Civil War Naval History July 1863 - History

Civil War Naval History July 1863 - History

1 Major General Rosecrans asked Captain Pennock in Cairo for gunboat assistance in operations on the Tennessee River. The Confederates repeatedly attempted to establish bases along this waterway, but the Union Navy had several gunboats stationed on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers to frustrate such moves. These unheralded but nonetheless eventful actions by the forces afloat, as Admiral Mahan later wrote, showed ' the unending and essential work performed by the navy in keeping the communications open, aiding isolated garrisons, and checking the growth of the guerilla war."

Commander Caldwell, upon being detached from command of U.S.S. Essex and the mortar flotilla at Port Hudson, reported to Rear Admiral Farragut: From the 23 of May to the 26 of June there followed a constant succession of bombardments and artillery fights between the Essex and mortar vessels on one side and the rebel batteries on the other. We have fired from this vessel 738 shells and from the mortar vessels an aggregate of 2,800 XIII-inch shells." The continued bombardment of the strong Southern works was instrumental in forcing its surrender after the fall of Vicksburg.

James M. Tindel wrote Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin from Mobile, proposing the capture of Pacific Mail Steamers, Union ships carrying on an active trade along the west coast. The expedition, Tindel wrote, would proceed first to Matamoras. There the expedition would be divided, one portion to proceed overland to San Francisco to make an attempt to capture one of the steamers plying between that port and the Isthmus, the other to sail as a neutral from some port near Aspinwall [Panama], to make a similar attempt on the steamer sailing from that port. The Confederates recognized that the success of such a mission would cause con-siderable excitement and greatly disrupt shipping in the area, but the Union moved to strengthen its Pacific Squadron in the last 6 months of the year and Confederate plans bore no fruit.

J.B. Jones, a clerk in the Confederate War Department, noted in his diary that President Davis had "decided that the obstructions below the city [Richmond] shall not be opened for the steam iron-clad Richmond to go out until another iron-clad be in readiness to accompany her."

2 General Grant, before Vicksburg, wrote Rear Admiral Porter that "the firing from the mortar boats this morning has been exceedingly well directed on my front. One shell fell into the large fort, and several along the line of the rifle pits. Please have them continue firing in the same direction and elevation." U.S.S. General Sterling Price, Benton, and Mound City had shelled the heavy battery, which had earned the sobriquet ''Whistling Dick'' because of is power and effectiveness.

C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured ship Anna F. Schmidt in the South Atlantic with cargo of clothes, medicines, clocks, sewing machines, and ''the latest invention for killing bed-bugs."

Semmes put the torch to the prize. "We then wheeled about and took the fork of the road again, for the Cape of Good Hope."

U.S.S. Samuel Rotan, Acting Lieutenant William W. Kennison, seized schooner Champion off the Piankatank River, Virginia.

U.S.S. Cayuga, Lieutenant Commander Dana, captured blockade running sloop Blue Bell in Mermentau River, Louisiana, with cargo of sugar and molasses.

U.S.S. Covington, Acting Lieutenant George P. Lord, captured steamer Eureka near Commerce, Mississippi, with cargo of whiskey.

U.S.S. Juniata, Commander Clitz, seized blockade running British schooner Don Jose at sea with cargo of salt, cotton, and rum.

3 Major General Grant and Lieutenant General Pemberton, CSA, the gallant and tireless commander of the Vicksburg defenses, arranged an armistice to negotiate the terms of capitulation of the citadel. Only with the cessation of hostilities did the activity of the fleet under Rear Admiral Porter come to a halt off Vicksburg.

Boats from U.S.S. Fort Henry, Lieutenant Commander McCauley, captured sloop Emma north of Sea Horse Key, Florida, with cargo of tar and Confederate mail.

4 Vicksburg, long under assault and siege by water and land, capitulated to General Grant. W. T. Sherman congratulated Rear Admiral Porter for the decisive role played by the Navy in effecting the surrender: 'No event in life could have given me more personal pride or pleasure than to have met you to-day on the wharf at Vicksburg a Fourth of July so eloquent in events as to need no words or stimulants to elevate its importance. In so magnificent a result I stop not to count who did it; it is done, and the day of our nation's birth is consecrated and baptized anew in a victory won by the United Navy and Army of our country." Observing that he must con-tinue to push on to finish the operations in the west by seizing Port Hudson, Sherman added: It does seem to me that Port Hudson, without facilities for supplies or interior communication, must soon follow the fate of Vicksburg and to leave the river free, and to you the task of prevent-ing any more Vicksburgs or Port Hudsons on the banks of the great inland sea. Though farther apart, the Navy and Army will still act in concert, and I assure you I shall never reach the banks of the river or see a gunboat but I will think of Admiral Porter, Captain Breese, and the many elegant and accomplished gentlemen it has been my good fortune to meet on armed or unarmed decks of the Mississippi squadron."

Major General Herron spoke as warmly in a letter to Porter. ''While congratulating you on the success of the Army and Navy in reducing this Sebastopol of Rebeldom, I must, at the same time, thank you for the aid my division has had from yourself and your ships. The guns received from the Benton, under charge of Acting Master Reed, a gallant and efficient officer, have formed the most effective battery I had, and I am glad to say that the officer in charge has well sustained the reputation of your squadron. For the efforts you have made to cooperate with me in my position on the left, I am under many obligations."

Porter noted the statistical contributions of the Squadron in compelling the fall of Vicksburg. Writing Secretary Welles that 13 naval guns had been used ashore, many with officers and men from the fleet to work them, he added: "There has been a large expenditure of ammunition during the siege; the mortars have fired 7,000 mortar shells, and the gunboats 4,500; 4,500 have been fired from the naval guns on shore, and we have supplied over 6,000 to the different army corps. General Grant wrote: "The navy, under Porter, was all it could be during the entire campaign. Without its assistance the campaign could not have been successfully made with twice the number of men engaged." Reflecting on the fall of Vicksburg, Porter wrote: "What bearing this will have on the rebellion remains yet to be seen, but the magnitude of the success must go far toward crushing out this revolution and establishing once more the commerce of the States -bordering on this river. History has seldom had an opportunity of recording so desperate a defense on one side, with so much courage, ability, perseverance, and endurance on the other. without a watchful care over the Mississippi, the operations of the army would have been much interfered with, and I can say honestly that officers never did their duty better than those who have patrolled the river from Cairo to Vicksburg. The capture of Vicksburg leaves us a -large army and naval forces free to act all along the river. The effect of this blow will be felt far up the tributaries of the Mississippi."

Indeed, the effect was felt throughout the North and South, for, as Porter had noted, Port Hudson could not long hold Out, and the war in the west was won. The great produce of the Midwest could flow freely down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and the South was severed.

Raphael Semmes later wrote: ''This [the surrender of Vicksburg] was a terrible blow to us. It not only lost us an army, but cut the Confederacy in two, by giving the enemy the command of the Mississippi River. Vicksburg and Gettysburg mark an era in the war. ... We need no better evidence of the shock which had been given to public confidence in the South, by those two disasters, than the simple fact, that our currency depreciated almost immediately a thousand per cent!".

President Lincoln could write: "The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea. Nor must Uncle Sam's web feet be forgotten. At all the watery margins they have been present. Not only on the deep sea, the broad bay, the rapid river, but also up the narrow, muddy bayou, and wherever the ground was a little damp, they have been and made their tracks."

U.S.S. Tyler, Lieutenant Commander Prichett, repulsed an attack on Helena, Arkansas, by a large body of Confederate troops. The Southerners had penetrated the outposts of the outnumbered Union Army, under Major General Benjamin M. Prentiss, when Tyler steamed into action and, in Porter's words, "saved the day Tyler's heavy fire halted the Confederate attack and compelled a withdrawal. The Southern losses were heavy; Lieutenant Commander S.L. Phelps, commanding the Second Division of the Mississippi Squadron, reported that "our forces have buried 380 of his killed, and many places have been found where he had himself buried his dead. His wounded number 1,100 and the prisoners are also 1,100 . ..."

Mahan, later analyzing the contributions of Tyler's action at Helena, wrote that . to her powerful battery and the judgment with which it was used must be mainly attributed the success of the day; for though the garrison fought with great gallantry and tenacity, they were outnumbered two to one.

Prentiss advised Porter of Prichett's "valuable assistance" during the battle: ''I assure you, sir, that he not only acquitted himself with honor and distinction during the engagement proper, but with a zeal and patience as rare as they are commendable, when informed of an attack on this place lost no time and spared no labor to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the topography of the surrounding country. And I attribute not a little of our success in the late battle to his full knowledge of the situation and his skill in adapting the means within his com-mand to the end to be obtained." The Union's force afloat, lead by capable and tireless com-manders, repeatedly shattered Confederate hopes for taking the offensive.

5 Rear Admiral S.P. Lee, commanding the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, wrote Assistant Secretary Fox regarding measures for a successful blockade: ''The blockade requires smart, active vessels to move about close inside, large vessels with heavy batteries, if ironclads cannot he got to protect the blockade and well armed swift steamers to cruise in pairs outside." Captain Raphael Semmes later paid tribute to the effectiveness of this cordon thrown up by the Union fleet around the lengthy Confederate coast: "We were being hardpressed too, for material, for the enemy was maintaining a rigid blockade of our ports.

6 Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren relieved Rear Admiral Du Pont as Commander, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, at Port Royal. Since April, when Du Pont's ironclads had proved unequal to the task of beating down Fort Sumter, Du Pont had wanted to explain to the country the reason for their failure, i.e., the weaknesses of the monitors in their cast-iron and wrought-iron parts. To have published this would have cleared the Admiral, hut it also would have lowered the Union Navy's most widely publicized weapon in public opinion. Du Pont and Secretary Welles fell out over this difference, and Du Pont's retirement from active duty resulted. Dahlgren did not fare any better in his later attempts to take Charleston than did his predecessor.

U.S.S. De Soto, Captain W.M. Walker, captured blockade runner Lady Maria off Clearwater, Florida, with cargo of cotton.

C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured and burned ship Express off the coast of Brazil. She was carrying a cargo of guano.

7 Confederate forces under General John H. Morgan captured steamers John T. McCombs and Alice Dean at Brandenburg, Kentucky. The famous "Morgan's Raiders" moved up the Ohio, causing great concern in the area. The Union Navy blunted the Southern thrust.

U.S.S. Monongahela, Commander Read, and U.S.S. New London, Lieutenant Commander George H. Perkins, engaged Confederate field batteries behind the levee about 12 miles below Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Read, characterized by Farragut as "one of the most gallant and enterprising officers in my squadron," was mortally wounded in the action.

C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt, captured ship Sunrise, hound from New York to Liverpool. Maffitt released her on $60,000 bond.

8 Lieutenant Commander Fitch, U.S.S. Moose, received word at Cincinnati that General Morgan, CSA, was assaulting Union positions and moving up the banks of the Ohio River. He had also captured steamers John T. McCombs and Alice Dean (see 7 July). Fitch immediately notified the ships under his command stationed along the river, and got underway himself with U.S.S. Victory in company Next day the ships converged on Brandenburg, Kentucky, only to find that Morgan's troops, 6,000 strong, had just beaten them to the river and crossed into Indiana. "Not knowing which direction Morgan had taken," Fitch reported, "I set the Fairfield and Silver Take to patrol from Leavenworth, [Indiana] up to Brandenburg during the night, and the Victory and Springfield to patrol from Louisville down [to Brandenburg]." By thus deploying his forces, Fitch was able to cover the river for some 40 miles. The morning of 10 July Fitch learned the Confederates were moving northward and, joined by U.S.S. Reindeer and Naumkeag, ascended the Ohio, "keeping as near Morgan's right flank as I possibly could." The chase, continuing until 19 July, was conducted by U.S.S. Moose, Reindeer, Victory, Springfield, Naumkeag, and steamer Alleghany Belle. U.S.S. Fairplay and Silver Lake remained to patrol between Louisville and Cannelton, Indiana.

Under command of Acting Ensigns Henry Eason and James J. Russell, two cutters from U.S.S. Restless and Rosalie captured schooner Ann and one sloop (unnamed) in Horse Creek, Florida, with cargoes of cotton.

C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt, captured and burned brig W.B. Nash and whaling schooner Rienzi off New York. The latter carried a cargo of oil.

9 Port Hudson, Louisiana, surrendered after a prolonged attack by Union naval and land forces, The journal of U.S.S. Richmond recorded: "This morning at daylight our troops took possession of the rebel stronghold. At 10 a.m. the Hartford and Albatross came down from above the batteries and anchored ahead of us, General Banks raised the stars and stripes over the citadel and fired a salute of thirty-five guns." A week later Rear Admiral Farragut wrote from New Orleans: "We have done our part of the work assigned to us, and all has worked well. My last dash past Port Hudson was the best thing I ever did, except taking New Orleans. It assisted materially in the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson." The long drive to wrest control of the entire Mississippi River, beginning in the north at Fort Henry and in the south at New Orleans early in 1862, was over.

Farragut, off Donaldsonville, Louisiana, wrote Rear Admiral Porter: "The Department, I pre-sume, anticipated the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson by the time their dispatch would reach me, in which they tell me that 'I will now be able to turn over the Mississippi River to you and give my more particular attention to the blockade on the different points on the coast.' . There are here, as above, some 10,000 Texans, who have 15 or 20 pieces of light artillery, and have cut embrasures in the levee and annoy our vessels very much." Farragut requested Porter to send down one or two ironclads which ''would then be able to keep open the communications perfectly between Port Hudson and New Orleans."

Commander Bulloch wrote Secretary Mallory from Paris regarding the ironclads being built in Europe for the South, Noting that it had not been difficult to sign crews for commerce raiders C.S.S. Alabama and Florida because they held out to the men, "not only the captivating excitement of adventure but the positive expectation of prize money, he revealed that it was a much greater problem to man the ironclads. ''Their grim aspect and formidable equipment,'' he wrote, clearly show that they are solely intended for the real danger and shock of battle. ...".

Recognizing that Wilmington was the key port through which blockade runners were finding passage, Bulloch recommended that the warships be sent to that port "as speedily as possible . [to] entirely destroy the blockading vessels." Once this was accomplished, the ships could turn their attentions elsewhere for "a decisive blow in any direction, north or south." Bulloch suggested that they could steam up the coast, striking at Washington, Philadelphia, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The high hopes placed on these ironclads were to no avail, however, for they were seized by the British prior to their completion and never reached Confederate waters.

Boat crew from U.S.S, Tahoma, Lieutenant Commander A. A. Semmes, captured an unnamed flatboat with cargo of sugar and molasses near Manatee River, Florida,

10 Under Rear Admiral Dahlgren, ironclads U.S.S. Catskill, Commander G.W. Rodgers; Montauk, Commander Fairfax; Nahant, Commander Downes; and Weehawken, Commander Colhoun, bom-barded Confederate defenses on Morris Island, Charleston harbor, supporting and covering a landing by Army troops under Brigadier General Quincy A. Gillmore. Close in support of the landing was rendered by small boats, under Lieutenant Commander Francis M. Bunce, armed with howitzers, from the blockading ships in Light House Inlet, The early morning assault followed the plan outlined by General Gillmore a week earlier in a letter to Rear Admiral Du Pont: "I cannot safely move without assistance from the Navy. We must have that island or Sullivan's Island as preliminary to any combined military and naval attack on the interior defenses of Charleston harbor. I consider a naval force abreast of Morris Island as indispensable to cover our advance upon the Island and restrain the enemy's gunboats and ironclads."

The ironclads were abreast of Fort Wagner by midmorning and bombarded the works until evening, but could not dislodge the determined and brave defenders.

The Confederates poured a withering fire into Dahlgren's ships. "The enemy," the Admiral reported, "seemed to have made a mark of the Catskill." She was hit some 60 times, many of which were very severe." Despite the battering she received, Rodgers had Catskill ready to renew the attack the following day. Dahlgren added: "The Nahant was hit six times, the Montauk twice, and the Weehawken escaped untouched." Colonel Robert F. Graham, CSA, reported that during the attack, as the Confederates were forced to withdraw within Fort Wagner, "the iron monitors followed us along the channel, pouring into us a fire of shell and grape," and that casualties were heavy. The prolonged, continuing bombardment of the Southern works at Charleston had begun.

Commodore Montgomery, commandant of the Boston Navy Yard, ordered U.S.S. Shenandoah, Captain Daniel B. Ridgely, and U.S.S. Ethan Allen, Acting Master Pennell, to search for C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt. Two days before, the commerce raider had destroyed two ships near New York, and now was reported to be "bound for the Provincetown mackerel fleet." The recent exploits of Lieutenant Read in C.S.S. Clarence, Tacony, and Archer had created great concern as to the safety of even New England waters.

The activity of Florida reinforced these fears, which had already been expressed to Lincoln in a resolution urging "the importance and necessity of placing along the coast a sufficient naval and military force to protect the commerce of the country from piratical depredations of the rebels. ..." On 7 July the President had requested Secretary Welles to "do the best in regard to it which you can. ."

Assistant Secretary Fox wrote Rear Admiral Farragut, congratulating him upon the final opening of the Mississippi" through the Union victories at Vicksburg and Port Hudson. You smashed in the door [at New Orleans in an unsurpassed movement and the success above became a cer-tainty. Your last move past Port Hudson has hastened the downfall of the Rebs."

U.S.S. New London, Lieutenant Commander G.H. Perkins, en route from Donaldsonville to New Orleans, was taken under fire and disabled by Confederate artillery at White Hall Point. Perkins went to Donaldsonville to obtain troops to prevent the ship's capture. While Farragut commended Perkins' handling of the ship, he informed him that 'the principle was wrong a commander should never leave his vessel under such circumstances."

Commander Bulloch informed Secretary Mallory that he was going to sell the bark Agrippina, which had been purchased initially to take stores and armament to C.S.S. Alabama at Terceira (see 28 July 1862). During the year she had made three voyages but had lost contact with Captain Semmes, the unresting commerce raider, and it would be too costly to maintain her as a tender.

11 General Grant, acting on reports that the Confederates were building their strength at Yazoo City, wrote Rear Admiral Porter:" Will it not be well to send up a fleet of gunboats and some troops and nip in the bud any attempt to concentrate a force there?" Porter agreed to escort troops up the river next day.

Charles Francis Adams, U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, protested the building of ironclads and the outfitting of blockade runners by citizens of Great Britain to Foreign Secretary Earl John Russell. Such acts, Adams noted, "procrastinate the struggle" and increase the "burden of war." The Ambassador's diplomatic protests served the Union cause well and helped to frustrate Confederate efforts to obtain additional support in Britain.

U.S.S. Yankee, Acting Ensign James W. Turner, captured schooner Cassandra at Jones Point on the Rappahannock River with cargo of whiskey and soda.

Rear Admiral Hiram Paulding, Commandant of the New York Navy Yard, stationed gunboats around Manhattan to assist in maintaining order during the Draft Riots.

12 General Beauregard, commanding the Confederate defenses at Charleston, wrote Captain Tucker, commander of the forces afloat at that city, regarding grave danger which the Union ironclads presented not only to the defenses of Fort Wagner but to the complete defense of Charleston. "It has therefore," he noted, "become an urgent necessity to destroy, if possible, part or all of these ironclads. ." He suggested an attack by a gunboat and a ''torpedo ram." Within the week, he was again pressing the need to make ''some effort . to sink either the Ironsides or one of the monitors. The stake is manifestly a great one, worthy of no small risk. One monitor destroyed now will have greater moral and material effect, I believe, than two sunk at a later stage in our defense." This was a forecast of the daring and colorful attempts to be made by the Charleston defenders in the David attack on New Ironsides and the heroic assault by H. E. Hunley, the first submarine successfully used in action.

U.S.S. Penobscot, Lieutenant Commander Joseph F. De Haven, chased blockade runner Kate ashore at Smith's Island, North Carolina. Some 3 weeks later (31 July), Kate was floated by the Con-federates and towed under the protecting batteries at New Inlet, but was abandoned on the approach of Union ships.

13 A combined expedition up the Yazoo River captured Yazoo City, Mississippi. Baron de Kalb, Kenwood, Signal, New National, and Black Hawk, under Lieutenant Commander J. G. Walker, convoyed some 5,000 troops under Major General Herron in the oration. Arriving below Yazoo City in midafternoon, Baron de Kalb, leading the force, struck a torpedo and sank within 15 minutes. "Many of the crew were bruised by the concussion, which was severe, but no lives were lost," Rear Admiral Porter reported. As the troops landed, the Confederates evacuated the city.

Commander I. N. Brown, commander of the heavy artillery and ships at Yazoo City, ordered ship-ping in the area destroyed to prevent its falling into Union hands. Subsequently, a correspondent for the Atlanta Appeal wrote: ''Though the Yankees gained nothing, our loss is very heavy in boats and material of a character much needed. Commander Brown scuttled and burned the Magenta, Mary Keene, Magnolia, Pargoud, John Walsh, R. J. Lockland, Scotland, Golden Age, Arcadia, Ferd Kennett, F.J. Gay, Peytona, Prince of Wales, Natchez and Parallel in the Yazoo River, and Dewdrop, Emma Bett, Sharp and Meares in the Sunflower. We have only left, of all the splendid fleet which sought refuge in the Yazoo River, the Hope, Hartford City, Ben McCulloch and Cotton Plant, which are up the Tallahatchie and Yalobusha. This closes the history of another strongly defended river.'' In addition, the Union force captured steamer St. Mary. The spectacular Union victories in the West did not eliminate the need for continued attention by the forces afloat on the rivers. "While a rebel flag floats anywhere," Porter observed, "gunboats must follow it up."

U.S.S. Forest Rose, Acting Lieutenant G. Brown, with U.S.S. Petrel in company, captured steamer Elmira on the Tensas River, Louisiana. Meanwhile, another phase of the expedition under Lieutenant Commander Selfridge, U.S.S. Rattler and Manitou, captured steamer Louisville in the Little Red River. She was described as "one of the finest of the Mississippi packets.'' Selfridge reported to Porter: ''The result of the expedition is the capture of the steamers Louisville and Elmira, 2 small steamers burned, 15,000 rounds smoothbore ammunition, 1,000 rounds Enfield [rifle shells], ditto. He also destroyed a large sawmill "with some 30,000 feet of lumber
and a quantity of rum, sugar and salt.

U.S.S. Katahdin, Lieutenant Commander P.C. Johnson, seized British blockade runner Excelsior off San Luis Pass, Texas. "With the exception of 2 bales of cotton," Johnson reported, "she had no cargo."

A landing party from U.S.S. Jacob Bell, Acting Master Gerhard C. Schulze, went ashore near Union Wharf on the Rappahannock River, and seized contraband goods consisting of blockade running flatboats and cargo of alcohol, whisky, salt, and soda. Lacking transport for the cap-tured goods, Schulze destroyed them.

14 Naval forces under Rear Admiral S. P. Lee, including U.S.S. Sangamon, Lehigh, Mahaska, Morse, Commodore Barney, Commodore Jones, Shokokon, and Seymour, captured Fort Powhatan on the James River, Virginia. Acting on orders from Secretary Welles to threaten Richmond and assist mili-tary movements in the vicinity, Lee reported: "We destroyed two magazines . and twenty platforms for gun carriages today." The last Confederate defense below Chaffin's and Drewry's Bluff had fallen.

J. B. Jones, clerk in the Confederate War Department, recorded in his diary that General Beaure-gard had written from Charleston ''for a certain person here skilled in the management of torp-edoes- but Secretary Mallory says the enemy's gun-boats are in the James River and he cannot be sent away. I hope," he added, "both cities [Charleston and Richmond] may not fall!". A lack of technicians in adequate numbers was one of many hindrances to the Confederate efforts.

U.S.S. R. Cuyler, Lieutenant Commander Jouett, captured steamer Kate Dale off Tortugas with cargo of cotton.

U.S.S. Jasmine, Acting Master Alfred L. Zerega, captured sloop Relampago near the Florida Keys bound from Havana with cargo including copper boiler tubing.

15 Rear Admiral Farragut wrote Rear Admiral Porter: ''I feel that the time has now arrived con-templated by the honorable Secretary of the Navy, when I should turn over the Mississippi to you down to New Orleans, and then pay my attention to the blockade of the Gulf. Far-ragut noted that he would take a brief leave, offered by Secretary Welles, "prior to the work he expects of me in the fall. I suppose some work to be done by the vessels yet to be sent to me, Galveston and Mobile perhaps, and that will finish my work. ." On 1 August Porter wrote Welles that he had "assumed the charge of the Mississippi. ."

Boat crews from U.S.S. Stars and Stripe and Somerset, under Lieutenant Commander Crosman, landed at Marsh's Island, Florida, and destroyed some 60 bushels of salt and 50 salt boilers.

U.S.S. Yankee, Acting Ensign Turner, captured schooner Nanjemoy in the Coan River, Virginia.

U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba, Commander Wyman, captured steamer Lizzie east of the Florida coast.

Batteries at Grimball's Landing on the Stone River, South Carolina, opened a heavy fire on U.S.S. Pawnee, Commander Balch, and U.S.S. Marblehead, Lieutenant Commander Scott while Confederate troops assaulted a Union position on James Island under command of Brigadier General Alfred H. Terry. Though Pawnee, struck some 40 times by the accurate shorefire, and Marblehead were compelled to drop downriver, they nonetheless provided important support for the Union troops and were instrumental in forcing the Confederates to break off the attack. Brigadier General Terry reported that the ships "opened a most effective fire upon my left. The enemy, unable to endure the concentric fire to which they were exposed, fell back and retreated. I desire to express my obligations to Captain Balch, U.S. Navy, commanding the naval forces in the river, for the very great assistance he rendered to me. ."

Porter wrote Farragut from Vicksburg: "The plan of the enemy is, to have flying batteries all along the river, and annoy us in that way. They have already planted one twenty-five miles below here, one at Rodney, and are going to put another at Ellis's Cliffs. We shall be kept busy chasing them up.'' Nonetheless, on this date the merchant steamer Imperial arrived at New Orleans. She had left St. Louis on 8 July and her arrival at the Mississippi's port city without incident illustrated that the great river truly ''again goes unvexed to the sea.''

Commander Bulloch awarded a contract to Lucien Arman, a naval constructor at Bordeaux, France, for the construction of ''two steam rams, hulls of wood and iron, 300 horsepower, two propellers, with two armored turrets. The general plans had been drawn up by Com-mander M. F. Maury and approved by Secretary Mallory. The Confederate agent also specified that the ships would have to have a speed of "not less than 12 knots" in a calm sea. Only one of the rams, later commissioned C.S.S. Stonewall, ever reached Confederate hands. She arrived in Havana late in the war and was eventually surrendered to the Union. Without the material and industrial capacity to fill their naval needs at home, the South turned with increasing frequency to Europe in hopes of building a Navy capable of breaking the North's stranglehold.

Expedition from U.S.S. Port Royal, Lieutenant Commander G. U. Morris, captured cotton ready to be run through the blockade at Apalachicola, Florida,

C.S.S. Georgia, Lieutenant W. L. Maury, captured ship Prince of Wales, of Bath, Maine, in the mid-South Atlantic (24o14' S., 28o1' W.); Maury released her on bond.

17 Rear Admiral Dahlgren, preparing to renew the attack on Fort Wagner, wrote Secretary Welles about the critical shortage of men in his squadron. Men were being required to bombard by day and blockade by night. The Admiral asked for 500 Marines: " ... there will be occasion for them.'' On 28 July Welles informed Dahlgren that U.S.S. Aries had departed Boston with 200 men and upon her return from Charleston would bring 200 more sailors from New York to him. He added, ''A battalion of marines, about 400 in number, will leave New York on the steamer Arago on Friday next."

U.S. ram Monarch, with troops embarked, participated in the reoccupation of Hickman, Kentucky, which had been taken by Confederate cavalry 2 days earlier. Brigadier General Alexander Asboth had high praise for the ram and her mobility: ''It would be in the best interests of the service to place the ram Monarch on the Mississippi between Island No. 10 and Columbus, where she could operate with my land forces appearing at any point threatened or attacked on this part of the river, so much exposed to rebel raids. Without the cooperation of a ram or gunboat it will be difficult for my very limited force to act with efficiency and the desired degree of success. ."

The combined attack on Fort Wagner, Charleston harbor, was renewed. Rear Admiral Dahlgren's force consisted of U.S.S. Montauk, New Ironsides, Catskill, Nantucket, Weehauken, and Patapsco. The gunboats U.S.S. Paul Jones, Ottawa, Seneca, Chipewa, and Wissahickon provided long-range support with effect. The heavy fire from the ironclads commenced shortly after noon, the range closing as the tide permitted to 300 yards. The naval bombardment at this distance silenced the fort "so that for this day not a shot was fired afterwards at the vessels. ." At sunset Gillmore ordered his troops to attack the fort. "To this moment," Dahlgren reported, an incessant and accurate fire had been maintained by the vessels, but now it was impossible [in the dim light to distinguish whether it took effect on friend or foe, and of necessity was suspended.'' Deprived of naval gunfire support, the Union assault ashore was repulsed with heavy losses.

A delegation from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, bearing a letter from the Governor, was received by Secretary Welles. The group was seeking additional defenses for the city. ''Letters from numerous places on the New England coast are received to the same effect,'' Welles wrote in his diary. "Each of them wants a monitor, or cruiser or both. The Secretary pointed out that the shore defenses came under the war Department rather than the Navy, and that the local municipality should bear some of the responsibility for its own defense. The successful raid along the New England coast by Lieutenant Read in C.S.S. Tacony the preceding month and per-sistent rumors of other Confederate cruisers in the area since his capture had alarmed the northern seaboard.

U.S.S. De Soto, Captain M.W. Walker; U.S.S. Ossipee, Captain Gillis; and U.S.S. Kennebec, Lieu-tenant Commander Russell, seized steamers James Battle and William Bagley in the Gulf of Mexico. The cargo of the former was cotton and rosin, and she was described by Rear Admiral Bailey as "the finest packet on the Alabama River and was altered to suit her for a blockade runner, at a large expense." William Bagley, too, carried a cargo of cotton from Mobile.

Boat crews from U.S.S. Vincennes, Lieutenant Commander Henry A Adams Jr. and U.S.S. Clifton, Acting Lieutenant Frederick Crocker, captured barge H. McGuin, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

U.S.S. Jacob Bell, Acting Master Schulze, with U.S.S. Resolute and Racer in company, drove off Confederate troops firing on ship George Peabody, aground at Mathias Point, Virginia.

19 After seeking to intercept the troops of General Morgan for some 10 days and 500 miles, the gun-boat squadron under Lieutenant Commander Fitch engaged the Confederate raiders as they attempted to effect a crossing of the Ohio River at Buffington Island - U.S.S. Moose and steamer Alleghany Belle repeatedly frustrated the Southerners' attempts to cross, Pressed from the rear by Union troops and subjected to heavy fire from the gunboats, Morgan's soldiers made a scat-tered retreat into the hills, leaving their artillery on the beach. This audacious Southern thrust into the North was broken up. Some 3,000 Confederates were taken prisoner. Major General Ambrose E. Burnside heralded the "efficient services" of Fitch in achieving the "brilliant success of the engagement. "Too much praise,'' he wrote Rear Admiral Porter, cannot be awarded the naval department at this place for the promptness and energy manifested in this movement. And Brigadier General Jacob D. Cox noted: "The activity and energy with which the squadron was used to prevent the enemy recrossing the Ohio, and to assist in his capture, was worthy of the highest praise."

Feeling that "Morris Island must be held at all cost," Brigadier General Thomas Jordan, General Beauregard's chief of staff, asked for reinforcements from Fort Sumter. Brigadier General Ros-well S. Ripley replied that he had reinforcements but doubted that they could be transported to Morris Island. ''The Sumter is here with [Colonel] Graham's regiment, but it is broad daylight, and she can not land within 2,000 yards or the Ironsides and monitors."

Major General W. Sherman wrote Rear Admiral Porter of the Army's capture of Jackson, Mississippi. No longer could the Confederates utilize it as a base kit organizing attacks on Mississippi River steamer traffic." The operation was not as complete a success as either Sherman or Porter had hoped. "Having numerous bridges across the Pearl River,'' the General wrote, ". and a railroad in full operation to the rear, he [General Joseph F. Johnston, CSA succeeded in carrying off most of his material and men. Had the Pearl River been a Mississippi, with a patrol of gunboats, I might have accomplished your wish in bagging the whole. ." Sherman added in an aside that during a supper held for the general officers at the governor's mansion in Jackson, " 'Army and Navy Forever' was sung with a full and hearty chorus."

U.S.S. Canandaigua, Captain Green, sighted sidewheel steamer Raccoon attempting to run the blockade into Charleston and headed her off. The blockade runner, going aground near Moultrie House, was destroyed next day by her crew to prevent capture.

20 U.S.S. Shawsheen, Acting Master Phelon, captured schooners Sally, Helen Jane, Elizabeth, Dolphin, and James Brice near Cedar Island, Neuse River, North Carolina.

21 Rear Admiral Dahlgren wrote Secretary Welles of the continuing operations against Fort Wagner: "I have already silenced Fort Wagner and driven its garrison to shelter [on the 18th], and can repeat the same, but this is the full extent to which artillery can go; the rest can only be accom-plished by troops. General Gillmore tells me he can furnish but a single column for attack, and it is, of course, impossible for me to supply the deficiency, when the crews of the vessels are al-ready much reduced in number and working beyond their strength to fulfill the various duties of blockade, cannonading, and boat patrols by night. Time is all important," he added, "for the enemy will not fail to use it in guarding weak points. He is already putting up fresh works."

Boats from U.S.S. Owasco, Lieutenant Commander Madigan, and U.S.S. Cayuga, Lieutenant Com-mander Dana, captured and destroyed schooner Revenge at Sabine Pass.

22 In a move to bolster Union Army strength ashore, Rear Admiral Dahlgren ordered Commander F. Parker to take charge of a four-gun naval battery to be placed on Morris Island ''for the work against Fort Sumter.'' General Gillmore, expressing appreciation to Dahlgren for the battery, noted that he would cooperate fully with Commander Parker: "His guns and men will, of course, remain under his immediate control.''

According to figures compiled by the New York Chamber of Commerce on the effectiveness of Confederate raiders, ''150 vessels, including two steamers, representing a tonnage of upward of 60,000 tons and a value of over $12,000,000 have been captured by the rebel privateers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and the vessels seized and armed by them. The result is, that either American ships lie idle at our own and foreign ports, unable to procure freights, and thus practically excluded from the carrying trade, or are transferred to foreign flags.''

23 Brigadier General Ripley proposed the use of a fire ship against U.S.S. New Ironsides and other Union ships at Charleston. The fire ship, he suggested, would be loaded with explosives. ''Should this explode close to the Ironsides, or other vessel, the effect must be to destroy her; and if two or three are in juxtaposition, the two or three may be got rid of.'' He pointed out that some 20 Union ships were generally stationed in a narrow waterway. Though Ripley thought the chances of success were ''fair,'' General Beauregard asked the advice of the Confederate naval leaders, Commodore Ingraham and Captain Tucker, and, when Ingraham reported his estimate of the odds for success at "five in one hundred" and Tucker's at "thirty in one hundred," he determined not to carry out the plan. Late in 1864 the Union acted on a similar proposal by General Butler at Wilmington. Over 200 tons of powder were exploded on a ship to cover an Army assault on Fort Fisher. The experiment was unsuccessful.

24 Rear Admiral Dahlgren's ironclads and gunboats, including U.S.S. New Ironsides, Weehauken, Patapsco, Montauk, Catskill, Nantucket, Paul Jones, Ottawa, Seneca, and Dai Ching, bombarded Fort Wagner in support of Army operations ashore. Dahlgren reported the effort a success, noting that the ship's fire "silenced the guns of Wagner and drove its garrison to shelter. This enabled our army to progress with the works which they had advanced during the night and to arm them." The Admiral added in his diary that "General Gillmore telegraphed that his operation had suc-ceeded, and thanked me for the very efficient fire of the vessels.'' The next day, learning from Gillmore that a Confederate offensive was planned for the 26th, Dahlgren quickly brought his forces afloat into action once again. Issuing detailed instructions to prevent an attack, Dahlgren added: "The enemy must not obtain the advantage he seeks, nor attempt it with impunity."

Because of the French occupation of Mexico City some 6 weeks before and the apparently hostile attitude of Emperor Napoleon III toward the United States. General Banks at New Orleans was ordered to prepare an expedition to Texas. For some time Secretary Welles had advocated a similar move in order to halt the extensive blockade running via Matamoras and the legally neutral Rio Grande River. ''The use of the Rio Grande to evade the blockade," he recorded in his diary, "and the establishment of regular lines of steamers to Matamoras did not disturb some of our people, but certain movements and recent givings-out of the French have alarmed Seward, who says Louis Napoleon is making an effort to get Texas; he therefore urges the immediate occupation of Galveston and also some other point.'' The expedition could take two routes: striking by amphibious assault along the Texas coast, or via the Red River into the interior. In either case, a joint Army-Navy assault would be necessary. The expedition, after a beginning marked by delays and frustrations, got underway early in 1864.

Dahlgren again wrote Welles about "how much I am pushed in order (first; to conduct opera-tions on Morris Island, (second) to maintain the blockade, (third) to cover the points which have been exposed by the withdrawal of troops concentrated here. ..." In addition, Dahlgren's duties required his forces to be active at Wassaw Sound where a Confederate ram was being built and at Port Royal where the Southerners had long hoped to recapture the vital Union supply station, as well as along the entire southeastern Atlantic coast. Squadron commanders were always faced with demands greater than they had ships and men to meet.

Rear Admiral Porter directed that all ships in his Mississippi Squadron be provided with an ap-paratus to destroy torpedoes while on expeditions up narrow rivers. Since a torpedo exploding with 100 pounds of powder would not injure a ship 10 feet away, Porter proposed "that each vessel be provided with a rake projecting 20 or 30 feet beyond the bow. ..." The rake will be provided with iron teeth (spikes will do) to catch the torpedo or break the wires.'' The serious threat of the Confederate torpedoes, even in waters dominated by the Union, could never be ignored by naval commanders and dictated persistent caution.

Secretary Mallory wrote President Davis asking that men he transferred from the Army to man ships at Mobile, Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington. "The vessels at these points," he wrote, ''have not the men to fight their own guns and men to spare for any enterprises against the enemy." The Navy had no conscription and suffered from a critical want of seamen.

U.S.S. Iroquois, Captain Case, captured blockade runner Merrimac off the coast of North Carolina with cargo of cotton, turpentine, and tobacco.

U.S.S. Arago, Commander Henry A. Gadsden, captured steamer Emma off Wilmington with cargo of cotton, rosin, and turpentine.

27 C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt, sailed from Bermuda after having coaled and refitted. Three weeks later, Maffitt put into harbor at Brest, France, for extensive repairs, which would consume 6 months and take from the seas one of the most successful of the Confederate commerce raiders. During this period, Maffitt, in poor health, asked to be relieved of his command.

General Beauregard asked Captain Tucker, commanding Confederate naval forces at Charleston, to ''place your two ships, the ironclads, in a position immediately contiguous to Cumming's Point. ." Beauregard noted that the addition of the ironclads would "materially strengthen our means of defense" and the Confederate hold on Morris Island. Tucker subsequently replied: "Flag Officer Ingraham, commanding station, Charleston, has informed me officially that he has but 80 tons of coal to meet all demands, including the ironclads, and has admonished me of the necessity of economy in consumption." However, a fresh supply of coal arrived in August in time to enable the ironclads to help evacuate Fort Wagner. Critical shortages of coal hampered Southern efforts afloat and even that which was obtained was "soft" rather than "hard" coal. It burned with a heavy smoke and was much less efficient than anthracite coal.

U.S.S. Clifton, Lieutenant Crocker, with U.S.S. Estrella, Hollyhock, and Sachem in company on a reconnaissance of the Atchafalaya River to the mouth of Bayou Teche, Louisiana, engaged Confederate batteries.

28 Under the command of Lieutenant Commander English, U.S.S. Beauregard and Oleander and boats from U.S.S. Sagamore and Para attacked New Smyrna, Florida. After shelling the town, the Union force "captured one sloop loaded with cotton, one schooner not laden; caused them to destroy several vessels, some of which were loaded with cotton and about ready to sail. They burned large quantities of it on shore. Landed a strong force, destroyed all the buildings that had been occupied by troops." The Union Navy's capability to strike swiftly and effectively at any point on the South's sea perimeter kept the Confederacy off balance.

Commander John C. Carter, commanding U.S.S. Michigan on a cruise visiting principal cities on Lake Erie to recruit men for the Navy, reported that his call at Detroit was particularly opportune. ''I found the people suffering under serious apprehensions of a riot in consequence of excitement in reference to the draft. The presence of the ship perhaps did something toward overawing the refractory, and certainly did much to allay the apprehensions of the excited, doubting people. All fears in reference to the riot had subsided before I left.'' During August, Michigan was called on for similar service at buffalo, New York.

29 Rear Admiral Farragut recalled Commodore H. H. Bell from blockade duty on the Texas coast to assume command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron during his absence. Bell hoisted his broad pennant on board U.S.S. Pensacola.

U.S.S. Rosalie, Acting Master Peter F. Coffin, seized blockade running British schooner Georgie in the Caloosahtchee River, near Fort Myers, Florida. The schooner had been abandoned and carried no cargo.

U.S.S. Niphon, Acting Master Joseph B. Breck, seized British blockade runner Banshee at New Inlet, North Carolina.

U.S.S. Shawsheen, Acting Master Phelon, captured schooner Telegraph in Rose Bay, North Carolina. She had been abandoned after a chase of some 16 miles.

30 Rear Admiral Dahlgren advised Secretary Welles that "the position of affairs" at Morris Island had not "materially changed" in the last 5 days. He reported that the Army's advanced batteries, 600 yards from Fort Wagner, were in operation and that "Every day two or three of the ironclads join in and sweep the ground between Wagner and Cumming s Point, or else fire directly into Wagner. It is to be remembered,'' he added, that Wagner is the key to Sumter, wherefore the enemy will spare no effort for the defense, and will protect any result to the last.'' Dahlgren also observed that one of the "many little things" which would be of assistance to him would be the electric light which Professor Way exhibited here, and which Professor Henry (Smithsonian Institution) knows of; it would either illuminate at night, if needed, or would serve to signal. ." As a man of science as well as an operational commander, the Admiral was quick to seek the advantages offered by new developments. The calcium light was brought down and enor-mously assisted in the capture of Fort Wagner by slowing down and halting Confederate repairs to the fort which previously were made under cover of night.

31 C.S.S. Tuscaloosa, Lieutenant John Low, captured ship Santee, bound from Akyab to Falmouth with cargo of rice. Santee was released on bond.


USS Covington (1863)

USS Covington (1863) was purchased by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was assigned as a simple gunboat with powerful rifled guns to intercept blockade runners attempting to run the Union blockade of the Confederate States of America.

Covington did not carry mortars or howitzers, which placed her at a disadvantage when attacked riverside in 1864 by Confederate troops. Losing the battle, she was set on fire. Most of the crew escaped.


Gettysburg-East Cavalry Fight - First Contact:

Holding a position at the intersection of the Hanover and Low Dutch Roads, Gregg deployed the bulk of his men along the former facing north while Colonel John B. McIntosh's brigade occupied a position behind the latter facing northwest. Approaching the Union line with four brigades, Stuart intended to pin Gregg in place with dismounted troopers and then launch an attack from the west using Cress Ridge to shield his movements. Advancing the brigades of Brigadier Generals John R. Chambliss and Albert G. Jenkins, Stuart had these men occupy the woods around the Rummel Farm. Gregg was soon alerted to their presence due to scouting by Custer's men and signal guns fired by the enemy. Unlimbering, Major Robert F. Beckham's horse artillery opened fired on the Union lines. Responding, Lieutenant Alexander Pennington's Union battery proved more accurate and succeeded in largely quieting the Confederate guns (Map).


American Civil War July 1863

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought in July 1863. The Battle of Gettysburg was arguably the most important battle of the American Civil War and is certainly the most famous. However, another important event occurred in July 1863 – the surrender of the southern city of Vicksburg.

July 1 st : The Confederates believed that the men at Gettysburg who had repulsed their advance on June 30 th were militia and not regular soldiers. The commander of the Confederate force in the locality, Heth, decided to continue to advance on Gettysburg to secure what he deemed to be much-needed shoes. What started as a minor clash soon developed into something more. 2,500 Union infantrymen advanced to Gettysburg to give support and ended up capturing 1,000 Confederate troops and Brigadier-General Archer. More and more Confederate and Union infantry advanced on Gettysburg until seemingly overnight 22,000 Confederate troops and 16,500 Unionists are base d in and around Gettysburg.

July 2 nd : Believing that he has superior numbers Lee ordered a full-scale attack against Union forces at Gettysburg. However, overnight, the Army of the Potomac had greatly increased its numbers so that Lee now faced 30,000 men. However, some units like the VI Corps had marched 30 miles overnight to be at Gettysburg and were hardly in a fit state to fight. In the initial stages of the Battle of Gettysburg, the upper hand rested with Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.

July 3 rd : Lee was suffering from dysentery and this may have affected his decision-making. He believed that the Union force had shored up its flanks fearing that Lee would try to outflank them – not an unusual tactic used by Lee in the past. Lee decided to attack the heart of the Union’s forces believing that he could drive a wedge through the Unionists and that once separated they would withdraw in disarray. However, Lee got his calculations wrong. By now, Meade’s Army of the Potomac numbered 85,000 to Lee’s 75,000. At 13.00 the South started an artillery bombardment on Union positions. However, by 15.00, the South’s supply of artillery shells had run low and they could not sustain the bombardment. Lee resorted to a full-scale infantry charge. 13,000 men armed with rifles and bayonets from Major-General Pickett’s division charged Union positions. 7,000 were killed or wounded and the division retreated in disorder. Acknowledging that he had made the wrong decision, Lee, riding among the survivors said, “This was all my fault. It is I that has lost this fight, and you must help me out of it the best you can.”

On what was a disastrous day for the Confederacy, on July 3 rd Pemberton offered the surrender of Vicksburg. Grant insisted on and got an unconditional surrender of the Confederate forces based in the besieged town.

July 4 th : Both armies continued to face each other at Gettysburg but neither was inclined to fight. That night Lee ordered a withdrawal: his army had lost 22,000 men killed or wounded in just 3 days – 25% of the Army of Northern Virginia. Meade had lost 23,000 men but had emerged from the Battle of Gettysburg as the victor. The Union was also better able to cope with such losses. Bodies of those killed at Gettysburg took weeks to clear and by November 1863 only 25% of those killed had received a proper burial. The local undertaker claimed that he could only manage to move, clean and bury 100 bodies a day.

On this day, Vicksburg formally surrendered to Grant.

July 5 th : Lee retreated with his severely weakened army but no attempt was made by Meade’s Army of the Potomac to pursue them such was the weakened state of his force. While Lee’s defeat at Gettysburg is seen as the turning point in the war, it has to be remembered that he withdrew with many Union prisoners.

July 6 th : Meade’s army started to move out of Gettysburg and followed Lee’s army but did nothing to actively engage it.

July 8 th : Port Hudson surrendered. The Confederate force there had been severely weakened by lack of food and fresh water. Only 50% of the Confederate troops there were capable of fighting. They surrendered 20 cannon and 7,500 rifles.

July 11 th : Meade decided that his men were sufficiently rested after Gettysburg and decided that the Army of the Potomac had to become more proactive. The last thing that Meade wanted was for Lee’s men to cross the Potomac River.

July 13 th : New York experienced race riots. The first draft in the city was heavily slanted towards the Irish community of New York. They also believed that while they were away fighting African-Americans would take their jobs. This belief was enflamed by the Democrat state governor, Horatio Seymour. Homes of Republican politicians within the city were attacked. Any African-Americans that the mob could find were also attacked.

That night the Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia crossed the Potomac River and fooled Meade’s Army of the Potomac by leaving campfires alight giving the appearance that the men from Lee’s army were still in camp.

July 14 th : riots continued in New York City African Americans were murdered in the streets and city law enforcement agencies were unable to cope. Men from the Army of the Potomac were ordered to the city to restore law and order.

When President Lincoln was informed that Lee’s army had crossed the Potomac, he very publicly expressed his anger with Meade for allowing this. “We had them within our grasp. We had to only stretch forth our hands and they were ours.”

July 15 th : the riots in New York were finally brought to an end. However, 1,000 people were killed by the army, which caused huge resentment among the Irish community in the city.

July 16 th : General Sherman, fresh from his success at Vicksburg, advanced on Jackson, Mississippi. The Confederate forces there, commanded by General Johnston, withdrew.

July 18 th : Union forces suffered losses in their attempt to capture Battery Wagner, near Charleston. Battery Wagner was a Confederate redoubt about 2,500 metres from Fort Sumter. 1,515 Union men were lost in the attack, including seven senior Union commanders. The Confederacy lost 174 men.

July 25 th : Union ironclads joined the assault on Battery Wagner. However, shore defences were far better than anticipated by the Unionists.

July 29 th : Unionists forces occupied the whole of Morris Island except Battery Wagner. If Wagner was captured, the Unionists could start a bombardment of Charleston.

July 30 th : Lincoln clashed with Jefferson Davis. The head of the Confederacy had announced that any captured African-Americans fighting for the Unionists would be “handed over to the state authorities”. Within the South, it was a capital offence for an African-American to bear arms so the fate of any African-American caught by the South was obvious. Lincoln retaliated by announcing that any African-American executed would be met by the execution of one Southern prisoner-of-war. He also stated that any captured African-American returned to slavery would result on one Southern POW being put to hard labour.


Tullahoma: The Forgotten Campaign that Changed the Civil War, June 23 - July 4, 1863

July 1863 was a momentous month in the Civil War. News of Gettysburg and Vicksburg electrified the North and devastated the South. Sandwiched geographically between those victories and lost in the heady tumult of events was news that William S. Rosecrans&rsquos Army of the Cumberland had driven Braxton Bragg&rsquos Army of Tennessee entirely out of Middle Tennessee. The brilliant campaign nearly cleared the state of Rebels and changed the calculus of the Civil War in the Western Theater. Despite its decisive significance, few readers even today know of these events. The publication of Tullahoma: The Forgotten Campaign that Changed the Course of Civil War, June 23 - July 4, 1863 by award-winning authors David A. Powell and Eric J. Wittenberg, forever rectifies that oversight.

On June 23, 1863, Rosecrans, with some 60,000 men, initiated a classic campaign of maneuver against Bragg&rsquos 40,000. Confronted with rugged terrain and a heavily entrenched foe, Rosecrans intended to defeat Bragg through strategy rather than bloodshed by outflanking him and seizing control of Bragg&rsquos supply line, the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, at Tullahoma and thus force him to fight a battle outside of his extensive earthworks. It almost worked.

The complex and fascinating campaign included deceit, hard marching, fighting, and incredible luck&mdashboth good and bad. Rosecrans executed a pair of feints against Guy&rsquos Gap and Liberty Gap to deceive the Rebels into thinking the main blow would fall somewhere other than where it was designed to strike. An ineffective Confederate response exposed one of Bragg&rsquos flanks&mdashand his entire army&mdashto complete disaster. Torrential rains and consequential decisions in the field wreaked havoc on the best-laid plans. Still Bragg hesitated, teetering on the brink of losing the second most important field army in the Confederacy. The hour was late and time was short, and his limited withdrawal left the armies poised for a climactic engagement that may have decided the fate of Middle Tennessee, and perhaps the war. Finally fully alert to the mortal threat facing him, Bragg pulled back from the iron jaws of defeat about to engulf him and retreated&mdashthis time all the way to Chattanooga, the gateway to the rest of the Southern Confederacy.

Powell and Wittenberg mined hundreds of archival and firsthand accounts to craft a splendid study of this overlooked campaign that set the stage for the Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, the removal of Rosecrans and Bragg from the chessboard of war, the elevation of U.S. Grant to command all Union armies, and the early stages of William T. Sherman&rsquos Atlanta Campaign. Tullahoma&mdashone of the most brilliantly executed major campaigns of the war&mdashwas pivotal to Union success in 1863 and beyond. And now readers everywhere will know precisely why.

&ldquoDavid Powell and Eric Wittenberg have produced an outstanding study of the decidedly under appreciated 1863 Tullahoma Campaign in Middle Tennessee. Their balanced and nuanced evaluations of the leadership of Generals William S. Rosecrans and Braxton Bragg will force readers to reassess&mdashwithout totally abandoning&mdashthe less-than-stellar reputations usually attached to these two prominent commanders. The authors&rsquos thorough examination of some of the war&rsquos most daunting logistical challenges and efforts to adapt workable solutions to them is both noteworthy and most welcome.&rdquo&mdash Carol Reardon, George Winfree Professor Emerita of American History, Penn State University

&ldquoThe Tullahoma Campaign is frequently obscured by the almost simultaneous and much higher profile Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. With their respective expertise in Civil War cavalry and the Western Theater, historians Eric Wittenberg and David Powell have written the definitive account of Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans&rsquo operational masterpiece&mdashthe almost bloodless conquest of hundreds of square miles of Middle Tennessee in the crucial third summer of the Civil War.&rdquo &mdash Sam Davis Elliott, author of Soldier of Tennessee: General Alexander P. Stewart and the Civil War in the West

&ldquoThe Tullahoma Campaign has been largely overlooked ever since it was fought in 1863. David Powell and Eric Wittenberg, with their expertise in these armies and mounted operations, are perfect authors to take a fresh look at what happened in Middle Tennessee in late June and early July 1863. The result is a masterful, vivid, and detailed study, one that Tullahoma has so desperately needed.&rdquo &mdash Chris Kolakowski, author of The Stones River & Tullahoma Campaigns: This Army Does Not Retreat

&ldquoA model of superbly crafted and meticulously documented research&hellip&rdquo &ndash Midwest Book Review

&ldquoOrders of magnitude more informative and valuable than anything previously written on the topic, Tullahoma ranks among the best of modern Civil War campaign histories.&rdquo &ndash Civil War Books and Authors

&ldquoAn excellent review of how the Union wrested western Tennessee from the Confederacy. &rdquo &ndash Collected Miscellany

&ldquoAn outstanding addition to the literature of the war.&rdquo - The NYMAS Review


The Copperheads

In January 1863 Lincoln was despondent about the political situation in the North. Antiwar Democrats had been in evidence since the beginning of the conflict, but the North’s defeats in the summer and fall of 1862, along with the deeply divisive Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, had given the so-called Peace Democrats credibility and an audience. Republicans had not fared well in the midterm elections, and a movement in the Midwestern states to break off and either join the Confederacy or start a third country seemed to be gaining ground. “The fire in the rear,” Lincoln told a senator, posed a greater threat to the nation than the Confederates did to its front.

The Peace Democrats, dubbed “Copperheads” by Republicans after a poisonous snake, braided together three coalitions: immigrants, especially Irish and German Catholics, who had been the target of ugly discrimination by nativists and Protestant reformers and who had gravitated into the Democratic Party in the mid-1850s people in the Lower Midwest with family ties to the South and conservative Democrats who had a strict constructionist reading of the Constitution. Poorly led and having only loose formal connections beyond county lines, Peace Democrats universally characterized themselves as conservatives worried that Lincoln and the Republicans were reaching far past constitutional bounds. They also shared a deep antipathy toward African Americans. By the summer of 1862 the rallying cry of these conservatives was “The Union as it was, the Constitution as it is.”

The movement was galvanized by the suspension of habeas corpus, first on the East Coast and then throughout the Union the Emancipation Proclamation, which confirmed the worst suspicions of the Copperheads, who believed this had always been a war about abolition rather than reunion and conscription, which Congress approved in March 1863. Other changes that were widely accepted by most Northerners and would have major implications for the American economy for generations to come were also reviled by the Copperheads. Specifically, they believed that the income tax that was levied for the first time in the country’s history and the issuance of paper currency—so-called greenbacks—were further gross violations of the Constitution that represented yet another dangerous extension of executive power. These were indeed more examples of the executive’s broader power, although the income tax, like many other war measures, disappeared after the war. A nationally recognized paper currency, however, was with the country to stay.

Ultimately the Copperheads really had very little control over their own fate. Instead, the extent of their influence rested with the armies. Although they never seemed to realize it, the power of the Peace Democrats waxed and waned through the war in direct opposition to how well the Union armies performed in the field.


Kit Carson begins his campaign against Native Americans

On July 7, 1863, the Union’s Lt. Colonel Christopher “Kit” Carson leaves Santa Fe with his troops, beginning his campaign against the Native Americans of New Mexico and Arizona. A famed mountain man before the Civil War, Kit Carson was responsible for waging a destructive war against the Navajo that resulted in their removal from the Four Corners area to southeastern New Mexico.

Carson was perhaps the most famous trapper and guide in the West. He traveled with the expeditions of John C. Fremont in the 1840s, leading Fremont through the Great Basin. Fremont’s flattering portrayal of Carson made the mountain man a hero when the reports were published and widely read in the east. Later, Carson guided Stephen Watts Kearney to New Mexico during the Mexican-American War. In the 1850s he became the Indian agent for New Mexico, a position he left in 1861 to accept a commission as lieutenant colonel in the 1st New Mexico Volunteers.

Although Carson’s unit saw action in the New Mexico battles of 1862, he was most famous for his campaign against the Indians. Despite his reputation for being sympathetic and accommodating to tribes such as the Mescaleros, Kiowas and Navajo, Carson waged a brutal campaign against the Navajo in 1863. When bands of Navajo refused to accept confinement on reservations, Carson terrorized the Navajo lands𠄻urning crops, destroying villages, and slaughtering livestock. Carson rounded up some 8,000 Navajo and marched them across New Mexico for imprisonment on the Bosque Redondo Reservation, over 300 miles from their homes, where they remained for the duration of the war.


The New York City Draft Riots (1863)

The New York City Draft Riots remain today the single largest urban civilian insurrection in United States history. By the start of the Civil War in April 1861, New York City, New York Mayor Fernando Wood called for the city to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy, but the response from most New Yorkers was unenthusiastic. Nonetheless, two years later when the U.S. government instituted the first military draft, anti-government sentiment particularly among the city’s large Irish-born population, grew quickly. One could escape the draft by paying a $300 fine (about $5,500 today). The rich were able to afford the fines, while the disenfranchised and poor white men, who in New York City were often Irish, were forced to enlist because they were frequently the sole source of income for their families.

When the draft came to New York City in July 1863, anti-government anger turned to anti-government and anti-black violence. The anti-black violence was driven by the resentment that the Irish would have to compete with freedpeople for jobs in the city now that the Union had embraced emancipation.

On the first day of the draft, July 11, the city was relatively quiet. However, by day three, July 13, tensions boiled over. Volunteer firefighters from Engine Co. No. 33, were known for their violent nature. Angry at their commissioner, they set fire to their own company firehouse which attracted an angry mob. Led by the firefighters, the mob continued down 3rd Avenue, ransacking and burning businesses in their wake. They focused on those enterprises known to employ African Americans including Brooks Brothers, Harper’s Weekly, Knickerbockers, and other wealthy businesses. They also attacked the homes of prominent white abolitionists. When the mob reached the Colored Orphans’ Asylum, filled with mostly women and children, it began looting the building before setting it on fire. The 200 children inside were led out of the back by their benefactors and taken to safety.

There were many accounts in New York City newspapers of black individuals killed during the riot. Although there were an estimated 663 deaths, only 120 were reported to the police. Of those, however, 106 were African Americans. One account of Ebrahim Franklin’s death was typical. Franklin was in church, praying. He was a disabled man who made his living working as a carriage driver. He lived at home and supported his elderly mother. The mob reached him just as he was rising to his feet from his prayers and beat him to his death. They then dragged him outside and hung him in the church yard in front of his mother. Finally, they mutilated his corpse.

Although the Union had won two major victories over the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania and the Siege of Vicksburg in Mississippi on July 3, President Abraham Lincoln was forced to send 4,000 Union troops to stop the violence sweeping across the city. With the arrival of the troops including some who had fought at Gettysburg, the violence ended on July 16. One of the ringleaders, John Urhardt Andrews was arrested and jailed for his role in the riots. Several arrests were made, but there were no other convictions.


Civil War Naval History July 1863 - History


After his stunning victory at Chancellorsville, Lee successfully lobbied against sending a reinforcement to the western armies. Instead, he would move north with his recently reorganized army. As Lee shifted his army west to Culpeper, Hooker sent his cavalry on a reconnaissance across the Rappahannock. Union cavalry fought well in the ensuing battle at Brandy Station, but Hooker learned little. Ewell's corps of Lee's army then crossed into the Shenandoah Valley and smashed an isolated Union force at the Battle of Second Winchester. Soon Lee's whole army was moving north screened by Stuart's cavalry. Union cavalry pushed Stuart back in clashes at Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville and as a result learned of Lee's presence in the Valley. In response, Hooker now moved north across the Potomac, and when Stuart found that the way directly north was occupied by the Union army, he determined to move around it to the east instead of moving into the Valley to cover Lee's army directly.

Although Lee had two cavalry brigades of his own and two "temporarily" left to guard the passes of the Blue Ridge, because of the absence of Stuart, he remained unaware of Union positions and movements. Parts of Ewell's corps reached as far as the Susquehanna while Longstreet's and A.P. Hill's corps were far away near Chambersburg in the Valley. Late on June 28th, Lee learned that the Union army was across the Potomac and moving north, commanded now by George Meade, who had replaced Hooker. Lee ordered his dangerously exposed army to concentrate near Cashtown eight miles west of Gettysburg. By June 30th, Buford's Union cavalry was at Gettysburg screening the army. Pettigrew's North Carolina brigade ran into them that day and fell back. The next day, although Lee had ordered that a major battle be avoided, Hill ordered Heth's division to march to Gettysburg to capture any supplies there.

The photos are separated into the following sections.

They Met at Gettysburg ***** This was the first book in the wonderful series written by Edward Stackpole. Although now somewhat dated, the book covers the whole campaign its strongest feature is its analysis of the leaders and their decisions. Stackpole points out that poor Union staff work could have lost them the battle. This book is an excellent introduction to the battle.

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Today in History, July 3, 1863: Battle of Gettysburg ended in major victory for the North

Cincinnati’s oldest church, Old St. Mary’s Church in Over-the-Rhine, was dedicated.

Old St. Mary's Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo: Provided/File)

The three-day Civil War Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania ended in a major victory for the North as Confederate troops failed to breach Union positions during an assault known as Pickett’s Charge.

The first carrier strikes of the Korean War took place as USS Valley Forge and HMS Triumph sent fighter planes against North Korean targets.

Photo of Jim MORRISON and DOORS Jim Morrison live at the Star Club (Photo: K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns)

Israel launched its daring mission to rescue 106 passengers and Air France crew members being held at Entebbe Airport in Uganda by pro-Palestinian hijackers the commandos succeeded in rescuing all but four of the hostages.

Dan White, convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, was sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison. (He ended up serving five years.)

The film “Back to the Future,” directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael J. Fox, premiered.

Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown and Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly in a scene from the motion picture "Back to the Future." (Photo: Courtesy photo/Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Ceremonies began for re-opening the Statue of Liberty after a major renovation.

British millionaire Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand became the first hot-air balloon travelers to cross the Atlantic, parachuting into the sea as their craft went down off the Scottish coast.

The USS Vincennes shot down an Iran Air jetliner over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 aboard.

Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown by the military after just one year by the same kind of Arab Spring uprising that had brought the Islamist leader to power.


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