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.

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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