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RE: Civil War 150th

 
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RE: Civil War 150th - 2/24/2013 4:35:43 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

After two days of pursuit, the Confederate rams CSS Webb and CSS Queen of the West hauled into sight of the slow-moving USS Indianola. The Union ship decided to fight, and lashed the coal barges she had been towing to either side to protect against ramming. But the Federals had made a key mistake: the sun had set, and Indianola's gunports did not let in enough moonlight for her cannoneers to see their targets. There was, however, enough light to ram by.

The Northern shots missed the Rebel rams as they closed, and then they came in from the sides where Indianola had no guns. The ironclad was rammed again and again, tearing away the coal barges. Rifle fire from the Confederates made things even more difficult for the Union ship, but captain Brown went out on deck since he couldn't see enough from the pilot-house. The bullets managed to miss him -- it was not a night for accurate shooting on either side -- but he was nearly thrown overboard by the shock of the next ramming. Brown decided it was time to retreat.

It was a fatal mistake. Even without the coal barges, Indianola had no chance of outrunning the Confederate rams. The Webb delivered one mighty blow to the stern, tearing deep into the ironclad's hull and rendering her nearly unmanueverable and sinking. With another Southern steamer loaded with boarding troops approaching, Captain Brown called out his surrender.

The firing and ramming stopped, but the Indianola was still flooding. She could not turn by herself since her rudders were disabled. The Confederates tried to tow her to the river's bank, but instead managed something half-way between sinking and running aground, with the ship settling in ten feet (3 m) of water. It would be a much more difficult job for the Southerners to raise and repair her than for the Queen of the West -- but not impossible.


In Washington, President Lincoln signed the law creating the Territory of Arizona, organized from the Territory of New Mexico and a bit of present-day Nevada. This was ironic, because the Confederacy had claimed a "Territory of Arizona" for itself, while the North had insisted that the Territory of New Mexico comprised both areas and would not be divided. However, the Confederate idea had been to divide along a line running East-West. The Union government had now countered by using a dividing line running North-South, and placed the capital of the new territory in Prescott, where Unionist sympathies were stronger.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 2/24/2013 4:37:24 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 #: 781
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/25/2013 5:23:52 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At the Union anchorage on the Mississippi, Union Admiral David Porter learned he had now lost both of the warships he sent past Vicksburg. Especially troubling was the idea that the Confederates might salvage and use the ironclad Indianola. This would have made it very difficult to wrest control of the section of the river from the Rebels, and such control was vital to U. S. Grant's plans.

Porter came up with an unusual idea, and promptly had it put into action. On an old coal barge he had a wooden superstructure built that looked like a powerful ironclad, complete with "quaker guns" (logs painted black) and smokestacks burning tar to give the appropriate effect. According to Porter, it took his workmen just twelve hours and $8.23 worth of materials. The Stars and Stripes was hoisted at the stern, a skull-and-crossbones flag hung at the bow, and the "Black Terror" was ready to go.

_____________________________

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 #: 782
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/26/2013 3:09:04 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The dummy ironclad "Black Terror" was pushed into the current of the Mississippi early in the morning. She drifted past the Southern batteries at Vicksburg, causing considerable excitement and drawing cannon fire. But if any shells hit the wooden fake, they did no noticeable damage. Past Vicksburg and around the bend, it ran onto the west bank of the river. Fortunately this was where Sherman's Yankees had encamped while trying to clear a route past Vicksburg, and they shoved her back into the middle of the stream.

As the vessel continued into Confederate-held territory, it spread all the panic the Northerners could have wanted. The Southern vessels that could, raised steam and fled downriver. The redoubtable Queen of the West rammed one more ship, this time by accident. As for the Indianola, she was still resting on the bottom, and could not be moved. Desperate lest she be recaptured by the Federals, the Confederates spiked her cannon and then laid a fuse to the magazine. By one report, Admiral Porter was able to hear the resulting explosion all the way north of Vicksburg.

Finally the "Black Terror" grounded again on a bank. There the Confederates discovered what indeed added insult to injury: on her side, the Yankees had painted "Deluded people give in".





Further west, in Indian territory, many Cherokees were exceedingly unhappy with the results of joining the Confederacy. The Southern economy was deteriorating, and the supplies the Cherokee had been promised were not forthcoming. The winter was also unusually harsh, and the last straw was the Confederacy taking the horses of the mounted units and reducing them to foot-soldiers. The Cherokee council had deliberated most of the month, and on this date they officially rescinded their allegiance with the Confederacy and declared themselves associated with the United States again. They sweetened the bargain by also passing an act emancipating all slaves held by the Cherokee (and there were indeed some who owned black slaves) and granting them citizenship rights in the Cherokee nation.

In the short term, this had little practical effect. The council's decrees were ignored by the Cherokee, especially Stand Watie, whose sympathies were with the South. But it was the first move towards abolition of slavery by a body that was not covered by the Emancipation Proclamation.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 2/26/2013 8:23:56 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 #: 783
RE: Civil War 150th - 2/28/2013 4:35:47 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Ft. McAllister outside the city of Savannah, federal gunboats including the ironclad USS Montauk moved up the Ogeechee River to destroy the Rattlesnake, a Confederate privateer also known as the Nashville. The fort's guns opened up to stop the Montauk, but were unable to do significant damage.

The Montauk was an unusual design in that the two guns mounted in her turret were unequal. Since the 11-inch cannon of the Monitor had been unable to penetrate the CSS Virginia, John Dahlgren had come up with a more powerful version of his distinctive "soda-bottle"-shaped guns. The new model had a 15-inch bore, which could fire a 440-pound shell. (But took six minutes to reload). Not many of the massive guns had been produced yet, so the monitors coming out of the shipyards were each being equipped with one 11-incher and one 15-incher. Since the Rattlesnake was aground, the Montauk was able to find the range with both its Dahlgrens. Eventually, Rattlesnake was reduced to a burning wreck, vindicating Dahlgren's new gun.



The Confederates achieved a measure of payback when a mine or "torpedo" exploded under the Montauk on her return trip, doing significant damage (but not sinking her). The Rattlesnake might be gone, but as long as Fort McAllister was there to protect it, the port of Savannah was ready to receive blockade runners. The Union Navy had made several attempts to bombard the fort into silence, and would make several more. None of them would be successful.



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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 2/28/2013 8:30:06 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 #: 784
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/1/2013 10:12:39 PM   
Randomizer

 

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@ Capt. Harlock

Have followed your thread since the beginning and think you have provided an outstanding service to everybody here who's passion may be history. Thank you very much and please do not stop.

Love the photo, it looks like the monitors are laid up in reserve and have been for some time while the four-funnelled ships to the left and in the background have a far more modern appearance.

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 785
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/2/2013 4:44:49 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Washington D.C., the U. S. Congress was beginning to pass another set of war measures. On this date, the False Claims Act was passed. This was an attempt by the government to respond to the numerous cases of fraud in supplying the War Department. The Justice Department was short on manpower to investigate and prosecute fraud cases, so a reward was offered by the "qui tam" provision, which permitted citizens to sue on behalf of the government and be paid a percentage of the recovery. For legal enthusiasts, "qui tam" is from the latin "qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur" (who brings the action for the king as well as for his own part). The principle has been carried forward in United States law to the present day, now being known as the "whistle-blower" provision.

_____________________________

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 Randomizer)
Post #: 786
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/3/2013 5:33:05 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Off Savannah, Georgia, the naval bombardments of Fort McAllister were on again, this day for a remarkable eight hours. But the moderate damage to the fort's walls was soon repaired.

In Washington, D.C., Congress was busy. To help finance the Union war effort, 500 million dollars in five-to-twenty-year government bonds had been offered. There were few takers until financier Jay Cooke was named as an agent on this date. Cooke would run a national sales campaign, placing ads in newspapers and pressuring editors to write favorably about the bonds, that would sell all 500 million and 11 million more besides. He would profit immensely doing it -- but without him the Northern economy might well have been in as much trouble as the Southern economy would be.

President Lincoln had called for a standard railroad gauge of 5 feet between the insides of the two parallel rails. On this date, Congress turned him down:

AN ACT to establish the gauge of the Pacific railroad and its branches.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the gauge of the Pacific railroad and its branches throughout their whole extent, from the Pacific coast to the Missouri river, shall be, and hereby is, established at four feet eight and one-half inches.


This gauge had previously been used in Britain by George Stephenson, starting in 1830 for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. It had spread, and was frequently used with railroads in the Northeastern states. It would appear that Congress backed the right horse: the gauge is now know as "standard gauge" and is almost universal in the U.S., and accounts for about 60% of the entire world's rail lines.

In July of 1862, the Congress had passed an act authorizing a militia draft within a state if it could not meet its quota with volunteers. However, the system was failing in practice, and as U. S. Grant observed, new enlistments were slowing to a trickle. On this date, therefore, Congress followed the Southern example and passed a national conscription law for enrolling and drafting men between the ages of twenty and forty-five.

There were ways around the measure. Men could gain exemptions by paying a fee of $300, or by hiring a substitute. Now the cry of "A rich man's war, but a poor man's fight" was heard in the North as well. Not surprisingly in the days before fingerprinting, the system gave rise to "bounty jumpers." These men would join up, collect their bounty, then desert when the opportunity occurred and repeat the process somewhere else.

President Abraham Lincoln was beyond draft age, and as Commander-in-Chief he was arguably already in the U. S. military. Nonetheless, he hired a substitute for himself named John Summerfield Staples, a man from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, who had been honorably discharged when he contracted typhoid. Recovered for the time being, Staples would join the 176th Pennsylvania Volunteers and would survive the war.







Attachment (2)

_____________________________

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 #: 787
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/5/2013 8:33:31 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Near Unionville, Tennessee, a Federal brigade of about 2,800 men was feeling its way along the the Columbia Pike. There had been some skirmishing the day before, and two runaway children had warned the Yankees that Earl Van Dorn had a Rebel force of twice their size in the area. But morning patrols had found nothing, and so the Northerners moved forward.

Skirmishing soon began again, but the Union commander had orders to find out what the Confederates were up to, rather than run at the first sign of trouble. A couple of hours before noon he found out, coming into view of Van Dorn's main body. And Van Dorn had an ace up his sleeve: much of his cavalry was led by Nathan Bedford Forrest, who had already shown himself a cavalry leader to be ranked with "Jeb" Stuart.

Nor did Forrest fall short of the mark on this date: he met the charge of the Northern cavalry with a counter-charge that broke them up so thoroughly that they retreated off the battlefield and didn't stop until they were back at the main Union base. Unwisely, the Federal infantry advanced in turn, to be met by superior musketry and cannon fire that drove them back.

It shortly became obvious that Van Dorn indeed had twice the force of the Yankees. Their colonel ordered a retreat to some nearby woods where they might hold off the Rebels. Forrest, who had a good eye for terrain, had foreseen this move and had brought his troopers around to the rear of the woods. When the Confederates advanced to the front, the Northerners were surrounded.

After five hours of combat, the bluecoats were virtually out of ammunition, and Rebel artillery was making the woods an uncomfortable place to be. The Union colonel surrendered, although about a thousand of his men had managed to escape separately. Still, for a mere 56 killed and 301 wounded, Van Dorn and Forrest had removed an entire infantry brigade from the Union army.

_____________________________

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 #: 788
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/8/2013 8:37:59 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Union-occupied Virginia, John Singleton Mosby pulled off one of his most famous exploits. A Northern sergeant in the 5th New York Cavalry had been so unhappy with the Emancipation Proclamation that he had deserted and joined Mosby's command. This gave the Rebels the information they needed to infiltrate area around Fairfax County courthouse where a number of Northern officers and men had taken up residence, finding it more comfortable than camp.

Mosby had developed an unusual command, titled the 43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry. It was an irregular group, for the men lived locally and dressed in civilian clothes most of the time, turning out armed and mounted only when Mosby wanted them for a mission. In the night, Mosby and twenty-nine of his "Partisan Rangers" managed to capture thirty-two Northerners and fifty-eight horses -- all without having to fire a shot. Among his prisoners was no less than a Brigadier General, one Edwin H. Stoughton. The unlucky general was exchanged within a few months, but his career was over: the U. S. Senate declined to confirm his promotion.

When President Lincoln heard of Mosby's exploit, his sense of humor showed itself. Lincoln reportedly said that he did not so much mind the loss of a brigadier general, for he could make another in five minutes, "but those horses cost $125 apiece!"

_____________________________

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 #: 789
And Now For Something A Little Different - 3/9/2013 4:10:18 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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Yesterday:

Two of the sailors who died in the sinking of the USS Monitor were laid to rest at Arlington. (Which was Robert E. Lee's estate converted into a cemetery when the Union forces seized it.) Ordinarily the remains of sailors are allowed to rest with their ship, which is then considered hallowed ground. But these two were recovered in an attempt to identify them, which was surprisingly unsuccessful. Details are at:
http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/08/us/monitor-sailors-buried/index.html?hpt=us_c2

This may be the last internment for casualties of the Civil War.


_____________________________

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 #: 790
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/10/2013 8:11:25 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Desertions from the Union armies had reached crippling levels, especially in the Army of the Potomac. It is estimated that, in all, a staggering 125,000 bluecoats were absent without leave in March 1863. Therefore, Lincoln tried a carrot-and-stick approach:



A PROCLAMATION RESPECTING SOLDIERS ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, March 10, 1863.

In pursuance of the twenty-sixth section of the act of Congress, entitled an act for enrolling and calling out the National forces, and for other purposes, approved on the third of March in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, I ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States d hereby order and command that all soldiers enlisted or drafted into the service of the United States, now absent from their regiments without leave, shall forthwith return to their respective regiments and I do hereby declare and proclaim that all soldiers now absent from their respective regiments without leave who shall on or before the 1st day of April, 1863, report themselves at any rendezvous designated by the General Orders of the War Department, No. 58, hereto annexed, may be restored to their respective regiments without punishment except the forfeiture of pay and allowances during their absence, and all who do not return within the time above specified, shall be arrested as deserters, and punished as the law provides:

And whereas, evil disposed and disloyal persons, at sundry places, have enticed and procured soldiers to desert and absent themselves from their regiments, thereby weakening the strength of the armies and prolonging the war, giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and cruelly exposing the gallant and faithful soldiers remaining in the ranks to increased hardships and dangers;

I do, therefore, call upon all patriotic and faithful citizens to oppose and resist the aforementioned dangerous and treasonable crimes, and aid in restoring to their regiments all soldiers absent without leave, and to assist in the execution of the act of Congress for "enrolling and calling out the national forces and for other purposes," and to support the proper authorities in the prosecution and punishment of offenders against said act and aid in suppressing the insurrection and the rebellion.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand.

Done at the City of Washington, this 10th day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States eighty-seventh.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.



The "stick" part was the phrase "punished as the law provides", which meant execution. Lincoln had been in the habit of granting clemency, but that was now to end. Re-captured deserters would be drummed before their regiments and then shot. The policy would prove to be effective, and the Federal ranks began to swell again.

_____________________________

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 #: 791
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/13/2013 4:54:48 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Union attempts to bypass Vicksburg were still having no luck. A riverine expedition under Lieutenant Commander Watson Smith was trying to break through from the Tallahatchie to the Yazoo, but found the Confederates had anticipated them. As U. S. Grant would later write:

"This island was fortified and manned. It was named Fort Pemberton after the commander at Vicksburg. No land approach was accessible. The troops, therefore, could render no assistance towards an assault further than to establish a battery on a little piece of ground which was discovered above water. The gunboats, however, attacked on the 11th and again on the 13th of March. Both efforts were failures and were not renewed. One gunboat was disabled and we lost six men killed and twenty-five wounded. The loss of the enemy was less."
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant



Near Richmond's Tredegar Iron Works, the Confederate Ordinance Laboratory had been established. The aim was to bolster the Southern stocks of ammunition by salvaging materials from recovered dud shells. Especially, the South was badly short of copper for percussion caps. It had been found that women, and especially girls, were especially useful because of their smaller hands. At 18 years of age, Mary Ryan was older than the majority of her fellow workers. On this tragic Friday the 13th, something went terribly wrong with a friction primer Ryan was working on. The resulting chain-reaction explosion killed or mortally injured at least 41 and perhaps as many as 69 people, most of them women and young girls. But the work was too important to the Confederate war effort for the laboratory to remain shut down for long.






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(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 792
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/14/2013 4:52:32 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Union wanted to establish firm control of the Mississippi river for operations against Vicksburg. Admiral David Farragut was instructed to take a flotilla of seven ships back to the area after spending the winter near New Orleans. But by this time the Confederates had built a a number of powerful shore batteries, especially at Port Hudson. Knowing he was in for a fight, Farragut had his ships lashed together in pairs, so that if one was disabled, the other could pull her through.

The result was one of the most furious ship-to-shore actions of the war. Farragut's flagship, the trusty USS Hartford, and her consort USS Albatross managed to steam past the cannonade. But for the other vessels, the disadvantage of the paired ships became apparent: if one ship grounded, the other was stuck as well. The remaining ships took serious damage and had to turn back, except for USS Mississippi, which remained immobilized. Under fire, the crew spiked the guns, set fire to their vessel, and abandoned ship, losing 64 men out of 287. The Mississippi shared the fate of nearly all Civil War warships heavily afire, blowing up when the flames reached her magazine.

Hartford and Albatross were alone, but they were enough to tip the control of that part of the Mississippi back to the Union. The flow of supplies, such as horses and cattle from the plains beyond the Mississippi, would now be much harder to get to Richmond. They would be missed.




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 #: 793
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/15/2013 8:20:19 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

One final possibility for bypassing Vicksburg had come to the attention of Admiral Porter and General Grant. But it would require nearly all of Porter's gunboats and a fair number of troops besides. As Grant later wrote, it was more than a little complicated:

Steel's Bayou empties into the Yazoo River between Haines' Bluff and its mouth. It is narrow, very tortuous, and fringed with a very heavy growth of timber, but it is deep. It approaches to within one mile of the Mississippi at Eagle Bend, thirty miles above Young's Point. Steel's Bayou connects with Black Bayou, Black Bayou with Deer Creek, Deer Creek with Rolling Fork, Rolling Fork with the Big Sunflower River, and the Big Sunflower with the Yazoo River about ten miles above Haines' Bluff in a right line but probably twenty or twenty-five miles by the winding of the river. All these waterways are of about the same nature so far as navigation is concerned, until the Sunflower is reached; this affords free navigation.

Admiral Porter explored this waterway as far as Deer Creek on the 14th of March, and reported it navigable. On the next day he started with five gunboats and four mortar-boats. I went with him for some distance. The heavy overhanging timber retarded progress very much, as did also the short turns in so narrow a stream. The gunboats, however, ploughed their way through without other damage than to their appearance. The transports did not fare so well although they followed behind.

--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


_____________________________

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 #: 794
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/17/2013 8:15:23 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

One of the more effective Confederate cavalry commanders in the eastern theater was Fitzhugh Lee, a nephew to Robert E. Lee. He had been making his uncle proud (and infuriating the Union side) with a series of bold raids behind the Federal lines. As it happened, one of the Northern cavalry leaders, William Woods Averell, had been a close aquiantance of Lee's at West Point. The young Lee had left a written note for his opposite number reading, "I wish you would put up your sword, leave my state, and go home. You ride a good horse, I ride a better. If you won't go home, return my visit, and bring me a sack of coffee." (Perhaps the most common thing that Southern soldiers and civilians alike were short of because of the Union blockade was coffee.)

On this date, Averell accepted the challenge. He led a force of about 2,100 Northern troopers to a ford in the Rappahannock River, and after three charges managed to force his way across. Fitzhugh Lee and his men were caught in scattered positions, and only managed to bring about 800 men to the scene of the Battle of Kelly's Ford, witnessed by Robert E. Lee in person.

After almost twelve hours of combat, the Northerners had pushed the Southerners back about two miles (3 km), but there was no decisive victory. Averell was unwilling to hold the ground after nightfall and risk the arrival of Confederate reinforcements, so he ordered a withdrawal. Technically this meant a Southern victory but for once the Yankee troopers had given better than they had gotten. Union losses were 6 killed, 50 wounded, 22 missing, while the Confederates lost 11 dead, 88 wounded, and 34 captured. The Union commander left two Confederate officers who had been wounded and captured with a sack of coffee, and a note reading: "Dear Fitz, Here's your coffee. Here's your visit. How do you like it?"

No one on the Southern side liked it at all. One of their dead was Major John Pelham, mortally wounded when a Northern artillery shell burst overhead and sent a fragment through his skull. Besides being one of the most popular young officers in the Army of Northern Virginia, Pelham had been the man most responsible for developing the Confederate horse artillery, giving the Southern troopers some punch when they had to fight Yankee infantry. Both in morale and experience, the balance between Union and Confederate cavalry had finally begun to shift.





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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 3/17/2013 8:20:57 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 #: 795
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/19/2013 2:32:45 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Confederate commissioner to France, John Slidell, had been part of the Trent affair that nearly caused war between the Union and Great Britain. He had proved his worth negotiating in Paris, but, like his London counterpart James Mason, he had not secured the big prize: formal recognition of the Confederacy. However, his efforts produced something almost as valuable.

The Confederate government had resorted to printing paper money to pay for the war effort. (So had the North, but the gold from California and the silver from the Nevada Territory gave a modest amount of backing to the Federal currency.) The inflation that resulted, plus the ever-tightening Union blockade, meant that Confederate money was no longer accepted in Europe. Therefore, Slidell arranged a loan of English pounds sterling through the Paris banking firm of Emile Erlanger and Company, which also had offices in London, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam. The loan was to be repayable in cotton when the war ended -- which was clearly uncertain. So, Slidell had to accept 7 percent interest plus a 5 percent commision to Erlanger. This was little short of usury for that time, but it put the Confederacy back in business in Europe, paying for guns, ammuniton, and certain shipbuilding projects.

On this date, the Erlanger loan was issued. It was supposed to be for 3 million sterling, but the bonds fluctuated in value with the success of the Confederacy. Confidence would drop considerably after the Union victories of the summer, and the bonds would end up raising 1.76 million sterling -- still enough to buy things of tremendous value to the South. (e.g. Whitworth "sharpshooter" rifles, very likely the most accurate small arms in the world at that time.)


In the backwaters near Vicksburg, Admiral David Porter and his littel fleet of Union gunboats ran into trouble. They had sailed too far ahead of the transports carrying the Northern infantry. The Rebels felled trees into the narrow river to block the way and then kept any Yankees from clearing them with musket fire that forced the sailors to stay inside the gunboats' armor. Porter tried to back his flotilla out, but his vessels could not be steered at the slow speed in reverse that was necessary. And of course, he could not fend off from the riverbanks without exposing his men to being shot.



< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 3/19/2013 8:42:26 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 #: 796
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/20/2013 4:17:50 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Admiral Porter had figured out a way to get a message for help through the Southern lines.

During the 19th I heard the heavy navy-guns booming more frequently than seemed consistent with mere guerrilla operations; and that night I got a message from Porter, written on tissue-paper, brought me through the swamp by a negro, who had it concealed in a piece of tobacco.

The admiral stated that he had met a force of infantry and artillery which gave him great trouble by killing the men who had to expose themselves outside the iron armor to shove off the bows of the boats, which had so little headway that they would not steer. He begged me to come to his rescue as quickly as possible. Giles A. Smith had only about eight hundred men with him, but I ordered him to start up Deer Creek at once, crossing to the east side by an old bridge at Hill's plantation, which we had repaired for the purpose; to work his way up to the gunboat, fleet, and to report to the admiral that I would come up with every man I could raise as soon as possible. I was almost alone at Hill's, but took a canoe, paddled down Black Bayou to the gunboat Price, and there, luckily, found the Silver Wave with a load of men just arrived from Twin's plantation.

Taking some of the parties who were at work along the bayou into an empty coal-barge, we tugged it up by a navy-tug, followed by the Silver Wave, crashing through the trees, carrying away pilot-house, smoke-stacks, and every thing above-deck; but the captain (McMillan, of Pittsburg) was a brave fellow, and realized the necessity. The night was absolutely black, and we could only make two and a half of the four miles. We then disembarked, and marched through the canebrake, carrying lighted candles in our hands, till we got into the open cotton-fields at Hill's plantation, where we lay down for a few hours' rest. . . We had no horses.

--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman

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Post #: 797
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/21/2013 9:31:02 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

On Sunday morning, March 21st, as soon as daylight appeared, we started, following the same route which Giles A. Smith had taken the day before; the battalion of the Thirteenth United States Regulars, Major Chase, in the lead. We could hear Porter's guns, and knew that moments were precious. Being on foot myself, no man could complain, and we generally went at the double-quick, with occasional rests. The road lay along Deer Creek, passing several plantations; and occasionally, at the bends, it crossed the swamp, where the water came above my hips. The smaller drummer-boys had to carry their drums on their heads, and most of the men slang their cartridge-boxes around their necks.
The soldiers generally were glad to have their general and field officers afoot, but we gave them a fair specimen of marching, accomplishing about twenty-one miles by noon. Of course, our speed was accelerated by the sounds of the navy-guns, which became more and more distinct, though we could see nothing. At a plantation near some Indian mounds we met a detachment of the Eighth Missouri, that had been up to the fleet, and had been sent down as a picket to prevent any obstructions below. This picket reported that Admiral Porter had found Deer Creek badly obstructed, had turned back; that there was a rebel force beyond the fleet, with some six-pounders, and nothing between us and the fleet. So I sat down on the door-sill of a cabin to rest, but had not been seated ten minutes when, in the wood just ahead, not three hundred yards off, I heard quick and rapid firing of musketry. Jumping up, I ran up the road, and found Lieutenant-Colonel Rice, who said the head of his column had struck a small force of rebels with a working gang of negroes, provided with axes, who on the first fire had broken and run back into the swamp. I ordered Rice to deploy his brigade, his left on the road, and extending as far into the swamp as the ground would permit, and then to sweep forward until he uncovered the gunboats. The movement was rapid and well executed, and we soon came to some large cotton-fields and could see our gunboats in Deer Creek, occasionally firing a heavy eight-inch gun across the cotton field into the swamp behind.
About that time Major Kirby, of the Eighth Missouri, galloped down the road on a horse he had picked up the night before, and met me. He explained the situation of affairs, and offered me his horse. I got on bareback, and rode up the levee, the sailors coming out of their iron-clads and cheering most vociferously as I rode by, and as our men swept forward across the cotton-field in full view. I soon found Admiral Porter, who was on the deck of one of his iron-clads, with a shield made of the section of a smoke-stack, and I doubt if he was ever more glad to meet a friend than he was to see me.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman



Be it recorded that here was tremendous racism in the North as well as the South. A significant number of Union soldiers had deserted in the wake of the Emancipation Proclamation: they would fight to preserve the Union, but not for the sake of people they considered inferior. To fill the ranks, Frederick Douglass published a call for black enlistment:

"More than twenty years of unswerving devotion to our common cause may give me some humble claim to be trusted at this momentous crisis. I will not argue. To do so implies hesitation and doubt, and you do not hesitate. You do not doubt. The day dawns; the morning star is bright upon the horizon! The iron gate of our prison stands half open. One gallant rush from the North will fling it wide open, while four millions of our brothers and sisters shall march out into liberty. The chance is now given you to end in a day the bondage of centuries, and to rise in one bound from social degradation to the place of common equality with all other varieties of men."
--Frederick Douglass, Men of Color, To Arms!



_____________________________

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 #: 798
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/22/2013 7:01:37 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Harper's Ferry was not the only place to change hands multiple times in the Civil War. A town in Kentucky called Mount Sterling was captured and counter-captured at least a dozen times, depending on whether Union troops or Confederate guerillas were stronger in the area. On this date the biggest of these contests happened, with about eight hundred irregular Rebel cavalry attacking a Northern garrison of two hundred. After eight hours of fighting the Yankees surrendered, but being cavalry, the Confederates didn't stay long.

_____________________________

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 #: 799
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/28/2013 1:47:15 AM   
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Late March, 1863:

In the area of Vicksburg, U. S. Grant accepted that the fourth and last attempt to bypass the Confederate stronghold had gone bust. He would need to capture the city, not go around it. How to take the "Gibraltar of the West" was a problem, however. In a number of histories, Grant retired to his tent and smoked cigars while poring over maps until inspiration struck. In his own memoirs, Grant wrote that he had a particular plan in mind all along, but he needed the winter rains to stop and the Union riverine fleet to cooperate. (As an Army commander, he could give no orders to the Navy.) The rains were slowly easing, and in Admiral Porter, Grant had found a kindred aggressive spirit.


The Laird Brothers shipyard in Birkenhead, England, identified its vessels under construction by a number. 290 had eventually become the CSS Alabama, currently devastating the Union merchant marine. Now there were two more hulls taking shape called 294 and 295, and they posed a far greater threat to the North. For the designs were for ocean-going ironclads. They were to have double turrets and massive rams on the prow, which would make them more than a match for anything in the Union navy. Supposedly they were for Egypt, but everyone who knew anything about naval affairs knew that the Egyptian government had no need for (and couldn't really afford) two of the most advanced warships in the world. The presence of Confederate flags in the dockyard gave a strong hint as to the ships' true destination.

The British government had a dilemma on its hands. Providing warships to a belligerent was strictly against the laws of neutrality. (Britain ended up paying considerable damages fore the Alabama and other commerce raiders.) But they could not arbitrary seize the Lair brothers' property. The pretext of sale to Egypt was sufficient legal cover -- James Bullock had hired a competent solicitor to assure that.

The Union was understandably alarmed at the prospect of these ships sailing into New York harbor, or up the Potomac to Washington, and devastating either city. Agents with extensive financial backing were sent to London to try to out-bid Bulloch and buy the "Laird rams" for the North. But apparently the Southern sympathies of the Laird brothers were too strong. The agents got nowhere, and construction on the rams went steadily forward.




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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 #: 800
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/30/2013 5:09:47 PM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Whereas the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has by a resolution requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation; and

Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord;

And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do by this my proclamation designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at their several places of public worship and their respective homes in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 30th day of March, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State .



It should be noted that both sides believed that they were "on the side of the angels", and did various things to secure God's help. Jefferson Davis also just declared a day of prayer. He added fasting, partly because the Southern farmers had not yet transitioned from growing cotton to producing foodstuffs, and with the blockade high prices and chronic food shortages were now plaguing the Confederacy.




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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 3/30/2013 5:17:01 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 #: 801
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/2/2013 5:19:04 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

A further symptom of the worsening Southern economy appeared. On the streets of the Confederate capital itself, a group of women demanded to see Governor John Lechter to protest the high price of food. When they were turned away, they began to shout of "bread! bread!". The crowd grew to nearly a thousand, and before long the windows of several bakeries were smashed and the rioters looted the stock inside.

More shops were broken into for clothing, and finally the looting became general. At this point, according to an account by his wife, President Davis himself appeared, at the head of a number of militia. He threw all the money he was carrying to the crowd, but then gave them five minutes to disperse, or the soldiers would open fire. (It is not recorded whether the money was in coin or the less valuable paper bills.) The rioters glared at him for four minutes, not willing to leave, but uncertain whether the troops would actually fire on women. Davis looked at his watch, and announced, "My friends, you have one minute more." Finally deciding the President was serious, the rioters began to drift away. Davis then had the leaders of the original group of protesters arrested, and eventually put on trial.





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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/2/2013 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 #: 802
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/6/2013 8:35:27 PM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

To show off his now-revitalized Army of the Potomac, "Fighting Joe" Hooker held a grand review for the President. Lincoln brought along Mary and Tad, meaning that Hooker and his staff had to hastily clean up his headquarters, which in more usual times was a cross between a bar and a bordello -- not a fit place for women or young children. The review went off fairly well, highlighted by the parade of General Stoneman's Cavalry Corps, now 10,000 men strong. A number of Confederates watched avidly from across the Rappahannock River, and well they might, since it was very likely the largest procession of cavalry ever held in North America.

The exercise appears to have been worth the trouble. One officer wrote later that the review had made him believe " that the Army of the Potomac is a collection of as fine troops … as there are in the world. I believe the day will come when it will be a proud thing for anyone to say he belonged to it.” The contrast with the aftermath of Burnside's "Mud March" could scarcely have been greater.




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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 #: 803
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/7/2013 5:50:13 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

The Union was blockading Charleston harbor, but the massive number of Confederate guns in shore batteries and on Fort Sumter kept the Northerners from attacking ships inside the harbor. On this date, a genuine fleet of Union ironclads had been assembled, and Admiral Samuel DuPont was ordered to go in and see if he could silence Fort Sumter's guns. He had a total of eight ironclads: seven monitors and the massive New Ironsides, laid out like a conventional warship but covered with four-inch iron plate.

The Union ships had to face not only the concentration of Confederate cannon, but a number of underwater mines or "torpedoes". A crude mine-sweeping device in the form of a raft with grappling hooks was attached to the lead ship, but it proved so cumbersome, and slowed the ship so much, that it was eventually cast loose. The big New Ironsides also had trouble because of the strong tidal currents, and eventually anchored to keep herself within some kind of range of the Rebel forts. All told, it was not until the Northern fleet had been struggling for two hours that they were finally in position to open fire.


The Confederates were not slow to fire back. All told, the Rebels fired at least 2,000 shells, of which nearly a quarter were hits. New Ironsides was not penetrated, but the remaining ironclads took damage ranging from moderate to life-threatening. They managed only 154 shots in return, which did some damage to the walls of Fort Sumter but came nowhere near silencing its guns. When the tide turned, Admiral DuPont could do little else but order his fleet to withdraw.


That night, DuPont held a conference with his captains, wishing to resume the attack the next day. The ship commanders were unanimously opposed, for they saw nothing to indicate that another attempt would bring any better results. As the conference broke up, the officers came out on deck in time to witness the USS Keokuk, which had been hit 90 times, turn over and sink. (Happily the crew had already abandoned ship.) DuPont was convinced.

Eventually, so was Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, though he relieved DuPont and never gave him another another command. If Charleston was to be captured or even truly closed off, it would have to be by a combined operation of both Army and Navy.

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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/7/2013 8:54:07 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 #: 804
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/10/2013 8:45:02 PM   
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Early April, 1863:

It is useful to remember that during the Civil War, "The West" was usually understood to mean the area from Tennessee and Kentucky to the east bank of the Mississippi river. Beyond that, what is now remembered as the "Wild West" was most often called the "Trans-Mississippi".

But there was action in this area. The Confederacy had attempted to take much of Arizona and New Mexico, and because of the alliance with several Indian nations, it controlled "Indian Territory", which is now Oklahoma. The change of allegiance of the Cherokee council had given the Union an opportunity there.

Around this time, Northern troops including pro-Union Cherokee and Kansas cavalry re-occupied Fort Gibson, in the northeast of the territory. The fort had been important in the 1830's and '40's, but had then been evacuated and turned over to the Cherokee. Now that they were on the Union side, the U. S. Army could legally re-enter.

The outpost was re-named Fort Blunt after Union General James Blunt, a strong abolitionist now commanding the Union District of the Frontier. With new construction, the fort rapidly became a safe haven for pro-Northern Indians and free blacks, which made it a thorn in the side of the Confederates. Troops were slowly scraped together, and plans made, to deal with the situation.




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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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Post #: 805
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/11/2013 5:25:16 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

The "cottonclad" Queen of the West had sunk or captured several Confederate ships, until she was captured herself and then helped to sink a Union ironclad. On this date, her career came to an end as she was engaged by three Union warships. A lucky shell from the USS Calhoun set the cotton bales meant to protect the Queen well and truly afire. (It may also have burst Queen's boiler.) The crew abandoned ship, for they knew the flames would eventually reach the magazine. The burning Queen drifted for several hours before that happened, but finally it did.




In Virginia, the Richmond bread riot had made the Davis administration realize something had to be done. Davis issued a proclamation directing the landowners of the Confederacy to plant food crops instead of cotton or tobacco. But in the meantime, word came that there were already such crops ready near the Atlantic coast. The problem was that the area was largely controlled by Union forces which had landed from the sea.

James Longstreet and about 25,000 men were detached from the Army of Northern Virginia and instructed to gather forage in the area and if possible to re-capture the town of Suffolk, which was the main Northern base. On this date, Longstreet's forces moved across the Nansemond River, capturing several pickets and brushing back a regiment of Federal cavalry. So far, so good, but the alarm quickly spread to Union general John J. Peck, commanding the Suffolk garrison.

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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/11/2013 8:58:32 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 #: 806
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/13/2013 4:18:20 PM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

In eastern Virginia, Union general John Peck had gathered his command into the fortifications of the town of Suffolk. But he had done too good a job: the Confederates under James Longstreet were now free to roam the surrounding area, undisturbed by Northern troops. The Rebels began gathering the foodstuffs from the local farms. They also constructed a battery of cannon on Hill's Point, which commanded the river to Suffolk. Since the Yankees had drawn their supplies from ships going up the river, they were now effectively besieged.


At the Rappahannock River, word had reached general Hooker and the Army of the Potomac that their opponents across the river were low on rations. Once again surprising those who had thought him a straightforward aggressive commander, "Fighting Joe" Hooker came up with a highly intelligent plan. He would send his cavalry under George Stoneman on a sweeping raid around to the west, getting in between Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and its supplies at Richmond. Lee would have to march his troops out of their entrenchments to deal with the Yankee cavalry. Hooker's forces would then execute a pincer movement, with part of the Union army holding at Fredricksburg, while the main arm with its superior numbers would crush the now-exposed Southerners from the west. Given that the Confederate army was already divided, the chances for this plan seemed excellent.

Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com




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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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Post #: 807
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/14/2013 8:11:02 PM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, Joe Hooker's plan to get the Confederate army out of its entrenchments stumbled on the first obstacle. Heavy rains made a key ford impassable for the Northern cavalry. The wide swing around to cut the Rebel supply line would have to wait.


On the Nansemond River near Suffolk, a squadron of Union gunboats attempted to run past the Southern cannon to re-establish a supply line to the besieged Northern garrison. It didn't work: in the mid-nineteenth century shore batteries still had a substantial advantage over warships, especially unarmored ones. The USS Mount Washington was hit hard, getting its boiler punctured and drifting to the riverbank. Her crew were temporarily forced from her decks by the escaping steam.

After a few minutes when the steam had lessened, some intrepid Union sailors re-boarded the ship and manned her guns to prevent the Rebels from capturing her. Particularly conspicuous were four men who were not even part of the ships' original company: Coxswain Robert Jordan, Seaman Henry Thielberg, Coxswain Robert B. Wood, and Seaman Samuel Woods, who had been transferred temporarily from another ship. While the Mount Washington was being hit by both cannon fire and musketry, they fought back for almost six hours until the ship was re-floated and staggered to safety. The four received the Medal of Honor three months later.

The Yankees were not slow to learn the lesson. There were a number of cannon available in the Suffolk fortifications, and a battery was under construction by sundown to face the Southern gun emplacements.

_____________________________

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 #: 808
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/16/2013 5:38:55 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

Step one of U. S. Grant's new plan to take Vicksburg got underway. He would now cross the river south of the Confederate citadel, make a wide swing around and cut the railroad lines leading there, and then take the city by storm or siege. To do that, he needed warships and transports to run past the formidable Vicksburg batteries to a point downstream. It was a risky move, but Admiral Porter was willing.

Most of the crews were not as willing, but volunteers were found in the ranks of Grant's army. Here the advantages of citizen soldiers came into play -- as Grant noted, men from almost any profession one could name were in both the rank and file and the officer corps of the Union forces.

As it happened, that very night the Confederates in Vicksburg had thrown a gala ball to celebrate the defeat of Grant's other attempts to take the city. The festivities were interrupted as the Southern pickets spotted the twelve-ship Union flotilla, and the guns opened up:


Anticipating a scene, I had four yawl-boats hauled across the swamp, to the reach of the river below Vicksburg, and manned them with soldiers, ready to pick up any of the disabled wrecks as they floated by. I was out in the stream when the fleet passed Vicksburg, and the scene was truly sublime. As soon as the rebel gunners detected the Benton, which was in the lead, they opened on her, and on the others in succession, with shot and shell; houses on the Vicksburg side and on the opposite shore were set on fire, which lighted up the whole river; and the roar of cannon, the bursting of shells, and finally the burning of the Henry Clay, drifting with the current, made up a picture of the terrible not often seen.

Each gunboat returned the fire as she passed the town, while the transports hugged the opposite shore. When the Benton had got abreast of us, I pulled off to her, boarded, had a few words with Admiral Porter, and as she was drifting rapidly toward the lower batteries at Warrenton, I left, and pulled back toward the shore, meeting the gunboat Tuscumbia towing the transport Forest Queen into the bank out of the range of fire. The Forest Queen, Captain Conway, had been my flag-boat up the Arkansas, and for some time after, and I was very friendly with her officers. This was the only transport whose captain would not receive volunteers as a crew, but her own officers and crew stuck to their boat, and carried her safely below the Vicksburg batteries, and afterward rendered splendid service in ferrying troops across the river at Grand Gulf and Bruinsburg. In passing Vicksburg, she was damaged in the hull and had a steam-pipe cut away, but this was soon repaired. The Henry Clay was set on fire by bursting shells, and burned up; one of my yawls picked up her pilot floating on a piece of wreck...
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman





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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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Post #: 809
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/17/2013 4:14:29 AM   
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150 Years Ago Today:

Part two of Grant's plan against Vicksburg got underway, although the jumping off point was a considerable distance away from the Confederate stronghold. It had been decided to stage a major cavalry raid behind the Southern lines, and the area selected was a measure of retaliation. The track would be roughly that of Earl Van Dorn's cavalry raid which had burned the Federal supply base at Holly Springs and stopped Grant's original march towards Vicksburg.

The man leading it was an unusual choice: a Colonel named Benjamin Grierson. He had acquired a strong dislike of horses after being kicked in the head by one at the age of eight, and his profession before the war had been a music teacher. But he had risen quickly in rank, and Grant believed he was the man for the job. On this date, Grierson and 1,700 Union troopers headed south from La Grange, Tennessee, going for the interior of Mississippi. (The John Wayne movie "The Horse Soldiers" is a fictionalized version of the raid.)




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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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