This Week in the American Civil War: September 28 – October 4, 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 28, 1864

The lull continued on the principal fronts at Petersburg and Atlanta, though a skirmish was fought at Decatur, Georgia.

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan fell back briefly towards Harrisonburg in the Shenandoah after more secondary action against Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s outposts at Port Republic and Rockfish Gap, Virginia.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis wired Lieutenant General John Bell Hood to relieve Lieutenant General Hardee from the Army of Tennessee and send him to command the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Hardee and Hood had their difficulties and the move seemed necessary if the President was to support Hood. Davis did raise the prospect of putting General P.G.T. Beauregard in charge of an overall Western Department.

Thursday September 29, 1864

BATTLES OF PEEBLES FARM AND FORT HARRISON, VA BEGIN

The Petersburg-Richmond front exploded with a two-pronged Federal drive – one north of the James River against the Richmond defenses and one west of Petersburg seeking to extend the lines and penetrate to the South Side Railroad and Appomattox River.

Fearing possible reinforcements to Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early operating in the Shenandoah Valley, Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant dispatched two corps north of the James River to attack the outer Richmond defenses. Advancing rapidly, George Stannard’s division stormed Fort Harrison, capturing a major Confederate bastion and nearby works. The Federals promptly rebuilt Fort Harrison into a Federal bastion. The fort was so important that both Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee both personally oversaw the combat operations of their respective armies.

To the west of Petersburg, 16,000 Federals under Major General George G. Meade pressed to increase the encirclement of the city west of the Weldon Railroad and pressed to take the South Side Railroad. The fight at Peeble’s farm began and continued for four days. The engagements occurred at Wyatt’s Farm, Peeble’s Farm, Pegram’s Farm, the Chappell House, Poplar Spring Church and Vaughan Road.

Additional skirmishes occurred at Waynesborough, Virginia; Leasburg and Cuba, Missouri; along with Lynchburg, Centreville and Moore’s Bluff, Tennessee.

Friday September 30, 1864

After losing Fort Harrison on the previous day, Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered vigorous counterattacks. The Federals, having turned the earthwork at Fort Harrison around, beat off the Confederate assaults, who then constructed new outer earthworks between Fort Harrison and Richmond. The Federals constructed new siege lines east of the Confederate capital. The Federals lost 383 killed, 2,299 wounded and 645 missing for an aggregate loss of 3,327 out of 20,000 engaged. The Confederates sustained more than 10,000 losses during the series of assaults.

The engagement at Peebles Farm stretched out to Poplar Spring Church which resulted in an extension of the siege lines to Squirrel Level Road and forced the Confederates to continue to spread out further as the month concluded. 

Saturday October 1, 1864

DEATH OF CONFEDERATE SPY ROSE O’NEAL GREENHOW

Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s troops skirmished with Federal garrisons at Athens and Huntsville, Alabama, and captured blockhouses at Carter’s Creek Station, Tennessee.

In Missouri, Confederate raiders under Sterling Price skirmished with Federal forces at Union, Franklin and Lake Springs.

The British blockade-runner Condor, being pursued by the U.S.S. Niphon, went aground off New Inlet, near Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Fearing capture because of dispatches and $2,000 in gold she was carrying, famed Confederate spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow left the Condor in a small boat. The surf overturned the vessel, the gold weighed her down and she drowned.

Sunday October 2, 1864

     Confederates from the Army of Tennessee reached Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s supply line and skirmishes ensued at Big Shanty and Kennesaw Water Tank, Georgia, where Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s men broke the Western & Atlantic Railroad and interrupted the Federal link between Atlanta and Chattanooga. Other action in the area occurred at Fairburn, Sand Mountain and Powder Springs.

At Augusta, Georgia, Confederate President Jefferson Davis told General P.G.T. Beauregard to assume command of the two western departments, but not interfere with field operations except when personally present. Davis hoped to coordinate the defenses of the Confederacy in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi in order to resume offensive operations.

Monday October 3, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee was on the Chattanooga-Atlanta Railroad in the rear of Federal Major General William T. Sherman and seized Big Shanty, Kennesaw Water Tank and broke up the track even more. Sherman began sending troops back from Atlanta to cope with what he considered nuisance raids. Federal Major General George H. Thomas arrived in Nashville, Tennessee, sent by Sherman, to command defensive forces against any possible invasion by Hood.

While returning from Georgia, Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrived at Columbia, South Carolina to an enthusiastic welcome.

Tuesday October 4, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s troops continued their grip on the Chattanooga-Atlanta Railroad and engaged in skirmishes at Acworth, Moon’s Station and Lost Mountain, Georgia. Federal Major General William T. Sherman, leaving one corps in Atlanta, was on his way to rescue the various garrisons along the railroad and set up headquarters at Kennesaw Mountain.

In Washington, newly appointed Postmaster General William Dennison joined the Cabinet.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of September 28 – October 4, 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 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 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 – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 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 – En route to Nashville, Tennessee via Chicago and St. Louis. The regiment arrived on October 5, 1864.

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

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 thewar – 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 – 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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: September 21-27, 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 21, 1864

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan was assigned to permanent command of the Middle Military District, including the Shenandoah Valley. At Strasburg, Virginia, he positioned his army for an attack against Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s force at nearby Fisher’s Hill.

Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest was moving in Northern Alabama and about to threaten Athens, Tennessee.

Thursday September 22, 1864

BATTLE OF FISHER’S HILL

Skillfully utilizing his superior sized force, Federal Major General Phil Sheridan held the heights at Strasburg, Virginia and threatened Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Confederates on Fisher’s Hill and along the Tumbling Run. Three Federal corps attacked in front of the Tumbling Run ravine and up Fisher’s Hill. They pursued the Confederates for four miles before Early could rally his forces. Confederates lost 1,235 men including nearly 1,000 of which were missing, along with 12 guns and numerous amounts of small arms. The Federals lost an aggregate total of 528 men killed, wounded and missing.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrived in Macon, Georgia, by train to confer with Confederate General John Bell Hood about recapturing Georgia, and attend a refugee relief meeting.

Friday September 23, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s forces, now battered, were moving back to New Market, Virginia. His cavalry skirmished at Front Royal, Woodstock, near Edenburg, and at Mount Jackson. Federal Major General Phil Sheridan did not pursue as he settled for victories at Winchester and Fisher’s Hill.

Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s troops skirmished at Athens, Alabama.

Federal Major General S.A. Hurlbut assumed command of the Department of the Gulf.

President Abraham Lincoln asked Postmaster General Montgomery Blair to resign. Blair had previously offered to step down when Lincoln thought best and he did so immediately. Blair had been unpopular with the Radical Republicans that Lincoln needed to secure reelection. 

Saturday September 24, 1864

Skirmishing occurred at Athens, Alabama; Fayette, Jackson and Farmington, Missouri; Magnolia, Florida; and at Mount Jackson, New Market, Luray and Forest Hill, Virginia.

As a result of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s disorganized force needing reorganization, rest and relief in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s forces began burning crops, barns and other property to comply with Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant’s orders that the Valley cease to be a granary and sanctuary for the Confederates.

President Abraham Lincoln named former Ohio governor William Dennison as the new Postmaster General, in place of Montgomery Blair, who resigned at the President’s request. Lincoln also approved congressional authorization for the Union purchase of products from states “declared in insurrection.”

Sunday September 25, 1864

     Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s large army moved toward Staunton and Waynesborough, Virginia, destroying railroads and other property. Eventually they forced Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s force back to Brown’s Pass in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Skirmishing erupted at Sulphur Branch Trestle, Alabama; Farmington and Huntsville, Missouri; Henderson, Kentucky; Walnut Creek, Kansas and near Johnsonville, Tennessee.

Monday September 26, 1864

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s cavalry clashed with Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s cavalry around Port Republic, Weyer’s Cave and Brown’s Gap, Virginia, before they pulled out and left Early alone to restore his chaotic army. In Richmond, news of Early’s defeat gave rise to severe criticism of the Confederate government.

Minor fighting took place at Roswell, Georgia; Vache Grass, Arkansas; Richland Creek, Tennessee; Arcadia Valley, Shut-in-Gap and Ironton, Missouri; and at Osage Mission, Kansas.

Tuesday September 27, 1864

It was another day of skirmishing as fighting broke out at Port Republic and Weyer’s Cave, Virginia; Pulaski, Lobelville and Beardstown, Tennessee; Fort Davidson, Arcadia, Ironton and Mineral Point, Missouri.

A thirty-man Confederate guerrilla force of Bloody Bill Anderson, including George Todd and the James boys, looted and burned Centralia, Missouri. Twenty-four unarmed soldiers were killed. Federal troops came to the rescue and were ambushed near Centralia with 116 killed.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of September 21-27, 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 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 – On Sully’s Expedition to Dakota Territory until October 15, 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 – En route to Nashville, Tennessee via Chicago and St. Louis. The regiment arrived on October 5, 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.

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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.

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1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing (USA) 1841-1863 – Medal of Honor Recipient

Alonzo Hereford Cushing was born on Jan. 19, 1841, in Delafield, Wisconsin, and was raised in Fredonia, New York. Cushing was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1857. Upon graduation in June 1861, he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

1st Lt.

1st Lt.

Cushing participated in most of the campaigns and battles of the Army of the Potomac, to include Bull Run (Virginia), Antietam (Maryland), Fredericksburg (Virginia), Chancellorsville (Virginia), and Gettysburg (Pennsylvania). Cushing also trained volunteer troops in Washington, D.C., served as an ordnance officer on the staff of Gen. Edwin V. Sumner, and as a topographical engineer. During the Chancellorsville Campaign, Cushing was promoted to command Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, in the Army of the Potomac’s II Corps.

Cushing was killed in action on July 3, 1863, at the age of 22. Although he received a posthumous brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel for his service at the Battle of Gettysburg, on July 1, 1863, no award was awarded to Cushing for his efforts during that critical day of battle. He was buried with full honors at his alma mater, West Point, beneath a headstone inscribed, “Faithful unto death.”

OFFICIAL CITATION

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to

FIRST LIEUTENANT ALONZO H. CUSHING

UNITED STATES ARMY

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing distinguished himself by acts of bravery above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Artillery Commander in Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 3, 1863 during the American Civil War. That morning, Confederate Forces led by General Robert E. Lee began cannonading First Lieutenant Cushing’s position on Cemetery Ridge. Using field glasses, First Lieutenant Cushing directed fire for his own artillery battery. He refused to leave the battlefield after being struck in the shoulder by a shell fragment. As he continued to direct fire, he was struck again, this time suffering grievous damage to his abdomen. Still refusing to abandon his command, he boldly stood tall in the face of Major General George E. Pickett’s charge and continued to direct devastating fire into oncoming forces. As the Confederate Forces closed in, First Lieutenant Cushing was struck in the mouth by an enemy bullet and fell dead beside his gun. His gallant stand and fearless leadership inflicted severe casualties upon Confederate Forces and opened wide gaps in their lines, directly impacting the Union Forces’ ability to repel Pickett’s Charge. First Lieutenant Cushing’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty, at the cost of his own life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, Army of the Potomac, and the United States Army.

Watch the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force video on 1st Lt. Cushing at Gettysburg here.

President awards MoH to  Cushing’s cousin

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 6, 2014) — President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing for helping stop Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863.

President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing for his gallantry during combat at Gettysburg July 3, 1863. Receiving the medal at the White House ceremony, Nov. 6, 2014, is Helen Loring Ensign, Cushing's first cousin, twice removed. Some 24 other descendants were present as well. To the president's immediate right is Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh. Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Laura Buchta

President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing for his gallantry during combat at Gettysburg July 3, 1863. Receiving the medal at the White House ceremony, Nov. 6, 2014, is Helen Loring Ensign, Cushing’s first cousin, twice removed. Some 24 other descendants were present as well. To the president’s immediate right is Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh. Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Laura Buchta

The ceremony took place in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, today. Helen Loring Ensign accepted the medal on behalf of Cushing, her first cousin, twice removed. Some 24 other descendants were present as well.

Long before Gettysburg, the West Point graduate “fought bravely” at the battles of Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg, developing a reputation for “his cool, his competence and his courage under fire,” Obama said.

Cushing commanded Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac, atop Cemetery Ridge. On that fateful day, some 10,000 of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s troops advanced toward them in a line, elbow-to-elbow, a mile wide, in the final, desperate hours of the battle.

Smoke from the guns obscured the battlefield and the air was thick with lead. In the chaos, Cushing was hit and badly wounded, the president continued. His first sergeant, Frederick Fuger, urged him to fall back to the safety of the rear, away from the punishing fire. But Cushing refused, telling Fuger he’d rather “fight it out or die in the attempt.”

Bleeding badly and growing weaker every moment, he moved his remaining artillery closer to the front and continued to defend the Union line. “He used his own thumb to stop his gun’s vent, burning his finger to the bone,” the president related.

When Cushing was hit the final time, the 22-year-old Soldier fell beside his gun. Obama said Cushing was later immortalized by a poet, who wrote: “His gun spoke out for him once more before he fell to the ground.”

In a letter to Cushing’s sister, Fuger wrote that “the bravery of their men that day was entirely due to your brother’s training and example set on numerous battlefields.” Etched on Cushing’s tombstone at West Point is the simple epitaph, “Faithful unto death,” the president said. And, his memory will be honored later this month, when a Navy cruiser — the USS Gettysburg — dedicates its officer’s dining hall as the “Cushing Wardroom.”

Unbeknownst to Cushing, Gettysburg was a turning point in the war, the president said, and it was men like Cushing who were responsible for the victory. Historians often refer to the where Pickett’s Charge was stopped as the “high water mark of the Confederacy.”

When President Lincoln later dedicated the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, he said these men gave their “last full measure of devotion.”

Cushing’s story “is part of our larger American story — one that continues today,” the president concluded. “The spirit, the courage, the determination that he demonstrated lives on in our brave men and women in uniform who this very day are serving and making sure that they are defending the freedoms that Alonzo helped to preserve.

“And, it’s incumbent on all of us as Americans to uphold the values that they fight for, and to continue to honor their service long after they leave the battlefield — for decades, even centuries to come.”

MEDAL LONG IN COMING

A Soldier displays the Medal of Honor for 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, awarded during a White House ceremony, Nov. 6, 2014, to recognize Cushing's heroism at the Battle of Gettysburg. Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Laura Buchta

A Soldier displays the Medal of Honor for 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, awarded during a White House ceremony, Nov. 6, 2014, to recognize Cushing’s heroism at the Battle of Gettysburg. Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Laura Buchta

Margaret Zerwekh, 94, a historian, attended the White House ceremony and was recognized by the president. Zerwekh did research on Cushing’s service in the Civil War. She was certain his valorous actions merited the Medal of Honor and lobbied her congressmen for decades to make it happen. She became interested in Cushing’s story, since she lives on property in Wisconsin that was once owned by his father.

Typically, the medal is awarded within a few years of the action. Obama said, “but sometimes, even the most extraordinary stories can get lost in the passage of time. No matter how long it takes, it is never too late to do the right thing.”

This medal is about more than just one Soldier, Obama said. “It reflects our obligations as a country to the men and women in our armed services; obligations that continue long after they return home, after they remove their uniforms and even, perhaps especially, after they’ve laid down their lives.”

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Harold Holzer reception Oct. 30 in Kenosha, Wisconsin

On Thursday, October 30, Harold Holzer discusses his new book, Lincoln and the Power of the Press. A public reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by the program at 7 p.m. A suggested $5 donation to the museum will be accepted at the door, and advance registration is not required.

First edition copies of the books will be available for purchase and signing the nights of the events.

The Civil War Museum in Kenosha is a war museum like no other. It focuses on the Civil War from the perspective of the people in the six states of the upper Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The other two locations, the Kenosha Public Museum and the Dinosaur Discovery Museum are just a quick trolley car ride (adults, $1; kids ages 5-12, $0.50.) away. Free parking is available in the scenic lot on the lake shore. All three locations truly are a MUST SEE for everyone! This perfect day trip for the whole family is only 25 minutes from Milwaukee and 55 minutes from Chicago. Kenosha Public Museums offer a wide variety of classes and workshops for all ages. For more information visit www.KenoshaPublicMuseum.org or call 262-653-4140.

 

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This Week in the American Civil War: September 7-13, 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 7, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman wrote a letter to Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood deeming it in the interest of the United States to call for the evacuation of Atlanta. Over the course of the next week, 446 families left their homes, totaling approximately 1,600 people. Sherman felt the need to evacuate the citizens because he had trouble feeding his own army and didn’t want to risk the burden of additional mouths to feed. This set off a lengthy and heated correspondence between the two generals.

In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, small Federal and Confederate units skirmished again near Brucetown and Winchester.

Thursday September 8, 1864

In Orange, New Jersey, former Major General George B. McClellan formally accepted the Democratic nomination for President by a letter to the official notification committee.

Only two light skirmishes occurred near Hornersville and Gayoso, Missouri, though a Federal army-navy expedition destroyed fifty-five furnaces at Salt House Point on Mobile Bay in Alabama.

Friday September 9, 1864

President Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet, still concerned over the serious problems connected with cotton trading with the Confederates, leaned increasingly towards open trading.

Fighting broke out on the Warrensburg Road near Warrensburg, Missouri; at Currituck Bridge, Virginia; and Confederates attacked the steamer J.D. Perry at Clarendon, Arkansas. 

Saturday September 10, 1864

Although the primary fronts were largely quiet, the virtually unknown small wars continued with an affair at Campbellton, Georgia; a skirmish at Woodbury, Tennessee; fighting also occurred near Roanoke, Pisgah, and Dover, Missouri; along with Darkesville, West Virginia. An assault on Confederate works at Chimneys, Virginia also occurred.

A wagon train of emigrants traveling in Dakota Territory were ambushed by Indians, prompting a rescue effort by Federal troops.

Sunday September 11, 1864

    A column of Federal troops comprised of 850 men including 550 infantry, 300 cavalry plus a section of artillery, set out from Fort Rice in Dakota Territory to relieve Captain Fisk’s emigrant train that was ambushed by Indians.

Monday September 12, 1864

Both President Abraham Lincoln and Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant were disturbed over what Lincoln called “a deadlock” in the Shenandoah Valley. Neither Federal Major General Phil Sheridan nor Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early seemed to make any progress in the Winchester, Virginia area.

Skirmishing occurred near Memphis, Tennessee; Caledonia, Missouri; and the Federal troops arrived in Dakota Territory to relieve Captain Fisk of his duty in escorting the emigrants to Idaho.

Tuesday September 13, 1864

Skirmishing in the Shenandoah Valley increased with action at Bunker Hill, near Berryville, Virginia; along with Locke’s and Gilberts’ fords on Opequon Creek. Skirmishing also broke out near Searcy, Arkansas and Longwood, Missouri.

President Abraham Lincoln responded at a political serenade in Washington but made no formal policy statement.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of September 7-13, 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 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 – 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.

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

ATLANTA EVACUATED BY CONFEDERATES

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

    JOHN HUNT MORGAN KILLED

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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: August 24-30, 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 August 24, 1864

On the Petersburg, Virginia front, Federals realized that Confederate infantry was building up near the Union troops who were destroying large sections of the Weldon Railroad. Skirmishing broke out near Reams Station and on the Vaughan Road nearby.

Elsewhere, skirmishing flared up at Annandale, Virginia; Huttonsville, Halltown and Sutton, West Virginia. Skirmishing also occurred at Claiborne, Georgia; Gunter’s Prairie, Indian Territory along with Ashley’s and Jones’s Stations near Duvall’s Bluff, Arkansas.

Thursday August 25, 1864

BATTLE OF REAMS STATION

Striking against the Federal infantry destroying the Weldon Railroad south of Petersburg, Virginia, Confederate Lieutenant General A.P. Hill’s Confederate corps defeated Federal Major General Winfield Scott Hancock’s Second Corps in a surprise attack at Reams Station. Federal losses totaled 2,372 and the Confederate casualties were estimated at 720. Over 2,000 of the Federal losses were captured or missing. Hancock’s men withdrew and Hill’s troops returned to the Petersburg defensive line. The Confederate victory did not discourage Federal destruction or the build-up of new westward extension of the Union siege lines around Petersburg.

In Georgia, Federal Major General William T. Sherman began his principal movement to cut off the city of Atlanta completely. Troops marched towards the south side of the Atlanta area, in the general direction of Jonesborough.

Otherwise, skirmishing occurred at Morgan’s Ferry and on the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana.

The C.S.S. Tallahassee ran the blockade into Wilmington, North Carolina after a successful three-week cruise in which she captured thirty-one Federal ships.

Friday August 26, 1864

Threatening East Point, Georgia, south of Atlanta, Federal Brigadier General John M. Schofield’s troops massed and demonstrated as other units of Major General William T. Sherman’s army came into position, endangering Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s last entry lines into and out of Atlanta. Skirmishes took place along the Chattahoochee River at Pace’s Ferry and Turner’s Ferry, Georgia. 

Saturday August 27, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army was ready. Much of it was in position southwest of Atlanta on the Sandtown Road, ready to push farther south and swing east towards Jonesborough to cut Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s last railroads into the city. Hood and his Confederates had not been able to interfere with the preparations to any extent. Fighting broke out at Farmer’s Ferry and Fairburn, Georgia.

Sunday August 28, 1864

    Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army was advancing now. Major General George H. Thomas and the Army of the Cumberland reached Red Oak on the Montgomery and Atlanta or West Point Railroad while Major General Oliver O. Howard and his Army of the Tennessee were near Fairburn on the railroad. Brigadier General John M. Schofield’s Army of the Ohio was near Mount Gilead Church while Major General Henry W. Slocum’s Twentieth Corps held the Union lines around Atlanta. During the advance, fighting broke out at Red Oak and Sandtown.

Monday August 29, 1864

Confederates were on the move again in the Trans-Mississippi as Major General Sterling Price assumed command of a new expeditionary force at Princeton, Arkansas. Price hoped to recover Missouri for the South.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army in Georgia continued its preliminary operations for the major move towards Jonesborough. Skirmishing at Red Oak Station and near Sandtown continued to mark the Confederate probing operations.

The Democratic National Convention gathered in Chicago determined to nominate a candidate who could defeat President Abraham Lincoln and settle the war issues. Committees were formed and the work began. Major General George B. McClellan was the most prominent name being discussed as a presidential candidate.

Tuesday August 30, 1864

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army severed one of the last two railroads in Atlanta and marched rapidly towards the Macon line. Atlanta was in dire danger. Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood countered late in the day by sending his own old corps to attack the Federal flank at Jonesborough. Sherman had his three armies separated considerably and they were more than Hood could cover. Fighting broke out near East Point, Flint River Bridge and Jonesborough.

Federal Major General George Crook replaced Major General David Hunter in command of the Federal Department of West Virginia.

The Democrats meeting in Chicago adopted a platform and placed names in nomination for President. Major General George B. McClellan and Thomas H. Seymour, former governor of Connecticut, were named. Senator L.W. Powell of Kentucky and former President Franklin Pierce withdrew their nominations.  The convention adopted, for the most part, the program of the Peace Democrats and Copperheads, a platform diametrically opposed to that of the Lincoln Administration and Radical Republicans.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of August 24-30, 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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: August 17-23, 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 August 17, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early ‘s troops pushed northward from Cedar Creek, Virginia after Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s withdrawing army. Sheridan had moved on to the Berryville area, leaving a rearguard at Winchester. In a sharp fight near Winchester, Federal cavalry held well and protected the main column.

In the Petersburg Campaign, Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant indicated to President Abraham Lincoln of his desire to continue the siege of Petersburg without weakening his army.

Thursday August 18, 1864

BATTLE OF THE WELDON RAILROAD BEGINS

The Federal Fifth Corps under Major General Gouverneur K. Warren left the Petersburg lines and moved to the west of the Federal siege positions and occupied over a mile of the vital Weldon Railroad running south from Petersburg. After taking the area around Globe Tavern, Yellow House, and Blick’s Station, Warren turned northward facing Petersburg. Terrain and Confederate Major General Henry Heth’s troops, they were halted in the woods south of the city. Despite the heat and heavy rain, the Federal troops made their first important move since the Battle of the Mine to penetrate towards Petersburg. It cost them 544 killed and wounded plus 292 missing.

In the Shenandoah Valley, Federal Major General Phil Sheridan pulled out of Berryville, Virginia and headed towards Charles Town, West Virginia. When Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early learned of this movement, he moved his forces towards Bunker Hill, north of Winchester. Fighting occurred along Opequon Creek.

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, for the second time in the war, refused to exchange Confederate prisoners of war believing that such an exchange would prolong the war. The Confederates urged the exchange on humanitarian grounds and because they could use their men now in Federal hands. Consequently, they were severely strained to feed, house, clothe and guard Federals under their control.

Friday August 19, 1864

BATTLE OF THE WELDON RAILROAD CONTINUES

During the afternoon, troops of Confederate Lieutenant General A.P. Hill’s corps hit Federal Major General Gouverneur K. Warren’s infantry in the dense woods south of Petersburg, Virginia. The Union forces suffered severe casualties and had to pull back towards Globe Tavern, which they had seized the day before. The Federals still held the vital railroad but it came at a high cost of 382 killed and wounded and 2,518 missing. Confederate casualties are uncertain.

Skirmishing occurred near Opequon Creek on the Berryville and Winchester Pike as Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s forces continued to class with the Federal Army of the Shenandoah under Major General Phil Sheridan. 

Saturday August 20, 1864

Despite skirmishing along the Weldon Railroad near Globe Tavern, south of Petersburg, Virginia, the Confederates temporarily suspended their efforts to dislodge the Federal troops in the area. Confederate President Jefferson Davis expressed his distress at the presence of Federal troops on the Weldon Railroad.

In the Shenandoah Valley, skirmishing between Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s forces and Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s troops continued with action at Berryville and Opequon Creek in Virginia, and at Bulltown, West Virginia.

Fighting occurred at Lovejoy’s Station on the Macon and Western Railroad in Georgia.

Sunday August 21, 1864

    In an early morning raid, Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest and 2,000 of his men entered the city of Memphis, Tennessee, held it for part of the day and nearly captured Federal Major Generals Cadwallader C. Washburn and Stephen A. Hurlbut. Capturing the generals was one of three aims of Forrest’s raid – the other two being the secured release of Confederate prisoners at Irving Block Prison, and the recall of Federal troops from Northern Mississippi. The raid failed on two of the three accounts. Only the recall of Federal forces in Northern Mississippi was successful.

Lieutenant General A.P. Hill’s Confederate assaulted Federal Major General Gouverneur K. Warren’s Fifth Corps at the Weldon Railroad on another hot and rainy day. Again, the Confederate attack failed, though the Federals lost 301 killed, wounded and missing. The new Federal line held and Confederate General Robert E. Lee had to accept the loss of the northern section of the Weldon Railroad, an invaluable supply line for Richmond and Petersburg. Total losses for the Battle of the Weldon Railroad totaled 198 Federal’s killed, 1,105 wounded and 3,152 missing for an aggregate loss of 4,455 of approximately 20,000 engaged. Confederate losses are estimated at 1,600 out of approximately 14,000 engaged.

Monday August 22, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early demonstrated towards Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia with a skirmish occurring at Charles Town, West Virginia. Globe Tavern and the Weldon Railroad were quiet. Other fighting occurred at Jonesborough and Caton, Georgia; Canton and Roaring Spring, Kentucky; Yell County, Arkansas; and Cove Point, Maryland.

Tuesday August 23, 1864

After fierce bombardment by land batteries, three monitors and other Union naval vessels, Fort Morgan, the last major Confederate post at the entrance to Mobile Bay, fell to the Federals. It gave them control of the port, even though the Confederates held the city itself. Now Wilmington, North Carolina remained the only significant port partially open to Confederate blockade-runners.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of August 17-23, 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 – 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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: August 10-16, 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 August 10, 1864

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early moved his Confederate forces southward in the Shenandoah Valley from Bunker Hill, West Virginia to Winchester, Virginia. Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s forces were marching south from the Halltown-Harper’s Ferry area.

Fighting occurred at Lovejoy’s Station, Georgia; Baldwin, Florida; Tallahatchie River, Mississippi; and near Stone Chapel, Virginia.

Three small Federal vessels suffered severely during a two-day duel with Southern artillery at Gaines’s Landing, Arkansas, on the Mississippi River.

The C.S.S. Tallahassee took seven prizes off of Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

Thursday August 11, 1864

Faced with Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s advancing forces, Lieutenant General Jubal Early pulled his Confederates out of Winchester, Virginia and headed south towards Cedar Creek. Fighting broke out near Winchester, Newtown and at Toll Gate, near White Post.

Federal troops skirmished with Indians near Sand Creek, Colorado Territory.

Friday August 12, 1864

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan moved towards Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley as the Confederates were entrenched along Cedar Creek, south of Winchester, Virginia. A brief skirmish along the creek occurred as both sides probed the lines of the other.

Operations against Indians in the San Andes Mountains of New Mexico and near Fort Garland, Colorado Territory continued.

Alarm spread along the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts as the Confederate cruiser C.S.S. Tallahassee gathered in six more Federal ships off the coast of New York.

Some politicians in Washington, including Thurlow Weed, informed President Abraham Lincoln of their concerns that he was in danger of being defeated in the upcoming election. 

Saturday August 13, 1864

In Virginia, demonstrations by Federal forces occurred on the north bank of the James River east of Richmond at Four-Mile and Dutch creeks, Deep Bottom, Fussell’s Mill, Gravel Hill, Bailey’s Creek, White’s Tavern, Charles City Road and the New Market Road. The Federals hoped to divert attention from Petersburg and to probe the Confederate defenses. Confederate General Robert E. Lee was attentive but not too concerned about the Federal probing.

In the Shenandoah Valley, fighting broke out at Berryville and near Strasburg as Major General Phil Sheridan’s Federals met resistance from Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Confederates entrenched at Cedar Creek.

Sunday August 14, 1864

    Skirmishing flared near Strasburg, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley as Federal Major General Phil Sheridan withdrew his forces from Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s front towards Berryville.

In Georgia, skirmishing occurred near Dalton, at Pine Log Church, and near Fairmount.

Monday August 15, 1864

In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, more skirmishing occurred at Cedar Creek and Strasburg, Virginia and near Charles Town, West Virginia. Federal Major General Phil Sheridan began his withdrawal from Cedar Creek at night and moved towards Winchester, believing he could not hold the line nor keep his army supplied.

In Georgia, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s men moved slowly towards Utoy Creek, southwest of Atlanta, fighting on Peachtree Road, at Buchanan, Sandtown and Fairburn.

Confederate cavalry raided the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad in Tennessee.

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

The C.S.S. Tallahassee captured six schooners off of the New England coast.

Tuesday August 16, 1864

Cavalry skirmished at Allatoona and Fairburn, Georgia.

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan pulled back successfully towards Winchester with little knowledge of his withdrawal reaching Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early at Cedar Creek, Virginia, despite an engagement at Front Royal.

The C.S.S. Tallahassee took four schooners and a bark off the New England coast.

Federal troops north of the James River in Virginia unsuccessfully attacked Confederate fortifications near Fussell’s Mill.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of August 10-16, 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.

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