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RE: Civil War 150th

 
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RE: Civil War 150th - 10/11/2013 4:51:20 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

William T. Sherman, already having difficulty moving his troops down railroads that the Confederate guerrillas kept sabotaging, encountered a more immediate danger:

On Sunday morning, October 11th, with a special train loaded with our orderlies and clerks, the horses of our staff, the battalion of the Thirteenth United States Regulars, and a few officers going forward to join their commands, among them Brigadier-General Hugh Ewing, I started for Corinth.

...about noon the train ran by the depot at Colliersville, twenty-six miles out. I was in the rear car with my staff, dozing, but observed the train slacking speed and stopping about half a mile beyond the depot. I noticed some soldiers running to and fro, got out at the end of the car, and soon Colonel Anthony (Sixty-sixth Indiana), who commanded the post, rode up and said that his pickets had just been driven in, and there was an appearance of an attack by a large force of cavalry coming from the southeast. I ordered the men to get off the train, to form on the knoll near the railroad-cut, and soon observed a rebel officer riding toward us with a white flag. Colonel Anthony and Colonel Dayton (one of my aides) were sent to meet him, and to keep him in conversation as long as possible. They soon returned, saying it was the adjutant of the rebel general [James] Chalmers, who demanded the surrender of the place. I instructed them to return and give a negative answer, but to delay him as much as possible, so as to give us time for preparation. I saw Anthony, Dayton, and the rebel bearer of the flag, in conversation, and the latter turn his horse to ride back, when I ordered Colonel McCoy to run to the station, and get a message over the wires as quick as possible to Memphis and Germantown, to hurry forward Corse's division. I then ordered the train to back to the depot, and drew back the battalion of regulars to the small earth redoubt near it.


[The Confederates had roughly 2,800 men, but a number were irregulars. The Union force, combining the troops on the train and the Colliersville garrison, was only 480 men.]

The depot-building was of brick, and had been punctured with loop-holes. To its east, about two hundred yards, was a small square earthwork or fort, into which were put a part of the regulars along with the company of the Sixty-sixth Indiana already there. The rest of the men were distributed into the railroad-cut, and in some shallow rifle-trenches near the depot. We had hardly made these preparations when the enemy was seen forming in a long line on the ridge to the south, about four hundred yards off, and soon after two parties of cavalry passed the railroad on both sides of us, cutting the wires and tearing up some rails. Soon they opened on us with artillery (of which we had none), and their men were dismounting and preparing to assault. To the south of us was an extensive cornfield, with the corn still standing, and on the other side was the town of Colliersville. All the houses near, that could give shelter to the enemy, were ordered to be set on fire, and the men were instructed to keep well under cover and to reserve their fire for the assault, which seemed inevitable. A long line of rebel skirmishers came down through the cornfield, and two other parties approached us along the railroad on both sides. In the fort was a small magazine containing some cartridges. Lieutenant James, a fine, gallant fellow, who was ordnance-officer on my staff, asked leave to arm the orderlies and clerks with some muskets which he had found in the depot, to which I consented...

...The enemy closed down on us several times, and got possession of the rear of our train, from which they succeeded in getting five of our horses, among them my favorite mare Dolly; but our men were cool and practised shots (with great experience acquired at Vicksburg), and drove them back. With their artillery they knocked to pieces our locomotive and several of the cars, and set fire to the train; but we managed to get possession again, and extinguished the fire. Colonel Audenreid, aide-de-camp, was provoked to find that his valise of nice shirts had been used to kindle the fire. The fighting continued all round us for three or four hours, when we observed signs of drawing off, which I attributed to the rightful cause, the rapid approach of Corse's division, which arrived about dark, having marched the whole distance from Memphis, twenty-six miles, on the double-quick. The next day we repaired damages to the railroad and locomotive, and went on to Corinth.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


In spite of the combat going on for hours, casualties for this First Battle of Colliersville were fairly light. Different sources report the Union losses as 51 or 164 killed, wounded, and missing, while the Confederates are said to have lost either 97 or 128 men in all.

_____________________________

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 #: 961
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/13/2013 3:18:45 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Surprisingly, this date was an election day in the North. The most important contest was for the Governorship of Ohio, which "Peace Democrat" Clement Vallandigham was in the running for. He had run his campaign from exile in Canada, at one point delivering a speech across the St. Lawrence River. But this and other moves fell short, and John Brough, a "War Democrat" who supported most of the Republican platform, won. His margin of victory was decisive: 61 percent of the votes.

This was seen as a great shift in public opinion about the Emancipation Proclamation. The Northern populace had been divided when it first came out, and those for it had seemed to be in the minority. However, as the newspaper in Lincoln's hometown of Springfield editorialized, "And yet not a year has passed before it is approved by an overwhelming majority."


Near Chattanooga, President Jefferson Davis had offered the command of the Army of Tennessee to James Longstreet. But Longstreet demurred, perhaps believing that he would be seen as an easterner usurping the command when he had at first been brought to Tennessee to assist Braxton Bragg. He suggested Joseph Johnston instead, who was now seen as a "western" general. This was not at all to Davis' liking, since he and Johnston now strongly disliked each other.

The interview was exciting, at times warm, but continued until Lookout Mountain lifted above the sun to excuse my taking leave. The President walked as far as the gate, gave his hand in his usual warm grasp, and dismissed me with his gracious smile; but a bitter look lurking about its margin, and the ground-swell, admonished me that clouds were gathering about head-quarters of the First Corps even faster than those that told the doom of the Southern cause. A day or two after this interview the President called the commanders to meet him again at General Bragg’s head-quarters. He expressed desire to have the army pulled away from the lines around Chattanooga and put to active work in the field, and called for suggestions and plans by which that could be done…
-- James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America


Davis also seems to have found a kindred spirit in Braxton Bragg. Both men were in chronic pain from health conditions, and both were disciplinarians intolerant of disagreement from subordinates. And so, the Confederate President decided to keep Bragg as head of the army. Given that Bragg's subordinates almost universally hated him, Davis gave Bragg the authority to remove several of them, including Daniel Harvey Hill. This effectively demoted Hill from a Lieutenant General to a Major General, since his provisional rank as a Corps commander had not been confirmed. It was also the effective end of his military career, for he would spend nearly the entire remainder of the war on the sidelines.




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 #: 962
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/14/2013 2:32:59 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, Robert E. Lee had been moving his army to the north and west, hoping to flank George Meade and the Union army. But Meade was withdrawing almost as fast as Lee was advancing, pulling back even beyond the Rappahannock River. ("Jeb" Stuart and his troopers, trying to attack the Federals in the rear, had found himself temporarily trapped between two corps.) Combat had been limited to skirmishing and cavalry engagements. On this date, the Confederate Third Corps finally made contact with the Yankees at the town of Bristoe Station.

Unfortunately, while the Southerners had detected the Union V Corps, they had missed the II Corps coming up in support. The result was an effective ambush, with the Rebels taking heavy losses from both musket and artillery fire. A courageous charge actually managed to overrun the Northern line in one place, but a counter-attack with superior Federal numbers drove the Confederates back, and captured five guns. Total casualties were a lopsided 540 Northerners to 1,380 Southerners.

When Third Corps commander A. P. Hill reported the defeat to Robert E. Lee, Lee is reported to have said, "Well, well, general, bury these poor men and let us say no more about it." But there is reason to believe that Lee lost confidence in Hill from this day, and indeed Hill's record seems to show that he was one of a number of good division commanders who could not master the elevation to corps leadership.

Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 10/14/2013 4:34:26 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 #: 963
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/15/2013 4:08:15 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

After the apparent failure of the semi-submersible CSS David, the Confederates in Charleston turned to the fully-submersible, hand-crank-powered, Pioneer III. It was becoming quite clear that the vessel was very "unforgiving". A single wrong turn of a valve or diving plane would send her to the bottom, and there was only a half-hour's worth of air once the hatches were sealed. Five, and possibly fourteen, men had died aboard her. Possibly for this reason, the boat's designer Horace L. Hunley himself had taken command of her while an all-volunteer crew learned how to operate her in the three-dimensional realm underwater.

But on this date, it appears Hunley made at least one and possibly two major mistakes. Possibly because Hunley opened the valve to the forward ballast tank too fast, the Pioneer III dove to the floor of the harbor, and became stuck on the muddy bottom. There was emergency ballast that could be released for such an emergency, but it proved inadequate. (The ballast tank had likely filled completely because of the pressure at depth.) Hunley and eight more men suffocated.

P.G.T. Beauregard, the military commander at Charleston, tried to put an end to the lethal series of events. "Enough! Let her lie in the mud," was his directive. But the local Confederate Navy officers were willing to try anything to sink at least one of the Union blockading ships. A little over a week later, the submersible would be raised and renamed the Hunley.


_____________________________

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 #: 964
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/16/2013 5:26:04 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

As a further indicator of just how worried the Lincoln administration was over the situation in Chattanooga, more orders went out:

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY WASHINGTON, D.C., October 16, 1863

Major-General U. S. GRANT, Louisville.

GENERAL: You will receive herewith the orders of the President of the United States, placing you in command of the Departments of the Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee. The organization of these departments will be changed as you may deem most practicable. You will immediately proceed to Chattanooga, and relieve General Rosecrans. You can communicate with Generals Burnside and Sherman by telegraph. A summary of the orders sent to these officers will be sent to you immediately. It is left optional with you to supersede General Rosecrans by General G. H. Thomas or not. Any other changes will be made on your request by telegram.

Should circumstances permit, I will visit you personally in a few days for consultation.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.


The Departments of the Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee meant that Grant had command of all Union troops from the Allegheny Mountains to the Mississippi River, except for those in Louisiana under Nathaniel Banks. Along with the two corps from the Army of the Potomac under Joe Hooker, this gave Grant all the soldiers he would need and more. But more men were no use if they could not be supplied.

As it happened, Grant would get his personal visit from someone even higher up than Halleck: Secretary of War Stanton was hurrying west by train.

_____________________________

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 #: 965
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/17/2013 8:20:37 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Indianapolis, Ulysses S. Grant had a sudden visitor.


Just as the train I was on was starting out of the depot at Indianapolis a messenger came running up to stop it, saying the Secretary of War was coming into the station and wanted to see me.

I had never met Mr. Stanton up to that time, though we had held frequent conversations over the wires the year before, when I was in Tennessee...


(The story is that Secretary Stanton at first mistook Grant's surgeon for the 40-year-old Grant, since he was on older and more distinguished-looking man than the general. If so, Grant diplomatically left the error out of his memoirs.)

On this occasion the Secretary was accompanied by Governor Brough of Ohio, whom I had never met, though he and my father had been old acquaintances. Mr. Stanton dismissed the special train that had brought him to Indianapolis, and accompanied me to Louisville...

Up to this time no hint had been given me of what was wanted after I left Vicksburg, except the suggestion in one of Halleck's dispatches that I had better go to Nashville and superintend the operation of troops sent to relieve Rosecrans. Soon after we started the Secretary handed me two orders, saying that I might take my choice of them. The two were identical in all but one particular. Both created the "Military Division of Mississippi," (giving me the command) composed of the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, and all the territory from the Alleghanies to the Mississippi River north of Banks's command in the south-west. One order left the department commanders as they were, while the other relieved Rosecrans and assigned Thomas to his place. I accepted the latter.

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


Although Grant was only a Major General (a two-star) he now commanded an immense territory, in which he could only be overruled by three men: General-in-Chief Halleck, Secretary of War Stanton, and President Lincoln himself.

_____________________________

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

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 966
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/18/2013 5:14:17 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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Mid-October, 1863:

The Northern Army of the Potomac had now fallen back to a position around Centerville, Virginia, almost the same area it had occupied before First Manassas / Bull Run, two and a half years before. There it dug in, and Robert E. Lee's attempt to turn the Union flank was frustrated. The Southerners could not stay where they were for long; for the Federals now had much better access to supplies and reinforcements. Lee reluctantly ordered his Army of Northern Virginia to pull back, but destroyed the Orange and Alexandria railroad as he went, so that repairs would be needed before the Yankees were ready to launch their own offensive.


It is not too much to say that Jefferson Davis' visit to the Confederate army at Missionary Ridge near Chattanooga proved worse than useless, with one exception. Nathan Bedford Forrest, having declared that he would not obey Braxton Bragg any longer, was given an independent cavalry command. Forrest and his men would go on to accomplish extraordinary things, although their absence from the Army of Tennessee measurably weakened it. However, the dismissal of several officers who had quarreled with Bragg cost considerable leadership experience, and did not do much to improve harmony in Bragg's staff. Most of all, the supply situation was not improved, and the low morale in the ranks went even lower:

Bragg, in trying to starve the Yankees out, was starved out himself. Ask any old Rebel as to our bill of fare at Missionary Ridge. In all the history of the war, I cannot remember of more privations and hardships than we went through at Missionary Ridge. And when in the very acme of our privations and hunger, when the army was most dissatisfied and unhappy, we were ordered into line of battle to be reviewed by Honorable Jefferson Davis. When he passed by us, with his great retinue of staff officers and play-outs at full gallop, cheers greeted them, with the words, "Send us something to eat, Massa Jeff. Give us something to eat, Massa Jeff. I'm hungry! I'm hungry!"
-- Sam R. Watkins, "Company Aytch" Maury Grays


At least one general shared the opinion of Private Watkins:

The President left the army more despondent than he found it. General Pemberton’s misfortune at Vicksburg gave rise to severe prejudice of the people and the army, and when the troops heard of the purpose of the President to assign him to command of Polk’s corps, parts of the army were so near to mutiny that he concluded to call General Hardee to that command. A few days after he left us a severe season of rain set in, and our commander used the muddy roads to excuse his failure to execute the campaign that the President had ordered.
-- James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America


The initiative was passing to the Union, and with U. S. Grant on the way, there would be a commander who knew how to use it.

_____________________________

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 #: 967
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/19/2013 4:30:18 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Union cavalry in the Eastern theater had now drawn essentially even with their Confederate counterparts. Equipment, training, and the morale boost of successful actions had helped considerably, but there was one other factor: horses. At the start of the war, the Southern troopers had been expected to bring their own mounts with them when they joined the ranks. At first, this gave them an edge, since no time needed to be spent familiarizing rider with horse and vice versa. But as the war ground on, replacements were needed. With the loss of the Mississippi River, the Confederacy no longer had access to Texas or the plains of the far west. With Kentucky and most of Tennessee in the Union camp, horses of quality became harder and harder to find for the Southerners, but not for the Northerners.

But any cavalry led by "Jeb" Stuart was still a force to be reckoned with. On this date, a Union force under Judson Kilpatrick engaged a slightly smaller force under Stuart. But the Confederates had a second body of cavalry waiting in ambush. When Stuart had retreated his troopers to the right position, he turned and charged. At the same time, the second group of Rebels hit the Yankees in the flank.

Kilpatrick's force quickly dissolved in rout. The Confederates chased after them, whooping and cheering, "in an action that resembled a spirited steeplechase rather than a military action" according to one report. (In fact, it was often called "the Buckland races".) Most of the roughly 4,000 Northerners escaped, though it is safe to say it was not one of George Custer's prouder engagements. Still, the Southerners captured half of the Federal wagons, while inflicting about 250 casualties all told.



In Chattanooga, General William Rosecrans was not yet aware that the proverbial axe had fallen, and he was not officially the commander of the Army of the Cumberland any more. The situation in the besieged city was growing ever more desperate, with soldiers picking up and eating the grain falling from the carts hauling fodder for the animals.

Rosecrans seems to have concluded that he must evacuate the army. However, there was no good route to retreat by, and Assistant Secretary of War Charles A. Dana, who was on the scene, knew it. So did Grant, who had by this date reached Louisville, Kentucky:

A retreat at that time would have been a terrible disaster. It would not only have been the loss of a most important strategic position to us, but it would have been attended with the loss of all the artillery still left with the Army of the Cumberland and the annihilation of that army itself, either by capture or demoralization.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


Dana quickly telegraphed to Louisville. Grant and his wife had stepped out of their hotel to visit relatives in town, but the telegram reached Secretary of War Stanton, who was also staying at the hotel. Stanton, highly anxious, sent out everyone he could convince to go to find Grant and bring him back to the hotel. Fortunately for the Union cause and Stanton's blood pressure, Grant was already on the way back, and soon arrived.

I immediately wrote an order assuming command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, and telegraphed it to General Rosecrans. I then telegraphed to him the order from Washington assigning Thomas to the command of the Army of the Cumberland; and to Thomas that he must hold Chattanooga at all hazards, informing him at the same time that I would be at the front as soon as possible. A prompt reply was received from Thomas, saying, "We will hold the town till we starve." I appreciated the force of this dispatch later when I witnessed the condition of affairs which prompted it. It looked, indeed, as if but two courses were open: one to starve, the other to surrender or be captured.
[...]

This country afforded but little food for his animals, nearly ten thousand of which had already starved, and not enough were left to draw a single piece of artillery or even the ambulances to convey the sick. The men had been on half rations of hard bread for a considerable time, with but few other supplies except beef driven from Nashville across the country. The region along the road became so exhausted of food for the cattle that by the time they reached Chattanooga they were much in the condition of the few animals left alive there--"on the lift." Indeed, the beef was so poor that the soldiers were in the habit of saying, with a faint facetiousness, that they were living on "half rations of hard bread and BEEF DRIED ON THE HOOF."
--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 #: 968
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/21/2013 4:49:47 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The outgoing Chattanooga commander and the incoming one met up:

]On the morning of the 21st we took the train for the front, reaching Stevenson, Alabama, after dark. Rosecrans was there on his way north. He came into my car and we held a brief interview, in which he described very clearly the situation at Chattanooga, and made some excellent suggestions as to what should be done. My only wonder was that he had not carried them out. We then proceeded to Bridgeport, where we stopped for the night.

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


Rosecrans was sent to Cincinnati "to await further orders". For many defeated generals, this was the death sentence for their careers: they would never receive another command. But after a number of months, Rosecrans would be posted across the Mississippi River to Missouri. Though he would not actually see action, he would be involved defending against one of the longest Confederate raids of the 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 #: 969
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/23/2013 5:19:18 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

The journey was not without difficulty, but Ulysses S. Grant finally reached Chattanooga:

From here we took horses and made our way by Jasper and over Waldron's Ridge to Chattanooga. There had been much rain, and the roads were almost impassable from mud, knee-deep in places, and from wash-outs on the mountain side.

I had been on crutches since the time of my fall in New Orleans, and had to be carried over places where it was not safe to cross on horseback. The roads were strewn with the debris of broken wagons and the carcasses of thousands of starved mules and horses. At Jasper, some ten or twelve miles from Bridgeport, there was a halt. General O. O. Howard had his headquarters there.

The next day we reached Chattanooga a little before dark. I went directly to General Thomas's headquarters, and remaining there a few days, until I could establish my own.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant



Grant spent his first evening and well into the night talking with his new subordinate officers. He learned that plans had already been made to establish a better supply line. Much of the groundwork had been laid by an acquaintance from long ago:

I found General W. F. Smith occupying the position of chief engineer of the Army of the Cumberland. I had known Smith as a cadet at West Point, but had no recollection of having met him after my graduation, in 1843, up to this time. He explained the situation of the two armies and the topography of the country so plainly that I could see it without an inspection. I found that he had established a saw-mill on the banks of the river, by utilizing an old engine found in the neighborhood; and, by rafting logs from the north side of the river above, had got out the lumber and completed pontoons and roadway plank for a second bridge, one flying bridge being there already.
--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 #: 970
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/24/2013 5:34:44 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

Ulysses S. Grant had a closer look at the situation near Chattanooga:

The next day, the 24th, I started out to make a personal inspection, taking Thomas and Smith with me, besides most of the members of my personal staff. We crossed to the north side of the river, and, moving to the north of detached spurs of hills, reached the Tennessee at Brown's Ferry, some three miles below Lookout Mountain, unobserved by the enemy. Here we left our horses back from the river and approached the water on foot. There was a picket station of the enemy on the opposite side, of about twenty men, in full view, and we were within easy range. They did not fire upon us nor seem to be disturbed by our presence. They must have seen that we were all commissioned officers. But, I suppose, they looked upon the garrison of Chattanooga as prisoners of war, feeding or starving themselves, and thought it would be inhuman to kill any of them except in self-defence.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant



Given that most of the soldiers on both sides were of similar ethnicity and spoke the same language, it is not too surprising that such sportsmanlike attitudes were often found. One noteworthy exception was the Confederate soldiers from South Carolina: the Northerners regarded them as the people primarily responsible for the war, and rarely made truces with them. It was not unknown to see a South Carolina unit dug in and careful not to expose anyone to enemy fire, while a few paces away another Southern unit would be talking openly or even trading with the Northerners.


During his tour of the Confederate army outside Chattanooga, President Davis had included a Colonel James Chesnut, the husband of one of the war's most famous diarists. This entry shows that the quarrel between Davis and General Joseph Johnston was no longer secret:

October 24th. - James Chesnut is at home on his way back to Richmond; had been sent by the President to make the rounds of the Western armies; says Polk is a splendid old fellow. They accuse him of having been asleep in his tent at seven o'clock when he was ordered to attack at daylight, but he has too good a conscience to sleep so soundly.
        The battle did not begin until eleven at Chickamauga when Bragg had ordered the advance at daylight. Bragg and his generals do not agree. I think a general worthless whose subalterns quarrel with him. Something is wrong about the man. Good generals are adored by their soldiers. See Napoleon, Cæsar, Stonewall, Lee.
        [...]
        Mr. Chesnut was with the President when he reviewed our army under the enemy's guns before Chattanooga. He told Mr. Davis that every honest man he saw out West thought well of Joe Johnston. He knows that the President detests Joe Johnston for all the trouble he has given him, and General Joe returns the compliment with compound interest. His hatred of Jeff Davis amounts to a religion. With him it colors all things.
        Joe Johnston advancing, or retreating, I may say with more truth, is magnetic. He does draw the good-will of those by whom he is surrounded. Being such a good hater, it is a pity he had not elected to hate somebody else than the President of our country. He hates not wisely but too well.
-- Mary Boykin Chesnut, A Diary From Dixie





_____________________________

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 #: 971
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/25/2013 5:10:33 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

In Arkansas, the Confederates tried one last move to counter the Union successes of the year. The state capital of Little Rock seemed too strongly held to attack, but if the town of Pine Bluff could be taken, the Northern supply route along the Arkansas River would be interrupted. On this date, general John Marmaduke led 2,000 Rebel cavalry in an assault on the town.

There are differing reports as to the size of the Union garrison under colonel Powell Clayton; from 550 to 1,200 men. But the accounts agree in that the Federals were considerably helped by 300 former slaves, now free by the Emancipation Proclamation. They piled cotton bales to make fairly effective barricades. After several failed attempts against the impromptu fortifications, the Confederates decided that the cost of an all-out assault would be too high. More, it might well fail, for dismounted cavalry were not as experienced and equipped as infantry for this kind of work. The Southerners conceded defeat and retreated. They had lost about 40 men in total, as compared to Northern casualties of about 55.

This would be the last significant action in Arkansas in 1863. The Union forces preferred to stay in their forts and use the Arkansas River to communicate, and the Confederates pulled back also. Considerable areas of the state, not under the control of either army, suffered the fate of Missouri and Kansas. The rule of law essentially disappeared, and guerrilla fighters ran free.

_____________________________

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 #: 972
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/27/2013 5:08:55 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Since chief engineer William "Baldy" Smith had come of with the plan to open a supply line into Chattanooga, U. S. Grant put him in command of the operation. This was somewhat unusual, since Smith was not a combat commander. And the stakes were high, for there was not even enough ammunition left in Chattanooga for a full day's battle for the Union army. Happily, the plan involved only a fraction of the garrison in the city, with a support column of reinforcing Federal troops Smith selected a young and aggressive brigadier general named William Hazen to lead a landing force at a place called Brown's Ferry, a few mile downstream of Chattanooga.

At three o'clock on the morning of the 27th, Hazen moved into the stream with his sixty pontoons and eighteen hundred brave and well-equipped men. Smith started enough in advance to be near the river when Hazen should arrive. There are a number of detached spurs of hills north of the river at Chattanooga, back of which is a good road parallel to the stream, sheltered from the view from the top of Lookout. It was over this road Smith marched. At five o'clock Hazen landed at Brown's Ferry, surprised the picket guard, and captured most of it. By seven o'clock the whole of Smith's force was ferried over and in possession of a height commanding the ferry. This was speedily fortified, while a detail was laying the pontoon bridge. By ten o'clock the bridge was laid, and our extreme right, now in Lookout valley, was fortified and connected with the rest of the army.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


Actually, the operation was not as smooth as Grant described. The Yankees were greatly aided by fog, which allowed them to float past much of the Confederate army unobserved. But once the landing was underway, the Southerners gathered the few troops they had in that area and launched a counterattack. They had pushed the Northerners back close to the river bank when a second wave of Union soldiers landed, and the Rebel commander was shot and wounded, and the tide turned. (The wounded Confederate leader was a third "William", specifically Colonel William C. Oates, who had led the assaults against Little Round Top at Gettysburg.)

With the road opened, and a column of reinforcing Federals under Joseph Hooker linking up, General Hazen declared "We've knocked the lid off the cracker box!" (Much of the Union bread ration was in the form of crackers, since they didn't spoil as fast as regular loaves of bread.) The supply route would become known as "The Cracker Line", though the name had probably come up even before Hazen's remark.

_____________________________

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 #: 973
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/28/2013 2:57:16 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Downstream from Chattanooga, Joseph Hooker marched his Federals into the area between the newly captured Brown's Ferry, and Kelly's Ferry. This got the full attention from Confederate commanders James Longstreet and Braxton Bragg. Longstreet believed that it was a feint, but Bragg overruled him and ordered an attack. Longstreet can be forgiven his mistake, for the Yankees did not look like they were intending to stay. The men at Brown's Ferry "bivouacked haphazardly" instead of properly entrenching, and an under-strength division was isolated further to the west.

This represented the last chance to re-establish the siege of Chattanooga, and deliver a desperately needed victory to the South. But if the Union defenses were poor, the Confederate attack was even worse. Confusion of orders and other delays caused the attack to not begin until almost midnight, and then with only about half the forces originally planned.

Yet, for a time the Rebels made good progress, with the darkness preventing Union reinforcements from going to where they were most needed. (Many ended up assaulting a side hill held by the Southerners and taking heavy casualties.) The Northern division that was the main objective was forced into a V-shaped salient, taking fire from two sides. But just when victory was in sight for the Confederates, orders reached several units to pull back. These orders apparently came from several sources, including a stampede of Union mules, which in the dark were reported as cavalry. The remaining Southerners were clearly too few for the job, and they retreated as well.

The Union lost 78 killed, 327 wounded, and 15 missing, while the Confederates reported 34 killed, 305 wounded, and 69 missing. (Grant claimed his men buried at least 150 Rebels.) The Northerners brought in more men, who could now easily be supplied from Kelly's Ferry and the Tennessee River. The "Cracker Line" would stay open.

(Unfortunately, the attached map only gives the Union positions, and shows almost nothing of the Confederate dispositions. My apologies to my readers.)





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 #: 974
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/30/2013 8:19:23 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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End of October 1863:

In Virginia, Lincoln and most of his cabinet wanted an attack on the retreating Army of Northern Virginia. But the Confederates had anticipated just that, and had done the most complete job yet seen in the war of wrecking the railroad that the Northerners had to use in its advance. Every rail had been ripped up, heated, and twisted, and every tie had been burned. As throughout most of its history, U. S. Army soldiers required more supplies than their opponents, so the railroad had to be rebuilt as they slowly moved back towards the Rappahannock River.


Further west, however, William T. Sherman and his force had been relieved of the need for railroad repair. Such had been Grant's confidence in the plans to break the siege at Chattanooga that he had sent orders to abandon the work on the rail line and march his troops with all deliberate speed to the scene of the action. The message had to go through territory still inhabited by Rebel irregulars, but the courier, dodging the occasional bullet, had successfully reached Sherman.


At Chattanooga, supplies began flowing through the "Cracker Line":

In five days from my arrival in Chattanooga the way was open to Bridgeport and, with the aid of steamers and Hooker's teams, in a week the troops were receiving full rations. It is hard for any one not an eye-witness to realize the relief this brought. The men were soon reclothed and also well fed, an abundance of ammunition was brought up, and a cheerfulness prevailed not before enjoyed in many weeks. Neither officers nor men looked upon themselves any longer as doomed. The weak and languid appearance of the troops, so visible before, disappeared at once. I do not know what the effect was on the other side, but I assume it must have been correspondingly depressing.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


Confederate commander Braxton Bragg did not seem unduly worried. But for the rank-and-file Southerners, Grant's guess appears to have been correct:

"Now, where are you, Johnny Reb? What are you going to do about it? You've got the dry grins, arn't you? We've got the key; when the proper time comes we'll unlock your doors and go in. You are going to starve us out, eh? We are not very hungry at present, and we don't want any more pie. When we starve out we'll call on you for rations, but at present we are not starving, by a jug full; but if you want any whisky or tobacco, send over and we'll give you some. We've got all we wanted, and assure you we are satisfied." The above remarks are the supposed colloquy that took place between the two armies.
-- Sam R. Watkins, "Co. Aytch" Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment


Naturally enough, Grant continued to familiarize himself with the terrain and the situation. He found that, in spite of catcalls and teasing, there was still a remarkable amount of good-naturedness between the two sides:

I rode from our right around to our left. When I came to the camp of the picket guard of our side, I heard the call, "Turn out the guard for the commanding general." I replied, "Never mind the guard," and they were dismissed and went back to their tents. Just back of these, and about equally distant from the creek, were the guards of the Confederate pickets. The sentinel on their post called out in like manner, "Turn out the guard for the commanding general," and, I believe, added, "General Grant." Their line in a moment front-faced to the north, facing me, and gave a salute, which I returned.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant





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 #: 975
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/1/2013 4:45:47 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

About the 1st of November it was rumored about camp that I was to be ordered into East Tennessee against General Burnside’s army. At the moment it seemed impossible that our commander, after rejecting a proposition for a similar move made just after his battle, when flushed with victory and the enemy discomfited, could now think of sending an important detachment so far, when he knew that, in addition to the reinforcements that had joined the Union army, another strong column was marching from Memphis under General Sherman, and must reach Chattanooga in fifteen or twenty days. But on second thoughts it occurred to me that it might, after all, be in keeping with his peculiarities...

--James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America


These peculiarities of Bragg's included a loathing of Longstreet, which Longstreet returned. To be free of each other, both men appeared to have convinced themselves that, in spite of the fact that supplies were now reaching the Union army, detaching Longstreet and two divisions might be a good move. Burnside had stopped his advance from Knoxville to Chattanooga to deal with the pro-Confederate partisans in the area, meaning his forces were somewhat spread out.

Longstreet's small corps was not as large as Burnside's Army of the Ohio. But the northern force was heavy in cavalry, which would not be effective in a set-piece battle, and Longstreet's men were veterans from the Army of Northern Virginia, meaning as good as the best the Confederacy could boast. If they could march quickly, they might crush the Union units piecemeal, and still return in time before Sherman's troops could arrive. It all depended on speed -- but speed was difficult for poorly fed men.



Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/1/2013 4:47:42 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 #: 976
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/1/2013 5:15:12 AM   
flanyboy

 

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I'm a big fan of Longstreet personally but that type of rapid lightening campaign which was required of Longstreet's men sounds more like something the late Jackson would have been in his element to accomplish.

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Post #: 977
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/1/2013 8:24:47 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

I'm a big fan of Longstreet personally but that type of rapid lightening campaign which was required of Longstreet's men sounds more like something the late Jackson would have been in his element to accomplish.


I'm entirely in agreement with you. It may be a spoiler, but the Knoxville campaign would be perhaps the biggest disappointment of Longstreet's career. He was a superb corps commander, but somehow did not excel at semi-independent command like Jackson's Valley Campaign.

_____________________________

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 #: 978
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/2/2013 7:32:21 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Railroads and embalming had made it possible to send the remains of a number of those killed back to their home towns for burial. But sometimes the bodies could not be identified, sometimes the families were too poor, and sometimes sheer numbers made immediate burial necessary, lest the place become a nightmare of stench and disease. Gettysburg, with more fatalities than any other battle, was such a place. The governor of Pennsylvania was unhappy that many Union soldiers had received such hasty burials, since their feat of stopping Robert E. Lee's army was considered the greatest Union achievement of the war thus far. He appointed a man named David Wills to buy the appropriate land and oversee the construction of a formal cemetery.



It had taken Wills some time, since another man had already bought much of the battlefield acreage. But at last, Wills had a large plot, and an architect's design for the layout. He invited one of the foremost orators of the day, Edward Everett, to give a speech at the formal opening ceremony. Everett's remarkable career had included being a Congressman, Senator, Governor of Massachusetts, Secretary of State, and president of Harvard. (The last had not been successful -- the students roundly disliked him.) Not surprisingly, Everett had a full calendar, and found that November 19th was the earliest day he could be present. Wills agreed, and then thought it might be well to have the commander-in-chief also give a few remarks. On this day, Wills wrote to President Lincoln with a formal invitation. Lincoln would accept.




Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/2/2013 7:34:21 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 #: 979
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/3/2013 3:53:45 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Though it was an odd-numbered year, the first Tuesday of November was an election day in a number of places in the Union. Eight states, including the new state of West Virginia, elected Representatives to the House. Massachusetts and New York also elected Senators.

To drum up votes for the Republican party, Lincoln had permitted Treasury Secretary Chase to go to Ohio and Secretary of State Seward to go to New York. Both men had been rivals with Lincoln for the Presidential nomination in 1860, but Seward assured Lincoln that his ambitions for the top spot were "all past and ended". (And indeed, Seward would never again seek office after leaving the State Department.) On the other hand, Chase's speeches strongly indicated that he was positioning himself for another run for the Presidency. Lincoln overlooked Chase's hints that the Emancipation Proclamation should have been issued earlier and covered an even wider area.

Seward had had another valid reason to go to New York: his son William was ill with typhoid. But the twenty-four-year-old William jr. would escape the fate of Lincoln and Sherman's sons named William. By evening, William senior could telegraph to Lincoln good news on two fronts: he son was stabilizing, and the results of the voting were a substantial victory for the Republicans.


Outside of Chattanooga, on either the 3rd or the 4th, Braxton Bragg held a war council:

Presently I was called, with Lieutenant-General Hardee and Major-General Breckenridge, the other corps commanders, to learn his plans and receive his orders. He announced his purpose in general terms to send me into East Tennessee, then paused as if inviting the opinions of others, when I stated that the move could be made, but it would be hazardous to make a detachment strong enough for rapid work while his army was spread along a semicircle of six miles, with the enemy concentrated at the centre...

...He ordered the move to be made by my two divisions, Alexander’s and Leydon’s artillery, and Wheeler’s cavalry and horse artillery. We had the promise of a force, estimated from three to five thousand, that was to come from Southwest Virginia and meet us, but that command was to start from a point two hundred miles from our starting, march south as we marched north, and meet us at Knoxville. General Bragg estimated General Burnside’s force south of Knoxville at fifteen thousand. I repeated the warning that the move as ordered was not such as to give assurances of rapid work, saying that my march and campaign against the enemy’s well-guarded positions must be made with care, and that would consume so much time that General Grant’s army would be up, when he would organize attack that must break through the line before I could return to him. His sardonic smile seemed to say that I knew little of his army or of himself in assuming such a possibility.
--James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America


Bragg was being remarkably confident, since Sherman and his troops were now making good time towards Chattanooga. The Yankee reinforcements would begin to arrive in less than two weeks.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/3/2013 10:56:03 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 #: 980
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/6/2013 2:34:33 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In a place called Droop Mountain, West Virginia, Union forces were trying to clear the Confederate troops from the new state. They found about 1,200 Rebels under Brigadier General John Echols positioned on high ground, and commanding the road with artillery. However, when a reinforcing column arrived, the Federals had roughly 5,000 infantry and cavalry, and decided to attack. After spirited resistance from the Southerners, Union commander William Averell managed to turn the enemy left flank. A simultaneous charge to the center collapsed the Confederate position.

Pursued by Federal Cavalry, most of the Confederate force fled. The majority got away, but many abandoned their muskets and other equipment. Losses were 119 for the northerners and 275 for the southerners, and Echols realized his remaining troops did not have enough arms or ammunition for further battle. He retreated his force into Virginia proper, and organized Confederate resistance in West Virginia was at an end for the time being. Sadly but not surprisingly, guerrilla activity would continue.


_____________________________

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 #: 981
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/7/2013 12:47:07 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Chattanooga, word reached the Union generals that James Longstreet and his troops were moving towards Knoxville. A warning was telegraphed to Ambrose Burnside, advising him to fall back. The threat was not so much that Burnside was outmatched, for his Army of the Ohio had more men than Longstreet's corps. The problem was that the Northern supply lines were over-stretched, and the Army of the Ohio might find itself being starved as the Army of the Cumberland had been until a few days ago.

But for the moment, Longstreet had even bigger problems than the Northerners. He had hoped to use a rail line to move his men and horses rapidly and catch Burnside spread out. But his infantry and artillery had an unpleasant surprise:

They reached the station in due season, but the cars were not there. After waiting some days, the battery horses and horses of mounted officers were ordered by the wagon road. Tired of the wait, I advised the troops to march along the road and find the cars where they might have the good fortune to meet them, the officers, whose horses had been sent forward, marching with the soldiers. General Bragg heard of the delay and its cause, but began to urge the importance of more rapid movements. His effort to make his paper record at my expense was not pleasing, but I tried to endure it with patience. He knew that trains and conductors were under his exclusive control, but he wanted papers that would throw the responsibility of delay upon other shoulders.
--James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America



At Rappahannock Station, Virginia, a Union column of about 2,000 men under general John Sedgwick faced a fortified bridgehead on the north bank of the river. The Yankees drew up their lines and unlimbered their artillery, but other than a vigorous bombardment showed little movement for several hours. Meanwhile, a second Union column began crossing the river at Kelly's Ford. Robert E. Lee decided to mass his troops for an attack at Kelly's Ford, but realized it was vital to hold the Rappahannock bridgehead to avoid a pincer movement from the two Northern columns. Reinforcements were sent to Rappahannock, bringing the defenders up to roughly equal strength with the Federals at that spot.

But as dusk began to fall, the previously stationary Union troops charged. Perhaps it was because of the failing light, or perhaps it was the Northern artillery bombardment, but the Rebels failed to repulse the assault. The bluecoats swarmed over the Confederate fortifications and furious hand-to-hand combat erupted. In minutes, the Southern morale broke. Some threw down their guns and surrendered, others jumped into the river and swam for it, and the rest attempted to retreat across the bridge, running a gauntlet of Federal musket fire. Few made it: the southerners lost 1670 men killed, wounded or captured, or about 80% of the defending force. Northern casualties were 419, about 20% of their engaged troops, but there were many more men coming up behind them.

It was a heartbreaking defeat for Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. They had hoped to hold the south bank of the Rappahannock for the winter, and indeed a number of soldiers had started building log huts against the cold months ahead. But the massive Army of the Potomac now had two crossings, and there were not enough Confederate soldiers to block both. They would have to abandon their positions, and fall back to the Rapidan River.

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

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Post #: 982
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/9/2013 3:55:19 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The American Civil War had by now reached to the other side of the world. The CSS Alabama, captained by Raphael Semmes, had been wreaking havoc on Union merchant shipping the length and breadth of the Atlantic. But the Union Navy had now expanded to such a size that a number of warships were hunting the Alabama on the open ocean, even while the coastal blockaders were still shutting down most of the ports of the Confederacy. Captain Semmes had decided a change of hunting grounds was in order, and sailed his vessel around the southern tip of Africa all the way to the Pacific.

On this date, the Alabama intercepted the Northern clipper ship Contest, which was sailing off the Gaspar Strait in the East Indies. The Contest was a pure sailing ship, but for a time she bid fair to escape the Confederate raider. Unluckily for the Yankee ship, a mid-day calm allowed the steam-powered Alabama to get within gun range, and the merchantman surrendered. Captain Semmes did not have enough spare crew to take over the Contest, so, after removing the crew as prisoners, he reluctantly had the Union vessel burned. As always, Alabama had not lost a single crewman.





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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 #: 983
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/9/2013 7:26:21 AM   
Missouri_Rebel


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Great commitment to a phenomenal thread.

Thanks

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Post #: 984
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/12/2013 1:12:16 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

General James Longstreet had finally gotten the last of his brigades to Sweetwater, Tennessee, the half-way point between Chattanooga and his objective of Knoxville. Beyond this point, his men would have to march instead of move by rail, so he had been promised there would be supplies there for his army. However:

We were again disappointed at Sweetwater. We were started from Chattanooga on short rations, but comforted by the assurance that produce was abundant at that point, and so it proved to be; but General Stevenson, commanding the outpost, reported his orders from the commanding general were to ship all of his supplies to his army, and to retire with his own command and join him upon our arrival. In this connection it should be borne in mind that we were recently from Virginia,—coming at the heated season,—where we left most of our clothing and blankets and all of our wagon transportation; and by this time, too, it was understood through the command that the Richmond authorities were holding thunder-clouds over the head of the commander, and that General Bragg was disposed to make them more portentous by his pressing calls for urgency. Thus we found ourselves in a strange country, not as much as a day’s rations on hand, with hardly enough land transportation for ordinary camp equipage, the enemy in front to be captured, and our friends in rear putting in their paper bullets. This sounds more like romance* than war, but I appeal to the records for the facts...
--James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America


To make matters still worse, there was a river that needed to be crossed to get to Knoxville, so the Confederates would have to bring materials for bridge construction. A number of pontoons were delivered to Sweetwater -- but no wagons to move them any further.

However, Longstreet and his men were equal to the challenge. From the Tidewater campaign, there were accomplished foragers in the ranks, and the area had a number of farms not yet overrun by hungry soldiers. Longstreet sent out the foraging parties and arranged for the pontoons to be carried by hand. Losing no time, he had his advance men march out from Sweetwater even as the last of his force was arriving.


*Note in the 1860's, "romance" meant fiction (generally unrealistic), rather than the boy-meets-girl genre it usually refers to today.



< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/12/2013 2:15:48 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 #: 985
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/14/2013 3:38:43 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Sherman finally made his rendezvous in Chattanooga:

...on reaching Kelly's Ferry found orderlies, with one of General Grant's private horses, on which I rode into Chattanooga, November 14th. Of course, I was heartily welcomed by Generals Grant, Thomas, and all, who realized the extraordinary efforts we had made to come to their relief.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


Grant now had plenty of military talent at his disposal. In addition to himself, there was Sherman, George "the rock of Chickamauga" Thomas, and an up-and-coming general named Philip Sheridan. Along with W. F. "Baldy" Smith, there were several other skilled engineering officers as well. With James Longstreet and his corps now absent from the besieging lines, Grant's forces significantly outnumbered Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. But Grant wanted all of Sherman's men up before he moved out. He believed that the Union Army of the Cumberland had lost heart after the defeat of Chckamauga, and would not fight well until other Federal soldiers set them an example. (The events of eleven days later would indicate otherwise.)


Speaking of Longstreet's force, it continued to make slow progress. A little more than two days had been taken up building bridges, since nearly all the material had to be carried by hand. It didn't help when a force of Yankee infantry attacked the picket guards on the far side of one bridge on this date, and made signs of attempting to assault the bridgehead. It was a bluff: Union commander Ambrose Burnside had decided to fall back before the Confederate advance, and make his stand in Knoxville.

The idea was to pull Longstreet's men far enough away from the main Confederate army that they could not rejoin before the critical battle, or maybe not at all. In this Burnside would be successful, but at the time both Grant and the administration in Washington became very nervous that Burnside was apparently being driven back in defeat. And indeed the Northern force was still spread out by the retreat, and vulnerable.

_____________________________

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 #: 986
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/15/2013 2:17:57 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Having arrived in Chattanooga a few days ahead of his army, Sherman took a tour of the area:

The next morning we walked out to Fort Wood, a prominent salient of the defenses of the place, and from its parapet we had a magnificent view of the panorama. Lookout Mountain, with its rebel flags and batteries, stood out boldly, and an occasional shot fired toward Wauhatchee or Moccasin Point gave life to the scene. These shots could barely reach Chattanooga, and I was told that one or more shot had struck a hospital inside the lines. All along Missionary Ridge were the tents of the rebel beleaguering force; the lines of trench from Lookout up toward the Chickamauga were plainly visible; and rebel sentinels, in a continuous chain, were walking their posts in plain view, not a thousand yards off. "Why," said I, "General Grant, you are besieged;" and he said, "It is too true." Up to that moment I had no idea that things were so bad.



He also explained the situation of affairs generally; that the mules and horses of Thomas's army were so starved that they could not haul his guns; that forage, corn, and provisions, were so scarce that the men in hunger stole the few grains of corn that were given to favorite horses; that the men of Thomas's army had been so demoralized by the battle of Chickamauga that he feared they could not be got out of their trenches to assume the offensive; that Bragg had detached Longstreet with a considerable force up into East Tennessee, to defeat and capture Burnside; that Burnside was in danger, etc.; and that he (Grant) was extremely anxious to attack Bragg in position, to defeat him, or at least to force him to recall Longstreet.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


The Union generals still had a problem: Sherman's force was coming from the west, and the Longstreet vs. Burnside fight was taking place miles to the east of Chattanooga. To gain the best possible advantage against the Confederates, the reinforcing Federal soldiers would have to be marched around Chattanooga, which meant crossing the river at least twice, and at least four more days of delay. They could only hope that Longstreet would not inflict a major defeat on Burnside in the meantime. Grant could at least be confident that Sherman was the man to call on if prompt movements were needed:

Having seen enough, we returned to Chattanooga; and in order to hurry up my command, on which so much depended, I started back to Kelly's in hopes to catch the steamboat that same evening; but on my arrival the boat had gone. I applied to the commanding officer, got a rough boat manned by four soldiers, and started down the river by night. I occasionally took a turn at the oars to relieve some tired man, and about midnight we reached Shell Mound, where General Whittaker, of Kentucky, furnished us a new and good crew, with which we reached Bridgeport by daylight.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman



Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/15/2013 3:26:37 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 #: 987
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/16/2013 8:06:54 PM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4210
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
Status: offline
150 Years Ago Today:

In eastern Tennessee, Longstreet's Confederates had successfully bridged their main river obstacle, and were pursuing the retreating Northerners under Burnside. The key to the race was a crossroads at Campbell's Station, less than a day's march away from Knoxville. If the Rebels could seize the crossroads, they would cut off a major portion of the Union forces -- but the Yankees beat them to it by about a quarter of an hour.

Longstreet attempted a double envelopment, assaulting both Union flanks at the same time. The Northern right was hit hard, but just managed to keep together. The attack on the Union left, however, was ineffective. Seeing that there would be no collapse, the Confederates pulled back for a time, which Burnside used to retreat his force to high ground about three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) to the rear. This allowed the Federal cannons to unlimber and open fire. The Southerners did likewise, but even though they had Edward Porter Alexander, the man who had achieved artillery mastery at Chancellorsville, this time they had little effect:

As soon as the line was organized, the batteries opened practice in deliberate, well-timed combat, but General Alexander had the sympathy of his audience. His shells often exploded before they reached the game, and at times as they passed from the muzzles of his guns, and no remedy could be applied that improved their fire.
--James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of The Civil War in America


After sunset, the Northerners were able to make an orderly retreat into Knoxville. They had lost about 400 men in killed, wounded, and missing, while the Southerners are believed to have sustained around 520 casualties all told. (Once again, the Confederate records are incomplete.)




Attachment (3)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/16/2013 9:14:34 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 #: 988
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/17/2013 7:36:46 PM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4210
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
Status: offline
November 17, 1863:

This date marks the more or less official beginning of the siege of Knoxville. As in the siege of Chattanooga, the Confederates never truly managed to surround the Northerners and cut the supply lines. Unlike Chattanooga, they did not get as much help from weather and geography. True, Burnside and his men had a long and tenuous road back to their main supply base, but they were better able to use the river that ran by the city, and the population in eastern Tennessee was more pro-Union and willing to help.

In addition, the fortifications around Knoxville were good, and getting stronger still. (In addition to the Federals troops, there were 700 black inhabitants of the town highly motivated to work on the entrenchments.) When Longstreet and his men arrived, they immediately concluded that a straight-on assault was a bad idea. What the plan actually was is less than clear. Whether they decided to try to starve the Yankees out, or whether they were waiting while scouts probed for a weak point, the Confederates set up their camps and cut the telegraph wires leading north.

But this was enough to set Washington into something not far from panic. The Lincoln administration was still not convinced that Grant and his reinforcements would save Chattanooga, and the idea of losing two armies instead of just one was a nightmare. A series of telegrams began to flow to Grant, urging him to rescue Burnside and his force. In actuality, Burnside was doing the Union cause good service where he was. The effect of the siege was to remove over a quarter of Braxton Bragg's army, plus his best corps commander, from the lines in front of Chattanooga.

_____________________________

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 #: 989
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/18/2013 1:36:46 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4210
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
Status: offline
150 Years Ago Today:

Abraham Lincoln, along with William Seward and members of Congress, diplomats, a military guard, and a Marine band boarded a special train for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The trip took four hours, and there is a story that Lincoln used the time to write his speech on the back of an envelope. However, his private secretary John Nicolay insisted that he spent the time relaxing and swapping humorous stories with his fellow travelers.

As anticipated, the hotels in Gettysburg were already full to overflowing, so Lincoln stayed the night at the home of David Wills, the event organizer. So did the event's featured speaker Edward Everett and the Governor of Pennsylvania, indicating how difficult it was to find space that night. Lincoln spent some time after supper working on his speech, and did not go to bed until about midnight. He would still be making a few revisions at breakfast the next morning.


_____________________________

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 #: 990
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