Here is a look at events in the Civil War 150 years ago this week.
The Hines Raid
First, though, I’d like to introduce you to a Confederate raider I missed earlier this month – Thomas Hines.
I don’t know why somebody hasn’t made an action movie of this man’s life yet (dibs on the idea).
This raid is just for starters. Just wait until this fall, and 1864!
In June 1863, the 25-year-old Kentuckian set out for Indiana, from Tennessee and Kentucky, to lay the groundwork for a more ambitious raid into Indiana and Ohio in July by General John Hunt Morgan.
The exact dates of Hines’ Raid are unclear, as is much other online information about him. This young man – intelligent and with an unprepossessing appearance – did a lot of undercover work.
Going by the account given at Wikipedia, Thomas Hines and his men left Tennessee on June 10, 1863. First they traveled through Kentucky, stealing Union military clothing and money along the way so they could pose as Federal troops on the raid, and then they crossed the Ohio River on June 18th.
At first they were successful but – well, let’s just say that they didn’t make many friends in Indiana.
The raiders eventually were chased onto an island in the Ohio River, some say on the 19th. Hines and a few of his men then swam to the safety of the Kentucky shore, while his comrades covered their escape from the island and subsequently were captured.
After a week or so, Hines was able to rejoin General Morgan, who immediately put him command of his horse artillery.
Hines told Morgan that he could expect no help from Confederate sympathizers in Indiana in the upcoming Great Raid. This is probably why Morgan used a pretty heavy hand when dealing with Hoosiers in July.
But that is to come. Let’s look at what was going on in the Civil War this week.
Military events: Gettysburg campaign: The Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac are both moving northwards.
Skirmishing between Yankee and Rebel is ongoing in parts of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania pretty much on a daily basis. (29, 30) General Hooker tells Washington that he will send at least a corps across the Potomac to protect Washington and then block Lee’s probable line of retreat. (27) Lincoln is not impressed by this plan.
Louisiana operations: Skirmishing at Mound Plantation, Lake Providence, Bayou Boeuf Crossing and Chacahoula Station. (27)
Battles: Vicksburg: US forces explode a mine underneath a section of the Confederate defenses and then attack, but are driven back, only to begin undermining again in other sections. (23) If there has been no progress by July 6th, General Grant plans to have all the mines underneath the city’s fortifications and set them all off. (11)
Military events: Tennessee operations/Tullahoma campaign: CS General Nathan Bedford Forrest moves out with the intention of eventually joining up with General Bragg at Shelbyville. (4)
Gettysburg campaign: CS General JEB Stuart and his cavalry leave Salem Depot, Virginia, after receiving Lee’s permission to join the Confederate army north of the Potomac. (27) Stuart sets off on a ride around the Army of the Potomac, but Hooker is moving fast and Stuart’s force will be separated from the Army of Northern Virginia for several crucial days.
Military events: Tennessee operations/Tullahoma campaign: General Forrest’s cavalry is delayed for 12 hours by floods, and in the meantime Forrest receives an order from General Wheeler to intercept other cavalry on the turnpike from Murfreesboro to Shelbyville. (4)
Gettysburg campaign: CS General Jubal Early passes through Gettysburg on his way to York, Pennsylvania. He is met by Federal militia who skirmish but then either flee or are captured. (6, 27)
Vicksburg campaign/Siege of Port Hudson: Union outposts are captured near Port Hudson. (28)
Regarding Vicksburg, per Official Records:
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE WEST, Jackson, MISS., June 26, 1863.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH, Command., &c., Trans-Miss. DEPT.:
GENERAL: You have probably learned before this reaches you of the critical aspect of affairs at Vicksburg. General Pemberton is closely invested with his garrison, numbering about 18,000 effectives. It is impossible with the force the Government has put at my disposal to raise the siege of the city. The most that I can do is possibly to extricate the army, leaving the place in possession of the enemy. If forced to the alternative, this is what I shall be completed to do, however reluctantly. Our only hope of saving Vicksburg now depends on the operations of your troops on the other side of the river. General Pemberton Says he has provisions for a fortnight; perhaps he has them for a longer time. Now, if you can contrive either to plant artillery on the Mississippi banks, drive beef into Vicksburg, or join the garrison, should it be practicable or expedient, we may be able to save the city. Your troops up to this time have done nothing. Placing the highest confidence in your intelligence, skill, enthusiasm, and appreciation of the mighty stake involved in the great issue now pending, I have earnestly to suggest that you will all possible dispatch in person to the scene of action, and do whatsoever in your judgment you may deem best to accomplish the immense result of saving Vicksburg and our communications with your department.
J. E. Johnston.
[P. S.]- An intelligent officer, who brought dispatches from General Pemberton, expresses confidence that if your troops could send in abundance of cattle, and themselves (8,000) join the garrison, the place would be saved.
Military events: Tennessee operations/Tullahoma campaign: Some 10 miles out of Shelbyville, Forrest finds Wheeler’s cavalry already heavily engaged with US cavalry and falling back quickly to Shelbyville. Forrest and his men gallop the eight miles to Shelbyville, hoping to meet up with Wheeler there, but before they reach the town they learn that Wheeler has been driven south instead. Forrest swings wide of Shelbyville, crosses the Duck River and camps about 9 miles beyond the crossing, on the Lafayette turnpike. (4)
US General Rosecrans has sent this heavy cavalry force to Shelbysville as a feint to keep the Confederates busy while his three infantry corps climb the Highland Rim and position themselves to turn Bragg’s right flank. The cavalry move works as planned, but ongoing heavy rains have made roads nearly impassible and one of the US infantry corps (Crittenden’s) is bogged down. It will cover exactly 21 miles between June 24th and June 28th, while the other two corps wait near Manchester for two days. This is the one break that General Bragg gets; it allows him to save his army and withdraw it intact. (32)
Gettysburg campaign: Generals Longstreet and Hill and General Lee’s headquarters element arrive in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. (27)
Vicksburg campaign: Per Official Records:
JUNE 27, 1863.
Your dispatch of the 22nd received. General E. K. Smith’s troops have been mismanaged, and have fallen back to Delhi. I have sent a special messenger, urging him to assume the direct command. The determined spirit you manifest, and his expected co-operation, encourage me to hope that something may yet be done to save Vicksburg, and to postpone both of the modes suggested of merely extricating the garrison. Negotiations with Grant for the relief of the garrison, should they become necessary, must be made by you. It would be a confession of weakness on my part, which I ought not to make, to propose them. When it becomes necessary to make terms, they may be considered as made under my authority.
J. E. Johnston.
Not received. Copy furnished by General Johnston August 19.
Other: General George Meade replaces General Hooker at the head of the Army of the Potomac. (30) Of note, General Hooker had been appointed by President Lincoln, who at the time seemed to be bypassing Henry Halleck, his general-in-chief. Eclipsed for a while in DC, General Halleck is now back in charge and is the one who fires General Hooker. (9)
Battles: Louisiana operations: Fort Butler. The first African American victory of the war? (I have no idea. The skirmish at Island Mound is perhaps the first victory for “unofficially organized” black troops.) (10)
Military events: Tennessee operations/Tullahoma campaign: Forrest’s cavalry meets the main body of Bragg’s army at Tullahoma and is ordered to picket duty and scouting to the north. (4) Federals cut General Bragg’s line of communications to Chattanooga. (32)
Gettysburg campaign: Confederate forces under General Jubal Early capture York, Pennsylvania. (30) General Lee learns that there are over 100,000 US soldiers near Frederick, Maryland area. (If you saw the movie Gettysburg (1993), you can start channeling Harrison right now, though I’m not sure it actually happened anything like that – great way to open such a movie, though!) Lee orders Generals Longstreet, A. P. Hill and Ewell to Cashtown, Pennsylvania, nine miles west of Gettysburg. (27)
Vicksburg campaign: Per Official Records:
JUNE 28, 1863.
General JOSEPH E. Johnston:
Dispatches of 19th and 22nd received. I am surprised that you have so small a force, but as the enemy has separated his so much and occupies so long a line, could not a combined, vigorous effort even yet raise the siege? The enemy occupies the peninsula opposite the city, and I think it would be entirely impracticable for General Taylor either to put in supplies or to cross the river, and equally so for me to cross the garrison over. *
J. C. PEMBERTON.
SIGNAL CORPS, SMITH’S DIVISION, Post, June 28, 1863.
General MARTIN L. SMITH:
A vessel will start for Port Hudson in four or five days. Will let you know in time. Two deserters in. They say the town will be surrendered on the 4th day of July, after the rebels fire a salute. Six days’ one-fourth rations left yesterday.
MAX. T. DAVIDSON,
Appeal for help. *
IN TRENCHES, near Vicksburg, June 28, 1863.
General J. C. PEMBERTON:
SIR: In accordance with my own feelings, and that of my fellow soldiers with whom I have conferred, I submit to your serious consideration the following note:
We as an army have as much confidence in you as a commanding general as we perhaps ought to have. We believe you have displayed as much generalship as any other man could have done under similar circumstances. We give you great credit for the stern patriotism you have evinced in the defense of Vicksburg during a protracted and un paralleled siege.
I also feel proud of the gallant conduct of the soldiers under your command in repulsing the enemy at every assault, and bearing with patient endurance all the privations and hardships incident to a siege of forty odd days’ duration.
Everybody admits that we have all covered ourselves in glory, but alas! alas! general, a crisis has arrived in the midst of our siege.
Our rations have been cut down to one biscuit and a small bit of bacon per day, not enough scarcely to keep soul and body together, much less to stand the hardships we are called upon to stand.
We are actually on sufferance, and the consequence, is, as far as I can hear, there is complaining and general dissatisfaction throughout our lines.
We are, and have been, kept close in the trenches day and night, not allowed to forage any at all, and even if permitted, there is nothing to be had among the citizens.
Men don’t want to starve, and don’t intend to, but they call upon you for justice, if the commissary department can give it; if it can’t, you must adopt some means to relieve us very soon. The emergency of the case demands prompt and decided on your part.
If you can’t feed us, you had better surrender us, horrible as the
idea is, than suffer this noble army to disgrace themselves by desertion. I tell you plainly, men are not going to lie here perish, if they do love their country dearly. Self-preservation is the law of nature, and hunger will compel a man to do almost anything.
You had better heed a warning voice, though it is the voice of a private soldier.
This army is now ripe for mutiny, unless it can be fed.
Just think of one small biscuit and one or two mouthfuls of bacon per day. General, please direct your inquiries in the proper channel, and see if I have not stated stubborn facts, which had better be heeded before we are disgraced.
* Found among General Pemberton’s papers.
Military events: Tennessee operations/Tullahoma campaign: General Bragg decides to send some infantry to support his cavalry and wait to see how things develop. (32) [Note: The Tullahoma Campaign sources below focus on the infantry only; the two sources on Forrest (which are close to hagiography, especially Wyeth’s) only focus on cavalry. I was therefore going to cut the cavalry news back, but this note from (32) makes it clear that General Bragg was strongly focused on the cavalry, too. Also the sources indicate that Forrest was now working closely with Bragg’s other cavalry general, Joe Wheeler, whom Forrest had sworn never to serve under again. Things were dire, therefore. Both Confederate cavalry wings of the Army of the Tennessee pretty clearly were in the thick of it, so it’s definitely worth keeping.]
Gettysburg campaign: General Meade sends a long message to Washington about the situation and his plans but it is delayed, as Confederates have cut the telegraph lines and killed his courier. (9)
Other: President Lincoln sets the record straight for some Ohio Democrats. (5)
Military events: Tennessee operations/Tullahoma campaign: Skirmishing, a few miles from Tullahoma. Late in the afternoon, General Forrest goes out with 60 men to reconnoiter McMinnsville. It’s still raining, and their raingear hides their uniforms. Mistaken for US cavalry, the Southerners manage to get far enough behind Union lines to discover a battalion on its way to turn General Bragg’s right flank. Forrest and his men escape and report back to Bragg. (4) Meanwhile, General Rosecrans army reunites with Crittenden’s corps at Manchester. (32) General Bragg now orders the Army of Tennessee to retreat to Chattanooga. (17, 32)
Gettysburg campaign: Advance units of the Army of the Potomac, 2 brigades under General Buford, occupy Gettysburg. Meanwhile, CS General Henry Heth (pronounced “Heath”) sends a brigade under General Pettigrew to investigate reports of a large supply of footwear near the town. (6) Per source (9), General Meade’s message reaches General Halleck along with the report of another US general:
Lee is falling back suddenly from the vicinity of Harrisburg, and concentrating all his forces. York has been evacuated. Carlisle is being evacuated. The concentration appears to be at or near Chambersburg. The object apparently a sudden movement against Meade, of which he should be advised by courier immediately. …
Some Unionists are clamoring for General McClellan to be restored to command ASAP to face Lee, but Lincoln notes that “I really think the attitude of the enemies’ army in Pennsylvania, presents us the best opportunity we have had since the war began.” (5)
Meanwhile, at the sorghum field back home –
(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.
(7) Grant Chronology, Mississippi State University.
(8)”The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government” (Vol. II), Jefferson Davis.
(9) Henry Halleck’s War: A Fresh Look at Lincoln’s Controversial General-In-Chief, by Curt Anders
(10) Conquest of the Lower Mississippi. BrownWaterNavy.org.
(11) Under Siege: Three Children at the Civil War Battle for Vicksburg, Andrea Warren (2009)
(13) Inside the Army of the Potomac, the Civil War Experience of Captain Francis Adams Donaldson, edited by J. Gregory Acken (1998).
(14) Mosby Heritage Area Association: Chronology of Mosby’s Life.
(15) Battle of Vicksburg. Civil War Home.
(17) Life of Lieutenant-General Nathan Bedford Forrest, by John A. Wyeth (1908/2011).
(18) Captain Raphael Semmes and the CSS Alabama, US Naval Historical Center.
(19) A. Lincoln, A Biography, Ronald C. White, Jr. (2009)
(20) The Civil War and the Press. Sachsman et al., 2000.
(21) Fort Wagner and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Civil War Trust.
(23) The Siege of Vicksburg, Civil War Home.
(24) Siege of Vicksburg, Wikipedia.
(25) The siege of Port Hudson, National Park Service online lesson plan.
(26) The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience During the Civil War. James G. Hollandsworth, Jr., 1995.
(28) Port Hudson Photo Album, Civil War Album.
(29) Gettysburg Campaign, Encyclopedia of Virginia.
(30) Gettysburg Campaign Timeline, Today in Civil War History.
(31) The Tullahoma Campaign, Campaign Journal. Middle Tennessee State University.
(32) The Tullahoma Campaign, The Beginning of the End for the Confederacy, Julian D. Alford (PDF)
Categories: American Civil War