This Week in the American Civil War: January 14-20, 1863

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

( and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)


Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday January 14, 1863

At Bayou Teche, Louisiana, three Federal gunboats and troops attacked the Confederate gunboat Cotton and land fortifications. After a sharp assault, the gunboat was burned by Confederates the following morning.

Confederate General E. Kirby Smith was assigned to command of the Army of the Southwest.

Thursday January 15, 1863

Federal troops and sailors burned Mound City, Arkansas, a center of guerrilla activities.

The Confederate raider, Florida, sailed from Mobile, Alabama in a foray against Federal shipping.

President Abraham Lincoln asked if a concentrated horse food should be tested, and ordered a test of gunpowder, showing his keen interest in inventions and scientific developments. President Lincoln remains the only U.S. President to hold a U.S. Patent.

Friday January 16, 1863

There was a Federal expedition from Fort Henry to Waverly, both in Tennessee, while the Federal gunboat Baron De Kalb seized guns and ammunition at Devall’s Bluff, Arkansas.     

Saturday January 17, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln signed a Congressional resolution providing for the immediate payment of the armed forces, and asked for currency reforms to halt the additional issue of notes that increased the cost of living through inflation.

A skirmish occurred near Newtown, Virginia.

Sunday January 18, 1863

     A skirmish occurred in the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory, and fighting continued as a Federal expedition proceeded up the White River in Arkansas.

Monday January 19, 1863

The Confederate Congress debated Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Federal Major General Ambrose Burnside’s Army of the Potomac began to move in his long-contemplated second attempt to cross the Rappahannock River. Shortly after noon, the troops started for U.S. Ford, about ten miles north of Fredericksburg By night, the grand divisions of major generals Hooker and Franklin were near the ford. Weather had been good since December’s Battle of Fredericksburg.

Tuesday January 20, 1863

Major General Ambrose Burnside spent the day changing his plans for crossing the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg. By evening, the rain began as a mid-winter storm swept the east coast. It snowed in Washington, D.C., 84 miles north.

From their camp east of Fredericksburg near Falmouth, Virginia, 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Sergeant Myron Shepard writes in his journal, “Air feels damp. Some rain eve… Regt falls in under arms for orders to be ready to march early to-morrow morn to meet the enemy & c. It was a good order but fell heavily on our ears. But we will go & do our best.”

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of January 14-20, 1863 

1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – In camp near Falmouth, Virginia.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On guard duty at Gallatin, Tennessee until January 29, 1863.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march from Fort Snelling, Minnesota, to Cairo, Illinois.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Duty at White’s Station and Memphis, Tennessee until February 24, 1863.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Companies B and C had rejoined the regiment, which was on duty at Jackson, Tennessee, until mid-March 1863. Company D was the only regiment remaining in Minnesota in detached service and rejoined the regiment in mid-February.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Fort Snelling, Glencoe, Forest City and Kingston until February 1863.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty in Mankato and other points in Minnesota until June 1863.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On frontier duty at various points in Minnesota: Anoka, Princeton, Monticello, Kingston, Manannah, Paynesville, Fort Ripley, Sauk Center, Pomme de Terre, Alexandria and Fort Abercrombie until May 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty in various frontier Minnesota communities until June 1863.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Regiment on detached service for garrison duty at various outposts in frontier Minnesota until June 1863.

1st Regiment Minnesota Cavalry “Mounted Rangers” – Organized at St. Cloud, St. Peter and Fort Snelling for frontier duty against Indians until June 1863.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On duty near Fort Heiman, Tennessee.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – At Memphis, Tennessee until February 6, 1863.

2nd Independent Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty at Murfreesboro Tennessee until June 23, 1862.

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – In camp at Falmouth, Virginia and dispatched on January 20 in Burnside’s famous “Mud March.”

About civilwarweek

Member - Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, Civil War reenactor and historian since 1993, holds Bachelor's Degree in History from Concordia University-St. Paul, currently pursuing Master's Degree in History at St. Cloud State University and is author of the forthcoming book, "Muskets and Memories: A Modern Man's Journey through the Civil War."
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