This Week in the American Civil War: December 21-27, 1864

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

(www.mncivilwar150.com and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)

 

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday December 21, 1864

With Brigadier General John W. Geary’s Twentieth Corps in the lead, Federal troops occupied Savannah, Georgia. They faced no opposition during the march. Confederate Lieutenant General William J. Hardee’s troops had escaped.

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s suffering Army of Tennessee continued to march southward from Columbia towards Pulaski, Tennessee, leaving a rear guard behind. Federal Major General George H. Thomas’s force was plagued by exhaustion and difficult-to-cross streams and rivers.

The United States Congress set up a new grade of Vice Admiral with Rear Admiral David Farragut in mind for the promotion to the new rank.

Thursday December 22, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman himself had arrived in Savannah, Georgia and transmitted his famous message to President Abraham Lincoln that stated: “I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.” He had been at Port Royal, South Carolina on military business when Savannah was evacuated. His Federal troops immediately worked on shoring up the defenses, replenishing their supplies and reorganizing the army.

Confederate Lieutenant General William J. Hardee’s retreating troops headed northward into South Carolina.

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s rear guard skirmished with Federal Major General George H. Thomas’s pursuing force on the Duck River near Columbia, Tennessee. Another skirmish occurred at Franklin Creek, Mississippi.

Friday December 23, 1864

The Federal fleet from Fort Monroe, intending to attack Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina, had encountered very heavy seas and storms off Cape Hatteras and had been badly scattered. By now the battered vessels had arrived at the Beaufort rendezvous. Major General Benjamin F. Butler was in personal command of the two army divisions, numbering around 6,500 men. Admiral David Dixon Porter commanded the fleet. Butler had planned to explode an old hulk loaded with 215 tons of powder near the fort, predicting that it would destroy it and the garrison. The powder boat was set off but it caused no damage to friend or foe.

A skirmish at Warfield’s, near Columbia, Tennessee, marked the continuing operations of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s rear guard against Federal Major General George H. Thomas’s pursuing force.      

Saturday December 24, 1864

The formidable Federal naval fleet under Admiral David Dixon Porter opened fire upon Fort Fisher, North Carolina, after the failure of the powder ship the night before. With the U.S.S. New Ironsides leading, the fleet fired a tremendous bombardment at the earth and sand fort, defended by about 500 men under Colonel William Lamb. The fort itself did not respond significantly to the Federal fire and several explosions inside set buildings on fire. Limited damage was done to the fort and casualties were fairly light for both sides.  The transports were now ready to attempt a landing above the fort.

In Tennessee, skirmishing occurred at Lynnville and Richland Creek, but the primary operations following the Battle of Nashville were over.

Sunday December 25, 1864

     Nearly sixty warships continued the Federal bombardment of Fort Fisher, easily hitting the parapets and traverses of the sand-built fort. The Federal troops landed two miles north, captured a battery and pushed close to the fort itself. However, as darkness approached, Confederate troops closed in from the north. Since the assault was deemed too expensive in lives, the fleet returned to Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee reached Bainbridge, Tennessee on the Tennessee River. Skirmishing occurred at Richland Creek, Devil’s Gap and White’s Station, Tennessee.

Confederate Major General Sterling Price’s Confederate command, still retreating from Missouri, arrived at Laynesport, Arkansas.

Monday December 26, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee began crossing the Tennessee River at Bainbridge, Tennessee. Even though there was a skirmish at Sugar Creek, Tennessee, the crossing essentially ended the campaign.

President Abraham Lincoln congratulated Major General William T. Sherman for his victorious campaigns, including the vanquishing of Hood at Nashville.

Tuesday December 27, 1864

The Confederate Army of Tennessee completed their crossing of the Tennessee River at Bainbridge, Tennessee and then headed towards Tupelo, Mississippi.

Skirmishing broke out at Decatur, Alabama; and Okolona, Mississippi.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of December 21-27, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until February 1, 1865.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Duvall’s Bluff, Arkansas until May 13, 1865.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until February 1, 1865.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On pursuit of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s forces to the Tennessee River until December 28, 1864.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On provost duty at St. Louis, Missouri until January 29, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On pursuit of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s forces to the Tennessee River until December 28, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Murfreesboro, Tennessee until January 19, 1865.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On pursuit of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s forces to the Tennessee River until December 28, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On pursuit of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s forces to the Tennessee River until December 28, 1864.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned to duty guarding the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Nashville to the Kentucky line. Companies E, G, and I were at Gallatin, Tennessee. Company A was at Buck Lodge. Company B at Edgefield Junction. Company C at Richland. Company D at Sandersville. Company H was at Mitchellsville. The location of companies F and K are unknown at this time. The regiment remained on duty at these locations until June 25, 1865.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling, until November 17, 1865.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling until May 1866.

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 Heavy Artillery Battery – Organized at St. Paul and Rochester until February 1865.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until February 1, 1865.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty as infantry at Fort Irwin, Defenses of Chattanooga until March 30, 1865.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Various sections on duty at Fort Ridgely, Fort Ripley and Fort Sisseton until May 1865.

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.

Inactive units: 

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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: December 14-20, 1864

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

(www.mncivilwar150.com and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)

 

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday December 14, 1864

In Nashville, Tennessee, Federal Major General George H. Thomas informed officials in Washington that the ice had melted and that he would attack the Confederate Army of Tennessee the next day. Field orders for the advance were issued.

In Georgia, Federal naval units began their week-long bombardment of Forts Rosedew and Beaulieu on the Vernon River.

Skirmishing occurred on the Germantown Road near Memphis, Tennessee, and in the Cypress Swamp near Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis deferred to General Robert E. Lee’s judgment as to whether troops could be spared from Petersburg to operate against Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s forces.

Thursday December 15, 1864

BATTLE OF NASHVILLE

Federal Major General George H. Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland, having been recently reinforced by elements of the Sixteenth Corps which arrived two weeks earlier from Missouri, came out of their works in a heavy fog and struck Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee. The Federal force, totaling 35,000 troops, attacked the thin Confederate left flank, carried redoubts and then successfully assaulted Montgomery Hill and drove the enemy from the main defensive line to a position about a mile to the rear along the Brentwood Hills. Hood had been beaten back but still held the main road to Franklin. Both sides made troop adjustments during the night and Hood made the effort to shorten his line. When Thomas notified officials in Washington, Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant canceled his plans to go farther than Washington.

Friday December 16, 1864

BATTLE OF NASHVILLE CONTINUES

At 6 a.m. in rain and sleet, Federal troops on the left pressed back the Confederate right on the Franklin Pike to the main entrenchments, but Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee’s corps held. The Federals completed their alignment for battle south of Nashville and the movement against the Confederate left flank continued along Granny White Pike. Late in the afternoon, after a heavy artillery bombardment, the main Federal assault commenced. Making their way up the Confederate left flank at Shy’s Hill, Federal Brigadier General John McArthur’s division, including the 5th, 7th, 9th and 10th Minnesota Infantry regiments, made their way up the Confederate left flank at Shy’s (formerly Compton’s) Hill, which gave way, forcing the center of the Confederate lines to fall back. The now-broken Confederates withdrew in confusion and Hood retreated. The Federal losses amounted to 387 killed, 2,562 wounded and 112 missing for a total of 3,061 out of approximately 55,000 engaged. Confederate losses are unknown but believed to be about 1,500 out of less than 30,000 troops available. The fight for Nashville was the last major battle in the Western Theater. Though the Confederate Army of Tennessee was decimated both at Nashville and at Franklin, two weeks prior, it was not destroyed.      

Saturday December 17, 1864

Federal Major General James H. Wilson’s cavalry and some infantry led the Federal pursuit of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood and the Army of Tennessee from Nashville. Hood managed to concentrate towards Columbia, encamping at Spring Hill. Skirmishing broke out between the Federals and Hood’s rear guard at Hollow Tree Gap, West Harpeth River, and Franklin. The rear guard action allowed the rest of the Confederates to withdraw through Franklin.

Sunday December 18, 1864

     Major General James H. Wilson’s Federal cavalry in Tennessee pursued Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee as far as Rutherford Creek, north of Columbia, which was impassable.

The only recorded fighting for the day occurred at Spring Hill, Tennessee; and on Little River in New Madrid County, Missouri.

Hearing the news of the Battle of Nashville, people throughout both North and South realized that it was a serious blow to Confederate hopes.

Confederate Lieutenant General William J. Hardee refused Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s surrender request at Savannah, Georgia, that Sherman had issued the previous day. However, it was clear that the city had to be evacuated before the escape route to the north closed. General P.G.T. Beauregard was with Hardee at the moment and urged evacuation at once, even though Hardee seemed reluctant to leave.

The Congress and President of the United States engaged in continuing discussions that concerned reconstruction of the seceded states.

Monday December 19, 1864

Major General James H. Wilson’s Federal cavalry attempted to ford the flooded Rutherford Creek, north of Columbia, Tennessee. Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood hoped to halt his retreat at Columbia, on the line of the Duck River. Skirmishing broke out at Rutherford Creek and Curtis Creek.

In Virginia, Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early and Federal Major General Phil Sheridan dispatched troops from the Shenandoah Valley back to the Richmond-Petersburg front.

At Washington, D.C., President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 300,000 more volunteers to replace casualties.

Tuesday December 20, 1864

CONFEDERATES EVACUATE SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

The Federal left at Savannah, Georgia moved slowly to cut off Confederate Lieutenant General William J. Hardee’s escape route across the Savannah River into South Carolina, but they did not succeed. Hardee, urged by General P.G.T. Beauregard and others to evacuate, finally left the area. Without opposition, he headed northward towards concentration with other Confederate units. Hardee left behind 250 heavy guns and larage amounts of cotton, but with an ingenious pontoon bridge of 30 rice flats, he was able to evacuate all of his 10,000 troops. The loss of the important port city was another psychological blow to the Confederates, still stinging from the defeat at Nashville earlier in the week.

Federal Major General George H. Thomas’s troops, following up Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s retreat in Tennessee, constructed a floating bridge over Rutherford Creek and pushed on for Columbia where they found the bridges destroyed and the Confederates across the Duck River. Some skirmishing occurred near Columbia.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of December 14-20, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until December 21, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Duvall’s Bluff, Arkansas until May 13, 1865.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until December 21, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On pursuit of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s forces to the Tennessee River until December 28, 1864.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On provost duty at St. Louis, Missouri until January 29, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On pursuit of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s forces to the Tennessee River until December 28, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Murfreesboro, Tennessee until January 19, 1865.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On pursuit of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s forces to the Tennessee River until December 28, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On pursuit of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s forces to the Tennessee River until December 28, 1864.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned to duty guarding the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Nashville to the Kentucky line. Companies E, G, and I were at Gallatin, Tennessee. Company A was at Buck Lodge. Company B at Edgefield Junction. Company C at Richland. Company D at Sandersville. Company H was at Mitchellsville. The location of companies F and K are unknown at this time. The regiment remained on duty at these locations until June 25, 1865.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling, until November 17, 1865.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling until May 1866.

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 Heavy Artillery Battery – Organized at St. Paul and Rochester until February 1865.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until December 21, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty as infantry at Fort Irwin, Defenses of Chattanooga until March 30, 1865.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Various sections on duty at Fort Ridgely, Fort Ripley and Fort Sisseton until May 1865.

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.

Inactive units: 

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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: December 7-13, 1864

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

(www.mncivilwar150.com and “Minnesota Civil War 150 ” on Facebook)

 

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday December 7, 1864

Federal military authorities were upset over Major General George H. Thomas’s failure to attack Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee at Nashville, Tennessee. Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant told Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton that if Thomas did not attack promptly, he should be removed.

At Murfreesboro, Tennessee, fighting was fairly severe as Confederates under Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest demonstrated against the Federal outpost.

Thursday December 8, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army could almost smell the sea as the changing terrain and vegetation indicated that they were close to accomplishing their goal. Skirmishing flared at Ebenezer Creek and Bryan Court House, Georgia.

Fearing that Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood would make his way across the Ohio River, Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant told Major General Henry Halleck that Major General George H. Thomas ought to hand of his command to Major General John M. Schofield. Halleck deferred to Grant in making the decision but no change was made.

Friday December 9, 1864

Skirmishing broke out at the Ogeechee Canal, Cuyler’s Plantation and Monteith Swamp, Georgia; and around Hatcher’s Run, Virginia.

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant issued an order replacing Major General George H. Thomas with Major General John M. Schofield, but suspended the order when Thomas informed him that he intended to attack the next day. Thomas also blamed the delay on necessary concentrations of men, horses and supplies.      

Saturday December 10, 1864

The marching part of Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s Georgia Campaign came to a close as the army arrived in front of Savannah. Sherman had determined not to assault the city but chose to invest it instead, as his army had not made contact with the naval supply vessels offshore. Immense amounts of forage were needed daily and all nearby feed was used up, which caused the horses to suffer.

A Confederate steamer, Ida, was captured and burned on the Savannah River, and a skirmish occurred at Springfield, Georgia.

Bad weather further delayed the planned Federal assault at Nashville as any movement was hazardous.

President Abraham Lincoln named Major General William F. Smith and Henry Stanbery as special commissioners to investigate civil and military affairs on and west of the Mississippi River.

Sunday December 11, 1864

     Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops were busy investing Savannah, Georgia, although the route north to Charleston was not cut off yet. The lengthy King’s Bridge over the Ogeechee River, the direct route to Fort McAllister, had to be rebuilt as it was damaged by Confederates.

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant again urged Major General George H. Thomas to attack the Confederates at Nashville and was assured that he would as soon as the weather improved.

Monday December 12, 1864

The Federal army was at Savannah, Georgia getting its lines set for enveloping the city and in preparation for attack on Fort McAllister, the last barrier to contact with the U.S. Naval fleet. The Federals captured another Confederate vessel, the C.S.S. Resolute, on the Savannah River.

Federal Major General George H. Thomas informed Major General Henry Halleck in Washington that he was poised for attack against Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee at Nashville once the sleet melted, as it was almost impossible to move on the ice-covered ground.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis was still looking for troops to oppose Sherman at Savannah without weakening the position of General Robert E. Lee at Petersburg, Virginia.

Tuesday December 13, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman made contact with the U.S. Navy fleet after the capture of Fort McAllister on the Ogeechee River below Savannah, Georgia. The small Confederate garrison under Major G.W. Anderson numbered only 230 men and suffered 35 casualties in the assault. The Federals sustained a loss of 24 killed and 110 wounded. Sherman’s army could now resupply and contact with officials in Washington was reestablished.

In Nashville, Tennessee, both Federal Major General George H. Thomas and Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood waited out the sleet storm. Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant ordered Major General John A. Logan to proceed to Nashville and replace Thomas if the attack had not commenced by Logan’s arrival. Grant then headed to Washington with the intention of going to Nashville himself if needed.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of December 7-13, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until December 21, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Duvall’s Bluff, Arkansas until May 13, 1865.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until December 21, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On provost duty at St. Louis, Missouri until January 29, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Murfreesboro, Tennessee until January 19, 1865.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned to duty guarding the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Nashville to the Kentucky line. Companies E, G, and I were at Gallatin, Tennessee. Company A was at Buck Lodge. Company B at Edgefield Junction. Company C at Richland. Company D at Sandersville. Company H was at Mitchellsville. The location of companies F and K are unknown at this time. The regiment remained on duty at these locations until June 25, 1865.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling, until November 17, 1865.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling until May 1866.

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 Heavy Artillery Battery – Organized at St. Paul and Rochester until February 1865.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until December 21, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty as infantry at Fort Irwin, Defenses of Chattanooga until March 30, 1865.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Various sections on duty at Fort Ridgely, Fort Ripley and Fort Sisseton until May 1865.

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.

Inactive units: 

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.

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Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne, CSA (1828-1864)

Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne, CSA (1828-1864)

Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne, CSA (1828-1864)

One of the more interesting and tragic figures of the Civil War, Pat Cleburne earned a fame that derived from four circumstances: his Irish birth, his remarkable effectiveness as a division commander in the Army of Tennessee, his proposal in January 1864 that the South free its slaves and incorporate them into the Confederate army, and his dramatic death in the ill-fated charge at Franklin, Tennessee, on 30 November 1864.

Cleburne was born on 16 March 1828 near Ballincollig in County Cork, Ireland. His father was a Protestant country physician and his mother was the daughter of a prominent Irish Protestant family. His mother died when he was only 19 months old, but not long afterward his tutor became his stepmother and the woman he called “Mamma” all his life. From age twelve to fifteen, Cleburne attended the private Greenfield School, but after his father died in 1843, the family could no longer afford the school fees and he took a job as an apothecary’s assistant in Mallow. Later he traveled to Dublin to seek admission to the Apothecaries College. Rejected, he joined the British army.

Cleburne spent two and one-half years in Her Majesty’s 41st Regiment. It was an unhappy duty. Instead of journeying to exotic far away places, the regiment was assigned to constabulary duty to keep the peace in an Ireland ravaged by the potato famine. At age twenty-one, Cleburne inherited a small legacy from his father’s estate and he used it to buy his way out of the army. He and his siblings then took passage to the United States and arrived in New Orleans on Christmas Day 1849.

The Cleburne siblings scattered to various parts of America. After a brief sojourn in Cincinnati, Cleburne settled in Helena, Arkansas, where he managed a drug store and later became a lawyer. When Arkansas seceded and war appeared imminent, Cleburne joined the local militia company and was elected its captain. When, after the outbreak of war, that company was amalgamated with nine others to form a regiment, Cleburne was elected its colonel, and when that regiment was brigaded together with three others under the overall command of the professional soldier William J. Hardee, that officer recommended Cleburne for command of the brigade.

A statue dedicated to Cleburne at Ringgold Gap, Georgia.

A statue dedicated to Cleburne at Ringgold Gap, Georgia.

Cleburne saw his first important action in the battle of Shiloh on 6-7 April 1862. His brigade was in the front rank during the surprise morning attack on 6 April. Despite horrific casualties, he pressed his command forward until nightfall, when his remaining troops bivouacked on the battlefield. The next morning, Ulysses S. Grant’s counterattack forced Cleburne’s brigade back along with the rest of the army to its starting point. Of the 2,750 men in his six regiments, 1,043 were killed, wounded, or missing – losses of 38 percent. Cleburne’s leadership in this, his first battle, was marked more by enthusiasm than judgment, but he absorbed several valuable lessons that he subsequently applied in other battles. In particular, these included using artillery with the advance and developing a specialized group of sharpshooters.

During the Confederate invasion of Kentucky in late summer, Cleburne commanded a small division consisting of his own brigade plus that of Preston Smith. His division led the advance northward from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Richmond, Kentucky, where Cleburne’s small division played the central role in defeating and pursuing a disorganized Federal division on 29-30 August 1862. While preparing the attack, Cleburne was wounded in the face. A minie ball pierced his left cheek, smashed several teeth, and exited through his mouth. He recovered in time to participate on 8 October 1862 in the battle of Perryville, where again his command broke the enemy line, though this time the Federals did not abandon the battlefield. In both of these fights, Cleburne demonstrated his ability to apply practical lessons of combat by making effective use of both artillery and sharpshooters.

Cleburne's frock coat at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va.

Cleburne’s frock coat at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va.

Promoted to major general and the permanent command of a division in November, Cleburne embarked on a series of remarkable battlefield performances. In the battle of Stones River (or Murfreesboro) on 31 December 1862 – 2 January 1863, his division routed the Union right wing and drove it four miles back onto the Nashville Pike. In the battle of Chickamauga on 19-20 September 1863, his division assailed with such ferocity an entrenched force significantly stronger than his own that the Federal commander, William S. Rosecrans, pulled forces from other parts of the field to reinforce the position on Cleburne’s front. That opened the way for the successful Confederate counterattack that won the day.

Cleburne’s military prowess was most evident in the battles for Chattanooga. On the north end of Missionary Ridge on 25 November 1863, Cleburne’s single reinforced division hurled back repeated attacks by William T. Sherman’s four divisions in what was supposed to be the major Federal effort that day. Failing to move Cleburne off Tunnel Hill, Sherman asked Grant for support, and Grant authorized a feint by George Thomas’s corps in what became the charge up Missionary Ridge. After the rest of the Confederate army broke, Cleburne was assigned the task of defending the rear guard, including the army’s wagon trains. In that role, Cleburne’s division beat off a concerted attack by Joseph Hooker’s Corps at Ringgold Gap on 27 November 1863. Twice in three days, therefore, Cleburne’s division saved the Army of Tennessee from destruction.

Though Cleburne’s own prestige was at an all time high in the winter of 1863-1864, the Confederacy itself faced a bleak future. In an effort to solve the Confederacy’s desperate problem of personnel shortages, Cleburne in January 1864 asked for a meeting of the army’s senior officers. At that meeting he formally proposed that the Confederacy abolish slavery and recruit black troops for the Confederate army. He argued that, along with generating a potential half million new soldiers, such a step would pave the way for recognition by Britain and France and strip the Lincoln administration of a moral issue. The horrified reaction of most of those present showed him that this was an issue whose time had not yet come, and all present were ordered to keep the proposal a secret.

Cleburne remained an active and effective division commander in the campaign for Atlanta during May-July 1864, winning important tactical victories at Kennesaw Mountain on 27 June and the battle of Atlanta (or Bald Hill) on 22 July. In the battle of Jonesboro on 31 August – 1 September 1864, he commanded a corps in battle for the only time in the war. None of those battles was a clear Confederate victory, however, and on 1 September 1864 John Bell Hood was forced to evacuate Atlanta.

Patrick Ronayne Cleburne's grave marker at the Confederate Cemetery in Helena, Arkansas.

Patrick Ronayne Cleburne’s grave marker at the Confederate Cemetery in Helena, Arkansas.

Cleburne’s division took the lead again during Hood’s desperate invasion of Tennessee in the fall of 1864. Hood held him partly responsible for the “escape” of the enemy at Spring Hill on 29 November 1864, and both Hood and Cleburne may have conceived of the charge at Franklin the next day to be an opportunity for Cleburne to atone. In that attack, Cleburne’s division held the position of dubious honor in the center of the Confederate line as it swept forward across two and one-half miles of open ground against well-prepared entrenchments. About fifty yards from the Federal line, Cleburne fell with a bullet in his chest, one of six Confederate generals to die in that assault.

- Craig L. Symonds

[Source: Heidler, David S. and Jeanne T. Heidler. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social and Military History. W.W. Norton & Co. 2002. pp. 455-457.]

Cleburne is buried at the Confederate Cemetery in Helena, Arkansas according to the website Find A Grave.

Symonds, Craig L. Stonewall of the West: Patrick Cleburne and the Civil War.

Gillum, Jamie. Major General Patrick R. Cleburne’s Last Days in Life and Death: Contemporary Accounts of Cleburne and his Division. (The 1864 Tennessee Campaign) (Volume 2)

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Patrick R. Cleburne and the Tactical Employment of His Division at Chickamauga.

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This Week in the American Civil War: November 30 – December 6, 1864

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

(www.mncivilwar150.com and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)

 

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday November 30, 1864

BATTLE OF FRANKLIN

Leading units of the retreating Federals of Major General John Schofield’s force under Major General Jacob D. Cox arrived at Franklin, Tennessee, about dawn. They formed a defensive line south of the town and the Harpeth River. Schofield wished to hold Franklin until he could repair the bridges and get his trains across. Stung by the lost opportunity at Spring Hill, Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood moved rapidly towards Franklin on the main pike. A skirmish at Thompson’s Station, south of town, and other Federal delaying moves slowed the Confederate advance.

About 4 p.m., Hood, from Winstead Hill, ordered a massive frontal attack against the entrenched Federals on the southern edge of Franklin. The Confederates pressed ahead, carrying the forward works of the enemy, though suffering heavily in the process. After a near break which caused a 200-yard gap in the lines, the Federals rallied on the interior lines. Some of the bloodiest and most tragic fighting of the entire Civil War occurred in front of the Carter House as the battle lasted into the night. Schofield’s troops held and Hood’s force was driven back.

The Confederates lost six generals – Patrick Cleburne, States Rights Gist, H.B. Granbury, John Adams, O.F. Strahl were all killed outright and John C. Carter was mortally wounded. With more than 20,000 troops engaged, the Confederate losses amounted to 1,750 killed, 3,800 wounded and 702 missing for a loss of 6,252. Schofield engaged approximately 25,000 troops and lost 189 killed, 1,033 wounded and 1,104 missing for an aggregate total of 2,326.

During the night, Schofield pulled his battered units across the Harpeth River and headed north to Nashville to meet up with Major General George H. Thomas and receive reinforcements.

Thursday December 1, 1864

The Federal troops of Major General John M. Schofield had successfully withdrawn from Franklin, Tennessee and were now taking their places in the Nashville defense lines of Major General George H. Thomas. The Federals formed a rough semi-circle south of the city with both flanks resting on the Cumberland River. Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s weary Army of Tennessee moved upon Nashville with little pause to take care of the casualties or reorganize after the fateful toll extracted at Franklin the previous day.

A little more than halfway between Atlanta and Savannah, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army faced little difficulty as they approached Millen, Georgia, the site of a prison camp for Northern soldiers. Rumors abounded that the Federals were heading towards Andersonville, far to the south, to free the prisoners there.

In Washington, James Speed of Kentucky was appointed Attorney General by President Abraham Lincoln, succeeding Edward Bates who had resigned.

Friday December 2, 1864

Advance units of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee approached the Federal lines at Nashville, Tennessee, and then established their own lines south of the city.

Federal Major General Granville Dodge was named to replace Major General William Rosecrans as commander of the Department of Missouri. Rosecrans long had experienced difficulty with the various divided political forces in Missouri and had proved inept in the administration of his command.      

Saturday December 3, 1864

With both sides dug in at Nashville, that front was at a standstill, though Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant and Federal officials in Washington were urging Major General George H. Thomas to attack.

All of Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s corps in Georgia began to march toward Savannah. As they neared the coast, the country grew more sandy and then tended to marshes and creeks. The soldiers lived off the country and their destruction of property continued. Resistance was light.

In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln worked on his annual message to Congress and discussed the possibility with key advisors about naming Salmon P. Chase as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sunday December 4, 1864

     Skirmishing occurred at Waynesborough, Statesborough, Lumpkin’s Station, at the Little Ogeechee River, all in Georgia, and at Station No. 5 on the Georgia Central Railroad. Other skirmishes were fought at White’s Station and Bell’s Mills, Tennessee; on the New Texas Road near Morganza, Louisiana; near Davenport Church, Virginia; and Federals fought Indians on Cow Creek near Fort Zarah, Kansas.

Monday December 5, 1864

At Nashville, Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood sent Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry and a division of infantry towards Murfreesboro.

Minor skirmishing occurred at the Little Ogeechee River and at Dalton, both in Georgia.

The Congress of the United States gathered for the second session of the 38th Congress.

Tuesday December 6, 1864

Former Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase was named Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, succeeding the deceased Roger B. Taney. Although President Abraham Lincoln had difficulties with Chase during his Cabinet years, the President placed Chase at the head of the list for the Supreme Court vacancy since Taney’s death.

Following the custom of the day, President Lincoln submitted his annual message to Congress, where it was read to the highly interested members, for all were aware of the momentous questions of war and reconstruction facing the Union.

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant issued new orders to Major General George H. Thomas at Nashville in which Thomas was to attack Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood “at once.”

Skirmishing occurred at Bell’s Mills, Tennessee; Lewisburg, Arkansas; and Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of November 30 – December 6, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in Major General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” until December 10, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Duvall’s Bluff, Arkansas until May 13, 1865.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in Major General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” until December 10, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On provost duty at St. Louis, Missouri until January 29, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the Siege of Murfreesboro, Tennessee until December 12, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned to duty guarding the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Nashville to the Kentucky line. Companies E, G, and I were at Gallatin, Tennessee. Company A was at Buck Lodge. Company B at Edgefield Junction. Company C at Richland. Company D at Sandersville. Company H was at Mitchellsville. The location of companies F and K are unknown at this time. The regiment remained on duty at these locations until June 25, 1865.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling, until November 17, 1865.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling until May 1866.

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 Heavy Artillery Battery – Organized at St. Paul and Rochester until February 1865.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery - Participated in Major General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” until December 10, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty as infantry at Fort Irwin, Defenses of Chattanooga until March 30, 1865.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Various sections on duty at Fort Ridgely, Fort Ripley and Fort Sisseton until May 1865.

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.

Inactive units: 

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.

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On this date in Civil War history – Battle of Franklin – November 30, 1864

The view of Franklin, Tennessee taken from Winstead Hill on November 14, 2014.

The view of Franklin, Tennessee taken from Winstead Hill on November 14, 2014.

Lieutenant General John Bell Hood stood on the high slope of Winstead Hill, just south of Franklin, Tennessee, on the afternoon of 30 November 1864. Hood appeared older than his thirty-three years, as he leaned on a crutch supporting the stump of an amputated leg, while a useless arm hung by his side, the results of wounds at Chickamauga and Gettysburg, respectively. He stood on the approximate site of present-day battlefield map, holding a pair of field glasses to his eyes as he surveyed the Federal line on the southern edge of the little town. Immediately to the front and below Hood, two corps of the Confederate Army of Tennessee were assembled. The general was deciding whether to attack the Union position, where artillery bristled through strong earthworks fronted by abates. Cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest, infantry corps commander General Benjamin F. Cheatham, and probably others, had advised him not to make a frontal assault. But the young general did not accept their advice. Returning the field glasses to a leather case, Hood announced something to the effect that the army would make the fight.

Sunset on the grounds of the Carter House, November 14, 2014.

Sunset on the grounds of the Carter House, November 14, 2014.

Shortly after 4:00 P.M., on that Indian summer day, the Confederates moved forward, bands playing and regimental flags waving, as they marched across the bluegrass fields toward Franklin, where the Yankee troops waited in their formidable entrenchments. For the attackers the battle would be a terrible defeat – in some ways the worst fight in which the Army of Tennessee was ever engaged. Of a total force of about 23,000, there were 1,750 Southern troops killed. Another 5,500 men were wounded or captured. Six generals were killed, five wounded and one captured. Of 100 Confederate regimental commanders, more than 60 were killed or wounded. The Federals, with more than 15,000 engaged, suffered approximately 2,500 casualties, with about 200 of those killed. Clearly, General Hood had made an awful mistake in launching a frontal assault at Franklin.

franklin-november-30The background for the Franklin campaign began with the conclusion of the Atlanta campaign. After the Confederate evacuation of Atlanta, Hood hoped to draw General William T. Sherman away from that city by attacking his railroad supply line in north Georgia. Sherman sent some forces to give chase, briefly, but then stopped, complaining that Hood could twist and turn until his army would be worn out in pursuit. Besides, Sherman had something else in mind. He “would infinitely prefer to…move through Georgia, smashing things to the sea.” For such a march, Sherman did not need a railroad, nor a base. His men would take what they needed from the countryside. In his own words: “I can make that march and make Georgia howl!”

Meanwhile, General Hood moved into north Alabama. He planned to march his army into middle Tennessee, capture Nashville, and continue north into Kentucky, maybe even Ohio, or turn east to join forces with Robert E. Lee. Hood believed that Sherman would be compelled to come after him. It was not to be. By mid-November, Sherman was moving toward Savannah and Hood toward Nashville. Sherman, ironically, thought that Hood would probably follow him. If not, General George H. Thomas must shoulder the responsibility of dealing with Hood and the Army of Tennessee.

franklin-november-30-1864-6Thomas was then at Nashville in command of the Department of the Cumberland. While he was in overall charge of the Federal troops that would be massing in Tennessee’s capital to stop Hood, the actual field commander of forces deployed south of Nashville to delay Hood’s advance was John M. Schofield. Schofield had been a classmate of Hood’s at West Point. He had been detached by Sherman to help Thomas defend against Hood, and he commanded the IV and XXIII Army Corps, along with a small contingent of cavalry.

A Confederate flanking march almost cut Schofield off at the Duck River. Hood came even closer at Spring Hill on the afternoon of 29 November, but somehow failed – a failure never fully explained – to block the road north to Franklin. Thus Schofield’s forces marched through the little town during the night. By the morning of 30 November, the Federals were in Franklin, where they occupied and strengthened the earthworks that had been prepared more than a year before. By noon the Union position was formidable.

Hood was enraged when he learned that the Federals had marched by him during the night. Proceeding to blame nearly everyone except himself, he then put the Confederates in motion toward Franklin. Somehow, by afternoon, Hood had convinced himself that for purposes of discipline and restoration of élan what the army needed was to make a frontal assault. Yet he did not do the things that might have enabled a frontal assault to succeed.

When Hood gave the signal for the advance, most of Stephen D. Lee’s corps was not present, but still on the march south of Franklin. Also, most of the army’s artillery was not up, but in the process of being brought forward with Lee’s Corps. Thus Hood would assail the Franklin works with only two of his three corps, and artillery support would be virtually nonexistent. Worst of all, Hood did not position his troops properly for a successful attack. His hope for smashing the Federal center along the Columbia-Franklin Pike depended upon two divisions, one advancing on each side of the pike. Together, the two divisions possessed only seven brigades of the total of eighteen infantry brigades that Hood had on the field. His forces were not properly massed to achieve their objective.

IMG_7488

Confederate cemetery on the grounds of the Carnton Plantation, taken on November 14, 2014.

The Confederate attack was in near perfect alignment, an unforgettable martial display, according to numerous witnesses. It was the last grand charge of the war. The rebel leading units overwhelmed the Federals who were stationed about a third of a mile in front of their main line and chased them into the works along the Columbia-Franklin Pike. The Confederates charged through the yard of the Carter House (still extant) only to be met by the countercharging brigade of Colonel Emerson Opdycke. Other Federals quickly rallied to drive back the Confederates and close the penetration in fierce hand-to-hand fighting. The Southerners hung on at the outer ditch of the main earthworks, only to find, some of them, that they were subjected to enfilading fire. The reels at different points along the line made numerous separate charges until about 10 P.M., when the sounds of guns gradually died away.

In the outer ditch, Confederate dead and dying laid five or six deep in some places. Wounded soldiers of both sides suffered further as the temperature dropped through the night. During the night, General Schofield, as he had intended all along, pulled his army out and headed for Nashville. The Confederates advanced to Nashville the next day, but the Army of Tennessee never recovered from the battle of Franklin.

– James L. McDonough

[Source: Heidler, David S. and Jeanne T. Heidler. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social and Military History. W.W. Norton & Co. 2002. pp. 771-772.]

Among the dead were six Confederate generals including Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne, who is considered to be the “Stonewall of the West.”

For further information:

Civil War Trust’s Battle of Franklin page.

Battle of Franklin Trust website.

Jacobson, Eric A., For Cause & for Country: A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill & the Battle of Franklin.

Jacobson, Eric A., Baptism of Fire.

Eric Jacobson’s books are also available at the Battle of Franklin Trust’s web bookstore, with proceeds benefiting the Trust.

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New Civil War monument honors Minnesotans who fought at Nashville

By Jeffrey S. Williams

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

Members of the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society and the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force on Nov. 16 dedicated a new Civil War marker on Shy’s Hill in Nashville, Tenn., to recognize the contributions of four Minnesota regiments who charged the hill in the pivotal Battle of Nashville that took place 150 years ago.

 Minnesota State Representative Dean Urdahl and Battle of Nashville Preservation Society representative James D. Kay Jr. unveil the new monument to Minnesotans who fought in the Battle of Nashville during the Nov. 16 ceremony.

Minnesota State Representative Dean Urdahl and Battle of Nashville Preservation Society representative James D. Kay Jr. unveil the new monument to Minnesotans who fought in the Battle of Nashville during the Nov. 16 ceremony.

Nearly 60 people attended the ceremony in a freezing rain that was similar to the conditions the troops who fought there had faced a century and a half earlier.

“We’re here this afternoon to memorialize the sacrifices of Minnesota troops who fought in the Battle of Nashville and to acknowledge, too, the sacrifices of their adversaries from the South,” said Ann Toplovich, executive director of the Tennessee Historical Society. “Let us remember the sacrifices of these men today.”

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force co-chairman, State Representative Dean Urdahl said, “I’m honored to be here in Nashville today to help dedicate the marker commemorating the exploits and courage of those four Minnesota regiments who battled here. We also remember today the Army of Tennessee for their valor.”

Urdahl recounted the story of Private James Dunn, 5th Minnesota Infantry Company B, who escaped the ambush at Redwood Ferry during the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War in Minnesota but was killed in action at Redoubt No. 4. He is buried at grave number F-3575 at the Nashville National Cemetery.

The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society owns a portion of Shy’s Hill, leases the summit from the Tennessee Historical Commission, and is protected by a conservation easement through the Land Trust for Tennessee. It was listed in the Civil War Trust’s History under Siege publication as one of America’s Top 10 endangered battlefields in 2003.

The Society also maintains the grounds and built a kiosk, trail and flag plaza at the summit. The plaza flies the Minnesota state flag year round, in addition to the United States and Tennessee standards, to recognize the pivotal roles those regiments played during both days of the Battle of Nashville.

The new Minnesota monument on Shy's Hill, Nashville, Tenn., commemorates the sacrifice of four Minnesota regiments who fought there Dec. 15-16, 1864.

The new Minnesota monument on Shy’s Hill, Nashville, Tenn., commemorates the sacrifice of four Minnesota regiments who fought there Dec. 15-16, 1864.

The effort to place the marker was led by Ken Flies, chairman of the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force’s soldier recognition subcommittee, who approached Battle of Nashville Preservation Society with the idea. Flies also led the monument’s design effort and included a poem written by Private John Milton Benthall, 10th Minnesota Infantry Company C, who after the war, reflected on the memories of his comrades who fell in battle where the monument is located.

“This spot is sacred. We have worked so hard to save it. We have worked so hard to keep it clean and open to the public. Our fight never ends,” said James D. Kay Jr., representing the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society. “When we heard that Minnesota wanted to put a monument here, we said ‘yes’ to sanctify the importance of this site. The fact that this lot is worth $300,000 to $400,000 now, matters not. It’s protected for Americans forever.”

“We think there were 98 Minnesotans who died that day, almost one-third of all the Union soldiers killed on that day,” said Flies.

During the 45-minute ceremony, Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force board members Darryl Sannes and Thomas Heffelfinger read the names of Minnesotans who died during the battle.

After breaking Federal Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s siege of Atlanta, Georgia that lasted through the summer of 1864, Confederate Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood led his Army of Tennessee through Northern Alabama in October and November in an attempt to capture Nashville, the state capital, an important Federal supply depot which was captured earlier in the war.

Though Hood was hoping that Sherman would follow, the Federal commander instructed Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas to take care of Hood’s army while Sherman launched his infamous “March to the Sea.” Hood fought Federal Maj. Gen. John Schofield’s troops at Spring Hill and Columbia, Tenn., before engaging in a costly battle at Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864, while Thomas fortified at Nashville.

MN150Logo_OL_FNLWhen the 16th Army Corps was dissolved on Nov. 7, 1864, the 5th, 7th, 9th and 10th Minnesota infantry regiments departed St. Louis, Mo. on Nov. 24, and arrived in Nashville on Nov 30. They were assigned to the 1st Division (Detachment), Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Brig. Gen. John McArthur.

On the evening of their arrival, the Minnesota soldiers could see the wagon trains arrive from Franklin, the location of a major engagement 20 miles away.

The weather was cold and rainy with occasional snow and ice during the first two weeks in December as soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies built their earthworks south of the city.

After two weeks delay for fortifying Nashville in the cold weather, much to the consternation of officials in Washington, Thomas launched his two-pronged attack against Hood’s forces on the foggy morning of Dec. 15. The Minnesotans hit the Confederates at Redoubt Nos. 3 and 4 and fought along Granny White Pike, before Hood reformed his now shortened lines on a ridge between Compton’s Hill and Overton’s Hill as nightfall approached.

The next morning, McArthur moved his division forward to within charging distance of the enemy on Compton’s Hill, where they constructed rifle pits for protection against the enemy’s fire from the hilltop.

Approximately 40 Minnesotans who attended the Nov. 16 ceremony take a group photo on the summit of Shy's Hill.

Approximately 40 Minnesotans who attended the Nov. 16 ceremony take a group photo on the summit of Shy’s Hill.

Fearing that a day-long delay would allow for a Confederate attack down the hill, McArthur, acting on his own, ordered his division to charge Compton’s Hill. The first line of troops from the First Brigade comprised of the 114th Illinois, 93rd Indiana and 10th Minnesota regiments, followed by a second line made up of the 72nd and 95th Ohio regiments. The 10th Minnesota was on the left flank of the severe incline of the north slope of Compton’s Hill and received a penetrating flanking fire resulting in several casualties. When the First Brigade reached the summit, the 10th Minnesota breached Confederate Brig. Gen. Jesse J. Finley’s Florida brigade, which hastened the Confederate retreat.

As the brigade was halfway up the hill, McArthur sent in the Second Brigade, commanded by Col. Lucius F. Hubbard, with Hubbard’s 9th Minnesota regiment on the right and the 5th Minnesota on the left of the line. Hubbard had two horses shot out from under him in the attack and the 5th Minnesota lost four color bearers in the charge.

The Third Brigade was led by the 7th Minnesota’s commander, Col. William R. Marshall, and immediately faced a four-gun artillery barrage with infantry support, making their advance difficult.

Seeing the success along the line from Compton’s Hill, other Federal troops charged up Overton’s Hill and took it. The fall of the Confederate left flank at Shy’s Hill marked the end of the Battle of Nashville. The hill was later renamed “Shy’s Hill” in memory of 26-year-old Lt. Col. William L. Shy, 20th Tennessee Infantry commander, who grew up in Williamson County, Tenn. He was killed by a close range shot to his head sometime during the charge.

Minnesota State Representative and co-chairman of the Minnesota Civil War Task Force, Dean Urdahl, next to the new Minnesota monument on Shy's Hill, Nashville, Tenn.

Minnesota State Representative and co-chairman of the Minnesota Civil War Task Force, Dean Urdahl, next to the new Minnesota monument on Shy’s Hill, Nashville, Tenn.

“Names of famous generals like George Thomas and John Bell Hood are forever linked with what happened here in December 1864. We know that the 10th, 9th, 5th and 7th Minnesota regiments made a dramatic charge up Shy’s Hill,” said Urdahl. “They are all gone, but they live on in the hearts and minds of those who remember. As long as we treasure courage, glory and selflessness, those who struggled here, Blue and Gray, will always be with us. Always.”

Kay summed up the ceremony by noting, “Fifty years from now, not one of us will be alive. There will be another group here hopefully, on this spot. This hill will be here and it will be protected. You can always come here every year on December 16th at sundown, get a tour and nothing has changed. It is quiet. It is peaceful. It is amazing.”

On December 14, 2014, the Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force and Twin Cities Public Television released a short film highlighting Minnesota’s role at Nashville including film clips from the dedication ceremony. You can view that here.

 

MINNESOTA SOLDIERS KILLED AT NASHVILLE

DECEMBER 15, 1864

REDOUBT #3
Pvt Fred Fessenden

REDOUBT #4
Pvt James Dunn
Capt. Henry Stasson
Pvt Daniel Eddy
Pvt Eli Berttand
Pvt Samuel Prentiss
Pvt George Abbott

DECEMBER 16, 1864

5th MINNESOTA VOLUNTEERS
CORNFIELD WEST OF GRANNY WHITE PIKE

Pvt William Everett
Cpl John Irish
Sgt Pulaski Miller
Pvt John Coly
Pvt J.W Douglas
Pvt Peter Eichelberger
Pvt Willard Woodward
Pvt Hanley Bartley
Pvt John Battles
Cpl Horace M. Beach
Pvt Wilmot H. Pennock
Pvt Lars Torkelson
Sgt William Young
Pvt Nicolas Angelsberg
1st Lt Henry G. Bailly
Pvt Nelson Roberge
Cpl Christian Wolf
Pvt Killian Barberich
Pvt Parick Burns
Pvt Adeline Lefebvre
Pvt Thomas Cramp
Pvt Daniel P. Glen
Pvt Jacob Jangles
Pvt Michael Lehay
Pvt Jeremiah Ryan
Pvt Andrew Stramberg
Pvt Fredrick Penrod
Pvt Ole Peterson
Pvt Lysias Raymond
Pvt Christopher Richter
Sgt Henry Bass (Base)
Pvt Frank Schlechter
Pvt Christian Schultz
Pvt Nicolas Schutz

7th MINNESOTA VOLUNTEERS
SOUTH OF BRADFORD HOUSE -EAST OF GRANNY WHITE PIKE

Cpl Napolean Chamberlain
Pvt Martin P. Oliver
Pvt George W. Simons
Pvt Benjamin F. Shaffner
Pvt Milton Burons
Pvt Peter Hanson
Pvt Sebastian Baulig
Pvt Jacob Hamlin
Pvt Joseph E. Fadden
Pvt David Coolidge
Cpl Archibald Savidge

9th MINNESOTA VOLUNTEERS
NORTH SLOPE OF SHY’S HILL

Pvt Alexander Rice
Cpl F.M. Harrington
Pvt Michael Klock
Pvt Adail Wilcox
Pvt John Bergink
Pvt John F. Burke
Capt Asgrim K. Skaro
Pvt James F. Cleary
2nd Lt John R. Roberts
Pvt John Huston
Pvt William Wallace
Pvt George C. Gay
Pvt John Brown
Pvt Stephan Demers
Pvt William T. Henry
Pvt Thomas Kennedy
Pvt Dennis O’Laughlin
Cpl Joseph R. Webster

10th MINNESOTA VOLUNTEERS 
NORTHWEST ANGLE SHY’S HILL

Cpl John G. Merical
Cpl Austin Carroll
Sgt Charles G. Dawley
Pvt Almon Doeg
Pvt Eusebius Mullins
Cpl John W. Murphy
Pvt Christ Nelson
Pvt Nathan/Nahum Putnam
Pvt Frank Griffin
Pvt George L. Lumsden
Pvt Ole Nelson
Pvt George Reeves
Pvt Jame Ryan
Pvt Stengrew Benson
Pvt Fredrick Chamberlain
Pvt Jesse Ferguson
Pvt Charles K. Flemming
Pvt Theodore Hacker
Pvt Hans Oleson
Pvt John Copperts
Cpl Henry Vasterling/Vasterlung
Pvt John G. Duff
Cpl Daniel Bracken(Brucken)
Pvt Michael McMonnamon(McMannon)
Major Michael Cook
Capt George T. White

Posted in 1864, Battlefield Preservation, Battles, Casualties, Cemeteries, Commemoration, Events, Graves, Regiments, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Week in the American Civil War: November 23-29, 1864  

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

(www.mncivilwar150.com and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)

 

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday November 23, 1864

Federal Major General John Schofield’s force in Tennessee moved north from Pulaski towards Columbia. A few miles to the west, Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s troops advanced toward the same place. It was now a race to who would get to Columbia first.

Skirmishing occurred at Henryville, Fouche Springs and Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, along with Morganza, Louisiana.

In Georgia, a majority of Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army was grouped in and around Milledgeville, where there was yet another skirmish. Other skirmishes occurred at Ball’s Ferry and at the Georgia Central Railroad Bridge on the Oconee River. Lieutenant General William J. Hardee took command of the Confederate troops opposing Sherman, a very difficult assignment considering that he did not know Sherman’s intended route and had too few troops to stop him.

Thursday November 24, 1864

Moving before daylight, Major General John Schofield’s troops marched northward on the road from Pulaski towards Columbia. The 3rd Division of the 23rd Corps, under Federal Major General Jacob D. Cox arrived at Columbia first and drove Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry away. Schofield then brought the rest of his force up to Columbia beating Hood’s Army of Tennessee to the key river crossing on the main road to Nashville. The Federals took a strong position south of the Duck River.

Skirmishing took place at St. Charles, Arkansas and near Prince George Court House, Virginia.

In Washington, Attorney General Edward Bates resigned from President Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet.

Friday November 25, 1864

Confederate agents set fires in ten or more New York hotels and in Barnum’s Museum. None of the hotel fires was successful and the blaze at Barnum’s caused little more than excitement. Help from the Copperheads in New York was not forthcoming, and there were even rumors that the chemist who compounded the combustibles purposely made them defective. Southern agent R.C. Kennedy was later captured and hanged for setting the fire at Barnum’s.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops moved towards Sandersville, Georgia.

In Tennessee, Major General John Schofield’s troops were entrenching on both sides of the Duck River, while Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood was delayed in getting his force to Columbia.

Fighting occurred against the Indians at Plum Creek Station, Nebraska Territory; and Adobe Fort on the Canadian River in New Mexico Territory.      

Saturday November 26, 1864

Major units of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee arrived in front of Federal positions south of the Duck River at Columbia, Tennessee. Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops continued skirmishing with Confederate cavalry at Sandersville, Georgia.

In the West, action included skirmishing at Plum Creek Station and at Spring Creek, Nebraska Territory; a skirmish at Osage, Missouri. In the East, a skirmish occurred at Fairfax Station, Virginia.

President Abraham Lincoln offered the post of Attorney General to Joseph Holt, but he refused to accept it.

Sunday November 27, 1864

     By evening, the Army of Tennessee ranged in front of Columbia, Tennessee, just south of the Duck River. Federal Major General John Schofield expected Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood to attempt to turn his flank, so he moved his entire command north of the river to prepared positions, and partly destroyed the railroad and pontoon bridges. Schofield was receiving erroneous reports from his cavalry commander, Major General James H. Wilson, that Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry had crossed the Duck River to the east above Columbia.

Monday November 28, 1864

Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest crossed the Duck River above Columbia in the evening with most of the rest of Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee ready to follow. Other troops of the Army of Tennessee occupied Columbia itself. Cavalry units of both armies skirmished at the crossings of the Duck River and at Shelbyville, Tennessee.

Fighting increased in Georgia with skirmishes at Buckhead Church and Reynolds Plantation. Cavalry fought again at Davisborough and Waynesborough.

Confederate Major General Thomas L. Rosser led his cavalry from the Shenandoah Valley to New Creek west of Cumberland, Maryland and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, capturing prisoners and extensive supplies. After knocking out the railroad bridge they pulled out, but they showed that Confederate raiders were not finished in the East.

Tuesday November 29, 1864

BATTLE OF SPRING HILL, TENNESSEE; SAND CREEK MASSACRE

Early in the morning, two of the three corps of Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee plus another division, crossed the Duck River above Columbia. They hoped to flank Federal Major General John Schofield’s army north of the Duck River and cut him off at Spring Hill from the route to Franklin and Nashville. Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry skirmished at Spring Hill about midday and in the afternoon Confederate infantry under Major General Patrick Cleburne arrived.

Firing along the Duck River occurred between the main body of Schofield’s Federals and Confederates under Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee. Confederates at Spring Hill were thwarted by darkness and a few defenders. The Federals under Major General David S. Stanley worked nobly to keep the turnpike to Franklin open, which allowed for Schofield to pull all of his troops away from the Duck River and pass his entire army northward up the pike under the nose of Hood’s army without suffering attack. The entire Federal force, wagon train and all, was able to escape to Franklin and take up a new position south of town.

In Colorado Territory, the citizens of the Denver area felt the need to put down the Indians who had been taking advantage of the lack of Federal troops and had committed numerous depredations. With approximately 900 volunteers, Colonel J.M. Chivington moved out to the Indian camp on Sand Creek, forty miles south of Fort Lyon, where there were over 500 Arapahoes and Cheyennes. The Indians insisted they were peaceful and contended that they had not taken part in recent raids. Chivington’s force attacked the village without warning and massacred warriors, women and children. Among the dead was Black Kettle, a major chief. Eventually the U.S. Government condemned the massacre and paid indemnity to the survivors.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of November 23-29, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in Major General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” until December 10, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Duvall’s Bluff, Arkansas until May 13, 1865.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in Major General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” until December 10, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On provost duty at St. Louis, Missouri until January 29, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Murfreesboro, Tennessee until December 5, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned to duty guarding the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Nashville to the Kentucky line. Companies E, G, and I were at Gallatin, Tennessee. Company A was at Buck Lodge. Company B at Edgefield Junction. Company C at Richland. Company D at Sandersville. Company H was at Mitchellsville. The location of companies F and K are unknown at this time. The regiment remained on duty at these locations until June 25, 1865.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling, until November 17, 1865.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling until May 1866.

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 Heavy Artillery Battery – Organized at St. Paul and Rochester until February 1865.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery - Participated in Major General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” until December 10, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty as infantry at Fort Irwin, Defenses of Chattanooga until March 30, 1865.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Various sections on duty at Fort Ridgely, Fort Ripley and Fort Sisseton until May 1865.

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.

Inactive units: 

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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: November 16-22, 1864

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

(www.mncivilwar150.com and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)

 

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday November 16, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman left Atlanta signaling the start of a new campaign in Georgia. Since he cut communication with the rear, officials in the North would hear little from him for the weeks to come. Skirmishing occurred at Lovejoy’s Station, Bear Creek Station and Cotton River Bridge.

On the Tennessee River in northern Alabama, skirmishes occurred along Shoal Creek as Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest brought his cavalry in from Corinth, Mississippi to join Lieutenant General John Bell Hood at Tuscumbia and Florence.

Thursday November 17, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops headed east and south towards the Georgia coast, taking four routes to confuse the enemy. However, there was not much left of an enemy to confuse. Skirmishing increased in northern Alabama with fighting near Maysville and New Market.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis wrote to a group of Georgia state senators expressing strong objection to any suggested possibility of separate state action for peace negotiations.

Friday November 18, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army marched between the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers in Georgia. Sherman himself was with the left wing of his army.

Heavy storms delayed Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s advance into Tennessee.

Skirmishing occurred at Fayette, Missouri and Kabletown, West Virginia.      

Saturday November 19, 1864

Governor Joe Brown of Georgia called for men between the ages of 16 and 55 to oppose Federal Major General William T. Sherman, but to no significant avail.

President Abraham Lincoln ordered the blockade to be lifted at Norfolk, Virginia; Fernandia, Florida; and Pensacola, Florida.

Federals fought Indians near Plum Creek Station, Nebraska Territory, and a skirmish took place at Duckett’s Plantation near Paint Rock River, Alabama.

Sunday November 20, 1864

     Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s advancing army skirmished with cavalry, militia and other troops at Clinton, Walnut Creek, East Macon and Griswoldville, Georgia. Other Federals skirmished with Indians at Fort Zarah, Kansas.

Monday November 21, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood moved his Army of Tennessee from Florence, Alabama and headed for Tennessee. Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham’s corps led the Confederate advance going as far as Rawhide, Alabama. Lieutenant Generals Stephen D. Lee and Alexander P. Stewart followed, along with Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry. In all, the Confederates advanced 30,000 infantry and 8,000 cavalry on the march into Tennessee.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s forces defeated Georgia state troops at Griswoldville with other skirmishes occurring at Macon, Gordon, Eatonton and Clinton, Georgia. None of these actions significantly hampered Sherman’s advance.

Tuesday November 22, 1864

Federal Major General Henry W. Slocum’s wing of Major General William T. Sherman’s arm occupied the Georgia state capital at Milledgeville. Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick and Major General Oliver O. Howard were in or near Gordon. The Georgia legislature passed a levy en masse for troops and then fled. Georgia was now powerless to halt the Federals.

In the Confederate advance towards Nashville, fighting broke out at Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Federal Brigadier General John M. Schofield then pulled his forces back north from Pulaski toward Columbia, since the Confederates were in a position to flank him and get in his rear.

Minor skirmishing flared at Front Royal and Rude’s Hill, Virginia.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of November 16-22, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in Major General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” until December 10, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Duvall’s Bluff, Arkansas until May 13, 1865.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in Major General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” until December 10, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On provost duty at St. Louis, Missouri until January 29, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Murfreesboro, Tennessee until December 5, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Nashville, Tennessee until December 15, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – En route to Nashville, Tennessee for duty until November 30, 1864.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned to duty guarding the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Nashville to the Kentucky line. Companies E, G, and I were at Gallatin, Tennessee. Company A was at Buck Lodge. Company B at Edgefield Junction. Company C at Richland. Company D at Sandersville. Company H was at Mitchellsville. The location of companies F and K are unknown at this time. The regiment remained on duty at these locations until June 25, 1865.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling, until November 17, 1865.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling until May 1866.

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 Heavy Artillery Battery – Organized at St. Paul and Rochester until February 1865.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery - Participated in Major General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” until December 10, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty as infantry at Fort Irwin, Defenses of Chattanooga until March 30, 1865.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Various sections on duty at Fort Ridgely, Fort Ripley and Fort Sisseton until May 1865.

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.

Inactive units: 

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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: November 9-15, 1864

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

(www.mncivilwar150.com and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)

 

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday November 9, 1864

The Federal 23rd Corps was pushing through Nashville on its way to reinforce the Federal 4th Corps at Pulaski, expecting a move into Tennessee by Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood. Meanwhile, Hood’s men skirmished at Shoal Creek on the Tennessee River near Florence, Alabama.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman was at Kingston, Georgia where he organized his army into a right wing consisting of the 15th and 17th Corps under Major General Oliver O. Howard, and a left with consisting of the 14th and 20th Corps under Major General Henry Warner Slocum. There would be no general train and only a bare minimum of wagons. Since Hood was in northern Alabama and Sherman thought he had provided Major General George Thomas with a sufficient force to halt Hood’s expected invasion of Tennessee, Sherman was about to plunge deeper into Georgia and commence his march to the sea.

Election returns were still coming in as the assessment of the results began.

Thursday November 10, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early, still trying to make a show of opposition in the Shenandoah Valley moved north from New Market towards Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s position. However, his force was too small to have much of an impact.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman continued preparing to move back towards Atlanta, destroy the railroad and other bases, and then set out on his own.

Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest, back at Corinth, Mississippi, after his successful west Tennessee foray into Johnsonville, was about ready to join forces with Lieutenant General John Bell Hood in northern Alabama.

Friday November 11, 1864

Federal troops at Rome, Georgia, destroyed bridges, foundries, mills, shops, warehouses and other property of use to the Confederate army, and started off for Kingston and Atlanta. The railroad in and around Atlanta between the Etowah and the Chattahoochee Rivers was ordered destroyed. Garrisons from Kingston were sent to take up the rails from Resaca back towards Chattanooga. Skirmishing occurred at Shoal Creek, Alabama; Russellville, Tennessee; Manassas Junction and Kernstown, Virginia.

At a Cabinet meeting in Washington, the sealed document disclosing President Lincoln’s doubts about the election and pledging Cabinet members to support the president-elect after the election, was opened. It was signed, unread, by the Cabinet Secretaries, on August 23.      

Saturday November 12, 1864

Four Federal corps totaling 60,000 infantry plus 5,500 artillery, were ready for one of the greatest military adventures in history. Major General William T. Sherman sent his last message to Major General George H. Thomas and then began to concentrate his force towards Atlanta where Federal troops were already at work destroying the city except for houses and churches.

In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, action picked up briefly as Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early and Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s men fought at Newton, Cedar Creek and Neneveh.

Sunday November 13, 1864

     Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley moved back to New Market and a good portion of Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s force was detached to strengthen the siege lines at Petersburg and Richmond. Since June, Early’s troops marched around 1,670 miles and fought in 75 engagements.

Conflict with the Indians flared once again, this time at Ash Creek near Fort Larned, Kansas.

Monday November 14, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s 60,000-strong force was in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area preparing to depart for the coast. Sherman wanted to make sure that Atlanta’s military, manufacturing and communications facilities could not be immediately reactivated by the Confederates.

Federal Major General George H. Thomas was getting his troops in Tennessee into position with Major General John M. Schofield commanding two corps at Pulaski, south of Nashville.

Near Florence, Alabama, Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood prepared for his northward march and waited for Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest to arrive from Corinth, Mississippi.

President Abraham Lincoln formally accepted the resignation of Major General George B. McClellan from the army and named Phil Sheridan to the rank of Major General in the U.S. Regular Army.

Tuesday November 15, 1864

As most of Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s men moved out from Atlanta on their March to the Sea, others finished laying waste to the city, creating desolation and a scar that has never been fully erased from the hearts of the people of Georgia. Light skirmishing between militia and cavalry broke out near Atlanta at Jonesborough, East Point, near Rough and Ready, and at Stockbridge. Otherwise, action was near Collierville, Tennessee and Clinton, Louisiana.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of November 9-15, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in Operations in North Georgia and North Alabama against Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood until November 15, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Duvall’s Bluff, Arkansas until May 13, 1865.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Allatoona, Georgia until November 15, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the expedition through Arkansas and Missouri in pursuit of Sterling Price until November 15, 1864.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On provost duty at St. Louis, Missouri until January 29, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the expedition through Arkansas and Missouri in pursuit of Sterling Price until November 15, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Murfreesboro, Tennessee until December 5,1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the expedition through Arkansas and Missouri in pursuit of Sterling Price until November 15, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the expedition through Arkansas and Missouri in pursuit of Sterling Price until November 15, 1864.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned to duty guarding the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Nashville to the Kentucky line. Companies E, G, and I were at Gallatin, Tennessee. Company A was at Buck Lodge. Company B at Edgefield Junction. Company C at Richland. Company D at Sandersville. Company H was at Mitchellsville. The location of companies F and K are unknown at this time. The regiment remained on duty at these locations until June 25, 1865.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling, until November 17, 1865.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling until May 1866.

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 thewar – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery Battery – Organized at St. Paul and Rochester until February 1865.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery - Participated in Operations in North Georgia and North Alabama against Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood until November 15, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty as infantry at Fort Irwin, Defenses of Chattanooga until March 30, 1865.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Various sections on duty at Fort Ridgely, Fort Ripley and Fort Sisseton until May 1865.

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.

Inactive units: 

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.

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