This Week in the American Civil War: January 18-24, 1865

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 January 18, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman transferred command of Savannah, Georgia and the nearby area to Major General John G. Foster and the Department of the South.

President Abraham Lincoln conferred once again with Francis P. Blair Sr., on his mission to Richmond, Virginia. Lincoln gave him a letter to present to Confederate President Jefferson Davis reiterating Lincoln’s call for “one common country” thereby nullifying any peace proposal that allows the Confederacy to exist.

In Richmond, Davis was still searching for any additional troops that could be spared to oppose Sherman in the Carolinas. He also urged General Robert E. Lee once again to extend his command to include all of the Confederate armies, in addition to his immediate command of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Thursday January 19, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman issued orders for his army to begin its new march from Savannah, Georgia northward into South Carolina. Though the troops did not start off simultaneously, some elements of the army began their march northward. Since South Carolina was the birthplace of the Confederacy, Federal troops were more vindictive towards that state than they were towards Georgians.

President Abraham Lincoln inquired of Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant as to whether a place existed in the army for his son, Robert. The younger Lincoln was soon appointed to the rank of captain and served as an assistant adjutant general on Grant’s staff.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee declined President Jefferson Davis’s offer to serve as General-in-Chief of the Confederate armies but admitted that he would serve in that capacity if so appointed. Pressure continued on Davis to appoint Lee to the position.

Friday January 20, 1865

The four Federal corps under Major General William T. Sherman, plus Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick’s cavalry, got underway from their base of operations in Savannah, Georgia en route to South Carolina.

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton briefed President Abraham Lincoln of his visit to Savannah, Georgia and Fort Fisher, North Carolina.        

Saturday January 21, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman embarked with his entire headquarters from Savannah, Georgia to Beaufort, South Carolina, pausing at Hilton Head. Sherman attempted to feign a movement to Charleston or Augusta, rather than Columbia.

Sunday January 22, 1865

    Fighting tapered off with only a small skirmish on the Benton Road, near Little Rock, Arkansas. Otherwise, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army was in motion towards South Carolina with the goal of reaching Goldsborough, North Carolina within six weeks.

Monday January 23, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis signed an act providing for the appointment of a General-in-Chief of the Confederate Armies. The Confederate Congress had General Robert E. Lee in mind when it drafted the legislation.

Confederate Lieutenant General Richard Taylor assumed command of the Army of Tennessee, now reduced in strength to approximately 18,000 men, after the resignation of Lieutenant General John Bell Hood following the disastrous Nashville Campaign.

Tuesday January 24, 1865

The Congress of the Confederate States of America offered again to exchange prisoners with the Federals. This time, Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant accepted the offer. His previous refusal to exchange prisoners had been intended to cut down Southern manpower even further.

Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest assumed command of the Confederate District of Mississippi, East Louisiana and West Tennessee.

Skirmishing occurred at Fayetteville, Arkansas and Bayou Goula, Louisiana.

President Abraham Lincoln sent a telegraph to Vice-President-elect Andrew Johnson at Nashville, instructing Johnson to be in Washington for the March 4 inauguration.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of January 18-24, 1865 

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 duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – En route to Washington, D.C. via Clifton, Tennessee until January 29, 1865.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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 – On duty at St. Paul and Rochester, Minnesota 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: January 11-17, 1865

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 January 11, 1865

Meeting in St. Louis, the Constitutional Convention of Missouri adopted an ordinance abolishing slavery.

Confederate Major General Thomas Rosser with a small band of about 300 Confederates captured 580 Federal troops and caused 28 casualties while seizing considerable quantities of rations in a raid at Beverly, West Virginia. Federal investigators later called it a disaster due to carelessness and lack of discipline.

In Richmond, Virginia, Confederate President Jefferson Davis continued to gather all available reserves, militia, recruits and the tattered Army of Tennessee, which was in Tupelo, Mississippi, over to South Carolina to face Federal Major General William T. Sherman who was on the move from Savannah, Georgia.

Thursday January 12, 1865

The sixty vessels of the Federal war fleet arrived off of Fort Fisher, North Carolina, containing a vast number of troop transports with eight thousand soldiers prepared to do battle. Landings, however, had to be put off until the next day. Confederate Colonel William Lamb, commanding the garrison at Fort Fisher, learned of the expedition’s arrival and notified General Braxton Bragg, commander of the Confederate forces in the Wilmington, North Carolina area.

Francis Preston Blair Sr., the aging Democrat political leader, conferred with Confederate President Jefferson Davis on prospects of possible peace. Though he was acting unofficially, it is presumed that Blair had the backing of President Abraham Lincoln. The Confederate president gave Blair a letter indicating Davis’s willingness to enter into peace negotiations.

Friday January 13, 1865

ATTACK ON FORT FISHER, NORTH CAROLINA BEGINS/HOOD RESIGNS

Admiral David Dixon Porter’s Federal naval fleet with 627 guns on 59 vessels began bombarding Fort Fisher, North Carolina, at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. With small boats from the Navy, approximately 8,000 Federal troops under Major General Alfred H. Terry’s command were put ashore on the narrow north-south peninsula above the fort. There was no Confederate opposition to the landing. Colonel William Lamb, commanding the fort’s garrison, called upon General Braxton Bragg and his 6,000 troops between Wilmington and the fort, to attack the landing party.

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood, the flamboyant commander of the Army of Tennessee, resigned his post in Tupelo, Mississippi. Lieutenant General Richard Taylor was named his successor who would operate under the supervision of General P.G.T. Beauregard.      

Saturday January 14, 1865

FORT FISHER BATTLE CONTINUES

Major General Alfred H. Terry’s Federal expeditionary force secured its position on the sandy peninsula north of Fort Fisher, North Carolina, and completed its defensive line to hold of General Braxton Bragg’s Confederates. The fire of the Federal fleet, monitors and wooden ships was termed “magnificent” for its power and accuracy, while the Confederates inside the fort were unable to repair damage to the fortification. Confederate Colonel William Lamb and Major General William H.C. Whiting, who was with Lamb in the fort, continued their calls to Bragg for assistance.

Some of Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s forces moved out to a new position from Beaufort to Pocotaligo, South Carolina.

General P.G.T. Beauregard temporarily took command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, while waiting for Lieutenant General Richard Taylor to arrive.

Sunday January 15, 1865

    ASSAULT ON FORT FISHER

After two-days of heavy naval bombardment, the Federal forces attempted a two-pronged assault of Fort Fisher, North Carolina. A naval and Marine Corps brigade of about 2,000 moved forward on the ocean side of the narrow peninsula, but met the full force of the defenders infantry and three remaining movable guns. They fell back in panic and defeat. However, on the Cape Fear River, 3,300 men of Brigadier General Adelbert Ames division rushed forward with more success. After being held up by the strong traverses constructed by the Confederates, they managed to get through. By late evening, the had the entire fort and its garrison of approximately 1,900 Confederates in their possession, including Colonel William Lamb and Major General William H.C. Whiting who were both wounded. Confederate casualties are estimated around 500 while the Federal losses amounted to 266 killed, 1018 wounded and 57 missing for an aggregate total of 1,341. The Southern officers at the fort violently assailed General Braxton Bragg for failing to relieve the pressure, but Bragg claimed the Federal defensive line was too strong.

In Boston, Massachusetts, Edward Everett, the famous orator who gave the keynote address at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania alongside President Abraham Lincoln died at the age of seventy-one.

Monday January 16, 1865

At Fort Fisher, North Carolina, in the wake of the Federal attack, the main magazine accidentally exploded killing 25, wounding 66 and leaving 13 missing for 104 casualties.

In Washington, Francis Preston Blair Sr. reported back to President Abraham Lincoln over the recent peace discussions with Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Blair presented Lincoln with Davis’s letter which spoke of negotiations between the two nations.

Davis, informed of the fall of Fort Fisher, urged General Braxton Bragg at Wilmington, North Carolina, to retake the fort if it was possible.

The Confederate Senate passed a resolution, by a vote of 14 to 2, that it was the judgment of Congress that General Robert E. Lee should be assigned as General-in-Chief of the Armies of the Confederacy and that General P.G.T. Beauregard should command the army in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. It also suggested that General Joseph E. Johnston should be re-assigned to his old command, the Army of Tennessee. Many in the South had long favored such a move.

Tuesday January 17, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army was about ready to move northward from the Savannah, Georgia area, although rain and high water in the rivers delayed their actual departure.

News of the Federal victory at Fort Fisher continued to spread throughout the Union and Confederate states.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of January 11-17, 1865 

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 duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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 – On duty at St. Paul and Rochester, Minnesota 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: January 4-10, 1865

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 January 4, 1865

Federal troops embarked at Bermuda Hundred landing for a new expedition against Fort Fisher, North Carolina, this time under the command of Major General Alfred H. Terry. Most of the soldiers had taken part in the failed expedition the previous month under Major General Benjamin Butler.

Skirmishing occurred at Thorn Hill, Alabama and at The Ponds, Mississippi.

Thursday January 5, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis found himself to be concerned and frustrated by increasing dissension, controversy over the draft, manpower problems, and the general state of the war itself.

In Washington, D.C., President Abraham Lincoln was bothered by job seekers after election rewards, and he tried to concentrate on trade in recovered areas and domestic affairs. Lincoln issued a pass to go through the lines to James W. Singleton, one of the several unofficial and self-named envoys seeking a possible settlement of the war.

Meanwhile, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton headed to Savannah, Georgia to consult with Major General William T. Sherman.

Friday January 6, 1865

In the United States House of Representatives, Republican Congressman J.M. Ashley of Ohio again brought up the proposed 13th Amendment to abolish slavery. The amendment passed the U.S. Senate, where Republicans and unionists had the requisite two-thirds majority vote, but it languished in the House. Lincoln, the Administration and some Republican House members were putting pressure on certain Democrats to change their votes. Many people, including Lincoln, were anxious to see the amendment in effect as soon as possible.

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, at Petersburg, Virginia, sent a telegraph message to President Abraham Lincoln requesting that Major General Benjamin Butler be removed from command of the Army of the James because of a lack of confidence in his military ability. By rank, Butler would have commanded the Army of the Potomac in Grant’s absence, leading to Grant’s call for removal.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis was struggling in vain to find troops to defend the Carolinas from Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s forces that were preparing to move north from Savannah, Georgia.      

Saturday January 7, 1865

The active military career of Federal Major General Benjamin F. Butler came to an end when orders were issued by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton removing him from command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina. Butler’s replacement was Major General E.O.C. Ord. The mess of Fort Fisher brought matters to a head and Butler was removed regardless of political implications.

More Federal troops were pulled out of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and sent elsewhere.

Skirmishing occurred in Johnson County, Arkansas, and with Indians at Valley Station and Julesburg in Colorado Territory.

The Danish ironclad Sphinx left Copenhagen, Denmark for Quiberon Bay, France. She had been secretly purchased by the Confederates and would later be christened the C.S.S. Stonewall.

Sunday January 8, 1865

     The huge Naval fleet under Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter, plus the transport fleet containing Major General Alfred H. Terry’s expeditionary force, arrived at rendezvous off of Beaufort, North Carolina, before again attempting to take Fort Fisher.

Federal Major General E.O.C. Ord took command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, as well as the Army of the James, in place of the relieved Major General Benjamin F. Butler.

Federal Major General John A. Logan resumed command of the 15th Corps, relieving Major General Peter J. Osterhaus.

Monday January 9, 1865

The Constitutional Convention of Tennessee adopted an amendment abolishing slavery in the state and putting it to the vote of the people, scheduled for February 22, 1865.

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood moved his discouraged and greatly diminished Army of Tennessee to Tupelo, Mississippi.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrat Congressman Moses Odell of New York indicated his change of position regarding the 13th Amendment and abolition of slavery. He would later receive an important political job in the Lincoln Administration and was one of the Democrats who made the passage of the amendment possible.

Tuesday January 10, 1865

The debate in the U.S. House of Representatives over the 13th Amendment and slavery abolition continued in a heated fashion.

A skirmish near Glasgow, Missouri was the only marked fighting for the day as the only major operation under way, the second expedition to Fort Fisher, was held up by raging seas and stormy weather off Beaufort, North Carolina.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of January 4-10, 1865 

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 duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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 – On duty at St. Paul and Rochester, Minnesota 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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Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force “Nashville” video series

MN150Logo_OL_FNLThe Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force observed the anniversaries of the Battles of Franklin and Nashville from November 13-17, 2014 which culminated in the dedication to a marker on Shy’s Hill in Nashville on November 16. The marker commemorates the contributions of the 5th, 7th, 9th and 10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiments at Shy’s Hill. The links to the video series are below.

 

 

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This Week in the American Civil War: December 28, 1864 – January 3, 1865

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 28, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s 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.

Thursday December 29, 1864

In the fading Franklin-Nashville Campaign, light skirmishing occurred at Hillsborough and Pond Springs, both in Alabama.

Friday December 30, 1864

In Washington, D.C., President Abraham Lincoln indicated in a Cabinet meeting that Major General Benjamin Butler would be removed from command of the Army of the James.

Skirmishing occurred near Caruthersville, Missouri and Leighton, Alabama.      

Saturday December 31, 1864

The year came to an end as people everywhere were continue to wonder about the future. The only military movements that occurred on this day were light skirmishes that occurred at Sharpsburg, Kentucky; Paint Rock Bridge and Russellville, Alabama.

Sunday January 1, 1865

     In the cold trenches in Petersburg, Virginia; on the streets of Savannah, Georgia and in Central Tennessee, the Federal troops remained largely inactive. Confederates tried to consolidate their positions in a vain attempt to cobble together a major fighting force. The only remaining fighting army was that of the Army of Northern Virginia that was pinned down by Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant’s chokehold between Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia. Only a minor skirmish at Bentonville, Arkansas occurred on this day.

Monday January 2, 1865

Skirmishing occurred at Franklin and Lexington, Mississippi by Federal troops operating against the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.

A group of Kentuckians applied to have Major General Benjamin Butler assigned to their state.

The regular New Year’s reception was held at the White House in Washington for the diplomatic corps, Cabinet officers, judges, and military officers attending, though members of Congress complained that they were not invited.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis told General P.G.T. Beauregard that if it became necessary, Beauregard should remove Lieutenant General John Bell Hood as commander of the Army of Tennessee and replace him with Lieutenant General Richard Taylor.

Tuesday January 3, 1865

In Georgia, Federal Major General William T. Sherman transferred part of Major General Oliver O. Howard’s Army of the Tennessee from Savannah to Beaufort, South Carolina. This was art of Sherman’s preparation for a movement north into South Carolina.

Federal troops operating along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad fought a skirmish near Mechanicsburg, Mississippi and another skirmish occurred at Hardeeville, South Carolina.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of December 28, 1864 – January 3, 1865 

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 duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

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 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.

Posted in 1864, Battles, Biography, Casualties, Cemeteries, Graves, Obituaries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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