Civil War Daily Gazette

A Day-By-Day Accounting of the Conflict, 150 Years Later

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Sherman Divides His Forces – Mostly Doesn’t Pursue Hood

Stanley: Whatever you do Granger, don't burn anything unless you're sure the Rebs are ... oh never mind.

October 31, 1864 (Monday) While John Bell Hood and his army crossed the Tennessee River from Tuscumbia over into Florence, William Tecumseh Sherman was making plans to storm across the state of Georgia, making sure to leave enough force to deal with Hood. To make this happen, Sherman detached the Fourth Corps, under David Stanley, ordering it to Chattanooga. Four days later, on the 30th, he did the same with General John Schofield’s Twenty-third Corps, giving Thomas over-all command of both. This left Sherman with four corps, and a new moniker. Previous, Sherman had commanded three armies, that of “the Tennessee,” “the Cumberland,” and “the Ohio.” Now, with merely four corps, he would designate his new force the Army of Georgia. Thomas’ force never had an official name, though since Thomas was at the helm and it was in the Department of the Cumberland, it could easily have been christened the Army of the Cumberland. While Sherman’s force now consisted of the: Fourteenth Corps, commanded by Jefferson C. Davis – formerly of the Army of… Read More

Hood’s Confederates Finally Cross the Tennessee

General Hood

October 30, 1864 (Sunday) John Bell Hood and his army weren’t exactly missing, but department commander P.G.T. Beauregard seemed more than a little worried that they soon might become so. The Army of Tennessee under Hood had a short history of wayward movements, especially since the fall of Atlanta. Hood had made plans, changed his mind, made plans again, changed his mind again, and then finally made some more plans. Most of this happened without the foreknowledge of Beauregard, who, upon this date, appeared to be nipping it in the bud. Beauregard sent a telegram to Tuscumbia, Alabama, where Hood was now bound. Originally, Hood wished to cross the Tennessee River at Dacatur, but met with stiff resistance, begged off, and changed plans still again, moving northwest and downstream to Tuscumbia, which he entered on this date. As he drew near, he received said telegram: “General Beauregard desires that you will forward him, for the information of the War Department, a brief summary of the operations of your army from the date of its departure… Read More

‘And Now I am Here to See You for Myself’ – Sojourner Truth Meets Abraham Lincoln

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October 29, 1864 (Saturday) Many legends have since wandered into our national memory concerning the role Sojourner Truth, the former-slave and abolitionist, had in Lincoln’s administration. Though her influence in this specific area was overstated and, in many cases, completely fabricated, her own words describing the only time the President and she formally met remain for us to consider. Just over two weeks after their meeting, which took place on this date, she wrote to a friend, describing the event. It was about eight o’clock, a. m., when I called on the President. Upon entering his reception-room we found about a dozen persons in waiting, among them two colored women. I had quite a pleasant time waiting until he was disengaged, and enjoyed his conversation with others ; he showed as much kindness and consideration to the colored persons as to the whites, — if there was any difference, more. One case was that of a colored woman, who was sick and likely to be turned out of her house on account of her inability… Read More

‘And Another Beautiful Victory Had Crowned Our Confederate Arms’ – Price Continues His Retreat

Jo Shelby!

October 28, 1864 (Friday) Sterling Price’s Confederates had retreated over fifty miles, and were, on the morning of this date, turning toward Newtonia, the night previous being spent in Carthage. From Carthage, General Jo Shelby took the advance, while the divisions of James Fagan and John Marmaduke brought up the rear (Marmaduke’s Division was now helmed by John Clark, as their former leader was now a Federal prisoner). As the Rebels approached Newtonia, the Federal garrison took notice of their number and beat a hasty retreat. Shelby’s cavaliers raced to track them down, but the speed was too great. However, falling quickly upon their rear was a column under James Blunt. When Price reached Newtonia in the early afternoon of this date, he established his encampment and held a council of war. This was the first place in those fifty miles where forage was good enough to subsist such a force as his. It would, he argued, be best to remain as long as possible – perhaps three or four days. His other officers disagreed,… Read More

‘Great Many Damned Fools in this Army’ – Battle of Burgess’ Mill

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October 27, 1864 (Thursday) The month of October along the Petersburg lines was mostly uneventful. Early on, the Federals tried to snatch a victory south of the city, and managed to throw back Confederate defenders loosely strung out in their works. Their ultimate goal – the Boydton Plank Road, as well as the Southside Railroad, the two remaining corridors which carried Confederate supplies – were still out of reach. General Meade, though the reconnaissance of scouts, had learned that since early in the month, the Rebels had scratched out new works, extending their lines westerly. These works, however, were apparently just begun. If he attacked soon, they would hardly be an obstacle at all. On the 23rd, Meade suggested such a plan to General Grant, who approved it the following day. Then, as was Grant’s style, he more or less took over the planning, laying out which units would take part, and even their role in the coming battle. They would move in three columns. On the right and center, the Ninth and Fifth Corps… Read More

Sherman Still Waiting on Hood – Would Rather Be Sacking Georgia

Sherman was incredibly tired of waiting.

October 26, 1864 (Wednesday) William Tecumseh Sherman badly wanted to march to the sea, laying waste to Georgia en route to Savannah. But the Confederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by John Bell Hood stood not in his way, but behind him. There was really no threat that Hood would fall upon his rear, but Sherman wanted to know just what the Rebels were planning before starting the march. The last he knew, Hood and his command were in Gadsden, Alabama, over 100 miles west of Atlanta. But the last he knew was from nearly a week prior. Though he still believed Hood to be stationary, Sherman had some idea where he might be leaning. With the incorrect news that P.G.T. Beauregard was now in command of the Army of Tennesse, Sherman posited in a letter to George Thomas, commanding the Army of the Cumberland via Nashville, that the new old commander “may go on to perfect Davis’ plan for invading Tennessee and Kentucky to make me let go of Atlanta.” This was indeed Jefferson Davis’… Read More

‘An Irresistible Mass Ungovernable’ – The Rebel Flight through Missouri

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October 25, 1864 (Tuesday) “I knew from the beginning that I could do nothing but resist their advance, and depend on energy and night for the rest.” – Joe Shelby, commanding a division of Confederate cavalry in Sterling Price’s command. Following the battle at Westport, Sterling Price understood that his raid into Missouri was at an end, having realized practically none of its intensions. And for for the past few days, they had been retreating down the Missouri-Kansas line with various Federal units nipping at their bloodied heels. According to Price’s scouts, the threat from the Union pursuers was slight – his band had apparently outpaced them. But to their front was Fort Scott, and it was possible the enemy could attack from there. Also, to their right rode a column of northern cavalry, probably making time for the fort, but also in a position to cause a bit of pain. Shelby’s division rode in the advance as the morning’s march progressed, covering the train of supply wagons to the right and front. The rear… Read More

‘And Don’t Spare the Horseflesh’ – The Federal Pursuit of Price

Thomas Moonlight has an amazing name.

October 24, 1864 (Monday) “My pursuit of Price,” wrote Samuel Curis to Chief of Staff Henry Halleck, “has extended down the Line road opposite Paola. He makes rapid progress, but dead horses and debris show his demoralized and destitute condition and my probable success in overhauling him.” As the beaten Sterling Price and his Army of Missouri retreated south, Curtis, now in pursuit, was worried that the Rebels would attack Fort Scott. At first, the march was swift – “our trains could not overtake us and we had to pick up forage and food by the way, as occasion offered.” General James Blunt led the chase with his Kansas regiments. He ordered Col. Thomas Moonlight to move “on the flank of the enemy to protect the border of Kansas from raiding parties that might be detached form Price’s main column, and with the remainder of the division, in pursuance of orders, moved on the Line road, on the trail of the retreating rebels.” Col. Moonlight finally reached the rear guard of the enemy at the… Read More

‘And Nothing Was Left But to Run For It’ – Price Forced into a Retreat from Missouri

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October 23, 1864 (Sunday) “I am confident I can stop [Sterling] Price at this crossing,” wrote Samuel Curtis to William Rosecrans, “and hope you will come up in his rear and left. [...] If you can get that position we will bag Price, if I succeed, as I hope to do.” For days now, Rosecrans, roughly 7,000-strong, had been closing in on Price and his 8,000 men, but it was James Blunt and Samuel Curtis, along with Alfred Pleasonton’s cavalry, who were battling the Rebels directly, as they made their way into and through Missouri. Curtis had arrayed his forces at right angles to a road leading to Westport, the road itself bisecting his lines. On the right was General Blunt, and on the left was General George Deitzler, a Pennsylvanian who had moved to Kansas years before the war, becoming a politician and later an officer. Before Curtis’ Army of the Border, numbering 15,000 or so, was Brush Creek, which flowed east into the Big Blue River. At Byram’s Ford on that same river,… Read More

Catching Up with Sterling Price

Onward with Price!

October 22, 1864 (Saturday) Meanwhile, in Missouri, Sterling Price and his army were on a bit of a tramp. Leaving Camden, Arkansas at the end of August, his Army of Missouri entered their namesake in the middle of September, met only by scant flashes of Unionist militia. Their original objective had been St. Louis, but before long, it was clear that it was untouchable. There were battles as Union commanders Andrew Smith and Alfred Pleasonton tried to pull troops together to meet this unexpected threat. On September 27th, Price pushed the Yankees back at Pilot Knob, eventually taking Fort Davidson, but only after suffering severe casualties. He was, however, undaunted, and shifted his march northwest toward Boonville, where his men took to looting and were finally caught by a pursuing northern force. A minor scrap, it kept Price moving. It was then that Price divided his forces, sending General Joe Shelby toward Glasgow to capture supplies. They shelled the town in the early hours of October 15th, advancing what infantry they had a few hours… Read More

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