This Week in the American Civil War: August 3-9, 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 August 3, 1864

Federal land forces landed on Dauphin Island and prepared to take Fort Gaines at the entrance to Mobile Bay. However, the fort remained in Confederate hands guarding the entrance from the west, along with Fort Morgan on the East.

In Georgia, Federal troops increased their pressure on Atlanta by crossing Utoy Creek and fighting at Sunshine Church, Frogtown, Jug Tavern and Mulberry Creek.

Federal  Major General Phil Sheridan arrived in Washington, D.C. to take over the Army of the Shenandoah.

Thursday August 4, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s men skirmished at Antietam Ford, Maryland, with action at New Creek, West Virginia, as the Confederate force remained a thorn in the side of Federals in Virginia.

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant left City Point, Virginia, for Washington, D.C. and Frederick, Maryland, to straighten out plans to thwart Early.

Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals continued crossing Utoy Creek on the west side of Atlanta in their slow extension of the siege line towards the southern side of the city.

Friday August 5, 1864


In the morning, Admiral David Farragut’s Federal fleet of eighteen ships including four monitors entered Mobile Bay, passing between the forts guarding the three-mile channel. Farragut had his four ironclad monitors in the starboard column led by the U.S.S. Tecumseh and fourteen wooden ships in the port column, with the U.S.S. Brooklyn in the lead and the U.S.S. Hartford as the flagship. The fleet moved in at 5:30 a.m. and Fort Morgan opened up on the Brooklyn shortly after 7 a.m. The Confederate fleet joined in as the U.S.S. Tecumseh headed for the C.S.S. Tennessee. Torpedoes exploded under the Tecumseh, which sank moments later two hundred yards from the enemy. Meanwhile, the remaining vessels passed the ports intact. Three Federal vessels rammed the Tennessee by midmorning. The ironclads opened up on the Tennessee which went out of control. At 10 a.m., the Tennessee surrendered.

During the Battle of Mobile Bay, the Federals lost 145 killed including 93 who drowned on the Tecumseh, 170 were wounded and four captured. Confederates sustained losses of 12 killed, 20 wounded and 270 captured. The U.S.S. Philippi was destroyed, C.S.S. Selma surrendered and the C.S.S. Gaines was sunk. 

Saturday August 6, 1864

With the Federal fleet in Mobile Bay and troops near Fort Gaines, the Confederate’s Fort Powell, guarding a secondary bay entry, was evacuated overnight after being bombarded by the U.S.S. Chickasaw, which then bombarded Fort Gaines.

In Georgia, fighting broke out at Utoy Creek southwest of Atlanta as Federal Major General William T. Sherman attempted to cut the Confederate railroads to the city’s south side.

Sunday August 7, 1864

    Fort Gaines, in Mobile Bay, surrendered to the Federal army on Dauphin Island, but Fort Morgan continued to remain in Confederate hands. Colonel Charles D. Anderson of Fort Gaines was censured by his superiors for raising the white flag of surrender. They believed he should have continued fighting instead of surrender.

Major General Philip H. Sheridan was assigned command of the new Middle Military Division, which included the Middle Department and those of Washington, the Susquehanna and West Virginia. His army became known as the Army of the Shenandoah with the main objective being the elimination of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s force which was operating in the Shenandoah Valley.

In Washington, Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, Major General Henry Halleck and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton conferred with President Abraham Lincoln.

Monday August 8, 1864

After considerable confusion among Confederate authorities, Fort Gaines finally surrendered to Federal forces on Dauphin Island in Mobile Bay.

Skirmishing occurred at Fairfax Station, Virginia; Salem, Kentucky; and LaFayette, Tennessee.

Tuesday August 9, 1864

In Virginia, the siege lines at Petersburg were quiet with little activity.

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan prepared his troops for a movement from Halltown and Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, towards Winchester, Virginia and the Confederate forces under Lieutenant  General Jubal Early.

Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals regrouped and rested for new moves against Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood and the city of Atlanta.

At City Point, Virginia, a tremendous explosion rocked the city killing 43, injuring 126 and causing vast property damage. Two Confederate agents smuggled a small box on board a Federal transport. Shortly before noon, the explosive went off. Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, sitting in front of his tent, was showered with debris but unhurt.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of August 3-9, 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 Smith’s Expedition to Oxford, Mississippi until August 30, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Smith’s Expedition to Oxford, Mississippi until August 30, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Smith’s Expedition to Oxford, Mississippi until August 30, 1864.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Organized at Fort Snelling, Minn., until September 20, 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 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 – 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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