Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fighting In Arkansas

General Richard Gano
The Battle of Fort Smith was fought in western Arkansas on July 31st 1864.

Following the failure of the Camden Expedition by the Union troops, most of Arkansas was left open to Confederate raids.  One of these many raids took place at a Union camp located near Massard Prairie on July 27th 1864.  The ease with which Confederate General Richard Gano won this short battle emboldened him to continue raiding in the area.

On July 31st 1864 Confederate General Douglas Hancock Cooper led his division which included Gano’s brigade and the brigade of Confederate General Stand Watie, just north of Fort Smith.  Watie moved his men against the Fort from the south, while Gano’s men held the west side of the Poteau River.

Union General John M Thayer had three brigades defending Fort Smith.  As Watie’s men moved they came up against the Union 6th Kansas Cavalry under the command of Colonel William R Judson.  The 6th fell back up the Texas Road letting the Union troops at the garrison know about the arrival of the Confederates.  The battle soon became an artillery duel.  Thayer’s guns were stronger and drove off the Confederate artillery in short order.  The Confederates made an orderly withdrawal, leaving a small force to cover their retreat.

If you are interested in reading more, Cooper's Attack on Fort Smith  is a very good web site.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Named For A Copper Penny

The first use of the term Copperhead in referring to Peace Democrats was in the Cincinnati Gazette on July 30th 1862 when talking about the member of the Indiana Democratic Convention.

Anti-war Democrats became known as Copperheads during the Civil War.  They opposed the war which they blamed on abolitionist and supported those who resisted the draft.  Many of the Copperhead offered encouragement to Union soldiers leaving the war, trying to increase the rate of desertion.  There was even some talk about releasing Confederate prisoners of war.

The Democratic Party broke along regional lines during the 1860 Presidential race, which allowed Abraham Lincoln the Republican candidate to become president.  As secession became a reality, Northern Democrats felt more conciliatory toward the Southern state then the Republican did, and they began calling themselves Peace Democrats.  A large portion of these Peace Democrats were located in the Midwest, and it was during the Indiana Democratic Convention that the Cincinnati Gazette coined the named Copperheads for this group on July 30th 1862.  The name came from the copper pennies many wore as badges.

Copperhead reached their height at the 1864 Presidential Convention when one of their leaders Clement Laird Valladigham of Ohio persuaded the party to adopt a platform which included calling the war a failure.  When the war ended so did any backing the Copperheads had enjoyed.  Most in the north felt that the Copperheads had actually made the war longer, by holding out hope to the Confederate states that northerners wanted peace.

If you would like to read more, check out the web site, Illinois Copperheads and the Civil War

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Act That Made Them Soldiers

Passed by the 37th United States Congress on July 17th 1862, the Militia Act of 1862 allowed African Americans to become soldiers.

The Union Army had not accepted African Americans as volunteers, but by the summer of 1862 they were beginning to consider some of the benefits of changing that stand.  The 37th United States Congress supported the idea of black volunteers for use as laborers and as soldiers.  They passed the Militia Act of 1862 which allowed both of these on July 17th 1862.  President Abraham Lincoln didn’t start using the Act until after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in January 1863.

If you would like to read more, check out The Militia Act of 1862

Monday, July 16, 2012

Will Be Publicly Shot To Death

Union Major General Stephen Gano Burbridge in command of Kentucky issued order Number 59, "Whenever an unarmed Union citizen is murdered, four guerrillas will be selected from the prison and publicly shot to death at the most convenient place near the scene of the outrages," on July 16th 1864.

Stephen Gano Burbridge was born August 19th 1831 in Georgetown, Kentucky.  He attended Georgetown College and the Kentucky Military Institute.  After graduating Burbridge became a lawyer.

When the Civil War started Burbridge joined the Union army, forming a regiment; the 26th Kentucky, which he was the Colonel of.  He was promoted to Brigadier General on June 9th 1862.  He saw action at several battles including Shiloh, and the Vicksburg Campaign.  In June of 1864 he succeeded Union General Jeremiah T Boyle in command of the District of Kentucky which had a problem with Confederate guerrilla fighting.  He was given a brevet to Major General after repulsing Confederate General John Hunt Morgan’s raid on Kentucky on July 4th 1864.  One July 16th 1864 Burbridge issued Order Number 59, which said, "Whenever an unarmed Union citizen is murdered, four guerrillas will be selected from the prison and publicly shot to death at the most convenient place near the scene of the outrages."  Do to the outrage of the population and civil authorities of Kentucky, Burbridge was relieved of his command in January 1865.

After the war Burbridge moved to Brooklyn, New York where he died December 2nd 1894.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

For more information about Burbridge’s Order # 59, I recommend Four Confederate Soldiers Martyred at Pleasureville

Friday, July 13, 2012

False Information And A Moving Fight

On the Cheat River in what is now West Virginia the Battle of Corrick’s Ford was fought on July 13th 1861.

Some of Union Major General George B McClellan’s men defeated a part of Confederate Brigadier General Robert Selden Garnett’s force at the Battle of Rich Mountain on July 11th 1861.  Garnett moved his remaining 4,500 men around about midnight, falling back toward Beverly, Virginia.  They received false information indicating that Union occupied the town, and so Garnett crossed the Cheat Mountain, moving into the Cheat River Valley.

As Garnett moved his men they were being followed by Union Brigadier General Thomas A Morris’ men.  About noon on July 13th 1861 the Union soldiers moved in on the Confederate rear guard at Corrick’s Ford.  Garnett took personal command of the rear action setting up skirmisher to delay the Union attack.  It was during this slow retreat that Garnett was killed.  After Garnett’s death the Confederates ran, leaving 1 cannon, 40 wagons, and the body of their commander.

For more information about CORRICKS FORD BATTLEFIELD I recommend this web site.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Boston Irishman

Union Colonel Thomas Cass died July 12th 1862 from wound he received eleven days earlier at the Battle of Malvern Hill.

Thomas Cass was born about 1821 in Farmly, Queen, Ireland.  He came to America with his parent, who settled in the North End of Boston.  Cass attended a local school before learning the trade of currier.  He joined his father in business.  Cass was a member of the Columbian Artillery and was Captain of Company B.

When the Civil War started Cass became a Colonel in the 9th Massachusetts Infantry on June 11th 1861.  The 9th was mostly made up of Irish Americans and started off bivouacked at Boston’s Faneuil Hall.  They moved to the Washington, DC area on June 30th 1861, where they built forts for the protection of the city and performed picket duty.  Cass and the 9th saw some of their first combat at the Battle of Mechanicsville, and Gaines Mill.

On July 1st 1862 at the Battle of Malvern Hill Cass received a head wound.  Following the battle Cass was moved to his home in Boston, MA, where he died from his wounds July 12th 1862.  He is buried at the Mount Auburn Cemetery, Boston, MA.

If you are looking for more information, take a look at STATUE OF COL. THOMAS CASS.; Unveiled at Boston Yesterday to Replace One Removed

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We Scared Abe

A part of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Anderson Early’s  Valley Campaign, on July 11th and 12th 1864 the Battle of Fort Stevens was fought just outside of Washington, DC with President Abraham Lincoln watching.

Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal A Early’s troops arrived on the outskirts of Washington, DC near Sliver Springs on July 11th 1864.  His men had been on the march since June 13th 1864.  He sent out a skirmish line about 3 pm to feel out the Union fortifications in his front.  The Fort was being held by Union soldiers who has been convalescing in Washington hospitals, clerks and Home Guard under the command of Union Brigadier General Martin D Hardin.  The Union VI Corps arrived in the city during the night by transport ships.

On the morning of July 12th 1864 Early had his men in position, but was repulsed by the Veteran Union troops.  That afternoon the VI Corps drove the Confederates from their position in front of Fort Stevens and Fort DeRussy.  President Lincoln was at Fort Stevens watching the battle.  Early withdrew his troop that night giving up any thought of moving on Washington, DC.  Early said of the invasion, “We didn’t take Washington, but we scared Abe Lincoln like Hell.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another Death From Gettysburg

Confederate General Paul Jones Semmes died from wounds he received at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 10th 1863.

Paul Jones Semmes was born June 4th 1815 at Montford’s Plantation in Wilkes County, Georgia.  He attended the University of Virginia, becoming a banker and the owner of a plantation in Columbus, Georgia.  Semmes was a Captain in the Columbus Guards and in 1855 he wrote a guide to Infantry Tactics.  Georgia Governor Joseph E Brown made Semmes the Quartermaster General of the state in 1860, allowing him to make all the states military purchases.

After the Civil War started Semmes became a Colonel in the 2nd Georgia Infantry.  He was promoted on March 11th 1862 to Brigadier General.  He saw action in the Peninsula Campaign and at Crampton’s Gap during the Battle of South Mountain.  At the Battle of Antietam Semmes’ Brigade was a part of Confederate General Lafayette McLaws’ counterattack on the Union Second Corps.  His brigade was also active at Chancellorsville.

During the Battle of Gettysburg Semmes led his men in a charge into the Wheatfield, where on July 2nd 1863 he was wounded in the thigh.  He was taken by ambulance to Martinsburg, West Virginia where he died July 10th 1863.  Semmes is buried in the Linwood Cemetery in Columbus, Georgia.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Canadian Anti Slave Act

Upper Canada or what would become Ontario passed the Act Against Slavery on July 9th 1793.

The Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe had been a supporter of the abolition of slavery while a Member of Parliament, before coming to Canada.  Upper Canada had about 300 slaves in early 1790’s.

In an Executive Council meeting in March 1793 Simcoe heard testimony from a witness, Peter Martin about a female slave; Chloe Cooley who had been violently taken from Canada to be resold in United State.  Cooley who was from Queenston, had been bound, thrown in a boat and she was sold across the river in the United States.  Simcoe used this story as way to push for an Act to abolish slavery.  The Act was opposed by many members of the House of Assembly, of whom 6 of the 16 owned slaves.  They reached a compromise on July 9th 1793.

Titled “An Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves and to Limit the Term of Contracts for Servitude with the Province”, it read that all slave currently in the province would remain slaves, no new slaves could be brought into the Province, and any children born to a slave would be freed at the age of 25.

If you would like to read more about this topic, look at AN ACT TO PREVENT THE FURTHER INTRODUCTION OF SLAVES

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Indian Home Guard Fight

The Battle of Locust Grove was fought July 3rd 1862 in Mayes County, Oklahoma and included the First Regiment of the Indian Home Guard.

In the early morning of July 3rd 1862 about 250 Union troops under the command of Colonel William Weer attacked a Confederate unit led by Colonel James J Clarkson in what became the Battle of Locust Grove.  Weer’s men were made up of the 9th Kansas Cavalry and the 1st Regiment of the Indian Home Guard.  The Confederate didn’t put much of fight, and made a fighting retreat, hotly pursued by Weer’s soldiers.

The Union had three men killed and six wounded in the fight.  The Confederates had about 100 casualties and about another 100 including Clarkson were captured.  Those Confederates who escaped ran back to Tahlequah, Oklahoma which caused desertions among the Cherokee supporters.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Before He Was The Stonewall

A part of the Manassas Campaign the Battle of Hoke’s Run or the Battle of Falling Waters as it is also known was fought July 2nd 1861 in Berkeley County, Virginia by Confederate then Colonel Thomas J Jackson’s and Union General Robert Patterson’s forces.

Union General Robert Patterson’s division crossed the Potomac marching for Martinsburg, Virginia on July 2nd 1861.  Two of his Brigades under the command of Colonel John Joseph Abercrombie and Colonel George Henry Thomas ran into some of Colonel Thomas J Jackson’s men near Hoke’s Run.  The Union troops slowly pushed Jackson’s men back.  Jackson’s orders were to delay any Union advances, which he accomplished in the face of Patterson’s much large force.

Patterson continued his move toward Martinsburg, occupying the city on July 3rd 1861.  This small battle produced about 23 Union casualties and about 91 Confederate ones.

Another web site about this battle can be found at Falling Waters Battlefield Association