Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force
Major Highlights for the Week
Wednesday August 17, 1864
Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early ‘s troops pushed northward from Cedar Creek, Virginia after Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s withdrawing army. Sheridan had moved on to the Berryville area, leaving a rearguard at Winchester. In a sharp fight near Winchester, Federal cavalry held well and protected the main column.
In the Petersburg Campaign, Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant indicated to President Abraham Lincoln of his desire to continue the siege of Petersburg without weakening his army.
Thursday August 18, 1864
BATTLE OF THE WELDON RAILROAD BEGINS
The Federal Fifth Corps under Major General Gouverneur K. Warren left the Petersburg lines and moved to the west of the Federal siege positions and occupied over a mile of the vital Weldon Railroad running south from Petersburg. After taking the area around Globe Tavern, Yellow House, and Blick’s Station, Warren turned northward facing Petersburg. Terrain and Confederate Major General Henry Heth’s troops, they were halted in the woods south of the city. Despite the heat and heavy rain, the Federal troops made their first important move since the Battle of the Mine to penetrate towards Petersburg. It cost them 544 killed and wounded plus 292 missing.
In the Shenandoah Valley, Federal Major General Phil Sheridan pulled out of Berryville, Virginia and headed towards Charles Town, West Virginia. When Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early learned of this movement, he moved his forces towards Bunker Hill, north of Winchester. Fighting occurred along Opequon Creek.
Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, for the second time in the war, refused to exchange Confederate prisoners of war believing that such an exchange would prolong the war. The Confederates urged the exchange on humanitarian grounds and because they could use their men now in Federal hands. Consequently, they were severely strained to feed, house, clothe and guard Federals under their control.
Friday August 19, 1864
BATTLE OF THE WELDON RAILROAD CONTINUES
During the afternoon, troops of Confederate Lieutenant General A.P. Hill’s corps hit Federal Major General Gouverneur K. Warren’s infantry in the dense woods south of Petersburg, Virginia. The Union forces suffered severe casualties and had to pull back towards Globe Tavern, which they had seized the day before. The Federals still held the vital railroad but it came at a high cost of 382 killed and wounded and 2,518 missing. Confederate casualties are uncertain.
Skirmishing occurred near Opequon Creek on the Berryville and Winchester Pike as Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s forces continued to class with the Federal Army of the Shenandoah under Major General Phil Sheridan.
Saturday August 20, 1864
Despite skirmishing along the Weldon Railroad near Globe Tavern, south of Petersburg, Virginia, the Confederates temporarily suspended their efforts to dislodge the Federal troops in the area. Confederate President Jefferson Davis expressed his distress at the presence of Federal troops on the Weldon Railroad.
In the Shenandoah Valley, skirmishing between Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s forces and Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s troops continued with action at Berryville and Opequon Creek in Virginia, and at Bulltown, West Virginia.
Fighting occurred at Lovejoy’s Station on the Macon and Western Railroad in Georgia.
Sunday August 21, 1864
In an early morning raid, Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest and 2,000 of his men entered the city of Memphis, Tennessee, held it for part of the day and nearly captured Federal Major Generals Cadwallader C. Washburn and Stephen A. Hurlbut. Capturing the generals was one of three aims of Forrest’s raid – the other two being the secured release of Confederate prisoners at Irving Block Prison, and the recall of Federal troops from Northern Mississippi. The raid failed on two of the three accounts. Only the recall of Federal forces in Northern Mississippi was successful.
Lieutenant General A.P. Hill’s Confederate assaulted Federal Major General Gouverneur K. Warren’s Fifth Corps at the Weldon Railroad on another hot and rainy day. Again, the Confederate attack failed, though the Federals lost 301 killed, wounded and missing. The new Federal line held and Confederate General Robert E. Lee had to accept the loss of the northern section of the Weldon Railroad, an invaluable supply line for Richmond and Petersburg. Total losses for the Battle of the Weldon Railroad totaled 198 Federal’s killed, 1,105 wounded and 3,152 missing for an aggregate loss of 4,455 of approximately 20,000 engaged. Confederate losses are estimated at 1,600 out of approximately 14,000 engaged.
Monday August 22, 1864
Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early demonstrated towards Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia with a skirmish occurring at Charles Town, West Virginia. Globe Tavern and the Weldon Railroad were quiet. Other fighting occurred at Jonesborough and Caton, Georgia; Canton and Roaring Spring, Kentucky; Yell County, Arkansas; and Cove Point, Maryland.
Tuesday August 23, 1864
After fierce bombardment by land batteries, three monitors and other Union naval vessels, Fort Morgan, the last major Confederate post at the entrance to Mobile Bay, fell to the Federals. It gave them control of the port, even though the Confederates held the city itself. Now Wilmington, North Carolina remained the only significant port partially open to Confederate blockade-runners.
Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of August 17-23, 1864
1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in Battle of the Weldon Railroad as part of the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865.
2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Marched to Atlanta, Georgia and took part in siege operations against that city until August 31, 1864.
3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Pine Bluff, Arkansas until October 10, 1864.
4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Allatoona, Georgia until October 5, 1864.
5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Veterans rejoined the regiment, which was on Smith’s Expedition to Oxford, Mississippi until Aug. 30, 1864.
6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Helena, Arkansas until Nov. 4, 1864.
7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Smith’s Expedition to Oxford, Mississippi until August 30, 1864.
8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.
9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Smith’s Expedition to Oxford, Mississippi until August 30, 1864.
10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Smith’s Expedition to Oxford, Mississippi until August 30, 1864.
11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Organized at Fort Snelling, Minn., until September 20, 1864.
2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.
Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until November 10, 1864.
Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D moved to Fort Abercrombie. Companies A and B assigned to garrison at Fort Abercrombie. Company C assigned to garrison at Alexandria and Pomme de Terre. Company D on patrol duty from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina. Companies E and F on frontier duty. The battalion would remain in these duty locations for the duration of the war – until April 26, 1866.
1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty for the Siege of Atlanta until August 25, 1864.
2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Mounted and engaged in scouting duty around Chattanooga, Tennessee until October 1864.
3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.
1st United States Sharpshooters Company I- Attached to the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia until Feb. 20, 1865.
2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg until Feb. 20, 1865.
1st Regiment Minnesota Cavalry “Mounted Rangers” – Formally mustered out of service on December 7, 1863. Inactive.
1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Mustered out of Federal service on April 29, 1864. Inactive.