The American Civil War 150th Anniversary – October 29-November 4, 1862

Here’s a look at events in the Civil War 150 years ago this week in October and early November 1862.

Atlantic TCs 1862

The known Atlantic tropical cyclones of 1862. (Wunderground)

Atlantic Hurricanes in 1862

However, with Sandy bearing down on New York and the Mid-Atlantic coast in 2012, let’s first take a look at tropical cyclones during the Civil War years.

Weather certainly played a part in battles and campaigns, but oddly enough the years 1862-1864 are the longest recorded stretch in the Atlantic basin without a hurricane landfall in America.

It’s difficult to get an accurate idea of the 1862 hurricane season from old texts, as people back then sometimes referred to any severe thunderstorm as a “tropical storm.” Reliable modern sources – Wunderground and Unisys – list six unnamed tropical cyclones during 1862.

The first was a tropical storm that passed between Bermuda and the Confederate coast, June 15-17, 1862.  It must have played havoc both with patrolling Union ships and Confederate blockade runners – we owe a debt to all those people for recording it.

In addition, a Category 2 hurricane happened on August 18-21, 1862.  The third known storm, another Category 2 intensity at its peak, is recorded from September 12 to September 20, 1862.  It also passed off the eastern coast of the USA and CSA, west of Bermuda.  A tropical storm was noted in the Windward Isles on October 6, 1862.  The fifth tropical cyclone, a Category 1, happened off the east coast, October 14-17, and a tropical storm was recorded in the southern Caribbean, November 22-25, 1862.

October 29

Battles: Skirmish at Island Mound, Missouri, ends.

Military events: Tennessee operations: Over this time period, General Bragg’s Army of Tennessee is in motion by rail and water, readying to invade Middle Tennessee and heading for the Stones River Valley, 30 miles south of Nashville. (18)

October 30

Military Events: Kentucky/Tennessee operations: General Rosecrans replaces General Buell as commander of the US Army of the Cumberland and establishes his headquarters in Bowling Green, Kentucky. (2)

Warrenton in August 1862

Warrenton in August 1862. (Library of Congress. I included the link because of the incredible detail and clarity of this 1862 photograph!)

Virginia operations: During this week, General McClellan advances toward Warrenton. CS General Stuart’s cavalry harries the Union troops along the way, while General Jackson is under orders to avoid letting the Federals get between his forces in the Shenandoah Valley and General Longstreet’s men at Culpeper Court House. (11)

November 1

Battles: On the Mississippi, Confederate gunboat, J. A. Cotton, initially assisted by the Hart, fights a series of actions, November 1-6, with Union ships along Bayou Teche in Louisiana. Neither side is seriously damaged. (12)

November 2

Battles: US naval assault on Fort McAllister in Georgia, held by the Confederate Emmett Rifles. (6)

November 4

Military Events: Tennessee operations: General Rosecrans orders General McCook and the right wing of the Army of the Cumberland to Nashville. (2) General Grant occupies La Grange and Grand Junction, Tennessee. (8) On the Confederate side, John Hunt Morgan has been ordered by General Breckinridge to coordinate an attack with General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry on US forces and supplies at Nashville. Morgan leaves Gallatin to start the mission, heading for Edgefield, where several hundred railroad cars with Union supplies are guarded by the 16th Illinois Regiment. (Source)

Other: Dr. Richard Gatling patents his gun, the forerunner of the modern machine gun. The Union army will not actually use the gun during this war.

Text from the above YouTube site: “An animation of Richard Gatling’s first Battery gun, modeled from his 1862 patent. The original model fired the standard .58 paper cartridge used in American Civil War muzzle loading rifles. The paper cartridges were loaded into steel chambers, which were then picked up from a hopper by a shaped carrier. As the lock assembly rotates, a small ramp (green) at the rear of the casing pushes each lock forwards and this moves the steel chamber against the rear of the barrel. A firing hammer is cocked by an inclined cam (yellow) and released at the 12 o’clock position. Note later models of Gatling gun fire when the barrel is almost at its lowest position (7 o’clock). All of Gatling’s first models were destroyed in a fire at the Cincinnati Eagle Iron Works. He built a second batch. 12 were sold to General Butler, and saw limited use during the siege of Petersberg. The second batch of guns used a metallic cartridge loaded into the steel chamber. For more information on this animation, google for victorian ship models and anti torpedo boat guns.”


(1)  The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

(2)  Morgan’s Raiders and The L&N Railroad in the Civil War, by Dan Lee.

(3)  Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson

(4) The Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. N.B. Forrest, and of Forrest’s Cavalry by Thomas Jordan, J. P. Pryor

(5) The Lincoln Log timeline.

(6) Blue and Gray Timeline.

(7) Henry Halleck’s War: A Fresh Look at Lincoln’s Controversial General-In-Chief, by Curt Anders

(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 Eastern Theater: 2nd Manassas, Antietam and Fredericksburg.

(11)  The Army of Northern Virginia in 1862, by William Allan (1892)

(12)  Conquest of the Lower Mississippi.

(13) The Strategy of Robert E. Lee, by J. J. Bowen (1914).

(14) Campaigns of the Civil War.

(15) Antietam timeline.

(16) The Lexington Rifles/1862.

(17) Inside the Army of the Potomac, the Civil War Experience of Captain Francis Adams Donaldson.

(18) Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862-1865.

Categories: American Civil War

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