This Week in the American Civil War: August 31 – September 6, 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 31, 1864

Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Confederate army attacked Federal Major General Oliver O. Howard’s Army of the Tennessee near Jonesborough, south of Atlanta, Georgia. The strong midafternoon drive lacked the effectiveness of previous attacks and was repulsed. Federal losses are estimated at 170 killed and wounded out of an effective strength of 15,000. Confederates lost around 1,725 out of 25,000 who were present for duty.

In Chicago, the Democrats nominated George B. McClellan, the former major general and Army of the Potomac commander, for the nomination to run against President Abraham Lincoln. McClellan received 174 votes on the first ballot to 38 for Thomas H. Seymour, 12 for Horatio Seymour and a few scattered ballots for others. As states changed notes, the revised total was 202.5 for McClellan and 28.5 for Thomas H. Seymour. Clement L. Vallandigham, the exiled Ohio congressman, moved that McClellan’s nomination be unanimous. George H. Pendleton, from Ohio, received the vice-presidential nomination on the second ballot.

Thursday September 1, 1864


Explosions and fires broke out at night around Atlanta’s railroad depot and yards. Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood, fearing Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s encircling force to the south at Jonesborough and fearing a direct attack on the City of Atlanta, evacuated, beginning in the late afternoon. Time did not allow them to remove the extensive ammunition and other supplies, so they went up in flames along with a great deal of railroad equipment. Hood was now intent on saving his army for a better day. However, he failed in his major task – to fight and hold Atlanta.

Shortly afternoon noon, the Battle of Jonesborough reopened. After furious fighting, Federals all but eliminated two Confederate brigades, although other forces held on. Losses in the two days at Jonesborough numbered at least 1,450 for the Federals and are unrecorded for the Confederates.

Friday September 2, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman informed President Lincoln that his army had “fairly won” Atlanta. Meanwhile, Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood gathered his army around Lovejoy’s Station, southeast of Atlanta but northwest of Macon, Georgia. Sherman stayed in Atlanta to reorganize and plan, which is what Hood did in Lovejoy’s Station.

Skirmishing occurred elsewhere on the Weldon Railroad in Virginia; The Tannery near Little Rock and near Quitman, Arkansas; Mount Vernon, Missouri; and near Union City, Tennessee. Guerrillas raided near Owensborough, Kentucky. 

Saturday September 3, 1864

President Abraham Lincoln declared September 5th a day of celebration for the victories at Atlanta and Mobile. He also recalled Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, who was at his home in New Hampshire. Members of Congress had been advising Lincoln that Blair be dropped from the Cabinet for his support of Democrats.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis tried to gather troops in Georgia to assist Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood.

In Georgia, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army was still in Atlanta while Hood was still licking his wounds at Lovejoy’s Station.

In Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, both armies exchanged captive surgeons and chaplains.

Sunday September 4, 1864


Famed Confederate raider and cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan was killed by a Federal raiding party in Greenville, Tennessee. The raiding party mirrored Morgan’s own methods, slipped into town early in the morning and shot Morgan while he was trying to rejoin his own men.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman was still in Atlanta pulling in his army for a month-long regrouping and needed rest. Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood was doing the same with his diminishing ranks at Lovejoy’s Station, Georgia.

Elsewhere, fighting broke out at Brownsville, Arkansas, and at Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Confederates attacked the steamers Celeste and Commercial at Gregory’s Landing on the White River, Arkansas.

Monday September 5, 1864

Along the Opequon River in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, portions of Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s and Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s forces skirmished near Stephenson’s Depot, north of Winchester. Both sides continued to probe to try to catch the other off balance.

Voters of Louisiana who had taken the oath, ratified the new state constitution which included the abolition of slavery.

Tuesday September 6, 1864

The major battle fronts in Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley and in Georgia were quiet.

Maryland’s convention adopted a new constitution that abolished slavery.

Skirmishing broke out at Readyville, Tennessee; Eight Mile Post on the Natchez and Liberty Road in Mississippi; Richland and Searcy, Arkansas; Brunswick, Missouri and a minor bombardment began at Charleston, South Carolina.

Confederate Lieutenant General Richard Taylor assumed command of the Confederate Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of August 31 – September 6, 1864 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in Battle of the Weldon Railroad as part of the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865. 

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Marched to Atlanta, Georgia and took part in siege operations against that city until August 31, 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 rejoined the regiment, which was on Smith’s Expedition to Oxford, Mississippi until Aug. 30, 1864.

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 – Participated in the Federal flank movement on Jonesborough, Georgia.

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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