The American Civil War 150th Anniversary – September 23 to October 6, 1863

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

September 30

Battles: Kansas operations (Quantrill): Fort Blair/Baxter Springs/Fort Baxter Massacre. More information from CWSAC.

Chattanooga Campaign: Wheeler and Roddey’s raid into the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee, to disrupt Union supply lines, begins with a skirmish at Cotton Port Ford. The Confederate cavalrymen cross the Tennessee River, driving back Federal forces. (21)

Virginia operations: Skirmishes in Neersville and Woodville, along with destruction of a Confederate salt works in Back Bay. (13)

Siege of Charleston: Mild bombardment of Confederate-held Fort Sumter continues. (13)

Military events: Chattanooga Campaign: CS General Forrest receives an order from General Bragg to turn troops over to General Wheeler, under whom Forrest swore never again to serve after the Battle of Dover/Second Battle of Fort Donelson back in February. The men are to reinforce Wheeler’s cavalry for a planned raid north to block Federal supply lines from Nashville. Pryor (4)describes Forrest’s reaction succinctly: “Circumstances connected with this reduction in his command gave it so much the bearing of injustice and disparagement, that General Forrest felt it best to frankly present this aspect of it to his superior.” Forrest sends a written reply to Bragg (written at the height of an angry outburst, per Wyeth) and follows it up with a personal visit where Bragg apparently assures Forrest that his old command will be reconstituted after Wheeler’s expedition. In the meantime, there being nothing else on the burner just then, Forrest applies for and gets leave to visit his wife, who he hasn’t seen in 18 months. She is staying in Lagrange, Georgia. (4, 10, 11)

Railroad trestle bridge in 1862 or 1863.  (Library of Congress)

Railroad trestle bridge in 1862 or 1863. (Library of Congress)

By 10:30 P.M., the first 4 trainloads of US Army of the Potomac troops have reached Bridgeport, Alabama, on their way to reinforce Rosecrans in Chattanooga. (20)

October 1

Battles: Chattanooga Campaign: Wheeler and Roddey’s Raid. Skirmish at Mountain Gap near Smith’s Cross-Roads, Tennessee. (21)

Virginia operations: Skirmishing near Culpeper Courthouse, Auburn and Lewisville. (13)

Arkansas operations: Fighting at Elizabethtown. (13)

West Virginia operations: Fighting near Harper’s Ferry. (13)

Other: After meeting with members of Missouri’s Radical Union Party the previous day, US President Lincoln sends some orders to US General John Schofield, current commander of the Department of Missouri: (1) Advance efficiency of military establishment. (2) Arrest individuals and suppress newspapers when they are working injury to military. (3) Remove inhabitants en masse at own discretion. (4) Do not engage in returning fugitive slaves nor in enticing slaves from their homes. (5) Allow no one to enlist Negro troops except upon orders. (6) Allow no one to confiscate property except upon orders. (7) Allow only those qualified under Missouri laws to vote. (8) So far as practicable, expel guerrillas, marauders, and murderers. (5)

October 2

Battles: Chattanooga Campaign: Wheeler and Roddey’s Raid. Skirmishes at Anderson’s Cross-Roads; on the Valley Road near Jasper; and near Dunlap, Tennessee. (21)

Military events: Chattanooga Campaign: Confederates control the Tennessee River to the city, all roads on the south side, and the road to Bridgeport north of the river. The only open road is a mountainous trail over Walden’s Ridge and through Sequatchie Valley. General Rosecrans and his men are running short of food. (13)

October 3

Battles: Chattanooga Campaign: Wheeler and Roddey’s Raid. Affair at McMinnville (PDF). Skirmishes at Hill’s Gap near Beersheba; and near McMinnville, Tennessee. (21)

Military events: Chattanooga Campaign: US General Hooker reports that the entire XI division of the Army of the Potomac is at Bridgeport, Alabama. The XII Corps is passing through Nashville on its way to Chattanooga. (20) US General-in-Chief Halleck orders General Grant to Nashville, where he will supervise the troops sent to help General Rosecrans. To reach Nashville from Vicksburg, Grant must first travel by boat to Cairo, Illinois, and then by train through Indianapolis and Lexington. (7, 10)

Except for a few little modern touches, Bayou Teche probably looked the same in 1863 as it did in 2009.  (Cajun Byrd)

Except for a few little modern touches, Bayou Teche probably looks much the same in 2009 as it did in 1863. (Cajun Byrd)

Louisiana/Texas operations: The Second Bayou Teche Campaign begins. “Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks set off today on yet another attempt to secure Texas for the Union once and for all. As he was leaving from the vicinity of New Orleans, and as he had already tried once and failed at going through Sabine Pass, he decided on a different route this time. Orders were issued to the men of Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin to move westward, and today they departed from their bases at Berwick Bay and New Iberia, both in Louisiana. Their target was a waterway known as Bayou Teche. The ultimate goal, again, was to reach the Sabine. The campaign would last for more than a month.” (9, including quote; 13)

Siege of Charleston Harbor: The six-day secondary bombardment of Fort Sumter from Morris Island ends, after 560 rounds have been fired. Confederate batteries on James and Sullivan’s Islands continue to respond irregularly to US fire. (13)

Other: President Lincoln calls for a national day of Thanksgiving at the end of November. (6)

US General Sherman’s son dies of typhoid fever in Memphis. (18)

October 4

Battles: Arkansas/Missouri operations: Shelby’s Raid. Action at Neosho, Missouri. Skirmish at Oregon or Bowers’ Mill, Missouri. (16)

Second Bayou Teche campaign: Fighting at Nelson’s Bridge near New Iberia, Louisiana. (13)

Virginia operations: Federal forces start a six-day expedition from Yorktown into Matthews County. (13)

Unidentified troops of the 2nd Indiana at Chattanooga in 1863.  (Library of Congress)

Unidentified troops of the 2nd Indiana at Chattanooga in 1863. (Library of Congress)

Other: Lincoln to Rosecrans: “If we can hold Chattanooga, and East Tennessee, I think the rebellion must dwindle and die. I think you and Burnside can do this; and hence doing so is your main object.” (5)

October 5

Battles: Siege of Charleston, South Carolina: The Confederate torpedo boat David attacks but fails to sink the USS New Ironsides. The New Ironsides does sustain enough damage that it has to leave the blockade for repairs. “The captain and most of the crew [of the David], assuming the ship was doomed, leaped overboard and were picked up by Union ships. The engineer, named Tomb, stayed aboard because he could not swim. In all the excitement he got the boiler relit and sailed David back to safety.” (6; 9, including quote; 14)

Arkansas/Missouri operations: Shelby’s Raid. Skirmishes at Greenfield and Stockton, Missouri. (16)

Chattanooga Campaign: Wheeler and Roddey’s raid. Skirmishes near Readyville, Tennessee, and at Stone’s River Railroad Bridge near Murfreesborough. (21) Wheeler cuts the railroad here – a major blow to the US Army of the Cumberland in Chattanooga. (6)

Jefferson Davis circa 1861.  (Library of Congress)

Jefferson Davis circa 1861. (Library of Congress)

Military events: At Lagrange, Georgia, General Forrest receives an order from General Bragg, dated the 3rd, placing him under the command of General Wheeler. Forrest resigns his commission and plans to form an independent force in West Tennessee and North Mississippi. However, CS President Davis is at Bragg’s headquarters when Forrest’s resignation arrives and sends the unhappy general “an autograph letter, in gracious and grateful language, announcing that he could not accept his resignation, nor dispense with his services, and appointed an interview at Montgomery, Alabama, some days later on his return from Mississippi, whither he was about to go.” (4, including quote)

October 6

Battles: Arkansas/Missouri operations: Shelby’s Raid. Skirmish at Humansville, Missouri. (16)

Chattanooga Campaign: Wheeler and Roddey’s raid. Skirmishes at Christiana; Readyville; Garrison’s Creek near Fosterville; and Wartrace, Tennessee. (21)

Louisiana operations: “The USS Cayuga, on blockade duty off the Calcasieu River in Louisiana had a busy day today. First prey was the steamer Pushmahata. When Lt. Commander Dana ordered her to heave to, she attempted to flee instead, and Dana chased her till she ran up on shore. The crew fled after setting her afire. When a party from Cayuga went aboard they put out the fire and started inspecting the cargo, which consisted of rum, red wine and gunpowder. A keg of the latter turned out to have a burning fuse set in it, which Ordinary Seaman Thomas Morton yanked out and threw overboard, along with the keg. After relieving the Pushmahata of the liquid part of her cargo the rest of the powder was used to blow the ship up. Another catch, a schooner, was also chased ashore but her crew succeeded in destroying her before Dana’s men could capture her.” (9, including quote)



Lincoln in 1858 just before the final Lincoln-Douglas debate.  (Library of Congress)

Lincoln in 1858 just before the final Lincoln-Douglas debate. (Library of Congress)

Lincoln, this week, to the delegation from Missouri seeking General Schofield’s removal:

We are in civil war. In such cases there always is a main question; but in this case that question is a perplexing compound—Union and Slavery. It thus becomes a question not of two sides merely, but of at least four sides, even among those who are for the Union, saying nothing of those who are against it. Thus, those who are for the Union with, but not without slavery—those for it without, but not with—those for it with or without, but prefer it with—and those for it with or without, but prefer it without. Among these again, is a subdivision of those who are for gradual but not for immediate, and those who are for immediate, but not for gradual extinction of slavery. It is easy to conceive that all these shades of opinion, and even more, may be sincerely entertained by honest and truthful men. Yet, all being for the Union, by reason of these differences, each will prefer a different way of sustaining the Union. At once sincerity is questioned, and motives are assailed. Actual war coming, blood grows hot, and blood is spilled. Thought is forced from old channels into confusion. Deception breeds and thrives. Confidence dies, and universal suspicion reigns. Each man feels an impulse to kill his neighbor, lest he be first killed by him. Revenge and retaliation follow. And all this, as before said, may be among honest men only. But this is not all. Every foul bird comes abroad, and every dirty reptile rises up. These add crime to confusion. Strong measures, deemed indispensable but harsh at best, such men make worse by mal-administration. Murders for old grudges, and murders for pelf, proceed under any cloak that will best cover for the occasion. These causes amply account for what has occurred in Missouri, without ascribing it to the weakness, or wickedness of any general.


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

(2)  Morgan’s Raiders.

(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)  Grant Chronology, Mississippi State University.

(8) The Western Gulf Blockade.

(9) Civil War Interactive.

(10) Born to Battle: Grant and Forrest: Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga: The Campaigns That Doomed the Confederacy, Jack Hurst (2012).

(11) Life of Lieutenant-General Nathan Bedford Forrest, by John A. Wyeth (1908/2011).

(12) Captain Raphael Semmes and the CSS Alabama, US Naval Historical Center.

(13) This Week in the Civil War.

(14) The Siege of Charleston, “The State.” (South Carolina)

(15) Friends of the Hunley.

(16) Shelby’s Raid (Official Records) Google Map of Shelby’s Raid, by “Border.”

(17) CWSAC Battle Summaries

(18) Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman (excerpt)

(19) Major General William Starke Rosecrans

(20) US Military Railroad, Chattanooga Campaign (Wikipedia)

(21) Wheeler and Roddey’s Raid (PDF), Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Categories: American Civil War

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: