Friday, August 25, 2006

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

May 1

1861: Virginia Army commander General Lee sends Colonel Tom Jackson to Harper’s Ferry, VA to secure the area.
US Naval forces blockade the mouth of the James River, VA.
Call for Union volunteers goes out in Nebraska.

1862: Skirmish at Clark’s Hollow, Western VA.
Union General Butler formally assumes command of the Union garrison of New Orleans, LA.
Laura Lee, a resident of Winchester, VA writes about the scarcity of fresh food in the area.

1863: Union General Blair’s forces continue their engagement at Drumgould’s Bluff, MS but withdraw that night.
Battle of Port Gibson, MS. Union commander: General Ulysses Grant. Confederate commander: John Pemberton. Confederate forces try to stop the Union advance but are repulsed several times until the Southern troops withdraw in the early evening. Union victory.
Union General Grierson engages three Confederate companies at Wall’s Bridge, MS and drives them off.
Battle of Chalk Bluff, MO. Union commander: General William Vandever. Confederate commander: General John Marmaduke. While attempting to cross the St Francis River, Marmaduke comes under attack. The Confederates manage to escape the next day, but with heavy losses. Union Victory.
Confederate General Lee begins to maneuver toward Union General Hooker’s left flank at Chancellorsville, VA.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes that three friends of his, Samuel Hutton, Peter Christiancy, and Joseph Sargent, all 9th MI Cavalry members, have died in the past couple of weeks at Camp Sumter (Andersonville, GA).

1864: Skirmish at Stone Church, GA.
Confederates capture the Union transport Emma at David’s Ferry, LA
Skirmish between Union troops and Indians at Booth’s Run, CA.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, writes about African-American soldiers captures at the Battle of Olustree, FL being treated very badly by the Confederate guards.

1865: US President Johnson orders a military commission formed to try those accused of taking part in the Lincoln assassination conspiracy.

May 2

1861: Virginia Army Colonel Jackson organizes his army on the basis of ability instead of the old method of letting the soldiers elect their officers. Also begins a training and discipline program that will turn a mob of militia into one of the best armies in Confederate service.

1862: Confederate General Joe Johnston prepares to evacuate Yorktown, VA in the face of masses of approaching Union troops.
L.H. Minor, a Virginia planter, writes CS Secretary of War Randolph about runaway slaves finding employment in the Confederate Army.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, writes about the Union having 103,378 soldiers to the Confederates 50,000 but a full press is not being done.

1863: Battle of Chancellorsville, VA. Union commander: General Joseph Hooker. Confederate commander: General Robert E. Lee. Lee commits his forces in a maneuver that is against all conventional wisdom, he splits up his army in the face of a numerically superior enemy force. Lee sends ½ of the army, under General Jackson to his left upon receiving intelligence of the Union right flank being exposed and encamped. In the late afternoon, Jackson launches an attack on the Union XI Corps, crushing it. Other Union forces come to the rescue and fighting continues until darkness falls. That night, General Jackson rides ahead of his lines and is mistakenly fired upon by a North Carolina regiment. Jackson is seriously wounded and has his left arm amputated. Cavalry commander J.E.B. Stuart takes over Jackson’s corps.
Union General Grierson’s troops reach Baton Rouge, LA.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle takes a train to Galveston, TX and meets former Texas Governor Sam Houston.

1864: CS President Davis addresses the Confederate Congress, admitting for the first time that the hope of foreign recognition, especially from Great Britain and France, has ended. He also blasts the “Total War” policy of the Union armies in which all material means of supporting the war effort, especially farms, have been targeted for destruction.
Union General Sherman’s forces engage with Confederate outposts at Tunnel Hill and Ringgold Gap, GA.
Indian uprising in California is put down, with the survivors being forced to work on San Francisco harbor defenses.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes about seeing tomato plants on sale for $10 a dozen.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes that a Confederate artillery battery has arrived at Andersonville, GA and was deployed around the prison. The cannon are aimed at the prison pen! Also reports about 19,000 in the prison with the death rate about 100 daily.

1865: US President Johnson accuses former CS President Davis of being a part of the Lincoln assassination conspiracy and offers a $100,000 reward for his capture.
In Abbeville, SC, CS President Davis conducts a meeting in which he expresses his determination to carry on the war. His military commanders do not express the same optimism.

May 3

1861: The Union Military Department of the Ohio, covering Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, is created with General George McClellan in command.
US President Lincoln calls for an additional 42,000 troops to serve three years.
Missouri Governor Jackson declares his state as part of the Confederacy.
US diplomats protest meetings between the British Foreign Minister and Confederate commissioners.
Union General Winfield Scott reveals the “Anaconda” plan for defeating the Confederacy. This plan calls for Union forces seizing the Mississippi River. The plan was derided at first, but eventually becomes the overall Union war plan.

1862: Confederate troops evacuate Yorktown, VA and pull back towards Richmond, VA.
Skirmishing near Farmington, MS as Union troops move toward Corinth, MS.

1863: Confederate General Lee orders a general attack along his front. Union General Hooker suffers a concussion when his headquarters is hit. He is finally forced to pull his army back to United States Ford. Battle of Chancellorsville concludes. Confederate victory.
Union VI and II Corps attack Confederate positions at Marye’s Heights, outside Fredericksburg, VA. The position is captured.
Battle of Salem Church, VA. Union commander: John Sedgwick. Confederate commander: General Jubal Early. Early was withdrawing from Fredericksburg when Sedgwick attacked. Upon learning of the attack, General Lee sends reinforcements.
A Union raid into northern Alabama is captured by Confederate General Forrest.
Union General Grierson’s forces reach Union lines at Baton Rouge, LA.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle returns to Houston, TX.

1864: US President Lincoln discusses the alleged Confederate massacre at Ft Pillow, TN.
Despite an attack by Confederate troops, Union General Steele manages to get his command to Little Rock, AR.
Union troops engage Indians at Cedar Bluffs, Colorado Territory.

1865; Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train reached Springfield, IL.
Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory resigns.
Confederate Secretary of State Benjamin leaves the Davis party and heads for Florida, where he will sail to the Bahamas and then on to Great Britain to begin his exile.

May 4

1861: Unionists in western Virginia meet to discuss seceding from Virginia.
Harper’s Weekly reports on the vulnerability of Washington, DC since the city is surrounded by either Confederate or Southern-leaning territory.
William H. Lee of Alabama writes a letter to CS President Davis calling for the Confederacy to either lock up the slaves or put them into the army.

1862: Union forces reach Yorktown, VA and continue to advance on Williamsburg, where Confederate forces under Generals Longstreet and D.H. Hill are waiting.
Private Robert Sneeden, mapmaker for III Corps, writes a full description of the entry of Union troops into Yorktown, VA. He describes the area being bobby-trapped, with explosions killing several troops before engineers could disarm them.
Confederate General Jackson moves his troops to Staunton, VA to counter an expected Union move.
Skirmish at Cheese Cake Church, VA.
Skirmish at Licking, MO.

1863: Union General Sedgwick is forced to retreat back across the Rappahannock River under Confederate artillery fire. Battle of Salem Church concludes. Confederate victory.
Federal gunboats bombard Ft De Russy, on the Red River, LA but is repulsed.
Union General Hooker orders the Army of the Potomac back across the Rappahannock River.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle leaves Houston for Shreveport, LA.

1864: Union General Grant launches the Overland Campaign with the Army of the Potomac crossing the Rapidan River. No longer is Richmond, VA the main objective, the Army of Northern Virginia is.
Union General Sherman prepares to move his troops from Chattanooga, TN

1865: Confederate General Taylor officially surrenders to Union General Canby at Citronelle, AL.
US President Lincoln is buried at Springfield, IL.
Minor action near Lexington, MO.

May 5

1861: Virginia forces abandon Alexandria, VA, across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.

1862: Union forces engage Confederates forces at Williamsburg, VA.
US President Lincoln visits Ft Monroe, VA to see how General McClellan’s offensive is going.
Action at Lebanon, TN results in 66 Confederates taken prisoner.
Union Cavalry repulsed at Dresden, KY.

1863: Clement Vallandingham, a leader in the anti-war, pro-Confederate Copperhead group, is arrested.

1864: Confederate forces attack three of Union General Banks’ riverboats, capturing them.
Union General Ben Butler and his Army of the James lands at Bermuda Hundred, VA and begins to move inland.
Battle of the Wilderness, VA. Union commander: General Ulysses Grant. Confederate commander: General Robert E. Lee. Grant launches a flank attack in the same area as the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville.
Naval engagement on the Alligator River, NC between CSS Albemarle and two transports and USS Mattabasset, Sassacus, Wyalusing, and Miami results in one Confederate transport driven off and the other battered. Albemarle pulls into Plymouth, NC after damaging Sassacus and surviving a hit from Miami.

1865: Skirmish at Peche Hill, MO.

May 6

1861: Union Captain Nathaniel Lyon conducts an intelligence gathering mission at St Louis, MO, dressed as a woman.
Tennessee and Arkansas officially secede.
CS President Davis approves a Congressional measure announcing a state of war between the Confederate States and the United States. The Federal government will not do likewise because they will not recognize the CSA.
William Howard Russell, a correspondent for the London Times arrives in Montgomery, AL and gives an account of a meeting of the Confederate Congress which details tobacco chewing, banquets, and a clergyman’s prayer for divine judgment in the US.

1862; Union troops take Williamsburg, VA.

1863: Union forces under Admiral Porter capture Alexandria, LA.
Confederate General A.P. Hill is assigned to command General Jackson’s corps.
Clement Vallandingham is tried in a military court for treason and sentenced to two years in prison.
CS Navy Commander James Bullock is sent to Europe with $2,000,000 to buy ironclad vessels.

1864: Union General Butler’s advance along the Richmond-Petersburg railroad is halted by Confederate troops at Port Walthall Junction, VA.
At the Wilderness, VA, Federal forces launch a frontal assault on Confederate positions. Confederate General A.P. Hill’s forces are about to collapse when General Longstreet’s corps arrive. Longstreet is wounded by his own troops five miles from where General Jackson was wounded one year and four days previously. General Lee attempts to lead a charge personally but his own men lead him away. The fighting is intense but inconclusive, with the Confederates regaining the trenches. The forest catches fire and hundreds of wounded soldiers burn to death.
A petition is sent to CS President Davis from Randolph County, AL asking that the county be exempt from providing any more slaves as laborers for the army.

1865: CSS Stonewall, a newly built ironclad, arrives at Nassau, Bahamas, where its crew learns of the end of the war. They will sail for Havana, Cuba. The vessel will end up with the Japanese Navy until the 1880s.

May 7

1861: Union steps up recruiting campaign in Western Virginia and Kentucky.
Tennessee declares itself allied with the Confederacy, effectively seceding.

1862: Union General McClellan transports four divisions up the York River to Eltham’s Landing, VA. There they engage Confederate troops who were retreating from Yorktown, VA.

1863: Confederate General Earl Van Dorn is killed by Dr George Peters, who claimed Van Dorn was having an affair with his wife.
Union Army of the Potomac’s morale remains high despite defeat in the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Union forces under General McClernand advance on Raymond, MS while a corps under General Sherman moves on Dillon’s Plantation, MS.

1864: Union general Grant ends the Battle of the Wilderness by moving the Army of the Potomac to the left, bypassing Confederate General Lee’s forces. This takes the Confederates off guard as they were used to Union troops marching back north after a defeat.
Confederate forces are driven away at Port Walthall Junction and the rail line cut.
Union General Sherman begins an offensive aimed at the rail junction of Atlanta, GA.
CSS Raleigh attempts to break the blockade at Wilmington, NC but is herself destroyed after grounding at the harbor entrance.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes that bread is now being baked at a cookhouse built outside the stockade at Camp Sumter (Andersonville, GA). The daily ration is now one-quarter of a loaf of bread and five ounces of pork.

1865: Trooper of the 4th Michigan Cavalry set out from Macon, GA. This is the force that will eventually capture CS President Davis.

May 8

1861: Union Major Anderson, former Ft Sumter, SC commander, is selected to head recruiting efforts along the Border States (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware).

1862: Union forces capture the arsenal at Baton Rouge, LA.
Battle of McDowell, VA. Union commander: General John Fremont. Confederate commander: General Thomas Jackson. Fremont attempts to take on Jackson, but is repulsed and chased toward Franklin, VA. Confederate victory.
Skirmishing at Corinth and Glendale, MS.

1863: Union ships begin shelling Port Hudson, MS.
Confederate General Jackson has taken a turn for the worst. His wounds, suffered at the Battle of Chancellorsville, VA are healing, but infection has set in. His wife and daughter are at his side.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle reaches Shreveport, LA. He meets Louisiana Governor Moore.

1864: Union General Grant arrives at Spotsylvania Court House to find Confederate General Lee waiting for him.
Confederate General A.P. Hill falls ill and is replaced by General Early.
Union cavalry under General Sheridan sets out to raid behind Confederate lines.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes that a cow and calf was sold for $2500.

1865: The trial begins of all persons involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the attempted assassination of other government officials.
Confederate troops in Mississippi and Alabama are paroled.
Skirmish at Readsville, MO.

May 9

1861: US Naval Academy is evacuated from Annapolis, MD due to the political instability in Maryland.
USS Yankee exchanges fire with Confederate gun emplacements at Gloucester Point, VA.

1862: Union Flag Officer Andrew Foote is relieved of command due to injuries suffered in the Battle of Ft Donaldson.
Union General Halleck’s forces skirmish with Confederate forces at Corinth, MS.
Norfolk Navy Yard retaken by Union forces.
37th Indiana troops repulsed at Elkton Station, near Athens, GA.

1863: Confederate General Joe Johnston assumes command of all Confederate forces in the field.
Confederate General Lee reorganizes the Army of northern Virginia into three corps.
CS President Davis promises the Vicksburg, MS defenders every support, even though Union forces threaten to cut the city off.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle leaves Shreveport, LA for Munroe, LA in order to cross the Mississippi River and avoid the Federals.

1864: Union General McPherson finds Confederates entrenched at Resaca, GA.
Union General Butler defeats Confederates under General Bushrod Johnson but does not follow up.
Union General John Sedgewick is killed by a Confederate sniper after declaring, “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”
A. Dudley Mann, CS agent in Brussels, Belgium, receives a letter of support from Pope Pius IX.

1865: CS President Davis releases the infantry brigades that were escorting him and his family. He still intends to head for the Trans-Mississippi, where he might continue the war.

May 10

1861: Union Captain Lyon jails 700 Confederate sympathizers in St Louis, sparking a riot in which 28 were killed.
CS President Davis and Confederate Navy Secretary Mallory send instructions to Admiral Bulloch in London to begin purchasing ironclad warships.
Judith McGuire, a resident of Alexandria, VA writes in her diary about her fears concerning a possible Union takeover of the city.

1862: Union forces occupy Pensacola, FL.
Union General Butler steals $80,000 in gold from the Dutch Consulate in New Orleans, LA.
Union General Fremont’s retreating army link up with General Huston Milroy’s army and together manage to stop Confederate General Jackson.
Engagement between USS Cincinnati, USS Mound City, and Confederate batteries at Ft Pillow, TN.

1863: At 3:15 p. m., Confederate General Thomas Jackson dies of pneumonia contracted while recovering from wounds suffered at Chancellorsville, VA. His last words are, “No, no, let us pass over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

1864: Union General Sherman moves his army to assist General McPherson.
Union General Crook burns the New River Bridge, severing the Virginia and Tennessee railroad.
Union General Butler is stopped at Chester Station, VA and returns to Bermuda Hundred.
Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart takes up position near Yellow Tavern, VA to try to stop Union General Sheridan.
Battle of Spotsylvania, VA. Union commander; General Ulysses Grant. Confederate commander: General Robert E. Lee. Federals attack Confederate entrenchments at the apex of what became known as the “mule shoe”, also known as the “Bloody Angle.”
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes that new prisoners are being robbed by the "Raiders", fellow prisoners who prey on others.

1865: US President Johnson declares the rebellion against the US over.
Confederate guerilla William Quantrill is killed near Taylorsville, KY.
Union cavalry captures CS President Davis near Irwinville, GA.
Remaining Confederate flotilla at Mobile, AL surrender to Union naval forces.

May 11

1861: Unrest continues in St Louis, MO as seven rioters are killed in clashes with US Army troops.
Pro-Union demonstrations in California

1862: CSS Virginia is destroyed on the James River, VA to prevent her falling into Federal hands.
Skirmish at Bloomfield, MO.

1863: Democratic critic Clement Vallandingham applies for a writ of habeas corpus while in Federal prison.
Anti-war Democrats storm a Republican newspaper office in Dayton, OH.

1864: Battle of Yellow Tavern, VA. Union commander: General Philip Sheridan. Confederate commander: General J.E.B. Stuart. Confederate cavalry launches an attack which is quickly repulsed. General Stuart is mortally wounded.

1865: Confederate General Meriwether Thompson surrenders all of his forces in Arkansas.
CSS Stonewall surrenders in Havana, Cuba.

May 12

1861: Union General Butler moves troops into Baltimore, MD without authorization in order to prevent major unrest.

1862: Union Naval forces under Admiral Farragut capture Natchez, MS.
Beaufort, NC, Port Royal, SC, and New Orleans, LA are opened to shipping as they are back in Union control.
Baton Rouge, LA taken by Federal troops.

1863: The 54th Massachusetts, an African-American unit, is raised by Union Colonel Robert Shaw.
Battle of Raymond, MS. Union commander: General James McPherson. Confederate commander; General John Gregg. A Confederate artillery attack is launched in order to stop the Federals from crossing Fourteen Mile Creek. Despite heavy Union losses, they are reinforced and manage to push the Confederates back. Union victory.
Diarist Judith McGuire writes of the sorrow gripping the Confederacy following General Jackson’s death.

1864: Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart dies.
Confederate General Johnston pulls back from Resaca, GA.
Union General Grant renews attack at the “Mule Shoe”, near Spotsylvania, VA. A Confederate counterattack results in 20 hours of the worst fighting of the war.
Union General Butler moves against Confederate positions at Drewry’s Bluff, VA.

1865: All the accused in the Lincoln assassination trial plead not guilty.

May 13

1861: The Government of Great Britain announces that they are staying neutral in the growing conflict in the US. They also declared the CSA a belligerent, affording it rights under International treaties.

1862: Citizens begin to flee Richmond, VA as Union forces approach.
Skirmish at Monterrey, TN.
Confederate vessel Planter seized by its crew of African-Americans and surrendered to the Union blockading force at Charleston, SC.

1863: Confederate General Johnston arrives at Jackson, MS and orders its evacuation upon learning of two Federal corps approaching. This maneuver removes any chance of the garrison at Vicksburg getting any reinforcements.
Confederate General Pemberton deploys troops to Edward’s Station, MS in order to counter Union General Grant’s moves.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle has traveled from Munroe to Harrisonburg, LA.

1864: Union General Grant ends the Battle of Spotsylvania by making another move to the south.
Union General Butler’s attack at Drewry’s Bluff is repulsed by Confederate forces under General Beauregard.
Union General Sherman tried to find a weak point at Resaca, GA.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes that his wife paid $100 for a bushel of cornmeal and five pounds of bacon.

1865: At Palmetto Ranch, TX, there was a skirmish between small units in what turned out to be the last military action of the war. Ironically it’s a Confederate victory.
Confederate General Edmund Smith is advised to surrender by the governors of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi at a meeting at Marshall, TX.

May 14

1861: William T. Sherman reenters the US Army as commander on the 13th US Infantry.
Irvin McDowell is promoted to Brigadier General in the Federal army.
US President Lincoln pledges support for Unionists in Kentucky despite the state’s official neutrality stance.
Sarah Emma Edmonds takes on the name “Franklin Thompson” and enlists in the 2nd MI.

1862: Confederate General Jackson concentrates his army at Harrisonburg, VA in order to strike divided Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley.

1863: Battle of Jackson, MS. Union commanders; Generals Sherman and McPherson. Confederate commander: General Gregg. Gregg organizes a rear guard action while General Joe Johnston evacuates the Mississippi State capital. At mid-afternoon, Gregg is ordered to disengage and join Johnston. Union victory.
There is discontent amongst the uppermost ranks of the Army of the Potomac toward General Hooker, the army’s commander, for the debacle at Chancellorsville, VA.
US diplomatic efforts to prevent Great Britain from building warships for the CSA begins to succeed as there is a plan to complete the ships that Confederate Commissioner Bullock bought in France instead of Britain.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle heads for Natchez, MS where he can cross the Mississippi River.

1864: Battle of Resaca, GA. Union commander: General Sherman. Confederate commander: General Johnston. Union forces are repulsed while attacking Confederate entrenchments. Sherman decides to threaten Johnston’s supply lines on the 15th, forcing the Confederates to pull back on the 15th. Union victory.
In the Shenandoah Valley, Confederate General Breckenridge leads a makeshift force to engage Union forces under General Franz Sigel.
Union General Grant seeking a weakness in Confederate positions around Spotsylvania, VA, orders General Warren’s corps to his left flank.

1865: Minor skirmishes continue in Missouri.

May 15

1861: Union General Butler continues occupation of Baltimore, MD due to the presence of a pro-Confederate group in the city.

1862: Union General Benjamin Butler, in command of the New Orleans garrison, issues Order No. 28, declaring that any woman who insults Union troops “shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation,” meaning as a prostitute. This is in response to an attack on a Union Admiral in which the contents of a chamber pot (toilet) was dumped on him. This order will result in fierce anger through the Confederacy.
A Union fleet is stopped at Drewry’s Bluff, eight miles from Richmond, VA.
Confederate General Joe Johnston pulls his army to within three miles of Richmond.

1863: Confederate General Pemberton attempts to cut Union General Grant’s supply line in a bid to halt the Union advance on Vicksburg, MS.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes on the following prices; a pair of boots for $200, a coat for $350, a pair of pants for $100, a pair of shoes for $125, flour for $275 a barrel, cornmeal for $80 a bushel, bacon for $9 a pound, chickens for $30 a pair, shad (fish) for $20 each, potatoes for $25 a bushel, turnip greens for $4 a peck, white beans for $4 a quart (or $120 a bushel), butter and lard for $15 a pound, and wood for $50 a cord. There is no beef to be had.

1864: Battle of New Market, VA. Union commander: General Sigel. Confederate commander: General Breckenridge. Federal lines are breached by a smaller Confederate force which includes students from the Virginia Military Institute. Confederate victory. Interesting to note that one of the Confederate units engaged there, the 22nd Virginia, was commanded by Colonel George S. Patton, grandfather of the famous WWII army commander of the same name.

May 16

1861: Confederate Provisional Congress passes a bill authorizing the recruitment of 400,000 troops.
Union Naval Commodore John Rodgers takes command of US Navy river operations in the West.
Kentucky Legislature submits a bill to codify its neutrality stance.

1862: Fighting rages around Princeton, western Virginia.

1863: Battle of Champion’s Hill, MS. Union commander: General Grant. Confederate commander: General Pemberton. Confederates establishing a defensive line east of Vicksburg are attacked by a strong Union force and are forced back after a day-long battle. Union victory.
Clement Vallandingham, a very vocal critic of the war, is convicted of treason and sentences to jail for the remainder of the war.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle is diverted in his journey by the fall of Jackson, MS, but still decides to try and reach the town.

1864: Confederate forces retreat toward Adairsville, GA.
A Confederate attack near Drewry’s Bluff forces Union General Butler to retreat to Bermuda Hundred, VA.

May 17


1862: Union troops under General McDowell advance on Richmond, VA from the North.
Skirmishing near Corinth, MS.

1863: Union forces under General McClernand engage Confederates at the Big Black River, east of Vicksburg, MS. 1700 Confederates are captured but the remainder escape and burn the bridges that they were using.

1864: Union troops under General Howard attack Confederates near Adairsville, GA. General Johnston orders a withdraw as General Sherman’s full army arrives.
Union forces under General Banks arrive at Atchafalaya River, LA as Confederate troops pursue.
Confederate General Beauregard has Union General Butler bottled up at Bermuda Hundred, VA.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes about new prisoners bringing reports on the Union advance on Atlanta, GA.

1865: Union General Sheridan is named commander of all US forces west of the Mississippi with the aim of both securing Texas and put pressure on the Imperial Mexican government, locked in a struggle with Republican forces under Benito Juarez and propped up by French troops.

May 18

1861: US Navy vessels block the mouth of the Rappahannock River, VA.
Union troops engage Confederate artillery positions at Sewall’s Point, VA.

1862: Suffolk, VA falls to Union troops.
US Naval forces under Flag Officer Farragut head up the Mississippi River toward Vicksburg, MS.

1863: Union forces reach the outskirts of Vicksburg, MS.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle reaches Jackson, MS with the help of a French boy whose family lived in the area. He gets into a spot of bother as local residents take him for a spy. Some letters from Confederate officials in Texas save him from a hanging.

1864: Battle of Yellow Bayou, LA. Union commander: General Banks. Confederate commander: General Taylor. Banks detaches a part of his force in order to hold off attacking Confederates while bridges are being built. Both sides retire as the foliage is set on fire by the battle.
Union General Grant attempts a flanking attack on Confederate troops near Spotsylvania VA, which fails.

1865: Emma LeConte, a resident of Columbia, SC, writes in her diary her hope of continued Southern resistance despite the capture of former CS President Davis.

May 19

1861: Union troops begin improving the defenses around Washington, DC.

1862: CS President Davis shows uncertainty in the ability of the CS Army to defend Richmond, VA in a letter to his wife.
Skirmish at Searcy Landing, AR.
US President Lincoln revokes an emancipation order made by Union General Hunter.

1863: Union General Grant orders an assault on the Vicksburg defenses but is repulsed.
US Secretary of War Stanton orders that Vallandingham be banished to the Confederacy.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle breakfasts with Confederate General State Rights Gist.

1864: There is an attack by Confederate forces under General Ewell at Harris Farm, VA, which is beaten back. This action ends the fighting around Spotsylvania, VA.
Confederate forces under General Johnston reach Allatoona Pass, GA.
Union General Sigel is relieved of his army command for his defeat at New Market, VA.

1865: CSS Stonewall formally surrendered to Spanish authorities in Cuba.

May 20

1861: North Carolina officially secedes.
Kentucky declares neutrality.
Telegraph offices in the North raided in order to find any messages sent by spies.

1862: CS President Davis declares that Richmond, VA will be held at all costs.
Confederate General Jackson’s forces are reinforced by those of General Richard Ewell.
Union General McClellan’s advance has come to a halt.
US President Lincoln signs the Homestead Act, opening large areas of the West to settlement.
Confederates repulsed at Searcy Landing, AR.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle goes to the village of Livingston, MS where he meets Confederate General Joe Johnston.

1863: Union General Grant orders his army to entrench themselves around Vicksburg, MS. Between retreating Confederates and the US Navy, the Confederate Nave base at Yazoo City, MS is destroyed along with three warships that were under construction.

1864; Union General Banks manages to get his forces across the Atchafalaya River, LA, ending the Red River Campaign in failure.
Union General Grant decides to move his army to the left, away from Spotsylvania, VA.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes that the population of Camp Sumter (Andersonville, GA) is about 20,000. Malnutrition and disease are taking a huge toll on the prisoners.

1865: US Vice-Admiral Farragut appointed to review the entire Naval Academy, leading to reforms.

May 21

1861: Confederate capital to be moved from Montgomery, AL to Richmond, VA.

1862: Confederate General Jackson moves his army across Massanutten Mountain, VA on order to avoid Union forces under General Banks.
Union General McClellan asks for General McDowell’s troops, claiming that the Confederates outmanned his forces. (He actually had at least a 3 to 1 superiority.)
Minor skirmish at Phillip’s Creek, MS.

1863: A Union force from Baton Rouge, LA encounters Confederate troops at plains Store, LA and drives them off. A second Confederate force arrives and is also driven off. This reestablishes General Grant’s supply lines and continues the Union advance on Port Hudson, LA.

1864: In response to Union General Grant’s flanking maneuver from Spotsylvania, VA, Confederate General Lee begins moving his troops towards the North Anna River.
Confederate General Joe Johnston is firmly entrenched at Allatoona Pass, GA.
Union General Hunter assumes command of the Department of West Virginia from General Sigel.

1865: CSS Shenandoah enters Sea of Okhotsk, Russia in search of Northern whaling ships, unaware that the war is over.

May 22

1861: Union General Butler arrives at Fortress Monroe, VA to take command of Union efforts to seize the Confederate Atlantic coast.

1862: Confederate General Jackson moves his forces toward Front Royal, VA.
Skirmish at New Berne, NC.
Skirmish at Florida, MO.

1863: Union General Grant orders a second attack in the Vicksburg, MS defenses, which also fails. Grant now considers a siege.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle writes about hearing the artillery bombardment from Jackson, MS.

1864: Union forces under General Sherman reach Allatoona Pass, GA. Decides on another flanking maneuver toward Dallas, GA.
Confederate General Ewell’s corps reaches Hanover Junction, VA, ahead of Union General Grant’s troops, who have reached the North Anna River, VA.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes that flour is selling for $400 a barrel and cornmeal for $125 a bushel.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes that he has started a washing business alongside a Minnesota soldier who is running a barber shop. Services are being traded for food, which is the main currency in Camp Sumter (Andersonville, GA).

1865: US President Johnson lifts trade restrictions on Southern ports with the exception of Galveston, La Salle, Brazos Santiago, and Brownsville, all in Texas.
Former CS President Davis imprisoned in Fortress Monroe, VA.

May 23

1861: Virginia formally joins the Confederacy. The moving of the capital to Richmond was seen as the catalyst for that decision.

1862: Battle of Front Royal, VA. Union commander: General Nathaniel Banks. Confederate commander: General Thomas Jackson. Jackson’s maneuver puts his forces in a position to capture a number of Banks’ forces. Confederate victory.
US President Lincoln meets General McDowell at Fredericksburg, VA.
Skirmish at Ft. Craig, New Mexico Territory.

1863: Union General Banks’ force reaches Port Hudson, LA and begins to dig in.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle departs Jackson, MS for Mobile, AL.

1864: Battle of the North Anna River, VA. Union commander: General Ulysses S. Grant. Confederate commander: General Robert E. Lee. Confederate troops under General A.P. Hill attack Union V Corps positions near Jericho Mills with nothing decided.
Confederate General Lee is taken seriously ill during the battle.
Union General Sherman’s troops crossed the Etowah River en route to Dallas, GA.

1865: In Washington DC, the Grand Review victory parade begins with a mass march of the Army of the Potomac.
Pro-Union government of Virginia established in the state capital of Richmond.

May 24

1861: At Ft Monroe, VA, Union General Benjamin Butler declares all escaped slaves that crossed into Union lines are “contraband of war.” His rationale was reports he had received stating that slaves were being used to construct fortifications for the Confederates.
Alexandria, VA seized by Union forces. During the capture of the town, the commander of the 11th New York Infantry (known as the “Fire Zouaves” because they were comprised if NYC firefighters), Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, spotted a Confederate flag flying from a hotel. Taking two soldiers, he races to the roof and cuts the flag down. On the way down the stairs, Ellsworth is met by the hotel owner, James Jackson, who kills him with a shotgun. Jackson is killed by one of the soldiers. Both men become symbols to both sides.

1862: Union General Banks forces begin moving to Winchester, VA in a panic, leaving behind tons of supplies that the Confederates take advantage of.
US President Lincoln orders Generals Fremont and McDowell to attack Confederate General Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, VA. (McDowell’s troops will not be sent to General McClellan.)

1863: Union General Hooker prepares for another Confederate assault near Fredericksburg, VA, not knowing that Confederate General Lee is busy planning an invasion of the North.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle reaches Mobile, AL and checks in to the "Battlehouse" Hotel.

1864: Union troops cross the North Anna River at Chesterfield Bridge and Ox Ford, VA.
CSS Albemarle searches for torpedoes (mines) in the Roanoke River, SC.
CS War Department clerk John B. Jones writes that peas are selling for $10 a half-peck and strawberries for $10 a quart.

Confederate cavalry under General Fitzhugh Lee (one of Robert E. Lee’s sons) attack the Federal supply depot at Wilson’s Wharf, VA, but is repulsed.
Confederate General Joe Johnston pulls his army out of Allatoona Pass, and heads for New Hope Church, GA.
Confederates under Colonel Colton Green begin attacks on Federal shipping on the Mississippi River.

1865: Union General Sherman’s armies march through Washington DC, ending the Grand Review.

May 25

1861: Union forces seize Hampton, VA.

1862: Union General Banks makes a stand at Winchester, VA, but they are routed and begin to flee to Harpers Ferry, VA. Confederates, noting another capture of Federal supplies, begin to refer to the Union commander as “Commissary” Banks.
Diarist Laura Lee expresses her glee at her town’s liberation.
Two additional Federal armies, under Generals Fremont and McDowell, enter the Shenandoah Valley, VA to pursue Jackson.
US President Lincoln orders General McClellan to either attack Richmond, VA or aid in the defense of Washington, DC.
Union General Halleck finally has his whole army at Corinth, MS, after taking 26 days to march a mere 20 miles.

1863: Clement Vallandingham is handed over to Confederate authorities in Tennessee.

1864: Battle of New Hope Church, GA. Union commander: General William Sherman. Confederate commander: General Joseph Johnston. A Union attack on Confederate positions results in heavy casualties. Both sides entrench and skirmish throughout the next day. Surviving Federals will call the area the “Hell Hole.” This battle will end on May 26 with another Union flanking maneuver.
Union Army of the Potomac receives reinforcements led by General Sheridan.
Union General Grant finds his way blocked by Confederates and considers another flanking move.
US Steamer Lebanon captured by Confederate Colonel Green’s raiders.

1865: A warehouse filled with gunpowder explodes in Mobile, AL, causing 300 casualties and widespread damage.

May 26

1861: US Postmaster General Blair announces that postal service to the Southern states will cease in May 31.
Author Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about the surge in patriotism in the North but wonders what the aim of the war should be.

1862: Confederate General Jackson keeps up the pursuit of Union General Banks, briefly engaging him near Loudoun Heights, VA. Banks manages to escape across the Potomac River.

1863: Union General Banks completes his encirclement of Port Hudson, LA.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle departs Mobile on an overnight train for Montgomery, AL.

1864: Battle of North Anna River ends with another Federal flanking maneuver. Technically this gave the Confederates the victory, since they still hold the field, but they notice that the Federals are flanking deeper into Virginia.
Union General Hunter begins movement in the Shenandoah Valley, VA. The Confederates opposing him are now commanded by General William “Grumble” Jones.
Union General Sherman reaches Dallas, GA.
Montana Territory established.
An African-American newspaper prints an article critical of the Lincoln Administration and its Emancipation Proclamation.

1865: Confederate General Buckner surrenders his army at New Orleans, LA.

May 27

1861: Union General McClellan crosses the Ohio River into Western Virginia to support Colonel Kelly and the 1st VA (US).
The only legal challenge to US President Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus is decided in the President’s favor.

1862: Union forces under General Fitz-John Porter attack Confederates near Hanover Court House, VA, routing them.
Skirmish near Searcy Landing, AR.

1863: Union General Banks launched an attack on Port Hudson, which fails.
CSS Chattahoochee destroyed on the Chattahoochee River, GA.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle passes through Montgomery, AL and continues traveling to West Point, GA and on into Atlanta, where he catches another overnight train for Chattanooga, TN.

1864: There are cavalry skirmishes along the Pamunkey River, VA.
Army of Northern Virginia begins movement to the southeast to counter Union General Grant’s next move.
Union troops under General Howard are repulsed at Pickett’s Mills, near Dallas, GA.

1865: US President Johnson orders the release of most of those held by Union military authorities.

May 28

1861: Union General Irwin McDowell is named Commander of the Department of Northeastern Virginia.

1862: Skirmish at Wardensville, VA.

1863: The 54th Massachusetts, an African-American regiment, departs Boston, MA for Port Royal, SC.
Union Admiral Porter supplies heavy guns to assist in reducing the Confederate fortifications around Vicksburg, MS.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle leaves Chattanooga for Shelbyville, TN. He stops at Wartrace, TN where he meets Confederate Generals Hardee, Polk, and Clement Vallandigham, recently exiled from the north.

1864: Battle of Dallas, GA. Union commander: General Sherman. Confederate commander: General Johnston. Confederate forces under General Hardee attack Union positions but withdraw after heavy fighting. Union victory.
Battle of Enon Church, VA. Union commander: General David Gregg. Confederate commander: General Fitzhugh Lee. Confederate cavalry attack Union cavalry that was covering Grant’s maneuver. Both sides fight to a standstill and begin to attract infantry to the area. Draw.
New York Times prints an article about Union spy Pauline Cushman.

May 29

1861: Dorothea Dix receives authorization to establish military hospitals in the Washington DC area.
Union troops under General Butler occupy Newport News, VA.

1862: There is skirmishing at Seven Pines, VA, near Richmond.
Union forces are massing near Harper’s Ferry, VA to counter Confederate General Jackson. This takes away troops that Union General McClellan needs for operations in the Peninsula.
Union troops occupy Ashland, VA.

1863: Union General Burnside offers to resign in protest over the release of Clement Vallandingham. US President Lincoln refuses to accept it.
Lt Col Arthur Freemantle rides to Shelbyville, TN and meets Confederate General Bragg.

1864: Battle of Bethesda Church, VA. Union commander: General Ulysses Grant. Confederate commander: General Robert E. Lee. Union forces begin attacking Confederate positions along the Totopotomoy River. After failing to break through the lines, Grant is forced to move further south in order to outflank Lee. Union forces are now moving toward Cold Harbor, VA. Technically a Confederate victory since they still held the line.
Fighting continues at Dallas, GA. Confederates realize that they are losing valuable troops to casualties.

1865: US President Johnson grants a general amnesty, with few exceptions, to former Confederates.

May 30

1861: Union troops occupy Grafton, Western VA.

1862: Confederate troops under General Beauregard pull out of Corinth, MS, leaving the important crossroads town to Union General Halleck, but leaving a Confederate army in the field.
Confederate General Jackson’s troops skirmish with Union General Shields’ forces at Front Royal, VA.

1863: Confederate General Lee reorganizes the Army of Northern Virginia into three corps. 1st Corps is commanded by General James Longstreet. 2nd Corps is commanded by General A.P. Hill. 3rd Corps is commanded by General Richard Ewell.
Union General Grant prepares for a possible Confederate attack from the east, led by General Joe Johnston.

1864: Battle of Bethesda Church, VA ends in a draw as Union forces drive the Confederate left wing back as their left wing was being driven back. A Union cavalry attack under General Alfred Torbert succeeds in opening a way to Old Cold Harbor.
Confederate General Morgan begins a raid into Kentucky in order to disrupt Union General Sherman’s supply lines.
Union Sergeant John Ransom writes about an Ohio man, Charlie Hudson, who was shot for attempting to get fresher water by reaching under the "deadline", the barrier at which Confederate guards were authorized to shoot prisoners.

May 31

1861: Confederate General Beauregard is appointed Commander of the Confederate Army of the Potomac. This is the force that is being gathered to counter any Union first moves to stop the rebellion.
Union troops move form the Indian Nations (modern day Oklahoma) to Ft Leavenworth, KS on a route that will become the Chisholm Trail, which will see massive cattle drives after the war.

1862: Battle of Fair Oaks (or Seven Pines), VA. Union commander: General George McClellan. Confederate commander: General Joseph Johnston. Johnston orders an attack while McClellan’s army was split along the Chickahominy River. Union General Edwin Sumner moves his command, without orders, in order to stop Johnston. During the fighting Johnston is severely wounded and General Robert E. Lee, on an inspection tour for CS President Davis, is placed in command of what will soon become the Army of Northern Virginia.
Confederate General Jackson’s forces use the cover of a heavy rainstorm to march south in the Shenandoah Valley, VA and avoid the trap being set by Union Generals Fremont and McDowell.
Skirmishing at Neosho, MO.

1863: Falling water levels and the high heat makes life difficult for Confederate troops in the trenches at Port Hudson, LA.

1864: Union General Sheridan’s troops seize the crossroads at Old Cold Harbor, VA.
A split in the Republican Party is evident as radicals push General john Fremont for President.
Union General Sherman’s push toward Atlanta, GA has been slowed to a mile a day despite outnumbering the Confederate defenders.


Abolitionist John Brown, who led the raid on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, VA (now WV), 1800
US Secretary of State William Seward, 1801
Union General George Greene, 1801
Confederate General Isaac Trimble, 1802
Confederate General “Prince” John Magruder, 1807
Union General Solomon Meredith, 1810
New York Governor Horatio Seymour, 1810
Union General John McClernand, 1812
Confederate General Felix Zollicoffer, 1812
US Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, 1813
Wilmer McLean, whose dwellings saw both the beginning and the end of the Civil War, 1814
Union Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs, 1816
Confederate General Henry Sibley, 1816
Massachusetts Governor John Andrew, 1818
Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, 1818
Union General Thomas Crittenden, 1819
Julia Ward Howe, author of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, 1819
James Eads, designer of a class of Union ironclad gunboats, 1820
Union General Ambrose Burnside, 1824
Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, 1824
Union General David Birney, 1825
Confederate General Cadmus Wilcox, 1825
Confederate First Lady Varina Davis, 1826
Union General Alfred Duffie, 1833
Confederate General Edward Porter Alexander, noted artillerist, 1835
Confederate General Stephen Ramseur, 1837
John Wilkes Booth, assassin of US President Lincoln, 1838
Confederate spy Maria "Belle" Boyd, 1844

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