Friday, August 25, 2006

An Amateur’s Look at the American Civil War: December

December 1
1861: US President Lincoln is growing frustrated with General McClellan’s inaction. Sent a letter demanding to know when he can expect the army moving.
US Cabinet is split over the Trent incident. Secretary of State Seward sets forward the idea that a war with Britain could reunite the country. President Lincoln’s response is, “one war at a time.”
USS Penguin takes the blockade runner Albion in the Atlantic.

1862: US President Lincoln gives the State of the Union Address, pledging that the full might of the Union will be used to bring about the abolition of Slavery.
Skirmishes at Charleston and Berryville, VA.

1863: Union General Meade decides that Confederate General Lee’s positions are too strong to attack, so he orders a withdraw.
Confederate spy Belle Boyd released from Old Capital Prison, Washington due to illness.
Confederate General Bragg resigns as commander of the Army of Tennessee, replaced by General William Hardee.

1864: Union General Thomas has concentrated all his army at Nashville, TN. General Schofield has joined him.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes about purchasing four yards of cloth at $12 a yard. He believes he can get a government tailor to make a suit for $50. A civilian tailor will charge $300.

December 2

1861: Union Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles reports that the newly established blockade has already resulted in the capture of 153 blockade runners.
US President Lincoln authorizes General Halleck to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in Missouri. One of the most controversial orders of the war.
CSS Patrick Henry damaged by Federal gunboats off Newport News, VA. This vessel will soon serve as the Confederate States Naval Academy. (Yes, the vessel was the academy.)
37th US Congress begins its session in Washington, DC.

1862: There is skirmishing along the Rappahannock River in Virginia, but Union troops still do not have the pontoon bridging needed to cross the river. Confederates are digging in to meet any attack.

1863: As Confederate General Hardee assumes command of the Army of Tennessee, he is urged by CS President Davis to start another offensive. Meanwhile, a Federal column is marching to assist the Union defenders at Knoxville, TN.

1864: Confederate General Hood sends troops under General William Bate to cut the Nashville-Murfreesboro rail line. At the same time he reaches Nashville and sets up a line facing the Federals. Union Thomas receives orders from Washington, DC to attack immediately.
Union General Sherman’s troops liberate the prison at Millen, GA and discover the conditions Union POWs are being kept.
Union Sergeant John Ransom, formally of that prison, was taken to Blackshear, GA.

December 3

1861: US President Lincoln makes a State of the Union Address to the 37th Congress.
Entire 3rd PA Cavalry captured at Vienna, VA.
USS Constitution carries the 26th MA and the 9th CT to Ship Island, MS. The presence of the Massachusetts troops will lead to the fort being renamed Ft Massachusetts.
Skirmish at Salem, MO.

1862: Granada, MS falls to Federal troops.
Skirmish along the Hardin Pike, near Nashville, TN.
Harper’s Weekly prints a poem by a Union soldier entitled “Thanksgiving.”

1863: Confederate General Longstreet decides that it is no longer worth the effort to take Knoxville, TN and orders his troops to Greenville, TN and into winter quarters.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes, "Rumors of exchange to be effective soon. Rebels say we will all be exchanged before many days. It cannot be possible our government will allow us to remain here all winter. (The prison is an open enclosure and the prisoners have to build their own shelters.) Gen. Dow is still issuing clothing, but the rebels get more than our men do of it. Guards nearly all dressed in Yankee uniforms." Clothes were sent by the US Sanitary Commission, but were usually intercepted by Confederate soldiers, whose own organization can barely supply them.

1864: Both of Union General Sherman's columns begin converging on Savannah, GA.

December 4

1861: UK announces a trade embargo against the US in retaliation for the Trent incident.
Union General Halleck approves the death penalty for those caught aiding the Confederates.
Confederate raid repulsed at Dunksburg, MO.

1862: Confederate General Joe Johnston assumes command of the Department of the West.
Winchester, VA taken by Federal troops.
Rebecca Usher, a Union nurse, writes her sister on her experiences at a hospital at Chester, PA.

1863: Confederate General Longstreet abandons his siege of Knoxville and retreats to the northeast.
The previous week has seen 1307 shells strike Ft Sumter, SC.

1864: Confederate General Bates attacks Blockhouse No. 7 on the Overall Creek, TN with no success.
Battle of Waynesboro, GA. Union commander: General Judson Kilpatrick. Confederate commander: General Joseph Wheeler. Kilpatrick decides to take on Wheeler, the only creditable resistance between, General Sherman and Savannah, GA. After several attacks, Wheeler’s cavalry flees the area. Union victory.
Union General Thomas has received more demands to attack Confederate General Hood's forces. The freezing rain is hampering operations in the Nashville, TN area.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes about the expenses involved in clothing his family. He got his cloth that he ordered on December 1. A government tailor has promised to make a suit for $40. His son bought a pre-war coat for $175, which was $15 at the time it was made. One of Jones' daughters made three bonnets from the scraps of old ones, the prices of three brand new ones would be $700.

December 5

1861: Confederate General William Hardee assumes command of the Central Army of Kentucky.
US Secretary of War announces troop levels of 660,971, of which 640,637 are three-year enlistees. New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois account for half.

1862: Confederate General Thomas Hindman defies orders to withdraw from Arkansas and marches against Union General Blunt’s forces at Fayetteville, AR. Blunt calls for reinforcements and General Francis Herron begins a forced march from 100 miles away in order to support Blunt.
Action at Coffeeville, MS.

1863: Confederate General Longstreet's troops finish their march despite heavy rains that turn the roads into a thick morass.
Union troops depart Little Rock, AR and head toward Princeton, AR.

1864: Confederate General Forrest attacks the Union garrisons of Blockhouse No. 4 and a fort at La Vergne, TN. Both surrender.
Union General Grant has joined the chorus that General Thomas must take the offensive.

December 6

1861: US Secretary of the Treasury announces that there is sufficient revenue to fund the war, provided that the war is over by mid-1862.

1862: Confederate General Hindman, upon hearing of Union reinforcements coming to Fayetteville, AR, decides to attack the reinforcements, and then deal with the other Union forces.

1863: Union general Sherman arrives at Knoxville, TN with orders to relieve General Burnside.
USS Weehawken sinks in Charleston Harbor, SC when an open hatch allowed water to pour into the already overloaded vessel.

1864: Confederate General Forrest engages Federals outside Murfreesboro; TN. Things calm down during the afternoon as Confederate infantry arrives to reinforce Forrest.
US President Lincoln nominates Salmon Chase, former Treasury Secretary, to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

December 7

1861: USS Santiago de Cuba stops the British vessel Eugenia Smith at the mouth of the Rio Grande River, Texas/Mexico border, and Confederate agent J.W. Zacherie is removed and placed into Union custody.
Glasgow, MO falls to Confederate forces.

1862: Battle of Prairie Grove, AR. Union commanders: Generals James Blunt and Francis Herron. Confederate commander: General Thomas Hindman. Herron’s forces arrive but are too tired to do much more than hold off Hindman’s attacks. Blunt brings in his forces but does not break the Confederate line. Battle ends in a draw, but Hindman pulls out during the night.
Confederate General John Morgan attacks the Union garrison at Hartsville, TN capturing it.
Confederate General Morgan defeats a Federal force at Hartville, TN.

1863: Seventeen Confederate agents seize the Union steamer Chesapeake and sail her to Nova Scotia.
CS President Davis gives an upbeat speech to the Confederate Congress despite the recent reversals.

1864; Union troops under General Lovell Rousseau engage Confederate General Forrest’s cavalry near Murfreesboro, TN, forcing the Confederates to withdraw.
Union General Butler is relieved of command of the Army of the James and is assigned command of an operation to seize Ft Fisher, NC.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes that tea is selling for $100 a pound abs wood for $100 a cord.

December 8

1861: CSS Sumter sinks the whaler Eben Dodge in the Atlantic.

1862: Confederate General Hindman pulls his troops back from the Union lines at Prairie Grove, AR.

1863: Union General Averill launches cavalry missions in West Virginia to destroy railroads.
US President Lincoln proposed the following, pardon for all Confederates except former officers who resigned their commissions to go south, senior governmental officials, or those who mistreat Union prisoners-of-war. Also announced was the proposal that a state can rejoin the Union with 10% of the citizens taking an oath to the Union and renounce slavery.

1864: There is skirmishing along Hatcher’s Run, VA as both sides begin to settle into winter camps.
Union General Grant has decided to replace General Thomas with General Schofield if Thomas does not attack. Thomas replies that his cavalry is waiting for remounts and will attack when the horses arrive.

December 9

1861: US Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War is created to look into the actions of Union army leaders.
Pro-Union Indians clash with pro-Confederate Indians at Chusto-Talasah, Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

1862: Skirmish at Dobbin's Ferry, TN.

1863: Confederate forces under General Longstreet reach Rogersville, TN, pursued by Union cavalry.
Union General John Foster replaces General Burnside as commander of the Department of the Ohio.
Mutiny by African-American troops at New Orleans, LA quickly quelled.

1864: Union General Sherman's lead division reaches the outskirts of Savannah, GA.
Freezing rain still hampers operations in the Nashville, TN area.

December 10

1861: Union forces take control of an abandoned Confederate fort on the Ashepoo River in South Carolina.
Kentucky is admitted as the 13th state of the Confederacy, the last to do so.

1862: Pontoon bridging finally arrives so that the Army of the Potomac can cross the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg.
US Congress passes a bill creating the State of West Virginia.
Confederate General Lee writes a letter to his daughter-in-law, Charlotte (wife of Fitzhugh) expressing sorrow on the death of their second child.

1863: Union Army of the Potomac is now in winter quarters.
Salt works at Choctawatchie Bay, FL destroyed by Federal troops.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes that wheat now sells for $18 per bushel, corn for $15 a bushel, flour for $110 a barrel, cornmeal for $16 a bushel, bacon for $3.25 a pound, lard for $3.50 a pound, beef for $1 a pound, venison for $2.25 a pound, poultry for $2.25 a pound, butter for $4.50 a pound, apples for $80 a barrel, onions for $35 a bushel, regular potatoes for $10 a bushel, sweet potatoes for $15 a bushel, turnips for $6 a bushel, brown sugar for $3.25 a pound, white sugar for $4.50 a pound, English sugar for $5 a pound, molasses for $14 a gallon, rice for .32 a pound, salt for .40 a pound, black pepper for $10 a pound, whisky for $75 a gallon, apple brandy for $50 a gallon, rum for $55 a gallon, gin for $60 a gallon, French brandy for $125 a gallon, a bottle of Hennessy for $180, Scotch whisky for $90 a gallon, champagne for $350 for a dozen bottles, a quart of claret for $100, and ale for $60 a pint or $110 a quart.

1864: An attempt by the CS Navy to send gunboats to the aid of the Savannah, GA defenders fails.
Union General Sherman’s army's main body reaches the outskirts of Savannah, GA. He finds the rice fields flooded so there is no easy way in.
Union forces make a probe along the Weldon Road, near Petersburg, VA.

December 11

1861: Fire sweeps through the business district of Charleston, SC, causing severe supply shortages already caused by the blockade.

1862: Union General Burnside orders Fredericksburg, VA shelled as the pontoon bridges are put across. Bridging units come under fire by Confederate General William Barksdale’s Mississippi troops. Union troops finally take pontoon boats and row across, establishing a bridgehead, driving off the Confederates and allowing the bridges to be completed, allowing a small detachment to occupy the town.
Confederate General Forrest takes 2500 cavalry from Columbia, TN in order to disrupt Union General Grant's communication lines.

1863: After thousands of shells were fired at Ft Sumter, SC, one finally hits a powder magazine, causing an explosion that kills 11.
Skirmishes at Big Sewell and Meadow Bluff, WV.

1864: Union General Sherman's troops rebuild the bridge over the Ogeechee River, near Savannah, GA. He is also attempting to encircle the city, but fails to cut the road to Charleston, SC.
Union General Thomas receives more demands to go on the offensive.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, writes on being in Charleston, SC boarding a steamer which takes him to the ship New York so he and the other Union prisoners can be handed over to Union exchange agents.

December 12

1861: Southern coastal planters are burning cotton crops rather than see them taken by Union troops.

1862: Union troops cross the Rappahannock River under the cover of fog and enter Fredericksburg, VA. There is no fighting and the Union forces proceed to loot the town.
Union probe at Goldsboro, NC.
Skirmish at Little Bear Creek, AL.

1863: Confederates are refortifying Ft Sumter, SC with sandbags in order to repel any future Union assaults.

1864: 4000 Union cavalry under General Stoneman ride from east Tennessee into southwest Virginia. There are only 1500 Confederates opposing them.
Union General Thomas promises General Halleck that he will drive the Confederates from before Nashville, TN as soon as the weather breaks.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes about being place into a train, this time heading to Savannah, GA and on to Charleston, SC.

December 13

1861: Union and Confederate forces engage at Buffalo Mountain, Western Virginia, with no clear outcome.

1862: Battle of Fredericksburg, VA. Union commander: General Ambrose Burnside. Confederate commander: General Robert E. Lee. Battle opens as General Meade’s corps attacks the Confederate right, but is held up by Confederate artillery commanded by Major John Pelham, who keeps shifting his two guns in order to confuse the Federals. By mid-morning, Confederate artillery shell the town, causing havoc amongst the Union forces. At noon, the first of six frontal assaults on the Confederate line on Marye’s Heights, west of the town, begins and results in three brigades getting shattered. At the same time, Meade’s advance is again halted by artillery fire. At 1 p.m. a second assault on the heights, this time including the famed Irish Brigade, is also shattered. Meade attacks through an area previously though impassable and finds Confederate troops under General Maxey Gregg. Gregg believes the advancing troops are friendly and orders his troops to hold their fire. He pays for the mistake for his life. Meade finds himself unsupported and has to pull back. At 2 p.m. another two divisions are sent up the heights, at this time carpeted with the dead and dying, and are also shattered. At 3p.m. and 5p.m. more attacks were sent up the heights but to no avail, the Confederates were behind a stone wall that allowed almost absolute protection. Burnside decides to make one more attack, this time with him leading it, but is talked out of it. Union forces are pulled back into the town, but many are trapped on the slope and can’t be evacuated until the next day. Confederate victory.

1863: Confederate General Longstreet decides to do something about the Union forces chasing him near Rogersville, TN.
A bizarre chain of events results in Union General Sheridan being given command of Union forces in the Knoxville, TN area.

1864: Union General William Hazen’s troops capture Ft McAllister, allowing a supply base to be established as well as communication with the US Navy force offshore.
Confederate General Lee, upon learning that a Union assault force is headed for Wilmington, NC, detaches a division to reinforce Ft Fisher.
Union General Grant has decided to travel to Nashville, TN himself, and taking General Logan with him to replace Thomas.
Union General Stoneman defeats a small Confederate force at Kingsport, TN.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, and 700 others were transferred to the vessel Varuna for the trip north.
Union Sergeant John Ransom and two others escape from the train and are hiding in the woods near Savannah, GA. They are receiving help from friendly African-Americans in the area. The plan is to get to the column of Union troops that are approaching the city.

December 14

1861: Prince Albert of Great Britain dies as he was urging calm during the furor over the Trent affair.

1862: Union General Burnside orders all of his troops to pull back out of Fredericksburg, VA.
Engagement at Kingston, NC.

1863: Battle of Bean’s Station, TN. Union commander: General James Shackelford. Confederate commander: General James Longstreet. There is skirmishing during the early morning. At daylight, Longstreet launches a series of attacks that fails to break the Union line. At dusk, with Confederate reinforcements arriving, Shackelford decides to pull back to Blain’s Cross Roads. Confederate victory.
US President Lincoln gives amnesty to his sister-in-law after she swears allegiance to the Union. Her husband was Confederate General Helm, who died at Chickamauga, TN. This causes a firestorm in the northern press.

1864: The weather has broken at Nashville, TN and Union General Thomas has decided that now is the time to attack Confederate General Hood.
Union General Stoneman defeats another Confederate force at Bristol, TN.

December 15

1861: US Congress begins to take up the issue of slavery which will result in new proposals and laws.
Union General Pope attempting to cut off Confederate General Price's forces from moving into Kansas.

1862: Confederate General Forrest disrupts Union General Grant's communication lines as Grant moves his army toward Vicksburg, MS.
Union General Banks arrives in New Orleans. LA to take command of Union troops there.

1863: Confederate General Longstreet chases Union General Shackelford as far as Blain’s Cross roads but find the Federals too entrenched. Longstreet retires to Russellville, TN and goes into winter quarters.

1864: Battle of Nashville, TN. Union commander: General George Thomas. Confederate commander: General John Hood. Day one: Thomas opens the engagement by hitting the confederate right flank, but is forced to pull back. At 10 a.m. General Smith launches an attack that crushes the Confederate left flank. Hood tries a series of defensive positions that do not stand up to the Federal attacks. In the afternoon, an attack by General Schofield frees up the Federal cavalry to hit Hood’s rear. Hood orders a pull back to a shorter defense line as darkness approaches.

December 16

1861; Confederate General Jackson begins his Shenandoah Valley Campaign by leaving Winchester, VA and marching north.
Union General Pope's troops disrupt a Confederate recruit camp on the Osage River in Missouri.

1862: Union troops reach Whitehall, NC and, after a skirmish, destroyed two ironclads under construction.
Rebecca Usher writes a second letter to her sister and tells of the needs of her patients.

1863: Confederate General Joe Johnston replaces General Hardee as commander of the Army of the Tennessee.
Union General John Buford, considered a hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, dies of typhoid.
Union troops land at Corpus Christi, TX.

1864: Battle of Nashville, TN. Day Two. Union forces continue their advance by battering both the Confederate flanks. In the afternoon, Thomas makes a series of feints, then a serious attack on the Confederate right, which is driven off. At 3:30 p.m., Union Generals Schofield and Wilson make a withering attack into the Confederate rear area. The Confederate Army of Tennessee collapses and flees south toward Mississippi. It is no longer a viable force in the West. Union victory.

December 17

1861: Confederate troops under General Jackson destroy Dam No.5 on the Baltimore and Ohio canal, rendering the canal useless.
Skirmishes at Rockville and Hilton Head, SC.
Skirmish at Rowlett's Station, KY.
Another Confederate recruit camp taken by Federals at Milford, MO.

1862: Union forces destroy rail lines and bridges near Goldsboro, NC, but are driven off by a Confederate counterattack.
Union General Grant issues General Order 11, expelling Jews from his area of operations. This will not go over well in Washington, DC.

1863: US Navy recaptures the steamer Chesapeake, but the Confederate agents that took the vessel escaped.

1864: The remains of Confederate General Hood's troops still have a little fight in them, as skirmishing at Hollow Tree Gap, TN shows.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, reaches "Camp Parole" at Annapolis, MD to receive treatment and to await formal exchange with an equal number of Confederate prisoners.

December 18

1861: British government demands the release of Confederate commissioners Mason and Slidell and an apology for the boarding of the Trent, or the UK will declare war on the US. The Lincoln Administration has 10 days to respond.
Josiah Patterson, a soldier in a Georgia regiment, writes a letter home expressing his anguish about spending Christmas away from home.

1862: Union General grant reorganizes his army into four corps, commanded by Generals Sherman, Hurlbut, McPherson, and McClernand.
Confederate General Forrest defeats Union cavalry near Lexington, TN.

1863: Union General Sherman, in Knoxville, TN, notices that the Union troops only have ponchos in which to make winter shelters with.

1864: Union General Stoneman leads a force into the Cumberland Gap and is held off by a scratch force under Confederate General Breckinridge at Marion, VA. Stoneman still manages to send a detachment to destroy the salt mines.
Confederate General Hardee rejects call to surrender Savannah, GA. This action was a play for time while an escape route is secured.

December 19

1861: US Secretary of State Seward receives the official message from the UK Government concerning the Trent. Although Seward is an Anglophobe (he hates Brits), he seems receptive to the UK's position. US President Lincoln wants the situation to blow over and Ambassador Adams is smoothing ruffled feathers in London.

1862: US President Lincoln refuses an offer by Secretary of State Seward to resign amid trouble amongst the Cabinet.
Skirmishes at Spring Creek and Jackson, TN.

1863: Union General Sherman sends a report to the War Department complementing General Burnside for the good fortifications around Knoxville, but also must have mentioned the conditions of the winter camps.

1864: Skirmishing at Columbia, TN as the Federal pursuit of what's left of the Confederate Army of Tennessee continues.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes that he and his two friends have reached the plantation of a Mr. Kimball, a Georgia Unionist and he agrees to help them.

December 20

1860: South Carolina votes to secede from the Union. The first state to do so.
"We the people of South Carolina, in convention assembled, to declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the ordinance adopted by us in convention on the twenty third day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed; and the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name "United States of America" is hereby dissolved. Done at Charleston the twentieth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty"

1861: 8000 British troops and two warships arrive in Canada to reinforce the garrison there in the event of a war with the US.
Two hulks are sunk in Charleston Harbor, SC in order to assist the fledgling blockade.

1862: Confederate General Earl Van Dorn’s troops launch an attack on Union General Grant’s supply base at Holly Springs, MS, capturing 1800 prisoners and destroying $1,500,000 of materiel.
Union General Sherman begins the Vicksburg, MS, Campaign by departing Memphis, TN and trying to approach Vicksburg by the swamps to the north of the town.
Confederate General Forrest has eluded Union pursuers near Jackson, TN, and proceeds to tear up nearby rail lines.
US Secretary of the Treasury Chase has also offered to resign. US President Lincoln refuses.

1863: CSS Alabama reaches Singapore.

1864: Confederate defenders of Savannah, GA slip out of town in the night, leaving the city open for the Union.
Union General Stoneman moves his forces to Saltville, VA, in order to destroy the salt works there.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, was formally exchanged, given money and sent to Washington, DC.
Union Sergeant John Ransom and his two friends are taken to a hiding place along the Big Ogeechee River where they can wait until Federal troops arrive.

1865: 13th Amendment to the constitution is fully ratified. Slavery is now illegal anywhere in the US.

December 21

1861: Confederate General Jackson’s troops return to Winchester, VA to go into winter quarters.
US Secretary of State Seward meets with UK Minster to the US Lord Lyons to discuss the British demands.

1862: Near Holly Springs, MS, Confederate General Van Dorn is stopped at a river crossing by a force of only 200 Union troops.
US Congress authorizes the award of the Medal of Honor to naval personnel.
Confederate General Morgan launches a raid behind Union lines in Tennessee.
Engagement at Davis Mills, MS.

1863: Union General Averill completes his raid behind Confederate lines in West Virginia. All other operations are being suspended for the winter.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes that pound cakes were selling for $100 each and turkeys were going for $40.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes about a sutler (merchant) who has establishes himself at Belle Island prison and is selling brown sugar for $8 a pound, butter for $11 a pound, cheese for $10 a pound, sour milk for $3 a quart, eggs for $10 a dozen and oysters for $6 a quart.

1864: Union General Sherman accepts the surrender of Savannah, GA. Ending the March to the Sea. CSS Savannah destroyed by retreating Confederates to prevent capture.
Confederate General Hood continues his retreat by moving to Pulaski, TN.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, reaches Washington, DC where he is reunited with his fellow staff members.

December 22

1861: Skirmish at Newmarket Bridge, VA.
Union General Halleck issues General Orders No. 32, promising swift retribution for any Confederate attacks in Missouri.

1862: Union General Rosecrans moves his command to Nashville, TN.

1863: Confederate General Longstreet's troops, in winter quarters at Rogersville, TN struggle with pro-Union guerrilla bands disrupting their supply trains.

1864: Union General Sherman makes his report to US President Lincoln,” I beg to present you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns, and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.”
Confederate General Hood's army once again crossing the Duck River, TN, this time in the other direction.

December 23

1861: Lincoln Administration receives advice from Massachusetts Senator Sumner to yield to the British demands in order to avoid another war, or worse, that the UK will enter the current war on the side of the CSA. Even though the seizing of the Trent might be lawful, how it was handled afterwards was not.

1862: CS President Davis declares Union General Butler, former commander in New Orleans, LA, an outlaw and authorizes immediate hanging if captured.
Private Lyons Wakeman (Sarah Rosetta Wakeman) writes a letter to her mother about living in winter quarters and lamenting that she has not gotten paid lately.

1863: Federal artillery pound Ft Sumter, SC.

1864: New Rank of Vice Admiral of the US Navy is created and awarded to Admiral Farragut.
Federal fleet, consisting of 60 warships plus troop transports, assembles off Beaufort, NC for the assault on Ft Fisher, NC. That night, the USS Louisiana will be loaded with explosives, run aground near the fort, and then exploded. The explosion did not damage the defenses and the Confederates there thought that one of the Union ships had a boiler explosion.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes that he and his friends made contact with soldiers of the 80th Ohio and now are formally out of Confederate captivity.


December 24

1861: US Congress passes a tax on sugar, molasses, tea, and coffee to help pay for the war.
Skirmish at Wadesburg, MO.

1862: Union General Foster's North Carolina expedition reaches New Berne, NC.
Skirmishes at Middleburg, MS and Glasgow, TN.

1863: Engagement at Bolivar, TN.

1864: Union task force arrives off Ft Fisher, NC and begins shelling the fort.
Dolly Sumner Lunt, a Georgia resident, writes on how it will be a bleak Christmas after Union General Sherman’s troops have come through the area.
Georgia teenager Eliza Andrews writes in her journal about traveling through the “burnt country” as the area that Union General Sherman’s army came through has been named.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, writes that he was officially listed as "missing or killed." That day he takes a train for Baltimore, MD in order to catch a train for New York, NY.

December 25

1860: Under cover of darkness, Union Major Robert Anderson moves all of his forces to Ft Sumter, in the middle of Charleston Harbor, SC.

1861: US President Lincoln and the cabinet discuss the Trent situation with a deadline for an answer to the British demands due the next day.
Skirmishing at Cherry, Western Virginia and Fort Frederick, MD.
Private Robert Sneeden, 40th NY, writes, "Have had snow for past eight hours. It laid six to eight inches deep on everything. Many tents had to be taken down and repitched. Could not have dress parade or drill today. All were eating and drinking all they could get. Rations of whiskey were served to the brigade and the 40th guard house was full of drunken soldiers before sundown. Many officers got leave yesterday to go to Washington for forty-eight hours. General Sedgwick never leaves camp and insists in brigade drill every fine afternoon..."

1862: Confederate General Van Dorn moves his forces back into Mississippi following a small victory at Ripley, TN.
Confederate forces under General Morgan skirmish with Union forces at Green’s Chapel and Bear Wallow, both in Kentucky.
Glasgow, TN falls to Confederates.

1863: Confederate batteries at John's Island and Stone's river, SC engaged by Union warships.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, writes that guards at Libby Prison are eating rations that were sent there for the Union prisoners.
Union Sergeant John Ransom, at the same prison writes about a Christmas feast consisting of corn bread and butter, oysters, coffee, beef, crackers, and other item which was purchased for $200 Confederate or $20 US. Also writes," Lay awake long before daylight listening to the bells. As they rang out Christmas good morning I imagined they were in Jackson, Michigan, my old home, and from the spires of the old Presbyterian and Episcopal churches. Little do they think as they are saying their Merry Christmases and enjoying themselves so much, of the hunger and starving here. But there are better days coming."

1864: At Ft Fisher, NC, General Butler’s troops are landed, however Confederate forces sent by General Lee have arrived and will block any further Union action.
Confederate General Hood’s troops reach the Tennessee River at Bainbridge, MS.
Union Sergeant John Ransom is reunited with the 9th MI Cavalry, whose commander, a Colonel Acker, thought Ransom was dead. Within the hour he is with his old company, who hears his report of other unit members who died at Andersonville, GA. Ranson is soon before Union General Kilpatrick and makes his report, not only about Andersonville but also of what he saw at Savannah. The report is sent to General Sherman. It is at this point that the diary ends.

December 26

1861: US President Lincoln and the Cabinet decide to release Confederate commissioners Mason and Slidell, effectively ending the Trent affair.
Union General Halleck declares martial law in St Louis, MO. This order was also applied to all railroads in Missouri.

1862: Union General Rosecrans begins moving troops from Nashville in pursuit of Confederate General Bragg’s troops near Murfreesboro, TN.
Union General Sherman's troops reach the Yazoo River, north of Vicksburg, MS.

1863: Confederate War Department figures about 465,000 are in the Confederate Army. In fact, only 278,000 are in service.

1864: Union General Butler has decided to give up attacking Ft Fisher, NC and return to Ft Monroe, VA.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, arrives at his parent’s home in New York, NY and is reunited with his parents, who believed he was dead. His journal ends at this point.

December 27

1861: Skirmishing at Hallsville and Mount Zion, MO.

1862: Union garrison of Elizabethtown, TN surrender to Confederate General Morgan’s raiders.
Union General Rosecrans forces approach Murfreesboro and begin to meets resistance from Confederates.
Action at Elk Fork, TN.

1863: Union General Grant is in Knoxville, TN and orders that a rail line be run into east Tennessee to better run supplies to Union forces there.

1864: Confederate General Hood crosses the Tennessee River and heads for Tupelo, MS with the remainder of his army. The Army of Tennessee is no longer in Tennessee and will never return there for the remainder of the war.

December 28

1861: Fighting at Sacramento, KY and another skirmish at Mount Zion, MO.

1862: Confederate General Hindman is forced to pull out of Arkansas in the face of Federal cavalry attacks.
Union General Sherman's troops cross the Yazoo River but runs into Confederate defenders on high bluffs. The only avenues of attack are covered by Confederate artillery.
Skirmish at Van Buren, AR.
Frederick Douglass delivers a speech in Rochester, NY about the fall of slavery.

1863: Union General Sturgis receives reports of Confederate cavalry at Dandridge, TN. They leave their camp ay Mossy Creek to meet them.

1864: US President Lincoln meets with General Grant to discuss the failed Ft Fisher, NC operation and whether or not it is time to remove General Butler from an Army command.

December 29

1861: Skirmishing is now widespread throughout Missouri.
The rag-tag group of soldiers that lost at the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas, VA) is beginning to form into an army.

1862: Union General Sherman, supported by gunboats, attempts to hit Chickasaw Bluffs north of Vicksburg, MS but is turned back.

1863: Confederate forces under General William Martin attack the Union forces still in the Mossy Creek, TN camp. Union General Sturgis brings his troops back and push the Confederates out.
Confederate raid on Talbot's Station, TN is repulsed.

1864: Discussions continue over the future of Union General Butler; however US President Lincoln, fresh from an election victory, feels he has to power to remove the political general from any command.


December 30

1861: Confederate commissioners Mason and Slidell are handed over to UK Ambassador Lord Lyons, who gets then on the first British vessel headed for London. Despite lingering differences of opinion, relations between the US and the UK begin returning to normal.

1862: Union General Rosecrans maneuvers his army in line outside Murfreesboro, TN.
Union General Sherman plans to try again to hit Chickasaw Bluffs north of Vicksburg, MS but this time with naval support.

1863: Union forces seize Ft Esperanza, near Matagorda Bay, TX.
Martha Glover, a slave in Missouri, writes her husband, who is with the Union Army, about how she wished her husband hadn’t left.

1864: At a Cabinet meeting, US President Lincoln announces that he will remove General Butler from command. This is met with little or no resistance.
Francis P. Blair writes CS President Davis to request a meeting to discuss peace terms.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes about attending an auction where second-hand shirts were sold for $40 each and blankets for $75 each. A bedstead that sold for $10 pre-war now sells for $700.

December 31

1861: US President Lincoln learns that two of his commanders, Generals Buell and Halleck, might not cooperate with him. At the same time, General McClellan has fallen ill.

1862: Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone’s River), TN. Union commander: General William Rosecrans. Confederate commander: General Braxton Bragg. Union and Confederate left flanks are attacked at the same time. Union line gives way first but the line is reinforced. Union line is firm but out of their original lines as darkness falls. Battle will end on January 2, 1863.
USS Monitor sinks in heavy seas off Cape Hatteras, NC.
US President Lincoln meets with General Burnside to discuss the defeat at Fredericksburg, VA.

1864: As the New Year approaches, the South is of the opinion that it is now only a matter of time before the Union achieves final victory. The war has brought desolation to most of the farmland and the pool of manpower, that was not large to begin with, is almost empty. Two Union armies, General Grant's at Petersburg, VA and General Sherman's at Savannah, GA are now poised to deliver the final blow. Many Confederate cities are in ruins and civilians have felt the heavy hand of war. Warfare itself has changed, with rifled cannon, muskets, and repeating rifles forcing a fundamental shift from the Napoleon tactic of massed infantry and cavalry charges to trenches and fortifications. The only question now is what will happen when the end comes?


Confederate General Stand Watie (Degadoga or “He stands), 1806
US Vice-President (Lincoln’s second term) and 17th President of the United States Andrew Johnson, 1808
Union General Christopher "Kit" Carson, 1809
Confederate General Albert Pike, 1809
Union General Alexander Sandor Asboth, 1811
US Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, 1814
Union General George Meade, 1815
Confederate General James Archer, 1817
US First Lady Mary Lincoln, 1818
Union General John Geary, 1819
Union General Thomas Sweeny, 1820
Union Nurse and founder of the American Red Cross Clara Barton, 1821
Union Nurse Mary Livermore, 1820
Union General Thomas Devin, 1822
Confederate General William Taliaferro, 1822
Horace Lawson Hunley, designer and builder of submarine CSS Hunley, 1823
Union General Romeyn Ayres, 1825
Union General Charles Griffin, 1825
Confederate General Henry Heth, 1825
Confederate General William Mahone, 1826
Union General George McClellan, 1826
Union General Clinton Fisk, 1828
Union Colonel Prince Felix Salm-Salm, 1828
Confederate Colonel Joseph Shelby, 1830
Union General Edward Hatch, 1832
Confederate Colonel John Singleton Mosby, 1833
Union General George Custer, 1839
Sarah Emma Edmonds, also known as Private Franklin Thompson, 2nd MI, 1841

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