Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Offer Of Land

William Hayden English
An offer to get the people of Kansas to except the Lecompton Constitution, the English Bill passed both houses of the United States Congress on April 30th 1858.

The English Bill which was passed by both Houses of Congress on April 30th 1858, it offered a grant of land of 3,500,000.  The grant required the acceptance of the Lecompton Constitution.  The bill was introduced by Democratic Representative William Hayden English.

The people of the Kansas Territory turned down the offer on August 21st 1858 by a vote of 11,812 to 1,926.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Minor Setback

Rear Admiral David D Porter and Major General Ulysses S Grant were defeated on April 29th 1863 at the Battle of Grand Gulf, although it was a minor setback on the way to Vicksburg.

Union Admiral David D Porter took seven ironclads up the river in an attack against the batteries at Grand Gulf, Mississippi.  The attention was to shut down the Confederate guns and secure the landing area for troops of Union Major General John A McClernand.  At about 8am the ironclads began the attack and continued to fire on the Confederate batteries until about 1:30 pm.  The ships silenced the guns of Fort Wad, but the upper Confederate batteries at Fort Cobun continued their return fire.  The Union ironclads drew off, but returned again after dark engaging the Confederate gun, and running the steamboat troop transports down the river past Grand Gulf.

Grant moved his men overland below Grand Gulf across Coffee Point.  The transport ships landed at Disharoon’s plantation just below Grand Gulf.  Grant’s men loaded onto the transport.  They disembarked on the Mississippi shore and began marching overland towards Port Gibson, Mississippi.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Battle In Civil War Battles

Confederate General Cullen Andrews Battle was appointed a Major April 28th 1861 of the 3rd Alabama Infantry.

Cullen Andrews Battle was born June 1st 1829 in Powelton, Hancock, Georgia the son of Doctor Cullen and June A (Lamon) Battle.  He read for the law under the Honorable John Gill Shorter before becoming a lawyer in 1851, and was active in local politics.  He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the militia.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Battle was appointed the Major of the 3rd Alabama Infantry on April 28th 1861, he moved up in rank quickly and was their Lieutenant Colonel by July 31st 1861.  Following the Battle of Seven Pines, Battle was promoted to Colonel.  He was injured just before the Battle of Chancellorsville from a fall of his horse.  Battle was back in command by the Battle of Gettysburg.  He and the 3rd where part Colonel Edward O’Neal’s Brigade and they saw heavy action on July 1st 1863 on Oak Ridge.  Battle moved up following Gettysburg, being promoted to Brigadier General and command of a brigade during the Mine Run Campaign.  He continued to serve throughout the 1864 Overland Campaigning season, before a wound at the Battle of Cedar Creek put him out of action for the rest of the war.

With the Civil War over Battle returned to his law practice and became a newspaper editor.  He also served as the mayor of New Bern, North Carolina.  He was writing book about the 3rd Alabama when he died April 8th 1905 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Battle is buried in the Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Confederate Navy Man

Confederate Commander Thomas B Huger died from wounds April 25th 1862 while fighting Union ships near Fort Jackson.

Thomas B Huger was born in South Carolina.  He became a midshipman in the United States Navy in March 1835.  By February 1848 he had become a Lieutenant.  When South Carolina seceded Huger resigned his commission.

In March 1861 Huger was made a First Lieutenant in the Confederate Navy.  He started off with command of a battery on Morris Island just off the coast of South Carolina.  Later that year Huger was appointed the commanding officer of the CSS McRae a steam powered barkentine.  The ship was placed in defense of the lower Mississippi River and New Orleans.

During a battle on April 24th 1862 with Union ships near Fort Jackson and Fort St Philip, the CSS McRae was damaged by the USS Iroquois and Huger was mortally wounded.  Oddly Huger had been the First Lieutenant on the USS Iroquois before the Civil War started.  He died the next day April 25th 1862.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Borrowed Boat

When the civil War started the Union Navy needed vessels, and so on April 23rd 1861 the USS Ice Boat was borrowed from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The USS Ice Boat was owned by the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was also sometime called the Refrigerator and Release.  Right after the Civil War started Philadelphia offered her for the use of the Union Navy.  The USS Ice Boat was placed in service under the command of Commodore Oliver S Glisson on April 23rd 1861.  She left Philadelphia that day to protect Union troops who were landing at Annapolis, Maryland.

The Ice Boat did duty on the Potomac River and Aquia Creek, trying to stop the trade between Virginia and Maryland.  When the Union lost at the First Battle of Bull Run, she returned to the Washington, DC area to defend the city.  After a month she returned to Aquia Creek where she served until late in November 1861, before being returned to the city of Philadelphia.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Plowed Up An Acre

An experimental weapon, the John Gilleland double barreled cannon was first fire tested on April 22nd 1862.

John Gilleland was a builder, mechanic and dentist.  He designed a double barreled cannon, and had it cast a cost of $350 in Athens, Georgia at the Athens Steam Company under the supervision of Thomas Bailey.  The cannon’s two barrels were designed to shoot simultaneously, two cannon balls which were connected to each other with a chain.  Each one of the six pounder barrels could be fired independently or as one.  It was first tested near Athens on the Newton Bridge Road on April 22nd 1862.  The powder combusted at a different rate, causing the cannon balls to go off center, causing them to travel in a circular course.  It was described by a witness as plowing "up about an acre of ground, tore up a cornfield, mowed down saplings, and then the chain broke, the two balls going in different directions."  On a second firing the ammo went into a pine thicket, and the third time the chain holding the cannon balls together tore off one knocking down a chimney and other ball killing a cow.

Gilleland tried to sell his gun to the Confederate Army, but they weren’t interested.  The double barreled cannon finally found a use in Athens, Georgia as a signal gun.  It was fired once on July 27th 1864 to report Union troops approaching, but it was a false alarm.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

One Last Slave Ship

The USS Saratoga captured the ship the Nightingale off the coast of Africa on April 21st 1861 and found she was carrying 961 black men, women, and children.

The Nightingale sailed from New York City in the autumn of 1860 to England.  Although it was said she loading a cargo of cotton cloth, guns and powder from St Thomas, it quickly became known that she was slave ship.  The Nightingale made several trips between England, Angola and Cuba with somewhere around 2,000 African people bound for slavery.

The USS Saratoga anchored near the Congo River at Cabinda, Angola.  She sent two small boats sometime around midnight April 21st 1861 to board the Nightingale.  Sailors and marines from the Saratoga found 961 blacks on board, chained between the decks.  The Nightingale was taken as a prize and was put under the command of Lieutenant James J Guthrie, who had led the boarding party.  They sailed first for Liberia to release the human cargo on the April 23rd 1861, a fever killed 160 of the blacks and one of the crew before they reached shore on May 7th 1861.

The Nightingale would be condemned in the New York prize court and was bought by the Union Navy.  She was commissioned August 18th 1861 and served out the war in blockading duty.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

An Enforcement Of The Fourteenth Amendment

President Ulysses S Grant signed the Enforcement Act of 1871 into law April 20th 1871; this is also called the Civil Rights Act of 1871.

United States Senator John Scott of Pennsylvania formed a committee to take testimony about actions of the Ku Klux Klan in January 1871.  In February of that year Congressman Benjamin Franklin Butler introduced an anti-Klan bill designed to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment.  The original bill was defeated in the House, but Congressman Samuel Shallabarger of Ohio introduced a substitute bill that passed the House by a thin margin.  The bill had no trouble passing the Senate and President Ulysses S Grant signed it into law April 20th 1871.

Under this Act, United States troops were brought in to enforce laws in the southern states where hundreds of members of the Ku Klux Klan were tried in Federal courts.  As part of this Act Habeas Corpus was suspended in many of the counties of South Carolina.  It wiped out the Klan and other white supremacy groups for many years in the former Confederate States.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Governor Killed In Battle

Confederate Governor George Washington Johnson died April 8th 1862 from wounds received while fighting at the Battle of Shiloh.

George Washington Johnson was born May 27th 1811 near Georgetown, Scott, Kentucky the son of William and Betsey (Payne) Johnson.  His father died shortly after his birth and he was raised by his stepfather John Allen.  Johnson was sent to Transylvania University where he graduated in 1833 with three degrees.  He practiced law in Georgetown, before deciding he liked farming better.  He owned two plantations one near Georgetown and one in Arkansas.  In 1838 Johnson was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives.  He headed the Committee of Sixty in August 1845 that seized the printing press belonging to abolitionist Cassius M Clay.

As the Confederate States of America were forming, Johnson advocated for Kentucky to join the Confederacy, he thought the two sides would be evenly matched and that a trade agreement could be negotiated.  When the Union took control of Kentucky Johnson fled with other Southern sympathizers, traveling to Tennessee he volunteered as an aid to Confederate General Simon B Buckner.   On November 18th 1861 at Russellville, Kentucky 116 men representing 68 Kentucky counties met to establish a Confederate government.  They unanimously chose Johnson to be the Governor of the new Confederate state.  Kentucky was admitted on December 10th 1861.  When Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston withdrew from Bowling Green, Kentucky in February 1862, Johnson moved the government to Tennessee.

When General Johnston attacked the Union army at Shiloh, Tennessee Johnson served as an aide to General Breckinridge.  He had his horse shot out from under him, and then insisted on being sworn in as a Private in Company E of the 4th Kentucky Infantry.  In the fight the next day Johnson was wounded in the abdomen and right thigh, he was left on the battlefield overnight.  The next day Union General Alexander M McCook recognized him and had Johnson taken aboard a Union hospital ship where despite medical care he died April 8th 1862.

Members of the Union army had Johnson’s body shipped to Georgetown, Kentucky for burial, in the Georgetown Cemetery.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Union Fight With Chiricahua

The Battle of Mount Gray was fought April 7th 1864 between Union men of the 5th California and the 1st California Cavalry against a force of Chiricahua Apaches.

A Union force was raised in California to march into Confederate held Arizona at the start of the Civil War.  As these men moved 900 miles to the east, the column constructed camps and forts leaving men behind to garrison them.  One of these posts was Camp Mimbres, and it was raided on March 15th 1864 by a small band of Apaches.  Union Captain James H Whitlock put together an expedition of 46 men in the 5th California and 10 in the 1st California Cavalry to retrieve the cows and horse which were taken.  They moved towards the Sierra Bonita Mountains, when the trail turned west it led to the base of Mount Gray near present day Hidalgo County, New Mexico.

At about 4am on April 7th 1864 Whitlock spotted campfires and advanced his men on the Apache camp.  He found about 250 Apaches and a herd of livestock.  Whitlock had his men surround the camp and attack at the first light of day.  The Chiricahua Apache fought in defense of their camp for over an hour, before retreating up into the mountains.

Whitlock had his men set fire to the camp, and destroy all the Apache’s food.  There were 21 Chiricahua killed and left on the field.  The Californians didn't suffer any casualties.  They also took a herd of 45 horses and mules.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

An Early Northern Slave Revolt

The New York Slave Revolt of 1712 occurred April 6th 1712 in New York City.

New York City was just waiting for a rebellion, with slaves and free blacks living close to each other.  Communication between these two populations was close and easy unlike those populations living on plantations.  On the night of April 6th 1712 after a meeting of about 23 black men at a tavern, enslaved blacks armed with guns and knives, set buildings on Maiden Lane near Broadway on fire.  Whites tried to fight the fire, but the slaves attacked them, killing 9 and injuring another 6.

Militia units were called in from neighboring Westchester and a nearby fort.  There were about 70 blacks put in jail.  Out of these it was reported that 6 committed suicides, 27 were placed on trial, and of these 21 were sentenced to death.  Most of these men were burned to death.

Following the revolt New York made new laws controlling blacks.  They were not allowed to gather in groups of more than three at a time, and could no longer carry firearms.  These new laws also affected the free blacks, taking away their rights to own land.  It also required any person deciding to free their slave to post a bond of £200.

New York would see another slave revolt in 1741.

If you would like to read more The Slave Rebellion  is a good web site.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Killed By A Man He Shot

Confederate John W Mobley was killed April 5th 1865 when he was ambushed by a group of Loudoun Rangers.

John W Mobley was born June 1st 1844 near Neersville, Virginia.

Mobley enlisted September 15th 1862 to fight the Civil War in Company A of the 35th Virginia Battalion a cavalry unit known as White’s Comanches, from Hillsboro, Virginia.  The first major combat he was involved in was the Battle of Brandy Station on June 9th 1863, where his horse was shot from under him.  Mobley was riding with Mosby’s Ranger during a skirmish at Waterford, Virginia on May 17th 1864, in which he wounded one of the Loudoun Rangers, a Charles Stewart, shooting him in the face.  Then there was an attack on November 10th 1864 on a supply wagon moving from Charles Town, and on November 19th 1864 Mobley led the 35th against some Union Dragoons in the central West Virginia area.  Working as a scout he led the advance on January 17th 1865 in the George’s Schoolhouse Raid.

On April 5th 1865 that same Loudon Ranger; Charles Stewart who Mobley had shot at Waterford the year before, along with a group of other Loudoun Rangers, ambushed Mobley.  He was killed just outside of Lovettsville, Virginia near Luther H Potterfield’s barn.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Navy Explorer

Union Navy commander Joseph Pitty Couthouy died April 4th 1864 from a wound he received the day before.

Joseph Pitty Couthouy was born January 6th 1808 in Boston, Massachusetts.  He attended the Boston Latin School beginning in 1820.  He applied for and received a position on the 1838 United States Navy’s Scientific Corps Exploring Expedition.  He was sent home in November 1840 from Honolulu for disobedience by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes.  Couthouy returned to Washington, DC and the profession of a merchant marine.  In 1854 he was in command of an expedition to the Bay of Cuman’a, where he spent the next three years looking for the lost Spanish treasure ship the San Pedro.

When the Civil War started Couthouy took command of the USS Columbia in December 1862.  That ship was wrecked and Couthouy became a prisoner.  He would also command the USS Osage and lastly the USS Chillicothe as a part of the Red River Campaign.  While maneuvering off Grand Ecore, Louisiana on April 3rd 1864, his ship was ambushed and shot.  Couthouy died the next day.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Wrong Turn On The Road

As Confederate General Robert E Lee began his retreat from Petersburg, Virginia, cavalry clashed with each other on April 3rd 1865 at the Battle of Namozine Church.

Confederate Cavalry performing as a rear guard for Robert E Lee’s retreating columns, blocked roads, slowing the pursuing Union Cavalry.  These units bought enough time for Confederate Major General Bushrod Johnson’s Division to get past the Namozine Church; however he took the wrong road, finding himself stuck at a bridge on the Deep Creek that was under water from flooding.  Confederate Major General WHF Rooney Lee sent a brigade of North Carolina cavalry to secure the road around the Namozine Church, so Johnson could move his troops back down the road and take the other route.

At about 9am on April 3rd 1865 one of General George Custer’s brigades under the command of Colonel William Wells attacked the deploying North Carolinians.  Thomas Custer, the brother of General Custer, jumped his horse over barricades put up by the Confederates, and captured 3 officers, 11 enlisted and the battle flag of the 2nd North Carolina Cavalry.  In an unsuccessful counter attack Confederate Brigadier General Rufus Barringer and Rooney Lee’s adjutant general Major JD Ferguson were captured.  When Johnson’s division arrived at the crossroads they were able to push Custer’s men from the field, and opened the way for the Confederate infantry to march on to Amelia Court House.

There were about 95 Union cavalry killed and wounded during the battle.  The Confederates reported only the 15 wounded in Johnson’s division, but there were about 350 captured by Custer’s cavalry.