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

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 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


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.

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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