This Week in the American Civil War: September 14-20, 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 September 14, 1864

Confederate Brigadier General Robert H. Anderson’s corps started from the Shenandoah to join General Robert E. Lee at Petersburg, where the men were badly needed to face Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant’s spreading siege lines. The return of Anderson to Lee seriously depleted Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s force that opposed Federal Major General Phil Sheridan. Grand had ordered Sheridan’s defensive measures but there was great pressure on the Federal army to break Early’s hold on the Shenandoah Valley and threaten the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad along with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

Thursday September 15, 1864

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant headed north from the Petersburg siege lines to discuss future action in the Shenanadoah with Major General Phil Sheridan. Skirmishing occurred near Dinwiddie Court House, Virginia.

In Georgia, skirmishing broke out at Snake Creek Gap on Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s supply line in Lumpkin County.

Friday September 16, 1864

Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest, greatly feared in the North, began operations against Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s communications lines in northern Alabama and middle Tennessee.

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant and Major General Phil Sheridan conferred at Charles Town, West Virginia. Sheridan had learned that units of Confederate Brigadier General Robert H. Anderson’s corps had been sent back to Petersburg, Virginia, to strengthen General Robert E. Lee’s defending forces there. Grant approved Sheridan’s proposal to cut Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s supply and retreat lines south of Winchester, Virginia.

Skirmishing occurred at Snicker’s Gap and Coggins’s Point, both in Virginia. 

Saturday September 17, 1864

John C. Fremont informed a committee of Radical Republicans that he would step aside from the Presidential Campaign to prevent the election of George B. McClellan. Even though Fremont considered Abraham Lincoln to be a failure, he urged a united Republican party to save emancipation.

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early began an advance against the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad from Stephenson’s Depot north of Winchester, towards Martinsburg, twenty-two miles north. Early had approximately 12,000 troops opposing more than 40,000 Federal troops led by Major General Phil Sheridan.

Sunday September 18, 1864

    Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early moved part of his force from Bunker Hill to Martinsburg, further north. Federal Major General Phil Sheridan, learning of this move, positioned his forces to move directly upon Winchester, hoping to hit Early’s divisions separately.

Monday September 19, 1864

THIRD BATTLE OF WINCHESTER

North and east of Winchester, Virginia, Major General Phil Sheridan’s Federal army of about 40,000 hit Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s 12,000-strong force. Federal cavalry crossed the Opequon River north of the city and headed west towards the Martinsburg Pike and Stephenson’s Depot. The main Federal force came in along the Berryville Pike and headed west to strike the highway running north out of Winchester. Major General S.D. Ramseur’s Confederate division was forced to retire along the Berryville Pike and Early called in his three other divisions from the north. The losses were heavy. There were 697 Federals killed, 2,983 wounded and 338 missing for an aggregate total of 4,018. Confederate’s lost 276 killed, 1,827 wounded and 1,818 missing for a total of 3,921.

In Indian Territory, Confederate Brigadier Generals Stand Watie and Richard M. Gano successfully attacked a Federal wagon train at Cabin Creek. Federals reported losses of 202 wagons, 5 ambulances, 40 horses and 1,253 mules with an aggregate value of $1,500,000. Later in the same day, action occurred at Pryor’s Creek, not far from Cabin Creek.

Tuesday September 20, 1864

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s men followed rapidly on the heels of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s retiring forcewith fighting occurring at Middletown, Strasburg and Cedarville in the Shenandoah Valley. By evening, the Federals were fortifying on the high land north of Strasburg. The Confederates were south of the town on Fisher’s Hill. Early had escaped disaster and later claimed that Sheridan should have crushed him at Winchester.

In Georgia, Federal Major General William T. Sherman was suffering from skirmishes by Confederate Cavalry in the rear of his lines at Atlanta. A skirmish at Cartersville threatened the vital railroad to Chattanooga, Tennessee. In northern Alabama, Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest headed north towards Tennessee.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis left Richmond, Virginia for Georgia to see what could be done to revive Confederate fortunes there.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of September 14-20, 1864

Active units:

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

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – In the Jonesborough, Georgia area until September 29, 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 – On Mower’s expedition to Brownsville, Arkansas until September 17, 1864.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Helena, Arkansas until Nov. 4, 1864.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Mower’s expedition to Brownsville, Arkansas until September 17, 1864.

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

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Mower’s expedition to Brownsville, Arkansas until September 17, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Mower’s expedition to Brownsville, Arkansas until September 17, 1864.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Organized at Fort Snelling, Minn., until September 20, 1864.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Relief of Fisk’s Emigrant Train until September 30, 1864.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Relief of Fisk’s Emigrant Train until September 30, 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 thewar – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery Battery – Organized at St. Paul and Rochester until February 1865.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty in the Lovejoy’s Station, Georgia area of operations until September 29, 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 – Various sections on duty at Fort Ridgely, Fort Ripley and Fort Sisseton until May 1865.

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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