Friday, May 31, 2013

They Lost Over Half Their Strength

The 19th Maine Infantry was discharged from Union service May 31st 1865, after serving for three years.

The 19th Maine Infantry was raised in Bath, Maine, and was mustered into Union service August 25th 1862.  Most of the men came from the counties of Kennebec, Knox and Waldo.  The 19th was in the Battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Bristoe Station, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Boydton Plank Road, and many others.  These men fought on July 2nd 1863 at Gettysburg loosing 53% of the regimental strength, when they were moved forward to the Codori Farm to cover the retreat of Sickles' Third Corps.  Their commander there was Colonel Francis E Heath from Waterville, Maine; he was wounded on July 3rd 1863 during Pickett’s Charge just south of the Copse of Trees.  On June 18th 1864 the remaining 277 men of the 4th Maine were merged into the 19th.

The remaining members of the 19th were mustered out of the Union Army on May 31st 1865 at Bailey’s Cross Roads.  Of the 1,441 who were members of the 19th Maine, 192 were killed in actions or died from wounds received, 501 were wounded.  184 men died from diseases and 47 died while being held in Confederate Prisoner of War camps.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

He Was Burried Near The Field

Confederate Colonel James Barbour Terrill was killed May 30th 1864 during the Battle of Totopotomoy Creek; he was made Brigadier General posthumously the next day.

James Barbour Terrill was the son of William H and Elizabeth (Pitzer) Terrill and was born February 20th 1838 in Bath County, Virginia.  He was an 1858 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute ranking 16th in his class of 19.  After graduation Terrill moved to Lexington, Virginia to study law at Washington College with Judge John W Brockenbrough.  Virginia Governor Henry A Wise gave him an appointment to the state militia as Major of the cavalry.  He began practicing law in Warm Springs, Virginia in 1860.

Terrill was elected Major of the 13th Virginia Infantry in May 1861 when the Civil War started.  He served under the then Colonel AP Hill.   Terrill's first action at the Battle of First Manassas, in Jackson’s Valley Campaign, and all the other major battles in the Eastern Theater.  Following the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 15th 1863 Terrill was promoted to Colonel of the 13th Virginia.

Terrill was killed in action May 30th 1864 at the Battle of Totopotomoy Creek [aka the Battle of Bethesda Church].  Union troops buried Terrill at Bethesda Church, Hanover, Virginia near the battlefield.  He had been nominated for promotion to brigadier general, and the appointment was confirmed the next day.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Retreat On The River

As Union Major General Nathaniel P Banks made his retreat at the end of the Red River Campaign, the Battle of Yellow Bayou was fought on May 18th 1864.

Following the Battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, Union Major General Nathaniel P Banks’ retreat reached the Atchafalaya River on May 17th 1864.  If he could get across the river his force would be protected from Confederate harassment, but he had to wait for the engineers to build a bridge.

On May 18th 1864 Confederate Major General Richard Taylor neared Yellow Bayou.  Banks order Union Brigadier General AJ Smith to meet and stop them, he ordered Brigadier General Joseph A Mower to make the movement.  The fight commenced with first one side then the other pushing forward or giving up ground for several hours.  Finally the ground over which they were fighting caught fire and both sides were forced to retire.

This battle ended Banks’ Red River Expedition.  The Union troops sustained 360 casualties, while the Confederates lost 500.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Looking For A Defensive Position

A part of the Atlanta Campaign, the Battle of Adairsville was fought northeast of Rome, Georgia on May 17th 1864 as a Confederate delaying action.

After the Battle of Resaca, Confederate General Joseph E Johnston took his army south, while Union General William T Sherman pursued.  Looking for a good defensive position, Johnson moved on to Adairsville while the Cavalry fought rearguard actions.  Sherman divided his troops into three columns, and advance on a broad front.

On May 17th 1864 Union Major General Oliver O Howard’s IV Corps began skirmishing about two miles from Adairsville with Confederate Lieutenant General William J Hardee’s entrenched Corps.  The 24th Wisconsin and 44th Illinois attacked Confederate Benjamin F Cheatham’s division near the Octagon House receiving heavy losses.  With three Union divisions preparing for attack, darkness fell and called off the fighting.

Sherman concentrated all his troops in the Adairsville area, preparing to attack Johnston the next morning.  Johnston finding the valley at Adairsville to wide, leaving him no place to anchor his flanks, he withdrew his troops.

If you are interested in reading more about the Battle of Adairsville, GA  is a good place to start.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Beast And Ladies

Union Major General Benjamin Butler issued General Order Number 28 in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 15th 1862, calling for any woman insulting a Union soldier to be treated as a prostitute.

Following the Battle of New Orleans, Union Major General Benjamin Butler became the military commander of the city on May 1st 1862.  Many of people who lived in the city had strong Confederate sympathy, and the women expressed these feelings by insulting the Union soldiers stationed in the city.  With these actions in mind Butler issued General Order Number 28 also known as the “Woman’s Order” on May 15th 1862.  It stated that any woman insulting or showing contempt for a Union officer or soldier should treated as a woman “plying her avocation” or like a prostitute.  Some of the action the “Ladies” of New Orleans took, where to spit on passing soldiers, and one woman emptied her chamber pot on Union Captain David C Farragut.  It took away the ability of the women of New Orleans, to hide behind the treatment expected by a lady.

The Order read; "As the officers and soldiers of the United States have been subjected to repeated insults from the women (calling themselves ladies) of New Orleans, in return for the most scrupulous noninterference and courtesy on our part, it is ordered that hereafter when any female shall, by word, gesture, or movement, insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation."

After Number 28 was posted, most women stopped their actions.  The few who continued were arrested and placed on Ship Island.  The most notable of these women was Eugenia Levy Philips who laughed at a passing Union officer’s funeral procession.  This order was quite controversial at home and overseas.  It would lead to Butler’s nickname of “Beast” Butler, and to his being removed from command of New Orleans on December 16th 1862.

If you’re interested reading more about this subject check out General Benjamin Franklin Butler

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Captured The Flag

Union Captain Thomas J Box was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions May 14th 1864 at the Battle of Resaca, Georgia.

Thomas J Box was born November 7th 1833 in Indiana.

Box was a Captain in Company D of the 27th Indiana on May 14th 1864, when during the Battle of Resaca he captured the flag of the 38th Alabama.  The Battle of Resaca was fought from May 13th through 16th 1864.  Box was one of eight men who earned the Medal of Honor during the action.

Box died December 18th1914 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is buried in the Green Hill Cemetery in Bedford, Lawrence, Indiana.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Up The Steep Slope

The Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain was fought May 9th 1864 in western Virginia over one of the last Confederate railroads.

As Union General Ulysses S Grant began his 1864 spring campaign, he ordered Brigadier General George Crook who commanded the Union Army of West Virginia to march through the Appalachian Mountain into southwestern Virginia.  Crook was to work along with Union General William W Averell to destroy the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad.  The Confederate force in the area was commanded by General Albert G Jenkins.  Jenkins had only been in command for a few days when the battle broke out.

Jenkins found a strong defensive position at Cloyd’s Mountain in Pulaski County, Virginia and decided to hold the line.  Crook quickly decided that the Confederate position was too strong for a frontal assault, but he could use a heavily forested area to the Confederate right to out flank them.  On May 9th 1864 Crook opened the battle with an artillery barrage.  He sent out new West Virginia troops to the Confederate right, while troops under future president Colonel Rutherford B Hayes made a frontal assault.  Crook advanced on foot with Hayes’ men up the steep slope.  By 11am they had fought their way into the Confederate lines where the fight became hand to hand.  The West Virginian’s advanced beyond some Confederate cannon over running their crew.  Two new regiments of Ohio men moved in where Hayes’ men were and overwhelmed the Confederate center.  Jenkins shifted his troops skillfully, but was mortally wounded and taken prisoner by some Union soldiers.

After Jenkins was wounded, Brigadier General John McCausland took over command of the Confederate troops.  He conducted a rear guard fight as he withdrew the remaining troops.  Crook reported 688 casualties, while the Confederate lost 538 men.  Crook would continue to move forward and destroy the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad at Dublin, Virginia.

If you would like to read more check Cloyds Mountain Campaign

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Senior Tennessee Regiment

The 154th Tennessee Infantry; a Confederate, unit surrendered and was paroled May 2nd 1865 at Greensboro, North Carolina.

The organization of the 154th Tennessee Militia dated back to 1842.  When the old militia system was dropped in Tennessee in 1859, the officers and men of the 154th took out a charter and were incorporated by an act of the Tennessee Legislature March 22nd 1860.

When the Civil War started the regiment was organized at Randolph, Shelby, Tennessee, and it retained its old number.  It was given permission to add “Senior” to its regimental number to indicate that it came before regiments which had a lower number.  They mustered into Confederate service at New Madrid, Missouri on August 13th 1861.  In September the 154th became part of Brigadier General Benjamin F Cheatham’s Brigade.  They were in action during the Battle of Belmont on November 7th 1861.  They were at the Battle of Shiloh, entering the battle with about 650 men, the 154th lost 199 in killed, wounded and missing.  After this the 154th became part of Confederate Brigadier General Preston Smith’s Brigade.  They were in heavy fighting at the Battle of Richmond in Kentucky August 30th 1862.  After fighting at the Battle of Murfreesboro, where the 154th lost 100 men, they were consolidated with the 13th Tennessee.

When Confederate General Joseph E Johnston’s Army was reorganized for the last time on April 9th 1865, the 154th made up a part of the 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry.  Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George W Pease the Consolidated Tennessee was made up of what remained of the 11th, 12th, 13th, 29th, 47th, 50th, 51st, 52nd and 154th Tennessee Infantries.  They surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina May 2nd 1865, and were paroled the same day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Rear Guard Buys Time

BG John S Marmaduke
The Battle of Chalk Bluff was fought on May 1st and 2nd 1863 in Arkansas and Missouri between Union Brigadier General William Vandever and Confederate Brigadier General John S Marmaduke.

After being defeated in the Battle of Cape Girardeau, Confederate Brigadier General John S Marmaduke began a retreat towards Helena, Arkansas on April 27th 1863.  His march took him on a road over Crowley’s Ridge a route that provided protection for his flanks.  Union Brigadier General William Vandever followed the Confederates through Missouri to Chalk Bluff, Arkansas.  This was where Marmaduke planned to cross the St Francis River.

Marmaduke placed a rear guard along the ridge, while his engineers and pioneers constructed a bridge over the river.  His first line was set up at Four Mile, with a second reserve line about mile back at Gravel Hill on the ridge above the St Francis River.  Vadever’s troops attacked on May 1st 1863, but were unable to drive the Confederates from the heights.  The fighting continued the next day.

Even though the Confederate rear guard suffered heavy casualties they held their line long enough for bridge to be built.  This allowed Marmaduke’s men to cross the river and return to his camps in Arkansas.