This Week in the American Civil War: January 28-February 3, 1863

Information courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

( and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday January 28, 1863

Skirmishing occurred at Indian Village, Louisiana; Nashville, Yorkville and Collierville, Tennessee; and a Federal scouting expedition between La Grange, Tennessee and Ripley,
Mississippi commenced.

Thursday January 29, 1863

Federal troops defeated the Bannock Indians in an engagement at Bear River, also known as Battle Creek, in Utah Territory. There was skirmishing near Richmond, Louisiana; a Confederate expedition to Daufuskie Island, South Carolina; and Federal bombardment on the defenses of Galveston, Texas.

The Confederate Congress authorized the borrowing of $15 million through French financier Emile Erlanger.

Friday January 30, 1863

Major General Ulysses S. Grant assumed immediate command of the entire expedition against Vicksburg, Mississippi and proceeded with various plans to isolate the city.

Federal gunboat Isaac Smith, reconnoitering in the Stono River near Charleston, was fired upon By Confederate batteries, went aground and was captured.

Skirmishing occurred at Deserted House, also known as Kelly’s Store, near Suffolk, Virginia, and at Turner’s Mills, Virginia.  

Saturday January 31, 1863

Confederate gunboats Chicora and Palmetto State moved out of Charleston Harbor, obscured in the haze, and raided the Federal blockaders. Mercedita was so severely damaged by ramming and shellfire that she surrendered, but later was able to get under way and escape. Keystone State was set afire, her boilers struck with ten or more shell. Other vessels were less seriously damaged. As usual, scalding steam caused most of the casualties, with four killed and three wounded on Mercedita and twenty killed and twenty wounded on Keystone State. The Confederate ironclads withdrew unhurt. The Blockade was not really broken, despite the temporary interruption.

Sunday February 1, 1863

     Federal naval forces made their second attack on Fort McAllister south of Savannah, Georgia, and were again unsuccessful.

Monday February 2, 1863

Union ram Queen of the West, ran past the Vicksburg, Mississippi batteries in broad daylight. She was struck twelve times but did not suffer serious damage. Her commander, Colonel Charles R. Ellet, was instructed to pass the city, make an attempt to ram the Confederate vessel, City of Vicksburg, and disrupt Confederate shipping down to the Red River.

Tuesday February 3, 1863

Queen of the West, under Colonel Charles R. Ellet, took three Confederate vessels below Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Pork, hogs, salt, molasses, sugar, flour, and cotton were destroyed and a number of prisoners were taken, including several females.

A Confederate attack by Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest on Fort Donelson, Tennessee, was repulsed by the Federal garrison and gunboats. It was an attempt to relieve pressure that the Federals were exerting on Vicksburg, Mississippi, but the attack ended in failure because of the lack of experienced troops under Forrest’s command.

French minister, M. Mercier, discussed the offer of French mediation with Secretary of State William H. Seward. Seward turned down the offer.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of January 28 – February 3, 1863 

1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – In camp near Falmouth, Virginia until April 1863.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march to Nolensville, Tennessee.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – In camp at 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 1863.

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 4, 1863.

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – In camp at Falmouth, Virginia.

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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