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.

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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