Chronological History of the American Civil War

P a g e | 103

Friday, January 30, 1863 : General Grant (U.S.) told Admiral David D. Porter that he intended to dig a canal through the swamps at Lake Providence, Louisiana to allow troops to attack the city from the rear. In fact, the hope was that when the new channel was opened, the river would scour it wider and deeper, and eventually cut off the bend in the river on which Vicksburg sat, leaving it high and dry. For now, they would settle for a ditch wide enough to get gunboats through on a path that did not bring them under the guns on the cliffs on the Mississippi River. Since Porter was, by some accounts, the originator of the rear- attack theory, he was not inclined to complain. Saturday, January 31, 1863 : Under cover of fog, Confederate ironclads, C.S.S. Chicora and C.S.S. Palmetto State raid the federal blockade in Charleston, Virginia. While some Union ships were damaged, the attack failed to disrupt the blockade. While other black regiments were trying to organize, the “First South Carolina Volunteers” (U.S.) was the first Union Army regiment during the American Civil War composed of escaped slaves from South Carolina and Florida, went into service today. Initially, "run away slaves" were returned to their owners. Next they were considered contraband, and used as laborers. Finally, the legal fiction that they were property and were abandoned; they were allowed to enlist in the Army. A proclamation by Confederate President Jefferson Davis had indicated that members of the regiment would not be treated as prisoners of war if taken in battle. The enlisted men would be auctioned off as slaves and the white officers were to be hanged. This threat was not carried out officially. As a throwback from the "contraband" days, black privates were paid $10 per month, the rate for laborers, rather than the $13 paid to white privates. Sunday, February 1, 1863 : Frederick Douglass, (pictured) was a former slave, but now a free man and leader of the abolitionist movement in the North; becomes a recruiter for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry,

the first regiment will be made up of “Northern Freed - Slaves.” His sons Lewis and Charles join the regiment and eventually his oldest son Frederick Douglass Jr. becomes an army recruiter also. About 180,000 African Americans served in the Civil War on the Union side. While in the South, the Confederate Army was mainly dependent upon slave labor for support. Slave labor was used in a wide variety of support roles, from building infrastructure and mining, to teamster and medical roles such as hospital attendants and nurses. Slaves used as soldiers would not come until March 1865 for the South, and then too late to help. Some slaves did fights alongside masters and other freed black men. Near Savannah, Georgia, the ironclad gunboat U.S.S. Montauk , assisted by the U.S.S. Seneca, U.S.S.

Wissahickon, U.S.S. Dawn, and the mortar-schooner U.S.S. C.P. Williams opened fire on the Confederate works at Fort McAllister. The Confederates were able to send out the C.S.S. Rattlesnake to engage the Union ships. The battle would last for 4 hours without a conclusive result. Franklin, Tennessee is occupied by Union troops under Col. Robert Johnson, while Nathan Bedford Forrest (CSA) and his staff narrowly escape. Monday, February 2, 1863 : General Grant (U.S.) started his attempt to build a canal around to the rear of Vicksburg, Mississippi using the Yazoo River as his source of water. By doing this, Grant’s men would avoid the Confederate artillery stationed in Vicksburg. Union patrols do reconnaissance work in the vicinity of Saulsbury, Tennessee. Tuesday, February 3, 1863 : Samuel Langhorne Clemens failed as a silver miner and working at a Virginia City, Nevada newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise. Today, he first used his pen name, he signed a humorous travel account "Letter From Carson – re: Joe Goodman; party at Gov. Johnson's; music" with "Mark Twain." His pen name is also a term use for sailors to measure water depth. Samuel Clemens missed his Mississippi River, which he in years to come will writes stories about it and the people that lived along the river. Desertion was such a problem, Lincoln’s cabinet discusses the wisdom of shooting deserters as example to army. In Tennessee skirmishes were at Dover and Cumberland Iron Works as Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler and General Forrest (CSA) unsuccessfully attack Fort Donelson, and are driven off with heavy losses. Estimated casualties totals were 796. (U.S. 126; CSA 670) This Confederate failure left the Union in control in Middle Tennessee and a bitter Brig. General

Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter