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RE: Civil War 150th

 
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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/5/2012 8:19:12 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

When the Union advance column came out of some woods south of Yorktown, they faced some serious Confederate fortifications. The Southerners had not been idle.

In all, to block the entire width of the peninsula, "Prince John" Magruder had a force of only 13,000 men, but mostly regular army rather than militia. McClellan had five times that many, and more on the way. The Federals could have stormed the earthworks, or found a weak point, and been hammering at the gates of Richmond in a week. But Magruder used his penchant for theatrics to the full. He had units march in large circles, with only one side visible to the Union scouts. When a hundred-man garrison was to be relieved, he sent out four or five hundred, who would change out one hundred, then march back. Behind trees, Magruder added bugle calls, drum rolls, and officers shouting orders to men who did not exist.

The Yankees bought it hook, line, and sinker. McClellan decided on a slow, careful siege. It did not help that at the end of the day, he received a message from Washington. President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton had detected the shortage of men in the area of the capital, and cancelled the transfer of a corps of 10,000 men to the Peninsula. McClellan was furious; in a letter to his wife he described it as "the most infamous thing that history has recorded."

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/6/2012 5:54:11 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Although he had been born as John Rowlands in Wales, the man who would become the 19th Century's most famous newspaper correspondent made his way to America at age 18 and changed his name to Henry Morton Stanley. It was under this name that he would eventually speak the immortal line, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?". On this date, however, that was in the future. He had joined a unit of the Confederate Army called the Dixie Greys, which was preparing to attack Grant's army at Pittsburgh Landing:

Day broke with every promise of a fine day. Next to me, on my right, was a boy of seventeen, Henry Parker. I remember it because, while we stood-at-ease, he drew my attention to some violets at his feet, and said, "It would be a good idea to put a few in my cap. Perhaps the Yanks won't shoot me if they see me wearing such flowers, for they are a sign of peace." . . .

We loaded our muskets, and arranged our cartridge-pouches ready for use. Our weapons were the obsolete flint-locks, and the ammunition was rolled in cartridge-paper, which contained powder, a round ball, and three buckshot. When we loaded we had to tear the paper with our teeth, empty a little powder into the pan, lock it, empty the rest of the powder into the barrel, press paper and ball into the muzzle, and ram home. Then the Orderly-sergeant called the roll, and we knew that the Dixie Greys were present to a man.


On the Northern side, Grant and Sherman had both been remarkably careless. They assumed that the Rebels were still twenty-five miles (40 km) away in Corinth, Mississippi. The Confederate morning attack caught them and most (but not all) of the Union army by surprise. Southern commander Albert Sydney Johnston's plan had been to attack most strongly on his right or eastern side, driving the Northerners away from the Tennessee river and into swampy area. But he decided to lead some of his units personally, leaving the coordination to General Pierre Beauregard, who had his own ideas. In any case, the Union defense stiffened, units became intermingled, and overall direction was soon lost.



Sherman had suffered something much like a nervous breakdown in 1861, and it wouldn't have been surprising if he had snapped under the surprise attack. But the opposite happened. He performed amazingly well, seeming to be everywhere his men needed him, and refusing to leave the field after being wounded twice and having three horses shot from under him.

The remnants of two Union divisions pulled themselves together and established a defensive position known forever after as "The Hornets' Nest". Though the Federals on either side were pushed back, the Southerners kept attacking the position head-on instead of going around. The carnage soon intensified to levels even beyond anything at Bull Run, as Stanley later described:

The world seemed bursting into fragments. Cannon and musket, shell and bullet, lent their several intensities to the distracting uproar... I likened the cannon, with their deep bass, to the roaring of a great heard of lions; the ripping, cracking musketry, to the incessant yapping of terriers; the windy whisk of shells, and zipping minie bullets, to the swoop of eagles, and the buzz of angry wasps. All the opposing armies of Grey and Blue fiercely blazed at each other.
After being exposed for a few seconds to this dreadful downpour, we heard the order to "Lie down, men, and continue your firing!" Before me was a prostrate tree, about fifteen inches in diameter, with a narrow strip of light between it and the ground. Behind this shelter a dozen of us flung ourselves. The security it appeared to offer restored me to my individuality. We could fight, and think, and observe, better than out in the open. But it was a terrible period! How the cannon bellowed, and their shells plunged and bounded, and flew with screeching hisses over us! Their sharp rending explosions and hurtling fragments made us shrink and cower, despite our utmost efforts to be cool and collected. I marvelled as I heard the unintermitting patter, snip, thud, and hum of the bullets, how anyone could live under this raining death. I could hear the balls beating a merciless tattoo on the outer surface of the log, pinging vivaciously as they flew off at a tangent from it, and thudding into something or other, at the rate of a hundred a second. One, here and there, found its way under the log, and buried itself in a comrade's body. One man raised his chest, as if to yawn, and jostled me. I turned to him, and saw that a bullet had gored his whole face, and penetrated into his chest. Another ball struck a man a deadly rap on the head, and he turned on his back and showed his ghastly white face to the sky...




At around 2:30 in the afternoon, bad luck struck the Confederate side. General Johnston was hit in the leg, quite possibly by an errant Rebel bullet. The wound did not appear very serious at first, so Johnston sent his surgeon away to deal with other wounded first. But in fact an artery had been severed, though masked by Johnston's boot. The surgeon returned in less than an hour, but by that time the Southern commander had bled to death. He was the most senior general to be killed in the entire Civil War.

The Hornets' Nest had withstood at least eight and possibly as many as fourteen charges. Finally the Confederates lined up fifty cannon, and pounded the Northerners until their commander raised the white flag. 2,300 prisoners were taken, but they had bought an invaluable seven hours. Grant had managed to establish a strong defensive line running from a bridge on the Tennessee to Owl Creek, boasting about fifty cannons of his own. The Southerners made one attack, but it not only ran into heavy fire from Grant's forces, but enfilade fire from two Union gunboats on the river.

With dusk arriving, Beauregard decided to rest his men for the night and resume the next day. Neither side got much rest, for a thunderstorm moved in, and the Union gunboats kept firing occasional shells towards the Southern positions nearly the entire night. Nonetheless, Beauregard believed "I thought I had General Grant just where I wanted him and could finish him up in the morning" and sent a telegram to President Davis announcing "A COMPLETE VICTORY".

Grant would not have agreed. When a weary Sherman found the Union Commander resting under a tree and smoking one of his trademark cigars, Sherman said, "Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?" "Yes," Grant responded, and gave a puff. "Lick 'em tomorrow, though."

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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/6/2012 8:20:28 PM >

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/6/2012 1:53:15 PM   
british exil


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Lovely thread.
Enjoying every post, makes the US civil war more interesting. Following the daily exploits of Armies and Leaders.

Thx for all the hard work, keep them coming!

Mat

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/6/2012 8:28:06 PM   
parusski


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quote:

ORIGINAL: british exil

Lovely thread.
Enjoying every post, makes the US civil war more interesting. Following the daily exploits of Armies and Leaders.

Thx for all the hard work, keep them coming!

Mat


And this is THE battle in which only one person understood what a long and bloody war was in store for the nation--U.S. Grant.


_____________________________

"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast."- W.T. Sherman

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/7/2012 1:19:50 AM   
nicwb

 

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It also demonstrated Grant's total lack of panic under pressure. There's that quote that featured in Ken ben's documentary. After night fall on the first day, Grant met up with Sherman.

"Well Grant we've had the devil's own day"

"Yes" said Grant, "Lick 'em tomorrow"

Very few senior Union commanders seem to think that way at this stage of the war.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/7/2012 1:24:42 AM   
parusski


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quote:

ORIGINAL: nicwb

It also demonstrated Grant's total lack of panic under pressure. There's that quote that featured in Ken ben's documentary. After night fall on the first day, Grant met up with Sherman.

"Well Grant we've had the devil's own day"

"Yes" said Grant, "Lick 'em tomorrow"

Very few senior Union commanders seem to think that way at this stage of the war.


Very good catch on your part. That is one of my many favorite quotes-interesting how Grant and Sherman said so much I like.

_____________________________

"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast."- W.T. Sherman

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/7/2012 4:45:28 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Shiloh, General Beauregard had dismissed the reports of additional Northern troops joining Grant's forces. This was odd, because Beauregard had known of Don Carlos Buell's force moving south. And it was true. Buell's 15,000 Yankees had marched through the night, and by 4 a.m. were in position.

The Union counterattack got underway at dawn, and the ferocious fighting resumed. The Confederates had not entrenched their positions: they had been planning to do the attacking, and searching for food, ammunition, and shelter from the rain had occupied them. Nonetheless, the Rebels put up a very tough fight. By 10 a.m., Beauregard had temporarily stabilized his lines. He was helped by the fact that on the Northern side, there was a coordination problem. Buell considered his forces an independent command, not subject to Grant's orders.

But while the Union left paused to regroup, the Union right made progress. Soon, the Southerners were forced to fall back, lest they be flanked from the west. In early afternoon, Beauregard tried counter-attacking and for a time drove back the Union right. But then the Union left moved forward again, and because it had fresh troops, was successful. Beauregard's final counterattack was flanked and repulsed by a skillful maneuver from Grant.

With a quarter of his army killed, wounded, or missing, Beauregard knew it was time to retreat. Knowing his men were near the limit of endurance, Grant decided not to pursue. With fresher troops, Buell disagreed, but knew his force was too small to take on the Confederate army by itself.

The final toll was staggering for both sides. Union Losses were 1,754 dead, 8,408 wounded, 2,885 captured/missing (mostly from the Hornets' Nest). Confederate Losses were 1,723 dead, 8,012 wounded, 959 captured/missing. Among these was Henry Morton Stanley, who had been taken prisoner when he had not heard the rest of his unit falling back. Since Stanley had not attachment to the South as his birthplace, he would eventually join the Union army, and then the navy.




At Island No. 10, the Union troops could now cross the river below the island, while USS Carondelet and Pittsburg shelled the fortifications from the rear. Realizing his position was now hopeless, Confederate commander Mackall ordered his forces on the mainland to retreat to Tiptonville, while the island's garrison were left to themselves. The demoralized garrison soon surrendered to the Union gunboats. The Southerners on the mainland fared no better: Union commander Pope's scouts spotted their retreat, the gunboats shelled the columns and slowed them, and the Federals occupied Tiptonville before Mackall and his men could reach it. With nowhere to go, they surrendered as well.

Over 4,000 Confederates became prisoners. (Pope claimed almost 7,000, but this is unlikely.) The Mississippi River was now open to the North all the way down to Fort Pillow.



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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/7/2012 4:47:54 PM >

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/10/2012 5:19:50 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The next part of tightening the Union naval blockade was to seal off Savannah, Georgia. But there was a major obstacle: in the middle of the river mouth stood an island with Fort Pulaski, which was considered impregnable. Until it could be reduced, Confederate warships and blockade runners had a safe harbor behind it.

Fort Pulaski was built with brick walls six feet or more thick. To have a chance at breaking those walls, a smoothbore cannon would have to be within 800 yards. And there was no ground besides swamp within that distance. The U.S. Chief of Engineers, General Joseph Totten, had remarked, "You might as well bombard the Rocky Mountains." But a Union artillerist named Quincy Gillmore wasn't so sure. He believed that rifled cannon, which fired elongated and therefore heavier shells, would have the range, accuracy, and hitting power to do the job.


Gillmore put together a plan involving rifled guns to breach the fort walls, and mortars to land explosive shells inside the fort. It took a month of exhausting labor by soldiers and "contrabands", but finally a total of 36 guns were in position. On this date, after a demand for the surrender of the fort had been refused, the Union batteries opened fire.

Gillmore used two types of rifled cannon: "James rifles", which were made by cutting rifling into smoothbore cannon, and "Parrott rifles", which were made of cast iron with a reinforcing band of wrought iron around the breach. The James rifles were bigger, and soon were making serious dents in Fort Pulaski's walls. The mortars, on the other hand, were inaccurate at that range, landing only 10% of their shells on target. The Confederate defenders inside the fort began a spirited counter-battery fire, and proved to have rifled guns of their own, which were accurate enough to make working the Union guns a dangerous business. But by nightfall, most of the rebel guns had been silenced, and the fort's southeast corner had been breached.




Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/10/2012 5:22:15 AM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/10/2012 9:27:02 AM   
nicwb

 

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Thanks Capt Harlock - I've always wondered what the difference between James Rifles and Parrots was.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/11/2012 8:28:04 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Fort Pulaski, the bombardment resumed shortly after daybreak. The Confederates had done some cannon repair during the night, and again there were shells flying both ways. This time, the Union rifled guns focused on making a breach in the walls, and the smoothbores were used to widen a breach once made.

Eventually there was a collapse of one sector, and Yankee shells began to reach the interior of the fort, threatening a magazine containing twenty tons of powder. The Southern commander ran up the white flag. Into Union hands went nearly four dozen guns, over 360 prisoners, and control of the approach to Savannah.

The bombardment of Fort Pulaski was almost as much a revolution as the duel between the Monitor and the Virginia. Forts made of brick and stone were now as obsolete as warships made of wood. And General Quincy Gillmore became the North's premier expert on siege artillery. He would be heard from again.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to nicwb)
Post #: 520
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/12/2012 5:33:47 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

James J. Andrews, a Union scout and occasional spy, had put together a plan to disrupt the Confederate railroads in Georgia and Tennessee. On this date, with twenty-one other Northern volunteers, he stole the locomotive "General" and several attached cars at Big Shanty, Georgia, and headed north. The result was the Great Locomotive Chase.

They had reckoned without the determination of the train's conductor, William Allen Fuller. With two other men, Fuller pursued his stolen train, by foot, by handcar, by commandeered train. The Northern raiders had cut the telegraph lines so that Fuller could not send a signal on ahead, but he found Southern soldiers and civilians ready to help as soon as he explained the situation. Andrews and his men attempted a number of times to delay the pursuit by such moves as setting a covered bridge on fire, but Fuller and his scratch crew overcame every obstacle. Finally the "General" ran out of fuel.

The Northerners scattered and attempted to get back to Union territory, but they were still south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and now the alarm spread. Within two weeks all twenty-two, plus two more who had not boarded the stolen train, were rounded up. Andrews and seven others were convicted as spies and hanged.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/12/2012 5:35:35 AM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/12/2012 12:37:31 PM   
nicwb

 

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Once again thanks Capt Harlock !

I knew that the Great Locomotive Chase years later formed the plot inspiration for the Buster Keaton movie "The General" - but I never realised some of Keaton's inspiration for the pursuit by handcar and commandereed train was true to life !

Great stuff !

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/14/2012 4:22:27 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Army of the Potomac had been brought to a halt, for the moment, at Yorktown. (A proposal to land Union troops behind the fortifications had been rejected because the CSS Virginia was still in the area.) But George McClellan and his Confederate counterpart Joseph Johnston thought alike on one key point: Yorktown could not hold against the Yankee siege artillery and superior numbers. Among other weapons, the Northerners had brought five 100-pounder Parrott guns -- and the heaviest guns at Fort Pulaski had thrown only 42-pound shells.



On this date, Johnston presented a plan to President Jefferson Davis and several members of his cabinet. The newly-named Army of Northern Virginia would fall back to near Richmond while drawing nearly all the coast defense troops along the Atlantic for reinforcements. This would bring the Confederate strength close to the Army of the Potomac's 100,000-plus men, and the Federals could be defeated while on the march and vulnerable. The Army of Northern Virginia could then turn north to Washington.

Secretary of war Randolph, a former navy man, pointed out that the retreat would mean giving up Norfolk Navy Yard, and probably the CSS Virginia with it. Also present was General Robert E. Lee, who had taken command of the coastal defenses along the Atlantic seaboard and knew the danger of abandoning all the ports. A marathon debating session took place, interrupted for dinner at 7:00 pm, but then resuming until midnight. Slowly Johnston's plan lost favor, and finally Davis gave his orders: keep the coast defenses, and hold on the Yorktown line with 70,000 men. Johnston departed to do his duty, but Davis began to have more and more doubts about him. It seems likely that confidence was never recovered.


Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/14/2012 4:25:13 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/14/2012 4:30:32 PM   
parusski


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Great information.

And that is one of the most focused Civil War photos I have ever seen.

_____________________________

"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast."- W.T. Sherman

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/14/2012 6:15:33 PM   
planner 3

 

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Parusski.....Mathew Brady photo shopped it before release, that man wwas always ahead of his time.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/14/2012 6:39:37 PM   
parusski


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quote:

ORIGINAL: planner 3

Parusski.....Mathew Brady photo shopped it before release, that man wwas always ahead of his time.


LOL. Brady and Ambrose, right??

_____________________________

"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast."- W.T. Sherman

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/15/2012 4:33:59 AM   
planner 3

 

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Si si Senor parusski, The parusski of Panzer Corps fame, owner of Brody WY.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/15/2012 8:01:18 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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While George McClellan had been setting up his Army of the Potomac on land, Flag Officer David Farragut had been establishing a Union fleet at the mouth of the Mississippi. This had taken even more time than the land operation, because there was a sandbar at the Southwest Passage with a depth of only 16 feet. Farragut's flagship Hartford drew 17 feet, and several of his other vessels drew even more. Herculean efforts brought the interestingly-named Pensacola, Mississippi, and Richmond past the bar and into the river, but the 44-gun steam frigate Colorado drew 22 feet and had to stay at sea. Other ships in the Northern fleet had an easier time, including 19 mortar schooners under Commander David Dixon Porter.

The Confederates were perfectly aware of all the activity. They were not overly concerned, although New Orleans was the largest and richest city in all the South. The Federals still had to cut a chain barrier across the river, get past Forts Jackson and St. Philip, two of the most powerful forts in North America, and then there was a squadron of Rebel gunboats headed by the ironclad Manassas. And two more ironclads, Louisiana and Mississippi, were under construction. At this time the Union could not bring ironclads to the river: the sea voyage was too risky. When the remaining two ironclads were complete, the wooden Union vessels would not be able to escape fast enough.

Runaway slaves reported this to the Northerners, and now Farragut had a time problem. The Mortar schooners under Porter were supposed to bombard and neutralize the Confederate forts in 48 hours, allowing the fleet and 7,000 bluecoats under General Benjamin Butler to take New Orleans. Butler's force was also taking time to get into position, so it was decided to rely primarily on the Navy. On this date, three mortar schooners moved up and tested the range on Fort Jackson. From 3,000 yards, the shells managed to reach, one even landing inside the fort walls. Porter withdrew the boats to allow the Coast Survey to map out the shallows. The serious bombardment was scheduled to begin in three days.




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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/16/2012 5:10:09 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In the Virginia peninsula, two Union regiments attempted to take a position at Dam No. 1, near Lee's Mill. Confederate reinforcements drove them back, at a cost of 35 dead and 121 wounded, while the Rebels lost between 60 and 75 all told. McClellan mistakenly took this as a sign that he was facing an army the size of his own. The Southerners had indeed put extra troops into the field, but there were still only 57,000 of them. More men were badly needed.

Jefferson Davis signed the first conscription act in American history into law. This gave the Confederate government the power to call all white males age eighteen to thirty-five for three years' military service. It also required all those currently enlisted to be reenlisted, breaking the terms under which they had volunteered.

There were no exemptions (for the moment), but the law allowed for substitutions, if one could find another, older than thirty-five, not already enlisted. However, it would soon be discovered that many people, such as telegraph operators, railroad engineers, and foundry workers were too important to lose to the army. But the argument over just who would be exempted would lead to the slogan "A rich man's war but a poor man's fight".

On the same day, Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Emancipation Act, abolishing slavery in the U.S. capital, but providing payment up to $300 for slaveholders who could establish they were loyal to the Union. It would prove to be the only instance of legally compensated emancipation. It also provided up to $100 for former slaves choosing emigration back to Africa or Haiti. The act freed over 3,000 slaves, but few seem to have chosen to emigrate.

Since 2005, April 16 has been celebrated as Emancipation Day, a public holiday in the District of Columbia. This is the reason why Americans have until April 17 to file their income taxes this year.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/16/2012 8:29:11 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/18/2012 5:39:33 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

South of New Orleans, the Union mortar schooners got into position and began their firing on Fort Jackson. The Union boats had the range, but so did the fort's rifled cannon. Before long, Commander Porter ordered his lead boats to move behind a screen of cotton-wood trees along the river bank. The high trajectory of the mortars could still reach the fort.

However, the Union sailors could no longer see whether their shells were on target or not. By afternoon, smoke could be seen rising from Fort Jackson, but how much of it was from fires, how much from the bursting shells, and how much from the fort's guns was hard to guess. Porter guessed optimistically, and called a halt to the firing at sunset, although he had given himself just 48 hours to neutralize both forts. It would prove to be a serious mistake.




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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/18/2012 8:56:13 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 530
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/19/2012 5:14:03 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Union bombardment of Fort Jackson had in fact done significant damage, knocking a number of guns out of action and starting fires inside the fort. But the Confederates used the respite during the night to good advantage. The fires were put out, and most of the guns were made serviceable again. (The cannons themselves rarely took damage; it was the gun carriages that were broken or turned over.) When the Northern mortar schooners opened up again at daybreak, the Rebels were ready.

And this time the Northerners' fire was less accurate. None of the mortar schooners ventured out within direct sight of the fort's rifled guns, which meant the Union gunners could not observe for range and wind correction. The Southern garrison, which had come near to panic the day before, stood to their guns. Though neither side did serious damage to the other, the advantage was now to the Rebels. And if Fort Jackson now had slightly fewer guns, there was help on the way: the ironclad CSS Louisiana was towed down to the scene. She had no engines as yet, but she was a formidable floating battery of 16 guns, divided between rifled cannon and shell guns.




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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/19/2012 5:23:33 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 531
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/21/2012 4:20:08 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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Mid-to-late April, 1862:

In New Mexico/Arizona, the Confederate force under General Sibley and the Union force under Colonel Canby had performed one of the war's odder movements. In this area, the Rio Grande runs roughly north and south. After the burning of their supply wagons at Glorietta Pass, the Rebels had retreated south along the west bank. The Federals had marched south along the east bank, almost as if they were escorting their opponents. They didn't really need to engage, for the Union army had been reinforced to the point where they clearly outnumbered the Confederates, and had plenty of supplies to boot. Eventually Sibley and his officers decided to swing west into the low mountains to lose their pursuers.

It was a grave blunder. There was virtually no water in the rocky foothills, and the weather had turned hot. In a matter of days, morale collapsed, and the Confederate Army of New Mexico turned from an organized fighting force to a scattered rabble.


South of New Orleans, the Northerners had realized the value of a round-the-clock bombardment of the Southern forts. But it was too late: the Confederate garrison in the forts had learned to deal with the mortar schooners, keeping the Northern boats at a safe distance with their own guns, and organizing fire-fighting parties for the few shells that arrived on target. Flag Officer Farragut realized this approach wasn't working, and determined to try something bolder. He would send a small party of sappers to cut the chain blocking the river, and then run his fleet past the forts at night.


In the Virginia Peninsula, matters proceeded very slowly. The Union heavy artillery needed rail lines to bring the massive rifled cannon and mortars to the front, and then considerable time to emplace them.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 532
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/24/2012 4:44:29 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In the dead of night, Farragut's ships began sailing up the Mississippi River past Fort Jackson and Fort St. Phillip. At 3:40 AM, the fort guns opened up, and rapidly all proverbial hell broke loose. Farragut's ships fired in answer, the mortar schooners added their shells from downstream, the CSS Manassas and the engineless CSS Louisiana joined in, and to top everything off the Southerners lit fire rafts and pushed them into the stream.



Not surprisingly, there are differing accounts of the battle. What seems fairly clear is that the Confederate forts inflicted mostly light damage on the Union ships, while the Union guns caused almost none to the forts. However, Farragut's flagship Hartford was turned by an eddy in the river, and found herself headed towards a tug with a fire raft. The helmsman overreacted and grounded the Hartford just above Fort St. Philip. The fire raft was pushed into her, and began to scorch the port beam.

The 60-year-old Farragut was fearless. Shouting orders and encouragement, he got Hartford's men to respond superbly. The starboard guns managed to suppress the cannon fire from the fort. Three shells were dropped by hand onto the raft, where the flames exploded them and destroyed the raft. Hartford managed to back away, and resumed course.

Meanwhile, one of the smaller and faster Northern ships, the USS Varuna, broke formation and made it past the forts with only one hit. Upriver she encountered the Confederate "mosquito" fleet, which were mostly small craft with one or two guns apiece. Varuna fired rapidly and accurately, disabling four of the Rebel vessels. Seeing this, the CSS Governor Moore determined to engage her. It started off badly when the Governor Moore ran into the Confederate tug Belle Algerine, sinking the smaller ship. A chase followed, but Varuna had more guns and Moore's crew took heavy casualties. At last, the Moore was able to ram the Varuna, and the Southern captain personally depressed the forward gun to fire through his own bow into the Northern ship. The "cottonclad" ram Stonewall Jackson also managed to ram the stricken Union ship. Mortally wounded, Varuna made it to shallow water before she went down. The Governor Moore was in little better shape, and the steersman drove the ship ashore. Unhappy at first, the captain soon realized that most of his crew was down and his ship had numerous holes, and so ordered her set on fire and abandoned.



The ironclad Manassas did the most damage to the big Union ships that night. First she attempted to ram USS Pensacola, but the Northern vessel managed to dodge. The next target was the USS Mississippi and this time Manassas scored a glancing blow to the hull, adding a shot from her only gun. The third time was better still: she rammed USS Brooklyn, again firing her gun. The damage was later found to be substantial, with Brooklyn requiring 24 feet of patching.

According to some reports, the Manassas then followed the Union fleet, waiting for another opportunity. As she drew closer, however, Mississippi turned and attempted a ram of her own. Manassas slipped out of the way but ran aground. Mississippi's captain and crew evidently did not believe in sportmanship, pouring full broadsides into the now-helpless Confederate vessel. Whether her crew set her ablaze and abandoned her, or whether it was done by a Union boarding party is not clear, but eventually she drifted down the river in flames. As she passed Commander Porter's mortar flotilla, Manassas exploded and went under.

Dawn found the Northern fleet licking its wounds. Three of the smaller ships had turned back, and Varuna was lost. A total of 37 men had been killed and 147 men wounded. But a few hasty repairs rendered all five of the heavy ships ready for further action, and the Confederate fleet had been all but annihilated, losing eleven vessels besides Manassas. The way to New Orleans was open.




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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/24/2012 4:50:57 AM >

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Post #: 533
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/25/2012 4:49:44 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Union fleet under Farragut had passed Forts Jackson and st. Philip, but they stilled barred the way to General Benjamin Butler's troops. Farragut was in no mood to wait. He sailed his fleet to the docksides of New Orleans. There he found an angry mob, but few Confederate soldiers. The regular army troops had been sent to join Johnston's ill-fated attack at Shiloh, and nearly all the militia had decamped as soon as they heard the Union warships were past the forts. A number of the Southerners set the valuable bales of cotton in the city on fire, and a few rash souls waved pistols at the Northern gunboats. A sailor on the Hartford gave an eloquent answer without saying a word; he grinned and patted the breach of a large pivot-gun.

Farragut wanted a formal surrender before he landed his men. But the mayor declined to give any such thing, saying he was a civilian, the city was under martial law, and a surrender was a military affair. General Mansfield Lovell of the militia in turn said he could not surrender, because his troops were no longer in the city. (He left out that he intended to leave himself as soon as he could.) The Southerners would manage to stretch out the negotiations for several days, but the end result was already there. The Confederacy had lost its largest and richest city, and the mouth of the Mississippi was forever closed to Confederate shipping.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/25/2012 8:31:08 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 534
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/28/2012 4:11:12 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today (or tomorrow):

Confederate General Johnson Duncan, the commander of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, woke up to an unpleasant situation. The news had reached the forts that Farragut's fleet was at New Orleans, and the city was essentially defenseless. More, the 7,000 Union infantry under Benjamin Butler had arrived, and they far outnumbered the garrisons of the forts, who were cut off from each other by the Union control of the Mississippi river. The result was something extremely rare in the Civil War: a mutiny by Southern troops. Around midnight, the men in Fort Jackson refused to follow further orders, and by daybreak, half of them were gone.

(One source places these events on April 29, 1862, but the others say April 28.)

In Fort St. Philip, Duncan realized that further resistance was useless. Fort Jackson had been the more powerful of the two forts. He requested surrender terms from Commander Porter of the Union flotilla left behind while Farragut's heavy ships had gone to New Orleans. But there was one card left to play: the ironclad Louisiana should not be allowed to fall into Northern hands. Escape was impossible, for her engines were not working. But she was considered to be a part of the Confederate navy rather than the army, and so while General Duncan agreed to make no military moves while the parley was under way, the Louisiana's captain and crew were still free to act.

Shortly the Louisiana was on fire, and soon after that, she was adrift on the river, headed for the Union ships. But if there had been a plan to damage the Federal fleet, it backfired: Louisiana had managed to get off less than a dozen shots while Farragut was running past the forts, and her magazines were still almost full. She blew up before she could drift past Fort St. Philip, and the explosion killed a Confederate soldier.





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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/28/2012 4:13:06 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 535
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/29/2012 5:37:40 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At New Orleans, David Farragut's patience was exhausted with the refusal to formally surrender. During a visit to the City Hall, a group of sailors and marines had raised the United States flag over the building. Even while they were negotiating with the mayor and city council (and getting nowhere), a group of New Orleans residents had hauled the flag down and torn it into shreds. Now Farragut announced that the Union flag would be raised over City Hall again, and also over the Federal buildings such as the Mint and the Customs-house. If the flag were "disrespected", his ships would bombard the city.

This time the flags went up to stay.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 536
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/29/2012 11:48:36 AM   
martok


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Heh.  I wondered if Farragut would do something like that once his patience ran out.   



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"Evil is easy, and has infinite forms." -- Pascal


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Post #: 537
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/29/2012 7:22:33 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

I wondered if Farragut would do something like that once his patience ran out.


No one will ever know for certain, of course, but this humble amateur historian's opinion is that Farragut was bluffing. New Orleans was the busiest port in the South, and as such received a large number of foreign visitors. To accommodate these, most of the major European powers had built consulates in the city, including Britain, France, Austria, and Russia. (In addition, there seems to have been a French gunboat present in the area to "protect French interests".) If shells had hit these buildings, or if the all-important levees had been breached, there would have been a major international incident.

The tale of the flags was not over, by the way. General Benjamin Butler was now on the scene. (He had arrived ahead of his troops, and was enjoying Farragut's hospitality aboard the flagship.) When he heard of the destruction of the first Union flag, he resolved immediately to find the man responsible, and hang him.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to martok)
Post #: 538
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/30/2012 12:52:51 PM   
nicwb

 

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Gotta love ben "the Beast" Butler - even in a war full of colourful personalities he truly managed to stand out!

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Post #: 539
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/1/2012 8:36:16 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At last, 5,000 Union troops marched into New Orleans, and the debate over surrender was at an end. The force seemed none too large to hold a city with over 140,000 residents, but the fact that Benjamin Butler was a political general now became an asset. He soon got the poorer people on his side by breaking open warehouses and distributing food to the needy, and then by starting improvement projects on the city sewers and levees. New Orleans had suffered serious unemployment because of the blockade, and now a number of the city's workmen found themselves employed by the U. S. government.

Butler's policy of not returning runaway slaves also helped. The news quickly spread through Louisiana, and slaveholders anywhere near Union lines lost substantial numbers of their slaves. They appealed to the state government for help, and a number of Southern soldiers were deployed to guard the plantations rather than being assembled for a counter-attack. More, Butler formed runaway slaves and free blacks into a militia, technically not part of the Union army but useful for patrolling the streets. Now the Northern fleet was no longer needed at the city, and could sail up the Mississippi towards Baton Rouge, the state capital.

Shock waves from the fall of New Orleans spread all the way across the Atlantic. After New York and Washington, the city was the one most familiar to European visitors. Southern agents asking for recognition of the Confederacy now received unsympathetic hearings.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to nicwb)
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