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RE: Civil War 150th

 
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RE: Civil War 150th - 1/8/2013 8:46:55 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Confederates knew that they did not have enough men at the moment to push the Northerners out of Missouri. But they had enough to cause considerable trouble, which they hoped would prevent the Federals from going further into Arkansas. John Marmaduke, now a general, led two columns of Rebel cavalry, about 1900 men, on a raid into Missouri.

Excited Union scouts at first reported the enemy force as over 5,000 men. General Egbert Brown, the commander at the important supply depot at Springfield, Missouri, had less than 1,400 immediately available. But the shame of the destruction of Holly Springs was fresh in Northern minds, and Brown decided to defend the town and the supplies. (He took the precaution of sending for reinforcements.)

On the morning of this date, Marmaduke's Rebels attacked. The town was defended by four earthen forts on high points outside of the town, but the Southerners overran the local college, turning it into a fort of their own, and advanced into the town proper. The fighting then became house-to-house, and the advance stalled. Marmaduke had not concentrated his forces well, and Yankee reinforcements began to come in.

After hours of determined combat, the Confederates could see that the Union force was now equal to or larger than their own. (Eventually there were almost 2,100 Yankees engaged.) They made one final charge on Fort No. 4, hoping to be able to command the town. But a mixed force of Northern regular troops, local militia, and even some convalescents from the military hospital fired furiously, and drove the Rebels back. The sun went down, and the fighting slowly petered out. The town had taken significant damage from artillery fire, and from deliberate destruction by the Northerners to give them clear fields of fire. But the stockpiles of supplies were saved.

Northern casualties were about 230 total, of which 30 were killed. Southern casualties were about 290 total, of which at least 45 were killed. Springfield would remain an important center both for supplies and for its hospital -- which would be quieter for its recovering patients in the future.




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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 #: 751
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/10/2013 5:43:59 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Arkansas Post, the Union expedition had arrived. They faced no light task, for the Confederates had built a substantial fort which they called Fort Hindman. Not wishing to be exposed to the Rebel fort's artillery, the Northern transports landed their troops a few miles downstream while the three ironclads went on to deliver a preliminary bombardment. As Sherman described, the Yankees had some frustrating marching on the first day:

Early the next morning we disembarked. Stuart's division, moving up the river along the bank, soon encountered a force of the enemy intrenched behind a line of earthworks, extending from the river across to the swamp. I took Steele's division, marching by the flank by a road through the swamp to the firm ground behind, and was moving up to get to the rear of Fort Hindman, when General McClernand overtook me, with the report that the rebels had abandoned their first position, and had fallen back into the fort. By his orders, we counter-marched, recrossed the swamp, and hurried forward..."
--The Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


Nearly all of the more than 5,000 Rebel troops in the area were now concentrated inside the fortifications. The good news for the Federals was there would be no further retreats. Confederate commander Thomas Churchill received orders to hold until relieved, or until the garrison was all killed.


< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 1/10/2013 8:32:22 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 #: 752
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/11/2013 5:08:37 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Fort Hindman in Arkansas, Sherman was willing to do his own scouting:

During the night, which was a bright moonlight one, we reconnoitred close up, and found a large number of huts which had been abandoned, and the whole rebel force had fallen back into and about the fort. Personally I crept up to a stump so close that I could hear the enemy hard at work, pulling down houses, cutting with axes, and building intrenchments. I could almost hear their words, and I was thus listening when, about 4 A. M. the bugler in the rebel camp sounded as pretty a reveille as I ever listened to."
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


Happily for the Northerners, their three commanders each had their own forces to command, and interfered remarkably little with each other. There was a modest delay, but the two wings of the Union army and the flotilla of gunboats delivered a coordinated attack.

In about half an hour I heard the clear ring of the navy-guns; the fire gradually increasing in rapidity and advancing toward the fort. I had distributed our field-guns, and, when I judged the time had come, I gave the orders to begin. The intervening ground between us and the enemy was a dead level, with the exception of one or two small gullies, and our men had no cover but the few standing trees and some logs on the ground. The troops advanced well under a heavy fire, once or twice falling to the ground for a sort of rest or pause. Every tree had its group of men, and behind each log was a crowd of sharp-shooters, who kept up so hot a fire that the rebel troops fired wild. The fire of the fort proper was kept busy by the gunboats and Morgan's corps, so that all my corps had to encounter was the direct fire from the newly-built parapet across the peninsula. This line had three sections of field-guns, that kept things pretty lively, and several round-shot came so near me that I realized that they were aimed at my staff; so I dismounted, and made them scatter.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


By the early afternoon, the ring of fire around the Confederate fort was taking its toll on both the fort walls and the defenders. A white flag went up, and the firing ceased. According to Sherman's account, the flag was actually due to a misunderstanding between the Southern officers, but by the time it was cleared up, the Northerners were in possession of the fort. (So much for the orders to hold to the last man.)

Union casualties were 1,061 in total: 134 killed, 898 wounded and 29 missing. The Confederates probably lost fewer killed and wounded, but nearly 4,800 men became prisoners. These losses were about one-fourth of all the Confederate regular troops in Arkansas, which was grim news for Southern hopes in the Missouri-Kansas-Arkansas theater.




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Post #: 753
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/11/2013 1:44:32 PM   
RedArgo


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Great stuff Captain, hope you can keep it up for the duration of the war.

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 754
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/12/2013 4:45:20 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Jefferson Davis gave a formal reply to the Emancipation Proclamation. In a message to the Confederate Congress (much like a Southern State of the Union Address), he denounced it in no uncertain terms and issued a serious threat:

The public journals of the North have been received containing a proclamation dated on the first day of the present month signed by the President of the United States in which he orders and declares all slaves within ten States of the Confederacy to be free, except such as are found in certain districts now occupied in part by the armed forces of the enemy.

We may well leave it to the instincts of that common humanity which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellowmen of all countries to pass judgment on a measure by which several millions of human beings of an inferior race, peaceful and contented laborers in their sphere, are doomed to extermination, while at the same time they are encouraged to a general assassination of their masters by the insidious recommendation "to abstain from violence unless in necessary self-defense." Our own detestation of those who have attempted the most execrable measure recorded in the history of guilty man is tempered by profound contempt for the impotent rage which it discloses. So far as regards the action of this Government on such criminals as may attempt its execution I confine myself to informing you that I shall unless in your wisdom you deem some other course more expedient deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States embraced in the proclamation that they may be dealt with in accordance with the laws of those States providing for the punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile insurrection.

[. . .]

JEFF'N DAVIS.


The "laws of those States" generally meant the death penalty. For the Union Navy it made little difference, since Northern warships were rarely captured. (And even when they were, black crewmen were frequently cooks and cabin-boys, and not armed.) But the risk for Union Army officers leading "colored" troops was now very real.




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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 #: 755
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/14/2013 3:49:55 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Off the lighthouse near Galveston, Texas, the U. S. Navy was trying to re-establish the blockade. The steamer USS Hatteras spotted a suspicious vessel and challenged her. At first the stranger identified herself as "Her Britannic Majesty's Ship Petrel", but the Northern captain was unconvinced. He had a boat lowered to row over and inspect the stranger. The longboat had not gone far when a different shout came: "We are the CSS Alabama." The Union Jack came down, the Stars and Bars went up, and a broadside roared at a distance of 200 yards (180m). The crew of the Hatteras manned their guns and replied, but soon found the odds were against them.

Alabama was the ship that famed Confederate raider Raphael Semmes had acquired after his first raider, the CSS Sumter, had been trapped in Gibraltar. The Alabama had been heavily armed, so much so that none of the numerous Union merchant ships she had captured had dared to fight. Now her guns were proving superior to a U. S. warship. After twenty minutes of what Semmes later described as a "sharp and exciting" duel as close as 25 yards (23m), Hatteras had been reduced to a sinking condition. She fired her bow gun to indicate surrender, and Captain Semmes sent over his boats to evacuate the Northerner's crew. Two Union sailors had been killed and five wounded, while only two Confederate crewmen had been wounded.

For the Union merchant marine, the Alabama was now the terror of the seas. Thanks to her and other Confederate raiders, by the end of the war, the Stars and Stripes would almost disappear from cargo shipping in the Atlantic; the insurance rates had jumped to the point where few were willing to pay.





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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 1/14/2013 3:52:58 AM >


_____________________________

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 #: 756
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/17/2013 5:33:06 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today (or possibly tomorrow):

W. T. Sherman, John McClernand, and David Dixon Porter, fresh from their victory at Fort Hindman, arrived back on the Mississippi River at a place called Napoleon. Waiting for them was a message from U. S. Grant, disapproving of their venture. Presently they were joined by Grant himself.

Grant and Sherman had a solid friendship, so Sherman was speedily forgiven. (A pile of captured artillery and supplies plus 5,000 Confederate prisoners didn't hurt a bit.) Porter was Navy rather than Army, so Grant's forgiveness was immaterial. But McClernand was another matter. As part of the expedition up the Yazoo river, McClernand had re-named the two infantry corps under his command into the "Army of the Mississippi". He was clearly angling for an independent command, but those two corps were supposed to belong to Grant's forces.

More, a number of the lower officers privately communicated to Grant that they had no confidence in McClernand's abilities. Porter especially had a strong dislike of McClernand, and McClernand had returned the favor by minimizing the Navy's key role in the capture of Fort Hindman in his official report. This boded ill for the future, since the Navy's cooperation was vital for operations against Vicksburg. Grant had planned to put Sherman in command, but McClernand had seniority over Sherman. To prevent McClernand from taking over in that area, Grant would have to assume command himself.

_____________________________

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 #: 757
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/20/2013 2:56:38 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Battle of Stones River and the success at Fort Hindman had revived Northern morale in the west. But in the east, the Army of the Potomac was still a beaten army, not yet recovered from the slaughter at Fredricksburg and hemorrhaging as many as a hundred desertions a day. General Ambrose Burnside had one last chance to restore the army's confidence in itself, and him. He planned a march to the west, crossing the Rappahannock River where the Confederates would not expect him.

There were three problems. The least of them was the Confederates did in fact expect him. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and James Longstreet had all been studying their maps, and knew where the potential crossing places were. The second problem was that none of Burnside's subordinates believed in the plan, and several said so out loud and loudly, sending the morale of their soldiers down even further. Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker was quieter about it, but he held the strong opinion that he rather than Burnside should be in command, and spread the word to people in Washington.

But the greatest problem of all was the weather. The day before had been a remarkably sunny and warm day for mid-January, which was potentially bad because it thawed the frozen dirt roads. As long as it stayed dry, however, this was good campaigning weather. But on this date the clouds rolled in, and by the evening the rain came down, and not lightly. It would not stop raining for forty-eight hours.




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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 1/21/2013 8:43:19 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 #: 758
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/21/2013 8:38:57 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today (and the next day wasn't much different):

The rains had turned Ambrose Burnside's move into the slow-motion disaster that would from then on be known as the "Mud March". What had been good dirt roads the day before had been transformed overnight into deep quagmires of mud. And the temperature was the worst possible: just above freezing, making men miserable and sapping the draft animals of their energy, but not cold enough to solidify the morass which in some places was essentially quicksand.

The men could slog forward with difficulty. But anything with wheels was in deep trouble. Cannons especially quickly sank to their axles or even further, and defied all efforts to move them. Arguably the Union army could have simply abandoned its guns, but not its supply wagons and doubly not the carriages of the pontoons needed to bridge the Rappahannock River. Without the Confederates having to fire a shot, the Yankees had been stopped in their tracks.

Although the rain also prevented camp or cooking fires, at least one Northerner tried to keep his sense of humor, composing the following ditty:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
In mud that's many fathoms deep,
If I'm not here when you awake,
Just hunt me up with an oyster-rake.





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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 1/21/2013 8:44:00 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 #: 759
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/21/2013 10:00:04 PM   
wodin


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Capt...I hope your keeping a copy in a word doc? As once finished I'm sure could be published..even on kindle or something.

_____________________________

My Tactical wargame facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/Tacticalwargame


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Post #: 760
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/23/2013 8:32:55 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The rains in northern Virginia had stopped, but the mud remained. It was doing damage, not merely to the morale of the Army of the Potomac, but to its transport animals. In a number of cases the horses and other beasts of burden sank into the mud so deeply that their cold-weakened muscles were simply not up to getting out. Rather than let them die slowly of exposure, they were shot.

The Confederates were not slow to add insult to injury. Many derisive shouts went across the Rappahannock River, sometimes even offering to help transport guns across to the other side so they could be captured. Several large signs were even set up, with one, painted on the roof of a barn, saying it all: "Burnside Stuck in the Mud".

Ambrose Burnside had finally had enough. On the morning of this date, his orders reached the troops to call off the march. Then he sat down and composed his General Orders No. 8, proposing to fire most of his top officers. Aware that Joe Hooker had been bad-mouthing him behind his back, he even recommended that Hooker be dismissed from the service. General Orders No. 8 went to President Lincoln for review.

_____________________________

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 wodin)
Post #: 761
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/25/2013 8:35:22 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At the White House, a rather uncomfortable meeting took place between General Burnside and President Lincoln. Burnside had come with his General Orders No. 8, demanding the firing of nine subordinate officers, and as an alternative, his own resignation from the Army. Lincoln accepted neither, attempting to split the difference. He decided to relieve two subordinate generals of their commands, and informed Burnside that he would be re-assigned, probably to the Union-held areas off the coasts of South and North Carolina. The new commander of the Army of the Potomac would be Joseph Hooker.

This was just about the last man Burnside wanted. He was aware that Hooker had been intriguing against him behind his back, and indeed had declared that both the Army and the country needed a dictator. But he was the next senior general in line, and had compiled a decent combat record thus far. Burnside had to be contented with thirty days' leave.

Incidentally, "Fighting Joe" Hooker seems to have gotten his nickname from an error in punctuation. A newspaper dispatch had ended one sentence with "fighting" and started the next with "Joe Hooker", and somehow the division between the sentences had been dropped. Hooker didn't mind -- it was a lot better than many another nickname in the Civil War. (Grant was referred to as "Butcher" Grant after the carnage of the Wilderness campaign.) Also, the term "hooker" for a prostitute was in use over a decade earlier than Hooker's rise to fame. But it would have been appropriate, for his headquarters was notorious for the number of female "camp followers" to be found nearby.




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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 #: 762
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/26/2013 3:43:19 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Abraham Lincoln penned one of the more unusual notes to a new army commander:

EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, D.C., January 26, 1863.

MAJOR-GENERAL HOOKER,

GENERAL: I have placed you at the head of the Army of the Potomac. Of course I have done this upon what appears to me to be sufficient reasons, and yet I think it best for you to know that there are some things in regard to which I am not satisfied with you. I believe you to be a brave and skilful soldier, which of course I like. I also believe that you do not mix politics with your profession, in which you are right. You have confidence in yourself, which is a valuable, if not indispensable, quality. You are ambitious, which, within reason, does good rather than harm; but I think that during General Burnside’s command of the army you have taken counsel of your ambition and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country, and to a most meritorious and honorable brother officer. I have heard, in such a 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 success can be dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship. The government will support you to the utmost of its ability, which is neither more nor less than it has done and will do for all commanders. I much fear that the spirit you have aimed to infuse into the army, of criticising their commander and withholding confidence from him, will now turn upon you. I shall assist you as far as I can to put it down. Neither you, nor Napoleon, if he were alive again, could get any good out of an army while such a spirit prevails in it. And now, beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but, with energy and sleepless vigilance, go forward and give us victories.

Yours, very truly,

A. LINCOLN


In your humble correspondent's opinion, Lincoln missed the most important point. The spirit then prevailing in the Army of the Potomac was antagonism to virtually everything about the Army, not just criticism of their commanders. Poor equipment and worse food were the order of the day, drunkenness and desertion were rife, and morale was at an all-time low after Fredricksburg and the Mud March. Hooker would have his work cut out for him to get the Army ready for another campaign -- but to the astonishment of many, he would prove to be the man for the job.

_____________________________

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 #: 763
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/30/2013 3:48:55 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Ulysses S. Grant formally took command of the Union forces gathered at Young's Point on the Mississippi River. He dissolved the "Army of the Mississippi" into his own army, reducing John McClernand to a corps commander:

On the 29th of January I arrived at Young's Point and assumed command the following day. General McClernand took exception in a most characteristic way--for him. His correspondence with me on the subject was more in the nature of a reprimand than a protest. It was highly insubordinate, but I overlooked it, as I believed, for the good of the service. General McClernand was a politician of very considerable prominence in his State; he was a member of Congress when the secession war broke out...

The strategical way according to the rule, therefore, would have been to go back to Memphis; establish that as a base of supplies; fortify it so that the storehouses could be held by a small garrison, and move from there along the line of railroad, repairing as we advanced, to the Yallabusha, or to Jackson, Mississippi. At this time the North had become very much discouraged. Many strong Union men believed that the war must prove a failure. The elections of 1862 had gone against the party which was for the prosecution of the war to save the Union if it took the last man and the last dollar. Voluntary enlistments had ceased throughout the greater part of the North, and the draft had been resorted to to fill up our ranks. It was my judgment at the time that to make a backward movement as long as that from Vicksburg to Memphis, would be interpreted, by many of those yet full of hope for the preservation of the Union, as a defeat, and that the draft would be resisted, desertions ensue and the power to capture and punish deserters lost. There was nothing left to be done but to go FORWARD TO A DECISIVE VICTORY.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


That being said, Grant could not help noticing a problem. He was on the wrong side of the river, and:

The water was very high and the rains were incessant. There seemed no possibility of a land movement before the end of March or later, and it would not do to lie idle all this time. The effect would be demoralizing to the troops and injurious to their health. Friends in the North would have grown more and more discouraged, and enemies in the same section more and more insolent in their gibes and denunciation of the cause and those engaged in it.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


There were no good landing areas upstream of Vicksburg, and the Confederates controlled the river downstream. But the river did not run straight in that area, going through several twists that raised the possibility of cutting a canal to bypass the Southern stronghold.

_____________________________

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 #: 764
RE: Civil War 150th - 1/31/2013 2:57:58 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

It was a foggy day off Charleston harbor, and the Confederate ironclads Chicora and Palmetto State took full advantage of it. They had been built with local resources, and while they had been well-armored and armed, their engines would only propel them at five knots. This was not enough to run down any of the Union blockading squadron, in fact, it was not even enough to sail against the tidal currents at their peak.


But on this date the two warships rode the outgoing tide and with the low visibility were able to close in on two Northern vessels. Palmetto State opened fire on USS Mercedita at point-blank range, destroying her boiler room. Seconds later, Palmetto State rammed her victim, reducing her to a sinking condition. Mercedita's captain announced surrender, but there followed back and forth discussions as the Palmetto State had no place to put prisoners. Eventually, the Yankees were allowed to leave in their lifeboats after having given parole.

While this was going on, the Chicora had gone in search of more Union blockaders. She found the USS Keystone State, but the Northern ship was more alert and opened fire before the Chicora could get into ramming range. The Rebel ironclad returned fire willingly; her captain was not sure he had the engine power to pull away after ramming in any case.

Daylight drove away the mists, and the Keystone State could see how slow the two Confederate ships were. Her captain made the unwise decision to attempt to ram. A shot from Chicora punched through the Union warship, damaging both steam drums. The engine room was evacuated, and the flag was hauled down. But at this point the Keystone State's executive officer erupted, told the captain he would assume responsibility, and ordered the flag re-raised and firing resumed. There was still enough pressure to move one of her paddle-wheels, and she moved off, much to the ire of the Rebel commander, who had stopped firing when the flag was lowered.

Four other Union ships, who were now alerted and able to keep enough distance, now joined the fight. Other than a a shell in USS Quaker City's engine room, neither side damaged the other seriously. After several hours of long-range fire, the two Rebel ships returned to Charleston with the incoming tide and declared the blockade lifted. The Union disagreed, however, pointing out that the Southerners had only been out twelve hours instead of the agreed-upon twenty-hour period. The war of words would continue for fifteen years, rather longer than the actual war.






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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 1/31/2013 3:45:30 AM >


_____________________________

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 #: 765
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/2/2013 5:20:25 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Vicksburg, the Confederates were working on an armed steamer which they christened the City of Vicksburg. The Northerners knew that such a ship could seriously hamper their efforts on the western side of the Mississippi. A nineteen-year old man named Charles R. Ellet came up with a plan. And it so happened that Ellet, in spite of his young age, was an Army Colonel and the captain of the famed Union ram Queen of the West. (He had his rank and command by being the son of another Charles Ellet, who had built the squadron of rams under an Army contract before being fatally wounded at the Battle of Memphis.)

The younger Ellet had equipped his vessel with two rifled Parott guns. He proposed to protect his ship against the Confederate shore batteries by stacking cotton bales around his upper decks, which would allow him to reach the docked City of Vicksburg. He would then ram the Rebel ship, and fire a load of balls soaked with turpentine, which with luck set the City of Vicksburg thoroughly on fire. Admiral William Porter had his doubts, but approved.

On this date, the Queen of the West set out in the darkness of the early morning hours. The cotton bales interfered with the pilot's view, however, and some time had to be spent shifting them so he could see well enough not to run the ship aground. It was daylight by the time the Northerners came to Vicksburg. The Confederates were prompt to man their batteries and open up on the Queen of the West, but their aim was not what it could have been, and the improvised cotton-bale protection served the Queen well.

Luck was with the Southerners in one respect. Though the City of Vicksburg stayed docked, there was a strong eddy in the river current that prevented the Queen of the West from delivering a straight-on blow with its ram. The collision was at an angle, and the damage was not what Colonel Ellet wanted. Also, he was able to fire only one of his two guns. The turpentine balls did their work, but the crew aboard the Confederate warship was quick to fight the resulting fire.

In the meantime, the Rebel shore batteries were getting the range. Shells set fire to the cotton bales protecting Queen of the West, and now the Union vessel was in as much danger as her opponent. Ellet ordered a retreat downstream, since he knew he probably could not run the enemy batteries against the current. Although Queen of the West suffered at least a dozen hits, nothing vital was damaged, and her crew hastily shoved the burning cotton bales overboard.

Although Queen of the West was now below Vicksburg, there were friendly Union positions on the west bank of the river where she could re-provision. She was now in a good position to raid Confederate shipping in the area. And though she did not know it, she had essentially accomplished her mission. When the Confederates inspected the City of Vicksburg, it was found that one of the side-wheels was smashed and the hull was cracked. This was beyond their ability to repair, so the engines and all other useful equipment were removed, and the ship became an immobile hulk.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 2/2/2013 5:22:06 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 #: 766
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/3/2013 6:43:54 PM   
parusski


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I still check everyday to see what great info you have. Thanks.

_____________________________

"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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Post #: 767
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/3/2013 8:45:08 PM   
warspite1


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Me too

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England expects that every man will do his duty - Horatio Nelson 1805.




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Post #: 768
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/3/2013 9:34:36 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Henri Mercier, the French minister to Washington, formally presented to Secretary of State Seward an offer from France to "mediate" the Civil War. Diplomatic niceties prevented Seward from laughing in Mercier's face: France was far from a neutral nation, since she was currently invading Mexico. This was in flagrant opposition to the Monroe Doctrine of excluding European countries from interference in affairs in Latin America, but the U. S. was too preoccupied at the moment to do anything about it. Any French-brokered settlement would very likely include acceptance of a French puppet government in Mexico, which the majority of Northerners strongly opposed.




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

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 warspite1)
Post #: 769
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/5/2013 4:33:14 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

"Fighting Joe" Hooker announced his re-organization of the Army of the Potomac. The command covered the remarkable total of 150,000 men, though at least 20,000 of these were now committed to the defense of Washington and any attempt to move them would draw the wrath of the War Department and the President. Of the remaining 130,000, at least one out of ten was absent without leave at this point. Nonetheless, Hooker divided his army into no less than nine corps, and selected the men to lead them. They included such names as John F. Reynolds, Dan Sickles, George Meade, and John Sedgwick, who would be famous in one way or another before a year had passed. As important as anything else, Hooker unified all his cavalry, instead of having them attached to the separate corps, and placed George Stoneman in charge. Slowly but surely, the Northern horsemen would become a match for "Jeb" Stuart's veteran cavaliers.

Hooker was also working on other matters. Enlistment of volunteers had slowed to a trickle, and some of the Northern states had already resorted to conscription to fill the number of men the were expected to provide. A bill was making its way through Congress for a national draft, as the Confederates had already done. But this would take time, so to encourage volunteers and slow the rate of desertion, Hooker considerably expanded the furloughs granted his men.

_____________________________

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 #: 770
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/8/2013 8:39:14 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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Early February 1863:

Having organized the Army of the Potomac more efficiently, Joe Hooker now turned to the commissariat. As in modern days, the bulk of the Army's supplies and equipment was furnished by private companies working under government contract. Accounting methods were much less advanced at this time, and the system gave rise to massive levels of corruption. Hooker could not prevent bribes and kick-backs, but his inspectors could at least make sure that quality goods were supplied. Shipments began to be rejected, and the soldiers noticed better clothing, tentage, and especially, better food.

Being near Washington, Hooker could persuade the War Department to send him the pick of the weapons. He could not get many of the new Spencer repeating rifles just yet, for the production rates were just ramping up, and the Navy had surprisingly adopted the Spencer before the Army, and so had the earlier contracts. He could, however, get the muskets from the Springfield Armory, and pass the inferior Belgian muskets to the western armies. (The Belgian arms industry was not what it would become, and most of the available British Enfields were going to Southern hands.)

Speaking of the Union armies to the west, they were at something of a standstill. William Rosecrans' army in Tennessee was faced with an entrenched Confederate army at Chattanooga, and Rosecrans was a slow and cautious general. He evaded orders to move out in a way much reminiscent of George McClellan. U. S. Grant was as full of fight as ever, but had no good way to get his combined army even to the approaches of Vicksburg, let alone try to attack what was now a fortress city. He and Admiral Porter were busy looking for ways to bypass Vicksburg, so that Northern commerce could reach the Gulf of Mexico, and a Union army could approach Vicksburg from the south.

Grant claimed in his memoirs that he never expected any of the bypass schemes to work, but he wanted to keep his men active and in good physical shape. Be that as it may, enormous labor was indeed being devoted to digging canals and re-routing levees to provide navigable waterways. But nothing was working: the shortest channel was foiled when the Confederates built a battery of cannon on the south side of the Mississippi that could fire down its length. Two other projects failed to produce paths that could accommodate shipping. Grant and Porter went back to the maps for another look.

_____________________________

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 #: 771
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/12/2013 4:13:26 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Since running the gauntlet of the Vicksburg batteries, the USS Queen of the West had been on a roll. She captured one Confederate steamer after another, and even burned three plantations in retaliation when a rifle shot from shore wounded her first mate. Potentially, even worse was in store for the Southerners, for the ironclad USS Indianola was being readied to run past Vicksburg and join her.

But out on the oceans, it was the Confederate raiders who were savaging the Union merchantmen. James Bulloch had managed to have several ships built in England, then turned over to Confederate captains and set loose upon the seas. It was technically a violation of neutrality by Great Britain, but a number of members of the government sympathized with the South and managed to delay any legal action until it was too late. The greatest of the raiders was the CSS Alabama, built under the name "290" and actually manned by a majority English crew. Not too far behind was the CSS Florida, captained by one John Newland Maffitt who had earned the title "the Prince of Privateers".

On this date, the CSS Florida captured probably her greatest prize: the clipper ship Jacob Bell, intercepted in the West Indies after sailing all the way from China. An estimate of the loss value of ship and cargo was two million dollars, a mind-boggling sum at the time.



This illustration appeared in "Harper's Weekly", and it is note-worthy that it was accompanied by the title: DESTRUCTION OF THE CLIPPER SHIP "JACOB BELL" BY THE BRITISH PIRATE "FLORIDA."

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 2/12/2013 8:38:48 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 #: 772
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/13/2013 4:27:08 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The ironclad USS Indianola left her anchorage in the Yazoo River at 10:15 p.m., and moved slowly downstream. She was an unusual design, using both propellers and side-wheels (though her top speed was only six knots). Concentrating her cannons fore and aft, she had no side-firing guns and not much side or rear armor. For this reason, it was decided to run past the Vicksburg shore batteries at night.

About an hour into her voyage, the first shot came from the Rebel batteries, and Captain George Brown ordered full speed. The darkness served the Yankees well; after about twenty tense minutes, the Indianola made it out of range without a hit. She anchored a short distance further on for the remainder of the night, waiting for daylight to attempt to rendezvous with the redoubtable gunboat Queen of the West.





Attachment (1)

_____________________________

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 #: 773
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/14/2013 4:43:25 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

The USS Queen of the West had decided not to wait for the Indianola, and went sailing up the Red River in search of more Confederate targets. Her commander, Colonel Charles Ellet, had put a substitute pilot at the wheel. The Queen approached Fort Taylor, a Southern shore battery which was supposedly lightly manned. It wasn't.

The fort's rifled cannon opened fire, and her new pilot ran the Queen aground a quarter-mile (0.4 km) away. This was easy range for the Confederate guns, and shells began to slam into the vessel. The steam pipe was severed, and most of the crew decided to abandon ship. Captain Ellet eventually followed, but had to leave at least one wounded man behind, which prevented him from ordering the Queen set on fire. Three boats loaded with Southern infantry soon appeared, and the Queen of the West passed into Rebel hands.

Ellet and his crew clambered aboard the New Era No. 5, a Confederate steamer they had captured earlier. They headed back down the river but had to stop and send a party ashore to collect more wood for the boilers. In the process, the pilot ran the New Era aground as well, and Ellet had him arrested as a Southern sympathizer (which he may well have been). Luckily for the Yankees, the fog hid the New Era until they could work her off the bar and head back towards the Indianola.





Attachment (1)

_____________________________

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 #: 774
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/14/2013 4:52:02 PM   
Lecivius


Posts: 1545
Joined: 8/5/2007
From: Denver
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Capt. Harlock

150 Years Ago Today:

It was a foggy day off Charleston harbor, and the Confederate ironclads Chicora and Palmetto State took full advantage of it. They had been built with local resources, and while they had been well-armored and armed, their engines would only propel them at five knots. This was not enough to run down any of the Union blockading squadron, in fact, it was not even enough to sail against the tidal currents at their peak.


But on this date the two warships rode the outgoing tide and with the low visibility were able to close in on two Northern vessels. Palmetto State opened fire on USS Mercedita at point-blank range, destroying her boiler room. Seconds later, Palmetto State rammed her victim, reducing her to a sinking condition. Mercedita's captain announced surrender, but there followed back and forth discussions as the Palmetto State had no place to put prisoners. Eventually, the Yankees were allowed to leave in their lifeboats after having given parole.

While this was going on, the Chicora had gone in search of more Union blockaders. She found the USS Keystone State, but the Northern ship was more alert and opened fire before the Chicora could get into ramming range. The Rebel ironclad returned fire willingly; her captain was not sure he had the engine power to pull away after ramming in any case.

Daylight drove away the mists, and the Keystone State could see how slow the two Confederate ships were. Her captain made the unwise decision to attempt to ram. A shot from Chicora punched through the Union warship, damaging both steam drums. The engine room was evacuated, and the flag was hauled down. But at this point the Keystone State's executive officer erupted, told the captain he would assume responsibility, and ordered the flag re-raised and firing resumed. There was still enough pressure to move one of her paddle-wheels, and she moved off, much to the ire of the Rebel commander, who had stopped firing when the flag was lowered.

Four other Union ships, who were now alerted and able to keep enough distance, now joined the fight. Other than a a shell in USS Quaker City's engine room, neither side damaged the other seriously. After several hours of long-range fire, the two Rebel ships returned to Charleston with the incoming tide and declared the blockade lifted. The Union disagreed, however, pointing out that the Southerners had only been out twelve hours instead of the agreed-upon twenty-hour period. The war of words would continue for fifteen years, rather longer than the actual war.







Declaring a blockade lifted was VERY important, politically. Once done, ships were allowed to openly use the port without interference for quite some time. I din't remember the exact legalities, but this was the major reason for the Confederate ironclads. They knew they could not defeat the Union navy, but breaking the blockade would allow a flood of goods to flow to that port legally. Any interference at all would give Britain the legal excuse to intervene, and they were looking for just such an excuse until late in the war.

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 775
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/15/2013 1:07:15 AM   
t001001001

 

Posts: 251
Joined: 4/30/2009
Status: online
"I'm the ring leader
I call the shots
I'm like a firecracker
I make it hot
Then I put on a show"


I appreciate your posts here. I'm not sure if one word of it is true.

I'm inclined to believe General Sherman just b/c every account he wrote makes him look bad; and he was the best man who was there. Those other guys - I don't believe one word they wrote. I think they're bald liars.

From what I read, Sherman was a good man. The other guys, I doubt every word they wrote. General Sherman was a good man. Although now he's considered the worst of the lot. Oh my gods. He was the only good man there. I believe every word he wrote. Probably the most accurate assessment we have of the situation.

(in reply to Lecivius)
Post #: 776
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/15/2013 11:25:43 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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quote:

I appreciate your posts here. I'm not sure if one word of it is true.


That is a point: I should make the disclaimer that I cannot absolutely vouch for the truth of the diaries and memoirs that I post here. Very few human beings are without significant bias, and memories can change with the passage of time. I do, however, certify that what I post is backed up by the weight of historical evidence and the historians who have studied it. (The exception is the photos of the battleground at Pea Ridge, which I took myself and am wholly responsible for.)

_____________________________

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 t001001001)
Post #: 777
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/16/2013 5:17:18 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

It was a foggy morning on the Mississippi, and the Yankees aboard the New Era No. 5 were nervous. They were still in an area controlled by the Confederates, and one of the vessel's two paddle-wheels had been damaged by running aground. Since their pilot was now under arrest, they had to make their way upstream as best they could in low visibility and making as little noise as possible. They also guessed (correctly) that they were being pursued by the Southern gunboat CSS Webb.

When a large ship appeared out of the fog ahead of them, there was understandable apprehension. But in a few moments it became clear that the newcomer was the ironclad USS Indianola. Both ships were happy to see each other.

In the afternoon, the CSS Webb did indeed catch up to the Northerners. Two or three shots from the Indianola convinced the unarmored ram that discretion was the better part of valor, and she hastily reversed course and sailed out of range. With darkness coming, the captain of the Indianola decided to postpone the pursuit until the following day.

However, time was not on the Yankees' side. The Confederates were busily repairing the Queen of the West, and they had no shortage of men to work her off the sandbar she had grounded on.

_____________________________

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 #: 778
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/17/2013 8:37:17 PM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4235
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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

The process of making West Virginia a state had hit a stumbling block. The U. S. Congress was now dominated by Republicans, who disapproved of a provision referring to slaves and ‘person of color’. On this date, the West Virginia Constitutional convention approved the revised state constitution, which declared West Virginia to be a state of the United States. It could therefore not secede in the future without revoking its constitution.

(It is interesting to note that there was also a section prohibiting dueling. It would not prevent the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud.)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 2/24/2013 4:41:41 AM >


_____________________________

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 #: 779
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/22/2013 4:56:28 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

In a remarkably short time, the Confederates had hauled the captured Queen of the West off of the sandbar she had grounded on, and repaired the damage from their cannonade. Now the Queen and the CSS Webb set out, ready to reclaim that part of the Mississippi River by engaging the Union ironclad Indianola. However, Indianola's captain George Brown had learned that the Queen was back in fighting shape, and wisely decided not to face two-to-one odds. He was heading back upstream to where Union troops were encamped on the west bank of the river.

Indianola had a good head start, but she was not a fast vessel, and was slowed even more by towing two coal barges. Most river steamers were built to burn wood for fuel, since it could be readily found before the cities of the twentieth century were built. But the engines of ironclads almost always had to have coal, and Brown didn't want to risk running out. The race was on, and Indianola was badly handicapped against two ships that were built for ramming -- and that meant speed.





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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

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