Chronological History of the American Civil War

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ammunition, signal rockets, grenades, and primers. Today, a friction primer exploded. The explosion killed 69 people, 62 of them women and young girls and briefly halts production. Later in December 1863, women workers will strike to raise their wages from $2.40 to $3 per day. The fort built of dirt and cotton bales, named Fort Pemberton, was the target of a second day’s worth of shelling by Federal troops and gunboats. Constructed in just a few days earlier by Major General W. W. Loring (CSA) at Pemberton’s orders on the Yalobusha River near Greenwood, Mississippi, and armed with just a few cannons, it had the added difficulty of being on partly flooded ground. Despite these disadvantages, it was well-placed to fire on the Federal vessels, and difficult to hit in return. That is, as long as the cannon could be kept from sinking into the swamp. Saturday, March 14, 1863 : Further down the Mississippi River in Louisiana, Admiral Farragut (U.S.) was having a distinct difficulty with the shore batteries of Port Hudson. He sent off a squadron of seven ships. The first, the flagship U.S.S. Hartford , sailed past quite unscathed. After that, things deteriorated. The U.S.S. Richmond was hit by a shell in her steam boilers and lost power. The U.S.S. Monongahel a went next, got stuck on a mud bar and was hit by so many shots that eight of them went entirely through the ship. She was eventually pulled off by another ship, but was little use thereafter. Sunday, March 15, 1863 : Few reports of Civil War actions are from the West Coast, but there was one today. In San Francisco Harbor, California, the U.S.S. Cyane , under command of Lt. Cmdr. Paul Shirley (U.S.), got suspicious about the imminent sailing of the schooner J.P. Chapman . He sent a boarding party to the ship and talked with the crew of four. This led to the discovery below decks of an additional crew of seventeen Confederate sailors, numerous guns, ammunition, and other military stores not suitable for civilian sailing. Skirmishes occurred near Hernando, Mississippi, and at Coldwater, 8 miles north of Holly Springs. Monday, March 16, 1863 : Despite the cooperation between usually hostile force between General Ulysses S. Grant (U.S.) and Admiral David Dixon Porter (U.S.), they were working together remarkably well in the project to defeat Vicksburg. But the grim fact of the matter was that they just weren’t making any progress. The expedition to the Yazoo Pass had returned a failure, so a new plan was for William Tecumseh Sherman (U.S.) to proceed from the Yalobusha to Yazoo River, to Steele’s Bayou. Tuesday, March 17, 1863 : Union soldiers (spies) William Bensinger, Robert Buffum, Elihu H. Mason, Jacob Parrott, William Pittenger and William H. Reddick are exchanged for Confederate soldiers from the prisoner-of-war camp at City Point, Virginia. They were among the first Medal of Honor winners, these men were members of Andrews Raiders. The men stole a Confederate train in Georgia; thus becoming “The Great Locomotive Chase” drove it north while destroying tracks behind them. Their leader James J.

Andrews (pictured) and 7 others were hung shortly after capture. The Battle of Kelly’s Ford also took place today, in Virginia. General William Woods Averell (U.S.) took his Union cavalry unit across the Rappahannock River at the crossing and engaged Confederate soldiers in fierce combat in the brush-covered terrain. Union forces retreated back across the river when J.E.B. Stuart (CSA) showed up to reinforce the Southern defenders. The losses were 78, Union, 133 Confederate. At Herndon Station, Virginia, as Capt. John Mosby, (CSA), and his Mosby Raiders surprises and captures the 25 man Union reserve picket post there. Wednesday, March 18, 1863 : The Montgomery Weekly Advertiser reports: “ The New York Tribune , of the 20th, has a story equal to that about the rebels

making spurs out of the jaw bones of dead Yankees. Here is the heading: "Horrible Barbarities in Texas—Fiendish Ingratitude of Secessionists—Devilish Tortures and Persecutions—Mutilation of the Body of one of their Victims— the Fat Fried out to Oil Firearms." In the Arkansas True Democrat paper stated: “The Springfield correspondent of the Missouri Republican writing under the date of Feb. 5, says: “Last night, the head of a noted jayhawker was brought into town, by some of our soldiers, (CSA) dissevered from its body, and placed upon a pole. A Lieutenant Colonel is here, under arrest, charged with the murder of several rebel prisoners. That the men were taken in the bush and shot, he admits, but he denies that it was by his consent or even with his knowledge.”

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