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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/20/2014 4:11:30 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

To their amazement, Sherman and his men found the Rebel army gone from Cassville. If their artillery had enfiladed the Confederate positions, Sherman had not known of it, for he wrote later that he "could not then imagine why he (Johnston) had declined battle". Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, the Federals promptly marched in to the town, and would spend the next few days resting the infantry while the engineers repaired the railway, and, almost as important, brought the telegraph lines forward to re-establish communication with Grant and Washington, D.C.


At Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, after dark, Grant began to pull his army out of the lines and onto the roads for another flank movement to the east. He had meant to the day before, but the Confederates had attempted a reconaissance which had to be beaten back so that Lee would not realize what was up. (Lee would guess anyway.)

The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was over, and it had cost over 30,000 casualties in all. One compilation gives 2,725 killed, 13,416 wounded, and 2,258 captured or missing from the Union and 1,515 killed, 5,414 wounded, and 5,758 captured or missing from the Confederate ranks. This would have been in favor of the North, because it represented a greater percentage of Lee's army. But there was another factor, and that was that an additional 20,000 men had left the Federal ranks during this time when their enlistments expired.

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 #: 1111
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/21/2014 4:05:01 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In New York City, the detectives on the trail of the fraudulent Associated Press dispatch cracked the case. After questioning the messengers, they arrested one Francis Mallison, a reporter for the Brooklyn Eagle. Mallison in turn gave up the name of his co-conspirator: his city editor Joseph Howard, Jr. (below), who eventually made a full confession. He had bought gold on margin on May 17, and then the two sent out the fraudulent dispatches that night. During the height of the disruption caused by the news, Howard had sold his futures and made a considerable profit.



The irony was that all Mallison and Howard would have had to do was wait two months, and they could have realized an even greater sum without any criminality. Lincoln would call for 500,000 troops rather than 400,000 as the fake dispatches claimed, and by that time gold would have risen to a dizzying price. As it was, Howard served only three months in prison before Lincoln pardoned him, possibly at the urging of his friend Henry Ward Beecher.

Such a thing would have finished Howard's career in the present day, but he was able to continue as a reporter, eventually becoming president of the New York Press Club. The anger that the affair created was instead turned against gold speculators in general. Members of Congress started considering legislation to stop the practice.

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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/21/2014 5:06:31 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 #: 1112
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/23/2014 4:10:14 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Georgia, the Confederate Army of Tennessee had fallen back to Allatoona Pass, where they could block an army of almost any size should that army attack head-on. Happily for the Northerners, Sherman had spent some time in the area two decades earlier, and knew it was not a position where brute force would work. He decided on a gamble: he would leave the railroad and swing his troops around to the west, aiming to rejoin the railroad below the pass.

It was something like his move through Snake Creek Gap at Dalton, but this time he would take his entire force, abandoning any connection to the railroad for a time. His wagons could carry provisions for twenty days only, and the Federals could not live off the land; the country in that part of Georgia was wooded and undeveloped. If Joseph Johnston's army could block him from rejoining the railroad for twenty days, Sherman would have to retreat, as Banks had done in Louisiana and Sigel had done in the Shenandoah Valley.




In Virginia, the two lead Union Corps approached the next barrier to Richmond, the North Anna River. Winfield Wancock's II Corps was lucky enough to come upon an intact bridge, guarded by a small number of entrenched confederates. Two Union brigades were deployed, and at the signal, made a simultaneous attack. The Rebels were overwhelmed, and made a quick retreat across the bridge. However, Hancock judged that it was now too close to dark to move his entire corps across. He contented himself with posting sharpshooters to prevent any attempts to burn the bridge, and his men went into camp for the night.

Further upstream, Gouverneur Warren's V Corps had found a lightly defended ford, and began the crossing. Southern scouts brought the report of the Yankees to Lee and A. P. Hill, the Confederate commander of that wing. But, the two men believed it was only a feint, and Hill sent a single division to deal with it. The Rebels actually achieved surprise and pushed back the Northerners for a time, but the weight of the Federal corps soon prevailed, and the lodgement was made secure for the night.

Receiving more accurate scouting reports, Lee realized that Grant had secured two crossing points, and he could no longer hold the Union army north of the river. However, the Southerners still controlled a third point between the two. Lee came up with an ingenious plan, and rapidly gave orders to create solid entrenchments in the shape of an inverted "V", with the apex at the Rebel-controlled crossing point. He hoped that the Union army would split itself on the "V", and he could then defeat the two parts one at a time.


Maps by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/23/2014 5:11:39 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 #: 1113
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/24/2014 4:09:10 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At the North Anna River in Virginia, the Federals did just what Lee had wanted them to do. Part of the Army of the Potomac crossed to the west of the Confederate wedge, and part crossed to the east. Now, if either wing wished to reinforce the other, it would have to cross the river twice. But Lee found himself unable to take advantage of his divided enemy. He had been feeling unwell the day before, and on this date he came down with a major attack of diarrhea. This was not a small matter in the days when cholera and dysentery were often fatal. Lee would recover, but he was bedridden all day, and he had no subordinates with the experience and energy to put together the attacks he wanted. Of the four he had started with, Stuart was dead, Longstreet would be months recovering, Richard Ewell was sick as well, and A. P. Hill was proving himself unequal to the command of a full corps.

Lee knew that a vital opportunity was being lost. "We must strike them a blow—we must never let them pass again—we must strike them a blow," he told his staff, but the only thing that actually happened was a local counter-attack after a Union probe of his defenses.

Towards the evening, II Corps commander Winfield Hancock informed Grant that the Southern defenses were as strong as anything yet encountered. Grant in turn realized that "We were, for the time, practically two armies besieging." He ordered his troops to counter-entrench.



Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com


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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/24/2014 5:10:07 PM >


_____________________________

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

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1114
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/25/2014 6:19:25 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At the North Anna River in Virginia, daylight revealed there were now Northern entrenchements facing Southern entrenchments. Robert E. Lee's last chance of taking the offensive with the odds on his side had passed. As in the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia were again at an impasse.


In Georgia, much the same situation was developing. Sherman's wide sweep to the west ran into trouble:

The several columns followed generally the valley of the Euharlee, a tributary coming into the Etowah from the south, and gradually crossed over a ridge of mountains, parts of which had once been worked over for gold, and were consequently full of paths and unused wagon-roads or tracks. A cavalry picket of the enemy at Burnt Hickory was captured, and had on his person an order from General Johnston, dated at Allatoona, which showed that he had detected my purpose of turning his position, and it accordingly became necessary to use great caution, lest some of the minor columns should fall into ambush.

[...]

On the 25th all the columns were moving steadily on Dallas -- McPherson and Davis away off to the right, near Van Wert; Thomas on the main road in the centre, with Hooker's Twentieth Corps ahead, toward Dallas; and Schofield to the left rear. . . as he [Hooker] approached a bridge across Pumpkin-Vine Creek, he found it held by a cavalry force, which was driven off, but the bridge was on fire.

This fire was extinguished, and Hooker's leading division (Geary's) followed the retreating cavalry on a road leading due east toward Marietta, instead of Dallas. This leading division, about four miles out from the bridge, struck a heavy infantry force, which was moving down from Allatoona toward Dallas, and a sharp battle ensued. I came up in person soon after, and as my map showed that we were near an important cross-road called "New Hope", from a Methodist meeting-house there of that name, I ordered General Hooker to secure it if possible that night. He asked for a short delay, till he could bring up his other two divisions...
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


But, just as Sherman had made his swinging move with his entire force, Johnston was also attempting to block with his entire force. The Confederates came into line even faster than did the Federals. Although Hooker's men maintained the fight considerably after darkness fell, they could not capture the cross-roads.

This point . . . from the bloody fighting there for the next week was called by the soldiers "Hell-Hole."
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


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 #: 1115
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/27/2014 5:13:11 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At North Anna River in Virginia, dawn revealed the Yankees were gone from Lee's front. Grant was for a third time swinging around to the east, and Richmond was only about 20 miles (32 km) away. Lee quickly gave orders to abandon the laboriously built fortifications and pursue. He himself had to travel in a carriage, for he was still recovering from his sickbed of the 24th. He was doing better than his subordinate Richard Ewell, who would be incapacitated for the rest of the campaign. Lee replaced him with Jubal Early, who would prove one of the rare generals able to master the step from division to corps command.


In Georgia, the Union forces were blocked at New Hope Church. Sherman extended his lines to the east, and tried again, launching an assault at a place called Picketts Mill. It was poorly executed; the supporting troops failed to move, and those that made the charge were decimated by the Southerners' fire. Estimated total casualties are 1,600 for the Union and only 500 for the Confederacy. It is surprising how close the Yankees got, however:

The Federal troops approached within a few yards of the Confederates, but at last were forced to give way by their storm of well-directed bullets, and fell back to the shelter of a hollow near and behind them. They left hundreds of corpses within twenty paces of the Confederate line. When the United States troops paused in their advance within fifteen paces of the Texan front rank one of their color-bearers planted his colors eight or ten feet in front of his regiment, and was instantly shot dead. A soldier sprang forward to his place and fell also as he grasped the color-staff. A second and third followed successively, and each received death as speedily as his predecessors. A fourth, however, seized and bore back the object of soldierly devotion.
--Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations during the Civil War




Picketts Mill is a less-remembered battle of the Civil War, in no small part because Sherman wanted the failure forgotten. It so happened, however, that one of the Union officers there was Ambrose Bierce, who later wrote a scathing essay of the debacle:
http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/picketts-mill/the-crime-at-picketts-mill.html




Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/27/2014 10:07:18 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 #: 1116
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/28/2014 3:59:09 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Near Dallas, Georgia, the Southerners tried a counter-attack against the Yankees. By this time, however, the Federals had put up substantial entrenchments of their own, and the attempt was beaten back with substantial losses. Just what the losses were is, as Sherman later wrote, "now impossible to state accurately", since the reports were totaled into larger reports covering a week's worth of fighting that ranged from occasional sniping to pitched battle. But this action, sometimes referred to as the Battle of Dallas, is noteworthy because, minor as it was, it represents the largest offensive action under Joseph Johnston's command of the Army of Tennessee.


In Virginia, the Union army was making decent progress, and what was more, the Confederates had lost track of it. Richmond was disturbingly close, and there were now several routes the Federals could use. Robert E. Lee needed to know which route, and that was a job for cavalry. And preventing cavalry from finding out such things was also a job for cavalry.

On this date, the advance Northern screening force under Brigadier David Gregg encountered the Southern cavalry, led by Major General Wade Hampton, near a large blacksmith's shop called Haw's Shop. The Rebels had apparently been intending to camp there, for they were already dismounted and putting up breastworks.
The Battle of Haw's Shop was a peculiar one in that it was primarily a battle of cavalry units, but the great majority of the fighting was done on foot. The Federals had Spencer repeating carbines, but the Rebels were also equipped for the work with Enfield rifled muskets, which partly made up for in range what they lacked in rapidity of fire.

The contest between the opposing forces was of the severest character and continued till late in the evening. The varying phases of the fight prompted me to reinforce Gregg as much as possible, so I directed Custer's brigade to report to him, sending, meanwhile, for the other two brigades of Torbert, but these were not available at the time—on account of delays which occurred in relieving them from the line at Crump's Creek—and did not get up till the fight was over. As soon as Custer joined him, Gregg vigorously assaulted the Confederate position along his whole front; and notwithstanding the long-range rifles of the South Carolinians, who were engaging in their first severe combat it appears, and fought most desperately, he penetrated their barricades at several points.
The most determined and obstinate efforts for success were now made on both sides, as the position at Hawe's Shop had become of very great importance on account of the designs of both Lee and Grant. Lee wished to hold this ground while he manoeuvred his army to the line of the Tolopotomy, where he could cover the roads to Richmond, while Grant, though first sending me out merely to discover by a strong reconnoissance the movements of the enemy, saw the value of the place to cover his new base at the White House, and also to give us possession of a direct road to Cold Harbor. Hawe's Shop remained in our possession finally, for late in the evening Custer's brigade was dismounted and formed in close column in rear of Gregg, and while it assaulted through an opening near the centre of his line, the other two brigades advanced and carried the temporary works. The enemy's dead and many of his wounded fell into our hands; also a considerable number of prisoners, from whom we learned that Longstreet's and Ewell's corps were but four miles to the rear.
--Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army


There are no official records of Confederate losses at the battle of Haw's Shop. Union reports list the burial of 187 enemy bodies while taking 40 to 50 wounded men, and 80 surrendered prisoners. The Northerners lost just short of 300 men themselves. Sheridan claimed the victory, for the Northerners had possession of the field at the end. But the Rebels had delayed the Federal advance for seven hours, and gained important information on the movements of Grant's army.

Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/28/2014 8:33:39 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 #: 1117
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/31/2014 4:17:36 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, a look at the map showed that the Union army was now going wide of Richmond. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was Grant's primary objective rather than the Southern capital, and he wished to link up with the stalled Union Army of the James, and get his supplies from the more efficient sea and river route. To accomplish this, he needed important crossroads, including one called Cold Harbor (which was actually well inland).

The morning of the 31st I visited him [Custer] to arrange for his further advance, intending thus to anticipate an expected attack from Fitzhugh Lee, who was being reinforced by infantry. I met Torbert at Custer's headquarters, and found that the two had already been talking over a scheme to capture Cold Harbor, and when their plan was laid before me it appeared so plainly feasible that I fully endorsed it, at once giving directions for its immediate execution. . .
Torbert moved out promptly, Merritt's brigade first, followed by Custer's, on the direct road to Cold Harbor, while Devin's brigade was detached, and marched by a left-hand road that would bring him in on the right and rear of the enemy's line, which was posted in front of the crossroads. Devin was unable to carry his part of the programme farther than to reach the front of the Confederate right, and as Merritt came into position to the right of the Old Church road Torbert was obliged to place a part of Custer's brigade on Merritt's left so as to connect with Devin. The whole division was now in line, confronted by Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry, supported by Clingman's brigade from Hoke's division of infantry; and from the Confederate breastworks, hastily constructed out of logs, rails, and earth, a heavy fire was already being poured upon us that it seemed impossible to withstand. None of Gregg's division had yet arrived, and so stubborn was the enemy's resistance that I began to doubt our ability to carry the place before reinforcements came up, but just then Merritt reported that he could turn the enemy's left, and being directed to execute his proposition, he carried it to a most successful issue with the First and Second regular cavalry. Just as these two regiments passed around the enemy's left and attacked his rear, the remainder of the division assailed him in front. This manoeuvre of Merritt's stampeded the Confederates, and the defenses falling into our hands easily, we pushed ahead on the Bottom's bridge road three-fourths of a mile beyond Cold Harbor.
Cold Harbor was now mine, but I was about nine miles away from our nearest infantry, and had been able to bring up only Davies's brigade of cavalry, which arrived after the fight. My isolated position therefore made me a little uneasy. I felt convinced that the enemy would attempt to regain the place, for it was of as much importance to him as to us, and the presence of his infantry disclosed that he fully appreciated this.
[ ... ]
In view of this state of affairs, I notified General Meade that I had taken Cold Harbor, but could not with safety to my command hold it, and forthwith gave directions to withdraw during the night. The last of my troops had scarcely pulled out, however, when I received a despatch from Meade directing me to hold Cold Harbor at every hazard. General Grant had expected that a severe battle would have to be fought before we could obtain possession of the place; and its capture by our cavalry not being anticipated, no preparation had been made for its permanent occupancy.
--Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army


Robert E. Lee was well aware that the shift of direction to the east of Richmond was still a great danger to the Confederate cause. Somewhere around this date he remarked to Jubal Early, who he would make a corps commander, "We must destroy this army of Grant's before he gets to James River. If he gets there it will become a siege, and then it will be a mere question of time." It would prove to be a nearly perfect prediction.


In Cleveland, a convention of "Radical Republicans" met to do something about their unhappiness with the slowness both of the war and the abolition of slavery. There had been no major Union victories since Chattanooga, and the advances into Confederate territory all seemed to be either bogged down, or turned back entirely. The men felt it was time for a new man in the White House. Salmon P. Chase's ambitions had been essentially scuppered due to scandal and his increasingly poor management of the Treasury. Instead, the convention nominated General John C. Fremont, who had been the Republican candidate in 1856. (His poor performance earlier in the war had apparently been forgotten by now.)




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/31/2014 8:35:42 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 #: 1118
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/1/2014 3:23:56 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Georgia, Sherman had been shifting his men to the east, and back towards the railroad. The Confederates were making it difficult; the near-constant rifle and artillery fire between the now throughly entrenched lines meant that when the Northerners moved, the silence of the guns would immediately alert the Southerners. Nor was it a simple matter to pull the troops out of their positions when they were exchanging shots with the other side.

Happily for Sherman, he had cavalry, which could move faster than Johnston's army could react. On this date, the Yankee horsemen seized Allatoona and its rail station. It was further to the north than might have been wished, but it re-connected the Federal armies to their supply line. However, to quote Sherman: "Heavy rains set in about the 1st of June, making the roads infamous". There would be a delay before he was ready for the next advance.


In Virginia, both sides realized that there was to be a major struggle in the area of Old Cold Harbor and New Cold harbor. (Very near the spot where the Battle of Gaines' Mill had been fought almost two years before.) Yankee and Rebel infantry quick-marched to the scene, and being more than a little experienced by this time, promptly began digging in. This dispatch from Philip Sheridan gives an idea of the activity:

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS,
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. Cold Harbor, Va., June 1, 1864—9 A.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL HUMPHREYS, Chief-of-Staff.

GENERAL: In obedience to your instructions I am holding Cold Harbor. I have captured this morning more prisoners; they belong to three different infantry brigades. The enemy assaulted the right of my lines this morning, but were handsomely repulsed. I have been very apprehensive, but General Wright is now coming up. I built slight works for my men; the enemy came up to them, and were driven back. General Wright has just arrived.

P. H. SHERIDAN,
Major-General Commanding.


As soon as the Northern infantry arrived in numbers, Grant wanted an assault made. But most of the men were worn out after hard marching, and more than a little fighting when each side launched probing attacks during the afternoon. It was not until 6:30 p.m. that an attack as heavy as Grant had wanted for the late morning finally got under way. But there were now more Confederates waiting for them. One brigade ran into "A sheet of flame, sudden as lightning, red as blood, and so near that it seemed to singe the men's faces." Another brigade found a gap in the Southern lines, but was completely unsupported and soon found itself under fire from three sides. The men were not long in retreating back to their starting positions.

On the northern end of the lines, it was the Confederates who did the attacking. The result was much the same; there was an initial success in one area, but the Rebels were soon pushed back to their original lines. The fighting faded away with nightfall, but matters looked promising for the Northerners. They had their foes virtually pinned in place, they could not retreat very far without exposing Richmond to long-range artillery. The problem was that both ends of the line were well anchored. Grant could not flank the Southern position without a sweep so wide he would abandon his own position. It was a long and thin line, however, so a head-on attack offered the chance of a decisive breakthrough.

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 #: 1119
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/2/2014 3:45:41 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia near Old Cold Harbor and New Cold Harbor, heavy rain fell during the day, which seemed to confirm the wisdom of Grant's attempting a breakthrough rather than yet another flanking move. As generally happened, the roads became muddy, and Northern supply wagons would not have been able to support the movement of the massive Army of the Potomac. As it was, a number of the troops were either delayed getting into position or exhausted from slogging along the unpaved roads. Grant decided that the massed attack would have to wait until the 3rd.

But on the Southern side, the rain did not interfere with the preparation of defenses. Lee seems to have given no specific orders, because by this time it was unnecessary; his veterans had excellent ideas of their own. Instead of erecting huge walls of logs and dirt, this time the strength of the defense would mainly rely on the approaches. Bogs and other rough terrain, plus man-made obstacles like felled trees with sharpened branches pointing towards the attackers, would slow the Yankees. And while they were there, interlocking fields of fire from rifle-pits and emplaced cannon would mow them down. Before dawn the next day, the work was essentially complete.


< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/2/2014 8:41:28 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 #: 1120
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/3/2014 3:52:04 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Given that Grant had witnessed the failures of the assaults on Vicksburg, his approach to Cold Harbor was astonishingly careless. He simply ordered a general attack early in the morning and left the details to his subordinate commanders. There had been little in the way of coordinated reconnaissance to find weak points, so the general plan was simply to move as many men forward simultaneously as possible.

At about 4:30 a.m., the Union troops moved out, straight into the Confederate firing zones. The result was a terrible foreshadowing of the carnage of World War I trench warfare. One estimate is that 4,000 Northerners fell dead or wounded in the first twenty minutes. The remainder went to ground, except for those on the Union right, where they actually managed to penetrate the Rebel lines. But with none of the other positions in serious danger, the Southerners rushed up more artillery, turning the captured trenches into a shooting gallery and forcing the Federals to retreat.

Again and again the orders came from Union headquarters to continue to advance, and each time the orders were evaded or outright refused. Frank Haskell, who had helped seal the breach of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, was dead. Emory Upton, whose inventive tactics had made a break-though at Spotsylvania, declined to advance. One Northern captain replied to the directive, "I will not take my regiment in another such charge if Jesus Christ himself should order it!"

At 11 a.m., John Reagan, the Confederate Postmaster General, showed up at the head of a delegation from Richmond. He inquired of Lee, "General, if the enemy breaks your line, what reserve have you?" Lee replied, with an understandable undertone of frustration, "Not a regiment, and that has been my condition ever since the fighting commenced on the Rappahannock. If I shorten my lines to provide a reserve, he will turn me; if I weaken my lines to provide a reserve, he will break them."

But there would be no further serious attacks. At 12:30 Grant gave up, informing George Meade, "The opinion of the corps commanders not being sanguine of success in case an assault is ordered, you may direct a suspension of further advance for the present." That evening, he would admit to his staff, "I regret this assault more than any other I ever ordered."

Total casualties for the day are estimated at up to 7,000 for the Northerners and no more than 1,500 for the Southerners. For the Union, the proportion of dead to wounded is impossible to know, for many of the wounded were left on the field, were they would eventually join the numbers of the dead. When the news of the slaughter reached the North, many of the people turned against Ulysses S. Grant. The hero of the Western theater was now called a "butcher", uselessly sacrificing the sons and husbands of tens of thousands of families. And not a few also lost faith in Abraham Lincoln, the man who had put Grant in charge.



Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/4/2014 8:17:07 PM >

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1121
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/4/2014 7:16:19 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Cold Harbor, each side realized the other was too well dug-in to attack. They settled down to a duel of artillery and sharpshooters. But in another foreshadowing of WWI trench warfare, this left the space between the two lines as a "no man's land", where neither side's soldiers could venture without being killed. This meant that it was not possible to pick up the many wounded or bury the many dead.


In Georgia, Joe Johnston realized that the Federals now had access to the railroad, and were shifting their forces to the rail stations and his own right flank. He ordered his army to withdraw from the Dallas-New Hope line to a set of three small mountains which would more effectively block Sherman's advance toward Atlanta. And although Sherman had encountered great difficulty moving his forces without the Southerners catching on, Johnston managed the trick in a single night. To be fair, the Rebels were helped by the continuing rain, which made the absence of firing much less suspicious.

_____________________________

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 #: 1122
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/5/2014 4:21:36 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, the reports of the suffering wounded between the Union and Confederate lines reached Grant. What was more, the rains had cleared and the weather had turned hot, which was dehydrating the living and causing the bodies of the dead to bloat. Grant sent a message to Lee:

COLD HARBOR, VA., June 5, 1864.

GENERAL R. E. LEE, Commanding Confederate Army.

It is reported to me that there are wounded men, probably of both armies, now lying exposed and suffering between the lines occupied respectively by the two armies. Humanity would dictate that some provision should be made to provide against such hardships. I would propose, therefore, that hereafter, when no battle is raging, either party be authorized to send to any point between the pickets or skirmish lines, unarmed men bearing litters to pick up their dead or wounded, without being fired upon by the other party. Any other method, equally fair to both parties, you may propose for meeting the end desired will be accepted by me.

U. S. GRANT, Lieut.-General.


Lee, however, did not want to limit the cease-fire to just the area where the battle had died down. He sent back a message suggesting a formal flag of truce. The Southern commander had the advantage, for only a small number of the wounded on the field were his own men.


In the Shenandoah Valley, General David Hunter had taken command of the Union forces and was advancing south to the "upper" valley. On this date, about 8,500 Federals confronted a Rebel force of roughly 5,500 men under Brigadier General William "Grumble" Jones (below) at Piedmont. The Southerners chose their ground well, and put up a stiff fight for several hours. However, this led to overconfidence.

Jones decided to launch a counter-attack, but when he did so, he threw so many troops into the assault that a gap was created in the Confederate lines. The Northerners spotted the opportunity and mounted a charge, breaking the Rebel flank. Jones tried to rally his men, but was struck in the head by a Union bullet, killing him instantly. The Southern force was split in two, and the retreat became a rout. The main body managed to put together an effective rear-guard, but a group of about 1,000 men was surrounded and captured.

Total losses were about 875 for the Union and 1,500 for the Confederacy. The way was open to the southern part of Shenandoah Valley. For the moment, it appeared that the run of Northern misfortunes there had come to an end.






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 #: 1123
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/6/2014 3:33:54 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, Grant gave his answer to Lee's refusal of the day before. Apparently he hoped to avoid sending a white flag representing an admission that he had lost the battle, so he stated the flags would be carried by the individual men, not representing the whole of his command:

COLD HARBOR, VA, June 6, 1864.

GENERAL R. E. LEE, Commanding Army of N. Va.

Your communication of yesterday's date is received. I will send immediately, as you propose, to collect the dead and wounded between the lines of the two armies, and will also instruct that you be allowed to do the same. I propose that the time for doing this be between the hours of 12 M. and 3 P.M. to-day. I will direct all parties going out to bear a white flag, and not to attempt to go beyond where we have dead or wounded, and not beyond or on ground occupied by your troops.

U. S. GRANT, Lieut.-General.


But this did not satisfy Lee. He wanted a general truce, and it would appear that he also wanted the white flag to come from the Union headquarters, not just carried by the stretcher-bearers and burial parties. He replied to Grant that he had directed any such parties to be turned back unless those terms were met. Grant realized he would have to meet Lee's conditions:

COLD HARBOR, VA, June 6, 1864.

GENERAL R. E. LEE, Commanding Army, N. Va.

The knowledge that wounded men are now suffering from want of attention, between the two armies, compels me to ask a suspension of hostilities for sufficient time to collect them in, say two hours. Permit me to say that the hours you may fix upon for this will be agreeable to me, and the same privilege will be extended to such parties as you may wish to send out on the same duty without further application.

U. S. GRANT, Lieut.-General.


But now there was a bureaucratic delay. The message was delivered to a corps headquarters, and night fell by the time it was forwarded. It would not be until the next morning that help would arrive to the wounded on the field, and by that time all but a handful had died of bleeding or heatstroke.

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1124
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/7/2014 4:04:19 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Baltimore, Maryland, the Republicans opened their convention for the Presidential election. For the time being, however, they were not calling themselves Republicans; instead they were identifying themselves as the "National Union" party. In this way they hoped to gain support from the "War Democrats" and even some of the pro-Union population of the "reconstructed" states such as Tennessee and Louisiana. In line with this approach, it had been decided to drop Hannibal Hamlin as the Vice-Presidential candidate, since he was in favor of harsher penalties against the South.


In Virginia, Grant was already leaning towards shifting his strategy. The war of attrition against the Army of Northen Virginia seemd to be eroding his own army even faster. Now, from Washington, Henry Halleck notified him that losses could no longer be made good. After sending almost 50,000 replacements to make up for casualties and those whose enlistments had expired, Halleck could only say: "I shall send you a few regiments more, when all resources will be exhausted till another draft is made." Grant went back and studied his maps.


...I determined to make my next left flank move carry the Army of the Potomac south of the James River. Preparations for this were promptly commenced. The move was a hazardous one to make: the Chickahominy River, with its marshy and heavily timbered approaches, had to be crossed; all the bridges over it east of Lee were destroyed; the enemy had a shorter line and better roads to travel on to confront me in crossing; more than fifty miles intervened between me and Butler, by the roads I should have to travel, with both the James and the Chickahominy unbridged to cross; and last, the Army of the Potomac had to be got out of a position but a few hundred yards from the enemy at the widest place. Lee, if he did not choose to follow me, might, with his shorter distance to travel and his bridges over the Chickahominy and the James, move rapidly on Butler and crush him before the army with me could come to his relief. Then too he might spare troops enough to send against Hunter who was approaching Lynchburg, living upon the country he passed through, and without ammunition further than what he carried with him.

But the move had to be made, and I relied upon Lee's not seeing my danger as I saw it. Besides we had armies on both sides of the James River and not far from the Confederate capital. I knew that its safety would be a matter of the first consideration with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the so-called Confederate government, if it was not with the military commanders.

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


(In this, events were to show that Grant had underestimated the aggressive attitude of Robert E. Lee. Nonetheless, at the time it seemed that the way to Washington was still blocked, for Hunter's force in the Shenandoah Valley had occupied the town of Staunton, the first time Union troops had made it so far into the "upper" or southern part of the valley. Grant planned to keep the pressure by sending two-thirds of his cavalry on a raid which would take them to rendezvous with Hunter.)


Sheridan was sent with two divisions, to communicate with Hunter and to break up the Virginia Central Railroad and the James River Canal, on the 7th of June, taking instructions to Hunter to come back with him. Hunter was also informed by way of Washington and the Valley that Sheridan was on the way to meet him.
[ ... ]
On the 7th Abercrombie--who was in command at White House, and who had been in command at our base of supplies in all the changes made from the start--was ordered to take up the iron from the York River Railroad and put it on boats, and to be in readiness to move by water to City Point.

--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 #: 1125
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/8/2014 3:59:16 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Washington, Congress took its first step towards reigning in the speculation driving the upward climb of the price of gold. A law was passed banning the private minting of gold coins. But this was clearly not enough; and Congress was also considering action against the "Gold Room" in New York, which was felt to be the root of the problem.


In Baltimore, the National Union (AKA Republican) Party took just one day to nominate its candidates. With the Radical Republicans having formed their own splinter party, there was no serious competition to Abraham Lincoln for re-nomination. (Ulysses S. Grant had been proposed and collected a small number of votes on the first ballot, but Grant was probably not even aware of it; he did not mention it in his memoirs.) For Vice-President, however, there had been a little more controversy. Hannibal Hamlin and ex-New York Senator Daniel Dickinson put in strong showings on the first ballot. But Andrew Johnson won the nomination on the second ballot after the Kentucky delegates switched their votes to the man from neighboring Tennessee, setting off a "climb on the band-wagon" effect.

The ticket was set. But Lincoln still had to face the Democratic nominee, whoever he might be, with a divided Republican party. This was the mirror image of the situation that had helped greatly to defeat the Democrats in 1860.




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 #: 1126
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/9/2014 3:11:08 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Further south in Virginia than the Army of the Potomac, General Benjamin Butler commanding the Army of the James had finally figured a way past the bottleneck between two rivers that had halted his advance towards Richmond. Instead of the direct approach to the Confederate capital, he would seize Petersburg, a key rail junction to the south. This would leave Richmond without sufficient supplies for both itself and Lee's army. Although Butler was possibly the worst field commander of the war, in this one case his strategy was sound, and the plans and orders that he issued appear to have been good. His mistake was in choosing the wrong man to lead his primary attacking column.

Quincy Gillmore was an accomplished artillery commander and military engineer, but he did not have the experience or temperament to command infantry. His force was slower than it should have been during the march to the Petersburg defenses, and when he finally arrived he was daunted by the impressive fortifications already in place. He did not realize that the few men behind them were teenagers, old men, and walking wounded from the local hospitals. Gillmore decided to wait until a secondary attack from Northern cavalry had been made.

But the cavalry had been delayed even more than the infantry. When it finally got underway, it made some progress, driving the young, old, and sick Southerners out of their lines. But they had held just long enough for more experienced reinforcements from Richmond to arrive. Hearing no support from the Northern infantry, the Yankee cavalry withdrew, and Gillmore retreated his infantry shortly afterwards. Some idea of how weak the Confederate defenses were is given by the reported casualties: 80 for the South and only 40 for the North. A furious Butler had the timorous Gillmore placed under arrest.


Abraham Lincoln had not been present at the Baltimore convention, as was the tradition at that time. However, the telegraph informed him of his re-nomination with minimal delay. He promptly sent his thanks:

I am very grateful for the renewed confidence which has been accorded to me, both by the convention and by the National League. I am not insensible at all to the personal compliment there is in this; yet I do not allow myself to believe that any but a small portion of it is to be appropriated as a personal compliment. The convention and the nation, I am assured, are alike animated by a higher view of the interests of the country for the present and the great future, and that part I am entitled to appropriate as a compliment is only that part which I may lay hold of as being the opinion of the convention and of the League, that I am not entirely unworthy to be instructed with the place I have occupied for the last three years. I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded, in this connection, of a story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once that 'it was not best to swap horses when crossing streams.'

The phrase "don't swap horses when crossing the stream" would become something of an unofficial campaign slogan.


In New York, George Templeton Strong was busy with his work on the Sanitary Commission, which was improving conditions in Union camps and battlefield treatment for wounded Union soldiers. He was also one of the most diligent diarists in the North, and on this day he captured the sinking Union morale by writing, "People are blue. They have found out somehow that Grant will never get into Richmond after 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 #: 1127
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/10/2014 3:30:27 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 years Ago Today:

In Georgia, the weather was not cooperating with Union plans, and Sherman also had to worry about Nathan Bedford Forrest:

The rains continued to pour, and made our developments slow and dilatory, for there were no roads, and these had to be improvised by each division for its own supply train from the depot in Big Shanty to the camps. Meantime each army was deploying carefully before the enemy, intrenching every camp, ready as against a sally. The enemy's cavalry was also busy in our rear, compelling us to detach cavalry all the way back as far as Resaca, and to strengthen all the infantry posts as far as Nashville. Besides, there was great danger, always in my mind, that Forrest would collect a heavy cavalry command in Mississippi, cross the Tennessee River, and break up our railroad below Nashville. In anticipation of this very danger, I had sent General Sturgis to Memphis to take command of all the cavalry in that quarter, to go out toward Pontotoc, engage Forrest and defeat him...
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


On this date, Sturgis' force engaged Forrest, but the defeat was on the Union side. Although the Northerners had 8,000 men to the Southerners' 3,200, Forrest was not impressed by odds. He selected a place called Brice's Crossroads in Mississippi to intercept the Yankees, and laid his plans carefully. For once in history, a battle plan not only survived first contact, but prospered. The Rebels engaged the Union cavalry, and as Forrest had expected, couriers were sent back and brought the Union infantry up at the quick-march.

It was a hot and humid day, so the Federal soldiers were weary and thirsty by the time they arrived at the heavily wooded scene of the action. Forrest launched coordinated attacks from a wide arc, making it appear that the Northerners were being surrounded by a large force. The Rebels also took the calculated gamble of having their artillery run up close to the Union line. A charge could have captured the guns, but the tired Federals instead retreated from the blasts of grapeshot.

In mid-afternoon, another attack from the Southerners began the unraveling of the Northern lines. Union commander Samuel Sturgis ordered a retreat, but there was a bottleneck at a bridge leading to the rear. A panicked rout developed, and Forrest had his cavalry press the pursuit as far as they could before their horses finally gave out.



The Confederates suffered 492 casualties all told, while the Union lost from 2,200 to 2,600, including 1,500 prisoners. Forrest's men also seized 16 valuable cannon and huge quantities of muskets, ammunition, and stores. If anything had been lacking to make Nathan Bedford Forrest a legend, the masterpiece of the Battle of Brice's Crossroads would have made up for it. The one bright spot for the North was that it had kept "The Wizard of the Saddle" busy enough so that he could not attack the railroad life-line to Sherman's army. And Sherman was now ready for his next move:

On the 10th of June the whole combined army moved forward six miles, to "Big Shanty," a station on the railroad, whence we had a good view of the enemy's position, which embraced three prominent hills known as Kenesaw, Pine Mountain, and Lost Mountain. On each of these hills the enemy had signal-stations and fresh lines of parapets. Heavy masses of infantry could be distinctly seen with the naked eye, and it was manifest that Johnston had chosen his ground well, and with deliberation had prepared for battle; but his line was at least ten miles in extent--too long, in my judgment, to be held successfully by his force, then estimated at sixty thousand.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/10/2014 4:45:06 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 #: 1128
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/11/2014 4:24:39 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, Grant was almost ready for his move. He had dispatched Sheridan on another cavalry raid, which as he had hoped, had drawn most of the Confederate cavalry after him. Now he alerted Benjamin Butler and the Army of the James that they were about to have lots of company:

COLD HARBOR, VA, June 11, 1864.

MAJOR-GEN. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Department of Va. and N. C.

The movement to transfer this army to the south side of the James River will commence after dark to-morrow night. Col. Comstock, of my staff, was sent specially to ascertain what was necessary to make your position secure in the interval during which the enemy might use most of his force against you, and also, to ascertain what point on the river we should reach to effect a crossing if it should not be practicable to reach this side of the river at Bermuda Hundred. Colonel Comstock has not yet returned, so that I cannot make instructions as definite as I would wish, but the time between this and Sunday night being so short in which to get word to you, I must do the best I can.
[. . .]
I directed several days ago that all reinforcements for the army should be sent to you. I am not advised of the number that may have gone, but suppose you have received from six to ten thousand. General Smith will also reach you as soon as the enemy could, going by the way of Richmond.
[. . .]
I wish you would direct the proper staff officers, your chief-engineer and your chief-quartermaster, to commence at once the collection of all the means in their reach for crossing the army on its arrival. If there is a point below City Point where a pontoon bridge can be thrown, have it laid.
Expecting the arrival of the 18th corps by Monday night, if you deem it practicable from the force you have to seize and hold Petersburg, you may prepare to start, on the arrival of troops to hold your present lines. I do not want Petersburg visited, however, unless it is held, nor an attempt to take it, unless you feel a reasonable degree of confidence of success...

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



Meanwhile, Sheridan's troopers clashed with Confederate cavalry lead by Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee at a place called Trevilian Station. It was the largest all-cavalry battle of the war, and saw several charges and counter-charges. George Armstrong Custer lead an aggressive move that captured a number of Southern supply wagons and nearly 800 horses. soon, however, he found himself essentially surrounded. The Northerners eventually were rescued when Sheridan sent reinforcements, but Custer's captures were mostly lost, along with his own headquarters wagon. Night temporarily ended the fighting with the Yankees in possession of Trevilian Station, but without the time to thoroughly destroy the railroad as Grant wished.


In Georgia, Sherman's army was replenishing from the railroad, and his railroad men had both the skill and the bravery to run their trains almost to the front lines:

On the 11th the Etowah bridge was done; the railroad was repaired up to our very skirmish line, close to the base of Kenesaw, and a loaded train of cars came to Big Shanty. The locomotive, detached, was run forward to a water-tank within the range of the enemy's guns on Kenesaw, whence the enemy opened fire on the locomotive; but the engineer was not afraid, went on to the tank, got water, and returned safely to his train, answering the guns with the screams of his engine, heightened by the cheers and shouts of our men.

--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman



In the Atlantic ocean, the Confederate raider Alabama had now been sailing around the globe and destroying Northern merchantmen for an amazing 22 months. The ship was showing considerable signs of wear, and Captain Raphael Semmes decided it was time for an overhaul. He also had a number of prisoners on board from his latest captures that he wanted off his vessel.

The problem was by this time Alabama was the most wanted ship on the high seas. She had seized or sunk no less than 66 Union cargo ships and even a warship. What with this total and the work of other Southern raiders, United States merchantmen were disappearing from the world's oceans, the insurance rates becoming ruinous. Not surprisingly, the Union Navy was mounting a massive hunt for Alabama. Every Southern port was now closely watched by Federal vessels, and the governments of Europe did not recognize the Confederacy, and so legally could not give aid to a Rebel warship.

Captain Semmes solved the first part of this problem by disguising his ship as a neutral cargo ship. On this date, he entered the harbor of Cherbourg and dropped anchor.





Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/11/2014 8:18:56 PM >


_____________________________

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

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1129
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/11/2014 8:46:46 AM   
KISSMEUFOOL!


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Capt Harlock, I want to commend you for the research you've done on this topic. Ive learned quite a lot from it and its a pleasure to read. Thanks.

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Post #: 1130
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/12/2014 3:33:10 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Captain Semmes paid a visit to the port admiral of Cherbourg, and requested the use of the dry-dock to overhaul his Alabama. This would be a breach of neutrality on the part of France, so the admiral replied that only Emperor Napoleon III himself could authorize it.

In the meantime, word of the visit rapidly went through the city and beyond. Those in town with spyglasses could now recognize the Alabama, for there may not have been a more famous ship in the world at that point. To make the identification certain, the Northern prisoners had been landed, with stories to tell of their ships being burned. There were Northern sympathizers in Europe as well as Southern ones, and the news went over the continent and out to sea.


At Trevilian Station, Virginia, the Union cavalry began the task of tearing up the railroad tracks. Cavalry rarely did as thorough a job as infantry, and this time was no exception, for the men were well aware they were in enemy territory and would not stay long. Scouts discovered the Confederates prepared for battle only a short distance away. Sheridan sent a division to attack, but this time the Southerners had erected log fortifications overnight, and the Federal charges were repulsed with heavy casualties.

The losses at Mallory's Crossroads were very heavy on both sides. The character of the fighting, together with the day's results, demonstrated that it was impossible to make the passage of the North Anna at Mallory's ford without venturing another battle the next day. This would consume the little ammunition left, and though we might gain the road, yet the possibility of having no ammunition whatever to get back with was too great a hazard, so I gave orders to withdraw during the night of the 12th. We retired along the same road by which we had come, taking with us the prisoners, and all of our wounded who could be moved.

--Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army



Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

Another important factor was that Sheridan had learned that the Union army in the Shenandoah Valley, under David Hunter, was headed to Lynchburg instead of Charlottesville as Grant had planned. This made a link-up unlikely.


Closer to Richmond, Grant began what would be the most successful movement of his campaign. Once again he swung east around the Confederate position. This time, however, he used water transport to move some of his army, going all the way past Richmond towards Petersburg, the back door to the Confederate capital. Because the Southern cavalry was off chasing Sheridan's horsemen, the Rebels now lost track of where Grant's army was. Robert E. Lee surmised that Grant would go to the north bank of the James River and advance. He did not believe that the Yankees would cross to the south side, for the river was too wide and the currents too strong for a pontoon bridge. Lee therefore concluded that he could now spare some troops, and the time had come to reinforce the Shenandoah Valley:

ON the 12th of June, while the 2nd corps (Ewell's) of the Army of Northern Virginia was lying near Gaines' Mill, in rear of Hill's line at Cold Harbor, I received verbal orders from General Lee to hold the corps, with two of the battalions of artillery attached to it, in readiness to move to the Shenandoah Valley. Nelson's and Braxton's battalions were selected, and Brigadier General Long was ordered to accompany me as Chief of Artillery. After dark, on the same day, written instructions were given me by General Lee, by which I was directed to move, with the force designated, at 3 o'clock next morning, for the Valley, by the way of Louisa Court-House and Charlottesville, and through Brown's or Swift Run Gap in the Blue Ridge, as I might find most advisable; to strike Hunter's force in the rear, and, if possible, destroy it; then to move down the Valley, cross the Potomac near Leesburg in Loudoun County, or at or above Harper's Ferry, as I might find most practicable, and threaten Washington City.

--Jubal Early, Autobiographical Sketch and Narrative of the War Between the States



Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/12/2014 4:36:13 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 #: 1131
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/13/2014 4:21:02 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, General Jubal Early and his 2nd corps stepped off an hour earlier than he had been instructed. In his memoirs, Early gives a good account of the attrition both sides had experienced in the bloody Overland Campaign:

The 2nd corps now numbered a little over 8,000 muskets for duty. It had been on active and arduous service in the field for forty days, and had been engaged in all the great battles from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, sustaining very heavy losses at Spottsylvania Court-House, where it lost nearly an entire division, including its commander, Major General Johnson, who was made prisoner. Of the brigadier generals with it at the commencement of the campaign, only one remained in command of his brigade. Two (Gordon and Ramseur) had been made Major Generals; one (G. H. Stewart) had been captured; four (Pegram, Hays, J. A. Walker and R. D. Johnston) had been severely wounded; and four (Stafford, J. M. Jones, Daniel, and Doles) had been killed in action. Constant exposure to the weather, a limited supply of provisions, and two weeks' service in the swamps north of the Chickahominy had told on the health of the men. Divisions were not stronger than brigades ought to have been, nor brigades than regiments.

On the morning of the 13th, at two o'clock, we commenced the march . . .

--Jubal Early, Autobiographical Sketch and Narrative of the War Between the States



At anchor in the mouth of the Scheldt River in Holland was the steam sloop USS Kearsarge, Captain John A. Winslow. Interestingly, Winslow had served as an officer on board the USS Cumberland during the Mexican-American War, along with Raphael Semmes. On this date, Winslow received the information that the CSS Alabama was anchored in Cherbourg. He lost no time, raising anchor and setting course for the French coast and his one-time messmate.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/13/2014 5:22:20 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 #: 1132
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/14/2014 4:10:27 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The USS Kearsarge arrived off Cherbourg. Naturally, the French would not permit hostilities within their territorial waters. If the Union vessel entered the port, then she and Alabama would be required to space at least twenty-four hours between their respective departures. Captain Winslow had no intention of being stuck for a full day while the Confederate raider sailed away, so he kept Kearsarge just outside the three-mile limit.

Perhaps because the Union prisoners he had sent ashore were penniless in Cherbourg, Captain Semmes got the idea that Kearsarge was only there to evacuate them. He therefore sent a challenge:

C. S. S. "ALABAMA," CHERBOURG,
June 14th, 1864

To A. BONFILS, ESQ., CHERBOURG.
SIR: I hear that you were informed by the U. S. Consul that the Kearsarge was to come to this port solely for the prisoners landed by me, and that she was to depart in twenty-four hours. I desire you to say to the U. S. Consul that my intention is to fight the Kearsarge as soon as I can make the necessary arrangements. I hope these will not detain me more than until tomorrow evening, or after the morrow morning at furthest. I beg she will not depart before I am ready to go out.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
R. SEMMES, Captain


Why Semmes should have gone out of his way to fight the Kearsarge is something of a mystery. From the strategic point of view, having Alabama still at large would have continued to tie down many Union warships, rather than taking the gamble of sinking just one. But it would seem that Semmes was rankled by the idea that he and his men were described as pirates, preying on defenseless merchantmen -- he was insistent on the point that he was a commissioned officer of his country's navy, following the rules of war. Fighting and winning a fair encounter would have changed a number of minds. And the Confederacy had not yet given up its quest to be recognized as a nation by one or more of the powers of Europe.


In Georgia, Sherman's armies advanced, and by this time were not surprised to find Johnston's army entrenched and blocking their way.

By the 14th the rain slackened, and we occupied a continuous line of ten miles, intrenched, conforming to the irregular position of the enemy, when I reconnoitred, with a view to make a break in their line between Kenesaw and Pine Mountain. When abreast of Pine Mountain I noticed a rebel battery on its crest, with a continuous line of fresh rifle-trench about half-way down the hill. Our skirmishers were at the time engaged in the woods about the base of this hill between the lines, and I estimated the distance to the battery on the crest at about eight hundred yards. Near it, in plain view, stood a group of the enemy, evidently observing us with glasses. General Howard, commanding the Fourth Corps, was near by, and I called his attention to this group, and ordered him to compel it to keep behind its cover. He replied that his orders from General Thomas were to spare artillery-ammunition. This was right, according to the general policy, but I explained to him that we must keep up the morale of a bold offensive, that he must use his artillery, force the enemy to remain on the timid defensive, and ordered him to cause a battery close by to fire three volleys. I continued to ride down our line, and soon heard, in quick succession, the three volleys.
--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


Sherman's order would become controversial, because the "group of the enemy" included Joseph Johnston himself. Nor was the cannon fire without effect:

We rode to it [Pine Mountain] together next morning, accompanied by Lieutenant-General Polk, who wished to avail himself of the height to study the ground in front of his own corps. Just when we had concluded our examination, and the abandonment of the hill had been decided upon, a party of soldiers, that had gathered behind us from mere curiosity, apparently tempted an artillery officer whose battery was in front, six or seven hundred yards from us, to open his fire upon them; at first firing shot very slowly. Lieutenant-General Polk, unconsciously exposed by his characteristic insensibility to danger, fell by the third shot, which passed from left to right through the middle of his chest. The death of this eminent Christian and soldier, who had been distinguished in every battle in which the Army of Tennessee had been engaged, produced deep sorrow in our troops.
--Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations during the Civil War




There was outrage as well as deep sorrow, for the rumor began that Sherman had recognized Polk and deliberately targeted him. (Apparently sharpshooters were allowed to pick out officers, but fellow generals were expected to show professional courtesy.) Some even said that Sherman had personally directed the gun crew. This last is exceedingly unlikely, for the story would have been told by the gunners. It is more believable that Polk had been identified, for he was a portly man, and well known to both sides, since he had been Bishop of Louisiana before the war. Still, Sherman's version is entirely plausible, and Johnston seems to have believed it.


At the James River, the Army of the Potomac began to arrive at the north bank. There were boats to ferry some of the infantry across, but the draft animals, wagons, and artillery required a bridge. In perhaps the most remarkable engineering feat of the war, which was already notable for engineering accomplishments, a pontoon bridge was put across in just seven hours.

It wouldn't have been possible by conventional thinking, for the span was 2,200 feet (670 m) across, and the current would have broken any ordinary pontoon bridge. The Northerners solved this problem by commandeering a number of boats and anchoring them at intervals along the span, supporting it against the flow. To add to the wonder of the achievement, the man most responsible was none other than Benjamin Butler, who otherwise was a military incompetent. Butler had obeyed Grant's request to lay a bridge and made sure that the pontoons and other bridging material was in readiness, even setting up sawmills to provide extra planks. Before midnight a stream of horses, mules, wagons, cannon, and even beef cattle was going to the south side of the James.





Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/14/2014 5:15:05 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 #: 1133
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/15/2014 4:14:38 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Georgia, W. T. Sherman received word of Nathan Bedford Forrest's extraordinary victory at Brice's Crossroads. He promptly decided to send out another expedition against Forrest, in spite of the diversion of men and supplies from the campaign against Atlanta. In a message to Secretary of War Stanton, Sherman declared, "...Forrest is the very devil. If we must sacrifice 10,000 lives and bankrupt the Federal Treasury, it will be worth it. There will never be peace in Tennessee till Forrest is dead."

Turning back to the Rebel army immediately before him, Sherman had concluded that the Confederate lines covering three mountains were stretched too thin. His opponent Joseph Johnston had come to the same conclusion:

On the 15th we advanced our general lines, intending to attack at any weak point discovered between Kenesaw and Pine Mountain; but Pine Mountain was found to be abandoned, and Johnston had contracted his front somewhat, on a direct line, connecting Kenesaw with Lost Mountain. Thomas and Schofield thereby gained about two miles of most difficult country, and McPherson's left lapped well around the north end of Kenesaw. We captured a good many prisoners, among them a whole infantry regiment, the Fourteenth Alabama, three hundred and twenty strong.

--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


It was the first serious slip for Johnston's "retrograde movements".


South of Richmond, the Federals made another attempt to capture Petersburg. This time, a full corps of about 18,000 men was sent, led by W. F. "Baldy" Smith. More, he was to be reinforced that day by II Corps commanded by Winfield Hancock, by reputation the best corps in the Army of the Potomac. In Grant's words:

...the Confederate advance line of works was but two miles outside of Petersburg. Smith was to move under cover of night, up close to the enemy's works, and assault as soon as he could after daylight. I believed then, and still believe, that Petersburg could have been easily captured at that time. It only had about 2,500 men in the defences besides some irregular troops, consisting of citizens and employees in the city who took up arms in case of emergency. Smith started as proposed, but his advance encountered a rebel force intrenched between City Point and their lines outside of Petersburg. This position he carried, with some loss to the enemy; but there was so much delay that it was daylight before his troops really got off from there.

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


The defenses around Petersburg were thinly manned but they were formidable. The "Dimmock Line", which had been under construction for two years, consisted of no less than 55 small earthwork forts or "redans", well-connected by trenches. After personally reconnoitering the area during the early afternoon, "Baldy" Smith decided on a plan of attack, to start at 5:00 p.m. But it was discovered that the artillery horses had been sent to water, so the assault was postponed until 7:00. It achieved some success, capturing seven of the redans along with 16 guns. But night soon fell, and at 9:00, there was a pause to wait for Winfield Hancock's II Corps.

Ordinarily "Hancock the superb" was the man to move troops rapidly and attack vigorously. But on this day he was slow, because his orders had not been clear, his map was incorrect, and because his troops were supposed to receive wagon-loads of rations which did not show up. He arrived at Smith's headquarters, but most of his troops were behind, still marching on the unfamiliar roads. The two Union generals conferred, and decided to wait until daylight, concerned that they might blunder into Confederate reinforcements.

In fact, no Southern reinforcements were present. Confederate commander P.G.T. Beauregard wrote later that "Petersburg at that hour was clearly at the mercy of the Federal commander, who had all but captured it." Robert E. Lee was still entirely in the dark about Grant's movement, believing that the Union army remained north of the James 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

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 1134
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/16/2014 3:48:25 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Lee wasn't the only one confused about where Grant and the Army of the Potomac were. Philip Sheridan and his cavalry were also having difficulty:

On the 16th I marched from Edge Hill on the Ta River through Bowling Green to Dr. Butler's, on the north side of the Mattapony. When I arrived here I was unable to ascertain the position of the Army of the Potomac, and was uncertain whether or not the base at the White House had been discontinued. I had heard nothing from the army for nine days except rumors through Southern sources, and under these circumstances did not like to venture between the Mattapony and Pamunkey rivers, embarrassed as I was with some four hundred wounded, five hundred prisoners, and about two thousand negroes that had joined my column in the hope of obtaining their freedom. I therefore determined to push down the north bank of the Mattapony far enough to enable me to send these impediments directly to West Point, where I anticipated finding some of our gunboats and transports, that could carry all to the North.

--Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army



But at Petersburg, Confederate commander P. G. T. Beauregard was in no doubt. The 18,000 Union soldiers that had attacked his lines the day before had grown to 30,000, and would become 50,000 by the end of the day. He had desperately tried to warn Lee and the War Department in Richmond, only to be ignored or met with disbelief.

Finally, during the night, he had on his own initiative evacuated the Bermuda Hundred Line. This reinforced him up to 14,000 men, but it also removed the barrier which was holding back the Union Army of the James. Benjamin Butler could now have moved his men to cut off Petersburg from Richmond, which would have ensured the eventual starvation of the Confederate capital. But Butler seems to have still been busy with the pontoon bridge across the James, whose planks had to be constantly replaced when they cracked under the weight of the moving cannon.

The day's fighting showed Beauregard had made the right decision. Although the Confederates were still badly outnumbered, they poured a deadly fire from their fortifications, and the Union advance was slow and uncoordinated. Winfield Hancock found himself in overall command much of the day, and the riding back and forth between setting up the assaults and positioning the arriving reinforcements was too much for him; his wound sustained at Gettysburg had not yet fully healed. Sundown found the Northerners only a little in advance of their positions the day before.

Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/17/2014 5:24:48 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 #: 1135
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/17/2014 4:23:32 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

In the Shenandoah Valley, Jubal Early and his corps arrived in Lynchburg. Early had hoped to strike the Union army under David Hunter in the rear, but the Yankees were advancing slowly since the victory at Piedmont. For one thing, "Black Dave" Hunter was burning any buildings remotely connected to the Confederacy as he went, including the Virginia Military Institute and the home of former Virginia Governor John Lechter. More important, John Singleton Mosby and his group of irregular cavalry, "Mosby's Raiders", were raising havoc with the Northern supply wagons.

Both sides did some skirmishing, but neither was willing to launch a full-scale attack. The Confederates were still outnumbered, and the Federals did not have enough ammunition to risk an extended battle.


At Petersburg, the Northerners had another stroke of bad luck. Winfield Hancock's wound from Gettysburg had not yet fully healed, and it reopened, forcing him to turn over command of his beloved II Corps. His temporary successor David Birney had neither the experience nor the inspiring effect on the men. The Union attacks made a little progress, at a considerable cost in casualties, but they found more fortifications behind what they captured. And it was about to get even worse, for Confederate commander P.G.T. Beauregard had had an entirely new line constructed during the day, about a mile to the rear. He evacuated his men during the night, making sure to have numerous camp-fires still going to fool the Yankees into thinking the old line was still manned.


In Washington, Congress passed the Gold Act, its attempt to stop the gold traders' enriching themselves while causing painful inflation to the rest of the country. The primary aim was to shut down the New York "Gold Room", which had been the standard for setting the price of gold in greenbacks:

"An Act to Prohibit Certain Sales of Gold and Foreign Exchange"

Be it enacted be the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be unlawful to make any contract for the purchase or sale and delivery of any gold coin or bullion to be delivered on any day subsequent to the day of making such contract, or for the payment of any sum, either fixed or contingent, in default of the delivery of any gold coin or bullion or to make such contract upon any other terms than the actual delivery of such gold coin or bullion, and the payment in full of the agreed price thereof, on the day on which such contract is made, in United States notes or national currency, and not otherwise; or to make any contract for the purchase or sale and delivery of any foreign exchange to be delivered at any time beyond ten days' subsequent to the making of such contract; or for the payment of any sum, either fixed or contingent, in default of the delivery of any foreign exchange, or upon any other terms than actual delivery of such foreign exchange within ten days from the making of such contract, and the immediate payment in full of the agreed price thereof on the day of delivery, in United States notes or national currency; or to make any contract whatever for the sale and delivery of any gold coin or bullion, of which the person making such contract shall not, at the time of making the sale, be in actual possession. And it shall be unlawful to make any loan of money or currency not being in coin, to be repaid in coin or bullion, or to make any loan of coin or bullion to be repaid in money or currency other than coin.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be further unlawful for any banker, broker or other person to make any purchase or sale of any gold coin or bullion, or of any foreign exchange, or any contract for any such purchase or sale, at any other place than the ordinary place of business of either the seller or purchaser, owned or hired or occupied by him individually, or by a partnership of which he is a member.

[. . .]

Approved June 17, 1864.


Further details can be read at:

http://www.nytimes.com/1864/06/21/news/important-acts-just-approved-president-sales-gold-foreign-exchange-foreign.html

The act would prove to be a classic case of a government cure being worse than the disease.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/17/2014 8:18:52 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 #: 1136
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/18/2014 4:36:29 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

At Lynchburg in the Shenandoah Valley, each side attacked in turn, but cautiously. The Northern attempt to flank the Confederates was eventually abandoned when the route proved too long. The Southern attempt to break through a weak point in the Union lines was not made energetically, for most of the Rebels were tired after having marched over 80 miles (130 km) in five days. Eventually Union commander David Hunter decided he was outnumbered (which was not true, for he had about 16,500 men to Jubal Early's 14,000) and running low on ammunition (which was true). He ordered a retreat after nightfall. The problem now was what route to take for his retreat.


At Petersburg, the Northerners advanced, and at first thought they had finally broken the Confederate lines. They soon found out they had merely taken fortifications abandoned the night before, and the true defenses were further on. More, the approaches were across open ground, and the Rebel cannon and musket fire was too heavy to make a successful charge.

Also, Robert E. Lee had finally been convinced that the main body of the Union army was at Petersburg instead of Richmond. He hurredly dispatched two divisions, with more to follow, and visited the scene in person. The Northern attacks captured a few prisoners from the reinforcing Southern units, and the word went up to Grant that the enemy strength was now increased.

Grant made one more try. He had found that artillery, especially heavy artillery, had been of less use in the Virginia countryside, and sent many of his guns back north. Badly needing reinforcements after the tremendous casualties of the previous six weeks, he had re-aasigned the artillerymen into infantry. One of these, the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment, was included in the last attack.

The Northern veterans present yelled for their comrades making the assault to "lie down!" and many did, but not the 1st Maine. They went forward and were slaughtered, losing 632 men out of 900. After this, Grant realized that his army had lost its edge. In fact, it was no longer the same army: over half the men he had started with in early May had left from expired enlistments or become casualties. The remainder were either inexperienced, or had been marching and fighting for forty days, and were simply worn out. It was time to build fortifications of their own, and rest.

The four-day attempt to take Petersburg had been yet another blood-letting for the Army of Potomac. It had cost the Union about 11,500 casualties, against only 4,000 for the Confederacy, and Grant was no nearer Richmond than McClellan had been in 1862. Northern morale continued to sink.


In Cherbourg harbor, the CSS Alabama had taken longer to repair than Captain Semmes had planned. He had used the time to drill his men, but he could not fire his guns in French waters. Out to sea, Captain Winslow and the USS Kearsarge did not have that limitation. The Northerners were clearly staying as long as the Alabama was there, so Semmes decided he was now as ready as he could be without the use of a dry-dock. Tomorrow the Confederate raider and the Union cruiser would fight.

_____________________________

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 #: 1137
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/19/2014 4:32:19 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

At Cherbourg, France, for a few hours the Civil War became an international spectator sport. Several small craft gathered in the area to watch the duel between the Alabama and the Kearsarge, most prominently the private English yacht Deerhound. And as many as 15,000 witnesses took up positions ashore, including artist Édouard Manet. The two ships seemed fairly evenly matched, but Captain Winslow had given the Kearsarge an edge: her midsection had a protective layer of chain fastened to the side, covered by thin planking.

Captain Semmes brought his Alabama out of the harbor at 9:45 a.m. When the two vessels were seven miles offshore, Alabama opened first, and quickly went to rapid fire. Winslow preferred the slow and careful style of shooting. In one respect, the two captains agreed: both ships preferred to fire from their starboard broadsides. Each tried to turn across the bow of the other, with the result that they sailed in repeating circles.



About twenty minutes into the battle, Alabama scored a lucky hit on her opponent. A round from her biggest rifled gun lodged in the Kearsarge's sternpost. Had it detonated, the rudder would have been blown off, and the Union ship would have been unable to stop the Alabama from raking her. But the Rebel vessel had been too long at sea, and her fuses had deteriorated. The shell was a dud. It now took three men to turn Kearsarge's rudder, but her ability to fight was unimpaired.



Shortly afterwards, the Northern gunners well and truly found the range, and their shells generally worked. Alabama began taking a terrible beating to both herself and her crew. One crewman, aloft in the rigging, was disemboweled by a shell fragment, to the horror of the officers on deck. Nor was there safety below decks: another shell entered a gunport and killed or wounded 19 men with a single blast. Other hits penetrated the waterline, and the engine room began to flood.

Captain Semmes sent his executive officer below to assess the damage. On his way to the engine room, the exec passed the ship’s surgeon, who was staring in shock at empty space where moments before there had been a patient and an operating table. A solid shot had carried both away. After seeing the water coming in the holes from several hits, the exec returned topside and reported the ship would float only for another ten minutes. Semmes decided he had too many wounded to sacrifice by going down fighting, and ordered the colors struck.

Kearsarge did not immediately stop shooting when the Alabama's flag came down. (The Northerners claimed that one of Alabama's gun crews kept firing.) Semmes had a white flag hoisted, which stopped all further combat, and then turned to the business of loading the wounded on the boats. Kearsarge began rescue operations as well, but discovered all but two of her own boats had been holed during the action. Captain Winslow called on the Deerhound to assist, which he may have regretted later, for the yacht then sailed to England with Semmes and a number of other officers and men.

About 40 of Alabama's crew were killed in battle or drowned. Another 70 were taken as prisoners. However, about 40 escaped to England, where they were given a heroes' welcome, in spite of the fact that they had lost. Interestingly, Semmes managed to make his way back to the Confederacy through Mexico, but never accepted another ocean-going command. (He was, however, promoted to Rear Admiral and assigned a river squadron.)

When Alabama sank, it signaled the end of an era as well. The battle off Cherbourg would be the last one-on-one fight between wooden-hulled and masted warships.




The Battle of the Kearsarge and the Alabama (1864), by Édouard Manet


Attachment (3)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/19/2014 8:20:13 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 #: 1138
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/20/2014 4:08:26 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

It had not taken long for the flaws in the Gold Act to become apparent. Now that no quotations for gold were public, would-be buyers needed to run from office to office, asking the price. Those who needed gold for customs' entries and foreign indebtedness were now fearful that they might be forced to pay even higher prices the next day. This became a self-fulfilling fear as the demand for gold skyrocketed. On this date, the price reached as high as 198 in greenback dollars.

Nor was there an end in sight. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, who had performed well in the early stages of the war in securing government credit, now seemed completely out of his depth, and unable to handle the crisis.




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 #: 1139
RE: Civil War 150th - 6/22/2014 6:56:04 PM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4703
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

Both Grant and Sherman attempted flanking moves around their respective enemies, with somewhat different results. The day would see one Union general's career affected for the worse and one Confederate general's for the better--though the opposite of what might have been expected.

At Petersburg, Virginia, Grant sent the elements of two corps in a sweep to the south, attempting to break the Weldon and Petersburg Railroad. The alert Confederates counter-attacked, blocking one corps and hitting the other from the flank. Taken completely by surprise, the Union column unraveled, with numerous prisoners captured by the Rebels. The Union lost a total of 2,962 men, with the Confederate losing only 572. The one bright spot for the North was that the siege lines were extended further, stretching the Southern forces thinner -- exactly what Robert E. Lee did not want.




In Georgia, the Northerners tried to sweep around to the west, hoping to bypass the strong Southern position at Kennesaw Mountain. On the Confederate side, Joseph Johnston had guessed exactly such a move, and sent a corps under John Bell Hood to block it. Hood, one of the most aggressive of the Confederate generals (which is saying a good deal), decided not merely to block but to attack, not knowing he was facing two corps, under Joseph Hooker and John Schofield, against his one.

For a while it seemed that the rash assault might pay off. The blow primarily fell on just two advance Union regiments, the 14th Kentucky Infantry and 123rd New York Infantry. But by this time, the men under W. T. Sherman were among the most battle-hardened troops in the world. The two units made a fighting withdrawal and maintained good order, and their fire inflicted heavy casualties. They also warned the large numbers of Union infantry and artillery behind them. When the Southerners came in range of the main Northern lines, Union artillery opened up and brought the attack to a bloody halt. The Confederates lost about 1,500 men, while the Federals lost only about 250.

Strategically, however, the action was a Confederate success. Sherman's flanking move had been stopped, and the main position at Kennesaw Mountain was secure. John Bell Hood's reputation as a fighter went up still higher, and in Richmond, Jefferson Davis took note. On the Northern side, however, the supposedly victorious corps commander Joseph Hooker got himself into trouble. According to Sherman:

On the 22d of June I rode the whole line, and ordered General Thomas in person to advance his extreme right corps (Hooker's); and instructed General Schofield, by letter, to keep his entire army, viz., the Twenty-third Corps, as a strong right flank in close support of Hooker's deployed line. During this day the sun came out, with some promise of clear weather, and I had got back to my bivouac about dark, when a signal message was received, dated-

KULP HOUSE, 5.30 P.M.

General SHERMAN: We have repulsed two heavy attacks, and feel confident, our only apprehension being from our extreme right flank. Three entire corps are in front of us.

Major-General HOOKER.


(Hooker had offended two other generals at one stroke. First, the comment about his right was an injustice to John Schofield and his army, whose troops were very much in the fight and doing well. Second, the message ignored the chain of command, bypassing George Thomas, who was Hooker's immediate superior.)

... I therefore resolved not to overlook this breach of discipline and propriety. The rebel army was only composed of three corps; I had that very day ridden six miles of their lines, found them everywhere strongly occupied, and therefore Hooker could not have encountered "three entire corps." Both McPherson and Schofield had also complained to me of this same tendency of Hooker to widen the gap between his own corps and his proper army (Thomas's), so as to come into closer contact with one or other of the wings, asserting that he was the senior by commission to both McPherson and Schofield, and that in the event of battle he should assume command over them, by virtue of his older commission.

--Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman


It is interesting to remember that, because of the Union's limit on higher ranks, Hooker, Schofield, Thomas and even Sherman himself were all Major-Generals.

Maps by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com




Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 6/22/2014 8:00:06 PM >


_____________________________

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

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
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