Here is a look at events in the Civil War, 150 years ago this week. Some of them, as at Dalton on the 13th, are very sad and also not very well known.
Also this week, General Sherman, having worked out what to do about General Hood and the state of Georgia, and with permission from his superiors, turned his face toward Savannah…and the sea.
Battles: Georgia operations: Third Battle of Dalton. Six hundred black and 150 white US troops are surrounded by and surrender to CS General John Bell Hood’s 40,000-man army. While there is no massacre this time, the black troops are abused in ways that, per their commander, “exceeded anything in brutality I have ever witnessed.” Some of them are returned to slavery. In the meantime, Hood moves on Gadsden. (29)
Virginia operations, Siege of Petersburg: Darbytown Road.
Military events: Mississippi/Alabama operations: A detachment of CS General Joe Wheeler’s cavalry is sent to Gadsden to rejoin their division.(3)
Georgia operations: Grant to US Secretary of War Edward Stanton (1):
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
On mature reflection, I believe Shermans’ proposition [to march to Savannah on a scorched-earth expedition] is the best that can be adopted. With the long line of railroad in rear of Atlanta Sherman cannot maintain his position. If he cuts loose, destroying the road from Chattanooga forward, he leaves a wide and destitute country to pass over before reaching territory now held by us. Thomas could retain force enough to meet Hood by giving up the road from Nashville to Decatur and thence to Stevenson and leave sherman still force enough to meet Hood’s army if it took the other and most likely course. Such an army as Sherman has (and with such a commander) is hard to corner or capture.
U. S. GRANT,
(Copy sent from Washington to General Thomas October 14.)
Stanton to Sherman (1):
Washington, October 13, 1864-8. 30 p. m.
You will see by General Grant’s dispatch that your plans, are approved by him. You may count on the co-operation of this Department to the full extent of the power of the Government. Supplies will be forwarded with the utmost dispatch to the points indicated. Whatever results you have the confidence and support of the Government.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
Virginia operations, CS Colonel Mosby’s Greenback Raid:
(Note: “Old Blaze” was Captain Richard Blazer, a US guerrilla whose scouts are said (PDF) to have mounted an effective opposition to Mosby’s Rangers.)
Battles: Shenandoah Valley operations: Skirmishes between CS General Jubal Early and US General Philip Sheridan at Hupp’s Hill, Virginia, and Duffield’s Station, West Virginia. (7)
Military events: Mississippi/Tennessee operations: CS General Abraham Buford is ordered to leave scouts at Pittsburg Landing and to rejoin CS General Nathan Bedford Forrest at Corinth.
From Cherokee Station, Forrest reports on the results of his September raid and requests that General Chalmers join him in another raid, this time on the Federal depot at Johnsonville, in the northern part of West Tennessee. Most of the supplies for those fighting in Middle and East Tennessee, as well as supplies for Sherman, he notes, are collected at Johnsonville. The raid is approved and Chalmers is sent to Jackson, Tennessee.
Battles: Price’s Missouri Expedition: “Gen. Jo Shelby, unlike M. Jeff Thompson, had a real commission in a real army, and was operating today under the overall command of Gen. Sterling Price’s campaign to take the state of Missouri into the Confederacy, or at any rate out of the Union. Today, Shelby, operating on a detached campaign, assaulted the garrison at Sedalia, Mo. The defending militiamen did not give a very outstanding account of themselves; in the words of one report they ‘seemed confused’ In the other arm of the campaign, Price’s men occupied the town of Paris, Mo., and some fighting occurred near Glasgow.” (7, including quote)
Military events: Georgia operations: General Sherman is still pursuing Hood (15)
On the 14th, I turned General Howard through Snake-Creek Gap, and sent General Stanley around by Tilton, with orders to cross the mountain to the west, so as to capture, if possible, the force left by the enemy in Snake-Creek Gap. We found this gap very badly obstructed by fallen timber, but got through that night, and the next day the main army was at Villanow.
Battles: Georgia operations: Ship’s Gap.
Military events: Per General Sherman (15):
It was at Ship’s Gap that a courier brought me the cipher message from General Halleck which intimated that the authorities in Washington were willing I should undertake the march across Georgia to the sea. The translated dispatch named “Horse-i-bar Sound” as the point where the fleet would await my arrival. After much time I construed it to mean, “Ossabaw Sound,” below Savannah, which was correct.
Military events: Virginia operations: General Grant prepares supplies for Sherman’s upcoming march to the sea. (6)
Price’s Missouri Expedition: “Gen. Sterling Price was on yet another campaign to pry loose the state of Missouri from the grasp of the Federal government. The fact that he had been fighting on numerous occasions since 1861 to accomplish this goal did not discourage him, and on this campaign he had had some successes, most notably the battle of Pilot Knob at Ft. Davidson, although he had let the garrison of the latter escape during the night. Today he was advancing toward Lexington, Mo., in the northwest region of the state, and was encountering skirmishing on both the left and the right flanks of his force. This was the first indication that he had not one but two Union units coming at him, one behind him (which he already knew about) and one ahead (which he did not.)” (7, including quote)
Tennessee operations: Forrest’s campaign to the Kentucky border begins as General Buford’s division, with two batteries, sets out for Jack Creek. Scouts are ordered to watch all the Tennessee River crossings from Hamburg to Clifton for signs of Federal movement. (3)
Georgia operations: General Sherman to General Schofield (in Chattanooga)(15, emphasis added):
Hood is not at Dear Head Cove. We occupy Ship’s Gap and Lafayette. Hood is moving south via Summerville, Alpine, and Gadsden. If he enters Tennessee, it will be to the west of Huntsville, but I think he has given up all such idea. I want the road repaired to Atlanta; the sick and wounded men sent north of the Tennessee; my army recomposed; and I will then make the interior of Georgia feel the weight of war. It is folly for us to be moving our armies on the reports of scouts and citizens. We must maintain the offensive. Your first move on Trenton and Valley Head was right —the move to defend Caperton’s Ferry is wrong. Notify General Thomas of these my views. We must follow Hood till he is beyond the reach of mischief, and then resume the offensive.
Battles: Tennessee operations: Skirmish at Clinch Mountain. (28)
Military events: Shenandoah operations: “For awhile it had seemed that Gen. Richard Early’s Confederate cavalry force was doomed. Pursued relentlessly by Gen. Phil Sheridan, George Armstrong Custer, and a large number of lesser-known Union cavalrymen, Early had been losing far too many of his command to wounds, death or capture. Today Early and his staff went personally clambering around the edge of Massanutten Mountain, to peer down on the Federals camped in the creek valley below. Having concluded that retreat was getting them nowhere, Early planned out an alternative strategy: full-bore attack, come what may. It was scheduled for tomorrow.” (7, including quote)
Tennessee operations: Forrest’s Campaign to Kentucky: General Forrest sets out for Jack Creek. (3)
Other: “The Richmond Sentinel reports on the scarcity of food in the city and elsewhere in the South. The decision is made to feed the army first and private citizens second. Nashville newspapers remark on the number of poor and malnourished refugees flooding into the city.” (28, including quote)
Battles: Shenandoah Valley operations: Cedar Creek.
Price’s Missouri Expedition: Lexington.
Military events: Naval operations: The CSS Shenandoah is commissioned off the Madeira Islands, after some shenanigans last week. (7, 13)
Sherman to General Halleck (15, emphasis added):
Hood has retreated rapidly by all the roads leading south. Our advance columns are now at Alpine and Melville Post-Office. I shall pursue him as far as Gaylesville. The enemy will not venture toward Tennessee except around by Decatur. I propose to send the Fourth Corps back to General Thomas, and leave him, with that corps, the garrisons, and new troops, to defend the line of the Tennessee River; and with the rest I will push into the heart of Georgia and come out at Savannah, destroying all the railroads of the State. The break in our railroad at Big Shanty is almost repaired, and that about Dalton should be done in ten days. We find abundance of forage in the country.
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(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.
(6) Grant Chronology, Mississippi State University.
(8) Life of Lieutenant-General Nathan Bedford Forrest, by John A. Wyeth (1908/2011).
(10) The Siege of Charleston, “The State.” (South Carolina)
(12) The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War.” (2002) David J. Eicher.
(14) The Pictorial Book of Anecdotes and Incidents of the War of the Rebellion…, Richard Miller Devens (1866).
(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) Early’s Raid on Washington/Operations Against the B&O Railroad, Wikipedia.
(22) Siege of Petersburg, Wikipedia.
(24) James F. Epperson’s Siege of Petersburg site.
(25) Lee’s Bold Plan for Point Lookout, Jack E. Schairer (2008)
(26) Chattahoochee Creek Battle to Jonesboro. Tenth Kentucky Volunteer
(27) Michael W. Kauffman. American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. Random House. New York. 2004.
(28) Price’s Missouri Raid. The Civil War in Missouri
(29) The Franklin-Nashville Campaign. Wikipedia
(30) Timeline 1864 (PDF). State of Tennessee
(31) Up From Slavery. Booker T. Washington.
Categories: American Civil War