Here are some of the events of the Civil War that were happening 150 years ago this week. Sources are numbered according to the list at the bottom of this post.
The Civil War in 3D
Got 3D glasses? Here is one of the anaglyphs – a stone church in Centreville, Virginia, some time during the war:
Battles: Union forces capture the Cumberland Gap. (6)
Emancipation: After dinner, President and Vice President Hannibal Hamlin they retire to library and behind locked doors Lincoln reads a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his vice president. (5)
Military events: “Papa has been engaged in putting the obstructions in James river.” — Betty Herndon Maury. Her father-in-law Matthew Fontaine Maury has successfully mined the James River to protect Richmond with electric torpedoes, using ten miles of Federal military insulated telegraph wire that had washed ashore during a storm on the Chesapeake Bay.
CS President Davis tells his wife Varina in a letter that “[P. G. T.] Beauregard left his command to seek rest, and restore his health. The sedentary life at Corinth must have been hard to bear as he reports himself exhausted and his army undergoing reorganization. [Earl] Van Dorn goes to Jackson &c.”
Military events: Mississippi River: US General Thomas Williams and 3000 men leave Baton Rouge for Swampy Toe, a site on the west side of the Mississippi opposite Vicksburg where they intend to establish a base and dig a canal to enable Federal boats to avoid Confederate batteries on the Vicksburg bluffs. (13)
CS General John Magruder declines command of the Trans-Mississippi Theater, so General Thomas C. Hindman is appointed in his stead.
Military events: Western Theater: General Grant is ordered to Memphis as a district commander. (6, 8)
Battles: Simmons Bluff, South Carolina: Federal forces operating against Charleston undertake an amphibious expedition to cut the Charleston & Savannah Railroad. The 55th Pennsylvania land from the gunboat Crusader and transport Planter near Simmon’s Bluff on Wadmelaw Sound, surprising and burning an encampment of the 16th South Carolina Infantry. There are no casualties, and in spite of their success, the Union troops abandon their raid on the railroad. (1)
Military events: Western Theater: General Grant arrives in Memphis. (8)
General Pope has been called to Washington from Corinth, Mississippi, by Secretaries Stanton and Chase. President Lincoln goes by special train to New York, where he will visit West Point to consult with General Winfield Scott, General McClellan’s predecessor. (5) The Lincoln Log says that General Pope accompanied President Lincoln to New York, while the above link to Mr. Lincoln’s White House says that the president was already out of town, on his visit to General Scott, when Pope arrived in Washington. Given the momentous announcement of Pope’s appointment on the 26th (next week!) and Lincoln’s remarkable downplaying of his visit to General Scott while answering reporters’ questions, I wonder if the Lincoln Log indeed is correct and President Lincoln perhaps may have had Scott interview Pope for the job.
Peninsula Campaign: The weather around Richmond has turned sunny, and the roads are drying out. US General McClellan is planning his next move on Richmond. CS General Jackson arrives and meets General Lee near Richmond in the afternoon, having ridden 50 miles ahead of his men. Also at the meeting are Generals D. H. Hill (Jackson’s brother-in-law), Longstreet and A. P. Hill. Lee tells the generals that they are going to attack the Army of the Potomac within days and that the purpose of this meeting is to set a timetable. Jackson has the farthest to travel to get in position, so the timing of the attack hinges upon his ability to move his column. They decide to start the assault on the morning of June 26. When the meeting is over, Jackson rides more than 40 miles back to his men. (11)
Military Events: General Lee issues Special Order No. 75, detailing each general’s role in the operation. General Jackson’s command is to be south of Hanover Court House by the evening of the 25th and will move out to begin the battle at 3 a.m. on the 26th. Meanwhile, General McClellan, though aware of the approach of Jackson and his troops, decides to take the high ground around Old Tavern on the Nine Mile Road on the 25th. It is a good spot to place his artillery and force the Confederates out of their fortifications. The Union general sees this as the first of a series of “regular steps,” after which he will ultimately be in a position to shell Richmond directly. (3, 11)
(2) Encyclopedia Virginia: “The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862”
(3) “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson
(4) University of North Carolina “Civil War Day by Day”
(5) The Lincoln Log timeline.
(6) Blue and Gray Timeline.
(7) Civil War Daily Gazette timeline.
(8) Grant Chronology, Mississippi State University.
(9)”The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government” (Vol. II), Jefferson Davis.
(10) Civil War Home’s “The Peninsula Campaign.”
(11) “The Battles for Richmond, 1862.” National Park Service.
(12) Conquest of the Lower Mississippi. BrownWaterNavy.org.
(14) Daily Observations From the Civil War
Categories: American Civil War