Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No One Celebrated

The Confederates took the advantage at the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee [aka the Battle of Murfreesboro] by attacking first. At dawn on December 31st 1862 while many of the Union men where having breakfast, two of Lieutenant General William J Hardee’s and one of Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk’s divisions strongly assaulted the right wing under Union Major General Alexander M McCook. By ten that morning the Rebels had managed to push the Union troops back about three miles, almost to the Nashville Pike. Only the units fighting tenaciously under Brigadier General Philip H Sheridan and Brigadier General James S Negley keep the battle from being a total Federal rout. At noon along the Nashville Pike troops under Major General Thomas Crittenden used infantry and artillery to push back a Confederate attack. The noise of battle was so loud that soldiers had to put cotton in the ears. As night came on the fighting died off. No one celebrated the New Year that night, as the two armies stayed in position for the next day.

Worth looking at
Stones River Bloody Winter Tennessee

Personal Recollections And Experiences Concerning The Battle Of Stone River (1889)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Limited Freedom

President Abraham Lincoln held a cabinet meeting on December 30th 1862 at which he gave members a copy of the Draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. He asked them to offer suggestions for the document. The first part of the Proclamation was issued on September 22, 1862, outlining the intent that became law 100 days later on January 1, 1863.

You might also like to read these

The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Last Issue

The last issue of “The Liberator” was published today December 29th 1865 by William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison felt his goal of the “extermination of chattel slavery” had succeeded.

William Lloyd Garrison born December 12th 1805 in Newburyport,MA, was a journalist, social reformer and abolitionist. In 1831 he founded a weekly newspaper in Boston,MA; “The Liberator” dedicated to anti-slavery information. The paper had a slow start with less than 400 subscribers in its second year. “The Liberator" did grow in numbers and influence over the three decades leading up to the Civil War. The last issue; number 1,820, was published December 29,1865. Mr. Garrison wrote in this last issue, “The object for which the Liberator was commenced—the extermination of chattel slavery—having been gloriously consummated, it seems to me specially appropriate to let its existence cover the historic period of the great struggle; leaving what remains to be done to complete the work of emancipation to other instrumentalities”.

Also worth a look

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Don't Split Your Troops

In Jefferson Co, TN in December 29th 1863 the minor battle of Mossy Creek occurred. While camped at Mossy Creek and Talbott‘s Station, Union Brigadier General Samuel D Sturgis received a report that Confederate Cavalry had set up camp to the south near Dandridge. Sturgis sent a portion of his troops out towards Dandrige, and just a short time after they departed Major General William T Martin the commander of Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s cavalry attacked the remaining force at Talbott’s Station at about 9 am.

The Union troops fell back slowly toward Mossy Creek, and sent messages to the force that was heading to Dandridge to return promptly. The Rebel continued to advance on Mossy Creek and the Federal troops there. About 3pm the force from Dandridge returned to Mossy Creek and turned the tide of the battle, driving the Confederates back towards Talbott’s Station and Panther Creek. The Union did not pursue that night. General Martin retreated from the area and spent the rest of the winter in the Morristown area.

For more reading

Friday, December 26, 2008

First Nurse

On this date in 1862 the first official female nurses; four Nuns who volunteered were serving on the US Navy hospital ship the “Red Rover”.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve and the Klan

Right after the Civil War ended on December 24th 1865 in Pulaski,TN six Confederate veterans created the original Ku Klux Klan. The name made up from the Greek word kyklos meaning circle, and was just one of many secret societies of the time. Since most of the Klan’s members were veterans of the late war, they used military structure within the organization. The main purpose of this early Klan was to resist Reconstruction. It was put out of being in the 1870’s when President Ulysses S Grant saw passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1871; aka the Ku Klux Klan Act.

For more information

Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Capture The Flag

Richard Conner was awarded to Medal Honor for his bravery in action. He was born December 23rd 1843. As a 17 year old resident of Burlington, NJ he enlisted in the 6th NJ Volunteer Infantry as a Private in Co “F”. His unit saw service at the Battle of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, and Gettysburg. But it was during the Battle of Second Bull Run, that he performed his act of bravery. The flag of his regiment having been left behind during a retreat, Richard and a companion volunteered to return under heavy fire, were he secured the flag and brought it back off the field. After the war was over he moved to Philadelphia, where 35 years latter on September 17th 1897 he was recognized for his bravery with the Medal of Honor. He died in PA and is buried in North Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Other reading

Monday, December 22, 2008

Colored Troops Organized

The Second Cavalry of the United States Colored Troops were organized on December 22nd 1863 at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

The 2nd Cavalry of the United States Color Troops saw service at Fort Monroe, Portsmouth and Williamsburg, Virginia through May 1864. They were present at the capture of Bermuda Hundred, and for the siege of Petersburgs and Richmond.

After the end of hostilities they were ordered to City Point, Virginia, where they sailed for Texas, and saw duty on the Rio Grande and other points around Texas until February 1866. The unit was mustered out of service February 12th 1866.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And So It Began

Today, December 20th 1860 was the true beginning of the Civil War. As Charleston South Carolina voted to be the first state to seceded from the Union.

Once if was assured that Abraham Lincoln had won the presidency, the Governor of South Carolina called for a convention to discuss secession. Support for the Union was almost nil, one of the lone supporters allegedly said; our state is to small to be a nation and to large to be an insane asylum. Two day after passing the Ordinance of Secession on December 22nd 1860 the state sent commissioners to Washington, DC to negotiate for the release of forts and other federal property within the state. During the next six weeks, six more southern states joined South Carolina.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The First General Prisoner

James Jay Archer the first general captured from the Army of Northern Virginia was born on December 19th 1817.

James Jay Archer was the son of John and Ann [Stump] Archer and was born December 19th 1917 in Bel Air, MD. In 1835 he graduated from Princeton, and than studied law at the University of Maryland. When the Mexican-American War began he volunteered for service in the United States Army. He was cited for bravery brevetted to the rank of Major. After the war he return to his law practice, but decided in 1855 to re-join the army as a Captain in the 9th United States Infantry.

At the beginning of the Civil War Archer was stationed at Fort Walla Walla, Washington. He resigned his commission on May 14th 1861 and joined the Confederate Army. Although he was a native of Maryland, he became the Colonel of the 5th Texas Infantry. Archer was promoted on June 3rd 1862 to Brigadier General and given command of regiments from Tennessee. These units would be joined by others to form the “Light Division” under General AP Hill.

At Gettysburg Archer’s health was deteriorating. His brigade was now part of Major General Henry Heth’s division. On the first day of fighting, after attacking Union Major General John F Reynolds first Corps, and than being pushed back across Willoughby Run, the sick and exhausted Archer took cover in a thicket, where Union Private Patrick Maloney of the 2nd Wisconsin took Archer prisoner. This made him the first General to be captured from the Army of Northern Virginia since Robert E Lee took over command. He was sent to Fort Delaware along with his younger brother and aide-de-camp Robert Harris Archer. James Archer was eventually sent to Johnson’s Island in Ohio on the coast of Lake Erie, where he was held for about a year. He was exchanged in the late summer of 1864, reporting on August 9th to the Army of Tennessee. It was during the Siege of Petersburg that his health caused a collapse after the Battle of Peebles’ Farm. He died October 24th 1864 in Richmond, VA and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Military Man

General Charles Griffin a Union general was born on December 18th 1825 in Granville, Ohio.

He went to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and graduated 23rd out of a class of 38 from West Point in 1847. He served with the 2nd US Artillery during the Mexican-American War.

General Griffin formed and than led the “West Point Battery”; Battery D of the 5th US Artillery at the First Manassa. He married Sallie Carroll of Maryland in December of 1861. He was leading men during the Peninsula Campaign when he was promoted to Brigadier General. Although he had a hard time getting along with his superiors, his leadership abilities continued to bring him promotions. He was given the honor by Ulysses S Grant to receive the arms and colors of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. After the Civil War was over he commanded the Reconstruction in Texas with headquarters in Galveston. He succumbed to Yellow Fever in Texas September 15th 1867, he is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington DC.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Before the Music Made the City

On the cold icy winter afternoon of December 16th 1864 Union troops led by General George H Thomas handed a crushing defeat to Confederate forces in Nashville, TN. The Battle of Nashville had begun the day before December 15th 1864, after two weeks of waiting for good weather and reinforcements to arrive.

The first Union troops, led by Major General James Steedman, set out to hit the Confederates before daylight on the 15th. The Confederate were battered by dark when the fighting ended for the day, but General John B Hood was still confident. Hood placed his line of resistance along Shy’s and Overton’s Hills to prepare for the next days fighting.

The first days fighting had been a matter of overwhelming numbers of Union forces. The Union spent most of the morning of the 16th moving into position. The plan was to hit the Confederates on two fronts. It took until about 4pm before the Confederates on Shy’s Hill, under attack from three side broke and ran for the rear. With darkness and a heavy rain falling, Hood collected what was left of his troops and withdrew southward. This was the beginning of the end for the fighting in the Western Theater.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Fight in NC

In Lenoir Co, North Carolina on December 14th 1862 the Battle of Kinston was fought.

A Union force lead by General John G Foster headed out from New Bern, North Carolina, with orders to destroy the railroad at Goldsborough, North Carolina. They were met near the Kinston Bridge by a brigade under the command of Confederate General Nathan Evans. However the Confederates were outnumbered and had to pull back in the direction of Goldsborough.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fighting Over the Mountain

Forces lead by Confederate Colonel Edward Johnson occupied the summit of Allegheny Mountain in Pocahontas Co,Virginia [now West Virginia] on December 13th 1861, to defend the Staunton Parkersburg Pike.

On the morning of December 13th 1861, Union troops under the leadership of Brigadier General Robert Milroy attacked the Confederates holding the pass. With each side maneuvering for advantage, the fighting went on through out the morning. The Union troops were finally repulsed by a artillery battery and Milroy’s men retreated to Green Spring Run near Cheat Mountain. There were an estimated 137 Union, and 146 Confederate casualties.

The end of the year found Confederate Colonel Edward Johnson with five regiments still in Camp Allegheny on the mountain top, were they suffered through the winter weather until April 1862.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Youngest In West Point

In Philadelphia PA on December 3rd 1826 George B McClellan was born.

George Brinton McClellan was the Major General of the Army of the Potomac from Nov 1861 to March 1862. He played an important role in creating the organized and well-trained army that became the Union force. He was the son of Dr George and Elizabeth Steinmetz [Brinton] McClellen. He was the third of five children born to the couple. Gen McClellan first attended University of PA in 1840 at the age of 13, but two years latter decided his goal was military service. With the help of a letter written to President John Tyler by his father, some rules where changed and he was allowed to enter West Point at the age of 15. He graduated in 1846 the second in his class. After his term of military service he entered politics, running as a Democrat in the 1864 Presidential election against Lincoln. He was finally elected to the Governor of New Jersey in 1877. George McClellan died October 29th 1885 in Orange,NJ.

For further reading