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

Posted by: on Oct 20, 2014 | No Comments

Information courtesy of the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force
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.

This Week in the American Civil War: October 12-18, 1864

Posted by: on Oct 13, 2014 | No Comments

Information courtesy of the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force
Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday October 12, 1864
The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Robert Brooke Taney, died in Washington. Although criticized for many of his decisions, particularly the Dred Scott Decision, Taney remains one of the major figures in American jurisprudence.

Elements of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s forces skirmished with Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops at Resaca, La Fayette and near Rome, Georgia. Fighting also occurred at Greeneville, Tennessee and at Strasburg, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

Federal Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter assumed command of the North Atlantic blockading Squadron with the idea of reducing Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina. He relieved Acting Rear Admiral S.P. Lee.

Thursday October 13, 1864
Maryland voters adopted a new state constitution which included abolition of slavery. The vote was 30,174 in favor of the constitution with 29,799 opposed for a thin margin of only 375 votes.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s defenders in north Georgia held Recasa but Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s troops seized the important railroad north to Tunnel Hill, including Dalton and Tilton, Georgia.

In Virginia, Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s troops were back on the line at Fisher’s Hill while Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s force was at Cedar Creek.

Skirmishing broke out at Mullahla’s Station, Nebraska and at Elm Creek, Texas.

Mosby’s Raiders took up a section of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad near Kearneysville, west of Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. They wrecked a passenger train, seized $173,000 from two army paymasters, and then burned the train.

President Abraham Lincoln, still worried about the election despite the recent victories, made an estimate of the electoral vote, giving the “Supposed Copperhead Vote” 114 electoral votes to the “Union Vote” of 120. He was also trying to see that as many soldiers as possible got home to vote, assuming he had strong support in the Army.

Friday October 14, 1864
Action increased in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia where two armies faced each other only a few miles apart. Skirmishing took place at Strasburg, Virginia near Hupp’s Hill, and at Duffield’s Station, West Virginia.

Confederate General Sterling Price continued to move through Missouri with a skirmish near Glasgow. He made a public plea for people to join with him to “redeem” Missouri. Confederates then attacked Danville, Missouri.

Other skirmishing occurred at Fort Smith, Arkansas; Boca Chica Pass, Texas; and at Adamstown, Maryland.

Saturday October 15, 1864
In Washington, funeral services were held for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger B. Taney, who passed away earlier in the week. President Abraham Lincoln was in attendance.

The usual fighting included action at Hernando, Mississippi; Snake Creek Gap, Georgia; Mossy Creek, Tennessee; Bayou Liddell, Louisiana; and Sedalia, Missouri.

Sunday October 16, 1864
Minor fighting occurred in north Georgia between the troops of Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood and Federal Major General William T. Sherman. This time, the fighting occurred at Ship’s Gap, Georgia. Other skirmishing occurred at Bull’s Gap, Tennessee; and Morganza, Louisiana.

Monday October 17, 1864
The Army of Tennessee under Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood had given up harassing Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s Chattanooga-Atlanta rail line and moved west towards Gadsden, Alabama.

Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard assumed command of the Confederate Military Division of the West, comprising all operations east of the Mississippi River in the Western Region.

Skirmishing occurred at Cedar Run Church, Virginia; Eddyville, Kentucky; and at Carrollton and Smithville, Missouri, which was burned to the ground.

Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet received orders to resume command of his corps, having recovered from wounds sustained at the Battle of the Wilderness earlier in the spring.

Tuesday October 18, 1864
Confederate generals clambered around the edges of Massanutten Mountain in the Shenandoah Valley overlooking Federal positions at Cedar Creek, then plotted a full scale attack on Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s position by Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s small but willing force.

Otherwise, fighting was limited to skirmishes at Milton, Florida; the Northwestern Railroad and Nashville, Tennessee; Summerville, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama; Clinch Mountain, Tennessee; and Barry County, Missouri.

Pro-Confederate ladies of Britain held a benefit for Confederate soldiers at St. George’s Hall in Liverpool, England.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of October 12-18, 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.