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

Posted by: on Sep 29, 2014 | No Comments

Information courtesy of the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force
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 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 – 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.

Citizens Invited to Join State Civil War Task Force to Commemorate Franklin and Nashville Anniversaries

Posted by: on Sep 22, 2014 | No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:
Randal Dietrich, Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, 651-259-3113, randal.dietrich@mnhs.org

Citizens Invited to Join State Civil War Task Force to Commemorate Franklin and Nashville Anniversaries

State legislators, authors, historians, students, part of group heading to Nashville for 150th anniversary programs, November 13-17

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Sept. 17, 2014) – The Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, chaired by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and State Representative Dean Urdahl, is leading a delegation to Tennessee for the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Battles of Franklin and Nashville, Nov. 13-17, 2014. The group will tour the battlefields, place flags on the grave markers of Minnesotans killed in battle dedicate the new Minnesota marker on the Shy’s Hill portion of the Nashville battlefield and meet with members of the Tennessee sesquicentennial commission. This trip builds upon last year’s Minnesota Remembers trip to Gettysburg, Pa.

On Dec. 15, 1864, nearly 50,000 Federal troops under Major General George H. Thomas assaulted just over 23,000 Confederates of Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee. Outnumbered two-to-one, Hood’s army fought the battle without the aid of most of its cavalry, which was at Murfreesboro, Tenn. The Federal assault pushed the Confederates further south by nightfall.

The next morning, the bulk of the Federal army fought against the Confederate’s left flank, which forced the Confederate center to collapse. Hood’s shattered army fled in a disorganized retreat to the Tennessee River. The battle effectively destroyed the fighting capacity of the Army of Tennessee and was the last major battle that it fought during the war.

The 5th, 7th, 9th and 10th Minnesota Volunteer infantry regiments fought at the Battle of Nashville, while the newly formed 11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment was assigned to duty guarding the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Nashville to the Kentucky state line.

While the battles of Gettysburg and Nashville were both decisive, today there is a sharp difference between the sites. There is no expansive military park in Nashville and several places, including Shy’s Hill where Minnesotans fought, are surrounded by residential and commercial development. Given this reality, the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force will rely on expert guides to help re-imagine the scene from 150 years ago when more Minnesotans were engaged in battle than at any other time during the Civil War.

For more information about this historic trip, which includes roundtrip motor coach, lodging, meals, on-site shuttles, museum admission and expert tour guides, visit www.mncivilwar150.com. Registration deadline is Oct. 20, 2014.

About the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force
The mission of the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force is to promote and share the rich history of the American Civil War and Minnesota’s connection to it. Find out more at www.mncivilwar15.com.

With support from the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, the Task Force oversees the development of statewide, balanced activities commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War and Minnesota’s involvement in it and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Activities are intended to expand the understanding and appreciation of the significance of the Civil War and result in a long-term public benefit.

Created by an Executive Order from Governor Mark Dayton, the Task Force is co-chaired by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and State Representative Dean Urdahl and comprises state legislators, citizens and a Minnesota Historical Society staff person.