Friday, June 29, 2012

Contraband On Plantations

Fought by black Union troops the Battle of Goodrich’s Landing occurred on June 29th and June 30th 1863.

When the Union began occupying Louisiana, many escaped slaves or contraband went to them for protection.  Those members of the Union government in the area leased, or took over some plantations placing these newly freedmen on the plantations growing crops.  As protection African American soldiers were assigned to guard these properties.

Confederate troops under Colonel William H Parsons took on a mission to try to re-capture some of these areas.  They left from Gaines’s Landing, Arkansas to attack a fort the Union had built on an Indian mound.  On June 29th 1863 Parsons’ men demanded surrender of the Union troops holding the fort, which they accepted.  The Confederate troops began burning the plantations in the area, before having a fight with the Union 1st Kansas Mounted Infantry.

The next morning June 30th 1863 the Mississippi Marine Brigade under the command of Union Brigadier General Alfred W Ellet landed at Goodrich’s Landing.  Ellet along with Union Colonel William F Wood began skirmishing with Parsons Confederates.  As the fight became heated Parsons withdrew his men.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

His Nickname Was Kill-Cavalry

Union General Judson Kilpatrick received an appointment on June 28th 1863 to command the Third Division of the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps.

Hugh Judson Kilpatrick was born on the family farm in Wantage, New Jersey on January 14th 1836 the son of Simon and Julia [Wickham] Kilpatrick.  He graduated just before the start of the Civil in from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1861.  Kilpatrick received a commission to Second Lieutenant in First United States Artillery.

At the start of the Civil War Kilpatrick was made a Captain in Duryee’s Zouaves, the 5th New York Infantry.  He was wounded at the Battle of Big Bethel June 10th 1861, hit in the thigh while leading a company.  Kilpatrick was made a Lieutenant Colonel in the 2nd New York Cavalry in September 1861.  He was an aggressive, ambitious leader, who had a willingness to use up men and horses in suicidal charges, earning himself the nick name “Kill-Cavalry”.  In February 1863 Kilpatrick moved up to command of the First Brigade of the Second Division of the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry.  During the Chancellorsville Campaign Kilpatrick made a ride around Lee’s Army burning bridges and reaching almost to Richmond, Virginia.

Kilpatrick fought at Brandy Station on June 9th 1863, receiving his commission to Brigadier General on June 13th 1863.  Three days before the Battle of Gettysburg June 28th 1863 he assumed command of a division.  Following Pickett’s Charge on July 3rd 1863 he ordered a controversial charge against the Confederate infantry located at base of Big Round Top in which Union Brigadier General Elon J Farnsworth was killed. 

In the spring of 1864 Kilpatrick was involved in the Dahlgren Affair.  After this he was sent to the Army of the Cumberland, where he was placed in command of the third Division of the Cavalry under Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman.  Sherman said of Kilpatrick, "I know that Kilpatrick is a hell of a damned fool, but I want just that sort of man to command my cavalry on this expedition."  He started in the Atlanta Campaign and on May 13th 1864 was wounded at the Battle of Resaca badly enough he out of the fight until July 1864.

Following the war Kilpatrick became active in Republican politics.  President Andrew Johnson appointed him the Minister to Chile.  He married Luisa Fernandez de Valdivieso while in Chile.  Kilpatrick died while in Santiago, Chile December 4th 1881.  He is buried in the West Point Cemetery at West Point, New York.

Another web site you might want to look at for more about this is Judson Kilpatrick, Vernon's Civil War hero (sort of)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Move On The Left Flank

The Battle of Kolb’s Farm between Union Major General Joseph Hooker’s men and Confederate troops under Lieutenant General John Bell Hood was fought June 22nd 1864.

Confederate General Joseph E Johnston’s Army of Tennessee moved into a line between Big Kennesaw Mountain and Little Kennesaw Mountain.  Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman started probing this line on June 19th 1864, looking for a week spot.  Sherman decided the spot was the left flank, and he sent Hooker’s XX Corps with the support of Major General John McAllister Schofield to take on that flank near Powder Springs.  Johnston predicted the Union movement and sent Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s Corps to cover the Union movement.

Confederate Major General Cater L Stevenson one of Hood’s division commanders moved on the afternoon of June 22nd 1864 toward Kolb’s Farm on the south Powder Springs Road.  They ran into heavy skirmishing with the Union 14th Kentucky and 123rd New York.  Hood ordered his whole Corps; about 11,000 men, to advance up the Powder Springs Road pushing the Union troops ahead of them.  Hooker had information about Hood’s coming troops and had entrenched his Corps of about 15,000 men across the Powder Springs Road.  The marshy terrain and well placed Union artillery stalled Hood’s attack and caused him to have to withdraw.

It was a one sided battle with the Union side coming out on top.  Confederate losses were about 1,000, the Union only had about 350 casualties.

If you would like to read more look at The Battle of Kolb's Farm

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Without A Loss

The Battle of Simmon’s Bluff fought June 21st 1862 near Meggett, South Carolina, produced no casualties.

Charleston, South Carolina had been placed under a siege by Union troops, the only supplies coming in on a local railroad.  The 55th Pennsylvania under the command of Lieutenant A C Rhind, were sent amphibiously on June 21st 1862, coming on shore near Simmon’s Bluff at  Wadmelaw Sound with orders to cut the Charleston & Savannah Railroad.  The 55th quickly came upon the camp of the 16th South Carolina under the command of Colonel James McCullough and engaged the Confederate soldiers.  The Confederates scattered without putting up any kind of a fight.

After this short encounter the Union troops gave up on the railroad and returned to their ship.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

African American Artillery

The First Alabama Siege Artillery made up of African American was raised in Tennessee and Mississippi and was mustered into service June 20th 1863.

The First Siege Artillery a regiment made up of men of African American descent was raised in Corinth, Mississippi, LaFayette, LaGrange and Memphis, Tennessee.  They were mustered into Union service on June 20th 1863.  The regiment renamed on March 11th 1864 as the 6th United States Colored Heavy Artillery.  They were placed under the command of Major Lionel F Booth on March 18th 1864.

The 6th were sent to Fort Pillow.  The fort was attacked on April 12th 1864 by about 3,000 Confederate troops.  Booth was shot by a sniper and killed early in the fighting.  Command of the 6th fell to Captain Charles Epeneter who was also wounded.  The 6th’s guns weren’t effective as the Confederates stormed the fort as the guns couldn’t be depressed enough to fire on them.

Following the Battle of Fort Pillow, those members of the 6th who survived were moved into the 11th United States Colored Troops.

For more information look at 1st Alabama Siege Artillery (African Descent)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Home Guard Against Home Guard

Confederate victory at the Battle of Cole Camp on June 19th 1861 in Benton County, Missouri allowed the Missouri governor and the State Guard to flee from the Union troops.

Union Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon took over the Jefferson City, Missouri on June 15th 1861, the state capitol.  Two days later Lyon fought with some of the Confederate Missouri State Guard near Boonville, Missouri.  A part of the Confederate State Guard along with the pro–secession Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson fled southwest toward Benton County with the Union troops behind them.

Most residents of Benton County, Missouri were of Confederate sympathies, but the German immigrants in the area were pro-Union.  They formed the Benton County Home Guard in early June 1861 under the command of Captain Able H W Cook at Cole Camp.  At the same time in nearby Warsaw, Missouri Confederate leaning Captain Walter S O’Kane and Captain Thomas W Murray organized the Warsaw “Grays” and “Blues”.

On June 18th 1861 O’Kane’s men left Warsaw and marched toward Cole Camp.  A local citizen John Tyree reported the movement to officers at Cole Camp.  After making this report he was captured by some of the Confederates, tied to a tree and shot.  Despite the warning the men of the Benton Home Guard were caught sleeping in the early morning hours of June 19th 1861.  O’Kane’s men hit a portion of the Home Guard to the east of Heisterberg barn, firing a volley into the men.  A company of Home Guard to the north of the barn; under Captain Elsinger fired into O’Kane’s flank, but quickly ran out of ammunition and were forced to withdraw.

The Union had 34 men killed, 60 wounded and 25 men taken prisoner.  The Confederates lost 7 killed and 25 wounded.  More importantly O’Kanes men captured 362 muskets that would be used at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Other Richmond

A part of the Siege of Vicksburg, the Battle of Richmond was fought June 15th 1863 in Richmond, Louisiana.

Richmond, Louisiana was an important part of the Confederate supply line for Vicksburg, Mississippi.  After Union troops won battles at Milliken’s Bend and Young’s Point they were able to move against Richmond.  Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered Brigadier General Joseph Mower’s brigade from the trenches around Vicksburg, and told him to coordinate an attack against Confederate forces in Richmond with Union Marine Brigadier General Alfred W Ellet.

The Union troops advanced on Richmond on June 15th 1863 with Ellet’s men in the lead.    Confederate Major General John G Walker’s scouts learned of Ellet’s men movements.  Walker had line of skirmishers made up of the 18th Texas Infantry; they stopped the initial Union forward movement.  The Confederate held their line until Mower came up with his infantry, formed in line of battle and opened with their artillery.  The battle continued until Mower’s men made it through a bayou and got on Walker’s flank.

Walker had gotten his supply wagons to safety, and finding himself outnumbered, he withdrew his men.  As they pulled out of the area, the Confederate destroyed the bridges.  The Union win at Richmond on June 15th 1863 took away another supply route from the garrison at Vicksburg.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Leader Of The Irish

One of the leaders of the Union Irish Brigade, Colonel Patrick Kelly was killed June 14th 1864 while at the head of his men at the Siege of Petersburg.

Patrick Kelly was born about 1822 in Castlehacket, County Galway, Ireland.  He immigrated with his wife Elizabeth to New York City.

When the Civil War started Kelly enlisted, and was made a Captain in the 69th New York Infantry.  He saw his first action at the First Battle of Bull Run.  He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the 88th New York Infantry on September 14th 1861, and had command of the regiment during the Battle of Antietam.  Kelly received his promotion to Colonel on October 20th 1862.  He led the regiment in its failed frontal attack of Marye’s Heights at the Battle of Fredericksburg.  Following the Battle of Chancellorsville, the commander of the Irish Brigade Union Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher resigned and Kelly was placed in command of the brigade.  The Irish Brigade with Kelly saw heavy fighting in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg, losing 37% of the Brigade.  As the Union Army was reorganized more senior officers returned and Kelly went back to leading his regiment.  At the Battle of Cold Harbor, with the death of Union Colonel Richard Byrnes in June 1864, Kelly was placed back in command of the Irish Brigade.

 Kelly was leading the Irish Brigade on June 14th 1864 during the Siege of Petersburg.  They were moving on some Confederate earthworks when he was shot in the head and killed.  His body was taken back to New York City, where Kelly is buried in the First Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, New York.

For more information about Patrick Kelly check out the web site News from the Irish Brigade Asscciation

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lowest Rate Of Mortality

Located in Richmond, Virginia, the Robertson Hospital treated wounded soldiers from the First Battle of Manassas until the last soldier was discharged June 13th 1865.

The Robertson Hospital was a small private hospital located in Judge John Roberts donated home and was financially supported by the Confederate government.  The hospital was run by Captain Sally Louisa Tompkins; she was the only women to have a commission from the Confederate government.

Sally Louisa Tompkins was born November 9th 1833 in Poplar Grove, Mathews County, Virginia the daughter of Christopher and Maria (Patterson) Tompkins.  She took an active role in restoring her neighborhood Episcopal Church, and nursed many locals, both black and white as a young woman.  After her father died, Tompkins and her mother moved to Richmond, Virginia.

After the First Battle of Manassas on July 21st 1861 the Confederate capital wasn’t ready for the hundreds of wounded soldiers who arrived there.  Tompkins responded to this influx by opening the home of Judge John Robertson as a hospital.  Once the first rush of wounded had passed Confederate President Jefferson Davis had military hospitals set up, but the Robertson Hospital had done such a good job that Tompkins was given a military commission so she could continue to work.  The Hospital treated 1,333 wounded during the four years of the war with only 73 deaths reported.  It had the lowest mortality rate of any military hospital during the Civil War.  The last of these patients was discharged on June 13th 1865.

Following the war Tompkins continued to serve in charitable work.  She never married and eventually she lived in the Richmond Home for Confederate Women in 1905.  She died July 26th 1916 and was buried with full military honors at the Christ Church in Mathews County, Virginia.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Circular Ride

In the early morning hours of June 12th 1862 Confederate General J E B Stuart left with 1,000 cavalry to make a circular ride clean around the Union army.

Union General George B McClellan began the Peninsula Campaign in the spring of 1862, moving slowly against Richmond, Virginia.  On May 31st 1862 at the Battle of Seven Pines, Confederate General Joseph Johnston was wounded and replaced by General Robert E Lee.

Lee had JEB Stuart put together his cavalry on June 10th 1862 to reconnoiter the Union right flank.  The ostentatious Stuart proposed a complete ride around the Union Army starting toward the Lower Peninsula near the York River, returning to the Richmond area along the James River.  Lee gave Stuart an unspecific order, telling him the exercise “due caution”.  At 2 am on June 12th 1862 about 1,000 of Stuart’s troopers mounted up and started north for the right flank of the Union army.  He picked up another 200 cavalry outside of Richmond, including Confederate Colonel Fitzhugh Lee and Lieutenant Colonel William H F Rooney Lee.

That first day the Confederate cavalry moved as if they were going to support of General Thomas Stonewall Jackson’s approach to Richmond.  They bivouacked that night on the bank of the South Anna River.  The next morning they ran into the Union 6th Cavalry just west of the Hanover Court House.  Stuart tried to flank them, and the Union commander Lieutenant Edward Leib withdrew down the Richmond Stage Road.  The Confederates continued on, trying to stop a train a Tunstall’s Station.  Stuart ran into trouble crossing the rain swelled Chickahominy River, and had to rebuild the bridge at Forge Site.  They crossed the river and then re-burnt the bridge.

On June 14th 1862 Stuart left his force under the command of Fitzhugh Lee and he continued to Richmond to meet with Robert E Lee to report on his 100 mile reconnaissance.  At about the same time Stuart was reporting his findings to Lee, Union General McClellan reported to Secretary of War Edwin M Stanton that, “A rebel force of cavalry and artillery, variously estimated at from 1,000 to 5,000, came around our right flank last evening, attacked and drove in a picket Old Church; they proceeded to a landing 3 miles above White House, where they burned two forage schooners and destroyed some wagons. Then they struck the railroad at Tunstall’s Station, fired into a train of cars, killing some 5 or 6. Here they met a force of infantry which I sent down to meet them, when they ran off. I have several cavalry detachments out after them and hope to punish them. No damage has been done to the railroad.”

If you’re interested in reading more about Stuart’s ride J. E. B. Stuart's Ride Around The Union Army is a good web site.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thirteen Hundred Union Prisoners

The Second Battle of Cynthiana was fought in Harrison County, Kentucky on June 11th 1864, a part of Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s raid into Kentucky.

Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan moved toward Cynthiana, Kentucky at dawn on June 11th 1864 with 1,200 cavalry.  The town was defended by a small Union of home guard and a detachment of the 168th Ohio, about 300 soldiers all under the command of Colonel Conrad Garis.  Morgan divided his men and surrounded the town, launching the attack at the covered bridge.  The Union troops were pushed back north towards the railroad.  The Confederate cavalry set fire to the town.  As the fighting was going on in Cynthiana, the 171st Ohio under the command of Union Brigadier General Edward Hobson arrived about a mile outside of town.  The soldiers of the 171th fought Morgan’s men for about six hours before being trapped along the Licking River.

Morgan spent the night on the line of battle.  He had 1,300 Union prisoners with him.  The next day the men of the 171st Ohio were paroled.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Blast Rocked The Fort

Fort or Camp Lyon in Alexandria, Virginia was rocked by an explosion on June 9th 1863 that killed 21 Union soldiers.

Fort Lyon was constructed just south of Alexandria, Virginia, named for Union Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon.  It was a timber and earthworks fort, built in the weeks after the Union defeat at First Bull Run.  Union General Samuel P Heintzelman was the commander of Fort Lyon from October 27th 1862 to October 13th 1863, and was in charge of the defense of Washington, DC.

The fort was shook by a massive explosion of black powder on June 9th 1863.  Men from the 3rd New York Artillery were refilling shells with powder, when a spark from one of the cast iron shell cases caused the explosion.  It destroyed some eight tons of black powder, and a couple thousand rounds of ammo, as well as killing 21 Union soldiers and wounding another 10.  One witness to the explosion described it as “a most violent thundering explosion, followed by another, in quick succession, the earth shook and trembled... I was so frightened...a shell burst very near, for a little stream of blue smoke came in one door and passed out the other... I looked up at Fort Lyon, which at that moment went up with a tremendous shock.”

Following the blast many civilian, military and political leaders, including President Abraham Lincoln visited the site.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Businessman Turned Soldier

Confederate Brigadier General George Pierce Doles was killed while inspecting his troops at the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 2nd 1864.

George Pierce Doles was born May 14th 1830 in Milledgeville, Georgia the son of Josiah and Martha (Pierce) Doles.  He attended local schools, and at 16 tried to run away with his brother to join the army fighting the Mexican American War.  Their father caught them and brought them home.  Doles was a businessman in his hometown, and became the Captain of his local militia company the “Baldwin Blues”.

When the Civil War started Doles enlisted with the rest of “Baldwin Blues” and became a part of the 4th Georgia Infantry.  He was appointed Colonel of the 4th on May 9th 1861, leading them during the Peninsula Campaign.  He was wounded at the Battle of Malvern Hill by a bursting shell.  The 4th was part of Ripley’s Brigade, and when Confederate General Roswell S Ripley was wounded at the Battle of Antietam, Dole led the brigade in an assault at Miller Cornfield.  Dole was officially placed in command of the brigade November 1st 1862 with his promotion to Brigadier General. He saw action at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.  At Gettysburg Dole’s Brigade lost 16% of their strength on the first day of the fight.  His Brigade was overrun at the Mule Shoe during the Battle of Spotsylvania on May 10th 1864.  He escaped capture there only by lying on the ground and playing dead, until a counter attack was made.

On June 2nd 1864 during the Battle of Cold Harbor, Doles was supervising the building of entrenchments near Bethesda Church, Virginia when a Union sharpshooter shot and killed him.  He is buried in the Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Small Skirmish

The Battle of Arlington Mills was a skirmish fought June 1st 1861 right after the Battle of Fairfax Court House.

Around 11pm on the night of June 1st 1861, following the Battle of Fairfax Court House, there was a skirmish at Arlington Mills, Virginia.  A small group of Virginian Militia; numbering about nine men, soon to be Confederate soldiers, fired at Union soldiers from Company E of the 1st Michigan Infantry and the 11th New York Infantry.  The Union soldiers were camped at Arlington Mills and were posted on picket duty when fired on.  In the confusion and darkness the Union troops fired on each other as well as the Virginians.

Casualties were light, with 1 Union soldier killed, a Private Henry S Cornell, and 1 each Confederate and Union wounded.  The Virginians fell back quickly.