This Week in the American Civil War: July 27-August 2, 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 July 27, 1864

After deciding to lay a partial siege to Atlanta, Federal Major General William T. Sherman sent out several cavalry expeditions to cut the railroads to the south of the city and to harass the Confederates.

Federal Major General Oliver Otis Howard assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee, succeeding Major General John A. Logan, who had temporarily succeeded Major General James B. McPherson, who was killed in the Battle of Atlanta.

Thursday July 28, 1864

BATTLES OF KILLDEER MOUNTAIN AND EZRA CHURCH

Federal Brigadier General Alfred Sully, commander of the District of Iowa as part of Major General John Pope’s Army of the Northwest, engaged 1,600 Dakota Indians at Killdeer Mountain in Dakota Territory as punishment from the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War in Minnesota. Sully formed his forces in a hollow square, which enabled him to fend of several attacks to his flanks and rear. Realizing that Sully’s forces would not be defeated, the Dakota retreated to protect their women and children. Of the 2,200 troops engaged under Sully’s command, three were killed and ten wounded. Dakota suffered 31 casualties in the battle.

In Georgia, as several cavalry raids were underway near Atlanta, Federal Major General William T. Sherman sought to extend his siege lines by sending infantry to the western borders of the city towards the important railroad outlets on the south.  Confederate troops attacked well-entrenched Federals at Ezra Church. They fought from early afternoon until dark before the Confederates withdrew into the fortifications at Atlanta. While the Federals lost just under six hundred casualties, the Confederate losses amounted to a staggering five thousand.

Friday July 29, 1864

A Federal expedition at Petersburg, Virginia forced a shift of some Confederate units away from the lines as the mining operations neared completion. Federal Major General Ambrose Burnside moved troops from his Ninth Corps into position for an attack planned for the next day.

On the Atlanta front, Federal cavalry fought Confederates at Lovejoy’s Station and Smith’s Crossroads in their efforts to wreck the vital southern railroads. 

Saturday July 30, 1864

BATTLE OF THE MINE

For more than a month, members of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry dug a 586-foot long tunnel under the 400 feet of no-man’s land between the Federal and Confederate lines at Elliott’s Salient on the eastern side of the siege lines at Petersburg, Virginia. Approximately 278 Confederates were killed when the blast went off around 5 a.m. A hole 170 feet long, 70 feet wide and 30 feet deep was left in its wake. However, when the Federal Ninth Corps commenced its attack, Confederate units were able to regroup and repulse the advance. By 8:30 a.m., nearly 15,000 Federals, a line similar in size to the Confederate’s famed “Pickett’s Charge” at Gettysburg, were in the area of the mine. By early afternoon, the Federals were ordered back. The Confederate’s lost around 1,500 killed and wounded in the attack while the Federals paid a high cost of 4,000 casualties.

Confederate cavalry under Lieutenant General Jubal Early entered Pennsylvania once again and demanded $500,000 in currency or $100,000 in gold from the citizens of Chambersburg in reparations for Federal Major General David Hunter’s depredations in the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia. Since the citizens could not raise such a sum under a short deadline, Chambersburg was set on fire.

Sunday July 31, 1864

    Confederate cavalry, after burning Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, was now fully occupied by Brigadier General William W. Averill’s pursing Federal cavalry. Averill attacked at Hancock, Maryland on the Potomac River, forcing the Confederates to head to Cumberland, Maryland.

At City Point, Virginia, President Abraham Lincoln held a five-hour conference with Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant before heading back to Washington. Meanwhile, at Petersburg, the lines were being reformed by both sides after the previous day’s Battle of the Mine.

Monday August 1, 1864

Confederate forces under Lieutenant General Jubal Early continued to threaten Federals in the Shenandoah River Valley. However, the Federals named Major General Philip H. Sheridan as the new commander of the Army of the Shenandoah with the task of ridding the valley of Early and all Confederates.

In the Petersburg, Virginia-area, the siege continued with a skirmish at Deep Bottom, Virginia, amid indications that Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant would attempt to cut the railroads that were still bringing supplies to Richmond, the Confederate capital.

Tuesday August 2, 1864

Confederate cavalry tangled with Federals again at Hancock, Maryland, as they sought to re-cross the Potomac River after their Chambersburg, Pennsylvania raid. Skirmishing on this front occurred at Old Town, Maryland and at Green Spring Run, West Virginia.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of July 27 – August 2, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned as provost and depot guard at Marietta, Georgia until Aug. 19, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Pine Bluff, Arkansas until October 10, 1864.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Allatoona, Georgia until October 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 in Memphis, Tennessee until August 1, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, Dakota Territory, while on Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Memphis, Tennessee until August 1, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Memphis, Tennessee until August 1, 1864.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Participated in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, Dakota Territory while on Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Participated in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, Dakota Territory while 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 for the Siege of Atlanta until August 25, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Mounted and engaged in scouting duty around Chattanooga, Tennessee until October 1864.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Participated in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, Dakota Territory while 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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