it became basis for the Second National flag of the Confederacy (see above). Some prefer the square proportions of this flag over Mile's original rectangle as more sonorous and more distinct.
March 6, 1861 - The Confederate Congress authorizes an army of volunteers.
March 9-April 3, 1861 - Lincoln Decides to Re-inforce Ft. Sumter. Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet meet many times to discuss the situation at Fort Sumter. The final decision to re-inforce the fort is taken on April 4.
March 11, 1861 - The Constitution of the Confederate States of America is adopted. It was almost identical to the United States constitution, with a few differences: 1) In the preamble, it omitted the general welfare clause, and added that each ratifying state was acting "in its sovereign and independent character." 2) It explicitly guaranteed slavery in both states and territories, but banned the international slave trade. 3) It prohibited protective tariffs and Congressional appropriations for internal improvements. 4) The Confederate constitution limited the president to one six-year term, but gave him a line item veto. The delegates chose a provisional cabinet, and sent comissioners to the secession conventions in the Upper South. They hoped to present a moderate image, in order to convince the remaining slaveholding states to join them.
March 18, 1861 - Arkansas Convention Votes Against Secession. The Arkansas secession convention votes 39 to 35 against secession, but then votes unanimously to put the secession question before the people of the state in an August referendum.
April 4, 1861 - Lincoln Orders Relief Ship to Ft. Sumter. Abraham Lincoln orders a relief shipment of food to Fort Sumter; the expedition sails from New York on April 8.
April 9, 1861 - The Confederate Cabinet concurs with President Jefferson Davis's order to General Pierre G.T. Beauregard that Fort Sumter should be reduced before the relief fleet arrives.
April 10, 1861 - Confederate Secretary of War Leroy Pope Walker orders Pierre G.T. Beauregard to demand the evacuation of Fort Sumter, under threat of bombardment. The Sumter relief fleet begins to leave New York harbor.
April 11, 1861 - Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard demands the evacuation of Fort Sumter (2:20 p.m.). Major Robert Anderson refuses, but adds, "if you do not batter us to pieces we will be starved out in a few days." Beauregard communicates this comment to the Confederate government and asks for instructions (5:10, approx.). Beauregard is instructed: "If Major Anderson will state the time at which, as indicated by him, he will evacuate, and agree that in the mean time he will not use his guns against us unless ours should be employed against Fort Sumter," then Fort Sumter should not be bombarded (9:10 p.m.).
April 12, 1861 - Attack on Fort Sumter. At 12:45 a.m. General Pierre G.T. Beauregard asks Major Robert Anderson if he can comply with the demands of the Confederate government. Anderson offers to evacuate on April 15 at noon, but declines to promise not to use his guns in support of any operations under the United States flag. This is considered unsatisfactory (3:00 a.m.). At 3:20 a.m. elements of the relief fleet begin to gather outside Charleston Harbor. Anderson is informed that the Confederates will open fire in one hour. At 4:30 a.m. Confederates under General Beauregard open fire with 50 cannons upon Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Edmund Ruffin, a fiery Virginia secessionist, is often credited with firing the first shot. Despite this legend, the signal shot probably came from Capt. George James's post at Fort Johnson. Ruffin fired from the battery on Cummings Point, and the sequence of firing orders called for this battery to fire after James's. Major Robert Anderson's 84 men in Fort Sumter rotated in firing the fort's 48 guns, assisted by 43 workmen. Their heaviest-caliber weaponthe barbettehad to be abandoned after Confederates tore down a house on Sullivan's Island to reveal a secret battery that enfiladed the barbettes. Sumter's garrison ignored the initial hail of cannonballs and shells until after breakfast, a repast that took several hours and produced a silence that thoroughly baffled the Rebels. Capt. Abner Doubleday then fired the Union's first defensive shot, aiming at Cummings Point. Brought under attack from 4 directionsFort Moultrie, Fort Johnson, Cummings Point, and a floating batteryMajor Anderson surrendered after 34 hours of bombardment in which over 4,000 projectiles were fired. No one was killed, and only a few were injured, by falling bricks. In the pomp-and-circumstance surrender ceremony, a 50-gun salute was delivered. On the 50th reloading, a spark accidentally touched off a premature explosion, killing Federal Private Daniel Hough and mortally wounding Private Edward Galloway, the first deaths of the war. The hot embers fell on the cartridges stacked below, exploding these as well, injuring 4 other men (Privates George Fielding, John Irwin, George Pinchard, and James Hayes). These were the only casualties of the crisis. Sumter would have fallen anyway, having nothing to eat except salt pork. But Southern politicians, fearful that the new Confederacy would splinter "unless you sprinkle blood in the face of the people," ordered that first shot to be fired.
April 15, 1861 - Proclamation Calling Militia and Convening Congress. In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln issues a proclamation announcing an "insurrection," and calls for 75,000 troops to be raised from the militia of the several States of the Union to serve for three months. Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee refuse to send troops and soon join the Confederacy. Kentucky and Missouri were also unwilling to supply men for the Union Army but decide not to take sides in the conflict. Lincoln summons Congress to meet on July 4.
April 17, 1861 - Virginia adopts an Ordinance of Secession The Virginia Secession Convention first convened in Richmond, Virginia, on February 13, 1861. The debates continued until April 15, when Richmond newspapers reported Lincoln's call for 75,000 troops to suppress the uprising. As a member of the Union, Virginia would be required to send 8,000 soldiers. This proved to be the breaking point for delegates, and the convention chose to stand with other southerners and vote for secession. On April 16, the delegates met in secrecy and passed the Ordinance of Secession the next day. The citizens of Virginia ratified the ordinance on May 23. Virginia is the eighth state to secede, followed within five weeks by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, thus forming an eleven state Confederacy with a population of 9 million, including nearly 4 million slaves. The Union will soon have 21 states and a population of over 20 million.
April 19, 1861 - Proclamation of Blockade President Abraham Lincoln issues a blockage proclamation against Southern ports. This strategy was based on the Anaconda Plan developed by General Winfield Scott, the commanding general of the Union Army. Scott did not believe that a quick victory was possible for Federal forces. He devised a long-term plan to defeat the Confederacy by occupying key terrain, such as the Mississippi River and key ports on the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, then moving on Atlanta. This Anaconda Plan was derided in the press; however, it was the strategy the Union actually used in its broad outlines, particularly in the Western Theater and in the successful naval blockade of Confederate ports. Scott believed if the plan was executed early the South would negotiate a peace deal. However, at the start of the war, the U.S. Navy had only a small number of ships and was in no position to guard all 3,000 miles of Southern coast. For the duration of the war the blockade limits the ability of the rural South to stay well supplied in its war against the industrialized North.
April 19, 1861 - Riot in Baltimore. A clash between pro-South civilians and Union troops in Maryland's largest city resulted in what is commonly accepted to be the first bloodshed of the Civil War. Secessionist sympathy was strong in Baltimore, a border state metropolis. Before his inauguration, rumors in the city of an assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln, who was on his way to Washington, D.C., forced the president-elect to sneak through Baltimore in the middle of the night. Anti-Union sentiments there only increased once the hostilities commenced at Fort Sumter on April 12. A week later, one of the first regiments to respond to Lincoln's call for troops arrived in Baltimore by train, en route to the capital. Because the rail line did not pass through the city, horse drawn cars had to take the Massachusetts infantrymen from one end of Baltimore to the other. An angry crowd of secessionists tried to keep the regiment from reaching Washington, blocking several of the transports, breaking windows, and, finally, forcing the soldiers to get out and march through the streets. The throng followed in close pursuit. What had now become a mob surrounded and jeered the regiment, then started throwing bricks and stones. Panicking, several soldiers fired randomly into the crowd, and mayhem ensued as the regiment scrambled to the railroad station. The police managed to hold the crowd back at the terminal, allowing the infantrymen to board their train and escape, leaving behind much of their equipment as well as their marching band. Four soldiers and twelve civilians were killed, and scores were injured. Maryland officials demanded that no more Federal troops be sent through the state, while Baltimore's mayor and police chief authorized the destruction of key rail bridges to prevent Union troops from entering the city. Secessionist groups, meanwhile, tore down telegraph wires to Washington, temporarily cutting the capital off from the rest of the nation. The North was outraged; New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley even called for Baltimore to be burned to the ground. On May 13, Federal troops, including members of the Massachusetts regiment attacked in the previous month's riot, occupied the city and martial law was declared, squelching most subsequent pro-Confederate activities. The police chief, several commissioners, and a number of citizens were arrested for their alleged participation in the riot, and suspected secessionists, including Francis Scott Key's grandson and a number of state legislators, were held without charges. Federal forces continued to maintain an occupying presence in Baltimore for the remainder of the war.
April 20, 1861 - Resignation of Lee. Robert E. Lee, son of a Revolutionary War hero, and a 25 year distinguished veteran of the United States Army and former Superintendent of West Point, resigns his commission in the United States Army. "I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children." Lee had been offered command of the Union Army on April 18. He travels to Richmond, Virginia, and is offered and accepts command of the military and naval forces of Virginia.
April 20, 1861 - Union Forces Abandon Norfolk, Secure Ft. Monroe. On April 20 the Union Navy burned and evacuated the Norfolk Navy Yard, destroying nine ships in the process, leaving only Fort Monroe at Old Point Comfort as the last bastion of the United States in Tidewater Virginia. Decisive action by Gen. John Wool secured Fort Monroe, Virginia for the Union. The fort guarded the entrance to Chesapeake Bay and the James River, overlooking Hampton Roads and the Gosport Navy Yard, which the Confederates had seized. It was to serve as the principal supply depot of General George B. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign in May 1862. Occupation of Norfolk gave the Confederacy its only major shipyard and thousands of heavy guns, but they held it for only one year. Brig. Gen. Walter Gwynn, who commanded the Confederate defenses around Norfolk, erected batteries at Sewell's Point, both to protect Norfolk and to control Hampton Roads.
April 27, 1861 - Habeas Corpus Suspended. Abraham Lincoln authorizes the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus in a limited area between Washington and New York in an order issued to Winfield Scott, Commander of the Army: "You are engaged in repressing an insurrection against the laws of the United States. If at any point on or in the vicinity of the military line which is now used between the city of Philadelphia via Perryville, Annapolis City and Annapolis Junction you find resistance which renders it necessary to suspend the writ of habeas corpus for the public safety, you personally or through the officer in command at the point where resistance occurs are authorized to suspend that writ." A challenge was mounted to Lincoln's action in ex parte Merryman (1861). On May 25, 1861, John Merryman, a Maryland resident and avowed secessionist, was arrested and detained in Fort McHenry. In April 1861, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, then sitting on the Circuit Court bench, found that Merryman was being held unlawfully and issued a writ of habeas corpus. General George Cadwalader, in command of Fort McHenry, refused to obey the writ, however, on the basis that President Abraham Lincoln had suspended habeas corpus and citing the fact that he was acting in compliance with an Executive Order. Taney cited Cadwalader for contempt of court and then wrote an opinion about Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, which allows suspension of habeas corpus "when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." Taney argued that only Congressnot the presidenthad the power of suspension. Indeed the Constitution (Article 1, Section 9) is silent on who can make the decision to suspend. Lincoln simply ignored Taney's order. President Lincoln justified his action in a message to Congress in July 1861.The limited suspension of habeas corpus was rescinded on February 14, 1862. Merryman was later released. The constitutional question of who has the right to suspend habeas corpus, Congress or the president, has never been officially resolved.
May 3, 1861 - Lincoln Appeals for Volunteers. Abraham Lincoln appeals for 42,000 men to serve for three years or for the duration of the war. There is a general expectation of a short conflict.
May 6, 1861 - Arkansas Secedes from the Union. When the secession crisis swept the State in early 1861 the Arkansas Secession Convention voted to remain in the Union. When Fort Sumter was fired on and Lincoln called for troops from Arkansas the Secession Convention was recalled. The convention voted to take Arkansas out of the Union with only Isaac Murphy and four other delegates opposed. The convention chair called on the five opposition votes to change their votes so that Arkansas could speak with a unanimous voice. All four of the other nay voters changed their votes but Murphy refused.
May 6-7, 1861 - Tennessee Forms Alliance with Confederacy. On May 6, the Tennessee legislature calls for popular vote on secession. The following day Tennessee forms an alliance with the Confederacy, effectively seceding from the Union. The Ordinance of Secession is approved by the voters on June 8, 1861.
May 10-12, 1861 - The St. Louis Massacre began on May 10, 1861 when union military forces clashed with civilians on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri resulting in the deaths of at least 28 and injuries of roughly 100. The events began when Union Captain Nathaniel Lyon, a Radical Republican known for his brazenness, used a newly mustered force of roughly 3,000 men, many of them German immigrants and members of the Wide Awakes organization, to arrest a Missouri State Militia encampment located outside of the city. It was widely rumored that the militia intended to take possession of the hotly contested St. Louis Arsenal, which both union and Confederate forces desired. After surrounding the militia encampment Lyon decided to march his prisoners through downtown St. Louis before providing them with a parole and ordering them to disperse. This march was widely viewed as humiliation for the state forces and immediately angered citizens who had gathered to watch the commotion. Tensions mounted quickly on the streets as civilians hurled fruit, rocks, and insults at Lyon's troops and some of the soldiers returned the favor. Nobody knows exactly what happened to provoke the massacre, but the standard report says that a drunkard stumbled into the path of the marching soldiers and got into an altercation with some of them. Weapons were drawn by both the soldiers and civilians and shots rang out. Some of the soldiers formed a line and fired into the nearby crowd. Violence continued for the next two days resulting in the death of at least 7 more civilians, who were shot by federal troops patrolling the streets. The St. Louis Massacre, as it came to be called, quickly sparked an outcry across the state of Missouri. Prior to that point most Missourians had been moderate unionists who were opposed to secession and war. Popular opinion transformed overnight, causing many former unionists including former Governor Sterling Price to advocate secession and producing a state that was bitterly divided between Union and Confederate sympathizers.
May 13-15, 1861 - The First Wheeling Convention. Twenty-seven western Virginia counties were represented. Immediately a debate ensued over which delegates should be allowed to participate in the Convention: General John Jay Jackson of Wood County suggested seating all northwestern Virginians, but John Carlile insisted that only those who had been legitimately appointed by their constituencies be allowed to participate. Chester D. Hubbard of Ohio County ended the debate by proposing the creation of a committee on representation and permanent organization. Some, including John Jay Jackson, argued that preemptive action against the Ordinance of Secession before it was ratified was unwise: the Ordinance had not yet been presented to the citizens of Virginia for a vote, and would not be until May 23. Others, including John Carlile, insisted on immediate action to "show our loyalty to Virginia and the Union", and on May 14, he called for a resolution creating a state of New Virginia. The motion was condemned as revolutionary, and most at the Convention instead supported resolutions offered by the Committee on State and Federal Resolutions, which recommended that western Virginians elect delegates to a Second Wheeling Convention to begin on June 11 if the people of Virginia approved the Ordinance of Secession.
May 13, 1861 - Britain Declares Neutrality. Queen Victoria announces Great Britain's neutrality and grants the Confederacy "belligerent status."
May 20, 1861 - North Carolina Secedes from the Union. In North Carolina two factions arose: unionists and secessionists. Unionist sentiment was very strong, as the support for John Bell indicated. Even many slave owners felt that Lincoln's election alone was not sufficient cause for secession. The secessionist movement included the governor of the state, John W. Ellis. Unionists counted among their numbers prominent figures such as Congressman Zebulon Vance. In February 1861 the state's citizens defeated a referendum on whether to call a convention to discuss the issue. The debate continued until April 15, 1861, when, following the April 12 firing on Fort Sumter, Gov. John W. Ellis received a telegram from Simon Cameron, Lincoln's secretary of war. The telegram, which was sent to all states still in the Union, asked for two regiments of troops for immediate military service. The south viewed this as an act of war, and most southerners, even those who opposed secession, felt they were now forced to choose sides. Jonathan Worth, state senator, writes on May 13: "I have been the most persevering and determined public man in my State to preserve the Union, the last to abandon the hope that the good sense of the Nation would prevent a collision between the extremes, each of which I viewed with equal abhorrence. I am left no other alternative but to fight for or against my section. I can not hesitate. Lincoln has made us a unit to resist until we repel our invaders or die. He writes again on May 15: "I think the South is committing suicide, but my lot is cast with the South and being unable to manage the ship, I intend to face the breakers manfully and go down with my companions."
May 20, 1861 - Kentucky Declare Neutrality. Gov. Beriah Magoffin of Kentucky refused the call for troops and formally declared the state's neutrality. But the attempt proved futile: both Union and Confederate recruiters operated in the state, with Kentuckians serving on both sides. When Confederate troops moved into western Kentucky in September 1861, and Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant occupied Paducah, the legislature officially endorsed the Union. Pro-South Magoffin established a provisional government at Russellville, ratified the Confederate Constitution, and Kentucky was admitted to the Confederacy in December.
May 21, 1861 - Richmond Named Confederate Capital. The Confederate Congress votes to move the capital to Richmond, Virginia, a role it took from Montgomery, Alabama. The White House of the Confederacy, located a few blocks north of the State Capitol, was home to the family of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In April of 1865, Richmond was burned by a retreating Confederate Army and was returned to the United States, becoming part of "Military District #1" during the Reconstruction period (1865-1870).
May 23, 1861 - Virginia Secedes from the Union. Virginia voters approve the Ordinance of Secession (132,201 to 37,451).
May 24, 1861 - Union Forces Occupy Alexandria, Va. At 2:00 a.m. on May 24, 1861, the day after the citizens of Virginia voted three to one to secede from the Union, 11 regiments of Union soldiers invaded Virginia and occupied the countryside across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The few Rebel pickets in Arlington, the town directly across the river from Washington, quickly retreated from the two Union columns that descended upon them. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's spacious estate on Arlington Heights was quickly occupied as a Union military command post. The 700 Virginia militiamen stationed six miles downstream at Alexandria, an important port and railroad center, were warned of this invasion in time for all but 35 of them to retreat through one end of town as Union troops rushed in the other. Two Union forces converged on Alexandria. Col. Orlando B. Wilcox and his 1st Michigan Regiment marched down from Arlington and Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth and his exotically dressed 11th New York Zouave Regiment arrived at the Alexandria wharf aboard three river steamers. The Zouaves rushed ashore at daybreak and quickly secured the railroad station and telegraph office. As Ellsworth moved through the town, he spied a large Confederate flag flying from atop an inn called the Marshall House. Ellsworth rushed into the inn with four companions, climbed the stairs to the top, and cut down the flag. As they were going back down with the flag, innkeeper James W. Jackson met them at the third floor landing with a double-barreled shotgun in his hands. Jackson was killedshot in the face, bayoneted, and pushed down the stepsbut not before he pulled the trigger and killed Ellsworth. The Union invasion was a resounding success. The 24 year old Ellsworth had been a personal friend of President Abraham Lincoln, and his body lay in state at the White House. Ellsworth became a Union martyr, and babies, streets, and even towns were named after him.
May 23, 1861 - Butler's Contraband Proclamation. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler declared as contraband three slaves who escaped to his lines at Fort Monroe, Virginia, and refused to return them to their master. By August 1,000 contrabands had joined Butler's camp.
May 28, 1861 - Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell is appointed Union commander of the Department of Northeastern Virginia.
June 3, 1861 - Death of Stephen Douglas. Stephen A. Douglas dies unexpectedly in Chicago of acute rheumatis at the age of 48. Abraham Lincoln initiates a mourning period of 30 days.
June 3, 1861 - The Battle of Philippi. When Confederate forces, numbering about 800 men, threatened to seize control of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) at Grafton, W.Va., the South's troops were met by 3,000 federal troops under the general command of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. Col. Thomas A. Morris, temporarily in command of Union forces in western Virginia, mounted a two-prong advance under Col. Ebenezer Dumont of the 7th Indiana Volunteers and Col. Benjamin F. Kelley of the 1st (West) Virginia volunteers against a small Confederate occupation force at Philippi under Col. George Porterfield. Kelley marched on back roads from near Grafton on June 2 to reach the rear of the town, while Dumont moved south from Webster. Both columns arrived at Philippi, about 15 miles south of Grafton, before dawn on the 3rd. The surprise attack routed the Confederate troops, forcing them to retreat to Huttonsville. The Battle of Philippi became the first land battle of the Civil War involving organized troops and the Union's use of the railroad to deploy troops to the area, to rapidly engage enemy troops, was likely the first such use in the world history of warfare.
June 8, 1861 - Tennessee secedes from the Union. Tennessee voters approve secession by a vote of 104,913 to 47,238.
June 10, 1861 - Battle of Big Bethel. This was the first land battle in Virginia. Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler sent converging columns from Hampton and Newport News against advanced Confederate outposts at Little and Big Bethel. Confederates abandoned Little Bethel and fell back to their entrenchments behind Brick Kiln Creek, near Big Bethel Church. The Federals, under immediate command of Brig. Gen. Ebenezer W. Pierce, pursued, attacked frontally along the road, and were repulsed. Crossing downstream, the 5th New York Zouaves attempted to turn the Confederate left flank, but were repulsed. Unit commander Col. T. Wynthrop was killed. The Union forces were disorganized and retired, returning to Hampton and Newport News. The Confederates suffered 1 killed, 7 wounded.
June 10, 1861 - France Proclaims Neutrality. Napoleon III declares French neutrality in the Civil War.
June 11-25, 1861 - The Second Wheeling Convention. With the adoption of Virginia's Ordinance of Secession on May 23, the Second Wheeling Convention began on June 11 as decided at the First Convention in May. The first measures adopted at the Convention ruled that 88 delegates representing 32 counties were entitled to seats in the convention, though other delegates would be accepted later. Arthur I. Boreman was selected to serve as president, and he declared, "We are determined to live under a State Government in the United States of America and under the Constitution of the United States." On June 13, John Carlile introduced to the Convention "A Declaration of the People of Virginia," a document calling for the reorganization of the state government on the grounds that Vriginia's secession had in effect vacated all offices of the existing government. Carlile presented an ordinance for this purpose the next day, beginning the debate. Virtually all the delegates at the Convention recognized the differences between East and West Virginia as irreconcileable and supported some sort of separation; the disagreement was over how this separation should occur. Dennis Dorsey of Monongalia County called for permanent and decisive separation from Eastern Virginia. Carlile, however, though he had called for a similar plan during the First Convention, persuaded the delegates that Constitutional restrictions made it necessary for the formation of a loyal government of Virginia, whose legislature could then give permission for the creation of a new state. On June 19, delegates approved this plan unanimously. The next day, June 20, officials were selected to fill the offices of the Virginia state government. Francis H. Pierpont of Marion County was elected governor. On June 25, the Convention adjourned until August 6. (West Virginia is formally admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863).
July 4, 1861 - Special Session of Congress. The first session of the 37th Congress of the United States met in Washington on Thursday, July 4, 1861, called to special session by the President after the fall of Fort Sumter. The Southern sympathizers were a small minority. The Republicans had complete control of both houses of Congress. Of the 48 senators, 32 were Republicans, and of the 176 representatives, 106 were Republicans. The House quickly elected a pro-war speaker, Galusha Grow of Pennsylvania. New Englanders now controlled the four powerful Senate committees that influenced war policy. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, still scarred from the murderous caning given him by Senator Brooks, was chairman of Foreign Relations, and his colleague, Henry Wilson, presided over Military Affairs. John P. Hale of New Hampshire was in charge of Naval Affairs, and William P. Fessenden of Maine led the Finance committee. These men and their associates, most prominently Senator Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio and Senator Zachariah Chandler of Michigan, were all radical Republicans, determined to punish the South and put an end to slavery once and for all. In the House, clubfooted old Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, a bitter enemy of the South and its "peculiar institution," ran the powerful Committee on Ways and Means, which exerted control on government appropriations. On the first day of the session, President Abraham Lincoln addressed the body in a joint session. The president listed the actions he had taken on his own authority: he had called up the militia; declared a blockade of the Confederacy; increased the regular military forces; suspended the writ habeas corpus; and committed the government to great expenditures. All this had been done without Congressional approval, and Lincoln needed that approval to proceed further. He states the war is "a People's contest . . . a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men . . . " The Congress authorizes a call for 500,000 men.
July 5, 1861 - The Battle of Carthage. Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon had chased Missouri Governor Claiborne F. Jackson and approximately 4,000 State Militia from the State Capital at Jefferson City and from Boonville, and pursued them. Col. Franz Sigel led another force of about 1,000 into southwest Missouri in search of the governor and his loyal troops. Upon learning that Sigel had encamped at Carthage, on the night of July 4, Jackson took command of the troops with him and formulated a plan to attack the much smaller Union force. The next morning, Jackson closed up to Sigel, established a battle line on a ridge ten miles north of Carthage, and induced Sigel to attack him. Opening with artillery fire, Sigel closed to the attack. Seeing a large Confederate forceactually unarmed recruitsmoving into the woods on his left, he feared that they would turn his flank. He withdrew. The Confederates pursued, but Sigel conducted a successful rearguard action. By evening, Sigel was inside Carthage and under cover of darkness; he retreated to Sarcoxie. The battle had little meaning, but the pro-Southern elements in Missouri, anxious for any good news, championed their first victory.
July 21, 1861 - Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas). This was the first major land battle of the armies in Virginia. On July 16, 1861, the untried Union army under Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, prodded to attack by politicians in Washington who wanted a quick victory to solidify their standing, marched from Washington against the Confederate army, which was drawn up behind Bull Run beyond Centreville under Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. McDowell's plan was to use Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler's division to feint an attack on Stone Bridge, which went across Bull Run, while Colonel Thomas A. Davies' brigade would feint at Blackburn's Ford. Under cover of these feigning maneuvers, the main attack would be by Brig. Gens. David Hunter and Samuel P. Heintzelman on the Confederate left flank (the Union's right). This was a sound plan; however, McDowell's forces were much too inexperienced to carry it out effectively. On the July 21, McDowell crossed at Sudley Ford and attacked the Confederate left flank on Matthews Hill. The Confederate troops were also in disorder. Commanded overall by Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard (the hero of Fort Sumter), their order of battle was rather unwieldy, with about one third of their troops still marching from the Shenandoah Valley. Only a small brigade under Colonel Nathan Evans stood in the path of the Union Army. Had this unit faltered, or not been present, the flank attack would have succeeded. Ultimately these few men were unable to hold their positions after the entire Federal army attacked. Fighting raged throughout the day as Confederate forces were driven back to Henry Hill. Confederate Brig. Gen. Barnard E. Bee, having recently resigned from the U. S. Army and still wearing his blue uniform, realized that the army's left flank was seriously exposed. Gen. Bee ordered the Fourth Alabama to advance rapidly in order to plug the gap in the Confederate line. For over an hour, the Fourth Alabama held its position and repulsed several Union regiments. To inspire his troops, Gen. Bee remarked, "There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!" giving Thomas J. Jackson his legendary nom de guerre. The stand of the Fourth Alabama stalled the Union advance and gave the Confederate forces more time to regroup. Late in the afternoon, Confederate reinforcements from the Army of the Shenandoah, under Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, arrived (one brigade arriving by rail) and extended and broke the Union right flank. The Federal retreat rapidly deteriorated into a rout. Although victorious, Confederate forces were too disorganized to pursue. Confederate Gen. Bee and Col. Francis Stebbins Bartow were killed. Much of Washington society had turned out for a trip to Bull Run, Va., to watch the Federal troops crush the Rebels, including Senators Benjamin F. Wade, Lyman Trumbull, Zachariah Chandler, and James W. Grimes. But confusion was the order of the day. In the general flight that followed, as many as 12,000 soldiers could be seen wandering about aimlessly in the smoke of battle. Further confusion ensued when an artillery shell fell on a carriage, blocking the main road north. A panicked mix of wagon and carriage, of soldier and civilian, retreated back to the capital. By July 22, the shattered Union army reached the safety of Washington. The news of Union defeat came to the Rev. Henry Cox of Illinois while he was preaching. He closed the service with "Brethren, we'd better adjourn this camp-meeting and go home and drill." President Lincoln realizes the war will be long. "It's damned bad," he comments. This battle convinced the Lincoln administration that the war would be a long and costly affair. McDowell was relieved of command of the Union army and replaced by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan (July 27), who set about reorganizing and training the troops.
July 25, 1861 - Crittenden-Johnson Resolution. U.S. Congress passes the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution stating that the war is being fought to preserve the Union, not to destroy slavery. The resolution required the Union Government to take no actions against institution of slavery. It was named for Senators John J. Crittenden of Kentucky and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee (who was later to become President). The war was fought not for "overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those States," but to "defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union."
July-August, 1861 - Baylor's Arizona Campaign. In July 1861, a force of Texans under Lt. Colonel John Baylor arrived in El Paso, Texas, across the border from Mesilla. With support from the secessionist residents of Mesilla, Baylor's troops entered the territory and took a position in the city on July 25. Nearby Union forces under Isaac Lynde prepared to attack Baylor. On July 27 the two armies met outside of town at Battle of Mesilla in which the Confederates forced the Union troops to surrender. On August 1, 1861, Baylor proclaimed the existence of a Confederate Arizona Territory out of the area defined in the Tucson convention the previous year. He appointed himself as permanent governor. In 1862 Baylor was ousted as Governor of the territory by Jefferson Davis, and the Confederate loss at the battle of Glorietta Pass (March 26-28, 1862) forced their retreat from the territory.
July 27, 1861 - McClellan Appointed Commander of the Department of the Potomac. President Abraham Lincoln appoints George B. McClellan as Commander of the Department of the Potomac, replacing Irvin McDowell.
August 5, 1861 - The First Income Tax. The first Federal income tax was levied to help pay for the Union war effort. In the summer of 1861, Salmon P. Chase reported to the Congress that he would need $320 million over the next fiscal year to finance the war. He thought he could put his hands on $300 million by borrowing part of it and raising the rest through existing taxes and sale of public lands. He left it up to Congress to come up with a way to raise the remaining $20 million. After weighing their options, the House Ways and Means Committee drew up a bill to tax personal and corporate incomes. The first income tax was moderately progressive and ungraduated, imposing a 3 percent tax on annual incomes over $800 that exempted most wage earners. These taxes were not even collected until 1862, making alternative financing schemes like the Legal Tender Act critical in the interim.
August 6, 1861 - The First Confiscation Act. Congress enacts the first Confiscation Act ("An Act to confiscate Property used for Insurrectionary Purposes"), authorizing the confiscation of all property, including slaves, used actively to support the Confederacy. The Act, strongly supported by Thaddeus Stevens, was passed in response to slaves' choice to run from their owners and attempt to get within Union lines for protection. It allowed the use by the Union army of runaway slaves as a labor force to support their war effort, and to undermine the war effort of their enemy.
August 10, 1861 - The Battle of Wilson's Creek (Oak Hills). The battle fought on August 10, 1861, was the first major Civil War engagement west of the Mississippi River, involving about 5,400 Union troops and 12,000 Confederates. Union Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon's Army of the West was camped at Springfield, Missouri, with Confederate troops under the commands of Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch and Sterling "Pap Price, commander of the Missouri secessionist militia, approaching. On August 9, both sides formulated plans to attack the other. About 5:00 a.m. on the 10th, Lyon, in two columns commanded by himself and Col. Franz Sigel, attacked the Confederates on Wilson's Creek about 12 miles southwest of Springfield. Rebel cavalry received the first blow and fell back away from Bloody Hill. Confederate forces soon rushed up and stabilized their positions. The Confederates attacked the Union forces three times that day but failed to break through the Union line. Lyon was killed during the battle (the first Union general to be killed in combat) and Maj. Samuel D. Sturgis replaced him. Meanwhile, the Confederates had routed Sigel's column, south of Skegg's Branch. Following the third Confederate attack, which ended at 11:00 am, the Confederates withdrew. Sturgis realized, however, that his men were exhausted and his ammunition was low, so he ordered a retreat to Springfield. The Confederates were too disorganized and ill-equipped to pursue. This Confederate victory buoyed southern sympathizers in Missouri and served as a springboard for a bold thrust north that carried Price and his Missouri State Guard as far as Lexington. Wilson's Creek, the most significant 1861 battle in Missouri, gave the Confederates control of southwestern Missouri. The battle led to greater federal military activity in Missouri, and set the stage for the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862.
August 26, 1861 - Butler's North Carolina Coastal Campaign. To make the blockade of the southern coasts effective and to prevent privateering, a joint naval and military expedition under Flag Officer Silas Stringham and Army Major Benjamin F. Butler is sent out to take key positions on the coast. On August 26 1861, the Federal fleet embarked from Fort Monroe and headed south. The fleet's target was Hatteras Inlet, an important haven for blockade-runners. On the August 28, while the navy bombarded Forts Clark and Hatteras, Union troops came ashore and attacked the rear of the Hatteras Inlet Batteries (Aug. 28-29). On August 29, Col. William F. Martin surrendered the Confederate garrison of 670. The Federals lost only one man. Two regiments and some of the smaller warships were left there while the fleet returned to Hampton Roads for reinforcements. The Confederates were as dejected as Lincoln was elated. There was nothing they could do to eject the Federals, and the Union could obviously move at will against any point on the North Carolina coast. A newspaperman in Raleigh wrote: "The whole of the eastern part of the state is now exposed to the ravages of merciless vandals . . . Our state is now plunged into a great deal of trouble."
August-September, 1861 - Frémont's Emancipation Proclamation. On August 30 Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont, commander of the Union Army in St. Louis, proclaimed that all slaves owned by Confederates in Missouri were "forever free." He had not informed President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was furious when he heard the news as he feared that this action would force slave-owners in border states to help the Confederates. Lincoln asked Frémont to modify his proclamation to conform to official policy, which under the Confiscation Act of 1861, freed only those slaves used by Confederates to aid the war effort and did not extend to general abolition. Frémont refused. This placed the president, who later called Frémont's act "dictatorial", in a very difficult political position. He could not risk alienating the conservatives in this crucial border state; yet he did not wish to upset the Radical Republicans who were pressing for abolition. The president felt he needed to be cautious; at this stage of the war, Union victories were not numerous enough to justify bold political actions. Lincoln wrote to Frémont: "Can it be pretended that it is any longer the government of the U.S.any government of Constitution and lawswherein a General, or a President, may make permanent rules of property by proclamation." The President revoked Frémont's proclamation on September 11. On October 24, Frémont was relieved of his command and replaced by Gen. Henry W. Halleck, who assumed command of the Department of the Missouri on November 19, 1861 and issued an order forbidding runaway slaves from seeking permission to be protected by the Union Army. Radical Republicans were furious with Lincoln for sacking Frémont. The Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, William P. Fessenden, described Lincoln's actions as "a weak and unjustifiable concession in the Union men of the border states." Charles Sumner wrote to Lincoln complaining about his actions and remarked how sad it was "to have the power of a god and not use it godlike".
September-October, 1861 - Polk Invades Kentucky. Confederate General Leonidas Polk invades neutral Kentucky, prompting the state legislature to ask for Union assistance. On September 4 General Leonidas Polk and a large Confederate Army moved into Kentucky, occupied Columbus and began occupying high ground overlooking the Ohio River. Ulysses S. Grant had been assembling his Union Army at Cairo, Illinois. News reaches him on September 5 of the Confederate advance. Grant then occupies Paducah, Kentucky, on September 6 and quickly gained control of the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers as they flowed into the Ohio, preventing the Confederates from consolidating their defense line in Kentucky. The capture of Paducah gave the Union control the mouth of the Tennessee River. Throughout most of the war, U.S. Colonel Stephen G. Hicks was in charge of Paducah and massive Union supply depots and dock facilities for the gunboats and supply ships that supported Federal forces along the Ohio, Mississippi and Tennessee River systems. On September 7, the newly elected pro-Unionist legislature of Kentucky orders the American flag to be hoisted over the capitol at Frankfort and shortly thereafter asks the Confederate forces occupying Columbus, Kentucky to withdraw. President Jefferson Davis, aware that Union forces now controlled the main waterway into the heartland of the Confederacy, sent in General Joseph E. Johnston with reinforcements.
October 1861-March 1862 - Confederates Close the Potomac. After victory at First Manassas, the Confederate army established a defensive line from Centreville along the Occoquan River to the Potomac River. In October, the Confederates constructed batteries at Evansport, Freestone Point, Shipping Point, and Cockpit Point to close the Potomac River to shipping and isolate Washington. By mid-December, the Confederates had 37 heavy guns in position along the river. On January 3, Cockpit Point was shelled by Anacostia and Yankee with neither side gaining an advantage. Union ships approached the point again on March 9 but discovered that the Confederates had abandoned their works and retired closer to Richmond, after effectively sealing off the Potomac River for nearly five months.
October 9, 1861 - Battle of Santa Rosa Island. Santa Rosa Island is a 40-mile barrier island located Florida, thirty miles from the Alabama state border. At the western end of the island stood Fort Pickens, which in the fall of 1861 was garrrisoned by parts of the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th U. S. artillery and the 3d U.S. infantry, under command of Col. Harvey Brown, of the 5th artillery. The 6th N.Y. volunteer infantry, commanded by Col. William Wilson, was encamped outside of and a short distance east of the fort. On the night of the October 9 some 1,200 or 1,500 Confederates, commanded by Brig.-Gen. Richard H. Anderson, landed about 3 or 4 miles above the fort and marched down the island in three columns, the object being to surprise and capture the garrison. About 3:30 a. m. on the 9th the pickets were suddenly attacked and driven in, and a terrific fire was opened on the camp of the 6th N. Y. Col. Wilson tried to rally his men, but the sudden and unexpected assault threw them into a panic and only a few answered the call. These, however, bravely stood their ground until reinforced by Maj. Arnold, of the 1st artillery, with a detachment of regulars, from the fort, when the Confederates were driven back to their landing place, closely pressed by about one-fifth their number, who kept up the fire until the boats were out of range. The Union loss was 14 killed, 29 wounded and 24 captured or missing. General Braxton Bragg, commanding the Confederate forces at Pensacola, reported their loss as "30 or 40 killed and wounded," but a Confederate newspaper, found by Lieut. Seeley a few days after the occurrence, gave the total casualties as 175. Maj. Vodges, of the 1st artillery, was captured, and on the Confederate side Gen. Anderson was severely wounded. The camp of the 6th N.Y. was partially destroyed.
October 21, 1861 - Battle of Ball's Bluff (Leesburg). Confederate Brig. Gen. Nathan "Shanks" Evans stopped a badly coordinated attempt by Union forces under Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone to cross the Potomac at Harrison's Island and capture Leesburg. A timely Confederate counterattack drove the Federals over the bluff and into the river. More than 700 Federals were captured. Col. Edward D. Baker (a U.S. Senator from Oregon and close friend of President Lincoln) was killed. This Union rout had severe political ramifications in Washington. Six weeks later, Congress created the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War in part to discover the causes of that debacle. Mostly for political reasons, the committee blamed General Stone for what more properly were Colonel Baker's mistakes. As a result, Stone was jailed for six months in 1862 and his promising career came to an end.
October 24, 1861 - President Abraham Lincoln receives the first transcontinental telegraph message.
October 28, 1861 - Missouri Joins the Confederacy. Deposed Missouri Governor Claiborne F. Jackson Jackson convenes a rump convention in Neosho, Mo., which passes an ordinance of secession. Missouri joins the Confederate States of America in November 1861.
October 31, 1861 - Winfield Scott Resigns. Union General Winfield Scott resigns as Commander of the United States Army, citing failing health.
November 1, 1861 - McClellan Appointed General-in-Chief. President Abraham Lincoln appoints George B. McClellan (1826-85) as general-in-chief of all Union forces after the resignation of the aged Winfield Scott. Lincoln tells McClellan, " . . . the supreme command of the Army will entail a vast labor upon you." McClellan responds, "I can do it all." He developed a strategy to defeat the Confederate Army that included an army of 273,000 men. His plan was to invade Virginia from the sea and to seize Richmond and the other major cities in the South. McClellan believed that to keep resistance to a minimum, it should be made clear that the Union forces would not interfere with slavery and would help put down any slave insurrections. McClellan's policy was one of cautious, careful preparation and reliance on numbers. He spends the winter training some 200,000 men (the Army of the Potomac) for a march on the Confederate capital, Richmond.
November 6, 1861 - Election of Jefferson Davis. Jefferson Davis is elected president of the Confederate States of America.
November 7, 1861 - Capture of Port Royal Island, S.C. Union forces capture Port Royal Island on the South Carolina coast. A Navy fleet under Samuel F. Du Pont bombarded the protecting forts, Beauregard and Walter, which were then overrun by Army troops under Lieutenant Col. Thomas W. Sherman. The victory was important to the North, for it now had a base on the flank of the South. From this base its South Atlantic Blockading Squadron under Du Pont proceeded to capture or render inoperative nearly all the South's Atlantic ports below North Carolina.
November 7, 1861 - Battle of Belmont. On November 6, 1861, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant leaves Cairo, Illinois, by steamers, in conjunction with two gunboats, to make a demonstration against Columbus, Kentucky. The next morning, Grant learns that Confederate troops had crossed the Mississippi River from Columbus to Belmont, Missouri, to intercept two detachments sent in pursuit of Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson and, possibly, to reinforce Maj. Gen. Sterling Price's force. Grant lands on the Missouri shore, out of the range of Confederate artillery at Columbus, and starts marching to Belmont. At 9:00 a.m. an engagement begins. The Federals rout the Confederates out of their Belmont cantonment, destroying the Rebel supplies and equipment since they did not have the means to carry them off. The scattered Confederate forces reorganize and receive reinforcements from Columbus. Counterattacked by the Confederates, the Union force withdraws, reembarks, and returns to Cairo. Grant did not accomplish much in this operation, but, at a time when little Union action occurred anywhere, many were heartened by any activity.
November 8, 1861 - The Trent Affair. Confederate President Jefferson Davis, seeking support against the North, sent diplomats James Mason of Virginia as minister to Britain and John Slidell of Louisiana as minister to France. Eluding the Union blockade, the Southerners reached Cuba, where they boarded a British mail steamer, the Trent, for passage across the Atlantic Ocean. On November 8, 1861, Captain James of the U.S.S San Jacinto, halted the Trent 300 miles east of Havana with two shots across the bow. A boarding party from the San Jacinto seized the Confederate diplomats and their secretaries, but then allowed the Trent to resume its voyage. This decision became a source of controversy, with the British claiming that the San Jacinto had violated international law by removing persons from a ship without taking the ship to a prize court for adjudication. The San Jacinto met with acclaim when it landed in Boston on November 23 to deposit the Confederate prisoners at Fort Warren. The war had been going badly for the Union, and this was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal year. Northern newspapers vied with one another to praise Wilkes' conduct. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to honor him. Reaction to the news in Great Britain, although equally passionate, could hardly have been more different. News of the capture arrived in London on November 27, where many perceived it as an outrageous insult to British honor. Lord Palmerston, Britain's cantankerous Prime Minister, commenced an emergency cabinet meeting by throwing his hat on the table and declaring, "I don't know whether you are going to stand this, but I'll be damned if I do." The British Government composed an ultimatum that demanded an apology and the return of the Confederate diplomats. Prince Albert, the consort of Britain's Queen Victoria, although deathly ill with typhoid, intervened from his sickbed to soften the ultimatum, which he felt was too belligerent. This was his last official act, as he died a couple of weeks later. The revised message was sent to Lord Lyons, the British minister in Washington. Lyons presented it to Secretary of State William H. Seward on December 19. Meanwhile, the Government of France declared its willingness to support Britain in a conflict against the United States. Capitulation to Britain's demands was difficult for the U.S. Government, due to the popularity in the North of Wilkes' action. Nonetheless, President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward had given themselves room for maneuver by waiting to hear the British reply before they decided the fate of the Confederate prisoners. After heated meetings with his cabinet, Lincoln decided upon a policy of "One war at a time". The question remained how to accept British demands while maintaining U.S. popular support. Seward resolved this conundrum by presenting to Lyons a brilliantly crafted reply of December 27 to the British note. Seward conceded the substance at issue by announcing that the Confederates would be freed but he salvaged American pride by forcefully asserting that Britain had finally adopted the American conception of neutral rights over which the two nations had fought a war in 1812. On January 1, 1862, Mason and Slidell were released. Reaching Europe at last, their mission proved a failure, as they found themselves unable to entice the European powers to intervene in the American Civil War on behalf of the Confederacy.
November 8-9, 1861 - Battle of Ivy Mountain. While recruiting in southeast Kentucky, Rebels under Col. John S. Williams ran short of ammunition at Prestonsburg and fell back to Pikeville to replenish their supply. Brig. Gen. William Nelson sent out a detachment from near Louisa under Col. Joshua Sill while he started out from Prestonsburg with a larger force in an attempt to "turn or cut the Rebels off." Williams prepared for evacuation, hoping for time to reach Virginia, and sent out a cavalry force to meet Nelson about eight miles from Pikeville. The Rebel cavalry escaped, and Nelson continued on his way. Williams then met Nelson at a point northeast of Pikeville between Ivy Mountain and Ivy Creek. Waiting by a narrow bend in the road, the Rebels surprised the Yankees by firing upon their constricted ranks. A fight ensued, but neither side gained the bulge. As the shooting ebbed, Williams's men felled trees across the road and burned bridges to slow Nelson's pursuing force. Night approached and rain began which, along with the obstructions, convinced Nelson's men to go into camp. In the meantime, Williams retreated into Virginia, stopping in Abingdon on the 9th. Sill's force arrived too late to be of use, but he did skirmish with the remnants of Williams's retreating force before he occupied Pikeville on the 9th. This bedraggled Confederate force retreated back into Virginia for succor. The Union forces consolidated their power in eastern Kentucky mountains.
November 19, 1861 - The Battle of Round Mountain (also known as Round Mountains) was fought November 19, 1861, in what is now Payne County, Oklahoma (then Indian Territory). Col. Douglas H. Cooper, Confederate commander of the Indian Department, had not been able to reconcile differences with Chief Opothleyahola, who commanded a band of Unionist Creeks and Seminoles. Cooper set out on November 15, 1861, with about 1,400 men to either compel submission . . . or "drive him and his party from the country." His force rode up the Deep Fork of the Canadian River towards Chief Opothleyahola's camp which they found deserted. On November 19, Cooper learned from captured prisoners that part of Opothleyahola's band was at the Red Fork of the Arkansas River, where they were erecting a fort. Cooper's men arrived there around 4:00 p.m. and he ordered a cavalry charge, which discovered that Opothleyahola's followers had recently abandoned their camp. The Confederates did find some stragglers beyond the camp and followed them, with the 4th Texas blundered into Opothleyahola's warriors at the surrounding treeline at the foot of the Round Mountains. The Federals fired into the Confederate cavalry and, in large force, came out to attack them. They chased the Confederates back to Cooper's main force. Darkness prevented Cooper from attacking until the main enemy force was within 60 yards. A short fight ensued but Opothleyahola's men broke it off and retreated back to their camp after setting the prairie grass on fire. Cooper set out for Opothleyahola's new camp the next morning but found it gone. The Confederates claimed victory because Chief Opothleyahola had left the area. This was the first of three encounters between Opothleyahola's Union bands and Confederate troops. The chief was forced to flee to Kansas at the end of the year. The Confederate loss in the engagement was 1 captain and 5 men killed, 3 severely and 1 slightly wounded, and 1 missing. Opothleyahola lost about 110 killed and wounded.
Early December, 1861 - Joint Committee On The Conduct Of The War. To monitor both military progress and the Abraham Lincoln administration, Congress creates the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. The War Committee, as it was called, was created in the aftermath of the disastrous Battle of Ball's Bluff in October 1861 and was designed to provide a check over the executive branch's management of the war. The committee was stacked with Radical Republicans and staunch abolitionists, however, and was often biased in its approach to investigations of the Union war effort. Senate members included Republicans Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio (Chairman) and Zachariah Chandler of Michigan, two of the most prominent radicals in the Republican Party. Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, the only senator from a seceded state, was the sole Democratic senator on the committee. When Johnson was appointed military governor of Tennessee in March 1862, he was replaced by Joseph Wright, the former governor of Indiana. House members included Republicans George W. Julian of Indiana, John Covode of Pennsylvania, and Daniel Gooch of Massachusetts. Moses Fowler Odell from Brooklyn, New York, was the sole Democratic house member. Among other things, the War Committee investigated fraud in government war contracts, the treatment of Union prisoners held in the South, alleged atrocities committed by Confederate troops against Union soldiers, and the Sand Creek Massacre of Indians in Colorado. Most of the committee's energies were directed towards investigating Union defeats, particularly those of the Army of the Potomac. Many members were bitterly critical of generals like George B. McClellan and George G. Meade, Democrats they believed to be "soft" on slavery. The War Committee was often at odds with the Lincoln administration's handling of the war effort, and had particular problems with the administration's military decisions. At the beginning of the war, it was critical because the administration did not have the eradication of slavery as one of its goals. Even after the Emancipation Proclamation, the committee still found fault with many of the administration's decisions-for instance, they did not want any Democratic generals in the army. Members of the committee often leaked testimony to the press and contributed to the jealousy and distrust among Union generals. Although the committee did help to uncover fraud in war contracts, the lack of military expertise by its members often complicated the Northern war effort.
January, 1862 - Stanton Appointed Secretry of War. Abraham Lincoln decides in January, 1862, to remove the conservative Simon Cameron as Secretary of War, and replace him with Edwin M. Stanton.
January 18, 1862 - Deatho of John Tyler. John Tyler dies, former President of the United States, member of the Congress of the Confederate States of America.
January-July, 1862 - Burnside's North Carolina Expedition. U.S.N Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough, commander of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, and U.S. Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside led a major amphibious expedition out of Fort Monroe on January 2 that included 15,000 men on eighty transports with twenty-six warships and gunboats. Their objective was to secure eastern North Carolina by taking Roanoke Island, New Bern, and Beaufort Harbor/Fort Macon. Roanoke Island linked the Outer Banks to the North Carolina mainland and enabled the Confederates to control access to both Pamlico Sound and Albemarle Sound. The defenses of Roanoke Island were concentrated on its west side. Four fortsHuger, Forrest, Blanchard, and Bartowguarded the narrow Croatan Sound where sunken ships and pilings slowed attacking ships. A large earthwork on Suple's Hill controlled the only north-south road. The Federals set out to capture the island with nineteen warships, forty-eight transports, and 13,000 troops, leaving the rest of the forces at Hatteras Inlet. The fleet bombarded Fort Bartow on February 7, staying out of range of the other two forts, and skirmished with the seven vessels of CSN Flag Officer William F. Lynch's "mosquito fleet." Burnside landed 4,000 men that afternoon at Ashby's Harbor, three miles south of Fort Bartow and by midnight had 10,000 men ashore. The Confederates guarding the shore retired to the Suple's Hill earthwork without opposing the Federals. In Burnside's attack the next morning U.S. Brig. Gen. John G. Foster's brigade assaulted the works but were pinned down under heavy fire. U.S. Brig. Gen. Jesse L. Reno's brigade slogged through a swamp on the Confederate right and charged the fort. The Confederates abandoned the redoubt, retreated north up the causeway, and CS Colonel Henry M. Shaw and 2,500 troops surrendered. Only one week after they had begun their expedition, Goldsborough and Burnside had successfully invaded North Carolina, captured Roanoke Island and two towns on the coast, sealed one of the state's primary canals, and destroyed the "mosquito fleet."
January 10, 1862 - Battle of Middle Creek. More than a month after Confederate Col. John S. Williams left Kentucky, following the fight at Ivy Mountain, Brig. Gen. Humphrey Marshall led another force into southeast Kentucky to continue recruiting activities. From his headquarters in Paintsville, on the Big Sandy River, northwest of Prestonsburg, Marshall recruited volunteers and had a force of more than 2,000 men by early January, but could only partially equip them. Union Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell directed Col. James Garfield to force Marshall to retreat back into Virginia. Leaving Louisa, Garfield took command of the 18th Brigade and began his march south on Paintsville. He compelled the Confederates to abandon Paintsville and retreat to the vicinity of Prestonsburg. Garfield slowly headed south, but swampy areas and numerous streams slowed his movements, and he arrived in the vicinity of Marshall on the 9th. Heading out at 4:00 a.m. on January 10, Garfield marched a mile south to the mouth of Middle Creek, fought off some Rebel cavalry and turned west to attack Marshall. Marshall had put his men in line of battle west and south of the creek near its forks. Garfield attacked shortly after noon, and the fighting continued for most of the afternoon until Union reinforcements arrived in time to dissuade the Confederates from assailing the Federal left. Instead, the Rebels retired south and were ordered back to Virginia on the 24th. Garfield's force moved to Prestonsburg after the fight and then retired to Paintsville. Union forces had halted the Confederate 1861 offensive in Kentucky, and Middle Creek demonstrated that their strength had not diminished. This victory, along with Mill Springs a little more than a week later, cemented Union control of eastern Kentucky until Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg launched his offensive in the summer and fall. Following these two January victories in Kentucky, the Federals carried the war into Tennessee in February.
January 19, 1862 - Battle of Logan's Cross Roads (Mill Springs). In the first major Union victory of the war, Brig. Gen. George Thomas defeats the Confederates at Mill Springs and secures Union control of eastern Kentucky. Although Confederate Brig. Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer's main responsibility was to guard Cumberland Gap, in November 1861 he advanced west into Kentucky to strengthen control in the area around Somerset. He found a strong defensive position at Mill Springs and decided to make it his winter quarters. He fortified the area, especially both sides of the Cumberland River. Union Brig. Gen. George Thomas received orders to drive the Rebels across the Cumberland River and break up Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden's army. He left Lebanon and slowly marched through rain-soaked country, arriving at Logan's Crossroads on January 17, where he waited for Brig. Gen. Albin Schoepf's troops from Somerset to join him. Maj. Gen. George Crittenden, Zollicoffer's superior, had arrived at Mill Springs and taken command of the Confederate troops. He knew that Thomas was in the vicinity and decided that his best defense was to attack the Yankees. The Rebels attacked Thomas at Logan's Crossroads at dawn on January 19. Unknown to the Confederates, some of Schoepf's troops had arrived and reinforced the Union force. Initially, the Rebel attack forced the first unit it hit to retire, but stiff resistance followed. Zollicoffer was killed when he mistakenly rode into the Federal lines thinking the troops were his own men. The Rebels made another attack but were repulsed. Union counterattacks on the Confederate right and left were successful, forcing them from the field in a retreat that ended in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The battle (also known as the battle for Logan's Crossroads, the Battle of Fishing Creek, and the Battle of Somerset) was a decisive Union victory. Mill Springs, along with Middle Creek, broke whatever Confederate strength there was in eastern Kentucky. Confederate fortunes did not rise again until summer when Gen. Braxton Bragg launched his offensive into Kentucky. Mill Springs was the larger of the two Union Kentucky victories in January 1862. With these victories, the Federals carried the war into Middle Tennessee in February.
January 31, 1862 - General War Order No. 1. President Abraham Lincoln issues General War Order No. 1 calling for all United States naval and land forces to begin a general advance by February 22, George Washington's birthday. Lincoln also insists on being consulted about McClellan's military plans. Lincoln disagreed with McClellan's desire to attack Richmond from the east. Lincoln only gave in when the division commanders voted 8 to 4 in favour of McClellan's strategy. However, Lincoln no longer had confidence in McClellan and removed him from supreme command of the Union Army. He also insists that McClellan leave 30,000 men behind to defend Washington.
February 1, 1862 - Battle Hymn of the Republic. Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is published for the first time in The Atlantic Monthly.
February 6, 1862 - Capture of Fort Henry. By February 1862, Fort Henry, a Confederate earthen fort on the Tennessee River with outdated guns, was partially inundated and the river threatened to flood the rest. On February 4-5, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant landed his divisions in two different locations, one on the east bank of the Tennessee River to prevent the garrison's escape and the other to occupy the high ground on the Kentucky side which would insure the fort's fall; Flag-Officer Andrew H. Foote's seven gunboats began bombarding the fort. Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, commander of the fort's garrison, realized that it was only a matter of time before Fort Henry fell. While leaving artillery in the fort to hold off the Union fleet, he escorted the rest of his force out of the area and sent them safely off on the route to Fort Donelson, 10 miles away. Tilghman then returned to the fort and, soon afterwards, surrendered to the fleet, which had engaged the fort and closed within 400 yards. Fort Henry's fall opened the Tennessee River to Union gunboats and shipping as far as Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The capture of Fort Henry broke the communications of the extended Confederate line and Joseph E. Johnston decided to withdraw his main army to Nashville. He left 15,000 men to protect Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River.
February 14, 1862 - Habeas Corpus Restored. Abraham Lincoln ends the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and issues an amnesty to political or state prisoners no longer deemed dangerous. The proclamation took pains to explain that, at the early stage of the war, "Every department of the Government was paralyzed by treason," and that Congress "had not anticipated and so had not provided for the emergency." Lincoln, as chief executive, had felt compelled to "employ with energy the extraordinary powers which the Constitution confides to him in cases of insurrection." The suspension of habeas corpus will be re-instated on September 24, 1862.
February 16, 1862 - Capture of Fort Donelson. Although Gen. Henry W. Halleck prefers to have Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant consolidate his position after capturing Fort Henry on February 6, Grant advanced cross-country to invest Fort Donelson. General John A. McClernand leads his division in a reckless premature assault on the Donelson lines. The next day (February 14), Grant watches an assault on Donelson by the gunboats of Andrew H. Foote's flotilla which is equally unsuccessful. The Confederates are now emboldened to make an assault of their own (February 15) aiming to break out of the siege, which has temporary success, but then the Confederates are forced back to their lines. During the night, Confederate Generals John Floyd and Gideon Pillow flee from Fort Donelson. Nathan Bedford Forrest saves his cavalry. General Simon B. Buckner, now in command, requests an armistice to arrange terms of surrender. To this, Grant responds: "Yours of this date proposing Armistice, and appointment of Commissioners, to settle terms of Capitulation is just received. No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works." The surrender of Donelson destroys the entire Confederate line in the middle theatre of war. It confirms the loss of Kentucky and the imminent threat to Tennessee. As the first major Union victory of the war, it touches off great celebrations in the North, in the course of which Grant's words provoke as much enthusiasm as the victory itself. The happy coincidence of the phrase with his initials earns him the nickname, "Unconditional Surrender Grant." With the fall of Fort Donelson, the two major water transportation routes in the Confederate west, bounded by the Appalachians and the Mississippi River, became Union highways for movement of troops and material.
February 18-April 21, 1862 - 1st Session of the First Confederate Congress. The provisional Confederate Congress, which had met for four sessions between February 4, 1861 and February 17, 1862, was replaced by a permanent legislature on February 18, 1862. Elections for the First Confederate Congress were held on November 6, 1861 and held it first (of four) sessions in Richmond, Virginia, from February 18 to April 21, 1862.
February 20, 1862 - President Lincoln is struck with grief as his beloved eleven year old son, Willie (William Wallace Lincoln), dies from fever, probably caused by polluted drinking water in the White House. The president's wife is emotionally devastated and never fully recovers.
February 25, 1862 - The Legal Tender Act. The Legal Tender Act passed in February 1862, authorized the issue of $150 million in Treasury notes, known as Greenbacks. In contrast to Confederate paper, however, Congress required citizens, banks, and governments to accept Greenbacks as legal tender for public and private debts, except for interest on federal bonds and customs duties. This policy allowed buyers to purchase bonds with greenbacks while the interest accrued to them was paid in gold (funded, in part, by specie payments of customs duties). Investors enjoyed a bountiful windfall, since government securities purchased with depreciated currency were redeemed with gold valued at the prewar level. Taxpayers essentially made up the difference. Because most bonds were acquired by the wealthy or by financial institutions, the program concentrated investment capital in the hands of those likely to use it, much as Alexander Hamilton's debt plan had sought to do.
February 25, 1862 - Surrender of Nashville. After the fall of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston knew he could no longer hold Nashville. He leaves Nathan Bedford Forrest in charge of the rear-guard to salvage what he can and falls back to Murfreesboro. Union General Don Carlos Buell, still advancing cautiously, reaches the now undefended city of Nashville on February 23. The mayor of Nashville surrenders the city on February 25 to Gen. Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel. Nashville was the first Confederate state capital to fall under Union control. It was one of the South's important industrial centers and the loss was a major one. Upon securing Nashville, Gen. Mitchel advances on Huntsville, Alabama. His goal was to destroy railroad tracks connecting the eastern part of the Confederacy with the western part. Mitchel has limited success. He has only fifteen thousand men under his command, and Southern guerrillas wreak havoc among his men. With the fall of Nashville, the Confederate position at Columbus, Ohio, becomes untenable and Major Leonidas Polk abandones his fortifications and falls back. 7,000 Southern troops are sent to New Madrid and the fortress at Island No. 10 to block the Mississippi River. Another 10,000 were moved to the railway junction at Humboldt, Tennessee from which they could be rapidly shifted as the situation dictated.
February 28-April 8, 1862 - The Battle of New Madrid and Island Number Ten. Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. Gideon Pillow started construction of these two positions in April 1861, to block Federal navigation of the Mississippi. When Leonidas Polk withdrew from Columbus, Ky., during the period February 29-March 2, 1862, in the preliminary moves of the Shiloh campaign, he sent the 5,000-man division of John P. McCown to reinforce the 2,000 then occupying these two river positions. On a peninsula 10 miles long by three miles wide the defenses consisted of a two-regiment redoubt at New Madrid, and land batteries on a floating battery at Island No. 10. The latter was covered by land batteries on the Tennessee shore. Federal forces had to reduce these forts in connection with their general offensive down the Mississippi (the Henry-Donelson and Shiloh campaigns). Gen. Henry W. Halleck had sent some of John Pope's force in central Missouri to reinforce Ulysses S. Grant's attack on Donelson; he also told Pope to organize a corps from the remaining troops in Missouri and to capture New Madrid. Pope realized that the 50 heavy guns and the small fleet of gunboats the Confederates had in and near the position necessitated a regular siege operation. He sent for siege artillery and started a bombardment and the construction of approaches on March 13. On this same date McCown ordered the evacuation of New Madrid and moved the garrison across the river to the peninsula in order to avoid being isolated. For this action he was relieved of command and succeeded by William Mackall. Pope now decided to cross the river south of New Madrid and turn the defense of Island No. 10. Since his supporting naval transports were upstream, he had a canal cut through the swamps so that boats could by-pass the defenses of Island No. 10. The canal was finished on April 4. Two Federal gunboats ran the Confederate batteries to support the river crossing, and on April 7 four regiments were ferried across the Mississippi to cut the Confederate line of retreat at Tiptonville. Mackall surrendered 3,500 men (over 1,500 of whom were sick) and 500 escaped through the swamps. The defeat of the Confederates opened the river for the capture of Memphis, Tennessee two months later in the Battle of Memphis. Pope's victory opened the Mississippi to Fort Pillow, and gave him a reputation which led to his being selected by Lincoln two months later to command the Army of Virginia (Second Bull Run Campaign). (Island Number Ten has since disappeared as a result of erosion from the Mississippi River).
March 4, 1862 - Johnson Appointed Governor of Tennessee. After the capture of Nashville by Union forces, Pres. Lincoln appoints Andrew Johnson Military Governor of Tennessee, with the rank of Brigadier-General.
March 8-9, 1862 - Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern). The Battle of Pea Ridge (also known as The Battle of Elkhorn Tavern) occurred on March 8-9, 1862 at Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas, near Bentonville. In the battle, Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis defeated Confederate troops under General Earl Van Dorn. The outcome of the battle essentially cemented Union control of Missouri. Union forces in Missouri, during the latter part of 1861 and early 1862, had effectively pushed Confederate forces out of Missouri. By the spring of 1862 Union Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis determined to pursue the Confederates back into Arkansas with his Army of the Southwest. Curtis moved his approximately 10,250 Union soldiers and 50 artillery pieces into Benton County, Arkansas along a small stream called Sugar Creek. Union forces consisted primarily of soldiers from Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. Over half of the Federal army were German immigrants. Curtis found an excellent defensive position on the north side of the creek and proceeded to fortify it and place artillery for an expected Confederate assault from the south. Confederate Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn had been appointed overall commander of the Trans-Mississippi District to quell a simmering conflict between competing generals Sterling Price of Missouri and Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch of Texas. Van Dorn's Army of the West totalled approximately 16,000 men including 800 Cherokee Indian troops, Price's Missouri State Guard, Texas Rangers, and regular Confederate troops from Arkansas and Louisiana. Van Dorn was aware of the Union movements into Arkansas and was intent on destroying Curtis's Army of the Southwest and reopening the gateway into Missouri. Prelude: General Van Dorn did not wish to attack Curtis's entrenched position head on. On 4 March he split his army into two divisions under Price and McCulloch and ordered them to march north along the Bentonville Detour with the hopes of getting behind Curtis and cutting off his lines of communication. Van Dorn left his supply trains behind in order to make better speed, a decision which would later prove to be a crucial one. The Confederates made an arduous three day forced march down the Bentonville Cutoff from Fayetteville in the midst of a freezing storm. Many of the Confederate soldiers were ill-equipped and barefoot and it was said that one could find the army by following the bloody footprints in the snow. The Confederates arrived at their destination strung out along the road, hungry, and tired. Compounding the Confederate problems was the late arrival of McCulloch which led Van Dorn to split his forces in two. Van Dorn ordered McCulloch to circle around the western end of Pea Ridge, turn east along the south face and meet Price's division at Elkhorn Tavern. Van Dorn and Price would travel east along the north face of the ridge, secure Elkhorn Tavern, and wait for McCulloch. These delays allowed Curtis to begin repositioning his Army to meet the unexpected attack from his rear and get his forces between the two wings of Van Dorn's forces. Left wing: McCulloch's troops consisted of Confederate troops under Brig. Gen. James McQueen McIntosh and two divisions of Cherokee Indians under Brig. Gen. Albert Pike. McCulloch's troops swung westward around Pea Ridge and plowed into elements of the Federal Army at a small village named Leetown where a fierce firefight erupted. McCulloch and McIntosh were killed in action soon after the clash began and Colonel Louis Hé:bert was captured. These events effectively shattered the command structure and the Confederates were unable to organize an effective attack in the resulting chaos. Right wing: On the other side of Pea Ridge Van Dorn and Price encountered the Federals near Elkhorn Tavern. Van Dorn ordered an attack and by nightfall the Confederates succeeded in pushing the Union forces back. They seized the Telegraph and Huntsville Roads and succeeded in cutting Curtis's lines of communication at Elkhorn Tavern. The survivors from McCulloch's command joined Van Dorn at the Tavern during the night. Federal counterattack: On the morning of 8 March Curtis massed his artillery near the Tavern and launched a counterattack in an attempt to recover his supply lines. Leading the attack was Curtis' second-in-command Franz Sigel. The massed artillery combined with cavalry and infantry attacks began to crumple the Confederate lines. By noon Van Dorn realized that he was low on ammunition and that his supply trains were miles away with no hope of arriving in time to resupply his men. Despite outnumbering his opponent, Van Dorn had no choice but to withdraw down the Huntsville Road. Aftermath: Approximately 4,600 Confederates fell in battle at Pea Ridge including a large number of officers. Federal forces suffered approximately 1,400 casualties. With the defeat at Pea Ridge the Confederates never again seriously threatened the state of Missouri. Within weeks Van Dorn's army would be transferred across the Mississippi River to bolster the Army of Tennessee leaving Arkansas virtually defenseless. With his victory, Curtis proceeded to move farther into undefended Arkansas with the hope of capturing Little Rock.
March 11, 1862 - Lincoln Become General-in-Chief. President Abraham Lincoln relieves George B. McClellan as general-in-chief and takes direct command of the Union armies. Gen. McClellan retains command of the Army of the Potomac.
March-June, 1862 - The Peninsula Campaign. The Peninsula Campaign was a large-scale but unsuccessful Union effort to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Va., by way of the peninsula formed by the York and the James rivers. Following the engagement between the ironclads Monitor and Merrimack at nearby Hampton Roads (March 9), Federal supplies and 100,000 troops were disembarked at Fort Monroe under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. The first phase of the campaign, during which the North reached the town of White House, within striking distance of Richmond, concluded with the indecisive Battle of Seven Pines (May 31-June 1), in which Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston was seriously wounded and field command passed to Robert E. Lee. A second phase was characterized by three weeks of inactivity. The final phase ended triumphantly for the Confederate forces of General Lee, who forced the withdrawal of the Federal Army of the Potomac after the Seven Days' Battles (June 25-July 1). The campaign begins as McClellan's Army of the Potomac advances from Washington down the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay to the peninsular south of the Confederate Capital of Richmond, Virginia then begins an advance toward Richmond. President Lincoln temporarily relieves McClellan as general-in-chief and takes direct command of the Union Armies. After long delay, McClellan decided to advance on Richmond, not overland through territory cut by many rivers, but by water to the mouth of the James River. The advance began in April. The Confederates, under Johnston and Robert E. Lee were greatly outnumbered and fell back. They were saved in part by McClellan's vacillation and by the operations of Col. T. J. ("Stonewall") Jackson (1824-63), who managed to draw a considerable federal force into the Shenandoah Valley and ultimately succeeded in joining Lee with substantial reinforcements. The Army of the Potomac, led by George McClellan, takes Yorktown on May 4 and Williamsburg on May 5. But heavy fighting around Richmond followed and in June the federal forces are withdrawn from the peninsula.
March 8-9, 1862 - The Battle of the Ironclads. The naval engagement at Hampton Roads, Virginia, a harbour at the mouth of the James River, notable as history's first duel between ironclad warships and the beginning of a new era of naval warfare. The Northern-built Merrimack, a conventional steam frigate, had been salvaged by the Confederates from the Norfolk navy yard and rechristened the Virginia. With her upper hull cut away and armoured with iron, this 263-foot (80.2-metre) masterpiece of improvisation resembled, according to one contemporary source, "a floating barn roof." Commanded by Commodore Franklin Buchanan, and supported by several other Confederate vessels, the Virginia virtually decimated a Union fleet of wooden warships off Newport News, Virginia, on March 8thdestroying the sloop Cumberland and the 50-gun frigate Congress, while the frigate Minnesota ran aground. The Union ironclad Monitor, under the command of Lieutenant John Worden, arrived the same night. This 172-foot "Yankee Cheese Box on a raft," with its water-level decks and armoured revolving gun turret, represented an entirely new concept of naval design. Thus the stage was set for the dramatic naval battle of March 9, with crowds of Union and Confederate supporters watching from the decks of nearby vessels and the shores on either side. Soon after 8:00 a.m. the Virginia opened fire on the Minnesota, and the Monitor appeared. They passed back and forth on opposite courses. Both crews lacked training; firing was ineffective. The Monitor could fire only once in seven or eight minutes but was faster and more maneuverable than her larger opponent. After additional action and reloading, the Monitor's pilothouse was hit, driving iron splinters into Worden's eyes. The ship sheered into shallow water, and the Virginia, concluding that the enemy was disabled, turned again to attack the Minnesota. But her officers reported low ammunition, a leak in the bow, and difficulty in keeping up steam. At about 12:30 p.m. the Virginia headed for its navy yard; the battle was over. The Virginia's spectacular success on March 8 had not only marked an end to the day of wooden navies but had also thrilled the South and raised the false hope that the Union blockade might be broken. The subsequent battle between the two ironclads was generally interpreted as a victory for the Monitor, however, and produced feelings of combined relief and exultation in the North. While the battle was indecisive, it is difficult to exaggerate the profound effect on morale that was produced in both regions. On May 9, 1862, following the Confederate evacuation of Norfolk, the Virginia was destroyed by its crew. The Monitorwith 16 crewmenwas lost during a gale off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on December 31, 1862. The wreck of the Monitor was located in 1973, and in 2002 marine salvagers raised the ship's gun turret and other artifacts from the wreckage.
March-June, 1862 - Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign. During Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Peninsula Campaing, the Federal authorities in Washington kept a wary eye on the Shenandoah Valley. This broad, fertile valley, angling northeast 150 miles from Lexington to Harpers Ferry and the Potomac, offered not only abundant supplies of foodit became known as the breadbasket of the Confederacybut also a sheltered highway to the rear of the defenses of Washington City. Thus in March Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks advanced his 38,000-man V Corps into the northern Shenandoah in concert with McClellan's advance on Richmond. Banks met no resistance from the Confederate defenders, a ragtag lot under a general who had never held independent command before. Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson could not repulse Banks's overwhelming numbers, but Lee ordered him to try to keep Banks from reinforcing McClellan. By March 21 the Federal command was so confident of its hold on the Valley that it decided to do just that, sending two of Banks's three divisions east and retaining only oneBrig. Gen. James Shields'sto seal the north end of the Valley. From March to June 1862, Thomas J. Jackson led his famous "foot cavalry" on a campaign that ranged more than 650 miles (1,050 km) and fought five battles: Kernstown, March 23; Front Royal, May 23; Winchester, May 25; Cross Keys, June 8; and Port Republic, June 9. His brilliant perforance pinned down much larger Union forces and posed a continual threat to Washington, D.C. Besides catapulting Jackson to fame, these actions drew thousands of Federal troops away from a drive on Richmond; Jackson's diversions may well have saved the Southern capital from early capture.
March 14, 1862 - The Capture of New Bern, N.C. On March 11, Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's command embarked from Roanoke Island to rendezvous with Union gunboats at Hatteras Inlet for an expedition against New Berne. On March 13, the fleet sailed up the Neuse River and disembarked infantry on the river's south bank to approach the New Berne defenses. The Confederate defense was commanded by Brig. Gen. Lawrence Branch. On March 14, John G. Foster's, Jesse L. Reno's, and John G. Parke's brigades attacked along the railroad and after four hours of fighting drove the Confederates out of their fortifications. The Federals captured nine forts and 41 heavy guns and occupied a base which they would hold to the end of the war, in spite of several Confederate attempts to recover the town.
March 23, 1862 - Battle of First Kernstown. The First Battle of Kernstown was fought on March 23, 1862, in Frederick County and Winchester, Virginia, the opening battle of Confederate Army Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's campaign through the Shenandoah Valley. Although the battle was a Confederate defeat, and in fact Jackson's only defeat in the war, it represented a strategic victory for the South and started Jackson on the road to being one of the most celebrated Confederate generals. Jackson's division had been retreating down the Valley to cover the flank of Joseph E. Johnston's forces, falling back from Centerville. On Friday, March 21, Jackson's cavalry commander, Col. Turner Ashby, reported that Brig. Gen. James Shields was moving out of his camps at Strasburg and heading north to Winchester. Jackson turned his men around and marched 25 miles on March 22 and another 15 on the morning of March 23, reaching Kernstowna village just four miles south of Winchesteron the afternoon of March 23, a Sunday. Col. Ashby relayed the erroneous reports from residents of the town that Shields had departed, leaving only four regiments (about 3,000 men) behind. Jackson could see a force of about that size in a wheatfield just north of Kernstown and east of the Valley Pike, covered by two Federal batteries on Pritchard's Hill west of the pike. He sent most of his infantryColonel Samuel Fulkerson's brigade along with Jackson's former command, the Stonewall Brigade (less the 5th Virginia) now under Brig. Gen. Richard Garnettto attack the guns on the Federal right, or western, flank. Meanwhile Ashby's cavalry and a small infantry brigade under Col. Jesse Burks would feint toward the Federal line to hold it in place. The 5th Virginia Regiment under Col. William Harman was to remain in reserve. Fulkerson, followed by Garnett, gained the ridge and moved along it toward a clearing bisected by a stone wall, just as Federals appeared at the other end of the clearing. The Confederates won the race for the wall and leveled a deadly fire, repulsing one Federal regiment, then another. But the enemy kept on coming. Watching from a distance, a worried Jackson sent an aide to do what he might well have done earlierestimate the size of the Federal forces. His guess: 10,000 men. "Say nothing about it," said Jackson. "We are in for it." Far from withdrawing, Col. Nathan Kimball, replacing Shields, who had been wounded the previous day, had executed a deft maneuver. Of his three brigades, Kimball had let Jackson see only oneCol. Jeremiah C. Sullivan's along the Valley Pike. Meanwhile Col. Erastus B. Tyler's brigade had made a flanking movement of its own, during which it encountered Jackson's men at the stone wall. And Kimball's own brigade was concealed in reserve. Kimball moved first to support Sullivan, then shifted his men to the stone wall. For two hours the Federals assaulted the stone wall. They could not break the Confederate resistance, but Garnett was running out of ammunition. Receiving no orders, he decided to retreat. The movement exposed Fulkerson's right flank, forcing him to follow suit. Jackson moved north from Woodstock with the 5th Virginia and arrived before the Union position at Kernstown at 1:00 p.m., March 23. Enraged at the sight of retreating men, he bellowed at Garnett "Halt and rally!" He found that Ashby had been forced back and immediately reinforced him with one brigade. With the other two brigades Jackson sought to envelop the Union right by way of Sandy Ridge. But Col. Erastus B. Tyler's brigade countered this movement, and, when Kimball's brigade moved to his assistance, the Confederates were driven from the field. Harman managed to hold the Federals at bay until Jackson's men collected their wounded and retreated. Furious, Jackson arrested the commander of his old Stonewall Brigade, Richard B. Garnett, for failing to succeed in his attacks, violating his orders by retreating from the battlefield before permission was received from Jackson. (Garnett suffered from the humiliation of his court-martial for over a year, until he was finally killed in Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg). Jackson's army camped that night at Newtown (now Stephens City), four and a half miles south of the battlefield. The Confederates had suffered a tactical defeat, taking 718 casualties while inflicting 590, yet events later showed them to have been the strategic victors. The Federals, startled by Jackson's aggressiveness, not only returned Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's other two divisions to the Valley (35,000 men), but sent another to safeguard western Virginia and held a full corps at Manassas to cover the capital. McClellan was thus deprived of nearly 60,000 troops for his drive on Richmond. Also, three separate Union commands were created in the Valleyone under Irvin McDowell, one under Banks, and one under newly arrived Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont. This meant that there was no single military officer to coordinate their strategic actions, a situation that would prove fatal for the Union armies "I think I may say," Jackson gritted to an inquiring soldier on the night of his defeat at Kernstown, "I am satisfied, sir".
March 26-28, 1862 - Battle of Glorieta Pass. The Battle of Glorieta Pass, fought on March 26-28, 1862, in northern New Mexico Territory, was the decisive battle of the New Mexico Campaign during the American Civil War. Dubbed the "Gettysburg of the West" by historians, it was the decisive blow by Union forces to stop the Confederate invasion of the West along the base of the Rocky Mountains. Glorieta Pass was a strategic location on the Santa Fe Trail at the southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains southeast of Santa Fe. Control of the pass would allow the Confederates to advance onto the High Plains and to make an assault on Fort Union, the Union stronghold along the invasion route northward over Raton Pass. The commanders of the New Mexico Campaign were the Confederate Brig. Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley and the Union Colonel Edward Canby. Sibley had outmaneuvered Canby at the Battle of Valverde in February, driving Canby back to his fort, then advancing up along the Rio Grande Valley to seize Santa Fe on March 10. Sibley set up his division headquarters at the abandoned Union storehouse garrison at Albuquerque. In March, Sibley sent a Confederate force of 200-300 Texans under the command of Major Charles L. Pyron and William R. Scurry on an advance expedition over the Glorieta Pass. The Union forces were led by Colonel John P. Slough of the 1st Colorado Volunteers, with units under the command of Major John M. Chivington, who became known as the hero of the battle. Pyron's force camped at Johnson's Ranch, at one end of the pass. Chivington led more than 400 soldiers to the Pass and on the morning of March 26 moved out to attack. After noon, Chivington's men captured some Rebel advance troops and then found the main force behind them. Chivington advanced on them, but their artillery fire threw him back. He regrouped, split his force to the two sides of the pass, caught the Rebels in a crossfire, and soon forced them to retire. Pyron and his men retired about a mile and a half to a narrow section of the pass and formed a defensive line before Chivington's men appeared. The Union forces flanked Pyron's men again and punished them with enfilade fire. The Confederates fled again and the Union cavalry charged, capturing the rearguard. Chivington then retired and went into camp at Kozlowski's Ranch. No fighting occurred the next day as reinforcements arrived for both sides. Scurry's troops swelled the Rebel ranks to about 1,100 while Union Col. John P. Slough arrived with about 900 men. Both Slough and Scurry decided to attack and set out early on the 28th to do so. As Scurry advanced down the canyon, he saw the Union forces approaching, so he established a battle line, including his dismounted cavalry. Slough hit them before 11:00 a.m. The Confederates held their ground and then attacked and counterattacked throughout the afternoon. The fighting then ended as Slough retired first to Pigeon's Ranch and then to Kozlowski's Ranch. Scurry soon left the field also, thinking he had won the battle. Chivington's men, however, had destroyed all Scurry's supplies and animals at Johnson's Ranch, forcing him to retreat to Santa Fe, the first step on the long road back to San Antonio, Texas. The Federals had won and, thereby, stopped Confederate incursions into the Southwest. Glorieta Pass was the turning point of the war in the New Mexico Territory. Canby was promoted to brigadier general three days after his victory.
April 5-May 4, 1862 - Battle of Yorktown. Marching from Fort Monroe, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's army encountered Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder's small Confederate army at Yorktown behind the Warwick River. Magruder's theatrics convinced the Federals that his works were strongly held. McClellan suspended the march up the Peninsula toward Richmond, ordered the construction of siege fortifications, and brought his heavy siege guns to the front. In the meantime, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston brought reinforcements for Magruder. On 16 April, Union forces probed a weakness in the Confederate line at Lee's Mill or Dam No. 1, resulting in about 309 casualties. Failure to exploit the initial success of this attack, however, held up McClellan for two additional weeks, while he tried to convince his navy to maneuver the Confederates' big guns at Yorktown and Gloucester Point and ascend the York River to West Point thus outflanking the Warwick Line. McClellan planned for a massive bombardment to begin at dawn on May 4, but the Confederate army slipped away in the night toward Williamsburg.
April 6/7, 1862 - Battle of Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh). After the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston was forced to fall back, giving up Kentucky and much of West and Middle Tennessee. In early March, General Henry W. Halleck responded by ordering Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to advance his Union Army of West Tennessee on an invasion up the Tennessee River. The Confederate retrenchment was a surprise, and Grant took some time to mount a southern offensive along the Tennessee River toward Pittsburg Landing. Between March 1 and April 5 Grant transported his army (over 58,000 men) into southwest Tennessee, established it at Pittsburg Landing, and awaited the arrival the Army of Ohio under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell. Johnston meanwhile chose Corinth, Mississippi, as the staging area for an offensive against Grantthe western Confederacy's most important rail junction where the Memphis & Charleston crossed the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, the only east-west all weather supply route that linked the lower Mississippi Valley to cities on the Confederacy's east coast. Johnston concentrated his scattered forces, almost 55,000 men, around Corinth, assisted by his second-in-command General Pierre G.T. Beauregard. Halleck had instructed Grant to await the arrival of Buell from Nashville, after which Grant was to advance south in a joint offensive to seize the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Grant choose not to fortify his position; rather, he set about drilling his men, many of them raw recruits. On April 3, realizing that Buell would soon reinforce Grant, Johnston launched an offensive with his newly christened Army of the Mississippi. Advancing upon Pittsburg Landing with 43,938 men, Johnston planned to surprise Grant, cut his army off from retreat to the Tennessee River, and drive the Federals west into the swamps of Owl Creek. Johnston originally planned to attack Grant on April 4, but rain and bad roads postponed the assault until the 6th. In the gray light of dawn, April 6, a small Federal reconnaissance discovered Johnston's army deployed for battle astride the Corinth road, just a mile beyond the forward Federal camps. Storming forward, the Confederates found the Federal position unfortified. Johnston had achieved almost total surprise. In early morning, Johnston maneuvered eight brigades to overrun Brig. Gen. B. M. Prentiss's camp, routing the Union 6th Division. By mid-morning, the Confederates seemed within easy reach of victory. However, stiff resistance on the Federal right entangled Johnston's brigades in a savage fight around Shiloh Church, where Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman's 5th Division repulsed the Confederates, inflicting heavy casualties. Johnston sent five brigades to attack Sherman's left flank and Sherman fell back on Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand's 1st Division. Throughout the day, Johnston's army hammered the Federal right, which gave ground but did not break. Casualties upon this brutal killing ground were immense. Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. W. H. L. Wallace's and Brig. Gen. S. A. Hurlbut's divisions marched to the front and Johnston, hearing that his right flank was threatened, ordered Brig. Gen. J. R. Chalmers' and Brig. Gen. J. K. Jackson's brigades to assault Federal left, with Brig. Gen. John C. Breckinridge in support. The flanking attack stalled in front of Sarah Bell's peach orchard and the dense oak thicket labeled the "Hornets Nest." Repeated Rebel attacks failed to carry the Hornets Nest, but massed artillery helped to turn the tide as Confederates surrounded the Union troops and captured, killed, or wounded most. Johnston had been mortally wounded earlier and his second in command, Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard, took over. Chalmers and Jackson assaulted Col. David Stuart, but the Confederate advance stalled and Grant's left flank withstood Confederate assaults for seven crucial hours before being forced to yield ground in the late afternoon. Col. R. L. Gibson's brigade assaulted the Federal center three times in the afternoon but were repulsed under murderous fire in the impenetrable oak thicket. Despite inflicting heavy casualties and seizing ground, the Confederates only drove Grant towards the river, instead of away from it. The Federal survivors established a solid front before Pittsburg Landing and repulsed the last Confederate charge as dusk ended the first day of fighting. The Union troops anchored their line with artillery, augmented by Buell's men who began to arrive and take up positions. Buell's arrival, plus the timely appearance of a reserve division of 5,800 men led by Maj. Gen. Lewis Wallace, fed over 22,500 reinforcements into the Union lines. Buell filed in on Union left while Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden deployed in center, with Brig. Gen. Alexander McD. McCook in support. By the next morning (April 7), the combined Federal forces numbered about 40,000, outnumbering Beauregard's army of less than 30,000. Beauregard was unaware of the arrival of Buell's army and launched a counterattack in response to a two-mile advance by Brig. Gen. William Nelson's division of Buell's army at 6:00 am, which was, at first, successful. Breckinridge and Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee counterattacked Nelson's right flank and forced the Federal left back. McCook crossed and engaged Breckinridge's left and in the late morning Sherman, McClernand and Hurlbut joined Wallace in fighting against Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk and Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg on Confederate left. In the early afternoon, Nelson and Crittenden advanced and forced Beauregard's right flank to retreat south to the Hamburg/Purdy road. Meanwhile, McCook slamed into Bragg at Water Oak Pond. Beauregard counterattacked, halting McCook. In the late afternoon Breckinridge, supported by massed artillery south of Shiloh Branch ravine, checked the Union advance, but Beauregard, realizing that his army was in peril, ordered a retreat. During the late afternoon and night, the Confederates withdrew, greatly disorganized, to their fortified stronghold at Corinth. Possession of the grisly battlefield passed to the victorious Federals, who were satisfied to simply reclaim Grant's camps and make an exhausted bivouac among the dead. On the April 8, Grant sent Brig. Gen. Sherman, with two brigades, and Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood, with his division, in pursuit of Beauregard. They ran into the Rebel rearguard, commanded by Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest, at Fallen Timbers. Forrest's aggressive tactics, although eventually contained, influenced the Union troops to return to Pittsburg Landing. Grant's mastery of the Confederate forces continued; he had beaten them once again. The Confederates continued to fall back until launching their mid-August offensive. General Johnston's massive and rapid concentration at Corinth, and surprise attack on Grant at Pittsburg Landing, had presented the Confederacy with an opportunity to reverse the course of the war. The aftermath, however, left the invading Union forces still poised to carry out the capture of the Corinth rail junction and in command of the Mississippi as far south as Vicksburg. Shiloh's awesome toll of 23,746 men killed, wounded, or missinggreater than in all previous American wars combinedbrought a shocking realization to both sides that the war would not end quickly. The president, pressured to relieve Grant, resists. "I can't spare this man; he fights," Lincoln says.
April 7, 1862 - The Battle of Island No. 10. The battle was fought in and around Island Number Ten in the Mississippi River, near New Madrid, Missouri which was simultaneously attacked. In order to continue down the Mississippi, the Union found that it had to capture the heavily defended island. The Confederates fortifications consisted of land batteries on the island and a floating battery off the coast of the island. On March 16, 1862 Union gunboats started shelling the island fortifications, while Confederates were returning fire from land batteries. On April 4 at night, the gunboat Carondelet managed to pass by the island. On April 7 Pittsburg managed to join her. Then, under cover of these gunboats, Union troops under the command of Gen. John Pope crossed the Mississippi River and landed below the island, crossing a Confederate withdrawal route. On April 7, 1862, the Confederate garrison, of 7,000 men surrendered. The defeat of the Confederates opened the river for the capture of Memphis on June 6, 1862.
April 12, 1862 - Great Locomotive Chase was a military raid that occurred April 12, 1862, in northern Georgia. Volunteers from the Union Army stole a train in an effort to disrupt the vital Western & Atlantic Railroad (W&A), which ran from Atlanta, Georgia, to Chattanooga, Tennessee. They were pursued by other locomotives, and the raiders were eventually captured, with some being executed as spies. Maj. Gen. Ormsby M. Mitchel commanded the Federal troops in Tennessee. He planned to move southeast with his army and seize Huntsville, Alabama, before turning east in hopes of capturing Chattanooga, Tennessee. James J. Andrews proposed a daring raid aimed at destroying the Western & Atlantic Railroad link to Chattanooga, isolating the city from Atlanta. He recruited a civilian named William Campbell, as well as 22 volunteer Union soldiers from three Ohio regiments. Andrews instructed the men to arrive in Marietta, Georgia by midnight of April 10. With the plans delayed a day by heavy rain, they traveled in small parties in civilian clothing to avoid arousing suspicion. All but two men were able to reach the designated rendezvous point at the appointed time. On the morning of April 12, a passenger train with the locomotive General was stopped at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw, Georgia) so that the crew and passengers could have breakfast. Andrews and his raiders took this opportunity to hijack the General and a few railcars. His goal was to drive the train northward toward Chattanooga and meet up with Mitchel's advancing army. Enroute, Andrews planned to tear up track, destroy switches, burn covered bridges along the railway, disrupt telegraph wires, and inflict as much damage as possible to the railroad. Andrews' men commandeered the General and steamed out of Big Shanty, leaving behind startled passengers, crew members, and onlookers, which included a number of Confederate soldiers from a trackside camp. The train's conductor, William Fuller, chased the General by foot and handcar. At Etowah, Fuller spotted the Yonah and with it chased the raiders north, all the way up to Kingston. At Kingston, Conductor Fuller got on the William R. Smith and headed north to Adairsville. The tracks two miles south of Adairsville were out of service, so Fuller had to run the distance by foot. At Adairsville, Fuller took command of the locomotive Texas and chased the General. With the Texas chasing the General in reverse, the two trains steamed through Dalton, and Tunnel Hill. At various points, raiders severed telegraph wires so no transmissions could go through to Chattanooga. However, their objective of burning bridges and dynamiting Tunnel Hill was not accomplished. At milepost 116.3 (north of Ringgold, Georgia), with the locomotive failing, Andrews' men abandoned the General and scattered, just a few miles from Chattanooga. Andrews and all 21 of his men were caught by the Confederates, including two that had missed the hijacking that morning by oversleeping. He and 7 of his men were tried in Chattanooga and found guilty. Andrews was executed by hanging on June 7 in Atlanta. On June 18, the 7 convicted spies were also hung; their bodies were buried unceremoniously in an unmarked grave. Eight raiders escaped confinement and returned to safety. The remaining six were exchanged as prisoners of war on March 17, 1863. The very first Medals of Honor were given to these men by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. Later, all but three of other soldiers also received them (posthumously for those who had been executed); as civilians, Andrews and Campbell were not eligible.
April 16, 1862 - The Battle of Dam No. 1 (Burnt Chimneys). On April 5, 1862, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's army found its progress toward Richmond blocked by the Confederate fortifications at nearby Lee's Mill. Confederate Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder had constructed dams and built extensive fortifications to make the sluggish Warwick River into a defensive barrier. Dam No. 1 was the midpoint between two pre-war tide mills at Lee's Mill and Wynne's Mill. Southern soldiers expected an assault at any time. As Surgeon James Holloway of the 18th Mississippi wrote, "why they do not attack is strange for they have a heavy force and every day's delay only gives us the opportunity to strengthen our defenses." An attack finally came on April 16, 1862, when McClellan ordered Brig. Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith to disrupt Confederate control of Dam No. 1. On the morning of April 16, Union artillery, including Mott's 3rd New York Battery, began shelling the Confederate earthworks. By noon it appeared as if the Southerners had abandoned their defenses and at 3:00 p.m. Smith sent 200 men of the 3rd Vermont forward as skirmishers. The Vermonters dashed across the Warwick River and captured the first line of rifle pits held by the 15th North Carolina. The Federal troops, their ammunition wet and having not received reinforcements, were forced to withdraw under the stress of a vicious counterattack by Thomas R. R. Cobb's Georgia Legion. The water "boiled with bullets" as the Vermonters recrossed "that fatal stream." A second attempt to capture Dam No. 1 failed to reach the Confederate lines as the Confederates had reinforced the position. The engagement resulted in 165 Federal and 145 Confederate casualties. The Battle of Dam No. 1 (also called the Battle of Burnt Chimneys) was a missed opportunity for the Union to break the Warwick River defenses. Two Federal soldiers, Captain Samuel E. Pingree and Musician Julian Scott, were awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the short, vicious fight along "a creek with a wide dam, which drank the blood of many of our men."
April 16, 1862 - Confederate Draft. Confederate Congress introduced the draft. Under the Conscription Act, all healthy white men between the ages of 18 and 35 were liable for a three year term of service. The act also extended the terms of enlistment for all one-year soldiers to three years. (A September 1862 amendment raised the age limit to 45, and February 1864, the limits were extended to range between 17 and 50). Exempted from the draft were men employed in certain occupations considered to be most valuable for the home front, such as railroad and river workers, civil officials, telegraph operators, miners, druggists and teachers. On October 11, the Confederate Congress amended the draft law to exempt anyone who owned 20 or more slaves. Further, until the practice was abolished in December 1863, a rich drafted man could hire a substitute to take his place in the ranks, an unfair practice that brought on charges of class discrimination. Many Southerners, including the governors of Georgia and North Carolina, were vehemently opposed to the draft and worked to thwart its effect in their states. Thousands of men were exempted by the sham addition of their names to the civil servant rolls or by their enlistment in the state militias. Ninety-two percent of all exemptions for state service came from Georgia and North Carolina.
April 16, 1862 - Slavery Abolished in Washington, D.C. President Abraham Lincoln signs the congressional bill abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. One million dollars was appropriated to compensate owners of freed slaves, and $100,000 was set aside to pay District slaves who wished to emigrate to Haiti, Liberia or any other country outside the United States. The District of Columbia Emancipation Act is the only example of compensated emancipation in the United States. Though its three-way approach of immediate emancipation, compensation, and colonization did not serve as a model for the future, it was an early signal of slavery's death. Emancipation was greeted with great jubilation by the District's African-American community and for many years afterward black Washingtonians celebrated Emancipation Day on April 16 with parades and festivals.
April 17-May 22, 1862 - Grierson's Raid was a Union cavalry raid during the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. It ran from April 17, to May 2, 1863, as a diversion from Ulysses S. Grant's main attack plan on Vicksburg, Mississippi. Up until this time in the war, Confederate cavalry commanders such as Nathan Bedford Forrest, John Hunt Morgan, and J.E.B. Stuart had ridden circles around the Union (literally, in Stuart's case during the Peninsula Campaign), and it was time to out-do the Confederates in cavalry expeditions. The task fell to Colonel Benjamin Grierson, who, oddly, hated horses. Grierson and his 1,700 horse troopers rode over six hundred miles through hostile territory (from southern Tennessee, through the state of Mississippi and to Union-held Baton Rouge, Louisiana), over routes no Union soldier had traveled before. They tore up railroads and burned crossties, freed slaves, burned Confederate storehouses, destroyed locomotives and commissary stores, ripped up bridges and trestles, burned buildings, and inflicted ten times the casualties they received, all while detachments of his troops made feints confusing the Confederates as to his actual whereabouts and direction. Confederate General John C. Pemberton, commander of the Vicksburg garrison, was short on cavalry and could do nothing to Grierson. An entire division of Pemberton's soldiers was tied up defending the Vicksburg-Jackson railroad from the slippery Grierson, and consequently did nothing to stop Grant's landing on the east bank of the Mississippi below the city. The premier Confederate cavalry commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest, was off chasing another Union raider named Abel Streight in Alabama, and did nothing to stop Grierson. While Streight's raid failed, occupying the deadly Forrest probably ensured the success of Grierson's Raid. Of course every Confederate in the statesave perhaps Forrestwas hot on Grierson's trail. All they gained was mass confusion. Grierson and his troopers ultimately pulled in to Baton Rouge; combined with Sherman's feint, the befuddled Confederates did not oppose Grant's landing on the east side of the Mississippi.
April 21, 1862 - An Act of Congress authorizes the Denver Mint facility in Colorado.
April 24-25, 1862 - Farragut Atttacks New Orleans. A federal force (27 ships and 15,000 troops), under command of Flag Officer (later Adm.) David G. Farragut and Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, runs the forts below New Orleans and bombards the city.
April 29-30, 1862 - Capture of Corinth. Four days after the battle of Shiloh, Gen. Henry W. Halleck arrived at Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., and took comand of the Union forces that had been suprised and nearly defeated there. He removed the commander of the forces, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant from duty and made him second in command, a position with few duties or responsibilities. Halleck also called in massive reinforcements and soon had an army of 120,000 men in 15 divisions and more than 200 guns. His target was the 70,000 Confederate soldiers commanded by Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard who were camped 22 miles to the southwest at Corinth, Miss. On April 28, all was ready, and the ponderous blue army set out slowly and cautiously to capture the strategical important railroad center at Corinth. There was skirmishing almost every day, and at each occurrence and also every night Halleck would have his entire army entrench. He was determined that he would not be caught off guard as Grant had beeneven if it meant the army moved less than a mile a day. The Rebels at Corinth were in bad shape. After their agonizing journey back to Corinth following their near victory at Shiloh, they used the time Halleck gave them to strengthen their formidable earthworks. But the monstrous Union army approaching was only one of their problems. Since they had been back to the unsanitary camp at Corinth, more soldiers had died of disease than were killed at Shiloh. Food and ammunition were running low, their water supply was contaminated, and the reinforcements they received barely made up for the soldiers stricken by the rampant epidemics. Gen. Beauregard could not hope to hold Corinth given the condition of his army and the size of the enemy. So, when Halleck's men finally arrived within cannon range of the Rebel lines on May 28, Beauregard decided to evacuate, an exercise that was completed flawlessly and without the Federals' knowing, during the night of May 29.
May 1, 1862 - Capture of New Orleans. Following the passage on April 24, 1862, of Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip, near the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Union occupation of New Orleans was inevitable. Union Flag-Officer David G. Farragut, with his squadron, continued up the Mississippi River and demanded the surrender of the City of New Orleans the next day. The city surrendered on April 28. On May 1, Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler's army began landing at New Orleans and occupying the city. New Orleans, considered an international city and the largest city in the Confederacy, had fallen. The Union occupation of New Orleans was an event that had major international significance.
May 1862 - Hunter Enlists Black Troops. The first black regiment (The 1st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry) was organized in the Department of the South by General David Hunter at Hilton Head, South Carolina, in May of 1862. This effort met with failure, initially due to two significant causes: first, Hunter had not received authorization from the War Department in Washington allowing the formation of Black Units and, second, the recruits were involuntarily inducted into the regiment in a manner reminiscent of their days as slaves. Hunter was ordered to disband the 1st South Carolina but eventually got approval from Congress for his action. Hunter also issued a statement that all slaves owned by Confederates in the area were free. Lincoln quickly ordered Hunter to retract his proclamation as he still feared that this action would force slave-owners in border states to join the Confederates. Radical Republicans were furious and John Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, said that "from the day our government turned its back on the proclamation of General Hunter, the blessing of God has been withdrawn from our arms." The actions of General David Hunter and Lincoln's reaction stimulated a discussion on the recruitment of black soldiers in the Northern press. Wendell Phillips asked, "How many times are we to save Kentucky and lose the war?" This debate was also taking place in the Cabinet, as Simon Cameron was now advocating the creation of black regiments in the Union Army.
May 5, 1862 - The Battle of Williamsburg. In the first pitched battle of the Peninsula Campaign, nearly 41,000 Federals and 32,000 Confederates were engaged. When General Joseph E. Johnston withdrew from the Warwick-Yorktown Line, he established a rear guard position along a series of redoubts built by Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruder. The key position was Fort Magruder, which commanded the junction of two roads leading up the Peninsula to Williamsburg. Maj. Gen. James Longstreet's division took up positions in Fort Magruder and the nearby redoubts during the evening of May 4 under pressure from Federal cavalry. The next morning, May 5, 1862, Union troops commanded by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker attacked Fort Magruder, but were repulsed. The Union line was driven back by a strong Confederate counterattack until Brig. Gen. Philip Kearny's division arrived to stabilize the Federal position. Kearny led his men onto the field shouting, "I am a one-armed Jersey Son-of-a-Gun, Follow me!" The Confederates fell back into their defenses. Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock's brigade had marched behind the Confederate left flank and occupied two vacant redoubts along Cub Creek. Hancock's men then began shelling the Confederate flank and rear. Longstreet sent elements of Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill's division to dislodge the Federals. Hill and Brig. Gen. Jubal A. Early hastily prepared a flank attack, but the assault was misdirected and disjointed, resulting in a bloody repulse. Early was wounded and D. H. Hill called the scene "one of the most awful things I ever saw." The Confederates suffered 1,603 casualties and the Federals 2,239. That night, successful in delaying the Union advance, the Confederates abandoned their redoubts and continued their withdrawal toward Richmond. Maj. Gen. George McClellan telegraphed to Washington, "The victory is complete." Confederate General Johnston would later rebut, "Had the enemy beaten us on the fifth, as he claims to have done, our army would have lost most of its baggage and artillery."
May 6, 1862 - Henry David Thoreau dies.
May 7, 1862 - Battle of Eltham's Landing (Battle of Barhamsville/West Point). The Battle of Eltham's Landing took place on May 7, 1862 in New Kent County, Virginia as part of the Peninsula Campaign. William B. Franklin's Union division landed at Eltham's Landing and was attacked by two brigades of General William F. "Baldy" Smith's command, reacting to the threat to the Confederate army's trains on the Barhamsville Road. Franklin's movement occurred while the Confederate army was withdrawing from the Williamsburg line.
May 8-9, 1862 - Battle of McDowell. The Battle of McDowell, also known as Sitlington's Hill, was fought May 8-9, 1862, in Highland County, Virginia, as part of Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" JacksonRichard S. Ewell's large division and Maj. Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson's small division, bringing his forces to 17,000. From Staunton, Jackson marched his army west along the Parkersburg Road to confront two brigades of John C. Frémont's force (under Brig. Gen. Robert H. Milroy and Brig. Gen. Robert C. Schenck), advancing toward the Shenandoah Valley from western Virginia. Frémont had decided to advance on Staunton, Virginia, and ordered Milroy to prepare his brigade at McDowell for that campaign. Had Frémont and Banks combined, Jackson's forces would have been overwhelmed. Therefore, Jackson decided to attack the Union forces piecemeal, first attacking those at McDowellthe brigades of Milroy and Schenck. At McDowell on May 8, while Jackson was looking for an opportunity to cross the river and envelop the Union force, Milroy seized the initiative and assaulted the Confederate position on Sitlington's Hill. The Federals were repulsed after severe fighting, lasting four hours. Afterwards, Milroy and Schenck withdrew into western Virginia, freeing up Jackson's army to march against the other Union columns threatening the Valley. Following Jackson's victory at McDowell, there was a two-week lull in combat while forces repositioned and Jackson tried to determine the best way to prevent Banks from leaving the Valley and reinforcing Irvin McDowell or McClellan. Robert E. Lee, military advisor to Jefferson Davis, caused some command confusion by communicating directly with Ewell, bypassing Jackson and Joseph E. Johnston (the overall commander in the theater), and urging him to attack Banks's line of communication. Ewell's orders from Jackson had been to take up a position at Swift Run Gap and counter any advance by Banks. While this disagreement was being worked out, Banks sent Brig. Gen. James Shields and his division to reinforce Irvin McDowell's forces at Fredericksburg, leaving Banks only 8,000 troops, which he relocated to a strong position at Strasburg, Virginia. He detached about 1,000 men under Col. John R. Kenly to Front Royal to watch for a potential Confederate attack in the Luray Valley. Johnston ordered Ewell to leave the Valley to react to Shields's departure, but a combination of Jackson and Lee convinced him that a potential victory in the Valley had more immediate importance than countering Shields. On May 21, Jackson marched his command east from New Market, combining with Ewell, and proceeded (northward) down the Luray Valley. Their speed of forced marching was typical of the campaign and earned his infantrymen the nickname of "Jackson's foot cavalry". He sent Ashby's cavalry directly north to make Banks think that he was going to attack Strasburg, but his plan was to defeat Kenly's small outpost at Front Royal and quickly attack Banks's line of communication at Harpers Ferry.
May 15, 1862 - Battle of Drewry's Bluff. The Battle of Drewry's Bluff, also known as the Battle of Fort Darling or Fort Drewry, took place on May 15, 1862 in Chesterfield County, Virginia as part of the Peninsula Campaign. With the fall of Yorktown, the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia guarding Hampton Roads at Norfolk was scuttled on May 11, 1892 off Craney Island to prevent her capture. This opened the James River at Hampton Roads to Federal gunboats. On May 15, 1862, the Union ironclads U.S.S Monitor and U.S.S Galena, and accompanied by U.S.S Port Royal, U.S.S Aroostook, and U.S.S Naugatuck steamed up the James River from Fort Monroe to test the defenses of Richmond. Upon reaching a bend in the river above Dutch Gap, the five gunboats encountered submerged obstacles and deadly accurate fire from the batteries of Fort Darling at Drewry's Bluff, which inflicted severe damage on the Galena. The Federal Naval vessels suffered at least 14 dead and 13 wounded and were turned back. The massive fort on Drewry's Bluff had blunted the Union advance just seven miles short of the Confederate capital. Richmond remained safe. The area saw action again during the Siege of Petersburg in 1864-65.
May 15, 1862 - President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill into law creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture.
May 20, 1862 - Homestead Act. President Lincoln signs the Homestead Act, which plays a prominent part in the settlement of the West and the removal of Native Americans from land east and west of the Mississippi River. It gave to heads of families or individuals age 21 or older title to 160 acres of public land contingent upon 5 years of residence and improvement. The Act went into effect January 1, 1863. By 1890, 375,000 homesteaders received 48 million acres.
May 23, 1862 - Battle of Front Royal. The Battle of Front Royal, also known as Guard Hill or Cedarville, was fought May 23, 1862, in Warren County, Virginia as part of Confederate Army General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's Campaign through the Shenandoah Valley. Front Royal demonstrated Jackson's use of Valley topography and mobility to unite his own forces while dividing those of his enemies. At a minimal cost, he forced the withdrawal of a large Union army by striking at its flank and On May 21, 1862, the Union army under Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, numbering about 9,000 men, was concentrated in the vicinity of Strasburg, Virginia, with two companies of infantry at Buckton Depot. Col. John R. Kenly commanded 1,063 men and two guns at Front Royal. Confederate cavalry under Col. Turner Ashby confronted Banks near Strasburg, but then withdrew to join the main army, which crossed Massanutten Mountain via New Market Gap to reach Luray, Virginia. On May 22, Thomas J. Jackson's Army of the Valley (about 16,500 men) advanced along the muddy Luray Road to within ten miles of Front Royal. Jackson's headquarters were at Cedar Point. Colonel Thomas Munford's cavalry regiment was sent east to close off Manassas Gap and cut communication between Front Royal and Washington, D.C. On the morning of May 23, the vanguard of Jackson's army reached Spangler's crossroads (present day Limeton, Virginia). Here the Confederate cavalry under colonels Ashby and Thomas L. Flournoy diverged west to cross the South Fork of the Shenandoah River at McCoy's Ford. They approached Front Royal from the south, bypassing Federal pickets stationed near the river on the Luray Road one mile south of the courthouse. After minor skirmishing the Federals withdrew. Jackson's leading brigade, Richard Taylor's, deployed on Prospect Hill and along the ridge to the east. The 1st Maryland and Major Roberdeau Wheat's Louisiana "Tigers" battalion were thrown out in advance, entering the town and clearing it of Union skirmishers. Col. Kenly, in command of Union forces, withdrew his force to Camp (Richards's) Hill, supported by a section of artillery. The Union line extended in an arc from the South Fork to Happy Creek, defending the South Fork bridge. Kenly's artillery opened fire and slowed the Confederate advance. The Confederate infantry advanced through town, deploying into line of battle under an accurate artillery fire. A Confederate flanking column moved to the east, crossing Happy Creek in an attempt to force Union withdrawal without a frontal assault. After a long delay because of the muddy roads, a battery of rifled artillery was deployed on or near Prospect Hill to counter the Union guns on Camp Hill. In the meantime, after crossing the South Fork at McCoy's Ford, Ashby's and Lt. Col. Flournoy's (6th Virginia) cavalry rode via Bell's Mill and Waterlick Station to reach the Union outpost at Buckton Depot. Ashby made a mounted assault, which cost him several of his best officers before the Union defenders surrendered. Ashby cut the telegraph lines, severing communication between the main Union army at Strasburg and the detached force at Front Royal. He then divided the cavalry, sending Flournoy's regiment east toward Riverton to threaten Kenly's rear. Ashby remained at Buckton Depot astride the railroad to prevent reinforcements from being sent to Front Royal. On discovering that Confederate cavalry was approaching from the west, Col. Kenly abandoned his position on Camp Hill, retreated across the South and North Fork bridges, and attempted to burn them. He positioned part of his command at Guard Hill, while the Confederates ran forward to douse the flames, saving the bridges. While Confederate infantry repaired the bridges for a crossing, Flournoy's cavalry arrived at Riverton and forded the river, pressing Kenly's forces closely. As soon as the Confederate infantry crossed, the Union position could be flanked by a column moving along the river. Kenly chose to continue his withdrawal, his outmatched cavalry fighting a rear guard action against Flournoy's 6th Virginia Cavalry. Kenly withdrew along the Winchester turnpike beyond Cedarville, Virginia, with Flournoy's cavalry in close pursuit. Jackson rode ahead with the cavalry, as Confederate infantry began to cross the rivers. At the Thomas McKay House, one mile north of Cedarville, Kenly turned to make a stand, deploying on the heights on both sides of the pike. Flournoy's cavalry swept around the Union flanks, causing panic. Kenly fell wounded, and the Union defense collapsed. More than 700 Union soldiers threw down their weapons and surrendered. Jackson's decisive victory over the small Union force at Front Royal forced the main Union Army at Strasburg under Banks into abrupt retreat. Jackson deceived Banks into believing that the Confederate army was in the main Valley near Harrisonburg; instead he had marched swiftly north to New Market and crossed Massanutten via New Market Gap to Luray. The advance to Front Royal placed Jackson in position to move directly on Winchester, Virginia, in the rear of the Union army. On May 24, Banks retreated down the Valley Pike to Winchester, harassed by Confederate cavalry and artillery at Middletown and Newtown (Stephens City), setting the stage for the Battle of First Winchester the following day. The confusion engendered by Jackson's appearance at Front Royal and the hasty Union retreat from Strasburg to Winchester contributed materially to the defeat of Banks's army at First Winchester on May 25.
May 25, 1862 - First Battle of Winchester. The First Battle of Winchester, fought on May 25, 1862, in and around Frederick County, Virginia and Winchester, Virginia, was a major victory in Confederate Army General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's Campaign through the Shenandoah Valley. May 24, 1862, was a disastrous day for Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks. Learning that the Confederates had taken Front Royal, Virginia, and were closing on Winchester, Banks ordered a hasty retreat down the Valley Pike from Strasburg. His columns were attacked at Middletown and again at Newtown (Stephens City) by Jackson's converging forces. The Confederates took many Union prisoners and captured so many wagons and stores that they later nicknamed the Union general "Commissary Banks". Jackson pressed the pursuit for most of the night and allowed his exhausted soldiers only a few hours sleep before dawn. Banks now deployed at Winchester to slow the Confederate pursuit. He had two brigades of infantry under Colonels Dudley Donnelly and George R. Gordon, a mixed brigade of cavalry under Brig. Gen. John R. Hatch, and 16 guns. Gordon's brigade was placed on the Union right on Bower's Hill with its left flank at the Valley Pike, supported by a battery of artillery. The center of the line (Camp Hill) was held by the cavalry supported by two guns. Donnelly's brigade was placed in a crescent on the left to cover the Front Royal and Millwood roads with the rest of the artillery. At earliest light the Confederate skirmish line advanced in force driving the Union pickets back to their main line of battle. During the night, the advance of Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell's division (four brigades) reached Buffalo Lick. At dawn, he deployed his brigades astride the Front Royal Pike and advanced against the Union left flank. His leading regiments (in particular the 21st North Carolina) came under heavy fire from Union forces deployed behind stone fences and were repulsed. Confederate forces regrouped and brought up artillery. After about an hour, they again advanced, this time sending regiments to either side of the high ground to enfilade the Union position. Donnelly withdrew his brigade to a position closer to town with his right flank anchored on Camp Hill. Isaac R. Trimble's brigade (Confederate) then attempted a flanking movement to the right beyond the Millwood Road. This movement threatened the Union left and rear. This movement, in conjunction with Confederate maneuvers on the left beyond the Valley Pike, caused the Union line to collapse in this sector. In conjunction with Ewell's advance on the Front Royal Pike, Jackson advanced the Stonewall Brigade on the Valley Pike at early dawn in a heavy fog. At Jackson's command, the brigade swept over a hill to the left of the pike, driving off the Union skirmishers who held it. Jackson quickly placed a section of artillery on the hill to engage Union artillery on Bower's Hill at a range of less than half a mile. Union sharpshooters along Abrams Creek began picking off the cannoneers. In response, Banks moved his artillery farther to the right to enfilade the Confederate artillery and heavily reinforced his right flank with infantry. Jackson brought up the rest of his artillery and a duel ensued with the Union guns on Bower's Hill. It now appeared that the Union forces were preparing to turn the Confederate left. To counter this threat, Jackson deployed Richard Taylor's Louisiana brigade, reinforced by two regiments of William B. Taliaferro's brigade, to the left along Abrams Creek. Taylor marched under fire to a position overlapping the Union right and then attacked Bower's Hill. The Confederate assault swept irresistibly forward over the crest in the face of determined resistance. The Union right flank collapsed, even as the left flank was being pressured by Ewell. Union soldiers began streaming back into town. With the collapse of both flanks, Union forces retreated through the streets of Winchester and north on the Valley Pike. Confederate pursuit was lethargic, as the troops were exhausted from the non-stop marching of the previous week. Nevertheless, many Union prisoners fell into Confederate hands. Turner Ashby's cavalry was disorganized from the actions of May 24 and did not pursue until Banks had already reached the Potomac River. First Winchester was a major victory in Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign. On the tactical level, the battle displayed considerable finesse, particularly on the part of Ewell's division on the Front Royal Pike. Brig. Gen. Taylor's attack on Bower's Hill is considered a model brigade maneuver by military historians. The ultimate significance of Jackson's victory at Winchester was its strategic impact. Union plans for a convergence on Richmond were disrupted by Jackson's audacity, and thousands of Union reinforcements were diverted to the Valley and the defense of Washington, D.C.
May 31-June 1, 1862 - Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks). Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's Army attacks McClellan's troops in front of Richmond and nearly defeats them, but Johnston is badly wounded. On May 31, Johnston attempted to overwhelm two Federal corps that appeared isolated south of the Chickahominy River. The Confederate assaults, though not well coordinated, succeeded in driving back the IV Corps and inflicting heavy casualties. Reinforcements arrived, and both sides fed more and more troops into the action. Supported by the III Corps and John Sedgwick's division of Edwin V. Sumner's II Corps (that crossed the rain-swollen river on Grapevine Bridge), the Federal position was finally stabilized. Johnston was seriously wounded during the action, and command of the Confederate army devolved temporarily to Maj. Gen. G.W. Smith. On June 1, the Confederates renewed their assaults against the Federals who had brought up more reinforcements but made little headway. Both sides claimed victory. Confederate brigadier Robert H. Hatton was killed.
June 1, 1862 - Gen. Robert E. Lee Appointed to Army of Northern Virginia. General Robert E. Lee assumes command of the army around Richmond, replacing the wounded Joseph E. Johnston. Jefferson Davis had been present with at the battle of Fair Oaks on May 31, and, after the wounding of Johnston in that engagement, assigned Lee to the command of the Army. Lee then renames his force the Army of Northern Virginia. McClellan is not impressed, saying Lee is "likely to be timid and irresolute in action."
June 6, 1862 - Capture of Memphis. The Battle of Memphis was a naval battle fought on the Mississippi River on June 6, 1862, resulting in the Union fleet capturing the city of Memphis, Tennessee. After the Confederate River Defense Fleet, commanded by Capt. James E. Montgomery and Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson (Missouri State Guard), bested the Union ironclads at Plum Run Bend, Tennessee, on May 10, 1862, they retired to Memphis. Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard ordered troops out of Fort Pillow and Memphis on June 4, after learning of Union Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck's occupation of Corinth, Mississippi. Thompson's few troops, camped outside Memphis, and Montgomery's fleet were the only force available to meet the Union naval threat to the city. From Island No. 45, just north of Memphis, Flag-Officer Charles H. Davis and Col. Charles Ellet launched a naval attack on Memphis after 4:00 am on June 6. Arriving off Memphis about 5:30 am, the battle began. In the hour and a half battle, the Union boats sank or captured all but one of the Confederate vessels; General Earl Van Dorn escaped. Immediately following the battle, Col. Ellet's son, Medical Cadet Charles Ellet, Jr., met the mayor of Memphis and raised the Union colors over the courthouse. Later, Flag-Officer Davis officially received the surrender of the city from the mayor. The Indiana Brigade, commanded by Col. G.N. Fitch, then occupied the city. Memphis, an important commercial and economic center on the Mississippi River, had fallen, opening another section of the Mississippi River to Union shipping.
June 8, 1862 - Battle of Cross Keys. The Battle of Cross Keys was fought on June 8, 1862, in Rockingham County, Virginia, as part of Confederate Army Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's campaign through the Shenandoah Valley. Together, the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic on June 9 were the decisive victories in Jackson's Valley Campaign, forcing the Union armies to retreat and leaving Jackson free to reinforce Robert E. Lee for the Seven Days Battles outside Richmond, Virginia. The hamlet of Port Republic lies on a neck of land between the North and South forks of the Shenandoah River (called the North and South Rivers locally) at the point where they conjoin. On June 6Ð7, 1862, Jackson's army, numbering about 16,000, bivouacked north of Port Republic, Richard S. Ewell's division along the banks of Mill Creek near Goods Mill, and Charles S. Winder's division on the north bank of North River near the bridge. One regiment (15th Alabama) was left to block the roads at Union Church. Jackson's headquarters were in Madison Hall at Port Republic. The army trains were parked nearby. Two Union columns converged on Jackson's position. The army of Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont, about 15,000 strong, moved south on the Valley Pike and reached the vicinity of Harrisonburg on June 6. The division of Gen. James Shields, about 10,000 strong, advanced south from Front Royal in the Luray (Page) Valley, but was badly strung out because of the muddy Luray Road. At Port Republic, Jackson possessed the last intact bridge on the North River and the fords on the South River by which Frémont and Shields could unite. Jackson determined to check Frémont's advance at Mill Creek, while meeting Shields on the east bank of the North Fork. A Confederate signal station on Massanutten monitored Union progress. Late in the day on June 7, Frémont's advance guard encountered Jackson's pickets near Cross Keys Tavern. A few shots were fired and the Union cavalry fell back onto their main body, which was approaching. Darkness prevented further developments. Col. Samuel Carroll, at the head of a regiment of cavalry, supported by a battery and a brigade of infantry, was sent ahead by Shields to secure the North River Bridge at Port Republic. Shortly after dawn on June 8, Carroll scattered the Confederate pickets, forded the South River, and dashed into Port Republic. Jackson and his staff raced down the main street from headquarters and across the bridge, narrowly eluding capture (two members of his staff were captured). Carroll deployed one gun aimed at the bridge and brought up another. Jackson directed the defense, ordering Captain William Poague's battery to unlimber on the north bank. Captain James McD. Carrington brought up a gun from the vicinity of Madison Hall to rake the Main St. The 37th Virginia Infantry charged across the bridge to drive the Union cavalry out of the town. Carroll retreated in confusion, losing his two guns, before his infantry could come within range. Three Confederate batteries unlimbered on the bluffs east of Port Republic on the north bank of the South Fork and fired on the retreating Federals. Carroll retired several miles north on the Luray Road. Jackson stationed William B. Taliaferro's brigade in Port Republic and positioned the Stonewall Brigade near Bogota with the artillery to prevent any further surprises. Meanwhile, Frémont, with Cluseret's brigade in the lead, renewed his advance from the vicinity of Harrisonburg. After driving away the Confederate skirmishers, Gustave P. Cluseret reached and deployed his right flank along the Keezletown Road near Union Church. One by one, the Union brigades came into line: Robert C. Schenck on Cluseret's right, Robert H. Milroy on his left, and Julius H. Stahel on the far left, his left flank near Congers Creek. William H. C. Bohlen's and John A. Koltes's brigades were held in reserve near the center of the line. A regiment of Union cavalry moved south on the road to secure the right flank. Batteries were brought to the front. Ewell deployed his infantry division behind Mill Creek, Isaac R. Trimble's brigade on the right across the Port Republic Road, Arnold Elzey's in the center along the high bluffs. Ewell concentrated his artillery (4 batteries) at the center of the line. As Union troops deployed along Keezletown Road, Trimble advanced his brigade a quarter of a mile to Victory Hill and deployed Courtenay's (Latimer's) battery on a hill to his left supported by the 21st North Carolina Infantry. The 15th Alabama, which had been skirmishing near Union Church, rejoined the brigade. Trimble held his regiments out of sight behind the crest of the hill. Frémont determined to advance his battle line with the evident intention of developing the Confederate position, assumed to be behind Mill Creek. This maneuver required an elaborate right wheel. Stahel's brigade on the far left had the farthest distance to cover and advanced first. Milroy moved forward on Stahel's right and rear. Union batteries were advanced with infantry lines south of Keezletown Road and engaged Confederate batteries. Stahel appeared oblivious to Trimble's advanced position. His battle line passed down into the valley, crossed the run, and began climbing Victory Hill. At a distance of "sixty paces", Trimble's infantry stood up and delivered a devastating volley. Stahel's brigade recoiled in confusion with heavy casualties. The Union brigade regrouped on the height opposite Victory Hill but made no effort to renew their assault. Stahel did not renew his attack but brought up a battery (Buell's) to support his position. Trimble moved the 15th Alabama by the right flank and up a ravine to get on the battery's left. In the meantime, Ewell sent two regiments (13th and 25th Virginia) along the ridge to Trimble's right, attracting a severe fire from the Union battery. With a shout, the 15th Alabama emerged from their ravine and began to climb the hill toward the battery, precipitating a melee. Trimble advanced his other two regiments (16th Mississippi on the left and 21st Georgia on the right) from their position on Victory Hill, forcing back the Union line. The Union battery limbered hastily and withdrew, saving its guns. A Union regiment counterattacked briefly, striking the left flank of the 16th Mississippi, but was forced back in desperate fighting. Trimble continued advancing up the ravine on the Confederate right, outflanking successive Union positions. In the meantime, Milroy advanced on Stahel's right, supported by artillery. Milroy's line came within rifle-musket range of the Confederate center behind Mill Creek and opened fire. Union batteries continued to engage Confederate batteries in an artillery duel. Bohlen advanced on the far Union left to stiffen Stahel's crumbling defense. Milroy's left flank was endangered by Stahel's retreat, and Frémont ordered him to withdraw. Jackson brought Taylor's brigade forward to support Ewell if needed, but Taylor remained in reserve on the Port Republic Road near the Dunker Church. Seemingly paralyzed by the decimation of Stahel's brigade on his left, Frémont was unable to mount a coordinated attack. He ordered Schenck's brigade forward to find the Confederate left flank south of Union Church. Ewell reinforced his left with elements of Elzey's brigade. Severe firing erupted along the line but quickly died down. Confederate brigadiers Elzey and George H. Steuart were wounded in this exchange. Frémont withdrew his force to Keezletown Road, placing his artillery on the heights to his rear (Oak Ridge). Artillery firing continued. At dusk, Trimble pushed his battle line forward to within a quarter mile of the Union position, anticipating a night assault. Confederate accounts describe the Union soldiers going into camp, lighting fires, and making coffee. Ewell ordered Trimble to withdraw without making the attack.
June 8, 1862 - Battle of Port Republic. The Battle of Port Republic was fought on June 9, 1862, in Rockingham County, Virginia, as part of Confederate Army Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's Campaign through the Shenandoah Valley. Port Republic was a fierce contest between two equally determined foes and was the most costly battle fought by Jackson's Army of the Valley during its campaign. During the night of June 8-9, 1862, Charles S. Winder's Stonewall Brigade was withdrawn from its forward position near Bogota and rejoined Jackson's division at Port Republic. Confederate pioneers built a bridge of wagons across the South Fork of the Shenandoah River at Port Republic. Winder's brigade was assigned the task of spearheading the assault against Union forces south of the river. Isaac R. Trimble's brigade and elements of Patton's were left to delay John C. Frémont's forces at Cross Keys, while the rest of Richard S. Ewell's division marched to Port Republic to be in position to support Winder's attack. Brig. Gen. Erastus B. Tyler's brigade joined Col. Samuel Carroll's brigade north of Lewiston on the Luray Road. The rest of James Shields's division was strung out along the muddy roads back to Luray. General Tyler, in command on the field, advanced at dawn of June 9 to the vicinity of Lewiston. He anchored the left of his line on a battery positioned on the Lewiston Coaling, extending his infantry west along Lewiston Lane to the South Fork near the site of Lewis' Mill. The right and center were supported by artillery (16 guns in all). Winder's brigade crossed the river by 5 a.m. and deployed to attack east across the bottomland. Winder sent two regiments (2nd Virginia and 4th Virginia) into the woods to flank the Union line and assault the Coaling. When the main Confederate battle line advanced, it came under heavy fire from the Union artillery and was soon pinned down. Confederate batteries were brought forward onto the plain but were outgunned and forced to seek safer positions. Ewell's brigades were hurried forward to cross the river. Seeing the strength of the Union artillery at the Coaling, Jackson sent Richard Taylor's brigade to the right into the woods to support the flanking column that was attempting to advance through the thick underbrush. Winder's brigade renewed its assault on the Union right and center, taking heavy casualties. General Tyler moved two regiments from the Coaling to his right and launched a counterattack, driving Confederate forces back nearly half a mile. While this was occurring, the first Confederate regiments probed the defenses of the Coaling, but were repulsed. Finding resistance more fierce than anticipated, Jackson ordered the last of Ewell's forces still north of Port Republic to cross the rivers and burn the North Fork bridge. These reinforcements began to reach Winder, strengthening his line and stopping the Union counterattack. Taylor's brigade reached a position in the woods across from the Coaling and launched a fierce attack, which carried the hill, capturing five guns. Tyler immediately responded with a counterattack, using his reserves. These regiments, in hand-to-hand fighting, retook the position. Taylor shifted a regiment to the far right to outflank the Union battle line. The Confederate attack again surged forward to capture the Coaling. Five captured guns were turned against the rest of the Union line. With the loss of the Coaling, the Union position along Lewiston Lane became untenable, and Tyler ordered a withdrawal about 10:30 a.m. Jackson ordered a general advance. William B. Taliaferro's fresh Confederate brigade arrived from Port Republic and pressed the retreating Federals for several miles north along the Luray Road, taking several hundred prisoners. The Confederate army was left in possession of the field. Shortly after noon, Frémont's army began to deploy on the north bank of the South Fork, too late to aid Tyler's defeated command, and watched helplessly from across the rain-swollen river. Frémont deployed artillery on the high bluffs to harass the Confederate forces. Jackson gradually withdrew along a narrow road through the woods and concentrated his army in the vicinity of Mt. Vernon Furnace. Jackson expected Frémont to cross the river and attack him on the following day, but during the night Frémont withdrew toward Harrisonburg. After the dual defeats at Cross Keys and Port Republic, the Union armies retreated, leaving Jackson in control of the upper and middle Shenandoah Valley and freeing his army to reinforce Robert E. Lee before Richmond in the Seven Days Battles.
June 19, 1862 - Slavery Prohibited in Territories. Abraham Lincoln approve a law prohibiting slavery in the territories.
June 26-July 2, 1862 - Seven Days Battles. The Seven Days Battles was a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia. It is sometimes known erroneously as the Seven Days Campaign, but it was actually the culmination of the Peninsula Campaign, not a separate campaign in its own right. The Peninsula Campaign was the unsuccessful attempt by Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond and end the war. It started in March, 1862, when McClellan landed his Army of the Potomac at Fort Monroe on the tip of the Virginia Peninsula. Moving slowly and cautiously up the peninsula, McClellan fought a series of minor battles and sieges against General Joseph E. Johnston, who was equally cautious in the defense of his capital, retreating step by step to within six miles of Richmond. There, the Battle of Seven Pines (also known as the Battle of Fair Oaks) took place on June 1, 1862. It was a tactical draw, but it had wide-ranging consequences for the warJohnston was wounded and replaced by the much more aggressive General Robert E. Lee. Lee spent almost a month extending his defensive lines and organizing his Army of Northern Virginia; McClellan accommodated this by sitting passively to his front until the start of the Seven Days, a week-long Confederate counter-offensive that ended the Peninsula campaign. The Battles: 1) Battle of Oak Grove (June 25, 1862) - A minor clash that preceded the major battles of the Seven Days. Attempting to move siege guns closer to Richmond, Union forces attacked through a swamp without affecting the Confederate assault that would start the next morning. 2) Battle of Mechanicsville (June 26, 1862) - Mechanicsville, or Beaver Dam Creek, was the first major battle of the Seven Days. Lee observed that McClellan had moved his army so that only the 5th Corps under Fitz John Porter remained north of the Chickahominy River. Lee struck McClellan's right flank on the northern bank and was repulsed with heavy casualties. Despite being a Union tactical victory, it was the start of a strategic debacle. McClellan withdrew to the southeast and never regained the initiative. 3) Battle of Gaines' Mill (June 27, 1862) - Lee continued his offensive, launching the largest Confederate attack of the war. (It occurred in almost the same location as the 1864 Battle of Cold Harbor and had similar numbers of casualties.) The attack was poorly coordinated and the Union lines held for most of the day, but Lee eventually broke through and McClellan withdrew again, heading for a secure base at Harrison's Landing on the James River. 4) Battle of Garnett's & Golding's Farm (June 27Ð28, 1862) - A minor Confederate demonstration and attack south of the river, which was easily repulsed, but served to further unnerve McClellan. 5) Battle of Savage's Station (June 29, 1862) - During the Union withdrawal, Confederate general John B. Magruder struck the corps of Edwin V. Sumner in an attempt to divide the Union army. The attack was repulsed and the withdrawal continued. 6) Battle of White Oak Swamp (June 30, 1862) - An artillery duel that is generally considered part of Glendale. 7) Battle of Glendale (June 30, 1862) - A bloody battle in which three Confederate divisions converged on the retreating Union forces in the White Oak Swamp, near Frayser's Farm, another name for the battle. Due to a tired and lackluster performance by Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson, Lee's army failed in its last attempt to cut off the Union army before it reached the James. 8) Battle of Malvern Hill (July 1, 1862) - The final battle of the Seven Days consisted of reckless Confederate assaults against the impregnable Union defensesbuttressed by masterful artillery placementson Malvern Hill. Lee's army suffered over 5,000 casualties in this wasted effort. Aftermath: The Seven Days Battles ended the Peninsula Campaign. McClellan withdrew to the safety of the James River, protected by fire from Union gunboats. The Army of the Potomac stayed there until August, when they were withdrawn by order of President Abraham Lincoln in the run-up to the Second Battle of Bull Run. The casualties to both sided were dreadful. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia suffered a total of 3,286 killed, 15,909 wounded, and 946 captured or missing out of a total of over 90,000 soldiers during the Seven Days. McClellan reported casualties of 1,734 killed, 8,062 wounded, and 6,053 captured or missing out of a total of 105,445. The effects of the Seven Days Battles were widespread. After a successful start on the Peninsula that foretold an early end to the war, Northern morale was crushed by McClellan's retreat. Despite heavy casualties and Lee's clumsy tactical performance, Confederate morale skyrocketed and Lee was emboldened to continue his aggressive strategy through Second Bull Run and the Battle of Antietam. McClellan was relieved as general-in-chief of all the Union armies on July 11, 1862, replaced by Henry W. Halleck, although he did retain command of the Army of the Potomac.
June 25, 1862 - Battle of Oak Grove. The Battle of Oak Grove, also known as the Battle of French's Field or King's School House, in Henrico County, Virginia, was the first of the Seven Days Battles. On June 25, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan advanced his lines along the Williamsburg Road with the objective of bringing Richmond within range of his siege guns. Union forces attacked over swampy ground with inconclusive results, and darkness halted the fighting. McClellan's attack was not strong enough to derail the Confederate offensive that already had been set in motion. The next day, Lee seized the initiative by attacking at Beaver Dam Creek north of the Chickahominy River.
June 26, 1862 - Battle of Mechanicsville. The Battle of Mechanicsville, also known as the Battle of Beaver Dam Creek or Ellerson's Mill, was the second of the Seven Days Battles and took place on June 26, 1862 in Hanover County, Virginia. Confederate General Robert E. Lee initiated an offensive against Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's right flank north of the Chickahominy River. Confederate General A.P. Hill threw his division, reinforced by one of D.H. Hill's brigades, into a series of futile assaults against Brig. Gen. Fitz John Porter's V Corps, which was drawn up behind Beaver Dam Creek. Confederate attacks were driven back with heavy casualties. Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson's Shenandoah Valley divisions, however, were approaching from the northwest, forcing Porter to withdraw the next morning to a position behind Boatswain Creek just beyond Gaines' Mill.
June 27, 1862 - Battle of Gaines' Mill. The Battle of Gaines' Mill in Hanover County, Virginia (also known as the First Battle of Cold Harbor or the Battle of Chickahominy River) was the third of the Seven Days Battles. On June 27, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee renewed his attacks against Fitz John Porter's V Corps, which had established a strong defensive line behind Boatswain's Swamp north of the Chickahominy River. Porter's reinforced V Corps held fast for the afternoon against disjointed Confederate attacks, inflicting heavy casualties. At dusk, the Confederates finally mounted a coordinated assault that broke Porter's line and drove his soldiers back toward the river. This assault was conducted by the largest number of Confederate soldiers of any battle in the war. The Federals retreated across the river during the night. Defeat at Gaines' Mill convinced Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan to abandon his advance on Richmond and begin the retreat to the James River. Gaines' Mill saved Richmond for the Confederacy in 1862.
June 27-28, 1862 - Battle of Garnett's and Golding's Farms. While battle raged north of the Chickahominy River at Gaines' Mill on June 27, Confederate General John B. Magruder demonstrated against the Union line south of the river at Garnett's Farm. To escape an artillery crossfire, the Federal defenders from Maj. Gen. Samuel P. Heintzelman's III Corps re-fused their line along the river. The Confederates attacked again near Golding's Farm on the morning of June 28 but were easily repulsed. These "fixing" actions heightened the fear in the Union high command that an all-out attack would be launched against them south of the river.
June 28, 1862 - Confederates capture the St. Nicolas. A Confederate band makes a daring capture of a commercial vessel on Chesapeake Bay. The plan was the brainchild of George Hollins, a veteran of the War of 1812. Hollins joined the navy at age 15, and had a long and distinguished career. A Maryland native, he was commander of a U.S. warship in the Mediterranean when hostilities erupted in 1861, and returned to New York and resigned his commission. After a brief stop in his hometown, Baltimore, Hollins offered his services to the Confederacy and received a commission on June 21, 1861. Soon after, Hollins met up with Richard Thomas Zarvona, a Marylander, former West Point attendee, and adventurer who had fought with pirates in China and revolutionaries in Italy. They hatched a plan to capture the St. Nicolas and use it to marshal other Yankee ships into Confederate service. Zarvona went to Baltimore and recruited a band of pirates, who boarded the St. Nicholas as paying passengers on June 28. Using the name Madame La Force, Zarvona disguised himself as a flirtatious French woman. Hollins then boarded the St. Nicholas at its first stop. The conspirators later retreated to the French woman's cabin, where they armed themselves and then burst out to capture the surprised crew. Hollins took control of the vessel and stopped on the Virginia bank of the Chesapeake to pick up a crew of Confederate soldiers. They planned to capture a Union gunboat, the Pawnee, but it was called away. Instead, the St. Nicholas and its pirate crew came upon a ship loaded with Brazilian coffee. Two more ships, carrying loads of ice and coal, soon fell to the St. Nicholas. These daring exploits earned Hollins a quick promotion from captain to commodore. At the end of July, Hollins was sent to take control of a fleet at New Orleans, Louisiana.
June 29, 1862 - Battle of Savage's Station. The Battle of Savage's Station in Henrico County, Virginia, was the fourth of the Seven Days Battles. On June 29, the main body of the Union army began a general withdrawal toward the James River. Confederate General John B. Magruder pursued along the railroad and the Williamsburg Road and struck Edwin V. Sumner's II Corps (the Union rearguard) with three brigades near Savage's Station. Confederate Brig. Gen. Richard Griffith was mortally wounded during the fight. Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson's divisions were stalled north of the Chickahominy River. Union forces continued to withdraw across White Oak Swamp, abandoning supplies and more than 2,500 wounded soldiers in a field hospital.
June 30, 1862 - Battle of Glendale. The Battle of Glendale, also known as the Battle of Nelson's Farm, Frayser's Farm, Charles City Crossroads, White Oak Swamp, New Market Road, or Riddell's Shop, took place on June 30, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, the fifth of the Seven Days Battles. On June 30, Benjamin Huger's, James Longstreet's, and A.P. Hill's divisions converged on the retreating Union army in the vicinity of Frayser's Farm near Glendale. Their attacks penetrated the Union defense near Willis Church, routing George A. McCall's division. McCall was captured. Union counterattacks by Joseph Hooker's and Philip Kearny's divisions sealed the break and saved their line of retreat along the Willis Church Road. Huger's advance was stopped on the Charles City Road. Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson's divisions were delayed by William B. Franklin at White Oak Swamp. Confederate Maj. Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes made a feeble attempt to turn the Union left flank at Turkey Bridge, but was driven back by Federal gunboats in the James River. Union generals George G. Meade and Edwin V. Sumner and Confederate generals Richard H. Anderson, Dorsey Pender, and Winfield S. Featherston were wounded. Lee's best chance to cut off the Union army from the James River had failed; that night, McClellan established a strong position on Malvern Hill. (The Battle of White Oak Swamp on the same day is often considered to be part of the Glendale engagement. The Union rearguard under Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin stopped Stonewall Jackson's divisions at the White Oak Bridge crossing, resulting in an artillery duel while the main battle raged two miles farther south at Glendale).
July 1, 1862 - Battle of Malvern Hill. The Battle of Malvern Hill (also known as the Battle of Poindexter's Farm) in Henrico County, Virginia, was the sixth and last of the Seven Days Battles. On July 1, 1862, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee launched a series of disjointed assaults on the nearly impregnable Union position on Malvern Hill, led by brigade commander Lewis Addison Armistead. The Confederates suffered more than 5,300 casualties without gaining an inch of ground. D. H. Hill, who had seen his division cut to pieces in a few short hours, wrote afterward, "It was not war, it was murder." Despite his victory, George B. McClellan withdrew to entrench at Harrison's Landing on the James River, where his army was protected by gunboats. This ended the Peninsula Campaign. When McClellan's army ceased to threaten Richmond, Lee sent Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson to operate against Maj. Gen. John Pope's army along the Rapidan River, thus initiating the Northern Virginia Campaign.
July 1, 1862 - The Pacific Railroad Act. The act called for several companies to build the railroad: from the west, the Central Pacific and the Nevada Central; and from the east, the newly-chartered Union Pacific. Each was required to build only 50 miles (80.47 km) in the first year; after that, only 50 more miles were required each year. Besides land grants along the right-of-way, each railroad was subsidized $16,000 for each mile (1.60 km) built over an easy grade, $32,000 in the high plains, and $48,000 for each mile in the mountains. The race was on to see which road could build the furthest. The Union Pacific Railroad was incorporated on July 1, 1862 in the wake of the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. The first rails were laid in Omaha, Nebraska. They were part of the railroads which came together at Promontory Summit, Utah in 1869 as the first transcontinental railroad in North America.
July 2, 1862 - Lincoln Calls for Troops. Abraham Lincoln calls for 300,000 three-year enlistments.
July 11, 1862 - Halleck Appointed General in Chief. After four months as his own general-in-chief, President Lincoln hands over the task to Gen. Henry W. (Old Brains) Halleck. He arrives in Washington, D.C. to assume his new post on July 23. He held the post until 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln replaced him with General Ulysses S. Grant. Halleck then served as chief of staff of the army until 1865.
July 17, 1862 - Second Confiscation Act The Confiscation Act of July 17, 1862, declares "forever free" all captured and fugitive slaves of the rebels. This bill also authorizes the president to use African Americans in the military, but only as scouts, laborers, spies, kitchen workers, and nurses until after the Emancipation Proclamation. The Act authorized in rem procedures against the property of Southern rebels and their sympathizers, redirecting proceeds to law enforcement to wage the war on crime, the Act stated that the properties seized were to be used for supporting the Union cause in waging its war. Opponents of the Act were concerned that seizure was unconstitutional without a prior judicial finding of guilt, that the concept of a forfeiture against the property and not the person was a fiction that no one could reasonably believe, and that the in rem nature of the proceeding unconstitutionally circumvented the rights of accused persons in regular criminal trials. Illinois Senator Orville Browning warned: "[A] total revolution [will be] wrought in our criminal jurisprudence, and, in despite of all the safeguards of the Constitution, proceedings in personam for the punishment of crime may be totally ignored, and punishment inflicted against the property alone." President Lincoln initially shared this objection to the Act's deprivation of property without a criminal conviction or other protective hearing, but eventually signed it into law. Lincoln continued, however, to consistently express a conviction that the power should be employed only in situations of necessity. Furthermore, Lincoln's later actions indicate, at least in form, that confiscations were to be only temporary and "restoration of all rights of property," absent intervening third-party interests, was to occur at the conclusion of the war. Lincoln recognized that confiscation should only be an emergency measure and that, upon termination of the emergency, the practice of confiscation should end and seized property should revert to those from whom it was taken. The Act was in reply to a Confederate law that confiscated the southern properties of Union supporters. But, the country was embroiled in a civil war: Southern rebels were not simply enemies to whom the government owed no constitutional duty; they were also citizens. Senator Jacob M. Howard of Michigan explained the status of rebels when he declared that the United States was not waging war against "foreign enemies . . . but against persons who owe obedience to this government and are rightfully subject to it." Presumably, if the rebels had an obligation to the United States government, that same government had an obligation to them. But Howard further asserted that certain inflictions of punishment, calculated to repel the violence and rebellion, were lawful. The Supreme Court, in upholding the Act, argued that extraordinary conditions justified such a law as part of broad military powers. In other words, the exercise of confiscation was a war power and not a criminal measure for the punishment of a crime. Furthermore, the Court argued that the United States retained the powers of both a "belligerent and a sovereign, and had the rights of both" allowing the government to treat the rebels as if they were enemies.
July 22, 1862 - Lincoln Discloses Emancipation Proclamation to Cabinet. President Abraham Lincoln tells his cabinet that he intends to issue an emancipation proclamation, but agrees to wait for a military victory so that this will not appear to be an act of desperation.
July 22, 1862 - Prisoner Exchange Agreement. Union and Confederate negotiators reach an agreement ("cartel") for prisoner exchanges. As the war progressed and the number of captives increased, the demand for some general plan of exchange became insistent; and a cartel was arranged on July 22, 1862, by General John A. Dix for the United States and General D. H. Hill for the Confederacy. The purpose was to effect the release of all prisoners of war and to deal with the problem of an excess on one side or the other by having surplus prisoners released under parole not to take up arms again, while prisoners released on the basis of even exchange were not denied further military service. The cartel arrangement broke down and was discontinued by early 1863.
July 24, 1862 - Death of Martin Van Buren. Martin Van Buren dies, eighth president of the United States.
July 29, 1862 - Confederate Spy Belle Boyd Captured. Isabella "Belle" Boyd is arrested by Union troops and detained at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. It was the first of three arrests for this skilled spy who provided crucial information to the Confederates during the war.
August 4, 1862 - Lincoln Calls for Troops. After a weak response to the July 2, 1862 appeal for three-year enlistments, Lincoln issues a new call for 300,000 nine-month militia.
August 5, 1862 - Battle of Baton Rouge. In an attempt to regain control of the state, Confederates wished to recapture the capital at Baton Rouge. Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge planned a combined land/water expedition with his corps and CSS Ram Arkansas. Advancing west from Camp Moore, the Confederate land forces, coming from the east, were only ten miles away on August 4. They reached the outskirts of the capital early in the morning, formed for an attack in two divisions, and began to drive back each Union unit they encountered. Then, Union gunboats in the river began shelling the Confederates. The Arkansas could have neutralized the Union gunboats, but her engines failed and she did not participate in the battle. Federal land forces, in the meantime, fell back to a more defensible line, and the Union commander, Brig. Gen. Thomas Williams, was killed soon after. The new commander, Col. Thomas W. Cahill, ordered a retreat to a prepared defensive line nearer the river and within the gunboats' protection. Rebels assailed the new line, but finally the Federals forced them to retire. The next day the Arkansas's engines failed again as she closed on the Union gunboats; she was blown up and scuttled by her crew. The Confederates failed to recapture the state capital.
August 9, 1862 - Battle of Cedar Mountain. Maj. Gen. John Pope was placed in command of the newly constituted Army of Virginia on June 26. Gen. Robert E. Lee responded to Pope's dispositions by dispatching Maj. Gen. T.J. Jackson with 14,000 men to Gordonsville in July. Jackson was later reinforced by A. P. Hill's division. In early August, Pope marched his forces south into Culpeper County with the objective of capturing the rail junction at Gordonsville. On August 9, Jackson and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks's corps tangled at Cedar Mountain with the Federals gaining an early advantage. A Confederate counterattack led by A.P. Hill repulsed the Federals and won the day. Confederate general William Winder was killed. This battle shifted fighting in Virginia from the Peninsula to Northern Virginia, giving Lee the initiative.
August 14, 1862 - McClellan Withdraws from Peninsula. George B. McClellan begins to withdraw the Army of the Potomac, ending the Peninsula campaign.
August-October, 1862 - Bragg's Kentucky Campaign. General Braxton Bragg, now in command of Confederate forces in the theater, was determined to go over to offensive operations to recover both Tennessee and Kentucky for the Confederacy. The campaign began favorably as Confederate forces in East Tennessee, under the control of General Kirby Smith and in cooperation with Bragg, moved north into Kentucky with 12,000 troops. On August 30, at Richmond, Kentucky, they met a command of 7,000 new Federal recruits defending the city. In a one-sided victory, Smith's casualties numbered only about 450 while the Federals lost 206 killed, 844 wounded, and 4,303 captured or missing. Lexington, Kentucky was captured by Smith's forces, unopposed, the following day. On September 13, Bragg had reached Glasgow, Kentucky which placed him between Don Carlos Buell, now at Bowling Green, and Smith in Lexington. Bragg's forces moved north to the Green River and forced the surrender of another 4,000 man Federal garrison at Munfordville. Buell advanced his forces again northward to Louisville, and then began a movement to the southeast towards Bragg's suspected location. The two armies eventually stumbled into each other outside Perryville, Kentucky on October 8, 1862. Bragg, who was outnumbered three-to-one, but did not think so at the time, ordered an attack by William J. Hardee and Leonidas Polk. This assault routed the Federal Left Wing under General Alexander McD. McCook. On the opposite flank, Joseph Wheeler's 1,200 Confederate cavalry managed to immobilize Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden's corps of 22,500 Federal troops in an impressive performance. When the battle closed at the end of the day with no decisive results however, Bragg decided to retreat southward. Buell's pursuit was unenthusiastic, and Bragg arrived back in Knoxville on October 22. Lincoln was unhappy with the turn of events and on October 24, ordered Buell to turn over his command to Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans.
August-September 1862 - Sioux Uprising. A Sioux uprising begins in Minnesota after the government fails to pay cash annuities agreed to under treaty. Also known as the Dakota Conflict or the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, the armed conflict between the United States and several eastern bands of the Dakota people (often referred to as the Santee Sioux) began on August 17, 1862 along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota. Skirmishes in the following weeks claimed hundreds of lives. The number of Native American dead is unknown, while estimates of settlers who died range between 300 and 800one of the largest tolls on American civilians to ever occur. The conflict also resulted in the largest mass execution in U.S. history, when 38 Dakota men convicted of murder and rape were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota. This was the first major armed engagement between the U.S. and Dakota, though it would not be the last.
August 26, 1862 - Jackson Destroys Supply Depot at Manassas. Thomas J. Jackson destroys John Pope's supply depot at Manassas Junction.
August 28-30, 1862 - Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas). On June 26, 1862, the Army of Virginia was formed under the command of Maj. Gen. John Pope. Maneuvering following the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9 brought the armies to positions across the Rappahannock River. On August 22, Robert E. Lee received information that Pope expected to be reinforced from the Virginia Peninsula within five days, bringing his forces to 130,000 men. Facing 75,000 men to his 55,000, Lee decided to split his forces and send half on a wide flanking movement. On August 25, Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson began a sweeping march around the right of Pope's army, crossing the Rappahannock at Hinson's Mill Ford and reaching Salem (now Marshall) on the Manassas Gap Railroad during the evening. Turning his column eastward, he resumed his march in the morning and crossed Bull Run Mountain at Thoroughfare Gap and reached Gainesville in the late afternoon, where cavalry forces under Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart joined the column. With evening approaching, the head of Jackson's column cut the Orange and Alexandria Railroad at Bristoe Station, four miles west of the Union supply depot at Manassas Junction. During the night, Jackson's forces marched to the junction and seized the supply depot. On August 27, Pope moved to intercept Jackson from the southwest, while Henry W. Halleck, the Union general-in-chief in Washington, D.C., directed Federal forces in Alexandria to move against Manassas Junction and Gainesville from the east. During the morning Jackson's forces fended off the advance of Union forces northeast of the junction near Bull Run Bridge on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. Meanwhile at Bristoe Station, Jackson's rearguard under Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell held off Pope's advance forces under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker until late in the afternoon. With Pope's army approaching from the west, Jackson decided to destroy the remaining supplies in Manassas Junction and to withdraw his command northward during the night to the site of the previous year's battle of First Bull Run. August 28: The engagement began as a Federal column, under Jackson's observation near Brawner Farm, moved along the Warrenton Turnpike. In an effort to prevent Pope from moving into a strong defensive position around Centreville, Jackson risked being overwhelmed before James Longstreet could join him. Jackson ordered an attack on the exposed left flank of the column and, in his words, "The conflict here was fierce and sanguinary." The fighting continued until approximately 9 p.m. (some sources say midnight), at which point the Union withdrew from the field. Losses were heavy on both sides. Pope believed he had trapped Jackson and sought to capture him before he could be reinforced by Longstreet. Pope's dispatch sent on the evening of the 28th to General Philip Kearny stated, in part, "General McDowell has intercepted the retreat of the enemy and is now in his front . . . Unless he can escape by by-paths leading to the north to-night, he must be captured." August 29: Jackson had initiated the conflict with the goal of holding Pope in the area until James Longstreet arrived with the remainder of the Army of Northern Virginia. Jackson formed his line of battle near Warrenton Turnpike, generally along the excavation for an unfinished railroad line. Beginning about 10 a.m., the Union forces launched a series of assaults against Jackson's position. The fighting was intense and casualties were heavy on both sides. The battle continued until Federal forces withdrew. Longstreet's corps arrived on the field at approximately 11 a.m. and took up positions on Jackson's right. His arrival apparently went unnoticed by Pope until late in the afternoon when a portion of Longstreet's command repulsed a Union advance. August 30: Early that morning, Jackson's troops pulled back from forward positions gained while repulsing the assaults. Pope viewed this as evidence of a retreat and, although he was now aware that Longstreet had joined Jackson, was determined to push forward. Following skirmishing throughout the day, Pope moved against Jackson's position in force at about 3 p.m. Jackson described the assault, "In a few moments our entire line was engaged in a fierce and sanguinary struggle with the enemy. As one line was repulsed another took its place and pressed forward as if determined by force of numbers and fury of assault to drive us from our positions." While the Union forces were engaged with Jackson, Lee ordered Longstreet forward. When massed Confederate artillery devastated a Union assault by Fitz John Porter's command, Longstreet's wing of 28,000 men counterattacked in the largest, simultaneous mass assault of the war. Longstreet's forces, led by John B. Hood's brigades, drove forward and crushed the Union left flank as Jackson repulsed the assault. The Union forces were driven from the field in disorder back to Bull Run. Only an effective Union rearguard action prevented a replay of the First Manassas disaster. Pope's retreat to Centreville was precipitous, nonetheless. The next day, Lee ordered his army in pursuit. This was the decisive battle of the Northern Virginia Campaign. Once again the Union Army retreats to Washington.
September 1, 1862 - Battle of Chantilly (Ox Hill). Making a wide flank march, Thomas J. Jackson hoped to cut off the Union retreat from Bull Run. On September 1, beyond Chantilly Plantation on the Little River Turnpike near Ox Hill, Jackson sent his divisions against two Union divisions under Generals Philip Kearny and Isaac Stevens. Confederate attacks were stopped by fierce fighting during a severe thunderstorm. Union generals Stevens and Kearny were both killed. Recognizing that his army was still in danger at Fairfax Courthouse, Maj. Gen. John Pope ordered the retreat to continue to Washington. With Pope no longer a threat, Lee turned his army west and north to invade Maryland, initiating the Maryland Campaign and the battles of South Mountain and Antietam. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan assumed command of Union forces around Washington (September 2).
September 2, 1862 - Kirby Smith Occupies Lexington. Confederate forces led by Gen. Kirby Smith occupy Lexington, Kentucky.
September 2, 1862 - McClellan Restored to Command. President Abraham Lincoln relieves Maj. Gen. John Pope and reluctantly restores General George B. McClellan to full command after Pope's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Second Bull Run.
September 4-9, 1862 - Lee's First Invasion of the North. Gen. Robert E. Lee invades the North with 50,000 Confederates and heads for Harpers Ferry, located 50 miles northwest of Washington. The Union Army, 90,000 strong, under the command of McClellan, pursues Lee.
September 14, 1862 - Battle of South Mountain (Boonsboro). After invading Maryland in September 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee divided his army to march on and invest Harpers Ferry. The Army of the Potomac under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan pursued the Confederates to Frederick, Maryland, then advanced on South Mountain. The Battle of South Mountain (which was actually two separate battles), broke out on September 14 in the Fox's Gap and Turner's Gap areas after Confederate gunners opened fire on Federal forces moving toward the base of the mountain. The fighting in these areas continued most of the day as charges and counter charges were made by both sides. By evening the ends of the Confederate line had been turned and were in danger of being flanked. Recognizing this, General Lee ordered his forces to withdraw during the night. Further south at Crampton's Gap, General William B. Franklin's Union VI Corps moved into the area from its camp in nearby Jefferson. The fighting didn't begin until around noon, as Franklin allowed four crucial hours to pass while devising a battle plan against a thin Confederate line that he outnumbered by as much as ten to one. As the Federal assault began, the Confederate troops broke and retreated back up the mountain and through the gap. Just as these troops reached the gap, Confederate General Howell Cobb's brigade arrived, and in a heroic attempt to stem the flight, his 1,300 men held their ground, bravely firing on the Federal charge. In a mere 15 minutes Cobb's legion was nearly decimated. When roll was called the following day only 300 men answered. After Crampton's Gap had been cleared of Confederate forces, Franklin ordered his troops into camp for the night. Had his attack not been delayed earlier in the day, he might have continued his pursuit of the Confederates into the valley beyond, driving a wedge between the two parts of Lee's divided and disorganized army, thereby allowing McClellan the opportunity to attack each section separately. However, the attack was not renewed and McClellan's limited activity on September 15 condemned the garrison at Harpers Ferry to capture and gave Lee time to unite his scattered divisions at Sharpsburg. Confederate General Samuel Garland and Union General Jesse L. Reno both received mortal wounds during the heavy fighting near Fox's Gap. Here too, future presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley participated in the battle. Hayes, a lieutenant colonel with the 23rd Ohio, was severely wounded and, left on the field until after the battle was over, was then taken to a house in Middletown to recover. McKinley, a supply sergeant, was present but did not take part in the fighting (he was assassinated in office on September 14, 1901, 39 years to the day of the battle).
September 16-18, 1862 - Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg). The Battle of Antietam (known as the Battle of Sharpsburg in the South), fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with over 23,000 casualties, but also has unique significance as the partial victory that gave President Abraham Lincoln the confidence to announce his Emancipation Proclamation. Prelude: Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia40,000 menhad entered Maryland following their recent victory at Second Bull Run. Lee's strategy was to seek new supplies and fresh men (from the border, slave-holding state of Maryland, which had considerable pockets of Confederate sympathies) and to impact public opinion in the North. While Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's 87,000-man Army of the Potomac was moving to intercept Lee, a Union soldier discovered a mislaid copy of the detailed battle plans of Lee's armyGeneral Order number 191wrapped around three cigars. The order indicated that Lee had divided his army and dispersed portions geographically (to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and Hagerstown, Maryland), thus making each subject to isolation and defeat in detail if McClellan could move quickly enough. McClellan waited about 18 hours before deciding to take advantage of this intelligence and position his forces based on it, thus endangering a golden opportunity to defeat Lee decisively. There were two significant engagements in the Maryland campaign prior to the major battle of Antietam: Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's capture of Harpers Ferry and McClellan's assault through the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Battle of South Mountain. The Battle: Near of the town of Sharpsburg, Lee deployed his army behind Antietam Creek along a low ridge. Jackson defended the left (north) flank, anchored on the Potomac River, James Longstreet the right (south) flank, anchored on the Antietam. This was a precarious position because the Confederate rear was blocked by the Potomac River and only a single ford was available should retreat be necessary. Although McClellan arrived in the area on September 16, his trademark caution delayed his attack on Lee, which gave the Confederates more time to prepare defensive positions and allowed Longstreet's corps to arrive from Hagerstown and Jackson's corps, minus A. P. Hill's division, to arrive from Harpers Ferry. On the evening of September 16, McClellan ordered the I Corps under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker to cross Antietam Creek and probe the enemy positions. George G. Meade's division of regulars cautiously attacked Confederates under John B. Hood near the East Woods. After darkness, artillery fire continued as McClellan continued to position his troops. The skirmish in the East Woods served to signal McClellan's intentions to Robert E. Lee, who prepared his defenses accordingly. The battle the next day can be viewed as essentially three separate, mostly uncoordinated battles: morning in the northern end of the battlefield, mid-day in the center, and afternoon in the south. This lack of coordination and concentration of McClellan's forces almost completely nullified the two-to-one advantage the Union enjoyed and allowed Lee to shift his defensive forces to parry each thrust. Morning: The battle opened at dawn on September 17 with an attack down the Hagerstown Turnpike by the Union I Corps. Hooker's artillery opened fire on Jackson's men across a cornfield on the Miller farm. The artillery and rifle fire from both sides acted like a scythe, cutting down all the cornstalks and over 8,000 men on both sides. Hooker's report stated: ". . . every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the [Confederates] slain lay in rows precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before." According to some accounts, possession of the cornfield changed hands up to fifteen times that morning. Jackson's defense was reinforced at 7 a.m. by John B. Hood's division, whose Texans attacked with particular ferocity because they were forced to interrupt the first hot breakfast they had had in days. They in turn were driven partially back when the Union XII Corps under Maj. Gen. Joseph K. Mansfield counterattacked. Mansfield was killed in the initial attack and his corps came under strong fire from around the Dunker Church. Soon after, Hooker was wounded in the foot and removed from the field. In an effort to turn the Confederate left flank and relieve the pressure on Mansfield's men, Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick's division of the II Corps (under Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner) advanced into the West Woods. Sumner recklessly launched the division attack en masse without adequate reconnaissance. They were assaulted from three sides, and in less then half an hour their momentum was stopped with over 2,200 casualties. The morning phase ground to a halt with casualties over 12,000, including two Union corps commanders. Mid-Day: In the center, another division of Sumner's corps, under Maj. Gen. William H. French, moved to support Sedgwick, but took the wrong road and headed south. They encountered the division of Confederate Maj. Gen. D. H. Hill defending a ridge in a sunken road worn down by years of wagon traffic, which formed a natural trench. In a series of four assaults over three hours, French's men, along with the division of Maj. Gen. Israel B. Richardson, battered Hill's improvised breastworks. Finally the Union was able to get enfilade fire into the Confederate line, forcing it to fall back. The carnage from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the sunken road gave it the name Bloody Lane, leaving about 5,500 casualties along the 800-yard road. Richardson drove the Confederates from the hills south of Bloody Lane, wrecking the center of Lee's line. Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin of the VI Corps was ready to exploit this breakthrough, but Sumner, the senior corps commander, ordered him not to advance. Franklin appealed to McClellan, who backed Sumner's decision. Another reserve unit was near the center, the V Corps under Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter. Maj. Gen. George Sykes, commanding his 2nd division, also recommended an attack in the center later in the day, which intrigued McClellan. However, Porter is said to have told McClellan, "Remember, General, I command the last reserve of the last Army of the Republic." McClellan demurred and another opportunity was lost. Afternoon: Southeast of the town on the Union left, Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's IX Corps had been stalled since 9:30 a.m. in attempts to cross a bridge over Antietam Creek. His orders had been to create a diversion in support of the main attack (Hooker's, on the right), exploiting it if possible. Due to inadequate scouting, he was unaware that several shallow points existed nearby for fording infantry, and over three hours and three assaults were wasted at the bridge, later named Burnside's Bridge. Sharpshooters from Georgia in the division of David R. Jones were the primary impediment to Burnside's progress. His corps finally crossed the creek by 1:00 p.m., but took another two hours to regroup before advancing west towards Sharpsburg and threatening to envelop Lee's right flank. However, by this late hour A.P. Hill's Light Division had just completed a rapid forced march from Harpers Ferry and was able to repulse Burnside. Aftermath: The battle was over by 5:30 p.m. Losses for the day were heavy on both sides. The Union had 12,410 casualties with about 2,100 dead. Confederate casualties were 10,700 with about 2,700 dead. On the evening of September 18, after a truce for both sides to recover their wounded, Lee's forces began withdrawing across the Potomac to return to Virginia. Although a tactical draw, the Battle of Antietam is considered a strategic Union victory and a turning point of the war because it forced the end of Lee's invasion of the North and it allowed President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, taking effect on January 1, 1863. Although Lincoln had intended to do so earlier, he was advised by his Cabinet to make this announcement after a Union victory to avoid the perception that it was issued out of desperation. The winning of the Battle of Antietam also may have dissuaded the governments of France and Britain from recognizing the Confederacy; some suspected they were planning to do so in the aftermath of another Union defeat.
September 22, 1862 - Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The president issues a preliminary emancipation proclamation, declaring that all slaves in states or parts of states still in rebellion on Jan. 1, 1863, should be free, starting on that date. Though Abraham Lincoln decided to free the slaves that summer, he waited for a Union victory before announcing the decision so that the new policy would be taken as a sign of strength rather than one of weakness. The formal Emancipation Proclamation is issued on January 1, 1863.
September 24, 1862 - Habeas Corpus Suspended. After fresh military disasters, with a gloomy prospect for the administration in the upcoming elections, with an unpopular conscription looming and doubt about the public's reception of the Emancipation Proclamation, the President suspended habeas corpus again, this time over the entire North. The new directive specifically cited the resistance to the draft. It had been urged privately well before that, by several governors, especially Oliver Perry Morton of Indiana who was plagued by disloyal militias and secessionist newspaper editors. Later, in the short session of Congress that began November 1862, a bill was introduced to provide indemnity for the President's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. This was done to make it legally correct, and to remove Roger B. Taney,'s objection that the Congress, not the President, had the power to do that. It passed the House on December 8, the Senate changed it, and it finally cleared Congress, as the Habeas Corpus Act, on March 3, 1863.
October 8, 1862 - Battle of Chaplin Hills (Perryville). A Confederate campaign to "free" Kentucky was launched in 1862 under the direction of General Braxton Bragg. Bragg, commander of the Confederate Army of Mississippi, moved his army from Tupelo in northeast Mississippi to Chattanooga, Tennessee. There, after conferring with Confederate General Kirby Smith, Bragg and Smith launched their two-pronged "invasion" of Kentucky. The Confederate commanders hoped to attract thousands of Kentuckians to the colors, and draw Federal forces out of Tennessee. Smith led 12,000 troops northward and by the end of August controlled the central part of Kentucky. Bragg then moved his army with the intention of linking forces with Smith's, thereby gaining control of the entire state. Union forces in Kentucky under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, raced toward Louisville to save the major Union supply base from capture. By late September 1862, Buell, Bragg and Smith were all in northern Kentucky. Bragg, who had been disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm demonstrated by Kentuckians to the Confederate presence, installed a Confederate governor in Frankfort, the state capital. Meanwhile Buell, spurred on by the threat of being removed from command, started his army forward from Louisville in search of Bragg. Distracted by a Federal diversion, Bragg paid little attention to the approach of Buell's 60,000-man army towards Perryville and the 16,000 Confederate forces commanded by General Leonidas Polk. On October 7, as Buell's forces drew closer to Perryville, CS Colonel Joseph Wheeler's cavalry skirmished with them. U.S. Maj. Gen. Charles C. Gilbert's III Corps was on the Springfield Pike, U.S. Maj. Gen. Alexander McD. McCook's I Corps was on the Mackville Pike, and U.S. Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden's II Corps was on the Lebanon Pike. CS Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee called up three brigades from CS Maj. Gen. Simon B. Buckner's Division. CS Brig. Gen. Sterling A. M. Wood moved to the north of town, with CS Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson to his right east of the Chaplin River near the Harrodsburg Pike; CS Brig. Gen. St. John R. Liddell's Arkansas Brigade formed on the crest of a hill just east of Bull Run, north of the Springfield Pike, in anticipation of the soldiers' need for water, with one regiment thrown forward onto Peters Hill. The first shots of the battle were fired in the early morning darkness of October 8 when Gilbert's skirmishers went forward to get water and encountered Liddell's pickets on Peters Hill. Near the Turpin house, U.S. Colonel Daniel McCook's brigade of U.S. Brig. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan's division pushed the 7th Arkansas back to Liddell's main line. The fighting along the Springfield Pike escalated as Sheridanwho had just earned his first starpushed ahead and across Bull Run, only to be recalled to Peters Hill to assume a defensive stance by the faint-hearted Gilbert. By 9:30 a.m. the fighting had subsided. Sheridan positioned his men and made his headquarters at the Turpin house. Buell knew little about the action because he could not hear the fighting from his headquarters at the Dorsey house on the Springfield Pike, more than two miles west of Peters Hill. Bragg had ordered Polk to Perryville to "attack the enemy immediately, rout him, and then move rapidly to join Major General [Kirby] Smith" near Versailles. The Confederates were in Perryville by 10:00 a.m., where Bragg made his headquarters at the Crawford house on the Harrodsburg Pike. He ordered Polk's right wing into position. CS Maj. Gen. Benjamin Franklin Cheatham's Division was redeployed from the high ground west of Perryville to the Confederate right, south of Walker's Bend of the Chaplin River. Buckner's Division occupied the center, with CS Brig. Gen. James Patton Anderson's Division on the left. CS Colonel John A. Wharton's cavalry reported that the Union left was farther north than expected. Cheatham's Division moved into Walker's Bend, crossed the Chaplin River, and attacked at about 2:00 p.m. The Confederate attack did not envelop the Union left flank as planned, but slammed into the front of McCook's 13,000-man corps. The fighting escalated as Buckner's and Anderson's Divisions became involved. As more Confederates joined the advance and the fighting raged, McCook's men slowly withdrew. U.S. Brig. Gen.s James S. Jackson and William R. Terrill were mortally wounded in the action. Cheatham's Tennesseans and Georgians, crushing Terrill's brigade, closed on U.S. Brig. Gen. John Starkweather's soldiers from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, supported by two batteries posted along the Benton Road. The fighting was savage as the Federals blunted the Confederate surge before pulling back to higher ground. Some of the heaviest fighting was near the H. P. Bottom house on Doctor's Creek. As Johnson's men advanced over the creek, they came under heavy fire and took cover behind a stone fence. While Sheridan was hobbled by Gilbert's orders, CS Brigadier Generals Patrick R. Cleburne and Daniel W. Adams advanced in bitter fighting and drove two Union brigades from the high ground commanding the Mackville Road crossing of Doctor's Creek. Next, the Confederates encountered U.S. Colonel George P. Webster's brigade of Jackson's division and pushed it back to the Russell house. Webster was mortally wounded while attempting to rally his men. The bitter resistance the Confederates encountered from Union regiments from three brigades and the eight cannons along the Russell house ridge bought time. It was 6:00 p.m. before the Confederates prevailed. Buell finally realized that McCook's corps faced disaster and sent reinforcements from Gilbert's corps to shore up the Federal left. U.S. Colonel Michael Gooding's brigade and six cannons were positioned to defend the vital intersection of the Benton and Mackville Roads as the Confederates called up reinforcements. First Wood's and then Liddell's Brigades hammered Gooding's men. In the interval between Wood's and Liddell's onslaughts, with daylight fading, CS General Polk narrowly escaped death or capture when he rode up to troops in battle line and ordered them to stop firing into a brigade of fellow Confederates. He discovered to his horror that the troops were in fact soldiers of the 22nd Indiana. Their colonel, however, did not think as quickly as Polk had earlier in the day when he took prisoner a Union officer who confused the portly and distinguished bishop-general with one of McCook's officers. Polk bluffed his way through and regained the Confederate lines. At about 4:10 p.m. south of the old Springfield Road, the divisions of Sheridan and U.S. Brig. Gen. Robert B. Mitchell repulsed the attack of CS Colonel Samuel Powell's Brigade. In a counterattack, U.S. Colonel William P. Carlin's brigade chased Powell's men through the streets of Perryville and across the Chaplin River. As darkness came, Liddell drove Gooding from the key intersection, but time had run out for the Confederates along McCook's front. Although they had gained ground, captured eleven cannons, and mauled five of McCook's brigades, night and the arrival of Union reinforcements stayed the Confederate tide. The battle ended at dark, with the Federals having taken the worst of it: 4,211 casualties to 3,396 in losses for the Confederates. Although Bragg's army suffered less than Buell's, the Confederate commander realized he faced the entire Army of the Ohio, and ordered an immediate retreat. In spite of telegrams from Washington urging him to follow Bragg and attack, Buell would not fight while living off the land. When Buell decided to return to Nashville to re-establish an offensive base again there, President Lincoln gave his command to U.S. Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans and redesignated it the Army of the Cumberland. In the end, neither side gained much at the Battle of Perryville. "If it had been two men wrestling it could have been called a 'dog fall,'" one Confederate wrote later, "Both sides claiming the victoryboth whipped." One Union general described the action as "the bloodiest battle of modern times." Some historians believe that this battle, because it marked a fatal loss of initiative for the South, was as decisive as any other during the entire four-year conflict. The failure of the Confederates to advance further into Kentucky following Perryville, along with the Rebel defeat at Antietam (Sharpsburg, Md.) in September, also dashed Southern diplomatic hopes for recognition of the Confederacy as a separate nation by Great Britain.
October 11, 1862 - Stuart Loots Chambersburg. On October 8, in the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam, Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart to take his cavalry on a raid into Maryland, and even as far as Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to cut the Cumberland Valley Railroad supplying Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's army at Haggerstown. Further, Stuart was to gather intelligence on Union numbers, supplies, and intentions. It was a typical cavalry operation, the sort of independent mission that Stuart loved. October 10, Stuart led 1,800 troopers north from their Virginia camps toward the Potomac River. They rode to McCoy's Ford several miles above Harpers Ferry, sliced across the narrow Maryland panhandle, and rode into Pennsylvania that same day. Already, a Union pursuit was mounting. By nightfall, the cavalry reached Chambersburg. Chambersburg would become the only Northern town to suffer mass devastation during the War Between the States when, angered by news of a federal raid on Virginia, Confederate troops ordered the citizens of Chambersburg to pay an indemnity of $100,000 in gold. When the townspeople refused to meet the demand, Southern troops looted the town and set it ablaze. Thousands of people were left homeless from the fire, which destroyed 537 buildings. By dawn the next morning, Stuart was ready to leave, his mission only partly fulfilled, for the railroad was still intact. Guessing that McClellan would have cut off a return by way of the upper Potomac, Stuart led his men east to Cashtown, then south to Emmitsburg, Maryland, continuing past Frederick to recross the Potomac finally at White's Ferry. In effect, he had ridden completely around McClellan yet again. Only at the final river crossing did Union cavalrymen catch him in an ineffectual attempt to cut off escape. Stuart had covered more than 100 miles in 2 days, destroyed some stores, captured more, and severely disorganized the Union cavalry for weeks to come. Against a better opponent, Stuart's Chambersburg Raid would not have been significant. Against McClellan, however, it made an already timid general even more fearful.
October 30, 1862 - Rosecrans Appointed Commander of the Army of the Cumberland. Criticized for failing to pursue the retreating Confederates after Perryville, Don Carlos Buell is replaced by Gen. William S. Rosecrans as commander of the Union Army of the Cumberland.
November 7, 1862 - Burnside Appointed Commander of the Army of the Potomac. The president replaces George B. McClellan with Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside (1824-81) as the new Commander of the Army of the Potomac (over the protest of Burnside). Lincoln had grown impatient with McClellan's slowness to follow up on the success at Antietam, even telling him, "If you don't want to use the army, I should like to borrow it for a while." On November 14 President Abraham Lincoln approves General Burnside's plan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginialeading to a dramatic Union defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13.
November 17, 1862 - Ambrose E. Burnside reaches the north bank of the Rappahannock River, opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
December 1862-March 1865 - Ile à Vache Resettlement Project. Pres. Abraham Lincoln gave serious consideration to a small Caribbean island off the coast of the black republic of Haiti, Ile à Vache, as a possible resettlement site for freed blacks. In December 1862, the President signed a contract with Bernard Kock, a businessman who said that he had obtained a long-term lease on the island. Kock agreed to settle 5,000 blacks on the island, and to provide them with housing, food, medicine, churches, schools, and employment, at a cost to the government of $50 each. About 450 blacks were accordingly transported to the island at federal government expense, but the project was not a success. As a result of poor organization, corruption, and Haitian government opposition, about a hundred of the deportees soon died of disease, thirst and starvation. In February-March 1864, a government-chartered ship brought the survivors back to the United States. After that, Congress cancelled all funds it had set aside for black resettlement. In early 1863, Lincoln also discussed with his Register of the Treasury a plan to "remove the whole colored race of the slave states into Texas." Apparently nothing came of the discussion. Hard-pressed by the demands of the war situation, and lacking a suitable resettlement site or even strong support within his own inner circle, Lincoln apparently gave up on specific resettlement efforts. On July 1, 1864, presidential secretary John Hay wrote in his diary: "I am happy that the President has sloughed off that idea of colonization".
December 7, 1862 - Battle of Prairie Grove. In Arkansas, Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman sought to destroy Brig. Gen. Francis Herron's and Brig. Gen. James Blunt's divisions before they joined forces. Hindman placed his large force between the two Union divisions, turning on Herron first and routing his cavalry. As Hindman pursued the cavalry, he met Herron's infantry which pushed him back. The Rebels then established their line of battle on a wooded high ridge northeast of Prairie Grove Church. Herron brought his artillery across the Illinois River and initiated an artillery duel. The Union troops assaulted twice and were repulsed. The Confederates counterattacked, were halted by Union canister, and then moved forward again. Just when it looked as if the Rebel attack would roll up Herron's troops, Blunt's men assailed the Confederate left flank. As night came, neither side had won, but Hindman retreated to Van Buren. Hindman's retreat established Federal control of northwest Arkansas.
December 13, 1862 - Battle of Fredericksburg. Embarrassed by General McClellan's repeated defeats and apparent lack of commitment in prosecuting the war, Lincoln replaced him on November 7 with General Ambrose E. Burnside. Burnside, in response to requests and proddings from President Abraham Lincoln and general in chief Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, planned a late fall offensive in which he hoped to cross the Rappahannock River, seize the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and then move southward along the roads to the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. The Federal Army of the Potomac, 117,000-strong, raced to Fredericksburg, arriving on November 17. There were only a few thousand Confederates on hand to challenge them, yet the Federal advance ground to a halt on the eastern bank of the Rappahannock, opposite the city. Burnside's campaign was delayed for over a week when material he had ordered for pontoon bridges failed to arrive. Disappointed by the delay, Burnside marked time for a further two weeks. Meanwhile, Robert E. Lee took advantage of the stalled Federal drive to concentrate and entrench his Army of Northern Virginia, some 78,000-strong, on the high ground behind Fredericksburg. He deployed approximately 20,000 men on his left flank, which was anchored on the ridge known as Marye's Heights, just to the west of the city, behind a stone wall at the crest of the ridge. Fearing a crossing downstream, south of the city, he deployed the rest of his men to the south, also interspersed with hills which made for an excellent defensive position. He assigned Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, his best subordinate for defensive operations, to handle the left flank with his First Corps. On the right, where there was some chance of counterattacking if the opportunity presented itself, Lee posted the fiery Lieut. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and his smaller, but more offensive-minded Second Corps, which had performed with great valor in recent actions in the Shenandoah Campaign. With the arrival of the pontoons, Burnside crossed the river on December 11, despite fierce fire from Confederate snipers concealed in buildings along the city's river front. Attempting to drive the sharpshooters out, Union artillery bombardments destroyed many of the buildings without much effect. The workable solution was to send small teams of infantry across in boats. After the five bridges were in place, Burnside's men looted the city of with a fury that enraged Lee, who compared their depredations with those of the ancient Vandals. The destruction also enraged Lee's men, many of whom were native Virginians. Over the course of that day and the next, Burnside's men deployed outside the city and prepared to attack Lee's army. By December 13, Burnside was prepared to launch a two-pronged attack to drive Lee's forces from an imposing set of hills just outside Fredericksburg. The main assault struck south of the city. Misunderstandings and bungled leadership on the part of the commander of the Federal left, Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin, limited the attacking force to two small divisionsMaj. Gen. George G. Meade to lead and Maj. Gen. John Gibbon in support. Meade's troops broke through an unguarded gap in the Confederate lines, but Thomas J. Jackson quickly responded with a withering counterattack that inflicted heavy casualties on the attackers, and dissuaded Burnside from any more attacks on the Confederate right. Instead, he decided to attempt to break the left. Burnside launched his second attack from Fredericksburg against the Confederate left on Marye's Heights. For the next several hours, Burnside ordered division after division of his army to assault Marye's Heights. Each division was mowed down by Longstreet's defenders as it attempted to cross the open ground in front of Marye's Heights. Seven Union divisions were sent in, generally one brigade at a time, for a total of fourteen individual charges, all of which failed, costing the divisions over 9,000 casualties. Not a single Federal soldier reached Longstreet's line. Confederate losses at Marye's Heights totaled around 1,500. The falling of darkness and the entreaties of Burnside's subordinates were enough to put an end to the attacks. Thousands of Union soldiers spent the cold December night on the fields leading to the Heights, unable to move or assist the wounded due to Confederate fire. The armies remained in position throughout the day on December 14, when Burnside briefly considered leading his old IX Corps in one final attack on Marye's Heights, but reconsidered. That afternoon, Burnside asked Lee for a truce to attend to his wounded, which Lee graciously granted. On December 15, Burnside ordered his beaten army back across the Rappahannock. The Union had lost 13,000 soldiers in a battle in which the dreadful carnage was matched only by its futility. Federal morale plummeted, and Burnside was swiftly relieved of his command. By contrast, the morale of the Confederacy reached a peak. Their casualties had been considerably lighter than the Union's, totaling 5,309. Lee's substantial victory at Fredericksburg, won with relative ease, increased the already buoyant confidence of the Army of Northern Virginia, which led subsequently to the invasion of the North the following summer. "We might as well have tried to take hell," a Union soldier remarks. "It is well that war is so terriblewe should grow too fond of it," states Lee during the fighting.
December 17, 1862 - Grant's General Order No. 11. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant issues his notorious Gen. Order No. 11, which expels all Jews from his department. A Jewish businessman, one Cesar Kaskel, of Paducah, Kentucky was expelled from his home by this order. Furious, he formed a delegation that telegraphed a petition to President Abraham Lincoln. Following Grant's order would, the petition said, "place us...as outlaws before the whole world. We respectfully ask your immediate attention to this enormous outrage on all law and humanity . . ." There is no record of a direct reply from the President, but five days later, a message from the War Department was sent to Grant, stating, "A paper purporting to be General Orders, No. 11, issued by you December 17, has been presented here. By its terms it expels all Jews from your department. If such an order has been issued, it will be immediately revoked. "
December 24, 1862 - Davis' Proclamation on Butler and Black Troops. President Jefferson Davis issues proclamation branding Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler an outlaw, to be hanged immediately upon capture. The same proclamation decrees that white officers of black regiments, and the troops themselves, will be remanded to state governments for trial on charges of servile insurrection. The Prisoner Exchange Agreement of July 22, 1862 is halted by order of Edwin M. Stanton (December 28) and Henry W. Halleck (December 30).
December 30, 1862 - President Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union.
December 31, 1862-January 1, 1863 - Battle of Stones River (Murfreesboro). After Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi was defeated at the Battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862, he retreated to Harrisburg, Kentucky, where he was joined by Maj. Gen. Kirby Smith's army of 10,000 on October 10. Although Bragg now had a strong force of 38,000 veteran troops, he made no effort to regain the initiative. The Union victor at Perryville, Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, was equally passive and refused to attack Bragg. Bragg, frustrated, withdrew through the Cumberland Gap, passed through Chattanooga, turned northwest, and eventually stopped in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. His army, renamed the Army of Tennessee as of November 20, took up a defensive position northwest of the city along the West Fork of the Stones River, and posted a detached division under Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge on the low hills to the east of the river. The corps of Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee was placed in Triune, Tennessee, about 20 miles (30 km) to the west. On the Union side, President Abraham Lincoln had become frustrated with Don Carlos Buell's passivity and replaced him with Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, victor of the recent battles of Iuka and Corinth. Rosecrans moved his 47,000 men of the XIV Corps (which was also designated the Army of the Cumberland) to Nashville, Tennessee, and was warned by Washington that he too would be replaced if he did not move aggressively against Bragg and occupy eastern Tennessee. Rosecrans, in the widespread tradition of cautious Union generals, would not be hurried and he took ample time to reorganize his forces, particularly his cavalry, and resupply his army. He did not begin his march in pursuit of Bragg until December 26. While Rosecrans was preparing in Nashville, Bragg ordered Colonel John Hunt Morgan to move north with his cavalry and operate along Rosecrans's lines of communications, to prevent him from foraging for supplies north of Nashville. The Battle of Hartsville, at a crossing point on the Cumberland River about 40 miles (60 km) upstream from Nashville, due north of Murfreesboro, was an incident in Morgan's raid to the north, before Rosecrans had the bulk of his infantry forces on the move. The relatively small battle that followed Morgan's surprise attack was an embarrassing Union defeat, resulting in many captured Union supplies and soldiers. The Army of the Cumberland marched southeast on December 26 in three columns, or "wings", towards Murfreesboro and they were effectively harassed by Brig. Gen. Joseph Wheeler's Confederate cavalry along the way, delaying their movements. The left wing under Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden's took a route that was parallel to the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, passing through La Vergne and south of Smyrna. The center wing under Maj. Gen. Alexander McD. McCook marched south along the Nolensville Turnpike to Nolensville, south to Triune, and then eastward to Murfreesboro. The right wing under Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas moved south along the Wilson Turnpike and the Franklin Turnpike, parallel to the Nashville and Decatur Railroad, then eastward through Nolensville and along the same route used by Crittenden south of the Nashville and Chattanooga. The separation of the wings was designed to launch a turning movement against William J. Hardee at Triune, but when the Federal march began, Bragg moved Hardee back to Murfreesboro, avoiding a confrontation. By the time Rosecrans had arrived in Murfreesburo on the evening of December 29, the Army of Tennessee had been encamped in the area for a month. It was organized as two corps of infantry (commanded by Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk and Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee) and cavalry under Brig. Gen. Joseph Wheeler. By nightfall, two thirds of Rosecrans's army was in position along the Nashville Turnpike, and by the next day Rosecrans's army numbered about 45,000 and Bragg's 38,000. The odds were closer than those figures would indicate. Bragg had the advantage of cooperating cavalry commands under Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and now-Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan, who raided deeply behind Union lines while Wheeler's cavalry slowed the Union forces with hit-and-run skirmishes. On December 29, Wheeler rode completely around the Union army, destroying supply wagons and capturing reserve ammunition in Rosecrans's trains. On December 30, the Union force moved into line two miles (3 km) northwest of Murfreesboro. The two armies were in parallel lines, about 4 miles (6 km) long, oriented from southwest to northeast. Both commanders devised similar plans for the following day: envelop the enemy's right, get into his rear, and cut him off from his base. Since both plans were the same, the victory would probably go to the side that was able to attack first. Bragg's forces were situated with Polk on the west side of the river, Breckenridge on the east. He began moving Hardee's corps across the river to his left flank in preparation for the next morning's attack. Crittenden, facing Breckenridge on the Union left, failed to notify McCook, on the Union right, of these troop movements. McCook, anticipating that the next day would start with a major attack by Crittenden, planted numerous campfires in his area, hoping to deceive the Confederates as to his strength on that flank. The armies bivouacked only 700 yards from each other and their bands started a musical battle that would be a non-lethal preview of the next day's events. Northern musicians played Yankee Doodle and Hail, Columbia and they were answered by Dixie and The Bonnie Blue Flag. Finally, one band started playing Home Sweet Home and the others joined in. Thousands of Northern and Southern soldiers sang the sentimental song together across the lines. December 31: At dawn on December 31, about 6 a.m., Confederate General William J. Hardee struck first, attacking the Union's right flank, before some of the Yankees in Brig. Gen. Richard W. Johnson's division had even finished their breakfast. (This was the third major battle, after Fort Donelson and Shiloh, in which an early morning attack caught the Union army by surprise.) The 13,000 Confederates who massed on their left attacked like a "tidal wave". Although meeting stiff and spirited resistance, they drove the Union troops back three miles (5 km) to the railroad and the Nashville Pike by 10 a.m., where Johnson was able to rally them. Rosecrans canceled Crittenden's attack on the Confederate right, which had begun with Brig. Gen. Horatio P. Van Cleve's division crossing the river at 7 a.m., and rushed reinforcements to his own right flank. As he raced across the battlefield, his uniform was covered with blood from a staff officer beheaded by a cannonball while riding alongside. What saved the Union from total destruction that morning was the foresight of Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, who anticipated an early attack and had the troops of his division up and ready in the center of the right half of the line by 4 a.m. While they slowed the enemy advance, they did it at heavy cost to themselves; all three of Sheridan's brigade commanders were killed and more than one third of his men were casualties in four hours of fighting in a juniper forest that became known as "The Slaughter Pen". Two Confederate blunders also came to the aid of Rosecrans. Breckenridge, on the east side of the river, did not realize that Crittenden's early morning attack had been withdrawn. He refused to send two brigades as reinforcements across the river to aid the main attack on the left. When Bragg ordered him to attack to his frontso that some use could be made of his corpsBreckenridge moved forward and was embarrassed to find out that there were no Union troops opposing him. At about this time, Bragg received a false report that a strong Union force was moving south along the Lebanon Turnpike in his direction. He canceled his orders that Breckenridge send reinforcements across the river, which diluted the effectiveness of the main attack. By 11 a.m., Sheridan's ammunition ran low and his division pulled back, opening a gap that Hardee exploited. The Union troops regrouped and held the Nashville Pike, supported by reinforcements and massed artillery. Repeated attacks on the left flank of the Union line were repulsed by Colonel William B. Hazen's brigade in an area that would become known as "Hell's Half-Acre"; Hazen's brigade was the only part of the original Union line to hold. The Union line was stabilized due to strong leadership by Rosecrans and the rallying of the divisions under Johnson and (the unfortunately named) Union Brig. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis. The new line was roughly perpendicular to the original line, in a half oval with its back to the river. Bragg now planned to attack the Union left, a portion of the oval line facing southeast, manned by Hazen's brigade. The only troops available for such an assault were Breckenridge's and Bragg ordered him to cross the river, but Breckenridge moved slowly. By 4 p.m., Breckenridge's first two brigades assaulted Hazen and suffered a heavy repulse. Two more brigades arrived and they were sent in, reinforced by other elements of Polk's corps. The attack failed a second time. Thomas responded with a limited counterattack that cleared his front. That night Rosecrans held a council of war to decide what to do. Some of the generals felt that the Union army had been defeated and recommended a retreat before they were entirely cut off. Rosecrans opposed this view and was strongly supported by Thomas and Crittenden. The decision was made to stand and fight and as the Union line was reinforced, the morale of the soldiers rose. Rosecrans was quoted after the battle as saying, "Bragg's a good dog, but Hold Fast's a better." On the Confederate side, Bragg was certain that he had won a victory. His army began digging in, facing the Union line. January 1-3: At 3 a.m. on January 1, 1863, Rosecrans revived his original plan and ordered Van Cleve's division (command by Col. Samuel Beatty following Van Cleve's wounding the previous day) to cross the river and occupy the heights there, protecting two river crossing sites and providing a good platform for artillery. But the day was relatively quiet as both armies observed New Year's Day by resting and tending to their wounded. Polk launched two probes of the Union line, one against Thomas, the other against Sheridan, to no effect other than wasted casualties. In the rear, Wheeler's cavalry continued to harass the Union line of communication on the turnpike back to Nashville. Convoys of wounded had to travel under heavy escort to be protected from the cavalry and Wheeler interpreted these movements as preparations for a retreat, reporting such to Bragg. Buoyed by his sense that he had won the battle, Bragg was content to wait for Rosecrans to retreat. At 4 p.m. on January 2, Bragg directed Breckenridge's troops to attack Beatty's division, which was occupying the hill on the east side of the river. Breckenridge initially protested that the assault would be suicidal, but eventually agreed and attacked with determination. The Union troops were pushed back across the ford, but the Confederate charge ran into heavy fire from Union artillery across the river and stalled. In less than an hour, the Confederates suffered over 1,800 casualties. A Union division under the command of James S. Negley led a counterattack and the Confederate troops retreated. On the morning of January 3, a large supply train and reinforced brigade reached Rosecrans. Wheeler's cavalry attempted to capture the ammunition train that followed it, but was repulsed. Late that evening, Thomas attacked the center of the Confederate line with two brigades, apparently acting on his own initiative, and drove the Confederates from their entrenchments. On the night of January 3, Bragg withdrew skillfully through Murfreesboro and began a retreat to Tullahoma, Tennessee, 36 miles (60 km) to the south. Rosecrans occupied Murfreesboro, but made no attempt to pursue Bragg. Aftermath: Total casualties in the battle were 23,515: 13,249 on the Union side and 10,266 for the Confederates. This was the highest percentage of casualties of any battle in the Civil War. The battle was tactically inconclusive, although Bragg would traditionally be considered defeated since he withdrew first from the battlefield. And in fact he received almost universal scorn from his Confederate military colleagues; only his personal friendship with President Jefferson Davis saved his command. But a case can also be made that it was at least a strategic Union victory. The battle was very important to Union morale, as evidenced by Abraham Lincoln's letter to General Rosecrans: "You gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over." And the Confederate threat to central Tennessee had been nullified. Rosecrans spent five and a half months reinforcing Murfreesboro. The massive earthenworks "Fort Rosecrans" was built there and served as a supply depot for the remainder of the war. The next major clash, the Battle of Hoover's Gap, also known as the Tullahoma Campaign, would not come until June, when Rosecrans finally moved his army against Bragg.
January 1, 1863 - Emancipation Proclamation. President Abraham Lincoln issues the final Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in territories held by Confederates and emphasizes the enlisting of black soldiers in the Union Army: ""That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom." The Proclamation immediately freed slaves in parts of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The war to preserve the Union now becomes a revolutionary struggle for the abolition of slavery.
January 8, 1863 - Transcontinental Railroad Begun. Ground is broken in Sacramento, California, on the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad in the United States. On January 8, 1863, Governor Leland Stanford ceremoniously broke ground in Sacramento, California to begin construction of the Central Pacific Railroad. The Central Pacific made great progress along the Sacramento Valley, however construction was later slowed; first by the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, then by the mountains themselves and most importantly by winter snow storms. As a result, the Central Pacific expanded its efforts to hire immigrant laborers (many of whom were Chinese). The immigrants seemed to be more willing to tolerate the horrible conditions, and progress continued. Unfortunately, the increasing necessity for tunneling then began to slow progess of the line yet again. To combat this, Central Pacific began to use the newly-invented and very unstable nitroglycerin explosiveswhich accelerated both the rate of construction and the mortality of the laborers. Appalled by the losses, the Central Pacific began to use less volatile explosives. Construction began again in earnest. Six years after the groundbreaking, laborers of the Central Pacific Railroad from the west and the Union Pacific Railroad from the east, met at Promontory Summit, Utah. It was here on May 10, 1869, that Stanford drove the golden spike.
January 9-11, 1863 - Battle of Fort Hindman. The Battle of Fort Hindman, or the Battle of Arkansas Post, was fought January 9-11, 1863, near the mouth of the Arkansas River at Arkansas Post, Arkansas, as part of the Vicksburg Campaign. The Confederate Army constructed an earthen fortification near Arkansas Post, forty-five miles downriver from Pine Bluff, to protect the Arkansas River and as a base for disrupting shipping on the Mississippi River. The fort was named Fort Hindman in honor of General Thomas C. Hindman of Arkansas. It was manned by approximately 5,000 men, primarily Texas cavalry and Arkansas infantry, in three brigades under Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Churchill. Union Maj. Gen. John A. McClernandAbraham Lincoln to launch a corps-sized offensive against Vicksburg from Memphis, Tennessee, hoping for military glory (and subsequent political gain). This plan was at odds with those of Army of the Tennessee commander, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. McClernand ordered Grant's subordinate, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, to join the troops of his corps with McClernand's, calling the two corps the Army of the Mississippi, approximately 33,000 men. He launched his quest for glory on January 4 with a combined army-navy force movement on Arkansas Post, rather than Vicksburg, as he had told Lincoln (and didn't bother to inform Grant or general in chief Henry W. Halleck). Union boats began landing troops near Arkansas Post in the evening of January 9 and the troops started up river towards Fort Hindman. Sherman's corps overran Confederate trenches, and the enemy retreated to the protection of the fort and adjacent rifle-pits. Rear Admiral David D. Porter, on January 10, moved his fleet towards Fort Hindman and bombarded it, withdrawing at dusk. Union artillery fired on the fort from positions across the river on January 11, effectively silencing most of the Confederate guns in the fort, and the infantry moved into position for an attack. Union ironclads commenced shelling the fort and Porter's fleet passed it to cut off any retreat. As a result of this envelopment, and the attack by McClernand's troops, the Confederate command surrendered in the afternoon, despite orders to Churchill that he must defend the fort at all costs. The results of the battle were 6,547 total casualties: Union forces suffered 1,047, with 134 killed; Confederate about 5,500, almost all by surrender. Although Union losses were high and the victory did not contribute to the capture of Vicksburg, it did eliminate one more impediment to Union shipping on the Mississippi. Grant was furious, ordered McClernand back to the Mississippi, disbanded the Army of the Mississippi, and assumed personal command of the Vicksburg Campaign.
January 20, 1863 - Burnside's Mud March. The Mud March was an abortive attempt at a winter offensive in January, 1863, by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside. Following his defeat in the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862, Burnside was desperate to restore his reputation and the morale of his Army of the Potomac. He planned a surprise crossing of the Rappahannock River south of Fredericksburg, Virginia, on January 1, 1863, to flank Robert E. Lee. At the same time, Union cavalry would cross the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford, 20 miles north, and strike south into Lee's rear, destroying his supply lines. President Abraham Lincoln learned of this plan from some disaffected officers on Burnside's staff and put a stop to it, assessing it as too risky. So Burnside revived his plan, but reversed the original sequence. Instead of crossing the Rappahannock south of Fredericksburg, he planned to move upstream and cross at Banks' Ford. The offensive movement began on January 20, 1863, in unseasonably mild weather. That evening a steady rain began and it persisted for two days, saturating the unpaved roads, leaving them knee-deep in mud. After struggling for two days to move troops, wagons, and artillery pieces, Burnside yielded to complaints from his subordinates and reluctantly ordered his army back to camp near Fredericksburg. The Mud March was Burnside's final attempt to command the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln replaced him with Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker on January 26, 1863.
January 26, 1863 - Hooker Appointed to Command of Army of the Potomac. The president appoints Gen. Joseph (Fighting Joe) Hooker as Commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Ambrose E. Burnside. Lincoln writes to Hooker: "I have heard, in such way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the Army and the Government needed a Dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain successes, can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship".
January 29, 1863 - Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is placed in command of the Army of the West, with orders to capture Vicksburg.
January 29, 1863 - Massacre at Boa Ogoi (Bear River). Shoshoni raids under Chief Bear Hunter during the winter of 1862-63 provoked Federal retaliation. Troops under Col. Patrick E. Connor set out from Ft. Douglas, Utah, in the deep snow of January 1863 towards Chief Bear Hunter's camp, 120 miles north near present-day Preston, Idaho. The Native American camp included about 300 Shoshoni warriors defensively placed in the Battle Creek ravine west of Bear River with high embankments in which the Indians had cut access trails. Shortly after dawn on January 29, Connor's troops appeared across the river and began crossing. Before all of the men had crossed and Connor had arrived, some troops made an unsuccessful frontal attack which the Indians easily repulsed inflicting numerous casualties. When Connor took over, he sent troops to where the ravine debouched through the bluffs. Some of these men covered the mouth of the ravine to prevent any escape while others moved down the rims, firing on the Indians below. This fire killed many of the warriors, but some attempted to escape by swimming the icy river where other troops shot them. The battle stopped by mid-morning. The troopers had killed most of the warriors plus a number of women, children and old menand captured many of the women and children. The U.S. lost 23 soldiers including one officer. The Shoshone bands lost between 200 and 400, including scores of women and children.
February 10, 1863 - Marriage of Tom Thumb. Charles Sherwood Stratton ("General Tom Thumb") marries another midget, Lavinia Warren, making front-page news. Following the wedding the couple was received by President Abraham Lincoln at the White House.
February 24, 1863 - Arizona Territory Organized. In March 1862, the U.S. House of Representatives, devoid of the southern delegates and controlled by Republicans, passed a bill to create the United States Arizona Territory using the north-south border of the 107th meridian. The use of a north-south border rather than an east-west one had the effect of denying a de facto ratification of the Confederate Arizona Territory. The house bill stipulated that Tucson was to be capital. The final bill passed the Senate in February 1863 without the Tucson-as-capital stipulation, and was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on February 24, the date of the official organization of the Arizona Territory. The first capital was at Prescott, in the northern Union-controlled area. In 1867, following the end of the Civil War, the capital was moved to Tucson, and in 1889 it was moved to Phoenix.
February 25, 1863 - The National Banking Act. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Currency Act of 1863 (later renamed The National Bank Act) on February 25, establishing the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The Act authorized and set chartering standards for the formation of private banking corporations that were to invest a large part of their capital in bonds of the United States and that might then issue their notes as currency. The amount of the notes was not to exceed 90% of either the face value or the par value of the bonds, depending on which of the two was smaller. The Act imposed a system of "free banking"banks established by general incorporation as opposed to specific charterson a national level. State banks were granted national charters and allowed to issue national bank notes (these notes were separate from Greenbacks). One third of a national bank's capital had to consist of federal bonds, since the new national notes were to be backed by federal bonds. The National Banking Acts thus served as another means to induce bankers to purchase bonds. The first national bank charter is issued to the First National Bank of Philadelphia on June 20. The first national bank examination is completed on December 21. The first national bank note is issued on December 21. But in an attempt to avoid increased regulation, many state banks declined to seek national charters. The National Bank Act of 1864 revised chartering and reserve requirements for national bank. By an Act of 1865 State bank notes are driven out of existence by a tax of 10 percent.
March 3, 1863 - The March Conscription Act creates an impartial draft lottery. The Bill affects male citizens aged 20 to 45, but also exempts those who pay $300 or provide a substitute. "The blood of a poor man is as precious as that of the wealthy," poor Northerners complain. The bill caused enormous anger among the poor, who rioted in cities across the country. In New York City, implementation of the draft sparked a three-day riot in July in which poor whites and immigrant workers attacked the black community and lynched at least a dozen African Americans.
March 3, 1863 - Idaho Territory Organized. The Idaho Territory was officially organized on March 4, 1863 by Act of Congress, and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. It was originally created by areas from existing territories, Most of the area west of the continental divide was formerly part of the Washington Territory, whereas most of the area east of the continental divide had been part of the Dakota Territory. The first capital was at Lewiston. In 1864, the Montana Territory was organized from the northeastern section of the territory east of the Bitteroot Range. Most of the southeastern area of the territory was made part of the Dakota Territory. In 1868, the areas east of the 111th meridian were made part of the newly created Wyoming Territory. The territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Idaho on July 3, 1890.
March 8, 1863 - Mosby's Raid. Confederate Partisan Ranger John S. Mosby carries out a daring raid far inside Union lines at the Fairfax County courthouse, where his men captured three high ranking Union officers, including Brig. Gen. Edwin Stoughton in the bedroom of his headquarters. Mosby allegedly found him in bed, rousing him with a slap to his rear.
April 2, 1863 - Bread Riot in Richmond, Virginia. By the spring of 1863 the Confederacy's War for Independence was having a devastating effect on the economy. Along with shortages of food and basic supplies, spiraling inflation was driving prices of available goods beyond the means of ordinary citizens. In the two years since the war had begun, prices had increased sevenfold, and the poor in the cities were unable to afford the necessities of life. Richmond, Va., was especially hard hit by the war. Many of the food-producing areas of the surrounding countryside had been devastated by battles and plundering soldiers, and Northern and Southern armies had stripped the farms to feed their troops. The population of Richmond had more than doubled since becoming the Confederate capital, straining the available supplies even more. On April 2, several hungry women assembled at a church in Richmond and marched to Capitol Square, where they angrily confronted Gov. John Letcher and demanded relief from the high price of food. When he offered no solution to their plight, the group of women turned into an angry mob. Shouting "Bread! Bread!" they began smashing windows in the shopping district and looting the stores. Their number increased to over a thousand as more and more destitute women and a few men converged on the scene and indiscriminately helped themselves to whatever could be found in the shops and warehouses. President Jefferson Davis appeared on the scene. Standing in a wagon, he flung money from his pockets to the crowd, saying, "You say you are hungry and have no money here is all I have." Next he held up a watch from his pocket and told the rioters if they did not disperse within five minutes, he would order the militia to fire upon the crowd. With muskets leveled at them, the rioters scattered, melting back into the side streets and neighborhoods from which they had come. Davis had the ringleaders of the bread riot arrested, and some of them were convicted and imprisoned.
April 24, 1863 - Confederate Tax Act. After months of bickering, and driven by the necessity of finding a way to finance the war effort, the Confederate Congress passes a comprehensive tax act. Constitutionally precluded from levying a direct tax until an accurate census is taken, an impossibility during the war, the tax act instead seeks to tap every other revenue source imaginable. Included are an ad valorem tax of 8 percent on all farm products, an exhaustive series of occupational and license taxes, a 10 percent flat tax on all retail profits earned in 1862, and a unique tax-in-kind in which farmers must turn over one-tenth of their produce to the Confederate government. The tax is both confusing and complicated and Georgia Congressman Robert Toombs complains that it "will gather an abundant harvest of frauds and perjuries."
April 24-May 22, 1863 - Jones-Imboden Raid. Between April 24 and May 22, 1863, Confederate cavalry under Generals William E. "Grumble" Jones and John D. Imboden carried the Civil War into north-central West Virginia on the famous Jones-Imboden raid. Their goals were to disrupt the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Oakland, Maryland, and at Grafton, cut telegraph communication, and weaken federal control in the area. The Confederates made a two-prong attack, with Imboden riding from Staunton through Beverly to Buckhannon with 3,365 men. Jones led 2,100 men through Petersburg and Moorefield, skirmished at Greenland Gap in Hardy County, then was repulsed at Rowlesburg. He fell upon Morgantown, April 28, capturing supplies and many horses, including those of curiosity-seekers who came to town to learn what the excitement was. One of the Confederate raiders, future Postmaster General William Lyne Wilson, later returned to Morgantown as president of West Virginia University. On April 29, at Fairmont, Jones waged the largest battle ever fought in that part of the state against a force of 500 regulars, home guards, and volunteers. There was some civilian involvement on both sides of the fight. The Confederates prevailed, burning the personal library of Francis H. Pierpont, governor of the Restored Government of Virginia, and exploding an iron railroad bridge across the Monongahela River. Jones linked up with Imboden at Buckhannon, skirmishing along the way, and together they moved to Weston. Jones continued west to Burning Springs, where he set fire to an estimated 150,000 barrels of oil and the producing wells, sending a sheet of flame floating down the Little Kanawha River. The raid covered 400 miles in 37 days.
April 29-May 6, 1863 - Battle of Chancellorsville. Morale in the Federal Army of the Potomac rose with the appointment of Joseph Hooker to command. Hooker reorganized the army and formed a cavalry corps. He wanted to strike at Robert E. Lee's army while a sizable portion was detached under James Longstreet in the Suffolk area. The Federal commander left a substantial force at Fredericksburg to tie Lee to the hills where Burnside had been defeated. Another Union force disappeared westward, crossed the Rapidan and Rappahannock rivers, and converged on Fredericksburg from the west. The Federal cavalry would open the campaign with a raid on Lee's line of communications with the Confederate capital at Richmond. Convinced that Lee would have to retreat, Hooker trusted that his troops could defeat the Confederates as they tried to escape his trap. On April 29, Hooker's cavalry and three army corps crossed Kelly's Ford. His columns split, with the cavalry pushing to the west while the army corps secured Getmanna and Ely's fords. The next day these columns reunited at Chancellorsville. Lee reacted to the news of the Federals in the Wilderness by sending General Richard H. Anderson's division to investigate. Finding the Northerners massing in the woods around Chancellorsville, Anderson commenced the construction of earthworks at Zoan Church. Confederate reinforcements under Thomas J. Jackson marched to help block the Federal advance, but did not arrive until May 1. The Confederates had no intention of retreating as Hooker had predicted. Hooker's troops rested at Chancellorsville after executing what is often considered to be the most daring march of the war. They had slipped across Lee's front undetected. To some the hardest part of the campaign seemed to be behind them; to others, the most difficult had yet to be encountered. The cavalry raid had faltered in its initial efforts and Hooker's main force was trapped in the tangles of the Wilderness without any cavalry to alert them of Lee's approach. As the Federal army converged on Chancellorsville, General Hooker expected Lee to retreat from his forces, which totaled nearly 115,000. Although heavily outnumbered with just under 60,000 troops, Lee had no intention of retreating. The Confederate commander divided his army: one part remained to guard Fredericksburg, while the other raced west to meet Hooker's advance. When the van of Hooker's column clashed with the Confederates' on May 1, Hooker pulled his troops back to Chancellorsville, a lone tavern at a crossroads in a dense wood known locally as The Wilderness. Here Hooker took up a defensive line, hoping Lee's need to carry out an uncoordinated attack through the dense undergrowth would leave the Confederate forces disorganized and vulnerable. To retain the initiative, Lee risked dividing his forces still further, 'retaining two divisions to focus Hooker's attention, while Stonewall Jackson marched the bulk of the Confederate army west across the front of the Federal line to a position opposite its exposed right flank. Jackson executed this daring and dangerous maneuver throughout the morning and afternoon of May 2. Striking two hours before dusk, Jackson's men routed the astonished Federals in their camps. In the gathering darkness, amid the brambles of the Wilderness, the Confederate line became confused and halted at 9 p.m. to regroup. Riding in front of the lines to reconnoiter, Stonewall Jackson was accidentally shot and seriously wounded by his own men. Later that night, his left arm was amputated by Dr. Hunter H. McGuire just below the shoulder. On May 3, Jackson's successor, General J.E.B. Stuart, initiated the bloodiest day of the battle when attempting to reunite his troops with Lee's. Despite an obstinate defense by the Federals, Hooker ordered them to withdraw north of the Chancellor House. The Confederates were converging on Chancellorsville to finish Hooker when a message came from Jubal A. Early that Federal troops had broken through at Fredericksburg. At Salem Church, Lee threw a cordon around these Federals, forcing them to retreat across the Rappahannock. Disappointed, Lee returned to Chancellorsville, only to find that Hooker had also retreated across the river. Chancellorsville is considered Lee's greatest victory, although the Confederate commander's daring and skill met little resistance from the inept generalship of Joseph Hooker. "I just lost confidence in Joe Hooker," said Hooker later about his own lack of nerve during the battle. Using cunning, and dividing their forces repeatedly, the massively outnumbered Confederates drove the Federal army from the battlefield. The cost had been frightful. The Confederates suffered 14,000 casualties, while inflicting 17,000. Perhaps the most damaging loss to the Confederacy was the death of Lee's "right arm," Stonewall Jackson, who died of pneumonia on May 10 while recuperating from his wounds. On the Union side, Gen. Nelson Miles was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry at Chancellorsville, where he was severely wounded.
May 10, 1863 - Trial of Vallandigham. Clement Vallandigham, a prominent and vocal Peace Democrat, was tried by a military court May 6-7, 1863, for violation of Gen. Ambrose Burnside's General Order No. 38 forbidding expression of sympathy for the enemy. Denied a writ of habeas corpus, Vallandigham was convicted by a military tribunal of "uttering disloyal sentiments" and attempting to hinder the prosecution of the war, and sentenced to 2 years' confinement in a military prison. He was later exiled to the Conferacy by President Abraham Lincoln and travelled via Bermuda to Canada, where he remained until the end of the war.
May 10, 1863 - Death of Stonewall Jackson. The South suffers a huge blow as Thomas J. Jackson dies from his wounds, his last words, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees." "I have lost my right arm," Robert E. Lee laments.
May 16, 1863 - Battle of Champion's Hill. On May 14, 1863, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, reaching Jackson, Miss., ordered Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton to march east and assail the Union army near Clinton. By the time Pemberton joined his 22,000-man army at Edward's Station, Miss., he had decided it would be "extremely hazardous" to implement his superior's instructions. A council of war determined that Pemberton would march southeast and attack Union supply trains and reinforcements en route from Grand Gulf to Raymond, Miss. On May 15 the army moved out, slowed by delays for which Pemberton was responsible; by nightfall the column had moved less than 5 miles. Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, apprised of Johnston's plans, moved to intercept Pemberton, employing the corps of Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson and John A. McClernand. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's corps remained in Jackson. When Union troops bivouacked on the 15th, 3 divisions were near Bolton on the Jackson Road, 2 on the Middle Road, and 2 on the Raymond Road. On the morning of May 16 Pemberton's pickets clashed with Grant's approaching columns, and a message came from Johnston reiterating an order to concentrate north of the Southern Railroad. Pemberton issued orders to countermarch through Edward's and out the Brownsville Road. He was too late. McPherson had advanced from Bolton and was nearing Champion's Hill, a commanding elevation. To meet this threat, Pemberton deployed 3 brigades of Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson's division, while the divisions of Brig. Gen. John S. Bowen and Maj. Gen. William Wing Loring fronted to the southeast to counter McClernand's columns. At 10:30 Grant mounted an attack on Stevenson. During the fighting, Champion's Hill and the crossroads changed hands 3 times. Out-generaled, the Confederates by 5 p.m. were fleeing across Baker's Creek, leaving 27 cannon and hundreds of prisoners on the field. In the retreat to the Big Black River, Loring's division was cut off but eventually joined Johnston. Pemberton, badly defeated, returned with the remains of his army to their fortifications around Vicksburg. After two failed assaults, Grant decided to starve Pemberton out.
May 18-July 4, 1863 - Siege of Vicksburg. In May and June of 1863, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's armies converged on Vicksburg, investing the city on May 18 and entrapping a Confederate army under Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton. The city surrenders on July 4.
May 27-July 9, 1863 - Siege of Port Hudson. In cooperation with Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's offensive against Vicksburg, Union Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's army moved against the Confederate stronghold at Port Hudson on the Mississippi River. On May 27, after their frontal assaults were repulsed, the Federals settled into a siege which lasted for 48 days. Banks renewed his assaults on June 14 but the defenders successfully repelled them. On July 9, 1863, after hearing of the fall of Vicksburg, the Confederate garrison of Port Hudson surrendered, opening the Mississippi River to Union navigation from its source to New Orleans.
June 3, 1863 - Lee's Second Invasion of the North. Gen. Robert E. Lee with 75,000 Confederates launches his second invasion of the North, heading into Pennsylvania in a campaign that will soon lead to Gettysburg.
June 11-July 26, 1863 - Morgan's Raid. Morgan's Raid was a highly publicized incursion by Confederate cavalry into the Northern states of Indiana and Ohio during the American Civil War. The raid took place from June 11-July 26, 1863, and is named for the commander of the Confederates, Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan. For 46 days as they rode over 1,000 miles, Morgan's Confederates terrorized a region from Tennessee to northern Ohio. The raid coincided with the Vicksburg Campaign and the Gettysburg Campaign, although it was not directly related to either campaign.
June 20, 1863 - West Virginia Admitted to the Union. West Virginia (formed from several pro-Union Virginia counties and calling for the abolition of slavery in its constitution) is admitted to the Union as the 35th state (counting the eleven that had seceded).
June 28, 1863 - President Abraham Lincoln appoints George G. Meade commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Joseph Hooker. Meade is the 5th man to command the Army in less than a year.
July 1863 - Kit Carson's Navajo Campaign. Sent to punish Navajo raiding parties in northwest New Mexico, Colonel Kit Carson initiated a brutal economic campaign, marching through Navajo territory destroying crops, orchards and livestock. Other tribes, who for centuries had suffered at the hands of the Navajo, took up arms and joined Carson. After surrendering in 1864, 8,000 Navajo men, women and children were forced to take what came to be called the "Long Walk" of 300 miles from Arizona to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where they suffered in confinement until 1868.
July 1-3, 1863 - Battle of Gettysburg. The tide of war turns against the South as the Confederates are defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, the largest battle ever conducted in the Western Hemisphere, and generally considered to be the turning point of the American Civil War. Shortly after Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia won a smashing victory over the Federal Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville (May 1-3, 1863), Lee decided upon a second invasion of the North. Such a move would upset Federal plans for the summer campaigning season and possibly relieve the besieged Confederate garrison at Vicksburg, and it would allow the Confederates to live off the bounty of the rich northern farms while giving war-ravaged Virginia a much needed rest. Also, Lee's 75,000-man army could threaten Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington and give voice to the growing peace movement in the North. Thus, on June 3 Lee's army began to shift northward from Fredericksburg, Virginia. In order to attain more efficiency in his commands, Lee had pared down his two large corps into three new corps. James Longstreet retained command of his First Corps. However, the old corps of General "Stonewall" Jackson was divided into two, with the Second Corps going to Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell and the new Third Corps commanded by Lt. Gen. A. P. Hill. The Federal Army of the Potomac, under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, consisted of seven corps of infantry and artillery, a cavalry corps under Alfred Pleasonton, and an Artillery Reserve, for a combined strength of more than 90,000 men. However, Hooker would soon be replaced, because, as Noah Andre Trudeau states, he was a "deeply flawed individual" and had led the Army to defeat at Chancellorsville. The first major action of the campaign took place on June 9 between the opposing cavalry forces at Brandy Station, near Culpeper, Virginia. The Confederate cavalry under J.E.B. Stuart was nearly bested by the Federal horsemen, but Stuart eventually prevailed. However, this battle, the largest cavalry engagement of the war, proved that for the first time, the Union horse soldier was equal to his Southern counterpart. By mid-June, the Army of Northern Virginia was poised to cross the Potomac River and enter Maryland. After gobbling up the Federal garrisons at Winchester and Martinsburg, Ewell's Second Corps began crossing the river on June 15. Hill's and Longstreet's corps followed on June 24-25. Hooker's army pursued, keeping between the U.S. Capital and Lee's army. The Federals crossed the Potomac on June 25-27. Meanwhile, in a controversial move, Lee allowed J.E.B. Stuart to take a portion of the army's cavalry and ride around the Union army. However, Lee's orders gave Stuart much latitude, and both generals are to blame for the long absence of Stuart's cavalry, as well as for the failure to assign a more active role to the cavalry left with the army. Also, Confederate raider John S. Mosby was partly to blame; he stated that Stuart would face very little opposition (in fact, he was forced to take an extremely roundabout route to avoid the Union infantry). By June 29, Lee's army was strung out in an arc from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, twenty-eight miles NW of Gettysburg, to Carlisle, thirty miles north of Gettysburg, to near Harrisburg and Wrightsville on the Susquehanna River. In a dispute over the use of the forces defending the Harpers Ferry garrison, Hooker offered his resignation, and Abraham Lincoln and General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck, who were looking for an excuse to get rid of Hooker, immediately accepted the resignation. They replaced him on June 27-28 with Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, commander of the Fifth Corps. When, on June 29, Lee learned that the Army of the Potomac had crossed its namesake river, he ordered a concentration of his forces around Cashtown, located at the eastern base of South Mountain and eight miles west of Gettysburg. On June 30, while part of Hill's Third Corps was in Cashtown, one of Hill's brigades, North Carolinians under J. Johnston Pettigrew, ventured toward Gettysburg to look for supplies, including shoes. And thus the myth of the Battle of Gettysburg being caused by shoe-hunting Confederates stumbling upon the Yankees was created. This myth is in fact not true. There was no shoe factory in town, nor was there any sizable supply of shoes. Pettigrew and his superiors should have known that, four days earlier, part of Jubal A. Early's division of the Second Corps had marched through Gettysburg on its way to York and Wrightsville. Any valuable supplies, including shoes, would have been taken by these troops. Even had Early's passage through town on the 26th not been common knowledge, Hill's troops would have no reason to believe that there was a large supply of shoes in Gettysburg. In his memoirs, Maj. Gen. Henry Heth, whose division started the battle on July 1, claimed that he heard of a large supply of shoes in town. From whom could he have heard this? Likely Heth used the shoe excuse to absolve himself of the blame for prematurely instigating a battle that General Lee wanted to fight only when the army was concentrated. When Pettigrew's troops approached Gettysburg on June 30, they noticed Federal cavalry under John Buford west of town, and Pettigrew wisely returned to Cashtown. When Pettigrew told Hill and Henry Heth, his division commander, about what he had seen, neither general believed that there was a substantial Federal force in or near the town. In fact, Hill reportedly said that he hoped the Federal army was there, because that's where he wanted it to be. Hill determined to mount a reconnaissance in force the following morning to determine the size and strength of the enemy force in his front. Thus, around 5 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, Hill's troops advanced to Gettysburg on the Chambersburg Pike looking for a fight, not for shoes.
First Day of Battle. General Buford had arrived at Gettysburg, and quickly realized the importance of a group of hills west of the city. These were: Herr's Ridge, McPherson's Ridge, and Seminary Ridge (proceeding toward the city along the Cashtown Pike). Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Heth had thrown out two brigades, commanded by Brig. Gens. James Archer and Joseph R. Davis. They proceeded easterly in columns. Three miles west of town on the Chambersburg Pike, about 7:30 a.m. on July 1, Heth's two brigades met light resistance from cavalry vedettes. This caused them to (consuming time) deploy into line. Eventually, they reached dismounted troopers from Col. William Gamble's brigade in Buford's division of cavalry. Buford had to stall for time; Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds's I Corps would arrive in the next few hours, but unless he could hold the heights west of town, there was little chance for a Union holdout. Within two and a half hours, the Confederates had pushed the Yankee cavalrymen east along a series of ridges, when the I Corps finally arrived. By 10:20, the Federal infantry had entered the fight. North of the pike, the Confederates gained a temporary success, while south of the road everything went the Federals' way. The famed Iron Brigade decimated Brig. Gen. James J. Archer's Southerners, capturing several hundred men of Archer's brigade, including Archer himself. However, early in the fighting, General Reynolds fell from his horse, killed instantly by rifle fire, while directing his other brigade (under Brig. Gen. Lysander Cutler). Another myth states that Reynolds was killed by a sharpshooter, but the lack of supportive evidence suggests that he was killed by a volley of rifle fire directed at the 2nd Wisconsin Regiment, which Reynolds was guiding into Herbst's (McPherson's) Woods. The victory seemed to belong to the Army of the Potomac. However, two divisions of Ewell's Second Corps, marching west toward Cashtown in accordance with Lee's order for the army to concentrate in that vicinity, turned south on the Carlisle and Harrisburg Roads toward Gettysburg, while the Union XI Corps raced north on the Baltimore Pike and Taneytown Road. By early afternoon, the Federal line ran in a semi-circle west, north, and northeast of Gettysburg. Unfortunately, the Federals did not have enough troops; Cutler, who was deployed in Will's Woods north of the Cashtown Pike, had his right flank in the air. Oliver Otis Howard's leftmost division was unable to deploy in time to strengthen the line, so Abner Doubleday (the late Reynolds's replacement) was forced to throw in reserve brigades to salvage his line. Another blunder was made by Brig. Gen. Francis Barlow, commanding a division under the Eleventh Corps, when he advanced his division to Blocher's Knoll (directly north of town and now known as Barlow's Knoll); this represented a salient in the Corps line, susceptible to attack from multiple sides, and Ewell's troops overran his division, which constituted the right flank of the Union Army's position. Barlow was wounded and captured in the attack. At this same time, Hill threw in William Dorsey Pender's division to bolster Heth's afternoon attacks on McPherson's Ridge, and Robert E. Rodes's and Jubal Early's Second Corps divisions smashed and out-flanked the Federal First and Eleventh Corps positions north and northeast of town. At 4:10 p.m., Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, Eleventh Corps commander and acting commander on the field, ordered a Federal retreat to the high ground south of town, Cemetery Hill. Lee understood the defensive potential of the Union if they held this high ground. He sent orders to Ewell that Cemetery Hill be taken "if practicable." Ewell chose not to attempt the assault. One reason posited was the battle fatigue of his men in the late afternoon, although Edward "Alleghany" Johnson's division of Ewell's Corp had just arrived and was essentially fresh. Another was the difficulty of assaulting the hill through the narrow corridors afforded by the streets of Gettysburg, immediately to the north. Lee's order has been criticized because it left too much discretion to Ewell. It is interesting to speculate how the more aggressive Jackson would have acted on this order if he had lived to command this wing of Lee's army, and how differently the second day of battle would have proceeded with Confederate artillery on Cemetery Hill, commanding the length of Cemetery Ridge. The battle of July 1 had pitted over 25,000 Confederates against 18,000 Federals, and ranks in itself as the twenty-third largest battle of the war.
Second Day of Battle. Throughout the evening of July 1 and morning of July 2, most of the remaining infantry of both armies arrived on the field. The tired Union XI Corps was enroute via forced march from Manchester, Maryland, and Longstreet's third division, commanded by George E. Pickett, had begun the march from Chambersburg early in the morning. It would not arrive until late on July 2. The Union line as established ran from Culp's Hill southeast of the town, northwest to Cemetery Hill just south of town, then south for nearly two miles along Cemetery Ridge, terminating just north of Little Round Top. Most of the XII Corps was on Culp's Hill, the remnants of I and XI Corps defended Cemetery Hill, II Corps covered most of the northern half of Cemetery Ridge, and III Corps was ordered to take up a position to its flank. This shape of the Union line is popularly described as a "fishhook" formation. The Confederate line paralleled the Union line about a mile to the west on Seminary Ridge, ran east through the town, then curved southeast to a point opposite Culp's Hill. Thus, the Federal army had interior lines, while the Confederate line was nearly five miles in length. Lee's battle plan for July 2 called for an attack en echelon, starting with Longstreet's First Corps stealthily positioning itself to attack the Union left flank, face north, and roll up the Federal line. The attack sequence was to begin with John Bell Hood's and Lafayette McLaw's divisions, followed by Richard H. Anderson's division of Hill's Third Corps, attacking around the Union center. The progressive sequence of this echelon attack would prevent George G. Meade from shifting troops from his center to bolster his left. At the same time, Edward "Alleghany" Johnson's and Jubal A. Early's Second Corps divisions were to make a "demonstration" against Culp's and Cemetery Hills (again, to prevent the shifting of Federal troops), and to turn the demonstration into a full-scale attack if a favorable opportunity presented itself. Lee's plan, however, was based on faulty intelligence. Instead of moving beyond the Federals' left, Longstreet's divisions would face opposition in the form of Gen. Daniel Sickles's Third Corps. Longstreet's attack was to be made as early as practicable; however, Longstreet got permission from Lee to await the arrival of one of his brigades, and, while marching to the assigned position, his men came within sight of a Union signal station on Little Round Top. The controversial countermarch that ensued took much time, and Hood's and Lafayette McLaws's divisions did not launch their attack until just after 4 p.m. In the meantime, Sickles, dissatisfied with the position assigned him on the southern end of Cemetery Ridge, and seeing higher ground more favorable to artillery positions a half mile (0.8 km) to the west, advanced his corpswithout ordersto the high ground along the Emmitsburg Road. The new line ran from Devil's Den, northwest to the Peach Orchard, then northeast along the Emmitsburg Road to south of the Codori farm. However, this created a salient at the Peach Orchard, which was unfavorable, and Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys' division (in position along the Emmitsburg Road) and Maj. Gen. David B. Birney's division (to the south) were subject to attacks from two sides and were spread out a longer front than a Corps could defend effectively. Winfield Scott Hancock's II Corps was unable to support, due to the distance between their flanks. Longstreet's divisions slammed into the Union III Corps, and Meade had to send reinforcements in the form of the entire V Corps, Caldwell's division of the II Corps, most of the XII Corps (futilely, as it turned out), and small portions of the newly-arrived VI Corps. Hard fighting took place in the Peach Orchard, Devil's Den, Little Round Top, the Wheat Field, and Cemetery Ridge. Most of III Corps fell back, although Humphreys's division stood until it was alone. Caldwell's Division was devoured piecemeal in the Wheat Field. Meanwhile, Colonel Strong Vincent of V Corps was holding, with his small brigade, one of the most important hills in the Union position: Little Round Top. With his five relatively small regiments, he was able to hold off repeated assaults by a Confederate brigade of Hood's division. Meade's chief engineer, Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, had realized the importance of this position, and dispatched Vincent's brigade to occupy Little Round Top merely minutes before Hood's troops arrived. Warren was also able to convince an artillery battery to take position at the hill's summit, and in a stroke of luck, he met a regiment (the 140th New York) whose commander he knew; this regiment supported Vincent and held his right flank after it collapsed. The left flank, consisting of the 20th Maine, was able to hold and, under Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain, charged in a disorderly fashion, routing the regiment to its front. Chamberlain received a Medal of Honor for this action. About 7:30 p.m., the Second Corps's attack on Culp's Hill got off to a late start. Most of the hill's defenders, the Union Twelfth Corps, had been sent to the left to defend against Longstreet's attacks (due to faulty intelligence), and the only portion of the corps remaining on the hill was a brigade of New Yorkers under Brig. Gen. George S. Greene. With reinforcements from the First and Eleventh Corps, Greene's men held off the Confederate attackers, though the Southerners did capture a portion of the abandoned Federal works on the lower part of Culp's Hill. Just at dark, two of Jubal Early's four brigades attacked the Union XI Corps positions on East Cemetery Hill where Col. Andrew L. Harris of the 1st Division, 2nd Brigade came under a withering attack losing half his men; however, Early failed to support his brigades in their attack on the Union defenders, and Ewell's remaining division, that of Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes, failed to aid Early's attack by moving against Cemetery Hill from the west. The Union army's interior lines enabled its commanders to shift troops quickly to critical areas, and with reinforcements from II Corps, the Federal troops retained possession of East Cemetery Hill, and Early's brigades were forced to withdraw.
Third Day of Battle. General Lee wished to renew the attack on Friday, July 3, using the same basic plan as the previous day: Longstreet would attack the Federal left, while Ewell attacked Culp's Hill. However, before Longstreet was ready, Federal XII Corps troops attacked the Confederates on Culp's Hill in an effort to regain a portion of their lost works. The fight for Culp's Hill ended around 11 a.m., after some seven hours of bitter combat. Lee was forced to change his plans. Now Longstreet would command George E. Pickett's Virginia division of his own First Corps, plus six brigades from Hill's Third Corps, in an attack on the Federal II Corps position at the right center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. Prior to the attack, all the artillery the Confederacy could bring to bear on the Federal positions would bombard and weaken the enemy's line. The day was hot87 degrees by one accountand the Confederates suffered under the hot sun awaiting the order to advance. Around 1:00 p.m., 142 Confederate cannons began an artillery bombardment that would become the loudest noise ever heard on the continent. In order to save valuable ammunition for the infantry attack that they knew must follow, the Army of the Potomac's artillery at first did not return the enemy's fire. After waiting about fifteen minutes, eighty or so Federal cannon added to the din. The Army of Northern Virginia was critically low on artillery ammunition, and the cannonade did not significantly affect the Union position. After more than an hour (some accounts say two hours), the cannon fire subsided, and nearly 13,000 Southern soldiers stepped from the ridgeline and advanced the three-quarters of a mile to Cemetery Ridge. Nearly one half would not return to their own lines. Although the Federal line wavered and broke temporarily at the "Angle," just north of the copse of trees, reinforcements rushed into the breach and the Confederate attack was repulsed. Known to history as "Pickett's Charge," Pickett's men actually composed only one-third of the attacking force, the remainder consisting of North Carolinians, Mississippians, and Tennesseeans, so some recent historians have used the name "Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Assault" to decribe the attack. The brigade of James L. Kemper was one of the main assault units in the charge, advancing on the right flank of Pickett's line (and, thus, on the right flank of the entire assault). The armies stared at one another across the bloody fields on July 4, the same day that the Vicksburg garrison surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
On July 5, in a driving rain, the Army of Northern Virginia left Gettysburg on the Hagerstown Road; the Battle of Gettysburg was over, and the Confederates were headed back to Virginia. Meade's Army of the Potomac followed, though the pursuit was half-spirited at best. The recently rain-swollen Potomac trapped Lee's army on the north bank of the river, but by the time the Federals caught up, the Confederates were ready to cross back to Virginia. The rear-guard action at Falling Waters on July 14 ended the Gettysburg Campaign and added some more names to the long casualty lists, including General James Johnston Pettigrew, mortally wounded. Throughout the campaign, General Lee seems to have entertained the belief that his men were invincible; most of Lee's experiences with the army had convinced him of this, including the great victory at Chancellorsville in early May and the rout of the Federals at Gettysburg on July 1. To the detrimental effects of this blind faith were added the fact that the Army of Northern Virginia had many new and inexperienced commanders. (Neither Hill nor Ewell, for instance, though capable division commanders, had commanded a corps before.) Also, Lee's habit of giving general orders and leaving it up to his lieutenants to work out the details, although this method may have worked with Stonewall Jackson, proved inadequate when dealing with corps commanders unused to Lee's loose style of command. Lastly, after July 1, the Confederates were simply not able to coordinate their attacks. Lee faced a new and very dangerous opponent in Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, and the Army of the Potomac stood to the task and fought well on its home territory. The armies would move on, but Gettysburg had much cleaning up to do. The two armies had suffered 51,000 casualtieskilled, missing and wounded/captured. More than 7,000 soldiers had been killed outright; these bodies, lying in the hot summer sun, needed to be buried quickly. 5,000 horse carcasses were burned in a pile south of town; townsfolk became violently ill from the stench. The ravages of war would still be evident in Gettysburg more than four months later when, on November 19, the Soldiers' National Cemetery was dedicated. During this ceremony, President Abraham Lincoln with his Gettysburg Address would re-dedicate the nation to the war effort and to the ideal that no soldier at GettysburgNorth or Southhad died in vain.
July 4, 1863 - Surrender of Vicksburg. Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, surrenders to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the West after a six week siege. In May and June of 1863, Grant's armies converged on Vicksburg, investing the city and entrapping a Confederate army under Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton. On July 4, Pemberton surrendered the city after prolonged siege operations, along with his army of 29,000 troops. This was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the war. With the loss of Pemberton's army and this vital stronghold on the Mississippi, and with the Union now in control of the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in half. Grant's successes in the West boosted his reputation, leading ultimately to his appointment as General-in-Chief of the Union armies.
July 9, 1863 - Capture of Port Hudson. In cooperation with Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's offensive against Vicksburg, Union Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's army moved against the Confederate stronghold at Port Hudson on the Mississippi River. On May 27, after their frontal assaults were repulsed, the Federals settled into a siege which lasted for 48 days. Banks renewed his assaults on June 14 but the defenders successfully repelled them. On July 9, 1863, after hearing of the fall of Vicksburg, the Confederate garrison of Port Hudson surrendered, opening the Mississippi River to Union navigation from its source to New Orleans.
July 13-14, 1863 - Draft Riots. In response to the Conscription Act, mobs consisting largely of poor whites and immigrants riot in Boston; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Rutland, Vermont; Wooster, Ohio; Troy, New York; and New York City. "The nation is at this time in a state of Revolution, North, South, East, and West," wrote the Washington Times during the often violent protests that occurred after Abraham Lincoln issued the March 3, 1863, Enrollment Act of Conscription. Although demonstrations took place in many Northern cities, the riots that broke out in New York City were both the most violent and the most publicized. With a large and powerful Democratic party operating in the city, a dramatic show of dissent had been long in the making. The state's popular governor, Democrat Horatio Seymour, openly despised Lincoln and his policies. In addition, the Enrollment Act shocked a population already tired of the two-year-old war. By the time the names of the first draftees were drawn in New York City on July 11, reports about the carnage of Gettysburg had been published in city papers. Lincoln's call for 300,000 more young men to fight a seemingly endless war frightened even those who supported the Union cause. Moreover, the Enrollment Act contained several exemptions, including the payment of a "commutation fee" that allowed wealthier and more influential citizens to buy their way out of service. Perhaps no group was more resentful of these inequities than the Irish immigrants populating the slums of northeastern cities. Poor and more than a little prejudiced against blacks-with whom they were both unfamiliar and forced to compete for the lowest-paying jobs-the Irish in New York objected to fighting on their behalf. On Sunday, June 12, the names of the draftees drawn the day before by the Provost Marshall were published in newspapers. Within hours, groups of irate citizens, many of them Irish immigrants, banded together across the city. Eventually numbering some 50,000 people, the mob terrorized neighborhoods on the East Side of New York for three days looting scores of stores. Blacks were the targets of most attacks on citizens; several lynchings and beatings occurred. In addition, a black church and orphanage were burned to the ground. All in all, the mob caused more than $1.5 million of damage. The number killed or wounded during the riot is unknown, but estimates range from two dozen to nearly 100. Eventually, Lincoln deployed combat troops from the Federal Army of the Potomac to restore order; they remained encamped around the city for several weeks. In the end, the draft raised only about 150,000 troops throughout the North, about three-quarters of them substitutes, amounting to just one-fifth of the total Union force.
July 18, 1863 - Assault on Fort Wagner. The 54th Massachusetts Regiment, consisting of black soldiers, assaults Fort Wagner in South Carolina. The regiment sustains heavy losses, and though it does not take the fort, it gains heroic status as a result of its bravery. Col. Robert Gould Shaw and half of the 600 men in the regiment are killed.
July 30, 1863 - Lincoln's Order of Retaliation. "It is the duty of every government to give protection to its citizens, of whatever class, color, or condition, and especially to those who are duly organized as soldiers in the public service. The law of nations and the usages and customs of war as carried on by civilized powers, permit no distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of war as public enemies. To sell or enslave any captured person, on account of his color, and for no offence against the laws of war, is a relapse into barbarism and a crime against the civilization of the age. The government of the United States will give the same protection to all its soldiers, and if the enemy shall sell or enslave anyone because of his color, the offense shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession. It is therefore ordered that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed; and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public works and continued at such labor until the other shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war"
July 30, 1863 - Chief Pocatello of the Shoshone tribe signs the Treaty of Box Elder, promising to stop harassing the emigrant trails in southern Idaho and northern Utah.
August 10, 1863 - President Lincoln meets with abolitionist Frederick Douglass who pushes for full equality for Union 'Negro troops.'
August 26-28, 1863 - Manassas Station Operations. On the evening of August 26, after passing around John Pope's right flank via Thoroughfare Gap, Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's wing of the army struck the Orange & Alexandria Railroad at Bristoe Station and before daybreak August 27 marched to capture and destroy the massive Union supply depot at Manassas Junction. This surprise movement forced Pope into an abrupt retreat from his defensive line along the Rappahannock River. On August 27, Jackson routed a Union brigade near Union Mills (Bull Run Bridge), inflicting several hundred casualties and mortally wounding Union Brig. Gen. G.W. Taylor. Richard S. Ewell's Division fought a brisk rearguard action against Joseph Hooker's division at Kettle Run, resulting in about 600 casualties. Ewell held back Union forces until dark. During the night of August 27-28, Jackson marched his divisions north to the First Manassas battlefield, where he took position behind an unfinished railroad grade.
August 21, 1863 - Raid on Lawrence. At Lawrence, Kansas, pro-Confederate William C. Quantrill and 450 proslavery followers, including Frank James and his brother Jesse James, raid the town and butcher 182 boys and men and burn 185 buildings.
September 8, 1863 - Battle of Sabine Pass II. About 6:00 a.m. on the morning of September 8, 1863, a Union flotilla of four gunboats and seven troop transports steamed into Sabine Pass and up the Sabine River with the intention of reducing Fort Griffin and landing troops to begin occupying Texas. As the gunboats approached Fort Griffin, they came under accurate fire from six cannons. The Confederate gunners at Fort Griffin had been sent there as a punishment. To break the day-to-day monotony, the gunners practiced firing artillery at range markers placed in the river. Their practice paid off. Fort Griffin's small force of 44 men, under command of Lt. Richard W. Dowling, forced the Union flotilla to retire and captured the gunboat Clifton and about 200 prisoners. Further Union operations in the area ceased for about a month. The heroics at Fort Griffin44 men stopping a Union expeditioninspired other Confederate soldiers.
September 19/20, 1863 - Battle of Chickamauga. After the Tullahoma Campaign, William S. Rosecrans renewed his offensive, aiming to force the Confederates out of Chattanooga. The three army corps comprising Rosecrans's army split and set out for Chattanooga by separate routes. In early September, Rosecrans consolidated his forces scattered in Tennessee and Georgia and forced Braxton Bragg's army out of Chattanooga, heading south. The Union troops followed it and brushed with it at Davis' Cross Roads. Bragg was determined to reoccupy Chattanooga and decided to meet a part of Rosecrans's army, defeat them, and then move back into the city. On the 17th he headed north, intending to meet and beat the XXI Army Corps. As Bragg marched north on the 18th, his cavalry and infantry fought with Union cavalry and mounted infantry which were armed with Spencer repeating rifles. Fighting began in earnest on the morning of the 19th, and Bragg's men hammered but did not break the Union line. The next day, Bragg continued his assault on the Union line on the left, and in late morning, Rosecrans was informed that he had a gap in his line. In moving units to shore up the supposed gap, Rosencrans created one, and James Longstreet's men promptly exploited it, driving one-third of the Union army, including Rosecrans himself, from the field. Gen. George H. Thomas took over command and began consolidating forces on Horseshoe Ridge and Snodgrass Hill. Although the Rebels launched determined assaults on these forces, they held until after dark. Thomas then led these men from the field leaving it to the Confederates. The Union retired to Chattanooga while the Rebels occupied the surrounding heights.
October, 1863 - President Abraham Lincoln proclaims the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
October 14, 1863 - Bristoe Station. On October 14, 1863, A. P. Hill's corps stumbled upon two corps of the retreating Union army at Bristoe Station and attacked without proper reconnaissance. Union soldiers of the II Corps, posted behind the Orange & Alexandria Railroad embankment, mauled two brigades of Henry Heth's division and captured a battery of artillery. Hill reinforced his line but could make little headway against the determined defenders. After this victory, the Federals continued their withdrawal to Centreville unmolested. Robert E. Lee's Bristoe offensive sputtered to a premature halt. After minor skirmishing near Manassas and Centreville, the Confederates retired slowly to Rappahannock River destroying the Orange & Alexandria Railroad as they went. At Bristoe Station, Hill lost standing in the eyes of Lee, who angrily ordered him to bury his dead and say no more about it.
October 15, 1863 - The C.S.S. Hunley, the first successful submarine, sinks during a test run, killing its inventor Horace Lawson Hunley and seven crewmembers.
October 16, 1863 - Grant Appointed Commander in Chief in the West. President Lincoln appoints Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to command all operations in the western theater.
October 28-29, 1863 - Operations at Chattanooga (Battle of Wauhatchie). In an effort to relieve Union forces besieged in Chattanooga, Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas and Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant initiated the "Cracker Line Operation" on October 26, 1863. This operation required the opening of the road to Chattanooga from Brown's Ferry on the Tennessee River with a simultaneous advance up Lookout Valley, securing the Kelley's Ferry Road. Union Chief Engineer, Military Division of the Mississippi, Brig. Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith, with Brig. Gen. John B. Turchin's and Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen's 1st and 2nd brigades, 3rd Division, IV Army Corps, was assigned the task of establishing the Brown's Ferry bridgehead. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, with three divisions, marched from Bridgeport through Lookout Valley towards Brown's Ferry from the south. At 3:00 am, on October 27, portions of Hazen's brigade embarked upon pontoons and floated around Moccasin Bend to Brown's Ferry. Turchin's brigade took a position on Moccasin Bend across from Brown's Ferry. Upon landing, Hazen secured the bridgehead and then positioned a pontoon bridge across the river, allowing Turchin to cross and take position on his right. Hooker, while his force passed through Lookout Valley on October 28, detached Brig. Gen. John W. Geary's division at Wauhatchie Station, a stop on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, to protect the line of communications to the south as well as the road west to Kelley's Ferry. Observing the Union movements on the 27th and 28th, Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and Gen. Braxton Bragg decided to mount a night attack on Wauhatchie Station. Although the attack was scheduled for 10:00 pm on the night of October 28, confusion delayed it till midnight. Surprised by the attack, Geary's division, at Wauhatchie Station, formed into a V-shaped battle line. Hearing the din of battle, Hooker, at Brown's Ferry, sent Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard with two XI Army Corps divisions to Wauhatchie Station as reinforcements. As more and more Union troops arrived, the Confederates fell back to Lookout Mountain. The Federals now had their window to the outside and could receive supplies, weapons, ammunition, and reinforcements via the Cracker Line. Relatively few night engagements occurred during the Civil War; Wauhatchie is one of the most significant.
November 17-December 4, 1863 - Siege of Knoxville. The eighteen-day siege of Knoxville from November 17 to December 4, 1863, stemmed from two interrelated causes. First, General Braxton Bragg, commander of the Army of Tennessee, desired to divert troops from the Federal army holding the city of Chattanooga. Second, Bragg wanted to rid himself of Lieutenant General James Longstreet. In September 1863 Longstreet's First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia had been transferred to help repel the Federal thrust against Chattanooga and into north Georgia. Bragg's and Longstreet's combined forces badly defeated the Union Army of the Cumberland at Chickamauga and hemmed it inside the fortifications around Chattanooga. Shortly after this victory, Longstreet led an abortive cabal to remove the incompetent and unpopular Bragg from command, hoping to be named in Bragg's stead. When this revolt failed, Bragg detached Longstreet and his corps and ordered them to recapture Knoxville, which had fallen in early September to a Union force under the command of Major Ambrose E. Burnside. On November 5 Longstreet headed northward up the Tennessee Valley. He soon found himself in a footrace with Burnside, who had decided not to contest Longstreet's advance and quickly fell back from his forward position near Loudon. Longstreet failed in his attempt to get between the Federals and Knoxville as Union soldiers fought a rearguard action at Campbell's Station while Burnside withdrew into the fortifications surrounding the city. Longstreet's troops sealed off all approaches to Knoxville, hoping to starve the garrison into submission. Longstreet and his chief engineer, Brig. Gen. Danville Leadbetter, determined that the old Confederate Fort Loudon (renamed Fort Sanders by the Federals in honor of Brig. Gen. William Sanders, who had been killed in a rearguard action near the city) offered the weakest link. The November 29 attack led by Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws failed utterly. Confederate soldiers lost the element of surprise after capturing the Federal picket line the night before by alerting the garrison when, in the predawn darkness, the advancing column became entangled in telegraph wire strung across the line of attack. The Confederates then discovered that the ditch they thought to be shallow was in actuality four to eight feet deep. The walls of the fort were slippery with ice from water poured upon them by the defenders; even worse, the necessary scaling ladders could not be found. Additionally, the attacking column converged to a narrow front that jammed the units together in the ditch, creating a slaughter pen. The Federals laid down a murderous artillery and musket fire and hurled axes, lighted shells, and billets of wood upon the crowded Southern infantry. The few Confederates who made it inside the fort were quickly killed or captured. It was all over in about twenty minutes. The Confederates suffered 813 casualties, a quarter of whom were prisoners who had surrendered rather than run the gauntlet of fire back to their own lines. Federal losses totaled five dead and eight wounded. When Longstreet learned of Bragg's rout from Chattanooga and William T. Sherman's approach from the south, he lifted the siege on December 4 and withdrew into winter quarters in upper East Tennessee.
November 19, 1863 - The Gettysburg Address. President Abraham Lincoln delivers a two minute Gettysburg Address at the military cemetery dedication ceremony in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before usthat from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotionthat we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vainthat this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedomand that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".
November 23-25, 1863 - Battle of Chattanooga. After their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863), Union forces under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee besieged the city, threatening to starve the Union forces into surrender. His pursuit to the city outskirts had been leisurely, giving the Union soldiers time to prepare defenses. Bragg's troops were ordered to Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, both of which had excellent views of the city, the river, and the Union's supply lines. Confederate troops launched raids on all supply wagons heading toward Chattanooga, which made it necessary for the Union to find another way to feed their men. The Union government, alarmed by the potential for defeat, sent reinforcements. On October 17, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant received command of the Western armies; he moved to reinforce Chattanooga and replaced Rosecrans with Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas. Devising a plan known as the "Cracker Line", Grant's chief engineer, General William F. "Baldy" Smith, launched the Battle of Wauhatchie (October 28-29, 1863) to open the Tennessee River, allowing supplies and reinforcements to flow into Chattanooga, greatly increasing the chances for Grant's forces. Taking advantage of the fact that Confederate General James Longstreet was moving toward Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside near Knoxville, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman arrived with his four divisions in mid-November, and the Federals began offensive operations. November 23: Initial movements. On November 23, Union forces under Thomas struck out and advanced east to capture a line from Orchard Knob to Bushy Knob, placing them halfway to the summit of Missionary Ridge. The advance was made in broad daylight and met little Confederate resistance. Bragg moved Walker's division (under Brig. Gen. Stares R. Gist) from Lookout Mountain to strengthen his right flank. November 24: Battle of Lookout Mountain. The plan for the 24th was a two-pronged attackGen. Joseph Hooker against the Confederate left, Sherman the right. Hooker's three divisions struck at dawn at Lookout Mountain and found that the defile between the mountain and the river had not been secured. They barreled right through this opening; the assault ended around 3:00 p.m. when ammunition ran low and fog had enveloped the mountain. This action has been called the "Battle Above the Clouds" due to that fog. Bragg withdrew his forces from the southern end of the mountain to a line behind Chattanooga Creek, burning the bridges behind him. Sherman crossed the Tennessee River successfully, but his assault was delayed and the division of Patrick Cleburne was rushed in to reinforce the Confederate right flank. No attack would occur on this flank on the 24th. November 25: Battle of Missionary Ridge and the aftermath. On the 25th, Grant changed his plan and called for a double envelopment by Sherman and Hooker. Thomas was to advance after Sherman reached Missionary Ridge from the north. The Ridge was a formidable defensive position, manned in depth, and Grant knew that a frontal assault against it would be suicidal, unless the it could be arranged in support of the flanking attacks by Sherman and Hooker. As the morning progressed, Sherman was unable to break Cleburne's line and Hooker's advance was slowed by the burned bridges on the creek. At 3:30 p.m., Grant was concerned that Bragg was reinforcing his right flank at Sherman's expense, so he ordered Thomas to move forward and attempt to seize the first of three lines of Confederate entrenchments to his front. The Union soldiers moved forward and captured the first line, but they were subjected to punishing fire from the two remaining lines up the ridge. Without orders, the momentum of the attack continued and Thomas' forces carried the remaining lines, dashing madly up the ridge, shouting "Chickamauga, Chickamauga!". "My God, come and see 'em run!" a Union soldier cries. Bragg had misplaced his artillery on the crest of the ridge, rather than the military crest, and it was unable to provide effective fire. Grant was initially furious that his orders hadn't been followed exactly. Thomas was taken by surprise as well, knowing that his head would be on the chopping block if the assault failed. But it succeeded. By 4:30 p.m., Bragg's troops had broken and fled in panic. One of the Confederacy's two major armies was routed. The Union held Chattanooga, the "Gateway to the Lower South," which became the supply and logistics base for Sherman's 1864 Atlanta Campaign. And Grant had won his final battle in the west, prior to receiving command of all Union armies in March, 1864.
November 27, 1863 - Battle of Ringgold Gap. The battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25 resulted in a precipitous retreat into northwest Georgia by the defeated Confederate Army of Tennessee. Hoping to delay the pursuing Federals and save his wagon trains and artillery, CS General Braxton Bragg ordered CS Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne's Division to defend the mountain pass, Ringgold Gap. Bragg's choice for this critical assignment was fortuitous because Cleburne was one of the best officers in the luckless Army of Tennessee. In the predawn darkness of November 27 Cleburne's 4,157 infantrymen forded the icy waters of East Chickamauga Creek. After marching through the town of Ringgold, they took up positions one half mile to the southeast in Ringgold Gap. Through this thousand-foot-wide gap between White Oak Mountain to the north and Taylor's Ridge to the south ran the Western & Atlantic Railroad, a wagon road, and East Chickamauga Creek. Cleburne carefully positioned his division in and around the gap, and hid his men and artillery in the woods, in a ravine, and behind brush screens. On the crest of Taylor's Ridge was a single regiment of CS Brig. Gen. Mark P. Lowrey's Brigade. Within the gap Cleburne placed two cannons and almost all of CS Brig. Gen. Daniel C. Govan's Brigade. The remainder of Lowrey's command and a portion of CS Brig. Gen. Lucius E. Polk's Brigade were held in reserve behind Govan. Cleburne placed CS Brig. Gen. Hiram B. Granbury's Brigade along the base and eastern slope of White Oak Mountain. At about 7:30 a.m. a Union column commanded by U.S. Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker drove off the Confederate cavalrymen guarding a ford and a covered bridge over the creek. Flushed with success after victories at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, the blue-coated troops entered Ringgold. Unionist civilians and ex-slaves told Hooker about the demoralized state of the Confederates. Despite the absence that morning of his artillery, Hooker believed that attacking the Southern rear guard would result in the capture of Confederate wagons and artillery. Shortly before 8:00 a.m. Federal soldiers from U.S. Brig. Gen. Charles Woods's brigade of U.S. Brig. Gen. Peter J. Osterhaus's division approached Cleburne's concealed position. Volleys from CS General Granbury's Texans stopped Woods's three center regiments. A fourth that marched into Ringgold Gap also suffered a costly repulse. Woods sent a fifth regiment up White Oak Mountain in an attempt to turn the Confederate right flank. When the Confederates pinned this unit near the crest of the ridge, U.S. Colonel James A. Williamson pushed several regiments from his brigade up the mountain in support. Cleburne reacted by ordering Polk and Lowrey to drive back the Federals. After intense fighting at close quarters, the Federals retreated down the slopes, having lost two flags and dozens of men killed, wounded, or captured. Hooker then sent forward U.S. Brig. Gen. John W. Geary's division to turn Cleburne's right flank. Geary ordered U.S. Colonel William R. Creighton's brigade to ascend White Oak Mountain. Creighton's men, veterans of the Army of the Potomac, climbed past the prone lines of Williamson's Iowans. Vowing they would teach the Western troops a lesson, Creighton's men advanced up the steep slopes. Within minutes a fearful Confederate frontal and enfilade fire drove the easterners back down the mountain. Geary's other brigades under U.S. Colonels George A. Cobham, Jr., and David Ireland advanced against the Confederate center and left. Cobham's men made it to a small rise in front of Cleburne's line before lying down to trade volleys with the enemy. Ireland's New Yorkers moved up as far as the buildings of the Isaac Jobe farm before they became pinned down by rifle and cannon fire coming from the gap. U.S. Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant arrived in Ringgold at about noon to confer with Hooker. Grant, preoccupied with the necessity of relieving U.S. Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's besieged forces in Knoxville, discontinued the attacks against the Confederates in Ringgold. The four-hour battle of Ringgold Gap, which Grant called an "unfortunate" affair, cost the Federals about 507 casualties. While Grant and Hooker conferred behind the stone railroad depot in Ringgold, Cleburne received a dispatch stating that the Confederate trains were safe, and he could withdraw his command. By 2:00 p.m. the Confederate rear guard had retreated one mile to the south. At a cost of 221 casualties Cleburne saved the wagon trains and much of the artillery of the Army of Tennessee and earned the thanks of the Confederate Congress.
December 8, 1863 - Lincoln's Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. Abraham Lincoln issues his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. In this early plan for reintegrating the South with the Union, Lincoln offered a full pardon to any Southerner, except those who had held high offices in the Confederacy and those who had mistreated black prisoners of war. Those receiving amnesty would be required to swear that they would support the Constitution of the United States and the Union. Each rebel state would need to form a new government, which would be recognized if it was formed by a sufficient number of people who had taken the oath. The state would also have to grant slaves their freedom, as required by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863.
January 13, 1864 - Death of Stephen Foster. Stephen Foster died impoverished while living at the North American Hotel at 30 Bowery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan (possessing exactly 38 cents) at the age of 37.
February 17, 1864 - The Hunley Submarine. On the night of February 17, 1864, the Hunley drove its harpoon torpedo into the the side of the U.S.S. Housatonic, exploding the charge as the submarine backed off and sinking the Union blockade ship in minutes. Though the Hunley did surface and signal it's success, the submarine never made it to shore. The Hunley lay at the bottom of the harbor, largely forgotten, until it's discovery in May of 1995.
February 22-27, 1864 - First Battle of Dalton. From Vicksburg, Mississippi, William T. Sherman launched a campaign to take the important railroad center at Meridian and, if the situation was favorable, to push on to Selma and threaten Mobile, in order to prevent the shipment of Confederate men and supplies. To counter the threat, Confederate President Jefferson Davis ordered troops into the area. While these operations unfolded, George Thomas determined to probe Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army in the hope that Johnston's loss of two divisions, sent to reinforce Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk as he withdrew from Meridian to Demopolis, Alabama, would make him vulnerable. Skirmishing and intense fighting occurred throughout the demonstration. At Crow Valley on the 25th, Union troops almost turned the Rebel right flank, but ultimately it held. On the 27th, Thomas's army withdrew, realizing that Johnston was ready and able to counter any assault.
February 27, 1864 - Andersonville Prison. The first Northern prisoners arrive at the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia, the largest Confederate military prison during the American Civil War. More than 13,000 Union prisoners died there, mostly of severe neglect. Major Henry Wirz, commandant, was the only Civil War soldier executed (on November 10, 1865) for war crimes.
March 2, 1864 - The Dahlgren Affair was an incident involving a failed Union raid on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia on March 2, 1864. According to mysterious papers found on the body of the raid's commanding officer, colonel Ulric Dahlgren, one of their mission objectives was to assassinate Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet. Ulric Dahlgren was killed outside of Richmond on March 2 during a bungled raid on the confederate capital, ostensibly to free union prisoners. Late that evening thirteen year old William Littlepage discovered Dahlgren's body and searched its pockets for a pocketwatch. Instead he found a pocketbook and two folded papers, which he promptly turned over to his teacher Edward W. Halbach, a captain in the Confederate Home Guard. Halbach examined the papers the next morning, discovering that they contained signed orders on Union army stationary for a plot to assassinate Davis. According to one of the papers: "The men must keep together and well in hand, and once in the city it must be destroyed and Jeff. Davis and Cabinet killed." Halbach immediately contacted his commander, Captain Richard H. Bagby, and informed him of the discovery. At 2 p.m. on March 3 Bagby transferred the papers to Lieutenant James Pollard with instructions to deliver them to his commander Colonel James Beale. Beale instructed that they be delivered to the Confederate command in Richmond immediately. Pollard arrived in Richmond at noon on March 4 and delivered the papers to General Fitzhugh Lee. Lee, astonished at their contents, immediately took the papers to President Davis and Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin. Davis quietly read through the documents in Lee's presence and paused when he reached the assassination order, remarking "That means you, Mr. Benjamin." Lee was then instructed to take the papers to the War Department where they were received by Secretary of War James A. Seddon. Seddon decided to release the documents publicly and sought Davis' approval to do so. The Richmond newspapers were contacted for a conference at the War Department and given copies of the orders, which were published the next morning on March 5. In coming months the papers were widely circulated in the Confederacy and in Europe as evidence of Union barbarism. Dahlgren was likened to Atilla the Hun and several union leaders were accused of participation in the plot up to and including President Abraham Lincoln. In the North, the papers were denounced as a forgery designed to weaken the Union's war effort. Dahlgren Paper authenticity: For many years a debate has waged over the authenticity of the Dahlgren Papers. Part of the mystery stems from the fact that the papers have not survived and appear to have been intentionally destroyed by Union Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in 1865. The papers were among a collection of important Confederate documents transferred to Washington after the surrender of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Stanton ordered Francis Lieber to remove the Dahlgren Papers from the Confederate files and deliver them to him personally. He then presumably destroyed them as they have not been seen since. Surviving records include transcripts of the documents, which were published in several newspapers, photographs of them that were provided by Lee to union general George Meade for investigation, and a lithograph based on the photographs that was made in Europe where Confederate agents circulated the document to stir up sympathy for their cause. Unfortunately the destruction of the records by Stanton has prevented their examination in modern times and restricted historical knowledge of them to the surviving copies and examinations conducted between March 5, 1864 and November 1865 when Stanton seized the papers. A leading proponent of the forgery allegation was Admiral John A. Dahlgren, Ulric's father, who spent the rest of his life trying to clear his son's name. The senior Dahlgren based his argument against their authenticity on a European lithograph of the orders in which his son's name was misspelled "Dalhgren." The source of this error was discovered after the admiral's death by former Confederate general Jubal A. Early, who discovered the source of the error while studying the photographs. The lithographer, working from the photographs, mistook the "l" for an "h" and transposed the two due to ink marks that bled through from the other side of the paper. After the controversy surrounding the documents developed, Union Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, who authorized the Dahlgren raid, was questioned by General Meade about the photographs sent by Lee. Kilpatrick indicated to Meade that the papers were indeed authentic as he had seen them when conferring with Dahlgren, but claimed that the confederates had altered them to include the assassination order. Meade officially replied to Lee that "neither the United States Government, myself, nor General Kilpatrick authorized, sanctioned, or approved the burning of the city of Richmond and the killing of Mr. Davis and cabinet," placing the blame solely on Dahlgren. Privately however, Meade confided to his wife that "Kilpatrick's reputation, and collateral evidence in my possession, rather go against this theory" that Dahlgren alone devised the conspiracy. In addition to Meade's private beliefs, the papers' authenticity is corroborated by statements from Bureau of Military Information officers John McEntee, who accompanied Dahlgren on the raid and thus saw the papers, and John Babcock. It is further noted that the custody of the papers from their discovery by Littlepage on March 2 to their delivery to Davis on March 4 is well documented. The short period of time between their transfer from Littlepage to Davis reduces the time in which a skilled forgerer could be found. Though the papers have long been disputed, recent scholarship by historians including Stephen W. Sears and Edward Steers, Jr. has tended to favor their authenticity, though few who believe in their authenticity contend they were written by anyone other than Dahlgren himself. One theory about the Lincoln Assassination holds that the Dahlgren Papers' discovery instigated the chain of events ending in John Wilkes Booth's murder of Abraham Lincoln the next year. Steers, in his history of the assassination Blood on the Moon, traces the assassination conspiracy's origins to this event. Though they offer a different theory of the assassination that is bitterly at odds with Steers' interpretation, Ray Neff and Leonard Guttridge also agree on the Dahlgren affair's role. Sears summarizes the relationship between Dahlgren and Booth as follows: "Judson Kilpatrick, Ulric Dahlgren, and their probable patron Edwin Stanton set out to engineer the death of the Confederacy's president; the legacy spawned out of the utter failure of their effort may have included the death of their own president".
March 9, 1864 - Grant Appointed Commander-in-Chief. President Abraham Lincoln appoints Ulysses S. Grant Lieutenant General and Commander in Chief of all the armies. Gen. William T. Sherman succeeds Grant as commander in the west. Grant's plan is to defeat Robert E. Lee's army. He crosses the Rapidan (May 3) and begins the advance from near Chancellorsville through the Wilderness.
March 10-May 22, 1864 - The Red River Campaign. The Red River Campaign was a series of battles fought along the Red River in Louisiana during the American Civil War from March 10 to May 22, 1864. Its two primary goals were to stop rampant unemployment caused by the lack of cotton for textile mills (the cotton would be pillaged from the large stockpiles in the southwest, not yet ravaged by war), and to seize Texas to prevent the French, supporting Mexican emperor Maximilian I, from creating land trade routes to get the cotton. Participants: The Chief-of-Operations for the campaign was Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin. Although Franklin controlled a small part of the forces, the majority was controlled by the Army of the Gulf's Nathaniel P. Banks. Because of garrison duties over the long stretch of conquered land the Union had taken, he could only muster around 15,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and possibly 40 guns. Under Banks's request, William T. Sherman sent 15,000 men (in three divisions) from his Army of the West under the command of Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Smith. However, these troops were recalled back to Sherman's army when he prepared for his Atlanta Campaign on May 1. Even more troops, commanded by Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele, numbering at about 7,000including a brigade of marines and a brigade of colored troopswould join the campaign. All of these forces mustered at Shreveport, numbering nearly 50,000 men. Accompanying them were Admiral David D. Porter's 58-ship flotilla, with 23 gunboats, 13 of them ironclad. Chief-of-Operations Franklin stationed his headquarters in Franklin, Louisiana. The Confederates had been planning for an invasion like this for more than a year. Despite this, they were unprepared to fight it. Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith commanded a majority of the participating Southern forces, organized under the Trans-Mississippi Department. Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder commanded a smaller amount in the form of the East Texas Department. Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor of the West Louisiana Department, son of President Zachary Taylor, would fight most of the battles in the campaign. He started the campaign with barely 7,000 men. Kirby Smith promised reinforcements, but Magruder was slow to send troops to Louisiana. Kirby Smith also ordered two tiny divisions, numbering 4,000 men total, to Louisiana to support Taylor. Banks began his march on March 10. Meanwhile, A. J. Smith and his XVI Corps traveled via boat from Vicksburg down to Simmesport. He surprised and captured the half-built Fort DeRussy on March 14, capturing 200 Confederate prisoners and the only heavy guns available to the Confederates. This signaled the beginning of the campaign. Taylor was forced to retreat, giving south and central Louisiana to the Union forces. He demanded reinforcements from Kirby Smith, who continued to tell him to retreat toward Shreveport to draw Banks into a trap. Kirby Smith had nearly 50,000 men to call upon, but refused to do so. Taylor would never fight with more than 12,500 men throughout the entire campaign. By March 31, Banks had reached Natchitoches, only 65 miles south of Shreveport. Taylor stationed himself 25 miles northwest on Pleasant Hill, still with less that 10,000 men. Banks continued advancing a week later, which would have left enough time to amass the 50,000 forces Kirby Smith had, but Taylor was left with 8,800 men still. Constant cavalry skirmishing had been going on since March 21. On April 2, Brig. Gen. Albert Lee's 5,000-man division of cavalry was struck a serious shock by 1,500 Confederate cavalry at a crossroads called Crump's Corner. Although the battle was inconclusive, Lee recognized that resistance was stiffening and a major battle would occur soon. Franklin scoffed at the idea, thinking the Confederates would keep falling back. When Banks advanced on Pleasant Hill with Taylor nowhere to be seen (April 6), Taylor had indeed retreated to Shreveport. Battle of Mansfield: Heavy cavalry fighting continued on April 7, at Wilson's Farm and Tenmile Bayou. On April 8, Lee boldly charged a small force of Confederate cavalry at the Moss Plantation, three miles south of Mansfield, Louisiana. Pursuit ended when Confederate infantry made their first appearance. Here was Taylor's entire, albeit small, army. Albert Lee organized a defense along Honeycutt Hill with the help of two infantry brigades. At 4:30 that afternoon, without orders, Brig. Gen. Alfred Mouton marched across an 800-yard wide field and attacked the Union forces from behind a rail fence. This would be one of the most gallant and bloody charges in the war and would signal the beginning of a startling Confederate victory. As Moulton continued his assault, Taylor advanced his entire line to support. Confederate dismounted cavalry was sent the Union's right flank. Reaching the fence was a ghastly ordeal, but once they took cover behind it, the Confederates ripped the Union forces to pieces with rifle fire. The Union forces panicked, their flanks had been turned, and they fled as quick as they could. Phase one of the battle of Mansfield was a Confederate victory. A mile to the south, at Sabine Crossroads, Brig. Gen. Cameron had just deployed his division. He watched the fleeing soldiers pass by and prepared his troops for the onslaught. Screaming their rebel yell, Confederate troops hit Cameron's lines hard. In ten minutes, his flanks were turned and he was forced to flee. Confederate cavalry, continuing the pursuit, reported a third Union force of about 5,800 men sitting atop a hill. Taylor ordered the attack to continue, but three attempts couldn't dislodge the forces off the ridge overlooking Chapman's Bayou. The Battle of Mansfield was over. In all, the Federals suffered 3,200 casualties, while the Confederates suffered a mere 1,000. April 9, the next day, Taylor learned that Banks had retreated back to Pleasant Hill. At 4 p.m. the next day Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Churchill started the attack on the Union forces. Bodies piled high in a deep ravine as the close battle continued. Finally, the Confederates pushed the Federals back. Confederate cavalry was ordered to cut off Banks's retreat. At that time, A. J. Smith unleashed two divisions of his XVI Corps against startled Confederate forces. Taylor ordered a short withdrawal to restabilize his lines. Despite his subordinates' opinions, Banks retreated 25 miles south back to Natchitoches. The Confederates had won a major victory. Both sides suffered roughly equal casulties of 1,600. Ten days after retiring to Natchitoches, he learned that Steele was defeated by Sterling Price and that he would not be able to support him. Banks ordered a general retreat back to Alexandria, 50 miles to the south. Seeing Banks defeated let Kirby Smith send two divisions north into Arkansas to crush Steele's army even more (a campaign that ultimately failed), leaving Taylor only 5,000 men to pursue with. The rest of the campaign in Louisiana would be fought in three battles: Monette's Ferry, April 23, Mansura, May 16, and finally Yellow Bayou, May 18. All the while, Banks's army battled narrow roads, scarce water, and the Confederates. Admiral Porter was also having to deal with the Red River, which was at a 20-year low. His boats constantly ran into sandbars and many of his bigger ships, such as the Eastport, couldn't fit between them. When Porter saw Confederate scouts on April 10, he ordered his ships to pull farther south. However, Confederate cannons (many captured from Banks) and sharpshooters opened at point blank range on the ships as they passed down the river. While passing Blair's Landing, Porter's lead boat, the Hastings, was hit so much that it careened out of control and crashed into the nearby bank. By the time Porter reached Alexandria, he had lost an ironclad (Julia), two transports, and a pumper. The Eastport, struck by a torpedo, had to be scuttled. Although the Confederates had won a major victory, Banks's army and Porter's fleet had made their escape and the fate of the Confederacy had been sealed. The Red River Campaign would be the last major Confederate victory in the war.
April 12, 1864 - "Fort Pillow Massacre." In April 1864, the Union garrison at Fort Pillow, a Confederate-built earthen fortification and a Union-built inner redoubt, overlooking the Mississippi River about forty river miles above Memphis, comprised 295 white Tennessee troops and 262 U.S. Colored Troops, all under the command of Maj. Lionel F. Booth. Confederate Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked the fort on April 12 with a cavalry division of approximately 2,500 men. Forrest seized the older outworks, with high knolls commanding the Union position, to surround Booth's force. Rugged terrain prevented the gunboat New Era from providing effective fire support for the Federals. The garrison was unable to depress its artillery enough to cover the approaches to the fort Rebel sharpshooters, on the surrounding knolls, began firing into the fort killing Booth. Maj. William F. Bradford then took over command of the garrison. The Confederates launched a determined attack at 11:00 am, occupying more strategic locations around the fort, and Forrest demanded unconditional surrender. Bradford asked for an hour for consultation, and Forrest granted twenty minutes. Bradford refused surrender and the Confederates renewed the attack, soon overran the fort, and drove the Federals down the river's bluff into a deadly crossfire. Casualties were high and only sixty-two of the U.S. Colored Troops survived the fight. Many accused the Confederates of perpetrating a massacre of the black troops, and that controversy continues today. The Confederates evacuated Fort Pillow that evening so they gained little from the attack except a temporary disruption of Union operations. A Federal congressional investigating committee subsequently verified that more than 300 blacks, including women and children, had been slain after the fort surrendered. After the incident, black soldiers going into battle used the cry "Remember Fort Pillow!" Later in the year, the South agreed to treat blacks as prisoners of war.
April 22, 1864 - Coinage Act of 1864. The United States Congress passes the Coinage Act of 1864 which mandates that the inscription "In God We Trust" be placed on all coins minted as United States currency.
May-June, 1864 - Grant's Drive on Richmond. May 1864 saw the beginning of a massive, coordinated campaign involving all the Union Armies. On May 4, in Virginia, Ulysses S. Grant with an army of 120,000 begins advancing toward Richmond to engage Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, now numbering 64,000, beginning a war of attrition that will include major battles at the Wilderness (May 5-6), Spotsylvania (May 8-21), and Cold Harbor (June 1-3).
May 7-August 31, 1864 - Sherman's Advance on Atlanta. William T. Sherman pushed off toward Atlanta from Dalton, Georgia, on May 7, 1864, with 110,123 men against Joseph E. Johnston's 55,000. This masterly campaign comprised a series of cat-and-mouse moves by the rival commanders. Nine successive defensive positions were taken up by Johnston. Trying to outguess his opponent, Sherman attempted to swing around the Confederate right flank twice and around the left flank the other times, but each time Johnston divined which way Sherman was moving and each time pulled back in time to thwart him. At one point Sherman's patience snapped and he frontally assaulted the Southerners at Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, on June 27; Johnston threw him back with heavy losses. All the while Sherman's lines of communication in his rear were being menaced by audacious Confederate cavalry raids conducted by Nathan Bedford Forrest and Joseph Wheeler. Forrest administered a crushing defeat to Federal troops under Samuel D. Sturgis at Brice's Cross Roads, Mississippi, on June 10. But these Confederate forays were more annoying than decisive, and Sherman pressed forward. When Johnston finally informed Jefferson Davis that he could not realistically hope to annihilate Sherman's mighty army, the Confederate president replaced him with John B. Hood, who had already lost two limbs in the war. Hood inaugurated a series of premature offensive battles at Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Ezra Church, and Jonesboro, but he was repulsed in each of them. With his communications threatened, Hood evacuated Atlanta on the night of August 31-September 1.
May 5-7, 1864 - Battle of the Wilderness. The Battle of the Wilderness was the first battle of Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The battle was fought May 5-7, 1864. The battlefield was the Wilderness of Spotsylvania, an expanse of impenetrable scrub growth and rough terrain that encompassed more than 70 square miles of Spotsylvania County in central Virginia. A number of battles were fought in the vicinity between 1862 and 1864, including the bloody Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. It is often said that the Wilderness and Chancellorsville were fought in the same spot, but the 1864 battle was actually fought a few miles to the west, and only overlapped the old battlefield along the Brock Road on the Union army's left flank. On May 2, 1864, the Army of the Potomac, nominally under the command of Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, but taking orders from Grant, crossed the Rapidan River at three separate points and converged on the Wilderness Tavern, which ironically was the concentration point for the Confederates one year to the day earlier when they launched their devastating attack on the Union right flank at Chancellorsville. But Grant chose to set up his camps to the west of the old battle site before moving southward. Unlike the Union army of a year before, Grant had no desire to fight in the Wilderness. On the other hand, for Lee, who was massively outnumbered as usual (65,000 men to Grant's 123,000), accosting Grant in the Wilderness was imperative for the same reason as a year agoin a battle contested in the tangled woods, the value of artillery was limited. Lee's artillery possessed fewer guns than Grant's, and those they had were of lower quality. While waiting for the arrival of Lieut. Gen. James Longstreet's First Corps, which had been posted 25 miles (40 km) to the west to guard the crucial railroad junction of Gordonsville, Lee pushed forward his Second Corps, commanded by Lieut. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, and the Third Corps under the command of Lieut. Gen. A.P. Hill, in an effort to engage Grant before he moved south. The Confederates were able to do this, and on May 5, both Ewell, on Lee's left flank, and Hill on the right, clashed with Union soldiers. On the left, Ewell met up with the V Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, and fought it to a standoff. For much of the day, Ewell's 20,000-man corps actually held a slight numerical advantage on this part of the field. But on the right, Hill was hit hard and driven back by the Union II Corps under Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock and a division from the VI Corps. He held his ground, however. On May 6, Hancock, now commanding close to 40,000 men, resumed the attack on Hill's corps, while heavy Union reinforcements on Ewell's front prevented Lee from sending Second Corps men to aid Hill. By late morning, Hancock had driven Hill's corps back more than two miles and inflicted heavy casualties. With the Third Corps in dire straits, Lee began to look desperately for Longstreet, whose arrival had been expected hours before. At around noon, Longstreet and the 20,000-man First Corps arrived at last, and its timing was perfect. Hancock's men were tired and disorganized from six hours of fighting. When Longstreet hurled his forces at the Union attackers, they recoiled and within two hours, the situation was totally reversed. Not only had Longstreet regained all the ground lost, he had advanced one mile beyond that, forcing Hancock to regroup along the Brock Road. At a crucial moment in the fighting, Longstreet attacked through the cut of an unfinished railroad that had divided the Union forces in two, increasing the confusion. However, Longstreet did not have enough men to complete his victory, and the fighting soon petered out near the Brock Road. As the fighting wound down on this part of the battlefield, Longstreet was badly wounded and did not return to the Army of Northern Virginia for several months. (Ironically, Longstreet was the victim of friendly fire, just as fellow general Stonewall Jackson had been nearby a year previously.) The IX Corps (under Ambrose E. Burnside) moved against the Confederate center, but was repulsed. Just as this phase of the battle was ending, a division of the Second Corps under Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon launched one final assault on the Union right, partially turning the Army of the Potomac's flank and taking close to 1,000 prisoners. But darkness fell before the Confederates had a chance to press their advantage, and with that, the battle came to a close. Union generals James S. Wadsworth and Alexander Hays were killed. Confederate generals John M. Jones, Micah Jenkins, and Leroy A. Stafford were killed. On May 8, Grant ordered the Army of the Potomac to resume its advance, and a few days later, the two armies clashed again 10 miles to the southeast, at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. The battle is usually described as a draw; a better way of describing it would be as a tactical Confederate victory, but a strategic victory for the Union army. At the end of the battle, Grant withdrew his force, which is normally how the loser in a Civil War battle is determined. However, unlike his predecessors since 1861, Grant did not retreat back to the safety of Washington, D.C., but continued in his campaign. Lee inflicted heavy casualties on Grant, but they were a smaller percentage than the casualties his army suffered. And unlike Grant, Lee had very little opportunity to replenish his losses. Understanding this disparity, part of Grant's strategy was to wage a war of attrition. The only way that Lee could escape from the trap that Grant had set was to destroy the Army of the Potomac while he still had sufficient force to do so, and Grant was too skilled to allow that to happen.
May 8-21, 1864 - Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, sometimes simply referred to as the Battle of Spotsylvania, was the second battle (following the Wilderness on May 5-7) in Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. It was fought in the Rapidan-Rappahannock river area of central Virginia, a region where more than 100,000 men on both sides fell between 1862 and 1864. The battle was fought from May 8-21, 1864, along a trench line some four miles long, with the Army of Northern Virginia under Gen. Robert E. Lee making its second attempt to halt the spring offensive of the Union Army of the Potomac under the command of Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. George G. Meade. Taking place less than a week after the bloody, inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness, it pitted 60,000 Confederate soldiers against a Union army numbering 120,000. After Lee checked the Union advance in the Wilderness, Grant decided to take advantage of the position he held, which allowed him to slip his army around Lee's right flank and continue to move south toward the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. He already had troops on the move by the night of May 7, just one day after the Wilderness fighting ended, and on May 8, he sent Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren and his V Corps to take Spotsylvania, 10 miles to the southeast. Lee anticipated Grant's move and sent forces to intercept him: cavalry under Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and the First Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. Richard H. Anderson because its usual leader, Lieut. Gen. James Longstreet had been wounded in the Wilderness. The Confederates won the race to Spotsylvania, and on May 9, each army began to take up new positions north of the small town. As Union forces probed Confederate skirmish lines on May 9 to determine the placement of defending forces, Union VI Corps commander Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick was killed by a sharpshooter; he was succeeded by Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright. Lee deployed his men in a trench line stretching more than four miles, with artillery placed that would allow enfilade fire on any attacking force. There was only one major weakness in Lee's linean exposed salient known as the "Mule Shoe" extending more than a mile in front of the main trench line. Lee recognized this weakness during the fighting of May 10, when twelve regiments under the command of Col. Emory Upton followed up a concentrated, intense artillery attack by slamming into the toe of the Mule Shoe along a narrow front. They actually broke the Confederate line, and the Second Corps had a hard time driving them out. Upton's attack won him a promotion on the spot to brigadier general, and became a staple of military textbooks on how to break an enemy trench line. Similar tactics were used by Germany in its successful March 1918 offensive during World War I. Lee, seeing the danger, began to lay out a new defensive line across the heel of the Mule Shoe that night, but before he could get it finished, Grant sent his entire II Corps of 15,000 men, commanded by Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, to attack the position in the same manner Upton had. This time, the breach in the Confederate line was complete, thanks in large part to an order from Lee that had already pulled much of the Confederate artillery back to the new line. The II Corps took close to 4,000 prisoners and probably would have cut the Army of Northern Virginia in half if the IX Corps (Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside), supporting it with an assault on the Confederate right flank, had pushed its attacks home with force. Instead, Lee was able to shift thousands of his men to meet the threat. Due to ineffective leadership displayed by Lieut. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, Lee felt compelled to personally lead Second Corps soldiers in the counterattack. His men realized the danger this would pose and refused to advance until Lee removed himself to a safer position in the rear. The battle in the Mule Shoe lasted for an entire day and night, as the Confederates slowly won back all the ground they had lost, inflicting heavy losses on the II Corps and the reinforcing VI Corps in the process. By 3 a.m. on May 13, just as the Confederates had completed expelling the II Corps from the Mule Shoe, the new line was ready, and Lee had his battered men retire behind it. More than 10,000 men fell in the Mule Shoe, which now passed to the Union forces without a fight. On May 18, Grant sent two of his corps to attack the new line, but they were met with a bloody repulse. That convinced Grant, who had vowed to "fight it out on this line if it takes all summer," that Lee's men could not be dislodged from their Spotsylvania line. Grant, checked by Lee for a second time, responded as he had two weeks earlier. He shifted the weight of his army to the right flank and again moved to the southeast along roads Lee was unable to block. By May 20-21, the two armies were on their way to take positions along the North Anna River, another dozen miles closer to Richmond. Once again, Lee's tactics had inflicted severe casualties on Grant's army. This time, the toll was over 18,000 men, of which close to 3,000 were killed. In two weeks of fighting, Grant had lost 35,000 men, and another 20,000 went home when their enlistments ended. In fact, Grant at one point on the North Anna had fewer than 65,000 effectives. But Lee did not come out of these battles unscathed, either. At Spotsylvania, he lost another 10-13,000 men, and the Confederates had to pull men away from other fronts to reinforce him. Making matters worse, the army was taking heavy losses among its veteran units and its best officers. This may have saved Grant from a disaster on the North Anna, when his decimated army was positioned badly and was ripe to be attacked. Lee never did, because the Army of Northern Virginia was unable to do so. In fact, Lee's army would never regain the initiative it lost in those two weeks of May 1864.
May 11, 1864 - Battle of Yellow Tavern. As the battle between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee raged at Spotsylvania Court House, the Union cavalry corps under Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan embarked on a cavalry raid against Richmond. After disrupting Lee's road and rail communications, Sheridan's cavalry expedition climaxed with the battle of Yellow Tavern on May 11. The outnumbered Confederate cavalry was defeated, and Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded. Sheridan continued south to threaten the Richmond defenses before joining Benjamin F. Butler's command at Bermuda Hundred. After refitting, Sheridan rejoined the Army of the Potomac on May 25 for the march to the southeast and the crossing of the Pamunkey.
May 13-15, 1864 - Battle of Resaca. The battle ranged in Gordon County, Georgia, and Whitfield County, Georgia, from May 13 to May 15, 1864, and ended inconclusively. On May 13, 1864, Confederate General Joseph Johnston positioned his forces along a ridge that lay between the Oostanaula River and the Conasauga River just north of the small town of Resaca, Ga. This defensive line protected his supply line to Atlanta, the Western & Atlantic Railroad. On the afternoon of the 13th, Federal Maj. Gen. John Logan's XV Corps arrived west of Resaca to discover that General Johnston had reinforced his army with General Leonidas Polk's Army of Mississippi, which became the third Corps of the Army of Tennessee. The morning of the 14th, Federal General Sherman ordered an attack at Johnston's center with a division of Federal General John Palmer's XIV Corps. They pushed across Camp Creek valley towards a crest held by Confederate General Hardee's Corps. There they met devastating infantry and artillery fire. General Henry Judah launched an independent attack with his 2nd Division of John M. Schofield's Army of the Ohio accompanied by Baird's 3rd Division. The attack was uncoordinated due to an overlapping of brigades. They met head long into Confederate Joseph Lewis' Kentucky Orphan Brigade and Edward Walthall's Mississippi Brigade. The attack was repulsed by infantry fire and heavy artillery from Maj. Thomas Hotchkiss's battalion. On the Federal left, General Johnston ordered General Hood to attack the exposed flank of General Howard's IV Corps. General's Carter Stevenson and Alex Stewart were ordered to "wheel" against them. General Stevenson's Division hit directly upon the exposed flank of David Stanley's Federal Division. General Stewart's division ran into and was stalled by the effective fire of Peter Simonson's 5th Indiana Battery. The attack was still moving somewhat successfully until the timely arrival of Col. James Robinson's 3rd Brigade of Alpheus Williams' 1st Division of Hooker's XX corps which helped restore the Federal line. The only Federal success of the day was when several brigades of Logan's XV Corps managed to push back Polk's troops on the Confederate left. There the Federals dug in on the recently acquired high ground as Polk's troops withdrew to a new position closer to town. Sherman ordered Sweeny's Division of the XVI Corps to move several miles south to Lay's Ferry. Late on the afternoon of the 14th, Sweeny pushed back a small compliment of Confederate Calvary and crossed two regiments, in pontoon boats, to the Oostanaula's southern shore. Confederate General William Walker's Division was sent to intercept. Upon learning of Walker's Division being en route, Sweeny pulled back across the river. When Walker arrived and found no enemy, he drew back to the east and left the ferry unguarded. Sherman ordered Sweeny back across the river on the 15th and Sweeny crossed with his whole division. Sherman then shifted Hooker's XX Corps and at 11:30 on the 15th, the attack on the Confederate right was renewed. Hooker's three divisions, with Gen. William Ward's Brigade, over ran Captain Maxillian Van den Corput's Cherokee Georgia Battery, but the attack stalled in front of Brown's, Cumming's and Reynold's Brigades' deadly musketry. General Johnston, more than satisfied with Hood's previous attack on the Federal left the day before, had again ordered General Hood to attack. General Stevenson was already engaged with Hooker's XX Corps and could not attack. General Stewart moved out in the same half wheel manner. General Johnston attempted to call off the attack when he learned of Sweeny's crossing again at Lay's Ferry, but Stewart was already heavily engaged. Over a thousand men were lost before Stewart could return to his works. Despite carrying both days, Sweeny had gained a foothold and threatened the Army of Tennessee's supply line. General Johnston informed his senior officers that the Army of Tennessee had no choice but to fall back from Resaca or be cut off from Atlanta. Under the cover of darkness, the Army of Tennessee fell back and crossed the Oostanaula River toward Calhoun and Adairsville. In the early morning hours of May 16th, the Confederates set fire to the railroad span crossing the Oostanaula and a nearby wagon bridge to prevent it from falling into Federal hands. By early afternoon of the 16th, the Federals had repaired the damaged bridges and Howard's IV corps was in pursuit of the Confederates. Thus ended the first major battle of the Atlanta Campaign. The fight at Resaca involved for the Federals, 110,123 men and 254 guns as of April 30, 1864, and for the Confederates, 54,500 men and 144 guns as of April 30, 1864. The Battle of Resaca was one of the largest engagements and is estimated to have cost the Federals some 4,000 causalities and the Confederates nearly 3,000 men. Some estimates are even higher.
May 15, 1864 - Battle of New Market. Students from the Virginia Military Institute fight alongside the Confederate Army to force Union General Franz Sigel out of the Shenandoah Valley. In conjunction with his Spring offensive, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel to move up the Shenandoah Valley along the Valley Pike with 10,000 men to destroy the railroad and canal complex at Lynchburg. At New Market on the 15th, Sigel was attacked by a makeshift Confederate army of about 4,100 men commanded by Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge. At a crucial point, a key Union battery was withdrawn from the line to replenish its ammunition, leaving a weakness that Breckinridge was quick to exploit. He ordered his entire force forward, and Sigel's stubborn defense collapsed. Threatened by the Confederate cavalry on his left flank and rear, Sigel ordered a general withdrawal burning the North Fork bridge behind him. Sigel retreated down the Valley to Strasburg and was soon replaced by Maj. Gen. David Hunter.
May 17, 1864 - Battle of Adairsville. Following the Battle of Resaca, May 13-May 15, Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army retreated southward while Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman pursued. Failing to find a good defensive position south of Calhoun, Georgia, Johnston continued to Adairsville, Georgia while the Rebel cavalry fought a skillful rearguard action and kept Sherman away from Atlanta, Georgia. Once across the Oostanaula, Johnston sought to make a stand and draw the Federals into a costly assault. He expected to find favorable terrain near Calhoun, but in this he was disappointed and during the night of May 16-May 17 he led the Confederates on southward toward Adairsville. Sherman followed, dividing his forces into three columns and advancing on a broad front. There were skirmishes all along the route during the 16th and 17th, but the main bodies were not engaged. At Adairsville Johnston again hoped to find a position in which he could give battle, but there too the terrain was unsuitable for defense and the Confederate commander was forced to continue his retreat. As he fell back, however, Johnston devised a strategem that he hoped would lead to the destruction of a part of Sherman's forces. There were two roads leading south from Adairsvilleone south to Kingston, the other southeast to Cassville. It seemed likely that Sherman would divide his armies so as to use both roads. This would give Johnston the opportunity to attack one column before the other could come to its aid. When the Southerners abandoned Adairsville during the night of May 17-18, Johnston sent William J. Hardee's Corps to Kingston, Georgia while he fell back toward Cassville, Georgia with the rest of his army. He hoped that Sherman would believe most of the Southerners to be in Kingston, Georgia and concentrate the bulk of his forces there. Hardee would then hold off the Northerners at Kingston while Johnston, with Leonidas Polk and John B. Hood, destroyed the smaller Federal column at Cassville. Sherman reacted as Johnston hoped, ordering James B. McPherson and the bulk of George Henry Thomas' army toward Kingston while sending only John M. Schofield and one corps of Thomas' army along the road to Cassville. On the morning of May 19, Johnston ordered Hood to march along a country road a mile or so east of the Adairsville-Cassville Road and form his corps for battle facing west. While Polk attacked the head of the Federal column, Hood was to assail its left flank. As Hood was moving into position, he found Northern soldiers to the east. This was a source of great danger, for had Hood formed facing west, these Federals would have been in position to attack the exposed flank and rear of his corps. After a brief skirmish with the Northerners, Hood fell back to rejoin Polk. Johnston, believing that the opportunity for a successful battle had passed, ordered Hood and Polk to move to a new line east and south of Cassville, where they were joined by Hardee who had been pushed out of Kingston. Johnston formed his army on a ridge and hoped that Sherman would attack him there on May 20. As usual, the Southern commander was confident of repulsing the enemy. During the night, the Confederates withdrew across the Etowah. As they fell back, their feelings were mixed. They had lost a very strong position at Dalton, Georgia, and had fallen back from Resaca, Georgia, Calhoun, and Adairsville. Now they were retreating again under cover of darkness. That morning as they prepared for battle, their spirits had been high. Now their disappointment was bitter. Although morale would revive in the next few days, many Southern soldiers would never again place as much confidence in Johnston's abilities as they once had. That night the Confederate leaders held a council of war. Exactly what happened at the council is a matter of dispute. According to Johnston, Polk and Hood reported that their lines could not be held and urged that the army retreat. Believing that the fears of the corps commanders would be communicated to their men and thus weaken the army's confidence, Johnston yielded to these demands, even though he thought the position to be defensible. According to Hood, whose recollection of the council differs markedly from Johnston's, he and Polk told Johnston that the line could not be held against an attack but that it was a good position from which to move against the enemy. Johnston, however, was unwilling to risk an offensive battle and decided to fall back across the Etowah. No definite resolution of this dispute is possible, but most of the available evidence supports Hood's version of the conference. Certainly Johnston was not obligated to allow the advice of subordinates to overrule his own judgment. The responsibility for abandoning the Cassville position rests on the Southern commander.
May 18, 1864 - The Gold Hoax. The Civil War Gold Hoax was perpetrated by two U.S. journalists to exploit the financial situation during 1864. On May 18, 1864, two New York City newspapers, the New York World and the New York Journal of Commerce, published a story that President Abraham Lincoln had issued a proclamation of conscription of 400,000 more men into the Union army. At the time, there were fierce battles taking place between Union and Confederate troops in Virginia and the public took it to mean that the war was not going well for the Union. Share prices fell on the New York Stock Exchange when investors began to buy gold, and its value increased 10%. During the day a number of people, one of them former Union commander General George McClellan, became suspicious of the fact that the proclamation had been published in just two newspapers, and went to the offices of the Journal to determine the source. Editors of the paper showed then an Associated Press dispatch they had received early in the morning. Before noon, the Associated Press issued a statement that the dispatch had not come from them, and at 12.30 p.m. the State Department in Washington DC sent a telegram to verify that the proclamation was "an absolute forgery". By then, however, the stock market had already been affected. Further investigation revealed that the dispatches had come though a young courier just after the night editors had gone home. The timing had been perfectthe night foreman had had to make a decision as to whether to include the proclamation in the next day's paper or not. Night foremen in various other newspapers had tried to verify the message, and when they found out that not every paper had received the message, they decided to delay it pending further proof. Only foremen for the World and Journal of Commerce had added it. President Lincoln was enraged when he heard about the case: he gave an order to close the two papers down and had their editors arrested for suspicion of complicity. Soldiers seized the two offices and, for some reason, the office of the Independent Telegraph Line. Lincoln eventually had the editors released. Detectives tracked down the culprits. They found the messengers and questioned them. On May 21 they arrested Francis A. Mallison, a reporter for the Brooklyn Eagle who informed on his city editor Joseph Howard, who was also arrested. Howard came quietly and confessed. Howard had bought gold on margin May 17 and started the ruse because he knew that any news of a delay in the war would cause a rise in the price of gold when investors wanted to transfer their savings elsewhere. He had forged the two AP dispatches and had them sent to various city newspapers in an appropriate time. The next day, during the furor, he had sold his investment and profited immensely. Howard spent only three months in prison and was released on August 22, 1864. With perfect irony, at that time Lincoln had to issue a call for 500,000 more soldiers.
May 19, 1864 - Death of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
May 23-26, 1864 - Battle of North Anna. The Battle of North Anna was fought May 23-26, 1864, as part of Union General Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. It was fought in central Virginia as small actions in a number of locales, rather than a general engagement between the armies, so individual actions are sometimes named directly: Telegraph Road Bridge and Jericho Mill (for actions on May 23); Ox Ford, Quarles Mill, and Hanover Junction (May 24). After the fighting at Spotsylvania Court House, on the night of May 20, 1864, Grant sent the II Corps under Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock from Spotsylvania to Milford Station, where he was to take a position on the west bank of the Mattaponi River and attack the Confederates wherever he encountered them. Grant was hoping that Lee would take the bait of an isolated Union corps and attack it, drawing the Confederates out into the open, where they could be attacked. Union cavalry forces under Brig. Gen. Alfred Torbert drove out a small force of Confederate infantry at Milford Station. Confederate cavalry under Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton warned General Lee of this movement. Lee realized that it was merely the beginning of another Union attempt to turn his right flank and get between his army and Richmond. He began to shift his troops to the south bank of the Po River, but when the remaining Union forces V Corps under Gouverneur K. Warren, IX Corps under Ambrose E. Burnside (who was now assigned to the Army of the Potomac under the direct command of George G. Meade), and VI Corps under Horatio G. Wrightwithdrew from Spotsylvania on May 21, Lee ordered a retreat south to the North Anna River. Grant's original plan to trap Lee was foiled, primarily because Grant grew nervous about leaving Hancock in an isolated position and he moved the remainder of the Army of the Potomac to the southeast to join Hancock before Lee could strike. Lee's army reached the North Anna on May 22. For the first time in the campaign, he received sizable reinforcements, including George E. Pickett's division from the James River defense against the ineffective Benjamin F. Butler and John C. Breckinridge's command from the Shenandoah Valley, altogether about 9,000 men. While this was a positive development, it was counterbalanced by bad news for the Army of Northern Virginia. Many of the senior leaders of the army were out of commission: A.P. Hill, who had become sick with an unidentified illness at the Wilderness returned to duty, but was still sick; Richard S. Ewell was exhausted from his ordeal at Spotsylvania; and Lee himself suddenly suffered a debilitating attack of diarrhea. The only corps commander who was ready for duty was Richard H. Anderson, but he was recently promoted and inexperienced in corps-level command. The Confederate position was skillfully laid out behind (south of) the steep bank of the North Anna and well fortified with earthworks. It was a five-mile line that formed an inverted "V" shape, sometimes called a "hog snout line", with its apex on the river at Ox Ford, the only defensible river crossing in the area. On the western line of the V, reaching southwest to New Market, was the corps of A.P. Hill; on the east were Anderson and Ewell, the latter as far to the southeast as Hanover Junction. The Army of the Potomac arrived at the North Anna on May 23. Warren began crossing at the undefended Jericho Mill, northwest of Ox Ford, but at 6 p.m., A.P. Hill attacked in an attempt to drive the V Corps into the river. His attack was clumsy and unsuccessful and Warren was able to cross the river easily, entrenching directly facing Hill's line. Lee was furious with Hill for his piecemeal attacks; if Hill had attacked with his entire corps at the river crossing, Warren might have been defeated. Lee scolded him: "Why did you not do as [Stonewall] Jackson would have done, thrown your whole force upon those people and driven them back?" On May 24, Hancock's II Corps attacked at Chesterfield Bridge, east of Ox Ford, crossed the river, and positioned his corps facing Anderson and Ewell. Burnside's IX Corps was in the center. His IX Corps attempted to cross at Quarles Mill, between Ox Ford and Jericho Mill, but resistance was stiff and Burnside abandoned the effort, remaining north of the river, facing the apex of the V. For the first time, Grant realized that Lee had outmaneuvered him. His army had been moved forward so quickly that it had broken into three widely separated parts, surrounding the V. A unit moving from one flank to reinforce the other would have to cross the North Anna River twice. Lee could attack in either direction and overwhelm either Hancock or Warren, with the other unable to support him in a timely manner. Then, the Confederates could swing back on internal lines and attack the other side. The most likely candidate for an attack was Hancock's II Corps to the east. However, Lee's illness meant that he was on his back in his tent for much of this time and, given his lack of capable subordinates, was unable to arrange an aggressive attack against either Union corps. Grant briefly probed the Confederate line and contemplated a double envelopment, but realized that the defense was too strong. He decided not to attack and there was only light skirmishing on May 25-26. Grant ordered James H. Wilson's cavalry division to cross the river and move west, attempting to deceive Lee into thinking that the Union army intended to envelop the Confederate left flank. The cavalry destroyed stretches of the Virginia Central Railroad during this movement, but had no significant enemy contact. After dark on May 26, Grant withdrew to move 20 miles southeast to the important crossroads of Cold Harbor. He was encouraged by his progress against Lee and wrote to his chief of staff, Henry W. Halleck, in Washington: "Lee's army is really whipped. The prisoners we now take show it, and the actions of his Army show it unmistakably. A battle with them outside of entrenchments cannot be had. I may be mistaken but I feel that our success over Lee's army is already insured." Grant's optimism and his reluctance to assault strong defensive lines would be severely tested in the upcoming Battle of Cold Harbor. In the meantime, North Anna had proved to be a relatively minor affair when compared to other Civil War battles. Union casualties for the four days were 186 killed, 792 wounded, 165 missing or captured, for a total of 1,143. Confederate casualties were not recorded, but due to the bloody fighting between A.P. Hill and Warren, it is probable they suffered around 2,000 casualties.
May 22-June 3, 1864 - Battle of Cold Harbor. The Battle of Cold Harbor, the final battle of Union Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign during the American Civil War, today lives in infamy as one of history's most lopsided battles. Grant, the losing general, described it as the "one attack I always regretted ordering." The battle was fought in central Virginia over the same ground as the Battle of Gaines' Mill during the Seven Days Battles of 1862. In fact, some accounts refer to the 1862 battle as the First Battle of Cold Harbor, and the 1864 battle as the Second Battle of Cold Harbor. Soldiers were disturbed to discover skeletal remains from the first battle as they entrenched. Despite the name, Cold Harbor was not a port city. It was named for a hotel located in the area which provided shelter (harbor), but not hot meals. The Battle: The battle began on May 31, 1864, when Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan occupied the crucial crossroads of Old Cold Harbor, 10 miles (16 km) from the Confederate capital of Richmond. By outflanking Robert E. Lee's army three separate times, including twice after battles that were actually Confederate tactical victories, they stood at the gates of Richmond. Grant hoped that one more attack might finally break the outnumbered Army of Northern Virginia commanded by Lee. Over the next two days, the armies of Lee and Grant, having disengaged from a standoff at the North Anna River 10 miles (16 km) to the north, took up new positions around Cold Harbor. Grant, having received heavy reinforcement, brought 105,000 men (the bulk of the Army of the Potomac) onto the field. Lee had also managed to replace many of his 20,000 casualties to that point in the campaign, and his army numbered 59,000. But the disparity in numbers was no longer what it had beenGrant's reinforcements were often raw recruits and heavy artillery troops (pulled from the defenses of Washington, D.C.) unfamiliar with infantry tactics, while most of Lee's had been veterans moved from inactive fronts, and they were strongly entrenched in fortifications. Grant, unaware of the strength of the Confederate earthworks that confronted his army, directed George G. Meade to mount an assault. Meade and his corps commanders failed to conduct any meaningful reconnaissance of the enemy position. Many of the soldiers were apprehensive about this assault and there are anecdotes that some pinned notes inside their uniforms, meant to identify their bodies after their presumed deaths. The Assault: On the morning of June 3, Meade's assault on the Confederate right flank was conducted by three corps, totaling 31,000 men: the II Corps (Winfield S. Hancock), VI Corps (Horatio G. Wright), and XVIII Corps ( William F. "Baldy" Smith, part of Benjamin F. Butler's then-separate Army of the James). The defenders, consisting mostly of men from the Confederate First and Third Corps, who fought from behind earthworks, slaughtered them as soon as they moved forward. One Confederate soldier was quoted after the battle as saying it was "simply murder". The Confederate musket and artillery fire along the XVIII Corps front was so severe that its men were actually pinned to the ground for protection, unable even to retire to their own lines. Union forces lost 7,000 men in about 90 minutes, the Confederates fewer than 1,500. Grant called off the attacks at midday after visiting his corps commanders. Meade inexplicably bragged to his wife the next day that he was in command for the assault. Before the assault, the Union soldiers had been in no doubt as to what they were up against. Many were seen writing their names on papers that they pinned inside their uniforms, so their bodies could be identified. One blood-spattered diary from a Union soldier found after the battle included a final entry: "June 3, 1864. Cold Harbor. I was killed." The next day, Grant launched no more attacks on the Confederate defenses. He later said that he regretted for the rest of his life the decision to send in his men. The two opposing armies faced each other for nine days of low intensity trench warfare. Grant was criticized in the Northern press for refusing to negotiate an immediate temporary truce with Lee for the purpose of gathering bodies and treating the wounded between the lines. On June 12, the Army of the Potomac finally disengaged to march southeast to cross the James River and attack Petersburg, a crucial rail junction south of Richmond. Results and Aftermath: The Battle of Cold Harbor was the final victory won by Lee's army (part of his forces won the Battle of the Crater the following month, during the Siege of Petersburg, but this did not represent a general engagement between the armies), and its most decisive in terms of casualties. The Union army, in bravely attempting the futile assault, lost 10Ð13,000 men over twelve days. The battle brought the toll in Union casualties since the beginning of May to a total of more than 52,000, compared to 33,000 for Lee. Although the cost was horrible, Grant's larger army finished the campaign with lower relative casualties than Lee. Some authors (Catton, Esposito, Foote, McPherson, Smith) estimate the casualties for the major assault on June 3 and all agree on approximately 7,000 total Union casualties, 1,500 Confederate. The battle caused a rise in anti-war sentiment in the Northern States. Grant became known as the "fumbling butcher" for his poor decisions. It also lowered the morale of his remaining troops. But the campaign had served Grant's purposeas foolish as his attack on Cold Harbor was, Lee was trapped. He beat Grant to Petersburg, barely, but spent the remainder of the war (save its final week) defending Richmond behind a fortified trench line: see Siege of Petersburg. The end of the Confederacy was just a matter of time.
May 25-26, 1864 - Battle of New Hope Church. After Johnston retreated to Allatoona Pass on May 19-20, Sherman decided that he would most likely pay dearly for attacking Johnston there, so he determined to move around Johnston's left flank and steal a march toward Dallas. Johnston anticipated Sherman's move and met the Union forces at New Hope Church. Sherman mistakenly surmised that Johnston had a token force and ordered Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker's corps to attack. This corps was severely mauled. On the 26th, both sides en-trenched, and skirmishing continued throughout the day.
May 27, 1864 - Battle of Pickett's Mill. After the Union defeat at New Hope Church, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman ordered Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard to attack Gen. Joseph E. Johnston' s seemingly exposed right flank. The Confederates were ready for the attack, which did not unfold as planned because supporting troops never appeared. The Rebels repulsed the attack causing high casualties (1600 Union, 500 Confederate).
May 28, 1864 - Battle of Dallas. Joseph E. Johnston's army fell back from the vicinity of Cassville-Kinston, first to Allatoona Pass and then to the Dallas area and entrenched. William T. Sherman's army tested the Rebel line while entrenching themselves. The Battle of Dallas occurred on May 28 when Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee's corps probed the Union defensive line, held by Maj. Gen. John Logan's Army of the Tennessee corps, to exploit any weakness or possible withdrawal. Fighting ensued at two different points, but the Rebels were repulsed, suffering high casualties. Sherman continued looking for a way around Johnston's line, and, on June 1, his cavalry occupied Allatoona Pass, which had a railroad and would allow his men and supplies to reach him by train. Sherman abandoned his lines at Dallas on June 5 and moved toward the railhead at Allatoona Pass forcing Johnston to follow soon afterwards.
June/July, 1864 - Revenue Acts of 1864. The war grew increasingly costly (topping $2 million per day in its latter stages) and difficult to finance. The government's ability to borrow fluctuated with battlefield fortunes. The Confederate navy harassed northern shipping, reducing customs receipts. And inevitable administrative problems reduced the expected receipts from income and excise tax collection. In response, Congress approved two new laws in 1864 that increased tax rates and expanded the progressivity of income taxation. The first bill passed in June upped inheritance, excise, license, and gross receipts business taxes, along with stamp duties and ad valorem manufacturing taxes. The same act proceeded to assess incomes between $600 and $5,000 at 5 percent, those between $5,000 and $10,000 at 7.5 percent, and established a maximum rate of 10 percent. Despite protest by certain legislators regarding the unfairness of graduated rates, the 1864 act affirmed this method of taxing income according to "ability to pay." An emergency income tax bill passed in July imposed an additional tax of 5 percent on all incomes in excess of $600, on top of the rates set by previous income tax bills. Congress had discovered that the income tax, in addition to its rhetorical value, also provided a flexible and lucrative source of revenue. Receipts increased from over $20 million in 1864 (when collections were made under the 1862 income tax) to almost $61 million in 1865 (when collections were made under the 1864 act and emergency supplement). The affluent upper middle classes of the nation's commercial and industrial centers complied widely with the income tax. 10 percent of all Union households had paid some form of income tax by war's end; residents of the northeast comprised 15 percent of that total. In fact, the northeast, a sector of American society that owned 70 percent of the nation's wealth in 1860, provided the most critical tax base, remitting 75 percent of the revenues. In total, the North raised 21 percent of its war revenue through taxation, as opposed to the South, which raised just 5 percent this way.
June 7-8, 1864 - Republican National Convention. The Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln for a second term at the convention held at Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, Maryland. They also changed the name of the party to the National Union party, with the hope of expanding its base. The most fateful decision taken at the convention was the decision to replace Vice President Hannibal Hamlin of Mainea state that the Republicans were sure to carrywith Andrew Johnson who was a pro-Union governor of Tennessee.
June 9-18, 1864 - Battle of Marietta. During the Atlanta Campaign, William T. Sherman maneuvered Joseph E. Johnston's Confederate army out of several successive defensive positions in Cobb County. This strategy spared the Union army from making costly frontal attacks on the well-situated Confederates. Sherman first found Johnston's army entrenched in the Marietta area on June 9. The Confederate's had established defensive lines along Brushy, Pine, and Lost Mountains. Sherman extended his forces beyond the Confederate lines, causing a partial Rebel withdrawal to another line of positions. After further pressure and skirmishing from Union forces, Johnston withdrew to an arc-shaped position centered on Kennesaw Mountain on June 18 and 19. Sherman made some unsuccessful attacks on this position but eventually extended the line on his right and forced Johnston to withdrawal from the Marietta area on July 2-3 following the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain on June 27.
June 9-18, 1864 - Grant Attacks Petersburg. On June 9, Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler dispatched about 4,500 cavalry and infantry against the 2,500 Confederate defenders of Petersburg. While Butler's infantry demonstrated against the outer line of entrenchments east of Petersburg, Kautz's cavalry division attempted to enter the city from the south via the Jerusalem Plank Road but was repulsed by Home Guards. Afterwards, Butler withdrew. This was called the "battle of old men and young boys" by local residents. On June 14-17, the Army of the Potomac crossed the James River and began moving towards Petersburg to support and renew Butler's assaults. Marching from Cold Harbor, George G. Meade's Army of the Potomac crossed the James River on transports and a 2,200-foot long pontoon bridge at Windmill Point. Butler's leading elements (XVIII Corps and Kautz's cavalry) crossed the Appomattox River at Broadway Landing and attacked the Petersburg defenses on June 15. The 5,400 defenders of Petersburg under command of Gen. Pierre Beauregard were driven from their first line of entrenchments back to Harrison Creek. After dark the XVIII Corps was relieved by the II Corps. On June 16, the II Corps captured another section of the Confederate line; on the 17th, the IX Corps gained more ground. Beauregard stripped the Howlett Line (Bermuda Hundred) to defend the city. Union commanders were apprehensive about continuing to attack, as Beauregard had engaged in a set of elaborate feints to fool the Union into believing he had more men and more guns than he actually did, including lighting many campfires and building fake cannons out of logs ("Quaker Guns"). Union forces failed to continue to press attacks on the Confederate lines, allowing Robert E. Lee to reinforce Beauregard's forces in the next few days as the Confederate forces fell back to a new defensive line. The II, XI, and V Corps from right to left attacked on June 18 but was repulsed with heavy casualties. By now the Confederate works were heavily manned and the greatest opportunity to capture Petersburg without a siege was lost. The siege of Petersburg began. Union Gen. James St. Clair Morton, chief engineer of the IX Corps, was killed on June 17. Union General Ulysses S. Grant made his headquarters in a cabin on the lawn of Appomattox Manor, the home of Dr. Richard Eppes and the oldest home (built in 1763) in what was then City Point, but is now Hopewell, Virginia.
June 1864-April 1865 - The Siege of Petersburg. Petersburg, an important rail centre 23 miles (37 km) south of Richmond, was a strategic point for the defense of the Confederate capital. In June 1864 the Union army began a siege of the two cities, with both sides rapidly constructing fortifications 35 miles (56 km) long. In a series of battles that summer, Union losses were heavy, but, by the end of August, General Ulysses S. Grant had crossed the Petersburg-Weldon Railroad; he captured Fort Harrison on September 29. By year's end, however, General Robert E. Lee still held Richmond and Petersburg. But, mostly owing to mismanagement and inefficiency, Southern railroads had broken down or been destroyed. Thus the Confederates were ill-fed to the point of physical exhaustion, and the lack of draft animals and cavalry mounts nearly immobilized the troops. Hunger, exposure, and the apparent hopelessness of further resistance led to increasing desertion, especially among recent conscripts. In March 1865 the Confederates were driven back at the Battle of Fort Stedman, leaving Lee with 50,000 troops as opposed to Grant's 120,000. Soon after, Grant crushed a main Southern force under General George E. Pickett and General Fitzhugh Lee at the Battle of Five Forks (April 1); the next day the defenders were driven back within the Petersburg inner defenses. Lee immediately informed President Jefferson Davis that the two cities could no longer be held, and the evacuation was carried out that night.
June 15, 1864 - Arlington National Cemetery Founded. Arlington National Cemetery was established by Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, who commanded the garrison at Arlington House (Custis-Lee Mansion). A wartime law required that property owners in areas occupied by Federal troops appear in person to pay their taxes. Unable to comply with this law, Mary Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee, saw her estate confiscated on June 15, 1864. An 81 hectare (200 acre) section was set aside as a military cemetery, the beginning of today's Arlington National Cemetery. In 1892 George Washington Custis Lee's suit against the Federal Government for the return of his property was successful. By then, hundreds of graves covered the hills of Arlington and he accepted the Government's offer of $150,000 for the property. appropriated the grounds for use as a military cemetery.
June 19, 1864 - Sinking of the Alabama. Off the coast of Cherbourg, France, the Confederate raider CSS Alabama loses a ship-to-ship duel with the U.S.S Kearsarge and sinks to the floor of the Atlantic, ending an illustrious career that saw some 68 Union merchant vessels destroyed or captured by the Confederate raider.
June 27, 1864 - Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. On the night of June 18-19, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, fearing envelopment, withdrew his army to a new, previously selected position astride Kennesaw Mountain. This entrenched arc-shaped line, to the north and west of Marietta, protected the Western & Atlantic Railroad, the supply link to Atlanta. Having defeated General John B. Hood troops at Kolb's Farm on the 22nd, Sherman was sure that Johnston had stretched his line too thin and, therefore, decided on a frontal attack with some diversions on the flanks. On the morning of June 27, Sherman sent his troops forward after an artillery bombardment. At first, they made some headway overrunning Confederate pickets south of the Burnt Hickory Road, but attacking an enemy that was dug in was futile. The fighting ended by noon, and Sherman suffered high casualties.
July-August 1864 - Early's Raid and Operations Against the B&O Railroad . Robert E. Lee was concerned about Maj. Gen. David Hunter's advances in the Valley, which threatened critical railroad lines and the breadbasket for the Virginia-based Confederate forces. He sent Jubal Early's corps to sweep Union forces from the Valley and, if possible, to menace Washington, D.C., hoping to compel Ulysses S. Grant to dilute his forces against Lee around Petersburg, Virginia. Early was operating in the shadow of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, whose audacious 1862 Valley Campaign against superior forces was fabled in Confederate history. Early got off to a good start. He drove down the Valley without opposition, bypassed Harpers Ferry, crossed the Potomac River, and advanced into Maryland. Grant dispatched a corps under Horatio G. Wright and other troops under George Crook to reinforce Washington and pursue Early. The Valley Campaign of Early saw battles at Monocacy Junction (July 9, 1864), Fort Stevens (June 11Ð12, 1864), Cool Spring (June 17Ð18, 1864), Rutherford's Farm (July 20, 1864), Kernstown (July 24, 1864), Folck's Mill (August 1, 1864) and Moorefield (August 7, 1864)
July 1, 1864 - Internal Revenue Act. The war's demand on resources made the earlier income tax of 1861 ineffective, and the sale of bonds could not keep up with the expenditures of the administration and the armies. In March, the Congress passed an income tax of 3% on annual incomes of $600 to $10,000 and 5% on incomes from $10,000 to $50,000 and threw in a small inheritance tax too. Lincoln signed the bill on July 1, 1862 to take effect a month later. The Union debt then stood at $505 million. This tax also included the first appearance of withholding and was applied to federal salaries and on interest and dividends. The Internal Revenue Act of 1862 soaked up much of the inflationary pressure produced by Greenbacks by placing excise taxes on just about everything, including sin and luxury items like liquor, tobacco, playing cards, carriages, yachts, billiard tables, and jewelry. It taxed patent medicines and newspaper advertisements. It imposed license taxes on practically every profession or service except the clergy. It instituted stamp taxes, value added taxes on manufactured goods and processed meats, inheritance taxes, taxes on the gross receipts of corporations, banks, and insurance companies, as well as taxes on dividends or interest they paid to investors. To administer these excise taxes, along with the tariff system, the Internal Revenue Act also created a Bureau of Internal Revenue, whose first commissioner, George Boutwell, described it as "the largest Government department ever organized."
July 2, 1864 - The Wade-Davis Bill. Congress passes the Wade-Davis Bill, an unsuccessful attempt by Radical Republicans and others in the U.S. Congress to set Reconstruction policy before the end of the Civil War. The bill, sponsored by senators Benjamin F. Wade and Henry W. Davis, provided for the appointment of provisional military governors in the seceded states. When a majority of a state's white citizens swore allegiance to the Union, a constitutional convention could be called. Each state's constitution was to be required to abolish slavery, repudiate secession, and disqualify Confederate officials from voting or holding office. In order to qualify for the franchise, a person would be required to take an oath that he had never voluntarily given aid to the Confederacy. President Abraham Lincoln's pocket veto of the bill presaged the struggle that was to take place after the war between President Andrew Johnson and the Radical Republicans in Congress.
July 9, 1864 - Battle of Monocacy. The Battle of Monocacy (or Battle of Monocacy Junction) was fought on July 9, 1864, just outside Frederick, Maryland, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864. Lieutenant General Jubal Early defeated Union forces under Maj. Gen. Lewis Wallace. The battle was part of Early's raid through the Shenandoah Valley and into Maryland, attempting to divert Union forces away from Robert E. Lee's army under siege at Petersburg, Virginia. Reacting to Early's raid, General Ulysses S. Grant dispatched a 5,000-man division under James B. Ricketts on July 6, 1864, and a few days later sent a full corps under Horatio G. Wright. Until those troops arrived, however, the only Federal army between Early and the capital city was a ragtag group of 2,300 men commanded by Lew Wallace. At the time, Wallace, who would eventually become best known for his book Ben Hur, was headquartered at Baltimore. Most of Wallace's men had never seen battle. Wallace learned that a large enemy force was advancing. Uncertain whether Baltimore or Washington was the Confederate's objective, he knew he had to delay their approach until reinforcements could reach either city. At Frederick, Early demanded, and received, $200,000 ransom to forestall his destruction of the city. Frederick Junction, also called Monocacy Junction, three miles southeast of Frederick, was the logical point of defense for both cities. The Georgetown Pike to Washington and the National Road to Baltimore both crossed the Monocacy River there as did the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. If Wallace could stretch his little army over six miles of riverfront to protect both turnpike bridges, the railroad bridge, and several fords, he could make Early disclose the strength and objective of the Confederate force and delay him as long as possible. Wallace's prospects brightened with word that the first contingent of Grant's Veterans, the troops commanded by General Ricketts, had reached Baltimore and were rushing by rail to join Wallace at the Monocacy. On Saturday, July 9, combined forces of Wallace and Ricketts, numbering about 5,800, were positioned at the bridges and fords of the river. The higher elevation of the river's east bank formed a natural breastwork for some of the soldiers. Others occupied two block-houses, the trenches they had dug with a few available tools, or took what cover they could among the fences and crops of once peaceful farms. Confederate Maj. Gen. Dodson Ramseur's division encountered Wallace's troops on the Georgetown Pike near the Best Farm; Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes's division clashed with the Federals on the National Road. Believing that a frontal attack across the Monocacy would be too costly, Early sent John McCausland's cavalry down Buckeystown Road to find a ford and outflank the Union line. Confederates penetrated the Monocacy defenses below the McKinney-Worthington Ford and attacked Wallace's left flank. Some of the heaviest fighting that day took place where they confronted Ricketts's veterans at a fence separating the Worthington and Thomas farms. The Federals fought fiercely to hold position, but it was only a matter of time before the superior forcenearly 15,000 Confederatesgained control. A three-pronged attack of Confederate's from Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon's division pushed Ricketts back toward the National Road where he was joined by the beleaguered troops who had fought Ramseur and Rodes all day. By late afternoon the Federals were retreating toward Baltimore, leaving behind over 1,294 dead, wounded, and captured. Later, General Wallace gave orders to collect the bodies of the dead in a burial ground on the battlefield where he proposed a monument to read: "These men died to save the National Capital, and they did save it." The way lay open to Washington. Early's army had won the field at Monocacy, but at the expense of 700 to 900 killed and wounded and a day lost. The next morning the Confederates marched on, and by midday Monday, Early stood inside the District of Columbia at the earthworks of Fort Stevens, which he assaulted unsuccessfully on July 11, 1864. Monocacy cost Early a day's march and his chance to capture Washington. Thwarted in the attempt to take the capital, the Confederates turned back to Virginia, ending their last campaign to carry the war into the North. General Early wrote in a report of the 1864 campaign: "Some of the Northern papers stated that, between Saturday and Monday, I could have entered the city; but on Saturday I was fighting at Monocacy, thirty-five miles from Washington, a force which I could not leave in my rear; and after disposing of that force and moving as rapidly as it was possible for me to move, I did not arrive in front of the fortifications until after noon on Monday, and then my troops were exhausted . . . " General Grant also assessed Wallace's delaying tactics at Monocacy: "If Early had been but one day earlier, he might have entered the capital before the arrival of the reinforcements I had sent . . . General Wallace contributed on this occasion by the defeat of the troops under him, a greater benefit to the cause than often falls to the lot of a commander of an equal force to render by means of a victory."
July 11-12, 1864 - Battle of Fort Stevens was fought outside Washington D.C. as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864, Jubal A. Early's attempt to seize the city of Washington. On July 11, Early's exhausted Confederates reached the outskirts of Washington near Silver Spring. Skirmishers advanced to feel the fortifications which at the time were manned only by Home Guards, clerks, and convalescent troops. During the night, veteran units from the Union VI Corps disembarked from troop transports and marched north through the streets of Washington to bolster the defenses. On July 12, Early was finally in position to make a strong demonstration, which was repulsed by the veteran Union troops. In the afternoon, VI Corps units sortied against the Confederate skirmishers, driving them back from their advanced positions in front of Forts Stevens and DeRussy. President Abraham Lincoln watched the action from Fort Stevens and came under fire from Confederate sharpshooters. Recognizing that the Union Capitol was now defended by veterans, Early abandoned any thought of taking the city. Early withdrew during the night, marching toward White's Ford on the Potomac, ending his invasion of Maryland. "We didn't take Washington," Early told his staff officers, "but we scared Abe Lincoln like Hell."
July 17, 1864 - Davis Replaces Johnston with Hood. President Jefferson Davis relieves Joseph E. Johnston of command of the defense of Atlanta and places John Bell Hood in charge. In a meeting with his men two days later William T. Sherman instructs them to expect an attack at any moment, given Hood's aggressive nature. Sherman had found out about the change in command thanks to the Atlanta newspapers.
July 20, 1864 - Battle of Rutherford's Farm (also known as Carter's Farm and Stephenson's Depot) was a minor engagement on July 20, 1864, in Frederick County, Virginia, part of Confederate General Jubal A. Early's Raid and Operations against the B&O Railroad (July-August 1864). On July 20, Brig. Gen. William W. Averell's Union division attacked Maj. Gen. Stephen D. Ramseur's Confederate division at Rutherford's and Carter's farms. This sudden assault came in on the flank of Hoke's brigade as it was deploying, throwing it into a panic. Ramseur retreated toward Winchester in confusion. Averell captured four pieces of artillery and nearly 300 men. With this defeat, Early withdrew his army south to a defensive position at Fisher's Hill, south of Strasburg. Nearly 5,850 men contested the farm fields, with 1,100 casualties reported. Pvt. John Shanes, Company K, 14th West Virginia Infantry, received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the fighting near Carter's Farm, where he "charged upon a Confederate fieldpiece in advance of his comrades and by his individual exertions silenced the piece."
July 20, 1864 - The Battle of Peachtree Creek was the first major attack by William T. Sherman's Union army on the defenses of Atlanta. The main armies in the conflict were the Union Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas, and the Confederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by Gen. John B. Hood. Peachtree Creek was the first battle fought by Hood as commander of the Army of Tennessee. Retreating from Sherman's advancing armies, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston had withdrawn across Peachtree Creek, just north of Atlanta. Johnston had drawn up plans for an attack on part of Thomas' army as it crossed the creek. On July 17, he received a letter from Confederate President Jefferson Davis relieving him from command. The political leadership of the Confederacy was unhappy with Johnston's lack of aggressiveness against the larger Union army and so they replaced him with Hood. In contrast to Johnston's conservative tactics and conservation of manpower, Hood had a reputation for aggressive tactics and personal bravery on the battlefield (he had already been maimed in battle several times). Hood took command and launched the attempted counter-offensive. The Confederates were late to their starting positions but nonetheless unleashed a harsh assault on the Union troops that had crossed the creek. The Union center was driven back, but ultimately held and the Confederate troops were forced to call off the attack at sunset. Estimated casualties were 6,506 in total: 1,710 on the Union side and 4,796 on the Confederate.
July 22, 1864 - The Battle of Atlanta. The Battle of Atlanta was a battle of the Atlanta campaign fought on July 22, 1864 just northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. Despite the implication of finality in its name, the battle occurred mid-way through the campaign and the city would not fall for another six weeks. During this time, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman had command of the Union armies in the West. The main Union force in this battle was the Army of the Tennessee, under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson. He was one of Sherman's and Grant's favorite commanders, as he was very quick and aggressive (qualities found in few Union generals). The XV Corps was commanded by Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the XVI Corps was commanded by Maj. Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, and the XVII Corps was commanded by Maj. Gen. Frank P. Blair. Opposing these troops was the Confederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by Gen. John Bell Hood. Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee's Corps led the attack. In the months leading up to the battle Johnston had repeatedly retreated from Sherman's superior force. All along the railroad line from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Marietta, Georgia, a pattern was played and replayed: Johnston would take up a defensive position, Sherman would march to outflank the Confederate defenses, and Johnston would retreat again. The two armies finally clashed at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, but the Confederate leadership was unhappy with Johnston's reluctance to fight the Union army, even though he had little chance of winning. Thus, on July 17, 1864, as he was preparing for the Battle of Peachtree Creek, Johnston was relieved of his command and Hood was given control. Hood lashed out at Sherman's army at Peachtree Creek, but the attack failed with heavy casualties. Gen. Hood, with his vastly outnumbered army, was faced with two problems. First, he needed to defend the city of Atlanta, which was a very important railhub and industrial center for the Confederacy. Second, his army was small in comparison to the enormous armies that Gen. Sherman commanded. He decided to withdraw inwards, enticing the Union troops to come forward. McPherson's army closed in from Decatur, Georgia, to the east side of Atlanta. Meanwhile, Hood took Gen. Hardee's troops on a march around the Union left flank, had Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler's cavalry march near Sherman's supply line, and had Maj. Gen. Benjamin Cheatham's corps attack the Union front. This was a Jackson-esque movement, which may have actually worked. However, it took longer than expected for Hardee to get in position, and during that time, Gen. McPherson had correctly deduced a possible threat to his left flank, and sent XVI Corps, his reserve, to help strengthen it. Gen. Hardee's force met this other force, and the battle began. Although the initial Confederate attack was repulsed, the Union left flank began to retreat. About this time, Gen. McPherson, who had ridden to the front to observe the battle, was shot and killed by Confederate infantry. The main lines of battle now formed an "L" shape, with Hardee's attack forming the lower part of the "L" and Chatham's attack on the Union front as the vertical member of the "L." Hardee's attack stalled as the Union XVI corps regrouped and held the line. Meanwhile, Gen. Cheatham's troops had broken through the Union lines, but Gen. Sherman massed 20 artillery pieces near his headquarters, and had them shell the Confederate forces, while Gen. Logan's XV Corps regrouped and repulsed the Confederate troops. The Union suffered 3,641 casualties, the Confederates 8,499. This was a devastating loss for the already reduced Confederate Army. Although the Battle of Atlanta was a severe defeat for Hood's Confederate Army, they still held the city. Sherman settled into a siege of Atlanta, shelling the civilian population and sending raids west of the city to cut off the supply lines from Macon, Georgia.
July 24, 1864 - Second Battle of Kernstown. Believing that Jubal A. Early's army was no longer a threat in the Valley, Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright abandoned his pursuit and ordered the VI and XIX Corps to return to Washington, where they were to be sent to Ulysses S. Grant's "army group" before Petersburg. Wright left Brig. Gen. George Crook with three divisions and some cavalry to hold Winchester. Under orders to prevent reinforcements from being sent to Grant, Early marched north on July 24 against Crook. After an hour of stubborn resistance at Pritchard's Hill, the Federal line collapsed and Crook's divisions streamed back in disarray through the streets of Winchester. Col. James Mulligan commanding Crook's 3rd Division was mortally wounded. Rutherford B. Hayes commanded a brigade against John C. Breckinridge's wing. Crook retreated to the Potomac River and crossed near Williamsport on July 26. As a result of this defeat and the burning of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, on July 30, Grant returned the VI and XIX Corps and appointed Philip H. Sheridan as commander of Union forces in the Valley.
July 28, 1864 - Battle of Ezra Church. The Battle of Ezra Church, also known as the Battle of the Poor House, was fought on July 28, 1864, in Fulton County, Georgia, part of the Atlanta Campaign, which featured General William T. Sherman's massive Union army against the Army of Tennessee, now commanded by General John Bell Hood, which was defending the Confederate stronghold of Atlanta, Georgia. Sherman's army stretched in a inverted U around the northern defenses of Atlanta. Sherman decided to cut off the railroad supply lines from Macon, Georgia, into Atlanta, thus forcing the defending army to withdraw without a direct assault. To accomplish this goal, Sherman commanded his easternmost army, under Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, north and west around the rest of the Union lines to the far western side of Atlanta where the railroad entered the city. Hood, anticipating Sherman's maneuver, moved his troops out to oppose the Union army. Hood planned to intercept them and catch them completely by surprise. Although Hood's Confederate troops were outnumbered by the main Union army, he calculated that a surprise attack against an isolated portion of the enemy could succeed. The armies met on the afternoon of July 28 at a chapel called Ezra Church. Unfortunately for Hood, there was no surprise for Howard, who had predicted such a maneuver based on his knowledge of Hood from their time together at West Point before the war. His troops were already waiting in their trenches when Hood reached them. The Confederate army charged, but fell back before the Union army's improvised breastwork of logs and rails. The rebels were defeated, although they managed to stop Howard from reaching the railroad line. In all, about 3,562 men were casualties; 3,000 on the Confederate side and 562 on the Union side.
July 30, 1864 - The Battle of the Crater. The Battle of the Crater, part of the Siege of Petersburg, took place on July 30, 1864 between the Army of Northern Virginia commanded by Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. George Meade. During the siege of Petersburg, Virginia, the armies were aligned along a series of fortified positions and trenches more than 20 miles long, extending from the old Cold Harbor battlefield near Richmond all the way to areas south of Petersburg. After Lee had checked Grant in an attempt to seize Petersburg on June 15, the battle settled into a stalemate. Grant had learned a hard lesson at Cold Harbor about attacking Lee in a fortified position and was chafing at the inactivity to which Lee's trenches and forts had confined him. Finally, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's IX Corps, offered what could have been a novel solution to the problem. Pleasants, a mining engineer from Pennsylvania in civilian life, proposed digging a long mine shaft underneath the Confederate lines and planting an explosive charge directly underneath a fort in the middle of the Confederate First Corps line. If successful, this would not only kill all the defenders in the area, it would also open a hole in the Confederate defenses. If enough Union troops filled the breach quickly enough, the Confederates wouldn't be able to muster enough force to drive them out, and Petersburg would fall. Burnside, whose reputation had suffered from his 1862 defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg and his miserable performance earlier that year at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, gave Pleasants the go-ahead, hoping to recover his earlier high esteem. The mine took weeks to dig, and although the Confederates on the other end of the field were aware that something was in the works, they never figured out exactly what it was. On July 28, the mine was completed, and on the morning of July 30, 1864, Pleasants set it off. It has been said that the first fuse died somewhere in the tunnel. After no explosion occurred, a daring soldier went back into the shaft and re-lit the fuse. Finally, at 4:44 A.M., the charges exploded. A crater some 135 feet in diameterstill visible todaywas created, and between 280 and 350 Confederate soldiers were instantly killed in the blast. The plan, however, was doomed from the start due to Meade's interference on the day before the battle. Burnside had trained a division of United States Colored Troops (U.S.CT) under Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero to lead the assault. They were ordered to move around the edges of the crater and then fan out to extend the breach in the Confederate line. Then, Burnside's two other divisions, made up of white troops, would move in, supporting Ferrero's flanks and race for Petersburg itself. Meade, who lacked confidence in the operation, ordered Burnside not to use the black troops in the lead assault, thinking the attack would fail and the black soldiers would be killed needlessly, creating political repercussions in the North. Burnside protested, but complied with the order. The white divisions were moved into the lead role, but their commanders, who were of questionable quality, failed to brief the men on what was expected of them. The result was a disaster nearly on the scale of Cold Harbor. The two white divisions went across the field to the crater and, instead of moving around it, actually moved down into the crater itself, wasting valuable time while the Confederates, under Maj. Gen. William Mahone, gathered as many troops together as they could for a counterattack. Soon, they had formed up around the crater and began firing down into it, in what Mahone later described as a "turkey shoot". The plan had failed, but Burnside, instead of cutting his losses, sent in Ferrero's men. They also went down into the crater, and for the next few hours, Mahone's soldiers, along with those of Maj. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson, and artillery slaughtered the Ninth Corps as it attempted to escape from the crater. The Confederates reported losses of 1,032 men in the battle, while Union losses were estimated at 5,300. About half of them were from Ferrero's division, to which many of the Confederates offered no quarter. Burnside was relieved of command. Although he was as responsible for the defeat as was Burnside, Meade escaped censure. As for Mahone, the victory, won largely due to his efforts in supporting Johnson's stunned men, earned him a lasting reputation as one of the better generals of Lee's army in the war's last year.
August-October, 1864 - Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign. General Ulysses S. Grant finally lost patience with Jubal Early, particularly his burning of Chambersburg, and knew that Washington remained vulnerable if Early was still on the loose. He found a new commander aggressive enough to defeat Early: Philip H. Sheridan, the cavalry commander of the Army of the Potomac, who was given command of all forces in the area, calling them the Army of the Shenandoah. Sheridan initially started slowly, primarily because the impending presidential election of 1864 demanded a cautious approach, avoiding any disaster that might lead to the defeat of Abraham Lincoln. In August 1864 Union General Grant dispatched Sheridan to clear the Shenandoah once and for all, partly to rid the Federals of a continual menace and partly to deny the South the valley's rich agricultural produce. Like Thomas J. Jackson before him, Sheridan's aggressive and mobile campaign made him famous. From late September to late October 1864, Sheridan's forces won three major battles: the battle of Opequon Creek (Third Battle of Winchester) (September 19), the Battle of Fishers Hill (September 22), and the Battle of Cedar Creek (October 19). These victories gave the Federals an upper hand in the valley they never relinquished. Although Sheridan's campaign was essentially over, the Southern position was not to be eliminated until a cavalry division led by General George A. Custer defeated General Early's troops at Waynesboro on March 2, 1865.
August 5, 1864 - Battle of Mobile Bay. In addition to shutting down one of the two remaining Confederate ports, the Union victory at the Battle of Mobile Bay (together with the Battle of Atlanta), was a significant boost for Abraham Lincoln's bid for reelection. Commanding the Union forces was Admiral David Farragut, while Admiral Franklin Buchanan led the Confederate fleet. The battle took place off the coast of Alabama, at the mouth of Mobile Bay, which was defended by two Confederate forts, Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, and by a torpedo field (a minefield) that created a single narrow channel for blockade runners to enter and exit the bay and was the inspiration of Farragut's famous apocryphal quotation, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" The biggest challenge for Farragut was entering the bay. With eighteen vessels, he commanded far greater firepower than the Confederate fleet of four. The Union fleet suffered the first major loss when the U.S.S Tecumseh was critically damaged by an exploding torpedo after it wandered into the field. Within three minutes, the vessel was completely submerged. Ninety-four men went down with the ship. Under fire from both the Confederate fleet and Fort Morgan, Farragut had to choose between risking the mine field or retreat. This is the point when Farragut allegedly issued his famous order. Buchanan surrendered to Farragut aboard his ship.
August 5-7, 1864 - Battle of Utoy Creek. General William T. Sherman's Union armies had partially encircled the city of Atlanta, Georgia, which was being held by Confederate forces under the command of General John Bell Hood. Sherman had at this point adopted a strategy of attacking the railroad lines into Atlanta, hoping to cut off his enemies' supplies. After failing to envelop Hood's left flank at the Battle of Ezra Church on July 28, Sherman still wanted to extend his right flank to hit the railroad between East Point and Atlanta. He transferred John M. Schofield's Army of the Ohio from his left to his right flank and sent him to the north bank of Utoy Creek. Although Schofield's troops were at Utoy Creek on August 2, they, along with the XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland, did not cross until August 4. Schofield's force began its movement to exploit this situation on the morning of August 5. Although initially successful, Schofield had to regroup his forces, which took the rest of the day. The delay allowed the Confederates to strengthen their defenses with abatis, which slowed the Union attack when it restarted on the morning of August 6. The Federals were repulsed with heavy losses by William Bates' division and failed in an attempt to break the railroad. On August 7, the Union troops moved toward the Confederate main line and entrenched. Here they remained until late August.
August 5-7, 1864 - Second Battle of Dalton. Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler and his cavalry raided into North Georgia to destroy railroad tracks and supplies. They approached Dalton in the late afternoon of August 14 and demanded the surrender of the garrison. The Union commander, Col. Bernard Laibolt, refused to surrender and fighting ensued. Greatly outnumbered, the Union garrison retired to fortifications on a hill outside the town where they successfully held out, although the attack continued until after midnight. Skirmishing continued throughout the night. Around 5:00 am, on the 15th, Wheeler retired and became engaged with relieving infantry and cavalry under Maj. Gen. James B. Steedman's command. Eventually, Wheeler withdrew. The contending forces' reports vary greatly in describing the fighting, the casualties, and the amount of track and supplies captured and destroyed. This engagement was inconclusive, but since the Confederates withdrew, it may be termed a Union victory.
August 18-21, 1864 - Battle of Globe Tavern. The Battle of Globe Tavern, also known as the Second Battle of the Weldon Railroad, saw the Confederate forces lose control of the vital Weldon Railroad to the Union army during the Siege of Petersburg. Ulysses S. Grant ordered an attack against the Weldon Railroad while the II Corps attacked Deep Bottom. The V Corps supported by units from the IX Corps and II Corps was chosen for the attack under the overall command of V Corps commander, Gouverneur K. Warren. On August 18, Warren reached the Weldon R.R. and drove off the Confederate pickets. He ordered the division of Charles Griffin to destroy the track. Robert E. Lee reacted quickly, sending the Third Corps under A. P. Hill to secure the important rail line. Hill sent the division of Henry Heth against Warren while he attacked Romeyn B. Ayres' division. The Federals fell back and entrenched for the night. On August 19, William Mahone's Confederate division attacked Samuel W. Crawford's division, driving back its flank. Warren brought up reinforcements and counterattacked. The Federals succeeded in retaking nearly all the lost ground by the day's end. Warren had established a strong defensive position in an L-shape around Globe Tavern on August 20. The next day Hill attacked Warren's new position. Parts of three Confederate divisions assailed the Union works but were repulsed. At the corner of the L, Johnson Hagood's division managed to break through the Union lines, but then nearly became cut off before fighting its way back out. The IX Corps extended the Union siege lines to connect with Warren's current position. The Confederates had lost the Weldon Railroad and were forced to cart supplies 30 miles from the railroad at Stony Creek up the Boydton Plank Road into Petersburg. The Union army had gained its first decisive victory during the siege of Petersburg and achieved a major objective. Grant had severed the Weldon and extended his siege lines to Globe Tavern.
August 20, 1864 - Battle of Lovejoy's Station . The Battle of Lovejoy's Station was fought on August 20, 1864, near what is now Lovejoy, Georgia, in Clayton County, during the Atlanta Campaign. The two sides had arrived at something of a stalemate, with the Union army half-encircling Atlanta and the Confederate defenders staying behind their fortifications. While Confederate cavalry commander Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler was absent raiding Union supply lines from North Georgia to East Tennessee, Union army commander William T. Sherman sent cavalry Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick to raid Confederate supply lines. Leaving on August 18, Kilpatrick hit the Atlanta & West Point Railroad that evening, tearing up a small area of tracks. Next, he headed for Lovejoy's Station on the Macon & Western Railroad. In transit, on August 19, Kilpatrick's men hit the Jonesborough supply depot on the Macon & Western Railroad, burning great amounts of supplies. On August 20, they reached Lovejoy's Station and began their destruction. Confederate infantry (Patrick Cleburne's Division) appeared and the raiders were forced to fight into the night, finally fleeing to prevent encirclement. Although Kilpatrick had destroyed supplies and track at Lovejoy's Station, the railroad line was back in operation in two days.
August 29, 1864 - Union Democratic Convention. On August 29, 1864, the Democratic National Convention assembled in Chicago, Ill., and nominated George B. McClellan for president on the first ballot to run against Republican incumbent Abraham Lincoln. Eventually, a six-platform plank was developed and the peace plank was second: "Resolved, That this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretense of a military necessity of war-power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view of an ultimate convention of the States, or other peaceable means, to the end that, at the earliest practicable moment, peace may be restored on the basis of the Federal Union of the States." A week later McClellan accepted the nomination, but renounced the peace plank that had represented the spirit of the convention.
August 31-September 1, 1864 - Battle of Jonesborough. The Battle of Jonesborough was the final battle that caused the besieged city of Atlanta, Georgia, to fall into Union hands. In several previous raids, Union General William T. Sherman had successfully cut Confederate General John Bell Hood's supply lines by sending out detachments, but the Confederates quickly repaired the damage. In late August, Sherman determined that if he could cut Hood's supply linesthe Macon & Western and the Atlanta & West Point Railroadsthe Rebels would have to evacuate Atlanta. Sherman, therefore, decided to move six of his seven infantry corps against the supply lines. The army began pulling out of its positions on August 25 to hit the railroad between Rough and Ready and Jonesborough. To counter the move, Hood sent Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee with two corps to halt and possibly rout the Union troops, not realizing Sherman's army was there in force. On August 31, Hardee attacked two Union corps west of Jonesborough, but was easily repulsed. Fearing an attack on Atlanta, Hood withdrew one corps from Hardee's force that night. The next day, a Union corps broke through Hardee's troops, which retreated to Lovejoy's Station, and on the night of September 1, Hood evacuated Atlanta. Sherman did cut Hood's supply line, but failed to destroy Hardee's command. However, Sherman would finally occupy Atlanta the following day, September 2.
September 2, 1864 - Capture of Atlanta. On August 31 at Jonesborough, Georgia, Sherman's army captured the railroad track from Macon. Gen. John B. Hood pulled his troops out of Atlanta the next day, destroying supply depots as he left to prevent them from falling into Union hands. On September 2, William T. Sherman entered the city, and sent a telegram to Washington reading, "Atlanta is ours, and fairly won." He would later burn the city to the ground on November 11. The fall of Atlanta was especially noteworthy for its political ramifications. 1864 was an election year, and former General George McClellan was running against President Lincoln on a peace platform. The war had never been very popular in the North, and a part of McClellan's campaign was the promise of a truce with the Confederates. Had this truce been achieved, it is highly unlikely that the war could ever have been restarted. However, the capture of Atlanta and Hood's burning of many military facilities as he evacuated were extensively covered by Northern newspapers, and achieved a significant boost of Northern morale. Lincoln proceeded to be reelected by a margin of 56-44%. After Sherman destroys the factories and stores, he urged upon Ulysses S. Grant his plan of a march to the sea. Part of the Sherman's army, under Gen. George H. Thomas, is sent north to watch Hood.
September 19, 1864 - Battle of Opequon (also known as the Third Battle of Winchester). Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan had been given command of the Army of the Shenandoah and sent to the Shenandoah Valley to deal with the Confederate threat under Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early. For much of the early fall of 1864, Sheridan and Early had cautiously engaged in minor skirmishes while each side tested the other's strength. Early mistook this limited action to mean that Sheridan was too afraid to fight and he left his army spread out from Martinsburg to Winchester. Sheridan learned of Early's dispersed forces and immediately struck out after Winchester, the location of two previous major engagements during the war, both Confederate victories. Early quickly gathered his army back together at Winchester just in time to meet Sheridan's attack on September 19. The Union forces coming in from the east had to march through narrow canyons and roads, which eventually got clogged up with supply wagons and troops delaying the attack. This delay allowed Early to further strengthen his lines. John B. Gordon's division arrived from the north and took up position on the Confederate left. By noon Sheridan's troops had made it to the field and he ordered a frontal attack along Early's lines. Horatio G. Wright's Union VI Corps on the left flank halted when faced with well entrenched Confederates on a hilltop supported by artillery. The XIX Corps, under William H. Emory, to the north of the VI Corps, drove Gordon's division through some woods, but when the Yankees continued pursuing the Rebels through they were cut down by artillery as they entered the clearing on the far side. The VI Corps resumed its advance and began driving back the Confederate right flank, but the VI and XIX Corps were slowly moving apart from each other and a gap appeared between them. Brig. Gen. David Russell's division was rushed forward to plug the gap. Russell was hit in the chest, but continued moving his division forward. The brigade of Brig. Gen. Emory Upton reached the gap, but was too latethe Confederates had already launched a counterattack through the gap. Upton placed his men in line of battle and charged. Leading the charge was a young colonel named Ranald S. Mackenzie, commanding an artillery regiment serving as infantry. Russell received a second bullet and fell mortally wounded. Upton assumed command of the division and a lull came over the battlefield. At this point Sheridan called the battle a "splendid victory", but had no intentions of stopping the fight just yet. Sheridan sent the VIII Corps under George Crook to find the Confederate left flank. Meanwhile, cavalry units under James H. Wilson were swinging around the Confederate right flank. With the three corps in line, Sheridan ordered them all forward. This new advance did not start well. Crook's troops had to march through a swamp and the XIX Corps was not advancing at all. General Upton was struggling to persuade the XIX Corps units on his flank to move forward with his own division when an artillery shot tore off a chunk of his thigh. The surgeon was able to stop the bleeding and Upton ordered a stretcher brought forward from which he would direct his troops for the rest of the battle. Finally the Confederate lines began to give way. Sheridan, so excited by the imminent victory, rode along the lines waving his hat and shouting. Late in the day, two divisions of Union cavalry arrived from the north and came thundering into the Confederate left flank. The division of Wesley Merritt crushed the Confederate works while the division of William H. Averell swung around the flank. The Confederate army was in full retreat. Caught in the retreat were the wives of several Confederate generals staying in Winchester. John B. Gordon was forced to leave his wife behind in attempts to keep his troops intact, believing she would become a prisoner of the Union army. She did, however, manage to escape in time. The Battle of Opequon marked a turning point in the Shenandoah Valley in favor of the North. Early's army for the most part remained intact but suffered further defeats at Fisher's Hill and Tom's Brook. Exactly a month later, the Valley Campaigns came to a close after Early's defeat at the Battle of Cedar Creek. Victory in the Valley, along with other Union victories in the fall of 1864, helped win re-election for Abraham Lincoln.
September 19-October 28, 1864 - Price's Missouri Raid. From January through August small skirmishes and guerilla activity had unsettled Missouri. In late summer Confederate General Sterling Price was ordered to lead a raid on the state. Price's initial goal was St. Louis, but he delayed at Pilot Knob to attack a small contingent of Union soldiers led by General Thomas Ewing, Jr. The Federals barricaded themselves inside Ft. Davidson, an earthwork fortification in the Arcadia Valley. Expecting a quick victory, General Price's army was hurt badly in series of headlong assaults on September 27. Remarkably, the Federals escaped by making a forced march to Leasburg and Rolla. The delay cost Price an opportunity to attack St. Louis, so he turned west to install a Confederate governor in Jefferson City. The Confederate raiders discovered that the capitol was stoutly defended, and after their losses at Ft. Davidson the Confederates decided an attack was unwise. The 10,000-man raid advanced into the most pro-Confederate portion of the state, the western Missouri River valley. To forage better General Price divided his army and they fanned out across west central Missouri moving toward Kansas. This portion of the raid was marked by victories over small Federal detachments at Sedalia and Warrensburg. The Confederate raiders captured a Federal supply depot and steamboat, after some significant fighting, at Glasgow on October 15. As Price's army slowed to forage the Federals mounted a vigorous pursuit from the east led by General William S. Rosecrans. In Kansas, General Curtis and General James Blunt rallied the militia in defense of the Sunflower State. Without realizing it General Price was slowly being squeezed between two Union armies. The slow moving Confederates finally collided with General Blunt's Kansas militiamen at Lexington on October 19, but Shelby's Iron Brigade, of Price's army, forced General Blunt to retreat. The two armies clashed again at the Little Blue River on October 21 and in the main square of Independence the next day. Each time General Blunt was compelled to fall back. The Kansans tried to establish a defensive line along the Big Blue River at Byram's Ford on October 22, but the result was the same with the Union men routed, and in retreat to the town of Westport. The Confederates retreated south of Westport and awaited the Federals next move. On a cold October 23 morning they were attacked by the Federals, led by Generals Blunt and Curtis. After severe fighting at close range the Southern line gave way only to be saved by a series of stubborn rearguard actions by General Shelby's men. General Price decided to head for Indian Territory and save his large, ponderous wagon train. While Generals Shelby and Price were pushing westward, Generals James Fagan and John S. Marmaduke were struggling to fight a strong rearguard action against General Rosecran's Federals advancing from the east. The Southerners fought a significant delaying action on October 23 at Byram's Ford on the Big Blue River where the previous day General Price's portion of the army had forged across the river. They had no better luck than Shelby and Price at Westport, and were forced to join the Southern retreat. A small pause by the Federal pursuers allowed General Price to gain a modest advantage in his retreat. Unwilling to follow the advice of his subordinates General Price refused to burn his wagons, and use the time gained to make good his escape. Instead, the slow moving Confederate rear guard was attacked at the small village of Trading Post, on October 25, just across the Missouri border into Kansas. Later that afternoon, the steep crossing of Mine Creek slowed the bulk of Price's army. Attacked by Federal cavalry just north of the Mine Creek crossing General Price's army could not halt the charge, and his army disintegrated only to be saved by General Shelby's Iron Brigade. Once reorganized, General Price burned the bulk of his wagons, and struggled through Missouri. General Shelby's troopers stopped the Federal pursuit with a running fight at Newtonia on October 28. The Confederates limped back into Arkansas and Texas defeated and demoralized.
September 21-22, 1864 - Battle of Fisher's Hill. General Jubal A. Early's army, bloodied by its defeat at Opequon (Third Winchester) on September 19, took up a strong defensive position at Fisher's Hill, south of Strasburg. On September 21, the Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan and his Army of the Shenandoah advanced, driving back the skirmishers and capturing important high ground. On the 22nd, George Crook's Corps moved along North Mountain to outflank Early and attacked about 4 pm. The Confederate cavalry offered little resistance, and the startled infantry were unable to face the attacking force. The Confederate defense collapsed from west to east as Sheridan's other corps join in the assault. Early retreated to Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro, opening the Valley to a Union "scorched earth" invasion. Mills and barns from Staunton to Strasburg were burned in what became known as the "Burning" or "Red October."
September-December 1864 - Hood's Tennessee Campaign, also known as Franklin-Nashville Campaign, was a series of battles fought in the fall of 1864 in Alabama, Tennessee, and northwestern Georgia as the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood drove north from Atlanta, threatening Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's lines of communications and central Tennessee. The Confederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by Hood, at 39,000 men, constituted the second-largest remaining army of the Confederacy, ranking in strength only after Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The army consisted of the corps of Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham, Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee, and Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart, and cavalry forces under Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. At the beginning of the campaign, Union forces designated the Military Division of the Mississippi were commanded by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman in Atlanta. Sherman's personal involvement in the campaign would last only until the end of October. Reporting to Sherman was the Army of the Cumberland under Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas (the Rock of Chickamauga), the force previously commanded by William S. Rosecrans and then Sherman himself. Thomas would be the principal Union commander after Sherman's departure. Subordinate to him was the Army of the Ohio, commanded by Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield. It consisted of 34,000 men, made up of the IV Corps under Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley, the XXIII Corps under Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox, and a Cavalry Corps commanded by Maj. Gen. James H. Wilson. Thomas had an additional 26,000 men at Nashville and scattered around his department. Hood's campaign ended when Union forces under Thomas defeated him decisively at Nashville, Tennessee, on December 15-16, 1864.
September 1864 - Sherman and Hood Maneuver. After his successful Atlanta Campaign, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman occupied Atlanta and Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood, who was forced to evacuate the city, regrouped at Lovejoy's Station. For almost a month, the normally aggressive Sherman took little action, while his men sat about idly and many left the army at the end of their enlistments. On September 21, 1864, Hood moved his forces to Palmetto where, on September 27, he was visited by President Jefferson Davis. The two Confederates planned their strategy, which called for Hood to move toward Chattanooga, Tennessee, and operate against Sherman's lines of communications. They hoped that Sherman would follow and that Hood would be able to maneuver Sherman into a decisive battle. Although Sherman was planning to march east to seize the city of Savannah, Georgiathe campaign that would be known as Sherman's March to the Seahe was concerned about his lines of communications back to Chattanooga. One particular threat was the guerrilla leader and cavalry commander Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who had long bedeviled Union expeditions with lightning raids into their rear areas. On September 29, General Ulysses S. Grant urged Sherman to dispose of Forrest and Sherman sent Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas to Nashville, Tennessee, to organize all of the troops in the state. Sherman sent another division, under Brig. Gen. James D. Morgan, to Chattanooga. So far, the Confederate strategy was working, with Sherman forced to disperse his strength to maintain his lines of communications. However, Sherman was not about to fall into Hood's trap completely. He intended to provide Thomas with sufficient strength to cope with Forrest and Hood, while he completed plans to strike out for Savannah. On September 29, Hood began his advance across the Chattahoochee River, heading to the northwest with 40,000 men to threaten the Western & Atlantic Railroad, Sherman's supply line. On October 1, Hood's cavalry was intercepted by Union cavalry under Generals Judson Kilpatrick and Israel Garrard in a raid on the railroad near Marietta, but Sherman was still uncertain of Hood's location. For the next three weeks, Sherman had difficulty keeping abreast of Hood's movements. Hood moved rapidly, screened his march, and maintained the initiative. The Union cavalry, which Sherman had neglected to train adequately, had a difficult time following Hood and reporting his movements. On October 3, Sherman left Henry W. Slocum in Atlanta and moved toward Marietta with a force of about 55,000 men. Hood split his force, sending the majority of his command to Dallas, Georgia. The remainder, a division under Maj. Gen. Samuel G. French, moved along the railroad toward Allatoona, where a brigade under John M. Corse had been sent to block them.
October 5, 1864 - Battle of Allatoona. After the fall of Atlanta, Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood moved the Confederate Army of Tennessee northward to threaten the Western and Atlantic Railroad, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's supply line. Along the way he attacked a number of minor garrisons and damaged track during October 2-4. Sherman sent a reinforcement brigade to Allatonna commanded by General John M. Corse before the southern army arrived. The saying "hold the fort" originated from Sherman's instructions to General Corse prior to the battle. Maj. Gen. Samuel G. French's Confederate division arrived near Allatoona at sunrise on the 5th. After demanding a surrender and receiving a negative reply, French attacked. The Union line survived a sustained two and a half hour attack, but then fell back and regrouped in an earthen star fort on top of Allatoona Pass. General French repeatedly attacked the position, but the fort held. The Rebels began to run low on ammunition, and reports of arriving Union reinforcements influenced them to move off and rejoin Hood's force.
October 1864 - Hood Marches North. After the engagement at Allatoona, Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood moved to the west and crossed the Coosa River in the vicinity of Rome, Georgia, near the Alabama state line. He turned north in the direction of Resaca, Georgia, and joined with Joseph Wheeler's cavalry, which had been previously raiding in Tennessee. On October 12, Hood demanded the surrender of the Union brigade stationed at Resaca and left Maj. Gen. Stephen D. Lee's corps there to invest the city. Lee declined to attack the Union position because he believed that it would be too costly. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman had learned of Hood's location and ordered reinforcements sent to Resaca. Hood sent Alexander P. Stuart as far north as Tunnel Hill, near the Tennessee state line, to damage the railroad as much as possible. During this operation, Stewart captured a regiment of African-American troops at Dalton, Georgia. Sherman moved his entire army toward Resaca, arriving there on October 13. From Resaca, Hood withdrew to the west toward Gaylesville and entered Alabama. Hood had hoped to engage Sherman in battle near Cross Roads, Georgia, but his subordinate commanders convinced him that their troops' morale was not ready to risk an attack. By this time, Sherman had received an indication from Grant that he was favorably considering the March to Savannah. He set his mind on the short-term goal of pursuing the swiftly moving Hood. He directed Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas to send back two of the divisions he had earlier dispatched northward, and by October 17 they were en route with Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield in command. They join Sherman at Gaylesville on October 23. Hood had time at Cross Roads to focus his strategy. He needed to prevent Thomas's army from reuniting with Sherman and overwhelming him, and he calculated that if he moved swiftly into Tennessee, he might be able to defeat Thomas before the Union forces could be reassembled. After Thomas was eliminated, Hood planned to move into central Kentucky and replenish his army with recruits from there and Tennessee. He hoped to accomplish all of this before Sherman could reach him. His plan was that if Sherman followed him, Hood would fight him in Kentucky; from there he planned to move eastward through the Cumberland Gap to aid Robert E. Lee, besieged at Petersburg. On October 21, Hood's plan received the approval of General P.G.T. Beauregard, who was in command of all forces in the Western Theater. Hood set out in the direction of Decatur, Alabama, with the intention of meeting up with Nathan Bedford Forrest in the vicinity of Florence, Alabama.
October 19, 1864 - Battle of Cedar Creek (also known as The Battle of Belle Grove), was one of the final, and most decisive, battles in the Valley Campaigns of 1864. Confederate General Jubal A. Early had withdrawn "up the Valley" (southwest into the higher elevations of the Shenandoah Valley) under pressure from Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan and his Army of the Shenandoah. Sheridan's army was engaged in destroying the economic base of the Valley, meant to deprive Robert E. Lee's army of the supplies they required. They were encamped at Cedar Creek, in parts of Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties of Virginia. Sheridan ordered the VI Corps, under Horatio G. Wright, to return to the Petersburg siege lines, assuming that Early had no aggressive moves left to him after more than a month of battling. However, after a reconnaissance in force by Early turned into a division-sized skirmish between the armies, Sheridan recalled Wright. He sent two divisions of cavalry off to raid the Virginia Central Railroad, but Early planted rumors that the corps of James Longstreet might join him from Petersburg, and Sheridan brought all of his forces back to the camps along Cedar Creek. The pugnacious Early had some aggression left in him and he had Lee's exhortations to take action guiding him. (In a letter of October 12, 1864, Lee told Early, "You had better move against him and endeavor to crush him. . . . I do not think Sheridan's infantry or cavalry numerically as large as you suppose.") Early examined the Union position behind Cedar Creek and found an opening. Expecting an attack across the open valley floor to the west, the Union left relied on natural obstacles for cover. Early planned to get his men across the creek and attack the Union left, rolling up the line and defeating each part in detail. His choice was either to attack or retire to replenish his dwindling supplies. Early chose boldness and planned an assault on superior forces, using surprise to his advantage. Early deployed his men in three columns in an audacious night march, lighted only by the moon. The corps of John B. Gordon started at 8:00 p.m. and followed a "pig's path" along the base of Massanutten Mountain and across the river. Just before sunrise, operating under a cover of dense fog, Gordon struck. The surprise was complete, and the first Union corps (George Crook's VIII) fought momentarily, then broke. Hundreds of prisoners were taken, many of them still in their bed clothes. The XIX Corps under William H. Emory was next to be hit, by Gordon and the division of Joseph B. Kershaw, who joined the attack from the west, and Emory's soldiers broke, too. The Confederate assault moved so swiftly that they had little time to prepare. Retreating soldiers from Emory's corps caused confusion and damaged the morale of the defenders. And since their hasty battle line faced south rather than west, Confederate guns across the creek were able to shell the open Union flank. Wright's VI Corps, last in the line, fought a strong defensive battle, withdrawing slowly under heavy pressure. He attempted to advance his lines southward to meet Early's initial assault, but the attack moved too quickly for him to get them moving. Early did not keep up his pressure, however, so pleased was he with his victory, including the capture of over a thousand prisoners and eighteen guns. He mistakenly assumed that Wright would retreat from the battlefield. He told Gordon, "This is glory enough for one day." The Union troops had withdrawn past Middletown. His failure to pursue them is considered his fatal mistake in the battle and caused lasting enmity between him and Gordon. Sheridan was away at Winchester, Virginia, at the time the battle started. Hearing the distance sounds of artillery, he rode aggressively to his command. (A famous poem, Sheridan's Ride, was written by Thomas Buchanan Read to commemorate this event.) He reached the battlefield about 10:30 a.m. and began to rally his men. Fortunately for Sheridan, Early's men were too occupied to take notice; they were hungry and exhausted and fell out of their ranks to pillage the Union camps. Early resumed his offensive with a minor attack that might have succeeded in the morning, but was easily repulsed. At 4:00 p.m., Emory's corps counterattacked. Early's three divisions were stretched out on a line about three miles long, with the flanks unprotected. Emory was reinforced by George A. Custer's cavalry division, which exploited the open left flank and broke the Confederate line. Other cavalry units destroyed a bridge in the Confederate rear, cutting off the escape route. Many of the veteran Southern troops surrendered, certain they could not fight their way out of the debacle. The Union took hundreds of prisoners, 43 guns (18 of which were their own guns from the morning), and supplies that the Confederacy could not replace. The battle resulted in a crushing defeat for the Confederacy. They were never again able to threaten Washington, D.C., through the Shenandoah Valley, nor protect the economic base in the Valley. The re-election of Abraham Lincoln was materially aided by this victory and Phil Sheridan received lasting fame. Jubal Early's command was effectively ended and his surviving units returned to assist Robert E. Lee in Petersburg that December.
October 25, 1864 - Battle of Marais de Cygnes. Maj. Gen. Sterling Price led an expedition into Missouri which Union forces under Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis and Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton finally countered around Kansas City, Missouri. Price withdrew south, and Pleasonton, commanding in the field, pursued him into Kansas and fought him at Marais des Cygnes. After an artillery bombardment that began at 4:00 am, Pleasonton's men attacked furiously. Although outnumbered, they hit the Rebel line, forcing them to withdraw.
October 25, 1864 - Battle of Mine Creek. About six miles south of Trading Post, where the Marais de Cygnes engagement had occurred, the brigades of Col. Frederick W. Benteen and Col. John F. Phillips, of Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton's Provisional Cavalry Division, overtook the Confederates as they were crossing Mine Creek. These Rebels, stalled by their wagons crossing the ford, had formed a line on the north side of Mine Creek. The Federals, although outnumbered, commenced the attack as additional troops from Pleasonton's command arrived during the fight. They soon surrounded the Rebels, resulting in the capture of about 600 men and two generals, Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke and Brig. Gen. William L. Cabell. Having lost this many men, Price's army was doomed. Retreat to friendly territory was the only recourse.
October 26-29, 1864 - Battle of Decatur. As Gen. John B. Hood began the Franklin-Nashville Campaign during the fall of 1864, his Army of Tennessee demonstrated against Decatur, Alabama, October 26-29, in an attempt to cross the Tennessee River. Union forces, under the command of Brig. Gen. Robert S. Granger for most of the battle, numbered only about 5,000 men, but successfully prevented the much larger Confederate force from crossing the river.
October 30, 1864 - Helena, Montana is founded after four prospectors discover gold at "Last Chance Gulch."
October 31, 1864 - Nevada is admitted as the 36th state.
October 31-November 24, 1864 - Hood Marches into Tennessee. Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood moved on to Tuscumbia, Alabama, and crossed the Tennessee River on October 31 with a single division. A Union cavalry brigade there was too weak to prevent the crossing, but it did provide valuable intelligence as to Hood's location. Meanwhile, on October 30, Sherman had also dispatched Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield with the XXIII Corps to Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas and ordered the corps of Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Smith to move to Nashville. Sherman was confident that he had provided sufficient forces to Thomas to handle Hood, and he now prepared for his March through Georgia. By November 10, Sherman's troops were en route back to Atlanta. Hood remained in the vicinity of Florence for three weeks, awaiting a link-up with Forrest, who finally arrived on November 18. Meanwhile, although urged by Sherman to move quickly, Thomas was fulfilling his reputation as a slow and deliberate general. Hood advanced in three columns to seize the Duck River crossings at Columbia, Tennessee, which, if successful, would separate Schofield from Thomas. On November 22, Schofield rushed two divisions north to secure Columbia and the first arrived on November 24, in time to prevent Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from seizing the bridges.
November 4-5, 1864 - Battle of Johnsonville. In an effort to check the Union army's advance through Georgia, Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest led a 23-day raid culminating in an attack on the Yankee supply base at Johnsonville, Tennessee. Swinging north from Corinth, Mississippi, toward the Kentucky border and temporarily blockading the Tennessee River at Fort Herman, Forrest then moved southward along the Tennessee River's west bank, capturing several U.S. steamers and a gunboat which he later had to abandon. On November 4, Forrest began positioning his artillery across the river from the Federal supply base and landing at Johnsonville. The Union discovered the Confederates finishing their entrenchments and battery emplacements in the afternoon of the 4th. The Union gunboats and land batteries, across the river, engaged the Confederates in an artillery duel. The Rebel guns, however, were so well-positioned, the Federals were unable to hinder them. In fact, Confederate artillery fire disabled the gunboats. Fearing that the Rebels might cross the river and capture the transports, the Federals set fire to them. The wind then extended the fire to the piles of stores on the levee and to a warehouse loaded with supplies. Seeing the fire, the Confederates began firing on the steamboats, barges, and warehouses to prevent the Federals from putting out the fire. An inferno illuminated Forrest's night withdrawal, and he escaped Union clutches without serious loss. Damages totaled $2.2 million. The next morning, on the 5th, some Confederate artillery bombarded the depot in the morning but then left. Although this brilliant victory further strengthened Forrest's reputation and destroyed a great amount of Union materiel, it failed to stem the tide of Union success in Georgia. By this time, Forrest often harassed the Union Army, but, as this engagement demonstrated, he could not stop their operations.
November 8, 1864 - Reelection of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln wins reelection, defeating Democrat George B. McClellan. Lincoln carries all but three states with 55 percent of the popular vote and 212 of 233 electoral votes. "I earnestly believe that the consequences of this day's work will be to the lasting advantage, if not the very salvation, of the country," Lincoln tells supporters. The Republican Party had changed its name to the Union Party and selected for vice president the loyal Tennessee Democrat Andrew Johnson.
November 12, 1864 - Sherman's March to the Sea. After destroying Atlanta's warehouses and railroad facilities, William T. Sherman was able to detach part of his army to puruse Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood and lead the remaining 62,000 troops on the celebrated "March to the Sea" from Atlanta to Savannah on the Atlantic coast. President Lincoln on advice from Ulysses S. Grant approved the idea. "I can make Georgia howl!" Sherman boasts. Sherman began the march on November 12, 1864. Tracing a line of march between Macon and Augusta, he carved a sixty-mile wide swath of destruction in the Confederacy's heartland. Separated from its supply bases and completely isolated from other Union forces, Sherman's army cut a wide swath as it moved south through Georgia, living off the countryside, destroying railroads and supplies, reducing the war-making potential of the Confederacy, and bringing the war home to the Southern people. The only forces the Confederacy could bring to oppose him was Joseph Wheeler's cavalry and a motley collection of militia and over and under-aged reserves of perhaps 14,000 troops; certainly no match for the 62,000 Union veterans Sherman had kept with him upon leaving Atlanta. His army marched in two large columns under the command of Oliver Otis Howard on the right and the left under Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum.
November 24-29, 1864 - Battle of Columbia. The battle constituted a Confederate diversion as part of a maneuver designed to cross the Duck River upstream and interdict the Union army's line of communications with Nashville. As Gen. John B. Hood's army advanced northeastward from Florence, Alabama, Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield's force quickly withdrew from Pulaski to Columbia, arriving on November 24, just ahead of Nathan Bedford Forrest's Rebel cavalry. The Federals built two lines of earthworks south of the town while skirmishing with enemy cavalry on November 24 and 25. Hood advanced his infantry on the following day but did not assault. He made demonstrations along the front while marching two corps of his army to Davis Ford, some five miles eastward on the Duck River. Schofield correctly interpreted Hood's moves, but foul weather prevented him from crossing to the north bank before November 28, leaving Columbia to the Confederates. The next day, both armies marched north for Spring Hill. Schofield had slowed Hood's movement but had not stopped him.
November 29, 1864 - Sand Creek Massacre. The Sand Creek Massacre refers to an infamous incident in the Indian wars of the United States that occurred on November 29, 1864 when Colorado Militia troops in the Colorado Territory massacred an undefended village of Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped on the territory's eastern plains. The attack was initially reported in the press as a victory against a bravely-fought defense by the Cheyenne. Within weeks, however, eyewitnesses came forward offering conflicting testimony, leading to a military investigation and two Congressional investigations into the events. Starting the 1850s, the gold rush in the Rocky Mountains (then part of the western Kansas Territory) had brought a flood of white settlers into the mountains and the surrounding foothills. The sudden immigration came into conflict with the Cheyenne and the Arapaho who inhabited the area, eventually leading to the Colorado War in 1864. The violence between the Native Americans and the miners spread, prompting territorial governor John Evans to send Colonel John M. Chivington to quiet the Indians. After a few skirmishes and a decisive warpath on the part of the Indians, the Cheyennes and Arapahos were ready for peace and camped near Fort Lyon on the eastern plains. Both of the tribes had signed a treaty with the United States just three years before in which they ceded their lands to the United States and agreed to move to the Indian reservation to the south of Sand Creek, demarcated by a line to be run due north from a point on the northern boundary of New Mexico, fifteen miles west of Purgatory River, and extending to the Sandy Fork of the Arkansas River. Black Kettle, a chief of a group of mostly Southern Cheyennes and some Arapahoes, some 550 in number, reported to Fort Lyon in an effort to declare peace. After having done so, he and his band camped out at nearby Sand Creek, less than 40 miles north. Having heard the Indians had surrendered, Chivington and his 700 troops of the First Colorado Cavalry, Third Colorado Cavalry and a company of First New Mexico Volunteers marched to their campsite in order to obtain an easy victory. On the morning of November 29, 1864, the army shot down people as if they were buffalo, killing as many as 150, or about one-quarter of the entire group. The dead were mainly old men, women and children and the cavalry lost only 9 or 10 killed and three dozen wounded. One man, Silas Soule, a Massachusetts abolitionist, refused to follow Colonel Chivington's orders. He did not allow his cavalry company to fire into the crowd. After the massacre, some tribal members decided to join the Dog Soldiers, a group of Cheyenne who decided there could be no successful negotiations with the white men and were waging war against them. The nation was shocked by the brutality of the massacre and the army decided to investigate Chivington's role. Silas Soule was extremely willing to testify against him. After he testified, Soule was murdered by Charles W. Squires. It is believed that Chivington had a hand in this murder. The area is now preserved by the National Park Service, in the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.
November 29, 1864 - Battle of Spring Hill. The Battle of Spring Hill, prelude to the Battle of Franklin, was fought November 29, 1864, in Maury County, Tennessee, as part of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign of Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood. On the morning of November 29, 1864, following the inconclusive Battle of Columbia, Hood's Army of Tennessee marched from Columbia toward Spring Hill to separate major portions of Union forces from each other, hoping to defeat each in turn before they could unite and overwhelm him. Union Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas's Army of the Cumberland was north of Spring Hill in Nashville, Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield's Army of the Ohio was south in Pulaski. Hood sent the corps of Lt. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham and Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart on the march north, leaving the corps of Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee on the southern bank of the Duck River at Columbia, facing a Union division under Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox across the river. Hood rode near the head of the column and hoped to catch Schofield by surprise. Cavalry skirmishing between Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson's Union cavalry and Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's Confederate troopers continued throughout the day as the Confederates advanced. Forrest had executed a wide turning movement with 4,000 troopers that forced Wilson north to Hurt's Corner, preventing the Union horsemen from interfering with Hood's infantry advance. However, Wilson did manage to warn Schofield of Hood's advance and the Union trains800 wagonswere sent north in the direction of Franklin. While Hood's infantry crossed the Duck River and converged on Spring Hill, Schofield sent troops to hold the crossroads there: Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley, commander of the IV Corps, with two divisions under Maj. Gen. George D. Wagner and Maj. Gen. Nathan Kimball. Starting at 4:00 p.m., close to sunset, the Federals repulsed infantry attacks launched by Cheatham's corps. The attacks failed for four reasons: poorly coordinated, piecemeal attacks by Cheatham; excellent Union defensive artillery support and a decision by Hood to leave most of his artillery pieces in the rear; mispositioning by Hood of Stewart's corps, left too far to the south at Rutherford Creek to support Cheatham until Hood released it after dark; and the failure of Forrest to arrive before dark. By nightfall, the Confederates had finally positioned their corps where they could attack and severely damage Schofield's force, but they erred by allowing the Union army to maintain possession of the road and keep a route open for withdrawal. Believing the battle largely finished, Hood left command of the field to his most capable commander, Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne (the "Stonewall of the West"), after sending the order to attack Schofield. However, due to a communications failure of unknown cause, Cleburne never received the message, and never attacked. When Stewart arrived, his corps merely went into bivouac next to Cheatham and the soldiers of both corps cooked their supper and went to bed. The result of miscommunication and simply bad military management was that during the night, all of Schofield's command, including Cox, passed from Columbia through Spring Hill to Franklin while the Confederate army slept. By 6:00 a.m. on November 30, all of Schofield's army was north of Spring Hill and Hood was forced to resume his pursuit, setting up the Battle of Franklin that afternoon. This had been, perhaps, Hood's best chance to isolate and defeat the Union army. The engagement has been described as "one of the most controversial non-fighting events of the entire war". A Texas lieutenant in Cleburne's division said afterwards, "The most charitable explanation is that the gods of war injected confusion into the heads of our leaders."
November 30, 1864 - Battle of Franklin. The Second Battle of Franklin (more popularly known as The Battle of Franklin) was fought at Franklin, Tennessee, on November 30, 1864, as part of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign. It was one of the worst disasters of the war for the Confederate States Army. While the Union army left the field after the battle, the Confederate army paid a horrible price for it. Franklin followed the Battle of Spring Hill of the previous day. The Confederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by General John Bell Hood, had failed to destroy part of the Union force in Tennessee, allowing the Union Army of the Ohio, commanded by Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield, to escape. Hood had hoped to destroy Schofield before he could link up with the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, farther north in Nashville, Tennessee. That combined Union force would be over 60,000 men, almost twice as large as Hood's army. As the armies met at Franklin, Hood had approximately 38,000 men to Schofield's 32,000. Schofield's advanced guard arrived in Franklin at about 6:00 a.m., after a forced march north from Spring Hill. Brig. Gen. Jacob Dolson Cox, a division commander temporarily commanding the Union XXIII Corps (and later governor of Ohio), immediately began preparing strong defensive positions around breastworks originally constructed for the First Battle of Franklin in 1863. The defensive line formed approximately a semicircle around the city, from northwest to southeast; the other half of the semicircle was the Harpeth River. Schofield's decision to defend at Franklin with his back to a river seems odd. The reason was that he had insufficient pontoon bridges available to cross the river; the bridges had been left behind in his advance to Spring Hill due to lack of wagons to transport them. Now he needed time to repair the permanent bridges spanning the river and calculated that the breastworks were well positioned and adequate to delay Hood's inevitable assault. By noon the Union line was ready. Clockwise from the northwest were the divisions of Maj. Gen. Nathan Kimball (from the IV Corps), Thomas H. Ruger (XXIII), and Cox (XXIII). Two brigades of the IV Corps division under George D. Wagner were forward, screening the Confederate approach. Thomas J. Wood's IV Corps division was posted north of the Harpeth. Schofield planned to withdraw across the river by 6:00 p.m. if Hood had not arrived by then. Hood's army arrived at 3:00 p.m. He was noted for his aggressive, sometimes reckless battlefield leadership. Over the objections of his top generals, he ordered a frontal assault in the dwindling afternoon light against the Union forces, now strongly entrenched behind three lines of breastworks. Many historians believe that Hood, still angry that the Federal army had slipped past his troops the night before at Spring Hill, acted irrationally in ordering the attack. The Confederates attacked on the southern end of the Union line, with Benjamin F. Cheatham's corps on the left of the assault, Alexander P. Stewart's on the right. Hood's attack initially enveloped Wagner's forward brigades, which fled back to the main breastworks. Blue and gray troops were intermingled, which made the Union soldiers defending the line reluctant to fire on the approaching masses. This caused a weak spot in the Union line at the Carter House as an inexperienced regiment, just arrived from Nashville, broke and fled with Wagner's troops. The Confederate divisions of Patrick Cleburne, John C. Brown, and Samuel G. French converged on this spot. An heroic counterattack by the brigade of Emerson Opdycke and two of Cox's regiments sealed the gap after thirty minutes of fierce hand-to-hand combat. Over and over the Confederates smashed headlong and futilely into the Union line. Just before dark, the division of Maj. Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson arrived and it had no more luck than its predecessors. By 9:00 p.m. the fighting subsided. The overall attack had been awesome, described by some as a tidal wave, and known as the "Pickett's Charge of the West". But it was actually much larger than than the famous charge at Gettysburg. In the East, 12,500 Confederates crossed a mile of open ground in a single assault that lasted about 50 minutes. In Franklin, some 20,000 marched into the guns across two miles and conducted seventeen distinct assaults lasting over five hours. Across the river to the east, Confederate cavalry commander Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest attempted to turn the Union left flank, but the Union cavalry under James H. Wilson repulsed his advance. Schofield, who spent the battle in Fort Granger (just across the Harpeth River, northeast of Franklin), ordered a nighttime withdrawal to Nashville, starting at 11:00 p.m. Although there was a period in which the Union army was vulnerable, straddling the river, Hood was too stunned to take advantage of it. The Union army reached the works of Nashville on December 1. The devastated Confederate force was left in control of Franklin, but its enemy had escaped again. Typically, a Civil War battle is deemed a victory for the army that forces its opponent to withdraw, but Hood's "victory" came at a frightful cost. More men of the Confederate Army of Tennessee were killed in five hours at Franklin than in two days at the Battle of Shiloh. The Confederates suffered 6,252 casualties, including 1,750 killed and 3,800 wounded. Their military leadership in the West was decimated, including the loss of such skilled generals as Patrick Cleburne. Fifteen Confederate generals were casualties (6 killed, the rest wounded and/or captured), and 65 field grade officers were lost. Union casualties were 189 killed, 1,033 wounded, 1,104 missing. The Army of Tennessee was all but destroyed at Franklin. Nevertheless, Hood immediately advanced against the entire Union Army of the Cumberland, firmly entrenched at Nashville with the Army of the Ohio, leading his battered forces to further, and final, disaster in the Battle of Nashville.
December 5-7, 1864 - Third Battle of Murfreesboro. The Third Battle of Murfreesboro, part of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign, was a last, desperate attempt to force Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's Union army out of Georgia. Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood led the Army of Tennessee north toward Nashville in November 1864. Although he suffered a terrible loss at Franklin, he continued toward Nashville. In operating against Nashville, he decided that destruction of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad and disruption of the Union army supply depot at Murfreesboro would help his cause. He sent Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, on December 4, with an expedition, composed of two cavalry divisions and Maj. Gen. William B. Bate's infantry division, to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. On December 2, Hood had ordered Bate to destroy the railroad and blockhouses between Murfreesboro and Nashville and join Forrest for further operations. On December 4, Bate's division attacked Blockhouse No. 7 protecting the railroad crossing at Overall Creek, but Union forces fought it off. On the morning of the 5th, Forrest headed out toward Murfreesboro, splitting his force, one column to attack the fort on the hill and the other to take Blockhouse No. 4, both at La Vergne. Upon his demand for surrender at both locations, the Union garrisons did so. Outside La Vergne, Forrest hooked up with Bate's division and the command advanced on to Murfreesboro along two roads, driving the Yankees into their Fortress Rosecrans fortifications, and encamped in the city outskirts for the night. The next morning, on the 6th, Forrest ordered Bate's division to "move upon the enemy's works." Fighting flared for a couple of hours, but the Yankees ceased firing and both sides glared at each other for the rest of the day. Brig. Gen. Claudius Sears's and Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Palmer's infantry brigades joined Forrest's command in the evening, further swelling his numbers. On the morning of the 7th, Maj. Gen. Lovell Rousseau, commanding all of the forces at Murfreesboro, sent two brigades out under Brig. Gen. Robert Milroy on the Salem Pike to feel out the enemy. These troops engaged the Confederates and fighting continued. At one point some of Forrest's troops broke and ran causing disorder in the Rebel ranks; even entreaties from Forrest and Bate did not stem the rout of these units. The rest of Forrest's command conducted an orderly retreat from the field and encamped for the night outside Murfreesboro. Forrest had destroyed railroad track, blockhouses, and some homes and generally disrupted Union operations in the area, but he did not accomplish much else. The raid on Murfreesboro was a minor irritation.
December 10-21, 1864 - Sherman Captures Savannah. William T. Sherman reached Savannah on December 10. At Savannah, Sherman encountered about 10,000 defending troops under Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee. Following lengthy artillery bombardments, Hardee abandoned the city and Sherman entered on December 22, 1864. He telegraphed to President Abraham Lincoln, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton." After resting and refitting his army, Sherman began his march north through the Carolinas toward Virginia in February 1865.
December 15-16, 1864 - Battle of Nashville. The Battle of Nashville represented the end of large-scale fighting in the Western Theater. In a last desperate attempt to force Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's army out of Georgia, Gen. John B. Hood led the Army of Tennessee north toward Nashville in November 1864. Following the Battle of Franklin on November 30, the forces of Union Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield left Franklin, Tennessee, and concentrated within the defensive works of Nashville alongside the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas. Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga, was in command of the overall force, numbering approximately 49,000 men. The Union defensive line was quite similar to the one at Franklin. A semicircular line surrounded Nashville from the west to the east, dipping a mile to the south; the remainder of the circle, to the north, was the Cumberland River. Clockwise around the line was the division of Maj. Gen. James B. Steedman on the Union left, Schofield's XXIII Corps, Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood's IV Corps, and Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Smith's XVI Corps. Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson's Cavalry Corps was stationed just north of the River. The Confederate Army of Tennessee under Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood arrived south of the city on December 2 and took up positions facing the Union forces within the city. Not nearly strong enough to assault the Federal fortifications, Hood opted for the defensive. Rather than repeating his suicidal attack at Franklin, he entrenched and waited, hoping that Thomas would attack him. Then, after Thomas smashed his army against the Confederate entrenchments, Hood could counterattack and take Nashville. (Assuming that worked, Hood's longer-term plan was to recruit additional soldiers in central Tennessee and Kentucky and then push through the Cumberland Gap to relieve Robert E. Lee in Petersburg.) The Confederate line opposed the southeasterly facing portion of the Union line (the part occupied by Steedman and Schofield). From right to left were the corps of Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham, Maj. Gen. Stephen D. Lee, and Maj. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart. Cavalry commander Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was off to the southwest of the city. Although Thomas's forces were stronger, he could not ignore Hood's army. Despite the severe beating it suffered at Franklin, by its mere presence and ability to maneuver, the Army of Tennessee presented a threat. He knew he had to attack, but prepared cautiously. In particular, he concentrated on outfitting his cavalry, commanded by the energetic young Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson. It took Thomas over two weeks to move, causing great anxiety in President Abraham Lincoln and Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who anticipated that Hood was poised for an invasion of the North. Grant later said of the situation, "If I had been Hood, I would have gone to Louisville and on north until I came to Chicago." Lincoln had little patience for slow generals and remarked of the situation, "This seems like the McClellan and Rosecrans strategy of do nothing and let the rebels raid the country." Grant pressured Thomas to move, despite a bitter ice storm that struck on December 8 and stopped much fortification on both sides. A few days later, Grant sent an aide to relieve Thomas of command, believing that Hood would slip through his fingers. On December 13, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan was directed to proceed to Nashville and assume command if, upon his arrival, Thomas had not yet initiated operations. He made it as far as Louisville by December 15, but on that day the Battle of Nashville had begun. Thomas finally came out of his fortifications to attack on December 15. Before he did so, however, Hood made a terrible mistake. On December 5 he sent away most of his cavalry, commanded by the highly effective Nathan Bedford Forrest, to attack the Union garrison at Murfreesboro. By doing so, he further weakened his already weaker force. When the Union forces finally went into action on December 15, they had 49,000 men, compared to the Confederates' 31,000. Thomas planned a two-phase attack on the Confederates. The first, but secondary, attack was to be on the Confederate right flank, by Steedman. The main attack would be on the enemy left, by Smith, Wood, and Brig. Gen. Edward Hatch (commanding a dismounted cavalry brigade). Steedman attacked at 6 a.m. and kept Cheatham on the Confederate right occupied for the rest of the day. The main attack launched at dawn and wheeled left to a line parallel to the Hillsboro Pike. By noon, the main advance had reached the Pike and Wood prepared to assault the Confederate outposts on Montgomery Hill, near the center of the line. Hood became concerned about the threat on his left flank and ordered Lee to send reinforcements to Stewart. Wood's corps took Montgomery Hill in a gallant charge by Brig. Gen. Samuel Beatty's division. At about 1 p.m., there was a salient in Hood's line at Stewart's front. Thomas ordered Wood to attack the salient, supported by Schofield and Wilson. By 1:30 p.m., Stuart's position along the Pike became untenable; the attacking force was overwhelming. Stewart's corps broke and began to retreat toward the Granny White Turnpike. However, Hood was able to regroup his men toward nightfall in preparation for the battle the next day. The Union cavalry under Wilson had been unable to put enough force on the turnpike to hamper the Confederate movement, due to many of its troopers participating as dismounted infantry in the assault. The exhausted Confederates dug in all night, awaiting the arrival of the Federals. The new line was in the Brentwood Hills, extending from Shy's Hill to Overton Hill, covering his two main routes of retreatthe Granny White Pike and the Franklin Pike. Hood moved troops from Cheatham on the right flank to reinforce his left. The first day's fight had been a simple matter of the Union forces bringing overwhelming power and numbers to bear upon the Confederate forces. For example, when one strategic Confederate outpost manned by 148 soldiers and 4 cannons resisted more than expected, the Union calmly regrouped and attacked the outpost with 28 cannons and 7,000 soldiers. It took most of the morning on December 16 for the Federals to move into position against Hood's new line. Once again, Thomas planned a two-phase attack, but concentrating on Hood's left. Schofield was to drive back Cheatham, and Wilson's cavalry was to swing to the rear to block the Franklin Pike, Hood's only remaining route of withdrawal. At noon, Wood and Steedman attacked Lee on Overton's Hill, but without success. On the left, Wilson's dismounted cavalry was exerting pressure on the line. At 4 p.m., Cheatham, on Shy's Hill, was under assault from three sides and his corps broke and fled to the rear. Wood took this opportunity to renew his attack on Lee on Overton's Hill and this time the momentum was overwhelming. Darkness fell and heavy rain began. Hood collected his forces and withdrew to the south toward Franklin. Hood, although not greatly outnumbered, was out-generaled by Thomas, who was able to concentrate his forces at the right time for victory. For example, at the pivotal Shy's Hill, on the Confederate left, 40,000 Union soldiers attacked and routed 5,000 Confederates, one of the worst defeats of the war. The Union army set off in pursuit of Hood. The rainy weather became an ally to the Confederates, delaying the Union cavalry pursuit, and Forrest was able to rejoin Hood on December 18, screening the retreating force. The pursuit continued until the beaten and battered Army of Tennessee recrossed the Tennessee River on December 25. The Battle of Nashville marked the effective end of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. It had been mortally wounded at Franklin, killed at Nashville. Hood retreated to Tupelo, Mississippi, and resigned his command on January 13, 1865.
January 15, 1865 - Capture of Fort Fisher, N.C. After the failure of his December expedition against Fort Fisher, Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler was relieved of command. Maj. Gen. Alfred Terry was placed in command of a "Provisional Corps," including Paine's Division of U.S. Colored Troops, and supported by a naval force of nearly 60 vessels, to renew operations against the fort. After a preliminary bombardment directed by Rear Adm. David D. Porter on January 13, Union forces landed and prepared an attack on Maj. Gen. Robert Hoke's infantry line. On the 15th, a select force moved on the fort from the rear. A valiant attack late in the afternoon, following the bloody repulse of a naval landing party carried the parapet. The Confederate garrison surrendered, opening the way for a Federal thrust against Wilmington, the South's last open seaport on the Atlantic coast.
January 16, 1865 - Sherman's Field Order No. 15. Gen. William T. Sherman issued his Field Order No. 15 setting aside "the islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the river for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. John's River, Florida," for exclusive settlement by Blacks. The order provided that "each family should have a plot of not more than forty (40) acres of tillable ground . . . in the possession of which land the military authorities will afford them protection until such time as they can protect themselves . . ." Gen. Rufus Saxton, South Carolina Freedmen's Bureau director, later settled some 40,000 Blacks on forty-acre tracts in the area. In South Carolina and other states Black settlers were given possessory titles pending final action on the confiscated and abandoned lands of Confederate rebels. By the end of the year, with the War won, General Oliver Otis Howard informed some 40,000 Blacks that they could not keep the lands allotted to them by Sherman. With President Abraham Lincoln dead by April 1865, President Andrew Johnson vetoed the "forty acre" law passed by Congress and ordered the return of plantations to the former owners of slaves and lands who pledged loyalty.
January 31, 1865 - Congress Approves 13th Amendment. The U.S. Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, to abolish slavery. The amendment is then submitted to the states for ratification.
January 31, 1865 - Lee Appointed General-in-Chief. Confederate General Robert E. Lee is appointed General-in-Chief.
February 3, 1865 - Hampton Roads Conference. The Old Jacksonian Francis Preston Blair, as quixotic in his own way as Horace Greeley, set up a meeting between Abraham Lincoln and Confederate commissioners. Convinced that he could reunite North and South by proposing a joint campaign to throw the French out of Mexico, Blair badgered Lincoln to give him a pass through the lines to present this proposal to Jefferson Davis. Lincoln wanted nothing to do with Blair's hare-brained Mexican scheme, but he allowed him to go to Richmond what might develop. For his part, Davis anticipated nothing better from negotiations than the previous demands for "unconditional submission." But he saw an opportunity to fire up the waning southern heart by eliciting such demands publicly. Davis thus authorized Blair to inform Lincoln that he was ready to "enter into conference with a view to secure peace to the two countries." Lincoln responded promptly that he too was ready to receive overtures "with the view of securing peace to the people of our one common country." Davis appointed a three-man commission consisting of prominent advocates of negotiations: Vice-President Alexander Stephens, President pro tem of the Senate Robert M.T. Hunter, and Assistant Secretary of War John A. Campbell, a former U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Their proposed conference with William H. Seward, whom Lincoln had sent to Hampton Roads to meet with them, almost aborted because of the irreconcilable differences between the agendas for "two countries" and "our common country." But after talking with Stephens and Hunter and becoming convinced of their sincere desire for peace, General Ulysses S. Grant telegraphed Washington that to send them home without a meeting would leave a bad impression. On the spur of the moment Lincoln decided to journey to Hampton Roads and join Seward for a face-to-face meeting with the Confederate commissioners. This dramatic confrontation took place February 3 on the Union steamer River Queen. Lincoln's earlier instructions to Seward formed the inflexible Union position during four hours of talks; "(1) The restoration of the National authority throughout all the States. (2) No receding by the Executive of the United States on the Slavery question. (3) No cessation of hostilities short of an end of the war, and the disbanding of all forces hostile to the government." Stephens tried in vain to divert Lincoln by bringing up Blair's Mexican project. Equally unprofitable was Hunter's proposal for an armistice and a convention of states. No armistice, said Lincoln; surrender was the only means of stopping the war. But even Charles I, said Hunter, had entered into agreements with rebels in arms against his government during the English Civil War. "I do not profess to be posted in History," replied Lincoln. "All I distinctly recollect about the case of Charles I, is, that he lost his head." On questions of punishing rebel leaders and confiscating their property Lincoln promised generous treatment based on his power of pardon. On slavery he even suggested the possibility of compensating owners to the amount of $400 million (about 15 percent of the slaves' 1860 value). Some uncertainty exists about exactly what Lincoln meant in these discussions by "no receding . . . on the Slavery question." At a minimum he meant no going back on the Emancipation Proclamation or on other wartime executive and congressional actions against slavery. No slaves freed by these acts could ever be re-enslaved. But how many had been freed by them? asked the southerners. All of the slaves in the Confederacy, or only those who had come under Union military control after the Proclamation was issued? As a war measure would it cease to operate with peace? That would be up to the courts, said Lincoln. And Seward informed the commissioners that the House of Representatives had just passed the Thirteenth Amendment. Its ratification would make all other legal questions moot. If Southern states returned to the Union and voted against ratification, thereby defeating it, would such action be valid? That remained to be seen, said Seward. In any case, remarked Lincoln, slavery as well as the rebellion was doomed. Southern leaders should cut their losses, return to the old allegiance, and save the blood of thousands of young men that would be shed if the war continued. Whatever their personal preferences, the commissioners had no power to negotiate such terms. They returned to dejectedly to Richmond. The war continued. Only Lee's Army at Petersburg and Joseph E. Johnston's forces in North Carolina remain to fight for the South against Northern forces now numbering 280,000 men.
February 17, 1865 - Sherman Captures Columbia, S.C. The city was dealt with particularly harshly by William T. Sherman's men. Two-thirds of the city was burned down, although it was probably done at their own initiative rather than under any orders from Sherman. Many Federal troops held a special hatred for South Carolina because they felt the state was responsible for starting the war. Sherman now headed towards central Virginia to unite with General George G. Meade and his Army of the Potomac east of Richmond and with General Benjamin F. Butler and his forces at Bermuda Hundred.
February 22, 1865 - Capture of Wilmington, N.C. With the fall of Fort Fisher on January 15 to the combined operation of Maj. Gen. Alfred Terry and Rear Adm. David D. Porter, Wilmington's days were numbered. About 6,600 Confederate troops under Maj. Gen. Robert Hoke held Fort Anderson and a line of works that prevented the Federals from advancing up the Cape Fear River. Early February, the XXIII Corps arrived at Fort Fisher, and Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield took command of the Union forces. Schofield now began a series of maneuvers to force the Confederates to abandon their defenses. On February 16, Jacob Cox's division ferried across the river to confront Fort Anderson, while Porter's gunboats bombarded the fort. On February 17-18, Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames's division conducted a wide flanking march to get in the fort's rear. Seeing the trap ready to close, the Confederates evacuated Fort Anderson during the night of the 18th-19th, withdrawing to Town Creek to form a new defensive line. The next day, this line collapsed to increasing Federal pressures. During the night of February 21-22, Gen. Braxton Bragg ordered the evacuation of Wilmington, burning cotton, tobacco, and government stores.
February 22, 1865 - Tennessee adopts a new constitution that abolishes slavery.
March 2, 1865 - Battle of Waynesboro. After the Confederate defeat at Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864, General Robert E. Lee reinforced the lines at Petersburg with soldiers from General Jubal A. Early's command, leaving Early with fewer than 2,000 men to defend the Shenandoah Valley. Early's force settled into winter camps between Staunton and Rockfish Gap. On February 27 General Philip H. Sheridan rode south from Winchester up the devastated Valley with two divisions of cavalry totaling 10,000 men. They reached Staunton on March 1 after a sharp skirmish at Mount Crawford. Early's command fell back to Waynesboro, twelve miles to the east, to cover Rockfish Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Two brigades of General Wharton's Divisiononly 1,700 men and fourteen cannonsdug hasty entrenchments. Their line extended through the town on the right, while their left rested on high ground above the South River. There were not enough troops for the entire front, so there was a gap between the line and the river. General George A. Custer's division led the Union advance. Custer discovered the small gap and at 3:30 p.m. ordered three dismounted regiments to attack the enemy's left flank. The rest of the division made a mounted frontal attack, and the Confederate line broke. In the wild charge through the town, Custer's division captured all of the Confederates except Early and his staff. Sheridan's forces crossed the Blue Ridge, rode through Charlottesville, a major Confederate hospital center, and then eastward along the Virginia Central Railroad. Sheridan sent out columns to destroy the railroad tracks and wreck the locks of the James River and Kanawha Canal. Sheridan crossed the James and Appomattox Rivers and rode into City Point to join Grant's spring offensive.
March 3, 1865 - Freedmen's Bureau. Congress establishes the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands to aid former slaves and white refugees. Its main purpose was to help the newly-freed former slaves acquire some of the things that they had previously been denied, such as at least a rudimentary education and an opportunity to learn jobs skills outside manual labor. Not wanting to face this new potential competition, it was probably the least popular of all Reconstruction measures among white Southerners, and was one of the first to be abolished (in 1872).
March 4, 1865 - Lincoln's Second Inauguration. "With malice toward none; with charity for all . . . let us strive on to finish the work we are in . . . to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations," Lincoln says.
March 13, 1865 - Confederacy Enlists Black Troops. In a desperate search for manpower, Jefferson Davis signs an act allowing slaves to enlist in the Confederate army. Few join, and those who do see no action before the war ends.
March 16, 1865 - Battle of Averasborough. The Battle of Averasborough was a prelude to the Battle of Bentonville three days later. Gen. William T. Sherman was moving his army north towards Goldsboro, North Carolina, in two columns. The right column (Army of the Tennessee) was under Oliver Otis Howard and the left column (Army of Georgia) was under the command of Henry Slocum. General Joseph Johnston sent General William Hardee's corps to attack Slocum's left wing while it was separated from the rest of Sherman's forces. Slocum crossed the Cape Fear River near Averasborough where they encountered Hardee's corps. On the morning of the 16th, troops of the Union XX Corps under Alpheus S. Williams were driven back by a Confederate assault. When reinforcements arrived the Union forces counterattacked and drove back two lines of Confederates but were repulsed by a third line. By this time units from General Jefferson C. Davis' XIV Corps began to arrive on the field. Outnumbered and in danger of being flanked Hardee's troops withdrew. The Confederates had not held up the Union Army as long as they had hoped. Each side suffered just under 700 casualties, however these were losses the Federals could afford while the Confederates could not afford at all.
March 18, 1865 - Confederate Congress Adjoursn. The Congress of the Confederate States of America adjourns for the last time.
March 19-21, 1865 - Battle of Bentonville. While Henry W. Slocum's advance was stalled at Averasborough by William J. Hardee's troops, the right wing of William T. Sherman's army under command of Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard marched toward Goldsborough. On March 19, Slocum encountered the entrenched Confederates of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston who had concentrated to meet his advance at Bentonville. Late afternoon, Johnston attacked, crushing the line of the XIV Corps. Only strong counterattacks and desperate fighting south of the Goldsborough Road blunted the Confederate offensive. Elements of the XX Corps were thrown into the action as they arrived on the field. Five Confederate attacks failed to dislodge the Federal defenders and darkness ended the first day's fighting. During the night, Johnston contracted his line into a "V" to protect his flanks with Mill Creek to his rear. On March 20, Slocum was heavily reinforced, but fighting was sporadic. Sherman was inclined to let Johnston retreat. On the 21st, however, Johnston remained in position while he removed his wounded. Skirmishing heated up along the entire front. In the afternoon, Maj. Gen. Joseph Mower led his Union division along a narrow trace that carried it across Mill Creek into Johnston's rear. Confederate counterattacks stopped Mower's advance, saving the army's only line of communication and retreat. Mower withdrew, ending fighting for the day. During the night, Johnston retreated across the bridge at Bentonville. Union forces pursued at first light, driving back Joseph Wheeler's rearguard and saving the bridge. Federal pursuit was halted at Hannah's Creek after a severe skirmish. Sherman, after regrouping at Goldsborough, pursued Johnston toward Raleigh. On April 18, Johnston signed an armistice with Sherman at the Bennett House, and on April 26, formally surrendered his army.
March 22-April 2, 1865 - Raid on Selma. Maj. Gen. James H. Wilson, commanding three divisions of Union cavalry, about 13,500 men, led his men south from Gravelly Springs, Alabama, on March 22, 1865. Opposed by Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, Wilson skillfully continued his march and eventually defeated him in a running battle at Ebenezer Church, on April 1. Continuing towards Selma, Wilson split his command into three columns. Although Selma was well-defended, the Union columns broke through the defenses at separate points forcing the Confederates to surrender the city, although many of the officers and men, including Forrest and Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor, escaped. Selma demonstrated that even Forrest, whom some had considered invincible, could not stop the unrelenting Union movements deep into the Southern Heartland.
March 25, 1865 - Battle of Fort Stedman. In a last-gasp offensive, Gen. Robert E. Lee amassed nearly half of his army in an attempt to break through Ulysses S. Grant's Petersburg defenses and threaten his supply depot at City Point. Lee ordered General John B. Gordon to formulate a plan that would allow the Confederate Army to pull out of Petersburg and perhaps give it the opportunity to link up with the Confederate army in North Carolina under General Joseph E. Johnston. Gordon's idea was a surprise attack on the Union lines to force Ulysses S. Grant to shorten his lines or even set his lines back. He hoped that the breakthrough would lead to the main Union supply base of City Point, ten miles northeast. In detail, Gordon planned a pre-dawn assault on Fort Stedman, one of the fortifications marking the Union lines that encircled Petersburg. It was one of the closest spots on the line, there were fewer wooden chevaux de frise obstructions, and a supply depot on the U.S. Military Railroad was less than a mile behind it. Directly after capturing the fort, Confederate soldiers would move north and south along the Union lines to clear the neighboring fortifications to make way for the main attack. The assault force was Gordon's Second Corps of 7,500 men, backed by Robert Ransom's North Carolina brigade and William Wallace's South Carolina brigade, in all about 10,000 men, with 5,000 in reserve. The attack started at 4:00 a.m. On a signal, lead parties of sharpshooters and engineers who masqueraded as deserting soldiers headed out to overwhelm Union pickets and to remove wooden defenses that would have obstructed the infantry advance. It was a complete surprise as they captured Fort Stedman and the batteries (designated Batteries X and XI) just to the north and south of it. Forces under sector commander Brig. Gen. Napolean McLaughlen, many of them heavy artillery troops serving as infantry, used canister fire against the attackers, but were unable to organize an effective defense. They attempted to fire mortars from Battery XII onto Stedman, but to no avail. McLaughlen arrived at Stedman without knowing it had changed hands and was forced to surrender his sword to Gordon. The Confederates captured nearly 1,000 prisoners. Gordon's next objective was to widen his breakthrough by capturing Fort McGilvery to the north, and Fort Haskell to the south of Stedman. The lead attackers reached Harrison's Creek along the Prince George Court House Road, but were unable to widen their breakthrough past the neighboring forts. (Unfortunately for the defenders of Haskell, Union batteries in other forts assumed it had fallen and shelled it with friendly fire.) Reserve forces waited for the word to launch the main attack in the direction of City Point. But the Union was not willing to retreat. Union General John Hartranft, commander of the IX Corps Reserve Division (a unit made up of six newly recruited Pennsylvania regiments), gathered his troops for a counterattack. With artillery support from up and down the Union line, Hartranft brought the Confederates under a killing crossfire, and counterattacks led by Maj. Gens. John G. Parke and Hartranft contained the breakthrough, cut off, and captured more than 1,900 of the attackers. Gordon, who was in Fort Stedman, realized the plan had failed when his lead men started returning and reported remarkable Union resistance. By 7:30 a.m. Union forces had sealed the breach and their artillery was heavily bombarding the fort. A coordinated attack started before 8.00 a.m. and Hartranft managed to retake the fort and restored the initial Union line. The retreating Confederates came under Union crossfire, suffering heavy casualties. Their attack had failed. The attack on Fort Stedman turned out to be a four-hour action with no impact on the Union lines. In fact the Confederate Army was forced to set back its own lines, as the Union attacked further down the front line. To give Gordon's attack enough strength to be successful, Lee had weakened his own left flank. There, near Fort Fisher, elements of the II and VI Corps assaulted and captured the entrenched picket lines in their respective fronts, which had been weakened for the assault on Fort Stedman. This was a devastating blow for Lee's army, setting up the Confederate defeat at Five Forks on April 1 and the fall of Petersburg on April 2-3. Lee's army suffered heavy casualties during the battle of Fort Stedmanabout 2,900, including 1,000 captured in the Union counterattack. But more seriously, the Confederate positions were weakened. After the battle, Lee's defeat was only a matter of time. His final opportunity to break the Union lines and regain the momentum was gone. The Battle of Fort Stedman was the final episode of the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign. Immediately following was the Appomattox Campaign, including the Battle of Five Forks and the final surrender of Lee's army on April 9, 1865.
April 1, 1865 - Battle of Five Forks. Gen. Robert E. Lee orders George E. Pickett to hold the vital crossroads of Five Forks, southwest of Petersburg, Virginia, at all hazard. ("Five Forks" referred to the intersection of the White Oak Road, Scott's Road, Ford's (or Church) Road, and the Dinwiddie Court House Road.) Lee's dispatch stated: "Hold Five Forks at all hazards. Protect road to Ford's Depot and prevent Union forces from striking the Southside Railroad. Regret exceedingly your forces' withdrawal, and your inability to hold the advantage you had gained". Pickett's troops built a log and dirt defensive line about 1.75 miles long, guarding the two flanks with cavalry. Unfortunately for the Union plans for attack, faulty maps and intelligence misunderstood where these flanks actually were. On April 1, while Philip H. Sheridan's cavalry pinned the Confederate force in position at about 4 p.m., Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren attacked and overwhelmed the Confederate left flank, taking many prisoners. Sheridan personally directed the attack, which extended Lee's Petersburg lines to the breaking point. Pickett's unfortunate military career suffered another humiliationhe was two miles away from his troops at the time of the attack, enjoying a shad bake with some other officers. By the time he returned to the battlefield, it was too late. Loss of Five Forks threatened Lee's last supply line, the South Side Railroad. The next morning, Lee informed President Jefferson Davis that Petersburg and Richmond must be evacuated. Union general Frederick Winthrop was killed and Willie Pegram, beloved Confederate artillery officer, was mortally wounded. Sheridan was dissatisfied with the performance of the V Corps in the approach to Five Forks and he relieved Warren of his command.
April 2-3, 1865 - Capture of Richmond. After the victory at Five Forks, Ulysses S. Grant orders a general advance against Robert E. Lee's lines at Petersburg. Horatio G. Wright's VI Corps, spearheaded by the Vermont Brigade, made a decisive breakthrough along the Boydton Plank Road line. John Gibbon's XXIV Corps overran Fort Gregg after a heroic Confederate defense. John G. Parke's IX Corps overran the eastern trenches but met with stiff resistance under John B. Gordon. General A.P. Hill was killed while trying to restore the broken Confederate line along the Boydton Plank Road. Hill had earlier vowed that he would never leave the Petersburg defenses. Lee decides to evacuate Petersburg. President Jefferson Davis, his family and government officials, are forced to flee from Richmond. Fires and looting break out. The next day, Union troops enter and raise the Stars and Stripes. One resident, Mary Fontaine, wrote, "I saw them unfurl a tiny flag, and I sank on my knees, and the bitter, bitter tears came in a torrent." As the Federals rode in, another wrote that the city's black residents were "completely crazed, they danced and shouted, men hugged each other, and women kissed." Among the first forces into the capital were black troopers from the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry, and the next day President Abraham Lincoln visited the city. For the residents of Richmond, these were symbols of a world turned upside down. It was, one reporter noted, "too awful to remember, if it were possible to be erased, but that cannot be."
April 4, 1865 - Lincoln Visits Richmond. Abraham Lincoln had been in the area or Richmond for nearly two weeks. He left Washington at the invitation of general-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant to visit Grant's headquarters at City Point, near the lines at Petersburg south of Richmond. The trip was exhilarating for the exhausted president. Worn out by four years of war and stifled by the pressures of Washington, Lincoln enjoyed himself immensely. He conferred with Grant and General William T. Sherman, who took a break from his campaign in North Carolina. He visited soldiers, and even picked up an axe to chop logs in front of the troops. He stayed at City Point, sensing that the final push was near. Grant's forces overran the Petersburg line on April 2, and the Confederate government fled the capital later that day. Union forces occupied Richmond on April 3, and Lincoln sailed up the James River to see the spoils of war. His ship could not pass some obstructions that had been placed in the river by the Confederates so 12 soldiers rowed him to shore. He landed without fanfare but was soon recognized by some black workmen who ran to him and bowed. The modest Lincoln told them: "Don't kneel to me. You must kneel to God only and thank him for the liberty you will hereafter enjoy." Lincoln, accompanied by a small group of soldiers and a growing entourage of freed slaves, walked to the Confederate White House and sat in President Jefferson Davis's chair. He walked to the Virginia statehouse and saw the chambers of the Confederate Congress. Lincoln even visited Libby Prison, where thousands of Union officers were held during the war. Lincoln remained a few more days in hopes that Robert E. Lee's army would surrender, but on April 8 he headed back to Washington.
April 1-9, 1865 - The Appomattox Campaign. The Confederate retreat began on April 1 southwestward as Robert E. Lee sought to use the still-operational Richmond & Danville Railroad. At its western terminus at Danville he would unite with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army, which was retiring up through North Carolina. Taking maximum advantage of Danville's hilly terrain, the two Southern forces would make a determined stand against the converging armies of Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman. But Grant moved too fast for the plan to materialize, and Lee waited 24 hours in vain at Amelia Court House for trains to arrive with badly needed supplies. Federal cavalry, meanwhile, sped forward and cut the Richmond & Danville at Jetersville. Lee had to abandon the railroad, and his army stumbled across rolling country in an effort to reach Lynchburg, another supply base that could be defended. Union horsemen seized the vital rail junction at Burkeville as Federal infantry continued to dog the Confederates. On April 6 almost one-fourth of Lee's army was trapped and captured at Sayler's Creek. Lee, at Farmville. Most surrendered, including Confederate generals Richard S. Ewell, Barton, Simms, Joseph B. Kershaw, Custis Lee, Dubose, Eppa Hunton, and Corse. This action was considered the death knell of the Confederate army. Upon seeing the survivors streaming along the road, Lee exclaimed "My God, has the army dissolved?" Lee led his remaining 30,000 men in a north-by-west arc across the Appomattox River and toward Lynchburg. In the meantime, Grant, with four times as many men, sent Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan's cavalry and most of two infantry corps on a hard, due-west march from Farmville to Appomattox Station. Reaching the railroad first the Federals blocked Lee's only line of advance.
April 9, 1865 - Surrender at Appomattox. Early on April 9, the remnants of John B. Gordon's corps and Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry formed a line of battle at Appomattox Court House. Gen. Robert E. Lee determined to make one last attempt to escape the closing Union pincers and reach his supplies at Lynchburg. At dawn the Confederates advanced, initially gaining ground against Philip H. Sheridan's cavalry. The arrival of Union infantry, however, stopped the advance in its tracks. Lee's army was now surrounded on three sides. Lee's options were gone. That afternoon, Palm Sunday, Lee met Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in the front parlor of Wilmer McLean's home to discuss peace terms. After agreeing terms, Lee surrendered his army. The actual surrender of the Confederate Army occurred April 12, an overcast Wednesday. As Southern troops marched past silent lines of Federals, a Union general noted "an awed stillness, and breath-holding, as if it were the passing of the dead." Grant issued a brief statement: "The war is over; the rebels are our countrymen again and the best sign of rejoicing after the victory will be to abstain from all demonstrations in the field." Grant allows Rebel officers to keep their sidearms and permits soldiers to keep horses and mules. Lee tells his troops: "After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources".
April 10, 1865 - Celebrations break out in Washington.
April 14, 1865 - Assassination of Lincoln. The Stars and Stripes is ceremoniously raised over Fort Sumter. That night, Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary see the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater. At 10:13 p.m., during the third act of the play, John Wilkes Booth shoots the president in the head. As he leaps to the stage (breaking a shinbone), Booth shouts, Sic Semper Tyrannis (Thus Always to Tyrants). Doctors attend to the president in the theater then move him to a house across the street. He never regains consciousness. Abraham Lincoln died the next morning (April 15) at 7:22 a.m. in the Petersen Boarding House. He was 56 years old. Vice President Andrew Johnson assumes the presidency. Secretary of State William H. Seward was stabbed in his Washington home on April 14, 1865, the same night President Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theater. The attacker, Louis Powell, a co-conspirator with Booth, injured five people in the nighttime action. Seward recovered from his injuries and continued to serve as Secretary of State for President Andrew Johnson.
April 18, 1865 - Surrender of Johnston. Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina succeeds in delaying the advance of General William T. Sherman at Bentonville in March. But lack of men and supplies forced Johnston to order continued withdrawal, and he surrendered to Sherman at Durham Station, N.C., on April 26.
April 26, 1865 - John Wilkes Booth Killed. Union cavalry corner John Wilkes Booth in a tobacco barn in Bowling Green, Virginia. Cavalryman Boston Corbett shoots the assassin dead.
April 27, 1865 - Sinking of the Sultana. The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,300 passengers, explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700. Most were Union survivors of the Andersonville Prison.
May 4, 1865 - Burial of Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery, outside Springfield, Illinois.
May 4, 1865 - Surrender of Taylor. Confederate General Richard Taylor, commanding all Confederate forces in Alabama, Mississippi, and eastern Louisiana, surrenders his forces to Union General Edward Canby at Citronelle, Alabama.
May 5, 1865 - First Train Robbery in U.S. In North Bend, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati), the first train robbery in the United States takes place. About a dozen men tore up tracks to derail an Ohio & Mississippi train that had departed from Cincinnati. (Some reports identify the train as belonging to the Union Pacific Railroad). More than 100 passengers were robbed at gunpoint of cash and jewelry. The robbers then blew open safes of the Adams Express Co. that were said to contain thousands of dollars in U.S. bonds. The robbers fled across the Ohio River into Kentucky. Lawrenceburg, Indiana officials were notified by telegraph of the robbery and in turn notified military authorities. Troops were sent to hunt down the robbers. The outlaws were traced through Verona, Kentucky, but were never captured
May 10, 1865 - Capture of Jefferson Davis. Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, fleeing to Georgia, is captured on May 10 and imprisoned at Fortress Monroe, on the coast of Virginia, on May 19. Davis was indicted for treason in May 1866, but in 1867 he was released on bail which was posted by prominent citizens of both northern and southern states, including Horace Greeley and Cornelius Vanderbilt who had become convinced he was being treated unfairly. He visited Canada, and sailed for New Orleans, Louisiana, via Havana, Cuba. In 1868, he traveled to Europe. That December, the court rejected a motion to nullify the indictment, but the prosecution dropped the case in February of 1869.
May 12-13, 1865 - Battle of Palmito Ranch was fought on May 12-May 13, 1865, and in the kaleidoscope of events following the surrender of Robert E. Lee's army, was nearly ignored. It was the last major clash of arms in the war. Early in 1865, both sides in Texas agreed to a gentlemen's agreement that there was no point to further hostilities. Why the needless battle even happened remains something of a mysteryperhaps Union Colonel Theodore H. Barrett had political aspirations (he certainly had little military experience). Barrett instructed Lieutenant Colonel David Branson to attack the rebel encampment at Brazos Santiago Depot near Fort Brown outside Brownsville. By that time, most Union troops had pulled out from Texas for campaigns in the east. The Confederates were concerned to protect what ports they had for cotton sales to Europe, as well as importation of supplies. Mexicans tended to side with the Confederates due to a lucrative smuggling trade. Union forces marched upriver from Brazos Santiago to attack the Confederate encampment, and were at first successful but were then driven back by a relief force. The next day, the Union attacked again, again to initial success and later failure. Ultimately, the Union retreated to the coast. There were 118 Union casualties. Confederate casualites were "a few dozen" wounded, none killed. Nothing was really gained on either side; like the war's first big battle (First Bull Run to the Union, First Manassas to the Confederates), it is recorded as a Confederate victory. It is worth noting that private John J. Williams of the 34th Indiana Volunteer Infantry was the last man killed at the Battle at Palmito Ranch, and probably the last of the war. Fighting were white, African, Hispanic and native troops. Reports of shots from the Mexican side are unverified, though many witnesses reported firing from the Mexican shore.
May 23-24, 1865 - Grand Review in Washington, D.C. Over a two-day period in Washington, D.C., the immense, exultant victory parade of the Union's main fighting forces in many ways brought the Civil War to its conclusion. The parade's first day was devoted to George G. Meade's force, which, as the capital's defending army, was a crowd favorite. May 23 was a clear, brilliantly sunny day. Starting from Capitol Hill, the Army of the Potomac marched down Pennsylvania Avenue before virtually the entire population of Washington, a throng of thousands cheering and singing favorite Union marching songs. At the reviewing stand in front of the White House were President Andrew Johnson, General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant, and top government officials. Leading the day's march, General Meade dismounted in front of the stand and joined the dignitaries to watch the parade. His army made an awesome sight: a force of 80,000 infantrymen marching 12 across with impeccable precision, along with hundreds of pieces of artillery and a seven-mile line of cavalrymen that alone took an hour to pass. One already famous cavalry officer, George Armstrong Custer, gained the most attention that day-either by design or because his horse was spooked when he temporarily lost control of his mount, causing much excitement as he rode by the reviewing stand twice. The next day was William T. Sherman's turn. Beginning its final march at 9 a.m. on another beautiful day, his 65,000-man army passed in review for six hours, with less precision, certainly, than Meade's forces, but with a bravado that thrilled the crowd. Along with the lean, tattered, and sunburnt troops was the huge entourage that had followed Sherman's on his march to the sea: medical workers, laborers, black families who fled from slavery, the famous "bummers" who scavenged for the army's supplies, and a menagerie of livestock gleaned from the Carolina and Georgia farms. Riding in front of his conquering force, Sherman later called the experience "the happiest and most satisfactory moment of my life." For the thousands of soldiers participating in both days of the parade, it was one of their final military duties. Within a week of the Grand Review, the Union's two main armies were both disbanded.
May 26, 1865 - Surrender of Kirby Smith. General Kirby Smith, with 43,000 soldiers, surrenders to Gen. Edward Canby in Shreveport, Louisiana.
May 29, 1865 - Amnesty Proclamation. Andrew Johnson presents his "restoration" plan, which is at odds with Congress' reconstruction plan. He also announces a general pardon for everyone involved in the "rebellion," except for a few Confederate leaders.
June 23, 1865 - Surrender of Stand Watie. At Fort Towson in the Choctaw Nations' area of Oklahoma Territory, Brig. Gen. Stand Watie surrendered the last significant rebel army, becoming the last Confederate general in the field to surrender.
July 5, 1865 - Secret Service Established. The Secret Service was commissioned on July 5, 1865 in Washington, D.C., to suppress counterfeit currency, which is why it was established under the United States Department of the Treasury. After the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, Congress informally requested Secret Service presidential protection. A year later, the Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for protection of the President.
July 5, 1865 - William Booth founds the Christian Mission (later renamed to the Salvation Army).
July 21, 1865 - In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, James Butler ("Wild Bill") Hickok shoots Dave Tutt dead in what is regarded as the first true western showdown.
August 2, 1865 - Surrender of the Shenandoah. C.S.S. Shenandoah learns the war is over The captain and crew of the C.S.S. Shenandoah, still prowling the waters of the Pacific in search of Yankee whaling ships, is finally informed by a British vessel that the South has lost the war. The Shenandoah sails from the northern Pacific all the way to Liverpool, England, without stopping at any ports. Arriving on November 6, Capt. James I. Waddell surrendered his ship to British officials.
October 10, 1865 - First Petroleum Pipeline. The first successful metal pipeline was completed in 1865 and transported 80 barrels per hour of crude oil over a 5 mile route in Western Pennsylvania. Samuel Van Syckel, an oil buyer, began construction on a two-inch wide pipeline designed to span the distance to the railroad depot five miles away. The teamsters, who had previously transported the oil, didn't take to kindly to Syckel's plan, and they used pickaxes to break apart the line. Eventually Van Syckel brought in armed guards, finished the pipeline, and made a ton-o-money. By 1865 wooden derricks were bled 3.5 million barrels a year out of the ground. Such large scale production caused the price of crude oil to plummet to ten cents a barrel.
October 14, 1865 - Treaty with the Southern Cheyenne. The Southern Cheyenne chiefs sign a treaty agreeing to cede all the land they formerly claimed as their own, most of Colorado Territory, to the U.S. government. This was the desired end of the Sand Creek massacre.
November 24, 1865 - Black Code Enacted in Mississippi. Mississippi becomes the first state to establish a system of black codes to sharply limit the rights of freed blacks. Black codes have been described thus: "Negroes must make annual contracts for their labor in writing; if they should run away from their tasks, they forfeited their wages for the year. Whenever it was required of them they must present licenses (in a town from the mayor; elsewhere from a member of the board of police of the beat) citing their places of residence and authorizing them to work. Fugitives from labor were to be arrested and carried back to their employers. Five dollars a head and mileage would be allowed such negro catchers. It was made a misdemeanor, punishable with fine or imprisonment, to persuade a freedman to leave his employer, or to feed the runaway. Minors were to be apprenticed, if males until they were twenty-one, if females until eighteen years of age. Such corporal punishment as a father would administer to a child might be inflicted upon apprentices by their masters. Vagrants were to be fined heavily, and if they could not pay the sum, they were to be hired out to service until the claim was satisfied. Negroes might not carry knives or firearms unless they were licensed so to do. It was an offence, to be punished by a fine of $50 and imprisonment for thirty days, to give or sell intoxicating liquors to a negro. When negroes could not pay the fines and costs after legal proceedings, they were to be hired at public outcry by the sheriff to the lowest bidder.... "In South Carolina persons of color contracting for service were to be known as "servants," and those with whom they contracted, as "masters." On farms the hours of labor would be from sunrise to sunset daily, except on Sunday. The negroes were to get out of bed at dawn. Time lost would be deducted from their wages, as would be the cost of food, nursing, etc., during absence from sickness. Absentees on Sunday must return to the plantation by sunset. House servants were to be at call at all hours of the day and night on all days of the week. They must be "especially civil and polite to their masters, their masters' families and guests," and they in return would receive "gentle and kind treatment." Corporal and other punishment was to be administered only upon order of the district judge or other civil magistrate. A vagrant law of some severity was enacted to keep the negroes from roaming the roads and living the lives of beggars and thieves." The Black Codes outraged public opinion in the North because it seemed the South was creating a form of quasi-slavery to evade the results of the war. President Andrew Johnson supported the Black Codes, but the Radical Republicans who controlled Congress resisted furiously. They were never put into effect in any state. Instead Congress passed the Civil Rights law of 1866. Congress also passed the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, but Johnson blocked it. After winning large majorities in the 1866 elections, the Republicans put the South under military rule, and held new elections in which the Freedmen could vote. The new governments repealed all the Black Codes, and they were never reenacted.
November 10, 1865 - Execution of Capt. Wirz. Confederate Capt. Henry Wirz, commandant of Andersonville, Georgia, prison camp, was tried by a military commission presided over by General Lew Wallace from August 23 to October 24, 1865. Accused of ordering prisoners shot on sight, of sending bloodhounds after escaped prisoners, and injecting prisoners with deadly vaccines, Wirz is convicted and hanged on November 10, 1865 for war crimes.
November 18, 1865 - Mark Twain published "Jim Smiley and his Jumping Frog" in the New York Saturday Press. The story was immediately picked up nationally and then internationally, giving Twain his first fame and the centerpiece for his first book "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches."
December 1, 1865 - Habeas Corpus Restored. The Writ of Habeas Corpus is restored.
December 6, 1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, by the House on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, abolished slavery as a legal institution. The Constitution, although never mentioning slavery by name, refers to slaves as "such persons" in Article I, Section 9 and "a person held to service or labor" in Article IV, Section 2. The Thirteenth Amendment, in direct terminology, put an end to this. The amendment states: "Section 1: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2: Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." The thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States by the 38th Congress, on the January 31, 1865, and was declared, in a proclamation of the Secretary of State of December 18, 1865, to have been ratified by the legislatures of twenty-seven of the thirty-six States. Ratification was completed on December 6, 1865, with the vote to ratify in Georgia.
December 24, 1865 - The Ku Klux Klan is founded in Pulaski, Tenn. Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest is appointed the first Grand Wizard. In its original incarnation, the Ku Klux Klan sought to protect Whites in the South from dangers both real and imagined, and opposed the reforms enforced on the South by federal troops regarding the treatment of former slaves, often using violence to achieve its goals. The first Klan was destroyed by President Ulysses S. Grant's vigorous action under the Klan Act and Enforcement Act of 1871.