The American Civil War 150th Anniversary – November 19-25, 1862

Here is a look at events in the Civil War 150 years ago this week in November 1862.

Wissahickon Creek

Wissahickon Creek in March 1862. (Library of Congress) While not well known nationally today, its beauty attracted literary types back then, including Poe and Whittier. (Source)

November 19

Battles: Naval assault on Fort McAllister, in Georgia. (6) “At about 8:15am the Wissahickon, under a full head of steam, brought its guns to bear on Fort McAllister. Behind her were the Seneca and the Dawn. In tow behind the Dawn was the mortar schooner Para. As the ships advanced they opened fire. Their guns continued to blaze until 2:30pm, when they withdrew. Early in this exchange the Wissahickon sustained serious damage.” (Source.)

Military events: Mississippi operations: General Grant orders his cavalry to Ripley. (8)

Other: James A. Seddon is the new Secretary of War for the Confederacy. News from the front also reaches a war clerk in Richmond today.

November 20

Military events: Fredericksburg: General Burnside’s entire army is near. CS General Longstreet reaches the town and deploys his men. (11)

Tennessee operations: At Murfreesboro, General Bragg’s Army of Mississippi and General E. Kirby Smith’s Army of Kentucky are consolidated into the Army of Tennessee. (16)

Fredericksburg from Tyler's battery

View of Fredericksburg from Tyler’s battery, James F. Gibson, photographer, some time between November 1862 and April 1863. (Library of Congress)

November 21

Military events: Fredericksburg: At 5 p.m., US General Sumner calls on Fredericksburg to surrender or to face a bombardment the next morning. Weather prevents Confederate batteries from preventing this, and General Lee tells city officials that while his army won’t use Fredericksburg for military purposes, “its occupation by the enemy would be resisted.” Instructions are given for the evacuation of women and children from Fredericksburg. (11)

November 22

Military events: Fredericksburg: General Sumner holds off on the bombardment, although the town has not surrendered. Almost the entire population of the town leaves, while Lee’s men dig in on the high ground just beyond town. General Burnside, around this time decides to try a surprise crossing Skinker’s Neck, 14 or 15 miles below town. (11)

November 24

Military events: CS General Joseph Johnston, having recovered from his wounds at Richmond during the Peninsula Campaign, now assumes control of the Department of the West. (8) The two armies under him are General Bragg’s Army of Tennessee and General Pemberton’s Army of Mississippi. (6)

November 25

Battles: In North Carolina, the saga of the CSS/USS Ellis comes to an end.

Arkansas: Skirmishing and maneuvering near Cane Hill.

Military events: Tennessee operations: Big South Tunnel on the L&N Railroad reopens, after having been essentially bombed shut by John Hunt Morgan and his raiders back in August. Union commanders are delighted at first, but their joy soon turns to frustration – only about a quarter of the expected supplies can move by rail. The ongoing drought prevents transport along the Cumberland River, and authorities contemplate a military takeover of the railroad. (2)

Skinker's Neck

Skinker’s Neck in 1862, by A. R. Waud (Library of Congress)

Fredericksburg: Around this time, the appearance of some US gunboats on the river puts Lee on guard. He orders General Jackson to send men. In the meantime, two divisions are sent to guard the crossing at Skinker’s Neck. (11)

From South Carolina, US General Rufus Saxton reports to Secretary Stanton on an expedition the First South Carolina Volunteers (Colored) made to Doboy River, Georgia (note this isn’t part of Colonel Montgomery’s notorious brigade, shown [accurately, I guess] pillaging a town in the movie Glory and formed in 1863):

SIR: I have the honor to inclose for your information the report of our expedition to Doboy River,

The expedition was composed of three companies of the First South Carolina Volunteers (colored),
under the command of Lieut. Col. Oliver T. Beard, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, and was in
every respect a success.

It gives me pleasure to bear witness to the good conduct of the negro troops. They fought with the
most determined bravery. Although scarcely one month since the organization of this regiment was
commenced, in that short: period these untrained soldiers have captured from the enemy an amount
of property equal in value to the cost of the regiment for a year. They have driven back equal
numbers of rebel troops, and have destroyed the salt-works along the whole line of this coast.

Great credit is due to Lieutenant-Colonel Beard for his energy and skill in the management of this

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Hon. E. M. Stanton,
Secretary of War.

First South Carolina Volunteers (Colored)

First South Carolina Volunteers (Colored) (Source)


(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 (2011).

(3)  Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson (2003 – see side bar for link).

(4) The Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. N.B. Forrest, and of Forrest’s Cavalry by Thomas Jordan, J. P. Pryor (1868).

(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 (1999).

(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, edited by J. Gregory Acken (1998).

(18) Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862-1865, by Thomas Lawrence Connelly (1971)

(19) Those Damn Horse Soldiers, by George Walsh (2006).

Categories: American Civil War

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