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RE: Civil War 150th

 
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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/13/2013 4:54:22 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Arriving at Jackson, Mississippi, Joseph Johnston set about gathering whatever troops he could to add to his meager force of three thousand. But he found he was critically short on time: scouts reported the advance of Grant's army after the Battle of Raymond, and Jonston knew unless something was done within a day or two, the city would fall to the Yankees. The only army that had a chance of stopping the Northerners was that under John Pemberton.

I therefore sent a note to that officer [General Pemberton] by Captain Yerger, who happened to be in Jackson and volunteered to bear it, informing him of the position of McPherson’s corps between us at Clinton; urging the importance of reestablishing his communications, that reenforcements might join his army, and ordering, “if practicable come up on his rear at once. To beat such a detachment would be of immense value. The troops here could cooperate. All the force you can quickly assemble should be brought. Time is all-important.”
-- Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations During the Civil War



Unluckily for Johnston, once again a battle plan found its way into enemy hands:


On the night of the 13th Johnston sent the following dispatch to Pemberton at Edward's Station:
"I have lately arrived, and learn that Major-General Sherman is between us with four divisions at Clinton. It is important to establish communication, that you may be reinforced. If practicable, come up in his rear at once. To beat such a detachment would be of immense value. All the troops you can quickly assemble should be brought. Time is all-important."

This dispatch was sent in triplicate, by different messengers. One of the messengers happened to be a loyal man who had been expelled from Memphis some months before by Hurlbut for uttering disloyal and threatening sentiments. There was a good deal of parade about his expulsion, ostensibly as a warning to those who entertained the sentiments he expressed; but Hurlbut and the expelled man understood each other. He delivered his copy of Johnston's dispatch to McPherson who forwarded it to me.

--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 #: 841
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/14/2013 8:39:14 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 years Ago Today:

In Jackson, Mississippi, General Joe Johnston realized he wasn't going to get the help he needed in time. He had increased the size of his force from 3,000 men to 6,000, but many of the additions had little training. And there were two full Union corps marching towards him -- on the very roads that he had hoped would bring the Confederates under John Pemberton. (Those Confederates, incidentally, were not moving because Grant's third corps was threatening their position at Edward's Station.)

Johnston ordered the evacuation of his force, along with all the equipment and stores they could manage. He posted reargards on the two roads to slow down the oncoming Yankees. They were commanded by the luckless John Gregg, who had been beaten by many of the same Northern troops at Raymond. For a few hours the Rebels brought the bluecoats to a standstill, aided by a rain-storm which mde one Union commander reluctant to order his men to open their cartrige boxes and get their ammunition wet. But then a local black man reached Sherman's corps and informed the Northerners that the city had been evacuated, and there was only one battery of Southern guns firing to make a show.

Armed with this information, Sherman's men circled around and overran the battery from the rear, capturing men and guns. Sherman sent the good news to James McPherson, commanding the other Union corps. The news also reached the Confederate rearguard opposite McPherson's force, and before long they were flying in retreat or taken prisoner. Happily for Johnston, he had had enough time to make good his escape with the rest of his small army. The bad news was that he had lost several guns and about 850 men, roughly one-seventh of his force.

That evening, the Yankees camped in Jackson. Joe Johnston had not taken the precaution of destroying the liquor in the city, and a number of Union soldiers got drunk and helped themselves to civilian property as well as the military stores they were ordered to seize. There was little that could be done to stop them without turning Northern soldiers against each other, so Grant ignored the goings-on and set up his headquarters at Bowman House, which was where Johnston's headquarters had been. That night, the Union commander slept in what was very likely the same bed the Confederate commander had slept in the night before.

Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com




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 #: 842
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/15/2013 5:12:48 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Joe Johnston had managed to retreat his meager army north from Jackson, and still hoped to link up with John Pemberton's larger force. But Grant understood the situation fully as well as Johnston, and rather better than Pemberton. The Union commander ordered McPherson's XVII corps to march back out of Jackson after just one day, heading for Bolton Station. Also, he sent orders to McClernand's XII corps to march to Bolton directly. McClernand did so, evading the Confederate forces in the area with surprising skill for a political general. As for Sherman's XV corps:

Sherman was to remain in Jackson until he destroyed that place as a railroad centre, and manufacturing city of military supplies. He did the work most effectually. Sherman and I went together into a manufactory which had not ceased work on account of the battle nor for the entrance of Yankee troops. Our presence did not seem to attract the attention of either the manager or the operatives, most of whom were girls. We looked on for a while to see the tent cloth which they were making roll out of the looms, with "C. S. A." woven in each bolt. There was an immense amount of cotton, in bales, stacked outside. Finally I told Sherman I thought they had done work enough. The operatives were told they could leave and take with them what cloth they could carry. In a few minutes cotton and factory were in a blaze. The proprietor visited Washington while I was President to get his pay for this property, claiming that it was private.

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


Sherman's most important task was to completely wreck all the railways, making the city useless to the Confederates as a transport hub. The art of destroying rail lines had evolved as the Civil War went on. At first, the rails were simply heaved up, and thrown to one side. However, when the other side re-occupied the area, with enough men it was a simple matter to fetch the rails back and hammer them into place again. When this was realized, the invaders would build a bonfire, heat a small section of the rails, and bend them. But blacksmiths were common at that time, and with another fire, the rails could be unbent, sighting down the length to ensure straightness, and returned to service.

Therefore, a third technique began to be employed. The invaders now heated a larger section of the rails, carried them over to a tree or telegraph pole by the ends, and wrapped them fully around, often twisting the ends. There is reason to believe that Stonewall Jackson's men actually invented this refinement. For Northern railways it was a problem: the rails could not be used again until they had been sent to a rolling mill to make them sufficiently straight, and it was generally easier just to get new rails. But for the Southern lines, it was an all but insurmountable obstacle. There simply was not any spare mill or foundry capacity. If it was vital to repair the line, a smaller line would have to be "cannibalized" for the neded rails. It was likely here that Sherman's men first used the time-consuming but effective work on a large scale, and from then on the twisted rails would be known as "Sherman Neckties".

_____________________________

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 #: 843
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/16/2013 4:41:17 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The most important Civil War battle that is not a famous name was fought at Champion's Hill, Mississippi. So far, everything had been going well for Grant's army, but he was still in a very high-stakes gamble. As long as his men kept moving, they took food from the local farms, but if they stopped they would soon exhaust what was available. More, now that they had abandoned their supply lines, there was only enough artillery ammunition for one day of serious battle. And they were about to finally meet the main body of Confederates under John Pemberton.

Early in the morning, the two sides made the initial contact:

Smith's division on the most southern road was the first to encounter the enemy's pickets, who were speedily driven in. Osterhaus, on the middle road, hearing the firing, pushed his skirmishers forward, found the enemy's pickets and forced them back to the main line. About the same time Hovey encountered the enemy on the northern or direct wagon road from Jackson to Vicksburg. McPherson was hastening up to join Hovey, but was embarrassed by Hovey's trains occupying the roads. I was still back at Clinton. McPherson sent me word of the situation, and expressed the wish that I was up. By half-past seven I was on the road and proceeded rapidly to the front, ordering all trains that were in front of troops off the road. When I arrived Hovey's skirmishing amounted almost to a battle.

McClernand was in person on the middle road and had a shorter distance to march to reach the enemy's position than McPherson. I sent him word by a staff officer to push forward and attack. These orders were repeated several times without apparently expediting McClernand's advance.

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


In the late morning, one Northern division (Hovey's) managed to push back the Southerners opposing them, and capture a number of guns and several hundred prisoners. But the attack was not coordinated with the rest of the army, and a Confederate counter-attack pushed them back and recaptured the guns (for the moment). The battle continued to rage, and the Union division would lose a full third of its strength before the day ended. The issue was very much in the balance.

But in the afternoon, the Confederate position began to crumble. Why this happened is not really clear: the Northerners had the edge in numbers, but only by about three to two, which was generally not enough to overcome a good defensive set-up. Possibly the weight of Federal artillery made itself felt, or possibly Pemberton was showing weakness as a battlefield commander, while Grant's active presence encouraged his men. Whatever the cause, a Union charge using the troops from Sherman's corps that had just come up to the field broke through the Rebel line, and in Grant's words, "the enemy fled precipitately".

Pemberton ordered retreat, assigning a brigade under Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman as a rearguard. Interestingly, the escape route had been blocked for a time by Northern troops, but Grant had pulled them away to reinforce a badly mauled unit elsewhere. The Confederate rearguard managed to hold the road open, but at the cost of a number of casualties including Brigadier Tilghman himself, killed by artillery fire. The retreat soon degenerated into a rout.


Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

The Battle of Champion's Hill was the biggest battle of Grant's Vicksburg Campaign. It was also the most decisive. The tally of casualties was bad enough for the Rebels; they had lost 381 killed, 1,018 wounded, and 2,441 missing or captured, while the Union losses were 410 killed, 1,844 wounded, and 187 missing. But the actual cost was greater than that, for Southerners had abandoned a good deal of equipment, and a full division had retreated the wrong way. (It eventually marched all the way back to Jackson, effectively out of the campaign.) Most of all, their unit cohesion had been broken, and they needed time to re-group. It was time that Grant had no intention of giving them. He pushed the pursuit as hard as he could, until it became too dark for men to see the roads they marched on.

In the meantime, back at the city of Jackson, Sherman and his corps had been completing the job of destruction. He had already sent one division on the road, which reached Champion Hill just in time, when he received orders to hurry the rest of his command to Grant's force. Sherman's men hastily finished their work:

Just as I was leaving Jackson, a very fat man came to see me, to inquire if his hotel, a large, frame building near the depot, were doomed to be burned. I told him we had no intention to burn it, or any other house, except the machine-shops, and such buildings as could easily be converted to hostile uses. He professed to be a law-abiding Union man, and I remember to have said that this fact was manifest from the sign of his hotel, which was the "Confederate Hotel;" the sign "United States" being faintly painted out, and "Confederate" painted over it! I remembered that hotel, as it was the supper-station for the New Orleans trains when I used to travel the road before the war. I had not the least purpose, however, of burning it, but, just as we were leaving the town, it burst out in flames and was burned to the ground.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman



Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/16/2013 4:50:45 AM >

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 844
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/17/2013 3:47:24 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Grant's army resumed the pursuit of the defeated Confederates from Champion Hill. It didn't take long to find them, at a key bridge on the road to Vicksburg:

As I expected, the enemy was found in position on the Big Black. The point was only six miles from that where my advance had rested for the night, and was reached at an early hour.

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


Grant quickly placed his men in position for an assault. There was, however, just time for a little disobedience of orders:

While the troops were standing as here described an officer from [Nathaniel] Banks' staff came up and presented me with a letter from General Halleck, dated the 11th of May. It had been sent by the way of New Orleans to Banks to be forwarded to me. It ordered me to return to Grand Gulf and to co-operate from there with Banks against Port Hudson, and then to return with our combined forces to besiege Vicksburg. I told the officer that the order came too late, and that Halleck would not give it now if he knew our position. The bearer of the dispatch insisted that I ought to obey the order, and was giving arguments to support his position when I heard great cheering to the right of our line and, looking in that direction, saw Lawler in his shirt sleeves leading a charge upon the enemy. I immediately mounted my horse and rode in the direction of the charge, and saw no more of the officer who delivered the dispatch; I think not even to this day. . .

The assault was successful. But little resistance was made. The enemy fled from the west bank of the river, burning the bridge behind him and leaving the men and guns on the east side to fall into our hands. Many tried to escape by swimming the river. Some succeeded and some were drowned in the attempt. Eighteen guns were captured and 1,751 prisoners. Our loss was 39 killed, 237 wounded and 3 missing. The enemy probably lost but few men except those captured and drowned. But for the successful and complete destruction of the bridge, I have but little doubt that we should have followed the enemy so closely as to prevent his occupying his defences around Vicksburg.

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



Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

Although Sherman and his men were marching rapidly, they would not arrive in time for the day's action. They did, however, find themselves in a surprising place:

Just beyond Bolton there was a small hewn-log house, standing back in a yard, in which was a well; at this some of our soldiers were drawing water. I rode in to get a drink, and, seeing a book on the ground, asked some soldier to hand it to me. It was a volume of the Constitution of the United States, and on the title-page was written the name of Jefferson Davis. On inquiry of a negro, I learned that the place belonged to the then President of the Southern Confederation.

--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


The Yankees had overrun Brierfield, the plantation of Jefferson Davis, where he had received the word that the Montgomery Convention had selected him as President.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/19/2013 12:11:13 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 #: 845
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/18/2013 4:41:56 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4258
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150 Years Ago Today:

In twenty-four hours, Grant's men had built not just one but two bridges across the Big Black River to replace the what the Rebels had burned. Further north, Sherman's force had laid a pontoon bridge, for Sherman had wisely moved the wagons carrying the pontoons to front of his columns. The Northerners streamed across, but their first objective was not the city of Vicksburg.

The memoirs of Grant and Sherman are oddly contradictory here. Grant claimed that he and Sherman both personally rode with their advanced skirmishers, and were among the first at Hayne's Bluff, overlooking the Mississippi River to the north. Sherman, however, does not mention Grant as being in the area, and wrote that he sent cavalry to occupy the ground, rather than going himself.

But the bottom line is that the Federals had seized what Stephen Ambrose has described as "the most important single piece of real estate in the Confederate States of America." It was the key to Vicksburg, and Vicksburg was the key to the Mississippi. It was also the spot needed for Grant to re-establish a supply line.

In the vicinity of Jackson, General Joe Johnston had already realized this:

...my fourth order to Lieutenant-General Pemberton was dispatched. It was this: “If Haynes’s Bluff is untenable, Vicksburg is of no value and cannot be held; if, therefore, you are invested in Vicksburg you must ultimately surrender. Under such circumstances, instead of losing both troops and place, we must, if possible, save the troops. If it is not too late, evacuate Vicksburg and its dependencies, and march to the northeast.”
--Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations During 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 #: 846
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/19/2013 3:53:03 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

All three corps of Grant's army were now in contact with the defenses of Vicksburg. They spent the morning spreading out, blocking all the roads leading out of the city. Confederate commander John Pemberton had called a council of war to discuss the evacuation of his army, and the general agreement was no. The heavy artillery and the large amounts of stores in the city could not be brought out, and the impact on morale would be devastating. And though it was the order of Joseph Johnston, it was against the instructions of the War Department in Richmond. Even as the council broke up, they heard the sounds of Yankee cannon: it was too late in any case. The Southern troops would stay and fight. And fight they did:

On the supposition that the garrison of Vicksburg was demoralized by the defeats at Champion Hills and at the railroad crossing of the Big Black, General Grant ordered an assault at our respective fronts on the 19th. My troops reached the top of the parapet, but could not cross over. The rebel parapets were strongly manned, and the enemy fought hard and well. My loss was pretty heavy, falling chiefly on the Thirteenth Regulars, whose commanding officer, Captain Washington, was killed, and several other regiments were pretty badly cut up. We, however, held the ground up to the ditch till night, and then drew back only a short distance, and began to counter-trench. On the graveyard road, our parapet was within less than fifty yards of the rebel ditch.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


The Rebels had had a day and a morning to pull themselves together after the defeats of Champion Hill and Big Black River, and they had made it count. Now they could fight behind solid fortifications, and thanks to much stockpiling, they had all the ammunition they could ask 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 Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 847
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/21/2013 7:43:47 PM   
t001001001

 

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Sorry for my post a few months back, Harlock. I didn't mean at all that your posts are dishonest. I think your thread is awesome I hope it's one day put into book form.

The drunken point I was trying to make is that I trust Sherman's account of what happened regarding any particular event. Mostly b/c he wrote about all the mistakes he made and flaws of his character. He didn't give a crap about making himself 'look good', it seems he just wrote down what, to the best of his knowledge, had actually happened. For whatever reason that causes me to trust his thoughts over other ppl who were there at the time.


(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 848
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/21/2013 8:40:32 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

Though he and (most) of his men had escaped from Jackson, there was now no chance for Joseph Johnston to combine his force with the Confederate army at Vicksburg. To put together a relief force, he would need men from elsewhere. And he would need a lot: Grant had opened up a new supply route for his Union Army of the Tennessee, and more bluecoats were coming in to make good his losses. Johnston decided that the best source was the garrison of Port Hudson, about 7,500 men. He sent orders to the commander, General Franklin Gardner, to evacuate and join him.

But, after their remarkable raid across the South, Benjamin Grierson and his Federal cavalry had joined Nathaniel Banks' army advancing on Port Hudson (which Grant had originally been ordered to join). On this date, the Union troopers encountered Confederate forces in East Baton Rouge Parish. Both sides quickly sent back for reinforcements. The Northern infantry arrived first, causing the Southerners to retreat. The fighting died down for a time, until the Southern reinforcements arrived, and succeeded in gaining back some of the lost ground. But the Union commander rallied his troops and sent them forward again. This time the Confederates had to fall back all the way to the outer defenses of Port Hudson.

Casualties of this Battle of Plains Store were light: about 150 on the Union side and 100 on the Confederate side. But the potential strategic impact was immense. The Rebel garrison now had no escape route from Port Hudson. Johnston would have to look elsewhere for his troops, and there was no good place to get them.


_____________________________

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 #: 849
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/22/2013 4:54:39 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Neither Grant nor his men were willing to accept the failure to storm the Vicksburg defenses on the 19th. Regular rations had begun to arrive from the Northern supply ships on the Mississippi, and there was now a feeling that with proper set-up and artillery preparation, the Rebel entrenchments could be overrun. The plans had been made, and both Grant's cannon and those on Admiral Porter's gunboats began pounding away early in the morning.

But for once Sherman seems to have made a serious error. He had decided to focus his men's attack on a narrow part of the Confederate line, and selected a cut through a nearby hill that would allow his troops to approach within 150 yards (130 m) before they could be fired on. But the cut was narrow, allowing only a limited number, and it meant that instead of a "human wave" attack, there would be more of a stream. In fairness, the terrain had numerous ravines and other features that made it difficult to mount a charge elsewhere.

When the attack was launched at 10:00 a.m., the firepower of rifled muskets and artillery focused in a narrow zone proved lethal. Sherman's men were cut down without being able to reach the Southern ramparts. Along the rest of the line, the Yankees were faring little better. McPherson's XVII Corps was also unable to advance all the way through the rain of Rebel lead and iron, and McClernand's XIII Corps could only take two outlying lunettes. And it might have been better if they could not, for once inside they could neither advance nor retreat without being exposed to the lethal Confederate fire.

McClernand called for reinforcements, and for renewed attacks along the line to relieve the pressure on his troops. This led to a controversy, for McClernand apparently exaggerated his men's advance and claimed to have captured an entire fort, leading to the hope that one more push would achieve the breakthrough that would give the Northerners Vicksburg. The attacks were renewed, but in Grant's words, they "served merely to increase our losses without giving any benefit whatever." The survivors of McClernand's assault managed to evacuate when darkness finally fell.

The day cost the Union 502 killed, 2,550 wounded, and 147 missing or captured, more that the Battle of Champion Hill. As not infrequently happened, no reliable tally of Confederate casualties exists, but it is estimated less than 500 men were lost. It was now clear to all on the Northern side that Vicksburg would have to be taken by siege.


Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

Footnote: as a demonstration of how inexact a science history can be, Stephen Ambrose wrote an account that is quite different than the memoirs of either Sherman or Grant. According to Ambrose, McClernand's claim of success was accurate, and "He was the only corps commander who really made an effort that day; if Sherman and McPherson had attacked with the same energy, the assault would probably have worked." Your humble amateur historian has a skeptical view of this, since Union losses seem to have been about equally distributed among the three corps of the army. This also would have involved outright lies from Grant, both in his memoirs and his report to the War Department.


Attachment (1)

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 850
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/24/2013 8:21:16 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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Second Half of May, 1863:

"The problems of victory are more agreeable than the problems of defeat, but they are no less difficult."
-- Winston Churchill


Robert E. Lee was faced with a dilemma, much as he had been after the victory of Second Manassas. Longstreet's expedition to eastern Virginia had brought in much-appreciated provisions, but not nearly enough for the entire summer. Lee could not stay where he was for long: his army would soon deplete all the foodstuffs for man and beast in the area. But if he advanced into Northern territory, he was risking having his army cut off and destroyed. It would have seemed best to take the safer choice and fall back to where more supplies could be had, but a number of other factors tipped the balance the other way.

For one thing, foreign recognition of the Confederacy was not going to happen unless something dramatic occurred to convince the European powers that the South would be the winning side. Also, it was still early in the campaign season, and it was certain that the Army of the Potomac would be back -- the Northerners had retreated, but they were far from a broken force. Most of all, the news had arrived that Grant's army was now in Mississippi, threatening Vicksburg. The loss of that stronghold would mean the loss of the Mississippi River, and the effective loss of Texas and Arkansas. Something had to be done, and soon. James Longstreet had an idea:

...I called to report to Secretary of War Seddon, who referred to affairs in Mississippi, stating that the department was trying to collect an army at Jackson, under General Joseph E. Johnston, sufficient to push Grant away from his circling lines about Vicksburg. He spoke of the difficulty of feeding as well as collecting an army of that magnitude in Mississippi, and asked my views. The Union army under General Rosecrans was then facing the Confederate army under General Bragg in Tennessee, at Murfreesboro’ and Shelbyville. I thought that General Grant had better facilities for collecting supplies and reinforcements on his new lines, and suggested that the only prospect of relieving Vicksburg that occurred to me was to send General Johnston and his troops about Jackson to reinforce General Bragg’s army; at the same time the two divisions of my command, then marching to join General Lee, to the same point; that the commands moving on converging lines could have rapid transit and be thrown in overwhelming numbers on Rosecrans before he could have help, break up his army, and march for Cincinnati and the Ohio River; that Grant’s was the only army that could be drawn to meet this move, and that the move must, therefore, relieve Vicksburg.
-- James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox


But the remainder of the Army of Northern Virginia would then have to fall back to a more defensible position. Giving up any part of his beloved Virginia without a fight was anathema to the soul of Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis was not happy about it either. Instead, Lee proposed going on the offensive. He would advance into Maryland and then Pennsylvania, taking the sustenance his army needed from the Northern countryside, and bringing the hardships of war to the Union population. The Army of the Potomac would be forced to retreat from Virginia to cover Washington. It was another high-stakes gamble, but after Chancellorsville, Lee was confident that his soldiers could do just about anything.

Davis and Secretary Seddon agreed. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia would go north. And this time there would be no slip-ups with battle plans.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/27/2013 3:39:03 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 #: 851
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/27/2013 3:37:52 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

At Port Hudson, general Nathaniel Banks ordered the assault on the Rebel defenses to begin. He was not expecting to fail, for his army out-numbered the defenders by about three to one. More, the fortifications around the town were not reported as strong as the ones at Vicksburg. But his information was out of date.

Had Banks launched his attack two days ealier, there is a good chance his men could have taken Port Hudson, for at least one line of approach had been open field. But much could be done in two days, especially with slaves impressed into Confederate service. Obstacles had been placed to slow the advance of the Yankees right at a point which hastily built ramparts could deliver a crossfire. And the Southerners got unexpected help from Northern artillery when a number of shells fell short and caused even more Union casualties. The attack came to a halt.

Brigadier General William Dwight tried a desperation move. He sent in the 1st and 3rd Louisiana Native Guard, "colored" troops from New Orleans who were supposed to be working as "pioneers" doing construction work. Not only had these men not been prepared for combat, they started in a bad position, having to advance over a pontoon bridge in clear sight of the Confederate defenders, then into heavy crossfire from muskets, field artillery, and even coast guns. Not surprisingly, the attack failed with severe losses, including the Native Guards' Captain Andre Cailloux, a free black. (Note at this point black officers were extremely rare--they were not allowed in the regular U. S. Army.)

The Union attacks at other points had no more success, and the fighting was at an end by noon. Port Hudson would also be have to be taken by siege, but although Vicksburg was about sixty miles upriver, the land and climate were not as favorable. Both sides would lose tragic numbers to disease.

This may have been the first significant combat of the war by black soldiers, and the men had shown that they could be as brave in action as white troops. But prejudice was deeply rooted North as well as South, and even after several more examples, many a Union general would remain unconvinced.


At Vicksburg, the ironclad USS Cincinnati steamed down the Mississippi River to engage two Confederate cannon which were causing problems to the right wing of the Union army. However, Cincinnati sailed into an ambush: eleven more Southern guns had been mounted on a bluff nearby, commanding the river. Just as Cincinnati engaged her target, the hidden battery opened fire, scoring a hit with the first round. The plunging fire went through the ironclad's upper works, and her own guns could not be elevated enough to reach the top of the bluff.

Soon it became clear the Union vessel would sink for the second time. (She had succumbed to ramming at Fort Pillow the year before, but had been raised and returned to service.) Although Cincinnati's crew attempted to run aground and evacuate, she slipped back into the stream and began to founder in about 18 feet (5.5 m) of water. A number on board, including the captain, could not swim, but four sailors who could went back and forth to the shore, dragging comrades to safety. Eventually they plugged the leaks in one of the Cincinnati's boats, and used it to carry the wounded men and the captain back to the other Union gunboats in the area. The four, along with two other crewmen, would receive the Medal of Honor.




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 #: 852
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/30/2013 4:37:20 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Former Congressman Clement Vallandigham had been welcomed with open arms when he was expelled to the Southern lines in Tennessee. But now there were second thoughts, for he had never formally renounced his allegiance to the Union:

WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, May 30, 1863.

General B. BRAGG, Tullahoma, Tenn.:

If Hon. Mr. Vallandigham has come or been forced within our lines ascertain and report in what character and under what circumstances he thus stands. If he claims to be a loyal citizen of the United States he must be held in charge or on parole as an alien enemy. He may be allowed on parole to proceed to Wilmington and there report to General Whiting.

JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War.



In Virginia, Robert E. Lee completed his re-organization of the Army of Northern Virginia. He now had enough men to justify three corps instead of two, plus his cavalry arm. James Longstreet would continue in command of the 1st Corps, but without Stonewall Jackson, who would command the other two? "Jeb" Stuart had done well when he had temporarily taken over after Jackson was wounded, but he was still more valuable as the leader of the cavalry. Instead, Lee promoted two men, Richard S. Ewell ("old baldy") and Ambrose Powell (A. P.) Hill, to Lieutenant-Generals. (Note at this point there was still nothing higher than Major General in the Union Army.)

Many civil war historians believe that both men were now one grade beyond their level of competence. Good brigade commanders tended to make good division commanders, but at the corps level and beyond, genuinely gifted men were rare. (And as mentioned before, casualties among general officers were high.) Lee would be heading into the most far-reaching campaign of his career with dubious lieutenants.

On the other hand, Lincoln had not yet found a really satisfactory general to head the Army of the Potomac, either.







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 #: 853
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/1/2013 3:42:45 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Chicago, there was still considerable support for the anti-war Democrats, and in particular for the now-exiled Clement Vallandigham. General Ambrose Burnside decided further measures were needed, and ordered the closing of the Chicago Times newspaper for its anti-Lincoln editorials.


On the South Carolina coast, three Union gunboats carrying Harriet Tubman, Colonel James Montgomery, and roughly 300 black Union soldiers headed up the Combahee River. Avoiding mines which the Confederates had placed in the river, they landed boats at several plantations which Tubman had identified from talking to runaway slaves. The troops swept through the area, burning barns and houses, while the gunboats sounded their whistles.

A stream of slaves seeking freedom from the plantations came to the boats, so many that they could not all be carried at once. It took some convincing to those temporarily left on shore to allow the first boatloads to go to the Federal warships, but eventually the ferrying worked as well as could be expected. (Some of the refugees, worried about having food, brought their pigs with them.) Southern militia responded to the columns of smoke, but were kept at a distance by the cannon on board the gunboats. At least 700 men, women, and children were rescued, over twice as many as Harriet Tubman had managed to bring to freedom as a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad before the war.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/1/2013 4:18:45 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 #: 854
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/2/2013 2:54:28 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

To the consternation of the Confederate authorities, Clement Vallandigham had refused to renounce his allegiance to the United States that had expelled him. He claimed to be an upholder of "constitutional liberty", and that his problem was solely with the Lincoln administration. Jefferson Davis issued an order accordingly:

RICHMOND, June 2, 1863.

General B. BRAGG, Shelbyville:

Your dispatch to Adjutant-General received. Send Hon. C. L. Vallandigham as an alien enemy under guard of an officer to Wilmington where further orders await him.

JEFF’N DAVIS.



At Vicksburg, Grant's army had settled in for the siege, improvising as required:

There were no mortars with the besiegers, except what the navy had in front of the city; but wooden ones were made by taking logs of the toughest wood that could be found, boring them out for six or twelve pound shells and binding them with strong iron bands. These answered as cochorns, and shells were successfully thrown from them into the trenches of the enemy.

As soon as the news of the arrival of the Union army behind Vicksburg reached the North, floods of visitors began to pour in. Some came to gratify curiosity; some to see sons or brothers who had passed through the terrible ordeal; members of the Christian and Sanitary Associations came to minister to the wants of the sick and the wounded. Often those coming to see a son or brother would bring a dozen or two of poultry. They did not know how little the gift would be appreciated. Many of the soldiers had lived so much on chickens, ducks and turkeys without bread during the march, that the sight of poultry, if they could get bacon, almost took away their appetite. But the intention was good.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant



Within Vicksburg, soldiers and civilians were also improvising. There was not enough ammunition for sustained counter-battery fire, so the Southerners adapted to the bombardment as best they could. Happily for them, the local terrain was hilly and the ground was hard clay. Caves were soon dug into the hillsides for shelters. The wealthier inhabitants in town hired laborers to move a good deal of furniture into these, even including draperies on the walls and rugs on the floors.

But, as in sieges since the dawn of recorded history, the shortage of food could not be resolved. The Rebel soldiers went on short rations, and their officers knew that their fighting efficiency could not hold out for very long.

_____________________________

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 #: 855
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/3/2013 4:42:36 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The grim fate that captured black soldiers could expect from the Confederates was made a little more formal:

WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, June 3, 1863.

J. M. W. (Care surgeon in charge of hospital, Harrisonburg, Va.)

SIR: Your letter of the 28th ultimo with suggestions in regard to the negroes and officers of negro regiments that may be captured by us has been received. In reply you are informed that the law has made provisions for the disposition of such slaves by directing them to be turned over to the State authorities. As negroes without free papers when not claimed by the owners they will be liable to be sold as slaves.

Respectfully,
JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War.



At Vicksburg, the Northern siege grew ever tighter:

Lieutenant-General Pemberton replied on the 3d of June: “Have not heard from you since the 29th; enemy continues to work on his intrenchments, and very close to our lines; is very vigilant. I can get no information from outside as to your position and strength, and very little in regard to the enemy. I have heard that ten messengers with caps have been captured. In what direction will you move, and when? I hope north of the Jackson road.”

-- Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations During the Civil War


Note that the Vicksburg defenders had powder and bullets in reasonable quantity, but were short of percussion caps. On the other hand, the army that Johnston was pulling together was short of just about everything else, including men:

The Confederate forces enumerated above, not equal to a third of the Federal army, were almost without artillery and field transportation, and deficient in ammunition for all arms; and could not, therefore, have been moved, with any hope of success, against that powerful army, already protected by lines of counter and circumvallation. All the supplies that had been collected in the department were, of course, with the troops in Vicksburg and Port Hudson.

The troops coming from the East, by railroad, had brought neither artillery nor wagons. Frequent drafts upon the country had so much reduced the number of horses and mules, that it was not until near the end of June that artillery and wagons, and draught-animals enough for them, could be procured, generally from long distances--most of the artillery and wagons from Georgia. Some twelve pieces, found without carriages, were mounted on such as could be made in Canton.

-- Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations During the Civil War



In Virginia, the plan for the invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania began to roll. Lee left one Corps under A.P. Hill to man the fortifications at Fredricksburg and fool the Yankees into thinking his army was still in place. His other two Corps plus the cavalry headed northwest.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/3/2013 4:50:57 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 #: 856
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/3/2013 4:49:35 AM   
parusski


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I have not commented in quiet a while, but you continue great work. THANKS.

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"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

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 857
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/4/2013 4:30:06 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Unhappy about suppression of the press, Lincoln suggested that the ban on the Chicago Times be lifted. Secretary of War Stanton, though he had no trouble evading the Constitution when it suited him, turned the wish into a command. Orders were sent to general Ambrose Burnside to rescind the ban. A frustrated Burnside obeyed, but would offer his resignation over the affair. It was refused.




The Times' publisher, Wilbur Fisk Storey, would continue “to print the news, and raise hell.” (Which unfortunately in his case meant continuing to oppose the abolition of slavery.)


A duel of telegrams got underway between General Joseph Johnston and Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon. The Secretary had estimated Johnston's force as considerably larger than it actually was, and inquired about the general's plans. On this date Johnston fired back: "The troops you mention, including Jackson's, are less than twenty-six thousand. My only plan is to relieve Vicksburg. My force is too small for the purpose. Tell me if you can increase it, and how much. Grant is receiving reinforcements. Port Hudson is closely invested."

Both those last points were true. A Confederate disaster was in the making, and it seems quite possible that the attempts to shift blame for it had already begun.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/4/2013 8:32:09 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 #: 858
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/5/2013 8:27:39 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Confederate Secretary of War Seddon wired back to Joseph Johnston: "I regret my inability to promise more troops, as we have drained resources even to the danger of several points. You know best concerning General Bragg’s army, but I fear to withdraw more. We are too far outnumbered in it to spare any. You must rely on what you have, and the irregular forces Mississippi can afford.”

At last the "elephant in the room" had been named. There was no good place to get more troops for Johnston's effort to relieve Vicksburg. But there was just one place where experienced troops could be drawn from in time: Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee, currently blocking the Union Army of the Cumberland. To pull units away from Bragg meant giving up the part of the state of Tennessee the Confederates still held, which was certain to cause a political firestorm in Richmond. To be forced out of territory was one thing; to tamely abandon it was something else entirely.


In Virginia, the Northerners suspected that Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was up to something, but couldn't be sure what. Observation balloons had noted some camps were now empty and there were columns of dust along the roads. But the entrenchments at Fredricksburg were still manned, and deserters from the Rebel lines said that Lee was consolidating his forces to make the defense stronger. The "deserters", however, were deliberate plants sent by the Confederates to confuse the Yankees.

In the meantime, two of Lee's three corps assembled at Culpepper, preparing to march north. "Jeb" Stuart brought his cavalry together at Brandy Station, and held an 8,000-strong 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 Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 859
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/7/2013 5:16:56 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Union still had a major supply depot at Milliken's Bend, and the Confederates hoped that this might turn out to be the weak link in Grant's campaign against Vicksburg. With the Union Navy now patrolling the entire Mississippi except for the areas right by Vicksburg and Port Hudson, there was no way to get Southern troops from the west side of the river to attack the Northern besiegers. But Milliken's Bend was on the west bank of the river, and on this date a division of Texan soldiers moved in to attack.

The depot was held by the African Brigade and a few companies of cavalry, since the area was not expecting to see combat. There was just time to advance the 23rd Iowa regiment to reinforce the area. At 3:00 a.m. on this date, the Confederates drove in the Union pickets and advanced. With their superior numbers, some of the Rebels engaged bayonet-to-bayonet while others moved to flank the Yankees. After a period of intense fighting, the flanking move succeeded, and enfilade fire caused heavy casualties in the Union ranks.

The Northerners retreated to the banks of the river, with the situation looking grim. But daylight had come, and with it two Union gunboats, one of them the USS Lexington that had helped save the day at Shiloh. The Confederates tried to flank on the other side, but this time they were held, and the naval bombardment began to take its toll. Shortly after noon the Southerners withdrew. The Union losses were about 650 men in all, while the Confederates lost a little over 180.

There were reports afterwards of the black troops being shot down while trying to surrender. However, the Southerners denied having done it, and the main source seems to be from the gunboats, which did not have as good a view of the action. There is some evidence, however, that captured blacks were sent into slavery.

Grant wrote in his memoirs that this was the first serious fighting done by U.S. colored troops. (He apparently had not heard the details of the assault on Port Hudson.) They had fought with courage, and saved a valuable depot. More officials on the Union side began to look favorably on using black soldiers in combat -- but there was still considerable doubt.


Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com


Around Vicksburg, the Confederates were finding it harder and harder to get messages in and out of the besieged city. Since the reinforced Union army was now larger than the garrison and Joseph Johnston's relieving army, this was a problem.

In replying to this dispatch on the 7th, I said: “Cooperation is absolutely necessary. Tell us how to effect it, and by what routes to approach.” Lieutenant-General Pemberton wrote on the same day: "I am still without information from you, or of you, later than your dispatch of the 25th. The enemy continues to intrench his position around Vicksburg. I have sent out couriers to you almost daily. The same men are in the trenches constantly, but are in good spirits, expecting your approach. The enemy is so vigilant that it is impossible to obtain reliable information. When may I expect you to move, and in what direction? My subsistence may be put down for about twenty days."
--Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations During the Civil War



Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/7/2013 8:21:21 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 #: 860
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/9/2013 4:45:38 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Early in the morning, 11,000 Northern cavalry and supporting units splashed across two fords to engage the Southern troopers gathered at Brandy Station. They achieved a double surprise: first, a brigade under John Buford overran the pickets guarding one ford and forced a number of Rebel horsemen to ride bareback, having no time to saddle their mounts. Worse, another wing under David Greg, found a completely unguarded road and reached Fleetwood Hill, which had been the location of "Jeb" Stuart's headquarters the evening before.

But the Southerners rallied, and soon the Northerners found there were considerably more of them than they had planned for (about 9,500). This made it the largest primarily cavalry battle of the war, though both sides had some infantry and artillery as well. Charges and counter-charges swept across the Fleetwood Hill, until finally the Confederates established themselves to stay. With both his wings blocked, the Union commander ordered a general withdrawal.

Union losses were 69 killed 352 wounded 486 missing/captured, for a total of 907. Confederate losses were about 520 all told. By any cold, concrete measure, Brandy Station was a Confederate victory. The Southerners had been left in possession of the field, and they had inflicted more casualties than they had received. But the battle had intangible effects which would be surprisingly far-reaching. First, the large Rebel force there proved to the Union commanders that Lee's army was definitely on the move. Even more important, the morale of the Union troopers received a boost that would turn out to be permanent:

[The battle] made the Federal cavalry. Up to that time confessedly inferior to the Southern horsemen, they gained on this day that confidence in themselves and in their commanders which enabled them to contest so fiercely the subsequent battle-fields of June, July, and October.
-- Stuart's adjutant Henry B. McClellan


And, the myth of "Jeb" Stuart's invincibility was gone on the Confederate side as well. He had been surprised, and that wasn't supposed to happen -- he was supposed to be the one doing the surprising. Some stinging criticism, from the influential Richmond Enquirer and other sources, was leveled at him. Stuart began looking for a way to restore his dimmed glory. This would have its consequences.

Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/10/2013 3:27:16 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 #: 861
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/10/2013 3:11:02 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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East of Vicksburg, early June 1863:

Confederate Secretary of War Seddon had asked Joe Johnston if he advised taking more troops from the Army of Tennessee.

I replied on the 10th: “I have not at my disposal half the number of troops necessary. It is for the Government to determine what department, if any, can furnish the reenforcements required.” The Secretary’s dispatch, in cipher, could be only partially deciphered. On the 12th, something more being understood, the answer was continued: “To take from Bragg a force that would make this army fit to oppose Grant’s, would involve yielding Tennessee. It is for the Government to decide between this State and Tennessee.”
[...]
I cannot advise as to the points from which troops can best be taken, having no means of knowing. Nor is it for me to judge which it is best to hold, Mississippi or Tennessee —- that is for the Government to determine. Without some great blunder of the enemy, we cannot hold both.

Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations during the Civil War


Note that Johnston had originally been assigned as department commander for the vast area between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi. As such he would have had the authority to take whatever troops he saw fit from Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. But Johnston had a horror of trespassing on a fellow general's command, which was fair since he violently objected to any trespass on his own authority. Also, he wanted to pass the responsibility for the looming disaster up the chain of command. He did not want to be known either as the man who lost Tennessee, or the man who lost Vicksburg.

_____________________________

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 #: 862
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/11/2013 8:37:55 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

A second raid to bring the war home to the Northerners got underway. This one was considerably smaller than Lee's campaign, however, consisting of 2,460 Rebel cavalry with just four pieces of artillery, led by famed raider John Hunt Morgan. They jumped of from Sparta, Tennessee, intending to go to Kentucky and cause disruption in the rear of the Union Army of the Cumberland, which was facing the Army of Tennessee.

As it happened, they would go all the way to Indiana and then Ohio, possibly the farthest northward penetration by regular Confederate troops.

_____________________________

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 #: 863
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/13/2013 4:40:32 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had successfully passed around to the west of Hooker's Army of the Potomac. The Rebels now moved into the Shenandoah Valley. Hooker had suspected something like this, and proposed to march on Richmond, which was now largely uncovered. However, so was Washington. Lincoln telegraphed to Hooker that his primary objective was the Confederate army, not the Confederate capital. Hooker reluctantly set his troops marching northward.

In the meantime, Lee's left wing under Richard Ewell approached the outskirts of Winchester, the key town of the middle Shenandoah Valley. It had been occupied (with an iron hand) for several months by a 6,000-man division under Major General Robert Milroy. But the location was not difficult to surround, and so General-in--Chief Halleck had sent a man to order Milroy to evacuate his force to Harpers Ferry. Milroy, however, had set up strong fortifications around the town, and was able to convince the intermediary to let him try to hold the place.

Skirmishing and artillery engagements began around noon. The Confederates had excellent knowledge of the area, because this was Stonewall Jackson's old stomping grounds, and they still had the maps drawn up by Jackson's cartographer. As the afternoon went by, the Southerners took position after position surrounding Winchester. By sundown they had seized the town of Martinsburg to the north, and cut the telegraph line, severing the Yankees' communication. A heavy rain came up, preventing the Northerners from observing that their escape route was being cut off.


Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com


At Port Hudson, Union commander Nathaniel Banks had the Confederate fortifications shelled for about an hour, interrupting the Rebels' lunchtime. He then sent a demand for surrender. Confederate commander Franklin Gardner sent back the reply: “My duty requires me to defend this position, and therefore I decline to surrender”.

Banks did not have an alternate plan ready. He ordered the artillery bombardment resumed, and decided on an infantry assault during the night. However, he did not give his three infantry leaders any detailed plan, simply telling them to attack at 1:00 a.m.


Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/13/2013 4:41:51 AM >


_____________________________

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

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 864
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/14/2013 5:16:37 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Port Hudson, the Union first assault got underway at 3:30 a.m. Not only was it still dark, but there was fog. One by one, the uncoordinated advances were met with heavy Confederate fire, and were driven back. Nearly 1,800 Yankees were casualties, while the Rebels lost only 47. From then on, bombardment and siege were the order of the day, but the results were only slightly less lethal to the Northerners as disease swept through their camps.


Around Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley, much of the day was spent with the Confederates consolidating their positions and moving artillery into place. It was not until 6 p.m. that the main attack of the day got underway, taking advantage of the late daylight in mid-June. The Rebels rushed across 300 yards of open field and swept into one of the three main forts protecting the town. There was an intense but short hand-to-hand struggle, and then the Federals abandoned the fort, not having the time to spike their guns. It was not long before the cannons were turned against the Yankees.

Now the Southerners could command nearly the entire Union position with their artillery. The Northern commander summoned a council of war at 9 p.m., and realized that not only was he surrounded, he had only a division facing a corps. It was decided to evacuate during the night.


_____________________________

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 #: 865
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/15/2013 5:42:38 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Northern evacuation of Winchester went smoothly at first. Nearly all the wheeled vehicles were left behind, allowing the troops to pull out so quietly that the Confederates did not realize for hours that their foes were no longer in the town. The Yankees had also wisely chosen an alternate road than the main one going north.

But Southern commander Richard Ewell had maps of the area, and had noted the secondary escape route. He sent a force to cover a key bridge on this route, which arrived just before the advance column of Federals. Several attacks were made to try to take the bridge back, becoming more and more intense as more Union soldiers arrived. But more Confederate reinforcements arrived as well, and the bridge was held. At the height of the fighting, Northern commander Robert Milroy had his horse shot from under him, and his force became disorganized. Some surrendered outright, some fled in various directions, but either way most ended up prisoners. Milroy himself and about 1,200 men managed to escape, but Milroy did not maintain his freedom for long; he was placed under arrest for disobeying orders to abandon Winchester before the Confederates arrived. (He would eventually be exonerated because the orders had not been definite.)

A very happy Ewell reported back to Robert E. Lee. "The fruits of this victory were 23 pieces of artillery (nearly all rifled), 4,000 prisoners, 300 loaded wagons, more than 300 horses, and quite a large amount of commissary and quartermaster's stores." The butcher's bill for the Confederates had been just 47 killed, 219 wounded, and 3 missing. It was not the magnitude of the victory that Stonewall Jackson had won the year before at Harpers Ferry, but it was a very encouraging start to the campaign. Thus far Ewell seemed to be filling Jackson's shoes.

_____________________________

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 #: 866
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/16/2013 10:14:00 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Joseph Johnston had wired to Richmond that he considered "saving Vicksburg hopeless". He got this reply:

Confederate States of America,
War Department,
Richmond, June 16, 1863.

General J. E. Johnston:

Your telegram grieves and alarms me. Vicksburg must not be lost
without a desperate struggle. The interest and honor of the Confederacy
forbid it. I rely on you still to avert the loss. If better resources do not
offer, you must hazard attack. It may be made in concert with the garrison,
if practicable, but otherwise without, by day or night as you
think best.

(Signed,) JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War.




In Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, an advance troop of Confederate cavalry had ridden far ahead of the Army of Northern Virginia and occupied the town. It was for the second time; Stuart's troopers had raided the town the year before. The Southern horsemen proceeded to take almost everything in the way of supplies that the town afforded. For most items they paid in Confederate money, which was of course almost worthless to the Northerners. For three things they did not pay at all: what few horses they could find (most had been sent north on hearing the Rebels approach), whatever guns they could find, and all the blacks, whether runaway slaves or free. The Confederates had decided to apply the theory of "Contraband of War" to Union territory.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/17/2013 3:35:24 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 #: 867
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/17/2013 3:32:52 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4258
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
Status: offline
150 Years Ago Today:

The CSS Atlanta was a casemate-type ironclad made by extensively rebuilding the blockade runner Fingal. Her engines were not quite up to the task of propelling the extra weight of guns and armor, and abortive attempts to attack the Union blockading squadron of the coast of Savannah, Georgia, had had to be called off. Now under a new commander named William A. Webb, the Atlanta set forth on a do-or-die sortie. Early in the morning, she hove into view of the two blockading monitors, USS Weehawken and USS Nahant.

Unfortunately for the Confederates, things went wrong shortly after Atlanta fired her first shot. She went aground on a sandbar, and found the tide was flowing against her attempts to get off. The USS Weehawken turned out to be a hybrid monitor, armed with one 11-inch and one 15-inch Dahlgren cannons. The shells from the 11-inch were serious enough, but the 15-inch was lethal, smashing through enough of Atlanta's armor to spray the interior with fragments. After fifteen minutes without being able to reply to any effect, Captain Webb realized that further fighting was only getting his crew decimated. The Atlanta was surrendered. The USS Nahant did not have time to get into firing position for a single shot (though she did share in the prize money).

The tide peaked an hour and a half later, allowing the Union vessels to pull the Atlanta off the sandbar. After some time under repair, Atlanta joined the Union navy, and served until the end of the war.





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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 #: 868
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/18/2013 8:22:25 PM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4258
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
Status: offline
150 Years Ago Today:

In the Union lines around Vicksburg, the ill feelings toward general John McClernand over the failed attacks of May 22 had never wholly gone away. But now they became more intense than ever, for a Northern newspaper arrived with a self-congratulatory order from McClernand's headquarters. It declared that his corps had done the majority of the fighting that day, and if only the two corps under William T. Sherman and James McPherson had made supporting attacks, that "would have probably insured success."

Since such attacks had in fact been made, and at a tragic cost in killed and wounded, the officers and men in those two corps were bitterly angry, and Sherman and McPherson had both complained to U. S. Grant in writing.

This order had been sent North and published, and now papers containing it had reached our camps. The order had not been heard of by me, and certainly not by troops outside of McClernand's command until brought in this way. I at once wrote to McClernand, directing him to send me a copy of the order. He did so, and I at once relieved him from the command of the 13th army corps and ordered him back to Springfield, Illinois.

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



("At once" is one way of putting it; in fact, Grant wrote out the order and had it delivered in the middle of the night, waking McClernand up at 1:00 a.m. on this date.)

Grant had been looking for a way to rid himself of the ambitious McClernand for some time, but had nothing definite. Now he did: releasing any statement to the press without clearing it through superiors was a violation of both Grant's direct orders and War Department regulations. Grant would have been justified in dismissing McClernand from the army entirely, but McClernand's political connections (he was a personal acquaintance of Lincoln) would have made this unwise.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/19/2013 4:50:09 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 #: 869
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/19/2013 4:42:38 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4258
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
Status: offline
150 Years Ago Today:

In Mississippi, Joseph Johnston regarded his instructions to attack Grant as little more than a prelude to the butchery of his command. He wired back to the Confederate War Department:

Jackson, June 19, 1863.
Hon. J. A. Seddon:

Dispatch of the 16th received. I think that you do not appreciate
the difficulties in the course you direct, nor the probabilities or
consequence of failure. Grant's position, naturally very strong, is
entrenched and protected by powerful artillery, and the roads
obstructed. His reinforcements have been at least equal to my whole
force. The Big Black covers him from attack, and would cut off our
retreat if defeated. We cannot combine operations with General Pemberton,
from uncertain and slow communication. The defeat of this little
army would at once open Mississippi and Alabama to Grant. I will do
all I can, without hope of doing more than aid to extricate the garrison.

(Signed,) J. E. JOHNSTON.



In Virginia, George Stoneman had been replaced as the overall Union cavalry commander by Alfred Pleasonton. (For one thing, Stoneman had developed chronic hemorrhoids, exceedingly inconvenient for cavalry service.) But although the Northern horsemen were now generally equal to the Southerners, what was really needed was a complete breakthrough to find the main body of the Confederate army. And this was what "Jeb" Stuart and his men were still preventing. In the Battle of Middleburg which stretched over three days, the Rebel troopers kept the passes into the Shenandoah Valley blocked, allowing the Confederate infantry to march up the entire length of the valley while still keeping the Union high command guessing. A bonus was the capture of an entire regiment of Northern cavalry when it rode too far forward and found itself against a brigade of Southern cavalry, plus infantry support. When the clashes ended on today's date, both sides had been exhausted by fighting in unseasonal heat, but Pleasonton's men were as far from ever from their goal.

Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Hooker both were certain that something big was up, but until they knew just what, the Army of the Potomac had to keep Washington covered. They ordered Pleasonton to try again with a larger force.






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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 #: 870
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