Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Nashville Dispatch writes: “Among the most important articles captured on the Queen of the West , by the rebels at Fort Taylor, was the revised signal book of the United States Navy. Such books are always kept, on a man-of-war, tied up in a canvas bag, with a leaden weight attached to it, so that, in case the ship is captured by the enemy, it can be thrown overboard and sunk. When the Queen was disabled and abandoned, the signal book was lying on a table in Colonel Ellet's room, and it is, doubtless, ere this, in the Navy Department at Richmond. By its aid, they can learn the meaning of every flag hoisted on a Federal ship-of-war or gunboat in the Eastern or Western navy. The correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial heard Commodore Foote say, to a master's mate on board the gunboat St. Louis, just before the battle of Fort Donelson, "Take good care of the signal book, and throw it overboard, if anything happens to the fleet. I had rather the rebels get a gunboat than to have that fall into their hands.” Thursday, March 19, 1863 : The U.S.S. Albatross and th e U.S.S. Hartford become the first federal ships to pass the garrison at Vicksburg, Mississippi. The S.S. Georgiana , (CSN) said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser, is destroyed on her maiden voyage entering Charleston, South Carolina harbor with a cargo of munitions, medicines and merchandise, then valued at over $1,000,000. Friday, March 20, 1863 : In Rutherford County, Tennessee Union force, under Colonel Albert S. Hall (U.S.), encountered Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry command at Vaught’s Hill. Dismounted, Morgan struck at both Union flanks, even to the point of encircling Hall’s hilltop position. Hall withstood all Confederate attacks, until 4:30 pm, when Morgane broke off the engagement, after learning that Union reinforcements were enroute from Murfreesboro. The Union victory resulted in about 62 Union casualties and 373 Confederate casualties. A contraband camp called “Camp Dixie” was established just one and a half miles south of Memphis. Five such camps were set up in the areas around Memphis. But due to the location of President’s Island, Federal officials would move all Memphis contrabands here for safety in November 1864. Fugitive slaves from the Arkansas delta, western Kentucky, northern Mississippi, and rural West Tennessee flowed into Memphis, until freedmen outnumbered whites in 1865. Until this time most slaves were in rural areas on plantations and not in cities. Saturday, March 21,1863 : Confederate guerrillas attack on the Union railway train between Bolivar and Grand Junction, Tennessee, which they are able to derail and burn . (I always heard part of the train is still in a pond alongside the tracks somewhere). More Indian fighting in California this time at Eel River, with over 45 Indians killed and 37 squaws and children brought in as prisoners. Sunday, March 22, 1863 : General Grant (U.S.) thought using the maze of waterways surrounding the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, he could work around the backside and attack. Today, the project to work gunships and troops through the waterways in behind Vicksburg was officially abandoned. The twisting jungle waters simply would not accommodate the boats. As some consolation the expedition had uncovered huge quantities of corn and cotton. The edibles were confiscated or were destroyed, enough cotton was confiscated to pay for a new gunboat, and quite a few horses, mules and cattle renewed their allegiance to the Union. In Occoquan, Virginia, Confederates probably by men under Capt. John Mosby, (CSA) capture yet another group of Union reserve pickets. The town of Mount Sterling, Kentucky is captured by a group of Confederate cavalry, commanded by Major Basil Duke (CSA). The Union garrison was located in the town and the Confederates captured the garrison in a timely manner. Monday, March 23, 1863 : An attack was made on the Warrenton, Mississippi, batteries, by the U.S.S. Albatros s and the U.S.S. Hartford , below Vicksburg, Mississippi. There is a skirmish on the Little River Turnpike, near Chantilly, Virginia, as Capt. John Mosby, (CSA) routs the Federals, but is later caught off guard by charging Union cavalry while feeding their unbridled horses. Mosby orders a foot charge and scares off the Federals. Mosby sends captured Federal prisoners to Richmond. John Houston Bills, Bolivar settler, political advisor and planter writes in his diary: “Great Exodus of Negroes on the train Via Memphis. 911 Slaves carried off from their owners by our invaders. A nice way to win friends by robbing the people of more than a half a million dollars worth of property in one day.” Tuesday, March 24, 1863 : The fact that the Confederacy still held Vicksburg did not halt all Union usage of the river. Today, Brig. General Alfred W. Ellet (U.S.) gave orders to Col. C.R. Ellet (they were

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