This Week in the American Civil War: October 19-25, 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 October 19, 1864

BATTLE OF CEDAR CREEK AND ST. ALBANS, VT RAID

Concealed by an early morning fog as they worked their way around Three-Top Mountain, the three forces of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early struck the Federal encampment at Cedar Creek, near Belle Grove, Virginia. The Federal positions crumpled as the Confederates gained full possession of the camps and earthworks of the Eighth and Nineteenth Corps of Major General Phil Sheridan’s Federal force. Sheridan had been in Washington, leaving command to Major General Horatio Wright. Though he was on his way back to Cedar Creek by the time the battle commenced, he was in Winchester examining the defenses of the town when the first shots were fired. He arrived on the battlefield around 10:30 a.m. and assumed command. After inspiring his troops and strengthening his lines, the Federals fought back and pushed the Confederates back to Fisher’s Hill at great cost. Out of more than 30,000 troops engaged, the Federals lost 644 killed, 3,430 wounded and 1,591 missing for a total of 5,665 casualties. Losses for the Confederates number approximately 320 killed, 1,540 wounded and 1,050 missing for a total of 2,910 though the number engaged ranges from 8,800 to 18,000. Confederate Major General Stephen D. Ramseur was mortally wounded.  Cedar Creek marked the last major battle of the war in the Shenandoah. Though Early’s remnant continued to be a nuisance, the Federals controlled the Valley until the end of the war.

Confederate Lieutenant Bennett H. Young and twenty-five Confederate soldiers descended on St. Albans, Vermont, a town fifteen miles from the Canadian border. Though operating from Canada, Young planned to burn and loot several towns. The Confederates robbed three St. Albans banks of over $200,000. As the citizens of the town began to resist, they mortally wounded one and injured other raiders. Young and a dozen Confederates were arrested after a short pursuit to the Canadian border. Only $75,000 of the stolen money was recovered.

Thursday October 20, 1864

In Virginia, brief fighting broke out near Fisher’s Hill as Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s men fell back after their defeat at Cedar Creek.

Skirmishing occurred at Blue Pond and Little River, Alabama; near Memphis, Tennessee; at Waterloo, Louisiana; and at Benton County, Arkansas. Indians attacked settlements in the Platte Valley near Alkali Station, Nebraska Territory.

President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation setting aside the last Thursday in November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to Almighty God the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.”

Friday October 21, 1864

Confederates under Major General Sterling Price, moving out from Lexington, Missouri, fought a successful skirmish on the Little Blue River against the Federal defenders who were evacuating Independence, Missouri. Elsewhere, fighting was limited to skirmishes at Bryant’s Plantation, Florida; Harrodsburg, Kentucky; Leesburg, Alabama; Sneedville, Tennessee; and another fight with Indians at Alkali Station, Nebraska Territory.  Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army halted at Gaylesville, Alabama, while in pursuit of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee.      

Saturday October 22, 1864

As fighting broke out near Independence, Missouri, at Mockabee Farm, on the Big Blue River at Byram’s Ford, and at State Line, Confederate Major General Sterling Price , now at Westport (part of today’s Kansas City), prepared to turn on the Federals closing in on him in northwest Missouri.

Other action this day included Confederate guerrillas who attacked a Union transport on the White River near St. Charles, Arkansas, while Indians and Federals skirmished near Midway Station, Nebraska Territory.

At Guntersville, Alabama, Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood found the Tennessee River too high for crossing, so his Army of Tennessee continued west across northern Alabama.

Captures of blockade-runners off of Charleston, South Carolina; and Wilmington, North Carolina, were increasing with the Federal Navy becoming more proficient at stopping the illicit trade. It also made the trade more lucrative.

Sunday October 23, 1864

     BATTLE OF WESTPORT, MISSOURI

Along Brush Creek at Westport, just south of Kansas City, Missouri, Confederate Major General Sterling Price’s force attacked Federal Major General Samuel Curtis’s troops. However, Curtis received word of the Confederate movements from spies, including “Wild Bill” Hickok, and was preparing for battle. After two hours of fighting, the Confederates pushed the Federals back across Brush Creek, but Curtis ordered the Federals to cross the creek again in a counterattack. For two more hours, fighting raged on the plateau. Led by the 9th Wisconsin Artillery, Curtis’s personal guard, the Federals were able to take advantage of a small ravine cut by Swan Creek, and turn the Confederate left flank. Other fighting took place at nearby Byram’s Ford to the east. By early afternoon, Price was forced to withdraw his entire army southward towards the Missouri-Kansas state line. The last Confederate effort in Missouri was over, as was all major fighting west of the Mississippi River. The Federals engaged approximately 20,000 troops to the Confederate’s 8,000, though each side lost around 1,500 in killed, wounded and missing. The Battle of Westport is often called the “Gettysburg of the West” for the insurmountable odds the Confederates faced to their numerically superior foe.

Monday October 24, 1864

Confederate Major General Sterling Price seemed to be in no great hurry as he moved his force south along the Kansas state line, protecting his long and valuable wagon train, which included much plunder. However, although slow in starting, Federal Major General Samuel Curtis pushed the pursuit of Price under Major Generals James G. Blount and Alfred Pleasonton.

Tuesday October 25, 1864

Pursuing Federals caught up with Confederate Major General Sterling Price’s retreating force south of Westport, Missouri. Federal Major General Alfred Pleasonton led a heavy engagement at the Marais des Cygnes River and at Mine Creek, Kansas. Two Confederate divisions broke and the wagon train was damaged. Price was forced to burn about a third of his wagon train and hurry south with the remnant of his command.

Fighting erupted near Round Mountain, at Turkeytown and on the Gadsden Road, all in Alabama, as Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s army skirmished with Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals.

Other skirmishing occurred at Milford, Virginia; and near Halfway House between Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of October 19-25, 1864 

Active units:

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

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in Operations in North Georgia and North Alabama against Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood until November 3, 1864.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Duvall’s Bluff, Arkansas until May 13, 1865.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Allatoona, Georgia until November 15, 1864.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the expedition through Arkansas and Missouri in pursuit of Sterling Price until November 15, 1864.

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

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the expedition through Arkansas and Missouri in pursuit of Sterling Price until November 15, 1864.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – En route to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for duty, arriving there November 7, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the expedition through Arkansas and Missouri in pursuit of Sterling Price until November 15, 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the expedition through Arkansas and Missouri in pursuit of Sterling Price until November 15, 1864.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned to duty guarding the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Nashville to the Kentucky line. Companies E, G, and I were at Gallatin, Tennessee. Company A was at Buck Lodge. Company B at Edgefield Junction. Company C at Richland. Company D at Sandersville. Company H was at Mitchellsville. The location of companies F and K are unknown at this time. The regiment remained on duty at these locations until June 25, 1865.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling, until November 17, 1865.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling until May 1866.

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

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – Participated in Operations in North Georgia and North Alabama against Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood until November 3, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty as infantry at Fort Irwin, Defenses of Chattanooga until March 30, 1865.

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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