The American Civil War 150th Anniversary – September 1-7, 1864

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

September 1

Battles: Georgia operations, Siege of Atlanta: The Battle of Jonesboro ends. CS General Hood orders the evacuation of Atlanta.
 

Something like this happens, though not with Rhett, Scarlet, Melanie and her baby, or the incomparable Butterfly McQueen.

Something like this happens, though not with Rhett, Scarlet, Melanie and her baby, or the incomparable Butterfly McQueen.

From General Sherman’s viewpoint (15):

General Hardee was gone, and we all pushed forward along the railroad south, in close pursuit, till we ran up against his lines at a point just above Lovejoy’s Station. While bringing forward troops and feeling the new position of our adversary, rumors came from the rear that the enemy had evacuated Atlanta, and that General Slocum was in the city. Later in the day I received a note in Slocum’s own handwriting, stating that he had heard during the night the very sounds that I have referred to; that he had moved rapidly up from the bridge about daylight, and had entered Atlanta unopposed. His letter was dated inside the city, so there was no doubt of the fact. General Thomas’s bivouac was but a short distance from mine, and, before giving notice to the army in general orders, I sent one of my staff-officers to show him the note. In a few minutes the officer returned, soon followed by Thomas himself, who again examined the note, so as to be perfectly certain that it was genuine. The news seemed to him too good to be true. He snapped his fingers, whistled, and almost danced, and, as the news spread to the army, the shouts that arose from our men, the wild hallooing and glorious laughter, were to us a full recompense for the labor and toils and hardships through which we had passed in the previous three months.

A courier-line was at once organized, messages were sent back and forth from our camp at Lovejoy’s to Atlanta, and to our telegraph-station at the Chattahoochee bridge. Of course, the glad tidings flew on the wings of electricity to all parts of the North, where the people had patiently awaited news of their husbands, sons, and brothers, away down in “Dixie Land;” and congratulations came pouring back full of good-will and patriotism. This victory was most opportune; Mr. Lincoln himself told me afterward that even he had previously felt in doubt, for the summer was fast passing away; that General Grant seemed to be checkmated about Richmond and Petersburg, and my army seemed to have run up against an impassable barrier, when, suddenly and unexpectedly, came the news that “Atlanta was ours, and fairly won.” On this text many a fine speech was made, but none more eloquent than that by Edward Everett, in Boston. A presidential election then agitated the North. Mr. Lincoln represented the national cause, and General McClellan had accepted the nomination of the Democratic party, whose platform was that the war was a failure, and that it was better to allow the South to go free to establish a separate government, whose corner-stone should be slavery. Success to our arms at that instant was therefore a political necessity; and it was all-important that something startling in our interest should occur before the election in November. The brilliant success at Atlanta filled that requirement, and made the election of Mr. Lincoln certain.

Military events: General Grant, at Norfolk, Virginia, begins a two-day conference with Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox about military action against Wilmington, N.C. (6)

September 2

Military events: Georgia operations. Mayor James Calhoun surrenders Atlanta to General Sherman. (5)
 

James M. Calhoun (Source)

James M. Calhoun (Source)

September 3

Battles: Shenandoah operations: Battle of Berryville begins.

Military events: Mississippi operations: Part of CS General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s forces, McCulloch’s Brigade (formerly on its way to the Yazoo River to reinforce General Wirt Adams) is re-deployed to Mobile. (3)

September 4

Battles: Shenandoah operations: Battle of Berryville ends.

Military events: Mississippi operations: Forrest puts General Buford on notice to move immediately. Forrest then leaves his Grenada headquarters with his force, intending to come to Mobile’s aid via Jackson and Meridian. However, his superior, General Maury, telegraphs him to stay put. (3)

Georgia operations. Sherman to Halleck (source):

H’d Qrts. Mil. D. of the Miss.
In the Field near Lovejoys Ga.
Sept. 4th 64.

General Halleck
Washington

The 20th Corps now occupies Atlanta & the Chattahoochee bridges. The main Army is now here, grouped below Jonesboro. The Enemy hold a Line facing us with front well covered by parapets, & flanks by Walnut Creek on the Right & a Confluent of Flint River on his Left. His position is too strong to attack in front & to turn it would carry me too far from our base at this time. Besides there is no commensurate object, as there is no valueable [sic] point to is Rear till we reach Macon 103 miles from Atlanta

We are not prepared for that & I will gradually fall back & occupy Atlanta which was & is our grand objective point already secure.

For the future I propose that of the drafted men I receive my due share, say 50,000. That an equal or greater number go to Genl. Canby who should now proceed with all energy to Montgomery & the Reach of the Alabama River above Selma-that when I know he can move on Columbus Georgia, I move form junction repair Roads to Montgomery & open up the Apalachicola & Macon. This Campaign can be made in the winter, & we can safely rely on the Corn of the Flint and Chattahoochee to supply forage.

If the Tensas Channel of the Alabama River can be used, Genl. Gardner with his Rebel Garrison could continue to hold Mobile for our use when we want it.

I propose to remove all the Inhabitants of Atlanta, sending those committed to our cause to the Rear & the Rebel families to the front. I will allow no trade, manufactories or any citizens there at all, so that we will have the entire use of Railroad back as also such corn & forage as my be reached by our troops.

If the people raise a howl against my barbarity & cruelty, I will answer that War is War & not popularity seeking. If they want peace, they & their relations must stop War.

W.T. Sherman

Maj. Genl. Comdg.

 

National Archives

National Archives

Other: “John Hunt Morgan is shot dead by federal troops fleeing the home of a woman who had betrayed him (Greenville, Tennessee)” (5, including quote)

September 5

Military events: Mississippi operations: Forrest arrives in Meridian and meets General Richard Taylor, CS President Davis’s brother-in-law, son of President Zachary Taylor, and commander-in-chief of the Confederacy. They discuss cutting Sherman’s lines. Forrest will establish headquarters in Verona, and Buford is ordered to join him there. Forrest orders the impressment of African Americans to repair the M&O Railroad as far as Corinth. His plan is to use the railroad to reach Sherman’s supply lines, so they can be cut. This work will be ongoing for the next two weeks. (3, 8)

Georgia operations, Atlanta: General Sherman says (15):

The army still remained where the news of success had first found us, viz., Lovejoy’s; but, after due refection, I resolved not to attempt at that time a further pursuit of Hood’s army, but slowly and deliberately to move back, occupy Atlanta, enjoy a short period of rest, and to think well over the next step required in the progress of events. Orders for this movement were made on the 5th September, and three days were given for each army to reach the place assigned it, viz.: the Army of the Cumberland in and about Atlanta; the Army of the Tennessee at East Point; and the Army of the Ohio at Decatur.

 

National Archives

National Archives

September 6

Military events: Mississippi operations: CS President Davis to General Richard Taylor, his brother-in-law, who is the Confederacy’s commander-in-chief (8):

General Forrest telegraphed me, on the 5th instant, that, if permitted to select from his present command four thousand men and six pieces of artillery, he thought he could, in middle and west Tennessee, disturb the enemy’s communications and recruit his command. If circumstances permit it, I think it would be well to employ him in operations on the enemy’s lines of communication, as well as to interfere with the transportation of supplies and reinforcements to General Sherman’s army. Of this you must inform yourself and freely exercise your judgment.

September 7

Military events: Georgia operations: Sherman orders the evacuation of Atlanta. (5, including quote)

 
Atlanta today:

 
 
 


 
Sources:

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

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

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

(4) The Lincoln Log timeline.

(5) Blue and Gray Timeline.

(6) Grant Chronology, Mississippi State University.

(7) Civil War Interactive.

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

(9) This Week in the Civil War.

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

(11) CWSAC Battle Summaries

(12) The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War.” (2002) David J. Eicher.

(13) A Brief Naval Chronology of the Civil War (1861-65).

(14) The Pictorial Book of Anecdotes and Incidents of the War of the Rebellion…, Richard Miller Devens (1866).

(15) Memoirs of W. T. Sherman

(16) The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience During the Civil War. James G. Hollandsworth, Jr., 1995.

(17) A. Lincoln, A Biography, Ronald C. White, Jr. (2009)

(18) Confederate Strategy, Fort Tyler Association.

(19) The Sword of Lincoln, the Army of the Potomac. Jeffrey Wert (2005)

(20) Black Artillerymen from the Civil War through World War I (PDF), Roger D. Cunningham.

(21) The Atlanta Campaign. New Georgia Encyclopedia.

(22) Early’s Raid on Washington/Operations Against the B&O Railroad, Wikipedia.

(23) Siege of Petersburg, Wikipedia.

(24) Petersburg National Battlefield.

(25) James F. Epperson’s Siege of Petersburg site.

(26) Lee’s Bold Plan for Point Lookout, Jack E. Schairer (2008)

(27) Chattahoochee Creek Battle to Jonesboro. Tenth Kentucky Volunteer

(28) Sherman’s Horsemen: Union Cavalry Operations in the Atlanta Campaign. David Evans.

(29) Michael W. Kauffman. American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. Random House. New York. 2004.



Categories: American Civil War

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