Indians in the Crater – Remembering the Battle of the Mine, July 30, 1864

by Jeffrey S. Williams

Excerpted from Muskets and Memories: A Modern Man’s Journey through the Civil War

Don't let the Civil War 150th pass you by without reading this book!

Don’t let the Civil War 150th pass you by without reading this book!

By late-June 1864, Pennsylvania coal miners in the 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry were discussing what they would do, if they were in charge, to help end the impasse between the two armies. These were the kinds of discussions that most soldiers have when they are in situations like this, even those serving in the military today. The hair-brained schemes they come up with usually come across as something that would never work, never get considered by leadership, and then die a quick death. This idea was to simply dig a tunnel underneath the enemy lines, pack it with explosives and detonate it. After all, the regiment was composed of experienced coal miners from Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill County. In fact, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants himself spent time as a mining engineer before the war.1

After discussing this with two other engineers, Pleasants brought the matter up to the attention of Brigadier General Robert Brown Potter, commander of the 2nd Division of the IX Army Corps, who requested that Pleasants and a staff officer identify the potential target for a breech in the Confederate lines. Potter wrote the following in a memorandum to Major General Ambrose Burnside, IX Corps commander, “The men themselves have been talking about it for some days and are quite desirous, seemingly, of trying it. If there is a prospect of our remaining here a few days longer I would like to undertake it. If you desire to see Colonel Pleasants I will ride over with him or send him up to you. I think, perhaps, we might do something, and in no event could we lose more men than we do every time we feel the enemy.” Potter and Pleasants were summoned to the Corps commander’s tent on the morning of June 25, just two days after Pleasants first heard about the idea.2

During the meeting, Pleasants estimated that construction would take twelve days once he had all of the tools and supplies necessary, plus six tons of black powder to load into the mine for detonation. Despite some difficulty in his relationship with Major General George G. Meade, Army of the Potomac commander, Burnside gave his consent to begin the preliminary work on the project. Burnside was able to get the final approval for the project from Generals Meade and Grant.3

petersburgcraterPleasants had his men start the work at midnight on June 25 by clearing away some brush from a gully behind the Union trench line and out of Confederate view. After one day of work, the mine’s construction advanced fifty feet, partially induce by the promise of a whiskey ration for each 2.5 hour shift a man completes. The tunnel progressed another forty feet each day, though the whiskey ration was cancelled after the first week. They ran into problems on July 2, when the tunnel’s progress reached 250 feet as they ran into a soft clay formation that nearly collapsed the shaft. The colonel ordered them to dig at an incline figuring that they would get out of the clay and it would provide some drainage for the excess water. He was right on both accounts and the work was resumed.4

Confederate Brigadier General Edward Porter Alexander, the Army of Northern Virginia’s I Corps chief of artillery, thought something was amiss during this time. Alexander had experience in espionage early in the war and noticed that there wasn’t a major trench network built up by the Federals near Elliott’s Salient like there had been elsewhere in the lines, plus the activity of the volleys that were exchanged along that section was more frequent than other sections. The general suspected that some type of underground activity was being conducted and notified General Lee just before the artillery chief departed for a convalescent leave after getting wounded in the hand by a Federal sharpshooter.

Lee Detailed Captain Hugh Douglas, an engineer, with the task of constructing countermines to detect possible Federal mining activity. The Confederate operation was similar to their Union counterparts in the methodology, though terrain and experienced personnel proved to be bigger challenges for Douglas. Even though it appeared that the Confederate countermine operation might be successful, it suffered one serious shortcoming – Douglas failed to dig his mines deep enough.5

The living conditions and lack of food took its toll on the Confederate soldiers at Elliott’s Salient and desertion became a problem. Three deserters from the 49th North Carolina Infantry deserted and were questioned July 17. They disclosed to their Federal interrogators the presence of the Confederate countermine operation. Burnside had deduced that the Confederate operation was in the correct vicinity but was too shallow. Pleasants halted work on the Federal mine for a short time, entered the mine and listened himself, and then ordered his miners to quietly resume work on the side galleries where the powder was to be placed.6

hh13f1Pleasants mine was completed on July 23 after one month of continuous work. From its entrance to the Confederate lines, the tunnel was 511 feet long. The left gallery was thirty-seven feet from the main tunnel while the right gallery was thirty-eight feet from the main. 18,000 cubic-feet of Virginia soil was excavated, all out of the sight of the Confederates. Only one problem remained for the Pennsylvania coal miners, the black powder had not arrived yet.7

Entrance to the mine at the Petersburg National Military Park as it looks today.

Entrance to the mine at the Petersburg National Military Park as it looks today.

A wagon train arrived on July 27 containing 320 kegs of black powder. Each keg weight twenty-five pounds, which meant that eight thousand pounds (four tons) of explosives would be used in the operation instead of the six tons that was originally requested. A work detail ensued that had required the laborers to carry two kegs, each one concealed in a canvas sack, over a mile from the wagon train to the mine’s entrance. Miners then hauled the cargo down the shaft, opened the kegs carefully and poured the black gold into the wooden magazines and connecting troughs in each of the four chambers. Six hours after the process began, the last keg was emptied.8 The mine was completely ready for detonation at 6 P.M. on July 28, once the fuses were put into place and the tamping process completed.9

At 3:15 A.M. on the morning of July 30, Lieutenant Colonel Pleasants lit the fuse. The battle plans were in place, authorization was given, mine was complete and the waiting now began. After an hour with no explosion, Sergeant Harry Reese of Company F, and Lieutenant Jacob Douty of Company K, volunteered to go into the tunnel and figure out the cause of the delay. They discovered that the fuse was extinguished where two lengths of fuse were spliced together. They re-lit the fuse, exited the mine and waited for another half hour. At 4:44 A.M., the flame from the fuse reached the four-tons of black powder.10

***

           Captain Sam Harriman of the 30th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Company A was tasked with raising a new regiment, in March 1864. Harriman was from Somerset, in nearby St. Croix County, not far from the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. He was promoted to the rank of colonel, and had a full regiment mustered for service within two months. They were designated as the 37th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Though they were still green troops with very little training, the newest regiment of Midwesterners was already in the field guarding a supply wagon from White House Landing on the James River in Virginia to Cold Harbor, northeast of Richmond, by mid-June, only two weeks after the bloody battle at that site. They were attached to the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division of the IX Army Corps.11

            They arrived at the front lines of the Siege at Petersburg late in the afternoon on June 16, and were immediately ordered to move out to support a charge that was to be attempted by another division, though their services were not needed. They tasted combat for the first time the very next day at the Battle of Hare Hill, suffering their first major casualties with forty-four killed in action and ten who later died of wounds.12

Map courtesy of the Civil War Trust

            On the morning of July 30, when the mine built by the 48th Pennsylvania exploded, the men of the IX Corps were prepared to make their advance upon the Confederate salient. “At that time a vast column of smoke mingled with earth, fragments of guns and platforms, logs, sand-bags, gabions and human beings shot towering into the air to an immense heights, gradually subsiding again and followed immediately by a dull, smothered roar which shook the ground for miles round, and was said to have been felt even to City Point,” wrote Major Robert C. Eden of the 37th Wisconsin shortly after the battle. “A pause, in which one might count, perhaps a dozen beats at the wrist, and 85 pieces of heavy artillery opened almost simultaneously on the rebel lines. The enemy was no slow in replying, and soon the light artillery and musketry chimed in, making the noise completely deafening, and the very ground under our feet to vibrate.”13

            The Confederates were surprised and panic-stricken immediately after the explosion but still had enough time to regroup and recover by the time the order was given to the Federal troops to charge, which Eden states was a period “for some minutes.” When the regiment finally attacked, Colonel Harriman and Adjutant C.I. Miltimore led the effort to capture and turn two Confederate artillery pieces against their former owners, but they were recaptured as “the whole place soon became a perfect slaughter house.” The battle lasted until 4 P.M. before the Federal troops withdrew back to their original positions.14

                        The regiment sent 250 soldiers into the battle that morning but only ninety-five attended the roll call that evening. The rest were killed, wounded or missing. Among the dead were at least six Ojibwe Indian privates that served in Company K: Semour Hah-pah-ton-won-i-quette; Meshell Kenosha; Amable Nah-she-kah-appah; Dominique Teco; and Felix Wah-ton-nut plus Benjamin Rubber, who died of wounds. At least six other Ojibwe were wounded and two were taken prisoner. The prisoners later died.15

The regiment was mustered out on July 26, 1865, and arrived in Madison¸ Wisconsin on July 31, 1865, one year and one day after their toughest engagement at the Battle of the Mine, their service now complete.16

Footnotes:

1. Corrigan, Jim. The 48th Pennsylvania in the Battle of the Crater: The regiment of coal miners who tunneled under the enemy. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc., 2006), p. 21.

2. Ibid., pg. 22.

3. Ibid., pp. 22-28.

4. Ibid., pp. 33-35.

5. Ibid., pp. 39-41.

6. Ibid., pp. 43-44.

7. Ibid., pp. 44-45.

8. Ibid., pg. 47.

9. Gould, Joseph. The Story of the Forty-Eighth: A Record of the Campaigns of the Forty-Eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry during the four eventful years of its service in the war for the preservation of the Union. (Philadelphia: Alfred M. Slocum Company, 1908), p. 216.

10. Ibid., pg. 216.

11. Eden, Robert C., The Sword and Gun: A History of the 37th Wis. Volunteer Infantry, From its first Organization to its final Muster Out , (Madison, Wisconsin: Atwood & Rublee, 1865), pp. 7-16.

12. Ibid., pp. 18-23.

13. Ibid., pg. 29-30.

14. Ibid., pp. 31-32.

15. Ibid., pp. 32, 106-109.

16. Ibid., pp. 66-68.

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This Week in the American Civil War: July 27-August 2, 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 July 27, 1864

After deciding to lay a partial siege to Atlanta, Federal Major General William T. Sherman sent out several cavalry expeditions to cut the railroads to the south of the city and to harass the Confederates.

Federal Major General Oliver Otis Howard assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee, succeeding Major General John A. Logan, who had temporarily succeeded Major General James B. McPherson, who was killed in the Battle of Atlanta.

Thursday July 28, 1864

BATTLES OF KILLDEER MOUNTAIN AND EZRA CHURCH

Federal Brigadier General Alfred Sully, commander of the District of Iowa as part of Major General John Pope’s Army of the Northwest, engaged 1,600 Dakota Indians at Killdeer Mountain in Dakota Territory as punishment from the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War in Minnesota. Sully formed his forces in a hollow square, which enabled him to fend of several attacks to his flanks and rear. Realizing that Sully’s forces would not be defeated, the Dakota retreated to protect their women and children. Of the 2,200 troops engaged under Sully’s command, three were killed and ten wounded. Dakota suffered 31 casualties in the battle.

In Georgia, as several cavalry raids were underway near Atlanta, Federal Major General William T. Sherman sought to extend his siege lines by sending infantry to the western borders of the city towards the important railroad outlets on the south.  Confederate troops attacked well-entrenched Federals at Ezra Church. They fought from early afternoon until dark before the Confederates withdrew into the fortifications at Atlanta. While the Federals lost just under six hundred casualties, the Confederate losses amounted to a staggering five thousand.

Friday July 29, 1864

A Federal expedition at Petersburg, Virginia forced a shift of some Confederate units away from the lines as the mining operations neared completion. Federal Major General Ambrose Burnside moved troops from his Ninth Corps into position for an attack planned for the next day.

On the Atlanta front, Federal cavalry fought Confederates at Lovejoy’s Station and Smith’s Crossroads in their efforts to wreck the vital southern railroads. 

Saturday July 30, 1864

BATTLE OF THE MINE

For more than a month, members of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry dug a 586-foot long tunnel under the 400 feet of no-man’s land between the Federal and Confederate lines at Elliott’s Salient on the eastern side of the siege lines at Petersburg, Virginia. Approximately 278 Confederates were killed when the blast went off around 5 a.m. A hole 170 feet long, 70 feet wide and 30 feet deep was left in its wake. However, when the Federal Ninth Corps commenced its attack, Confederate units were able to regroup and repulse the advance. By 8:30 a.m., nearly 15,000 Federals, a line similar in size to the Confederate’s famed “Pickett’s Charge” at Gettysburg, were in the area of the mine. By early afternoon, the Federals were ordered back. The Confederate’s lost around 1,500 killed and wounded in the attack while the Federals paid a high cost of 4,000 casualties.

Confederate cavalry under Lieutenant General Jubal Early entered Pennsylvania once again and demanded $500,000 in currency or $100,000 in gold from the citizens of Chambersburg in reparations for Federal Major General David Hunter’s depredations in the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia. Since the citizens could not raise such a sum under a short deadline, Chambersburg was set on fire.

Sunday July 31, 1864

    Confederate cavalry, after burning Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, was now fully occupied by Brigadier General William W. Averill’s pursing Federal cavalry. Averill attacked at Hancock, Maryland on the Potomac River, forcing the Confederates to head to Cumberland, Maryland.

At City Point, Virginia, President Abraham Lincoln held a five-hour conference with Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant before heading back to Washington. Meanwhile, at Petersburg, the lines were being reformed by both sides after the previous day’s Battle of the Mine.

Monday August 1, 1864

Confederate forces under Lieutenant General Jubal Early continued to threaten Federals in the Shenandoah River Valley. However, the Federals named Major General Philip H. Sheridan as the new commander of the Army of the Shenandoah with the task of ridding the valley of Early and all Confederates.

In the Petersburg, Virginia-area, the siege continued with a skirmish at Deep Bottom, Virginia, amid indications that Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant would attempt to cut the railroads that were still bringing supplies to Richmond, the Confederate capital.

Tuesday August 2, 1864

Confederate cavalry tangled with Federals again at Hancock, Maryland, as they sought to re-cross the Potomac River after their Chambersburg, Pennsylvania raid. Skirmishing on this front occurred at Old Town, Maryland and at Green Spring Run, West Virginia.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of July 27 – August 2, 1864 

Active units:

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

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned as provost and depot guard at Marietta, Georgia until Aug. 19, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Pine Bluff, Arkansas until October 10, 1864.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Allatoona, Georgia until October 5, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Veterans on furlough until Aug. 17, 1864. Remainder of regiment remained at Memphis, Tennessee for duty.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Helena, Arkansas until Nov. 4, 1864.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Memphis, Tennessee until August 1, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, Dakota Territory, while on Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Memphis, Tennessee until August 1, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Memphis, Tennessee until August 1, 1864.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Participated in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, Dakota Territory while on Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Participated in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, Dakota Territory while on Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until November 10, 1864.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D moved to Fort Abercrombie. Companies A and B assigned to garrison at Fort Abercrombie.  Company C assigned to garrison at Alexandria and Pomme de Terre. Company D on patrol duty from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina.  Companies E and F on frontier duty. The battalion would remain in these duty locations for the duration of the war – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty for the Siege of Atlanta until August 25, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Mounted and engaged in scouting duty around Chattanooga, Tennessee until October 1864.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Participated in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, Dakota Territory while on Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

1st United States Sharpshooters Company I- Attached to the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia until Feb. 20, 1865. 

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg until Feb. 20, 1865.

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: July 20-26, 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 July 20, 1864

BATTLE OF PEACHTREE CREEK, GEORGIA

Major General George H. Thomas led his Federal Army of the Cumberland over Peachtree Creek heading towards the fortifications of Atlanta, from the north. Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood decided to attack, although there were delays of over three hours. After some success, the fierce Southern assaults failed. Thomas and his men steadfastly held off the frantic Confederates, who charged for about two hours. Approximately 20,000 Federals were engaged with 1,779 killed, wounded and missing. Hood’s Confederates faced losses of 4,796 out of roughly the same number engaged. Hood, who was not present at the battle, failed his first big test in command.

Other action occurred at Leggett’s Hill, Decatur, Flint Hill Church and Howard House, Georgia; Newtown, Philomont and Berryville, Virginia; Blount County, Tennessee; and at Arrow Rock, Missouri.

Thursday July 21, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood sent Lieutenant General William J. Hardee’s reinforced corps out of Atlanta on a fifteen-mile night march to the south and then east, to attack the flank and rear of Federal Major General James B. McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee between Atlanta and Decatur. Hood placed the blame of the previous day’s failure at Peachtree Creek squarely on Hardee’s shoulders. Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s three armies were all closing in on the city of Atlanta, making Hardee’s efforts futile. McPherson’s army assaulted Confederate positions on Leggett’s Hill, taking the position despite a valiant defense by Major General Patrick Cleburne’s troops. From the hill, the Federals had a full view of Atlanta.

Friday July 22, 1864

BATTLE OF ATLANTA

After the tiring, hot, night march, Lieutenant General William J. Hardee’s Confederates hit the right flank of Major General James B. McPherson’s Federals between Decatur and Atlanta. During the hard fought battle, Confederate Major General William Henry Talbot Walker and Federal Major General McPherson were both killed in action during the battle, which took place on the city’s east side. The Federals had an effective strength of 34,863 and took casualties amounting to 3,641 killed, wounded and missing. The Confederates engaged 40,438 and took an aggregate loss of approximately 5,500. Fighting took place at the fringes of the battle at Decatur and at Beachtown, along the Chattahoochee River. The Confederates still held Atlanta proper, but the Federals ringed it with unrelenting force. The Siege of Atlanta had now begun. 

Saturday July 23, 1864

Both Federal and Confederate forces in Atlanta rested and repaired their damages from the previous day’s battle and cared for the dying and wounded. The only fighting in the area was a skirmish at Sweetwater, Georgia.

The Louisiana Constitutional Convention adopted a constitution which included an end to slavery, one of the steps necessary to restoring Louisiana to the Union. It would not be ratified for six weeks.

Sunday July 24, 1864

    SECOND BATTLE OF KERNSTOWN

    Marching north on the Valley Pike, Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s entire army headed towards Kernstown, south of Winchester, where Federal Brigadier General George Crook’s Army of West Virginia was in position on the same ground which Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson had struck in 1862 at the First Battle of Kernstown. After a strong initial attack by Early’s forces, Crook became impatient by his divisional commander’s reluctance to attack the Confederate position. Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, who would later serve as the 19th President of the United States, brought his division up to support the advance, but its flank was slammed by Confederate Major General John C. Breckinridge’s troops who were hiding in a ravine. Hayes’s division took major casualties and retreated back to Winchester. Brigadier General William W. Averill’s Federal cavalry attempted to counterattack the Confederates but were surprised by Confederate cavalry under Brigadier General John C. Vaughn. Most of the Federal troops, disconnected from their units, spent the night in the rain, scattered across the countryside while trying to evade capture.

Monday July 25, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Confederates, in the northern Shenandoah River Valley, followed Federal Brigadier General George Crook’s Army of West Virginia in a heavy rain to Bunker Hill, north of Winchester, Virginia. Fighting erupted at Bunker Hill, Williamsport, Maryland; and at Martinsburg, West Virginia. The Federals were forced to camp on the banks of the Potomac River.

Tuesday July 26, 1864

Federal cavalry under Major General George Stoneman left on a raid from the Atlanta area towards Macon, Georgia. Skirmishing also flared near Decatur on the Atlanta front.

Confederates under Lieutenant General Jubal Early pursued Brigadier General George Crook’s Federals at Falling Waters, West Virginia and at Muddy Branch, Maryland. Crook’s command was attempting to cross into Maryland. Early’s troops then began breaking up the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad near Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Indian scouts under Brigadier General Alfred Sully engaged approximately 30 Dakota warriors near modern-day Richardson, North Dakota as part of Sully’s Expedition in Dakota Territory.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of July 20-26, 1864 

Active units:

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

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned as provost and depot guard at Marietta, Georgia until Aug. 19, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Pine Bluff, Arkansas until October 10, 1864.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Allatoona, Georgia until October 5, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Veterans on furlough until Aug. 17, 1864. Remainder of regiment remained at Memphis, Tennessee for duty.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Helena, Arkansas until Nov. 4, 1864.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Memphis, Tennessee until August 1, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Memphis, Tennessee until August 1, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Memphis, Tennessee until August 1, 1864.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until November 10, 1864.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D moved to Fort Abercrombie. Companies A and B assigned to garrison at Fort Abercrombie.  Company C assigned to garrison at Alexandria and Pomme de Terre. Company D on patrol duty from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina.  Companies E and F on frontier duty. The battalion would remain in these duty locations for the duration of the war – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty for the Siege of Atlanta until August 25, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Mounted and engaged in scouting duty around Chattanooga, Tennessee until October 1864.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

1st United States Sharpshooters Company I- Attached to the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia until Feb. 20, 1865. 

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg until Feb. 20, 1865.

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: July 13-19, 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 July 13, 1864

Frustrated by their inability to break through the defenses of Washington at Fort Stevens, Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Confederates hurried toward the Potomac River at Leesburg. Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant ordered Major General Horatio Wright to lead the Sixth and Nineteenth Corps in pursuit. A skirmish at Rockville, Maryland marked the retreat and follow-up.

In Georgia, Major General William T. Sherman prepared to advance his whole Federal force across the Chattahoochee River and then around the north side of Atlanta towards Decatur on the east.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis informed General Robert E. Lee that General Braxton Bragg arrived in Atlanta to investigate what Davis believed to be General Joseph E. Johnston’s failure to stop Sherman.

Thursday July 14, 1864

BATTLE OF HARRISBURG, MISSISSIPPI

Major General A.J. Smith’s Federals were at Harrisburg, Mississippi well posted to defend against the forthcoming Confederates, even though defeating Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest was his primary goal. Wave after wave of Confederates attacked, but Forrest’s forces were not destroyed. Even though it was a tactical victory for the Federals, Smith’s forces numbered 14,000 at the onset of battle, but he lost 77 killed, 559 wounded and 38 missing for a total loss of 674. Forrest, meanwhile, lost 1,347 out of nearly 9,500 engaged. However, the real victor was Forrest, who was able to roam again as Smith’s Federals withdrew.

Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Confederates crossed the Potomac River at White’s Ford and were safely in Virginia at Leesburg. Rear guard actions occurred at Poolesville, Maryland.

President Abraham Lincoln moved back to the Soldier’s Home after the Confederate invasion scare subsided.

Friday July 15, 1864

The Federal army under Major General A.J. Smith stood its ground until the afternoon in the Harrisburg, Mississippi area before it made a slow retreat back towards Memphis, Tennessee with the rationale of being “short on supplies.” Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s troops followed but failed to engage Smith’s Federals in a major engagement. A skirmish did occur at Old Town Creek, which kept Forrest occupied enough that the Nashville to Chattanooga Railroad, which supplied Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s forces in Atlanta, remained protected.

President Abraham Lincoln was unhappy that Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s troops got away so freely from Washington. 

Saturday July 16, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early left Leesburg, Virginia, and headed back towards the Shenandoah Valley, unimpeded except for action near Purcellville and Wood Grove, Virginia.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s major move across the Chattahoochee River and around the north side of Atlanta toward Decatur finally got underway. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston planned to attack while Sherman’s forces moved around the city, when the wings of Sherman’s army might be separated from the center. However, Johnston continued work on fortifications from the Chattahoochee south of Peachtree Creek to the Atlanta and Decatur Railroad. Skirmishing occurred at Turner’s Ferry, Georgia.

President Abraham Lincoln, still interested in possible contacts by Confederate representatives looking for peace, sent his secretary, John Hay, to New York to consult with potential Confederate emissaries.

Sunday July 17, 1864

    Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston received word from Confederate President Jefferson Davis that he was effectively relieved of his duties, and that command of the Department of Tennessee would fall upon the shoulders of Lieutenant General John Bell Hood. Meanwhile, Federal armies in Georgia continued to build pontoon bridges across the Chattahoochee River.

Skirmishing occurred at Vining’s Station, Georgia; Herring Creek, Virginia; Fredericksburg, Missouri; and at Davison’s Ford near Clinton, Louisiana.

Monday July 18, 1864

President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 500,000 volunteers, emphasizing the need to refill the army’s ranks after severe fighting in Virginia.

In Georgia, General Joseph E. Johnston moved into semiretirement and Lieutenant General John Bell Hood took the reins of the Confederacy’s Army of Tennessee.

At Richmond, Confederate President Jefferson Davis named George A. Trenholm, a wealthy merchant from Charleston, South Carolina, as Secretary of the Treasury¸ a post that Trenholm only reluctantly accepted.

Tuesday July 19, 1864

A series of skirmishes broke out as Major General Horatio Wright’s Federals located Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Confederate forces near Berryville, Virginia. Skirmishing broke out at Ashby’s Gap and Berry’s Ford, Virginia; along with Darkesville, Charles Town and Kabletown, West Virginia. By nightfall, Early withdrew his force from Berryville towards Winchester, further in the Shenandoah River Valley.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of July 13-19, 1864 

Active units:

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

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned as provost and depot guard at Marietta, Georgia until Aug. 19, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Pine Bluff, Arkansas until October 10, 1864.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Allatoona, Georgia until October 5, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Veterans on furlough until Aug. 17, 1864. Remainder of regiment remained at Memphis, Tennessee for duty.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Helena, Arkansas until Nov. 4, 1864.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the Battle for Harrisburg, Mississippi.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Smith’s Expedition to Tupelo, Mississippi.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Smith’s Expedition to Tupelo, Mississippi.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until November 10, 1864.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D moved to Fort Abercrombie. Companies A and B assigned to garrison at Fort Abercrombie.  Company C assigned to garrison at Alexandria and Pomme de Terre. Company D on patrol duty from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina.  Companies E and F on frontier duty. The battalion would remain in these duty locations for the duration of the war – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty at the Chattahoochee River north of Atlanta as part of Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign until July 20, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – En route to Chattanooga, Tennessee for duty.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

1st United States Sharpshooters Company I- Attached to the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia until Feb. 20, 1865. 

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg until Feb. 20, 1865.

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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Text of H.R. 4003 – Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park Act

113th CONGRESS
2d Session

H. R. 4003

 Civil War Sesquicentennial Logo (small)

 

To designate the Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park comprised of certain National Park System lands, and by affiliation and cooperative agreements other historically significant resources, located in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland, that were part of the Civil War defenses of Washington and related to the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, to study ways in which the Civil War history of both the North and South can be assembled, arrayed, and conveyed for the benefit of the public, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 

February 5, 2014 

Ms. Norton (for herself, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Moran, and Ms. Edwards) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources


A BILL

To designate the Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park comprised of certain National Park System lands, and by affiliation and cooperative agreements other historically significant resources, located in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland, that were part of the Civil War defenses of Washington and related to the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, to study ways in which the Civil War history of both the North and South can be assembled, arrayed, and conveyed for the benefit of the public, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE AND TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) Short Title.—This Act may be cited as the “Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park Act”.

(b) Table Of Contents.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title and table of contents.

Sec. 2. Findings and purpose.

Sec. 3. Redesignation.

Sec. 4. Areas included in Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park.

Sec. 5. Possible inclusion of additional areas.

Sec. 6. National Civil War History Education Center Report.

Sec. 7. Administration.

Sec. 8. Definitions.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

(a) Findings.—The Congress finds and declares as follows:

(1) As the United States commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, 1861–1865, it is fitting and helpful for Americans to remember, reflect upon, and learn from the storied history, valor, heartbreak, and suffering of both sides in this tragic war that so divided and scarred the young Nation, but that also served as a crucible for the Nation to secure itself as United States and preserve the Union, abolish the injustice of slavery, and become the beacon of hope as a democracy that it has become for the world.

(2) The significance of the Civil War to the future of the United States is incalculable. The war’s lessons and meaning to the history of the United States, what it stands for, and its place in the world today must be remembered and conveyed to future generations. The war pitted family against family, brother against brother, friend against friend, Blue against Gray. Its battlegrounds were consecrated with blood that was shed by many who gave their last full measure of devotion. The reunited democracy that emerged, after such a heavy loss of life on both sides and the difficult decades of healing that followed, made the United States stronger. It helped the Nation advance toward achieving the inalienable rights and noble goals and values its founders sought, but had not fully achieved, in their lifetimes.

(3) The defenses of Washington played a key role in the outcome of the Civil War. They were constructed at the beginning of the war in 1861 as a ring of fortifications in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and northern Virginia, to protect the Nation’s Capital. By the end of the war, these defenses included 68 forts, 93 unarmed batteries, 807 mounted cannon, 13 miles of rifle trenches, and 32 miles of military roads.

(4) The major test of the Civil War defenses of Washington came with the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 when Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early marched from Richmond to Lynchburg, Virginia, and through the Shenandoah Valley to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and Frederick, Maryland. His major objective, as directed to him by General Robert E. Lee, was to attack the Nation’s Capital from the north, causing Union Forces to be withdrawn from threatening Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. He was delayed by Union Major General Lew Wallace at the Battle of Monocacy on July 9, 1864, and was stopped at the northern edge of the District of Columbia at the Battle of Fort Stevens on July 11–12, 1864. The Shenandoah Valley Campaign ended when Union Lieutenant General Philip Sheridan defeated General Early at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, on October 19, 1864.

(5) The Battle of Fort Stevens was the second and last attempt by the Confederate Army to attack Washington. The first major effort to surround or capture the Nation’s Capital ended at Gettysburg in July 1863. After that historic battle, in his address at Gettysburg Cemetery on November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln redefined what was at stake: “a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal … that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”.

(6) The Battle of Fort Stevens was the only verifiable time that a sitting United States President (Abraham Lincoln) came under hostile fire during a battle while in office. Nearly all the individual forts in the defenses of Washington (on both sides of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers) were involved in stopping General Early’s attack. Had that one battle at the very edge of Washington been lost, the Nation’s Capital, the Presidency, the Union Government, and emancipation all would have been potentially lost and the history of the United States dramatically changed. The victory at Fort Stevens not only saved the city and the national government, but also led to the October 1864 victories for the Union in the Shenandoah Valley, which ensured Lincoln’s re-election and preservation of the Union at that critical moment.

(7) After the end of the war, most of the Civil War defenses of Washington were returned to private land owners, but many were retained by the military or the lands were repurchased later by the United States. Of the remaining fortifications in public ownership, 19 sites (including Battleground Cemetery) are owned by the Federal Government and managed by the National Park Service, four are owned by local units of government in northern Virginia, and one is owned by Montgomery County, Maryland.

(8) In 1902, the Senate McMillan Commission issued a Report on the Improvement of the Park System of Washington. (U.S. Senate Committee on the District of Columbia, Senate Report No. 166, 57th Congress, 1st Session). The Report called for development of a “Fort Drive” to connect the Civil War defenses of Washington in the Nation’s Capital. Congress appropriated funds to purchase lands for the Fort Drive during the 1930s, but it was never fully completed.

(9) Most of the remaining Civil War defenses of Washington contain significant natural and recreational resources, and some offer sweeping vistas overlooking the Nation’s Capital. With the lands acquired for the Fort Drive, they provide a linkage of urban green spaces that contribute to the history, character, and scenic values of the Nation’s Capital and offer educational and recreational opportunities along with their natural and important historical values.

(10) Sites associated with the Civil War defenses of Washington that are in Federal ownership within the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the State of Maryland are managed under three separate units of the National Park Service (Rock Creek Park, National Capital Parks–East, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway). Action by Congress is needed to protect and aid the educational benefits of the unique place in history of these sites through proper management, stabilization, maintenance, development, use, and, importantly, interpretation.

(11) It is fitting and proper that, as Americans reflect upon the legacy of the Civil War, we more fully understand and appreciate the roles of the battles in the District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland related to the defenses of Washington. Taken together, these battles were pivotal to the outcome of the war and therefore to its impact on the promise of the United States. It is therefore in the national interest that these historically important sites and resources be protected from further damage or loss and that they be preserved, enhanced, and interpreted for the use, enjoyment, and education of present and future generations.

(12) There is a genuine need and compelling reason for the United States to rededicate itself to and honor the vision and ideals of democracy as reflected in the Constitution by commemorating and interpreting through this National Historical Park the epic story of the American Civil War and the profound and lasting impact of the war on the values, capabilities, and strengths that the United States reflects through the ideals that it stands for in the world today.

(b) Purposes.—The purposes of this Act are—

(1) to protect, preserve, enhance, and interpret for the benefit and use of present and future generations the cultural, historical, natural, and recreational resources of the Civil War defenses of Washington located in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland; and

(2) to study and consider creative and cost-effective ways that the storied history of the Civil War, including the defenses of Washington and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, can be assembled, arrayed, and effectively conveyed to and for the benefit of the public.

SEC. 3. REDESIGNATION.

The Civil War defenses of Washington are hereby redesignated as the Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park.

SEC. 4. AREAS INCLUDED IN CIVIL WAR DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK.

(a) Areas Under The Administration Of The National Park Service.—The National Historical Park shall include all areas associated with the Civil War defenses of Washington that are currently owned by the Federal Government and under the administration of the National Park Service, each as depicted on appropriate maps maintained by the Secretary, including the following:

(1) The following fortifications and associated lands:

(A) Battery Kemble.

(B) Fort Bayard.

(C) Fort Bunker Hill.

(D) Fort Carroll.

(E) Fort Chaplin.

(F) Fort Davis.

(G) Fort DeRussy.

(H) Fort Dupont.

(I) Fort Foote.

(J) Fort Greble.

(K) Fort Mahan.

(L) Fort Marcy.

(M) Fort Reno.

(N) Fort Ricketts.

(O) Fort Slocum.

(P) Fort Stanton.

(Q) Fort Stevens.

(R) Fort Totten.

(2) The following affiliated National Park Areas:

(A) Fort Circle Drive.

(B) Battleground National Cemetery.

(C) Fort Washington.

(D) Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm.

(b) Potential Affiliation Of Eligible Areas Owned By Local Governments.—Any site associated with the Civil War defenses of Washington that is owned by a unit of local government in Virginia, Maryland, or the District of Columbia, may become affiliated with the National Historical Park pursuant to a cooperative agreement entered into between the unit of local government concerned and the Secretary, including the following:

(1) In Virginia:

(A) Fort Ward, City of Alexandria.

(B) Fort C.F. Smith, Arlington County.

(C) Fort Ethan Allen, Arlington County.

(D) Fort Willard, Fairfax County.

(2) In Maryland: Battery Bailey, Montgomery County.

SEC. 5. POSSIBLE INCLUSION OF ADDITIONAL AREAS.

(a) Affiliation Authority.—Any site associated with the Civil War defenses of Washington that is owned by a private individual or organization or a unit of local government in the District of Columbia, Virginia, or Maryland, other than those listed in section 4, that the Secretary determines is eligible for affiliation with the National Historical Park, may be affiliated with the National Historical Park pursuant to a cooperative agreement entered into between the site owner and the Secretary. The Secretary may purchase such properties from willing sellers, subject to the availability of private sector donated funding or appropriations.

(b) Consent Required.—No non-Federal property may be included in the National Historical Park without the written consent of the owner of the property.

(c) Prohibition On Use Of Condemnation.—The Secretary may not acquire by condemnation any land or interest in land under this Act or for the purposes of this Act.

(d) Consultation And Public Participation.—The Secretary shall consult with interested officials of State governments and units of local government, representatives of interested organizations, and interested members of the public before executing a cooperative agreement under this section or section 7(d).

SEC. 6. NATIONAL CIVIL WAR HISTORY EDUCATION CENTER REPORT.

(a) In General.—In furtherance of and consistent with section 2, the Secretary shall study and consider creative and cost-effective ways to facilitate the storied history of the Civil War for both the North and the South, including the history of the defenses of Washington and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, being assembled, arrayed, and conveyed for the benefit of the public for the knowledge, education, and inspiration of this and future generations about the impact of that war on the United States and its fledgling democracy, abolition of slavery, free enterprise economic system, culture, art, music, and national security capabilities.

(b) Assistance.—In conducting the study, the Secretary shall seek and coordinate the assistance of a wide array of expertise of individuals and organizations regarding Civil War history, potential locations where this storied history may be shared, including adaptive reuse of existing structures, and donated funding resources to help facilitate carrying out this section.

(c) Report.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit a report with recommendations regarding the study required by subsection (a) to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate.

SEC. 7. ADMINISTRATION.

(a) In General.—The Secretary shall administer the National Historical Park in accordance with this Act and the laws generally applicable to units of the National Park System, including the National Park System Organic Act (16 U.S.C. 1 et seq.) and the Act of August 21, 1935 (16 U.S.C. 461 et seq.).

(b) Technical Assistance.—The Secretary may provide technical assistance to local governments and private individuals and organizations for the management, interpretation, and preservation of historically significant resources associated with the Civil War defenses of Washington.

(c) Donations.—The Secretary may accept, hold, administer, and use gifts, bequests, devises, and other donations, including labor and services, for purposes of this Act, including preserving or providing access to sites and other resources relating to the Civil War defenses of Washington.

(d) Other Cooperative Agreements.—In addition to the authority provided by section 5(a), the Secretary may enter into cooperative agreements with State governments, units of local government, organizations, or individuals to further the purposes of the Act, including to provide visitor services and administrative facilities within reasonable proximity to the National Historical Park.

(e) Marking Of Historical Sites.—The Secretary may identify significant federally or non-Federally owned sites relating to the Civil War history in Washington and adjacent environs in northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland, and, with the consent of the owner or owners thereof, mark them appropriately and make reference to them in any interpretive literature.

SEC. 8. DEFINITIONS.

For the purposes of this Act, the following definitions apply:

(1) NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK.—The term “National Historical Park” means the Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park designated by section 3.

(2) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Interior.

(3) WASHINGTON.—The term “Washington” means Washington, the District of Columbia.

 

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This Week in the American Civil War: July 6-12, 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 July 6, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s troops captured Hagerstown, Maryland; skirmished at Sir John’s Run and Big Cacapon Bridge, West Virginia; and at Antietam, Maryland. Brigadier General John McCausland, commanding the Confederates at Hagerstown, levied $20,000 on the citizenry in retribution for Federal Major General David Hunter’s depredations in the Shenandoah River valley. In Washington, Federal authorities conferred on reinforcing the defenses of the capital.

Cavalry operations and reconnaissances continued on the Atlanta front with skirmishing occurring at Sandtown and Nickajack Creek, Georgia.

Around Petersburg, Virginia, skirmishes occurred at Mount Zion Church near Aldie.

Thursday July 7, 1864

Federal troops and militia hurried towards Washington, D.C. and Maryland to protect the northern states and capital from Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s invading force. The Federal Sixth Corp’s Third Division arrived at Baltimore from the Army of the Potomac at Petersburg. Fighting occurred at Middletown, Brownsville, and Catoctin Mountain, Maryland.

At Ripley, Mississippi, Union troops heading out from Memphis, Tennessee after Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s command, skirmished with Confederates.

Friday July 8, 1864

President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed his backing of a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, but declared that he was not prepared to support the idea that Congress had the authority to eradicate the institution. The proclamation was a statement of his July 4 pocket-veto of the Wade-Davis Reconstruction Bill. He said he could not be inflexible on any one plan of reconstruction or to set aside the new Federal governments of Arkansas and Louisiana, but if the people of a state wished to choose the system of restoration in the bill, that would be proper.

The Third Division of the Federal Sixth Corps clashed with Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s forces at Antietam Bridge, Frederick and Sandy Hook, Maryland. 

Saturday July 9, 1864

BATTLE OF THE MONOCACY, MARYLAND

Some six thousand Federals gathered from various sources stood directly in the way of Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Confederate advance upon Washington, D.C. from Frederick, Maryland. Early’s 10,000-strong infantry moved forward to the Monocacy River, southeast of Frederick. After a stubborn fight, Federal Major General Lew Wallace’s force was routed and the march onward was clear for Early. Confederates suffered around 700 casualties while the Federals lost about 2,000, over 1200 of whom were missing.  Even though it wasn’t a major battle, the extra day provided more time for defensive measures to be put into place in major cities and the nation’s capital.

At Petersburg, Virginia, Major General George G. Meade ordered his Federal Army of the Potomac to apply regular siege approach lines to add pressure to General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

In Georgia, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston took his Army of Tennessee across the Chattachoochee River, retreating again – this time to the gates of Atlanta. The Confederates carefully destroyed all bridges as they retired into previously prepared fortifications. Skirmishing occurred along the river at Vining’s Station and Nickajack Creek.

Sunday July 10, 1864

    President Abraham Lincoln and his family returned to the White House because of possible danger at their summer residence at the Soldiers’ Home. Lincoln told Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant that Major General Henry Halleck believed they could defend Washington with invalids and 100-day men.

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s men marched on, fighting at Rockville and Gunpowder Bridge, Maryland, on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.

Monday July 11, 1864

Confederate soldiers of Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s command were in the environs of Washington, D.C. now. At Silver Spring, Maryland, they burned the home of the Blair family while Early tried to determine what sort of defensive troops were in the Federal capital. After a reconnaissance, he ordered an assault the next morning. Skirmishing broke out at Frederick, Maryland, and at Fort Stevens, Washington, D.C. and Confederates captured Federal trains near Magnolia, Maryland. The militia of the District of Columbia was called up, invalids were organized, office personnel were put under arms. Over 20,000 men, many of them raw troops, now gathered to protect the capital city from attack.

The United States dollar was only worth thirty-nine cents on the open market, the lowest valuation of the dollar during the Civil War.

Tuesday July 12, 1864

Seeing Federal troops moving into fortifications in Washington, D.C., Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early gave us his plans for an assault and settled for extensive skirmishing in the city’s outskirts, mainly near Fort Stevens. At night, they headed for the Potomac River at Leesburg.

Skirmishing occurred at Campbellton, Georgia, as well as at Warwick Swamp and Turkey Creek, Virginia.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of July 6-12, 1864

Active units:

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

 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Marietta, Georgia as part of Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Pine Bluff, Arkansas until October 10, 1864.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Kingston, Georgia until July 5, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Veterans on furlough until Aug. 17, 1864. Remainder of regiment remained at Memphis, Tennessee for duty.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Helena, Arkansas until Nov. 4, 1864.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Smith’s Expedition to Tupelo, Mississippi.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Smith’s Expedition to Tupelo, Mississippi.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Smith’s Expedition to Tupelo, Mississippi.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until November 10, 1864.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D moved to Fort Abercrombie. Companies A and B assigned to garrison at Fort Abercrombie.  Company C assigned to garrison at Alexandria and Pomme de Terre. Company D on patrol duty from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina.  Companies E and F on frontier duty. The battalion would remain in these duty locations for the duration of the war – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty at the Chattahoochee River north of Atlanta as part of Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Veterans were on furlough through June 5, 1864. Non-veterans attached to Battery I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where they escorted cattle and horses to the army in the field until July 14, 1864.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

1st United States Sharpshooters Company I- Attached to the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia until Feb. 20, 1865.

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg until Feb. 20, 1865.

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: June 29 – July 5, 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 June 29, 1864

Confederate President Jefferson Davis assured Georgia’s Confederate Governor Joseph E. Brown that he had sent General Joseph E. Johnston all available troops as reinforcements. Skirmishes marked the day at Charles Town and Duffield’s Station, West Virginia; LaFayette, Tennessee; Davis’s Bend, Louisiana and Meffleton Lodge, Arkansas.

Thursday June 30, 1864

U.S. Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase resigned his post once again. This time President Abraham Lincoln accepted the resignation. Assistant Secretary George Harrington assumed the duties on an interim basis. Former Ohio Governor David Tod was nominated for the position but declined because of poor health. Chase was surprised at the acceptance of the resignation, mainly because Lincoln refused it on several occasions before.

President Lincoln signed several acts increasing duties, providing for more revenue, and broadening the base of the income tax.

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early and his advancing troops in the Shenandoah arrived at New Market, Virginia.

Skirmishing broke out at LaFayette, Allatoona and Acworth, Georgia as well as at Four-Mile Creek and Deep Bottom, Virginia.

Friday July 1, 1864

President Abraham Lincoln appointed William Pitt Fessenden, a long-time senator from Maine as the Secretary of the Treasury in place of Salmon P. Chase, who resigned. The appointment was immediately confirmed. Fessenden had extensive experience on the Finance Committee, opposed inflation, and believed in heavier taxation.

Sporadic fighting occurred on the Georgia front at Howell’s Ferry, Allatoona and Lost Mountain. The Petersburg lines in Virginia remained fairly quiet.

Federal troops operated against the Dakota Indians in Minnesota. Federal Major General Irvin McDowell assumed command of the Department of the Pacific, a post far from the war for the Federal commander at First Bull Run.

The U.S. Senate approved the House-approved Wade-Davis reconstruction bill by a vote of 26 to 3 with 20 absent. 

Saturday July 2, 1864 Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston evacuated his entrenchments on Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia and pulled back the entire front to another prepared line below Marietta. Johnston moved in response to Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s shifting armies, recognizing that otherwise his flanks would be turned.

In Virginia, Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s column, heading north towards the Potomac, reached Winchester with little opposition. At Bolivar Heights, West Virginia, Early’s outposts were active in driving the Federals.

In Mississippi, skirmishing occurred on the Byhalia Road near the state line south of Collierville, Tennessee. Further south in Mississippi, a Federal expedition moved from Vicksburg to the Pearl River, engaging in several skirmishes en route.

The U.S. Congress granted public land in the Pacific Northwest for railroad and telegraph lines to the Puget Sound, and also chartered the Northern Pacific Railroad with the goal of connecting the Great Lakes to the Puget Sound. Groundbreaking did not occur until February 1870 in Carleton, Minnesota.

Sunday July 3, 1864    

Confederates moved into the Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia area once again. Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s men, marching northward from Winchester, drove Major General Franz Sigel’s Federals before them, with skirmishing at Leetown, Darkesville, Martinsburg, North Mountain and North River Mills, West Virginia, along with Buckton, Virginia. The small Union force escaped across the Potomac River into Maryland at Shepardstown. Citizens north of the Potomac River were in an uproar and even officials in Washington were apprehensive.

In Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, Federals renewed their efforts against the city and its forts. Landing in barges, a Federal assault force failed in a dawn attack on Fort Johnson from Morris Island, and lost 140 men as prisoners. James Island was also invaded by a strong column of 5,000 troops but were driven back to the Stono River two days later.

Major General William T. Sherman’s armies moved forward past Kennesaw Mountain and through Marietta towards Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s new line along Nickajack Creek. Skirmishes erupted at Kingston, Ruff’s Mills, Big Shanty and Sweetwater Bridge as cavalry operated in the rear of Federal lines.

Monday July 4, 1864

President Abraham Lincoln signed several bills, including one setting up the office of the Commissioner of Immigration and one repealing certain exemption clauses of the Enrollment Act. He pocket-vetoed the bill backed by Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Winter Davis of Maryland, which called for reorganization of a seceded state only after a majority of the enrolled white male citizens had taken an oath of allegiance and adopted a constitution acceptable to Congress and the President. In effect, it called for Congress instead of the President to control reconstruction. Lincoln had already instituted more lenient reconstruction in Louisiana and Arkansas where 10 percent of the previous voters could restore a state, and the oath called merely for future support of the Union.

Confederate lines in Georgia continued to shift, this time to new prepared fortifications on the Chattahoochee  River.

Tuesday July 5, 1864

In Georgia, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals pressed Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s line on the Chattahoochee River, seeing a soft spot and investigating possible openings on the flanks. Skirmishing flared at Pace’s Ferry, Howell’s Ferry, Turner’s Ferry and Isham’s Ford, all in Georgia.

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early began crossing the Potomac River into Maryland at Shepherdstown after finding Harper’s Ferry too strong to take. As a result, Confederates and Federals fought at Keedysville, Noland’s Ferry, Point of Rocks and Solomon’s Gap, Maryland. Meanwhile, a call for 24,000 militia from New York and Pennsylvania went out to help defend Maryland and the North. Washington was seriously alarmed now.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of June 29 – July 5, 1864 

Active units:

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

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in action at Marietta and against Kennesaw Mountain as part of Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Pine Bluff, Arkansas until October 10, 1864.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Kingston, Georgia until July 5, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Veterans on furlough until Aug. 17, 1864. Remainder of regiment remained at Memphis, Tennessee for duty.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Helena, Arkansas until Nov. 4, 1864.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at La Grange, Tennessee until July 5, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty around Memphis, Tennessee until July 5, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty around Memphis, Tennessee until July 5, 1864.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until November 10, 1864.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D moved to Fort Abercrombie. Companies A and B assigned to garrison at Fort Abercrombie.  Company C assigned to garrison at Alexandria and Pomme de Terre. Company D on patrol duty from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina.  Companies E and F on frontier duty. The battalion would remain in these duty locations for the duration of the war – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty at Nickajack Creek, Georgia as part of the Atlanta Campaign.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Veterans were on furlough through June 5, 1864. Non-veterans attached to Battery I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where they escorted cattle and horses to the army in the field until July 14, 1864.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

1st United States Sharpshooters Company I- Attached to the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia until Feb. 20, 1865. 

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg until Feb. 20, 1865.

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: June 22-28, 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 June 22, 1864

Confederate General Robert E. Lee was aware of the move planned by Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant to extend the siege lines to the south and west of Petersburg, Virginia. Confederate Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill’s corps moved out and struck the Federal Second Corps, commanded by Major General David B. Birney who took over for Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, who was on sick leave from a war wound. The Second Corps was driven back, losing 1,700 prisoners in an engagement on the Jerusalem Plank Road, halting Grant’s drive against the Weldon and Petersburg Railroad.

However, two Union cavalry divisions headed towards Burkeville to beak the South Side Railroad, which forced a skirmish at Reams Station. The raid destroyed a considerable portion of the railroad, but it was rapidly repaired by the Confederates.

On the James River, President Abraham Lincoln, Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant and others steamed up river to visit the Navy squadron and discuss matters with Major General Benjamin Butler. The president left for Washington in the afternoon.

Thursday June 23, 1864

In Georgia, the weather improved and roads began to dry out. Federal Major General William T. Sherman planned an attack against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s strong position. Sherman adjusted his lines throughout the day in preparation for the attack.

Skirmishing occurred at Allatoona, Georgia; Okolona, Mississippi; the Weldon Railroad in Virginia; and at Collierville, Tennessee.

Late in the afternoon, a weary President Abraham Lincoln arrived at Washington after his visit to the army around Petersburg, Virginia.

Friday June 24, 1864

At St. Mary’s Church, Virginia, Confederate cavalry attacked Federal Major General Phil  Sheridan’s cavalry and the wagon train heading from White House Landing to the James River. Federal cavalry fell back in confusion.

On the White River, Confederate Brigadier General Joseph O. “Jo” Shelby’s troops on land fought three U.S. steamers, and attacked, captured and destroyed the U.S.S. Queen City.

The Constitutional Convention of Maryland voted to abolish slavery. 

Saturday June 25, 1864

At Petersburg, Federal engineers began digging a tunnel towards the Confederate lines for the purpose of blowing apart the Southern-held earthworks.

Skirmishing occurred at Allatoona and Spring Place, Georgia; Roanoke Station, Virginia; Morganfield, Kentucky; Ashwood, Mississippi; Point Pleasant, Louisiana; Rancho Las Rinas, Texas; and operations on the Yellow River, Florida. The main fronts were relatively quiet.

Sunday June 26, 1864

    Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s cavalry and wagon trains completed the crossing of the James River by ferry at Couthard’s Landing, and moved to join the main army.

In Arkansas, in operations on the White River, Federals pursued Confederates near Clarendon to Bayou De View. Other fighting took place at Wire Bridge, Springfield and Smithfield, West Virginia; and on the Sedalia and Marshall Road in Missouri.

Monday June 27, 1864

BATTLE OF KENNESAW MOUNTAIN, GEORGIA

The Armies of the Cumberland and of the Tennessee moved forward against Big and Little Kennesaw Mountain near Marietta, Georgia. The Army of the Ohio threatened the left of the Confederate army. It was a day of tragedy for the Federals as they rushed head on against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s well-entrenched positions. Federals rushing pell-mell up the slopes seized outpost positions but could not break the main lines. Some managed to dig in and hold some of the territory gained. Retreat would have been even more disastrous in the face of the carefully planned lines, which took every advantage of the rocky terrain. Federal Major General William T. Sherman, often criticized for the assault, undoubtedly had the past November’s Missionary Ridge assault in mind, though this time he faced a veteran force under an able commander. In the biggest battle of the campaign thus far, Northern losses totaled 1,999 killed and wounded and 52 missing for an aggregate loss of 2,051. The Confederates suffered approximately 270 killed and wounded and 172 missing for 442, though the total might have been over 500.

In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln formally accepted the nomination for president.

Tuesday June 28, 1864

In the capital, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill repealing the fugitive slave acts.

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston prepared new defensive positions along the Chattahoochee River in the back of the Kennesaw line.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of June 22-28, 1864 

Active units:

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

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in assault on Kennesaw Mountain as part of Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Pine Bluff, Arkansas until October 10, 1864.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Kingston, Georgia until July 5, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Veterans on furlough until Aug. 17, 1864. Remainder of regiment remained at Memphis, Tennessee for duty.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Helena, Arkansas until Nov. 4, 1864.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at La Grange, Tennessee until July 5, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until July 1, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty around Memphis, Tennessee until July 5, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty around Memphis, Tennessee until July 5, 1864.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until July 1, 1864.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until June 28, 1864.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D moved to Fort Abercrombie. Companies A and B assigned to garrison at Fort Abercrombie.  Company C assigned to garrison at Alexandria and Pomme de Terre. Company D on patrol duty from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina.  Companies E and F on frontier duty. The battalion would remain in these duty locations for the duration of the war – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – Participated in the assault on Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia as part of the Atlanta Campaign.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Veterans were on furlough through June 5, 1864. Non-veterans attached to Battery I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where they escorted cattle and horses to the army in the field until July 14, 1864.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until July 1, 1864.

1st United States Sharpshooters Company I- Attached to the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia until Feb. 20, 1865. 

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg until Feb. 20, 1865.

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: June 15-21, 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 June 15, 1864

Federal Major General William F. Smith, from Bermuda Hundred Landing, had orders from Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, through Major General Benjamin Butler, to move early and attack Petersburg, Virginia. Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, commanding the Federal Second Corps which had just crossed the James River, had farther to go but could have cooperated fairly well. Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard had approximately 3,000 troops in defense, which could never have stopped 16,000 Federals. But a mix-up of orders, lack of rations, poor maps, missed opportunities and delays by commanders, along with courageous Southern defense, saved Petersburg and lengthened the war by several months. Grant spent the day on the James River supervising the crossing of other troops at the pontoon bridge.

Beauregard informed Confederate authorities and General Robert E. Lee that the main attack would occur at Petersburg and requested reinforcements. Lee still believed that Grant’s army was north of the James River, which suggests that the Federal deception worked.

Thursday June 16, 1864

Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard stripped his Bermuda Hundred defense line that faced Federal Major General Benjamin Butler down to a mere thousand, and rushed the remainder of his line to reinforce the Petersburg line, which even then only numbered 14,000. More Federal troops came up after crossing the James River. Federal attackers captured a redan in the morning and about 6 p.m. assaulted heavily and, despite severe losses, captured three redans and some trenches. Confederates failed to recover the works, and had to take up temporary entrenchments farther back. On the Bermuda Hundred front, Federals hit the weakened Confederate lines and took them. Confederate General Robert E. Lee, still not convinced that Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant was in force south of the James River, felt compelled to send two divisions to reoccupy the Bermuda Hundred positions, which occurred in the early evening.

President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Philadelphia for the Great Central Fair.

Friday June 17, 1864

Federal troops of Major General Ambrose Burnside’s Ninth Corps made a surprise attack at the Shand House on the Petersburg line, but with only limited results. The Confederates launched a successful counterattack late in the afternoon. After midnight, the Confederates pulled back to a shorter, more defensible prepared position.

In Georgia, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s right wing troops vigorously attacked the new Confederate lines along Mud Creek in front of Marietta.

Skirmishes erupted near Columbia, Missouri; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; and Diamond Hill, Virginia.

President Abraham Lincoln returned to Washington in the morning from the Philadelphia trip. At 8:30 a.m., a blast, followed by fire, rocked the cartridge-making building of the Washington Arsenal. Eighteen were killed or fatally wounded and fifteen to twenty injured. 

Saturday June 18, 1864

With the arrival of the rest of the Army of the Potomac and Army of Northern Virginia in Petersburg, Virginia, Federal Major General Ulysses Grant’s “Overland Campaign” was essentially over. The Federals controlled two of the five railroads into the city and several roads. Confederate General Robert E. Lee stiffened his defenses and the “Siege of Petersburg” commenced. There were approximately 50,000 Confederates defending a position against 110,000 Federals.

On the Georgia front, General Joseph E. Johnston moved his Confederate Army of Tennessee back again to another line of defense – this time closer to Marietta in a semi-circle. The new line ran mainly along Big and Little Kennesaw mountains – a strong position that may have been impregnable to direct assault.

Sunday June 19, 1864

    USS KEARSARGE SINKS CSS ALABAMA

For several months, the United States Navy sought the elusive, strikingly successful Confederate raider, C.S.S. Alabama. At last they cornered her in Cherbourg, France. Raphael Semmes was forced to take his worn-out sip to the French harbor for a re-fit and was awaiting permission for the overhaul when Captain John A. Winslow brought the U.S.S. Kearsarge off the coast. Semmes sailed the Alabama out of the harbor by mid-morning and faced off just before 11 a.m. when the Alabama opened fire. The two vessels exchanged broadsides, gradually drawing closer. An hour later, the Alabama ceased firing and returned to shore, its hull filling rapidly with water. The English yacht Deerhound took some of the survivors, including Semmes. The Alabama sustained casualties of 9 killed, 21 wounded for a total of 30. There were only three wounded on the Kearsarge.

Skirmishing broke out  at Noonday Creek and Noyes’s Creek, Georgia; Bayou Grossetete, Louisiana; Eagle Pass, Texas; Hahn’s Farm near Waldron, Arkansas; and Iron Bridge in Indian Territory.

Monday June 20, 1864

Federal forces in Georgia under Major General William T. Sherman continued to press against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s defenses at Kennesaw Mountain. Skirmishing occurred at Cassville, Noonday Church¸ Noyes’s Creek, Powder Springs, Lattimer’s Mills and Noonday Creek, Georgia.

In Virginia, Petersburg remained relatively quiet as the two armies stared at each other across growing entrenchments.

President Abraham Lincoln left Washington on the U.S.S. Baltimore to visit the Army of the Potomac.

Tuesday June 21, 1864

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant and other officers visited President Lincoln aboard the U.S.S. Baltimore. The president reviewed troops from a U.S. Colored Troop division. Lincoln and Grant then toured the Petersburg lines on horseback.

In Richmond, Confederate President Jefferson Davis reluctantly accepted the resignation of Treasury Secretary Christopher G. Memminger, who had been aware of the severe criticisms he faced of his operation of the Confederate Treasury, many of which were unavoidable.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of June 15-21, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in the original assault against Petersburg, Virginia and then settled in for the Siege of Petersburg. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the Battle of Lost Mountain in Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Pine Bluff, Arkansas until October 10, 1864.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Huntsville, Alabama until June 22, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Veterans on furlough until Aug. 17, 1864. Remainder of regiment remained at Memphis, Tennessee for duty.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Enroute to Helena, Arkansas for duty.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Memphis, Tennessee.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until July 1, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty around Memphis, Tennessee.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty around Memphis, Tennessee.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until July 1, 1864.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until June 28, 1864.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D moved to Fort Abercrombie. Companies A and B assigned to garrison at Fort Abercrombie.  Company C assigned to garrison at Alexandria and Pomme de Terre. Company D on patrol duty from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina.  Companies E and F on frontier duty. The battalion would remain in these duty locations for the duration of the war – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty around Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia as part of the Atlanta Campaign.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Veterans were on furlough through June 5, 1864. Non-veterans attached to Battery I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where they escorted cattle and horses to the army in the field until July 14, 1864.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until July 1, 1864.

1st United States Sharpshooters Company I- Attached to the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia. 

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in the Battle of Petersburg and Siege of Petersburg.

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: June 8-14, 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 June 8, 1864

In Georgia, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops sloshed through mud and rain to the Western & Atlantic Railroad, preparing to face Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s troops in front of Marietta. Action occurred near Acworth and at Lost Mountain.

Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan, in what was to be his last raid, captured Mount Sterling, Kentucky and its Federal garrison. Some of Morgan’s confederates robbed the local bank of $18,000. His share of the blame has never been determined. Some speculated that the money was to go to Canada to help the Northwest Conspiracy or that Morgan’s command was so tenuous that he could not prevent the looting. Morgan blocked investigation and never explained it.

At Baltimore, Maryland, the National Union party convention nominated President Abraham Lincoln for re-election, as expected. Andrew Johnson, the military governor of Tennessee, became the vice-presidential candidate to replace Hannibal Hamlin. The party platform called for the integrity of the Union, quelling of the rebellion, no compromise with the rebels and a constitutional amendment to end slavery. The vote for president was 484 for Abraham Lincoln and 22 for Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant. Missouri changed its vote to make it unanimous. For Vice-President, John received 200 votes, Hamlin 150 and Democrat Daniel S. Dickinson of New York pulled in 108. Most delegates changed to Johnson and then it was unanimous. Lincoln’s role in dropping Hamlin and selecting Johnson has never been made clear.

Thursday June 9, 1864

Federal troops drove Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan out of Mount Sterling, Kentucky, and they retreated towards Winchester. A smaller fight took place near Pleasureville, Kentucky.

Crowds of delegates from the Baltimore convention rushed to the White House to congratulate President Abraham Lincoln on his nomination for a second term. Convention president William Dennison formally notified the president, who then issued a call for a constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman was making preparations for his next moves against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston in Georgia. Skirmishing broke out at Lost Mountain, Pine Mountain and Brush Mountain, along with Big Shanty and Stilesborough, Georgia.

Friday June 10, 1864

BATTLE OF BRICE’S CROSSROADS

Federal Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis’s troops from Memphis found Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest near Brice’s Crossroads, south of Corinth, Mississippi. Forrest abandoned his plan to move on Major General William T. Sherman’s communications and concentrated near Guntown, near Brice’s Crossroads. The Confederates vigorously attacked the Federals, exhausted by a long, rapid march in the hot weather. The Union lines fell back from the crossroads and withdrew over Tishomingo Creek. The bridge was blocked, creating a panic. The retreat, much of the way back to Memphis, was a near rout. Forrest captured most of the Federal artillery, 176 wagons and supplies, plus over 1,500 prisoners. It was considered one of his finest moments during the war. Federals lost 223 killed, 394 wounded and 1,623 missing or captured out of a force of 8,000 men. Forrest lost 96 killed, 396 wounded for an aggregate loss of 492 out of 3,500 engaged.

Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s raiders entered Lexington, Kentucky and burned the Federal depot and stables, taking about seven thousand horses.

In Georgia, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s three armies move forward cautiously towards Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s mountainous positions northwest of Marietta. Action occurred at Acworth, Pine Mountain, Roswell, Lost Mountain and Calhoun, Georgia. Muddy roads and swollen streams continued to hamper operations in the area. 

Saturday June 11, 1864

Brigadier General Samuel Sturgis’s Federals, still reeling from Brice’s Crossroads, fought rearguard actions at Ripley and Salem, Mississippi.

Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s raiders entered Cynthiana, Kentucky, after action at nearby Keller’s Bridge. Morgan’s men captured 300 Federals in the process.

As Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s forces pressed forward in Georgia, against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s positions, fighting broke out near McAffee’s Crossroads and skirmishing occurred near Lost and Pine mountains that lasted several days.

The famed Confederate raider, C.S.S. Alabama, arrived at Cherbourg, France, in bad need of a refit.

Sunday June 12, 1864

    Just days after the National Union party convention, attorney Frederick Aiken, a high ranking official in John C. Breckenridge’s 1860 campaign and the lawyer who would later defend Mary Surratt in her role in the Lincoln assassination, wrote a letter to John C. Fremont suggesting a clandestine collaboration with the Democrats to defeat Lincoln. It is one of the few times in American history that a sitting wartime president stood for reelection and faced considerable opposition.

With secrecy, efficiency and rapidity, the Army of the Potomac, over 100,000 strong, began one of the greatest army movements in military history. Pulling out of the positions near Cold Harbor, Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant and Major General George G. Meade directed four corps towards the James River. Light skirmishing occurred at Long Bridge and White House Landing.

In Mississippi, the shambles of Brigadier Samuel Sturgis’s command continued their post-Brice’s Crossroads retreat with Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest following. Skirmishing took place at Davis’s Mill, Mississippi, a rearguard action.

Monday June 13, 1864

The bulk of the Federal Army of the Potomac moved rapidly from Cold Harbor to the James River. Confederate General Robert E. Lee learned that the Federals had left Cold Harbor and had reports that they were aiming for Richmond from the Long Bridge area of the Chickahominy River. Lee shifted his Army of Northern Virginia southward, taking position from Malvern Hill to White Oak Swamp, effectively blocking the road to Richmond, a road that Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant did not intend to take. Lee, unaware of the magnitude of Grant’s move and impressed with the threat in the Valley of Virginia, moved Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s corps toward the Valley to halt the Federals.

Confederate Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell, who had been ailing, was assigned to command the Department of Richmond, replacing Major General Robert Ransom Jr., who went to the Department of Western Virginia.

Tuesday June 14, 1864

In Virginia, the Federal Army of the Potomac continued its crossing of the James River, while continuing to give the impression that they were planning to attack the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia north of the James River.

In Georgia, Federal Major General William T. Sherman sent skirmish lines forward toward the well-positioned Confederate works. The Confederate high command observed their movements from the top of Pine Mountain. Noticing that Federal artillery was aiming in their direction, the generals began to break up their conference when a shell struck Confederate Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk, bishop of the Episcopal Church and Confederate corps commander, killing him instantly. Historians do not rate Polk as a great military leader, though he was revered and exert great personal influence among Confederate ranks in the West. His death was a serious loss to General Joseph E. Johnston.

The U.S.S. Kearsarge arrived off of Cherbourg, France to blockade the C.S.S. Alabama.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of June 8-14, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – On duty at White House Landing, New Kent County, Virginia. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty around Dallas, Georgia during Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Pine Bluff, Arkansas until October 10, 1864.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Huntsville, Alabama until June 22, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – En route to Memphis, Tennessee for duty.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at various Minnesota outposts for garrison duty until June 9, 1864.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Paducah, Kentucky until June 19, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until July 1, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the battle at Ripley, Mississippi in Sturgis’s pursuit of Forrest.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Companies E and D were on duty at Island No. 10 until June 15, 1864. The remaining companies were on duty around Columbus, Kentucky until June 19, 1864.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until July 1, 1864.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until June 28, 1864.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D moved to Fort Abercrombie. Companies A and B assigned to garrison at Fort Abercrombie.  Company C assigned to garrison at Alexandria and Pomme de Terre. Company D on patrol duty from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina.  Companies E and F on frontier duty. The battalion would remain in these duty locations for the duration of the war – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – Moved to Rome, Georgia via Clifton, Tenn.; Huntsville and Decatur, Ala.; and Big Shanty, Ga. arriving on June 9, 1864 to join the Atlanta Campaign.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Veterans were on furlough through June 5, 1864. Non-veterans attached to Battery I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where they escorted cattle and horses to the army in the field until July 14, 1864.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On the march to Fort Sully on the Missouri River as part of the Sully Expedition to Dakota Territory until July 1, 1864.

1st United States Sharpshooters Company I- Now detached from the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, in camp at Stevensburg, Virginia awaiting the arrival of the 1st Battalion of Minnesota Infantry at the end of May 1864. 

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in the Battle of Cold Harbor.

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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