Chronological History of the American Civil War
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General Joseph Hooker’s offensive against Lee’s Army of Virginia and Richmond started. However, torrential rain turned many of the roads/tracks he used to mud and made movement very difficult. Sunday, April 26, 1863 : General U.S. Grant (U.S.) continues to prepare today, to move his army from the west to the east bank of the Mississippi River for the attack on Vicksburg. In other operations, a Confederate unit under General Marmaduke (CSA) launched an attack on Cape Girardeau, Missouri, but it was repelled. General Abel Streight (U.S.) continued to progress through Alabama for Georgia with his cavalry, mounted on mules for lack of available horses. Brig. General Nathan B. Forrest (CSA) and his band of Confederates had followed the Streight's Federals troops to Sand Mountain, Alabama. Here the Confederates overtook the Federals and chased them off. The battle concluded with Forrest and his Confederates beginning a 3-day running fight with Streight, and his raiders that would eventually cover 120 miles. General Hooker’s (U.S.) with 115,000 men went on the offensive against Lee’s Army of Virginia of some 60,000 total. However, torrential rain turned many of the roads/tracks he used to mud, and made movement very difficult. Monday, April 27, 1863 : Today, President Lincoln, wrote to General Joseph Hooker (U.S.), “How does it look now?” Hooker did not immediately respond, as he was moving his army up crossing the Rappahannock River to attack General Lee's forces. Lee split his army in three places, and waited on the Federals. Tuesday, April 28 1863 : The Armies of Northern Virginia (CSA) and of the Potomac (U.S.) had sat for most of the winter facing each other across the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg, Virginia. Today, the faceoff continued, with the twist that about half of Hooker’s army had split off and headed upriver. They crossed at the ford in the Wilderness area, and both armies braced themselves for the contemplated flank attack. Wednesday, April 29, 1863 : The last Union troops passed over the Rappahannock River fords (river crossing) upstream from Fredericksburg, today. They were clear of even the far left wing of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, but still had to cope with the terrain which was known as the Wilderness for good reason. Federal cavalry forces under General George Stoneman (U.S.) worked even farther around the Confederate force, hampering communication with Richmond. Thursday, April 30, 1863 : General Joseph Hooker (U.S.) had led his men out of Fredericksburg, crossed the Rappahannock, entered that part of Virginia known as the Wilderness. Today, Hooker, set up camp at the home of a family named Chancellor. He then wrote a speech to his troops saying, “...our enemy must ingloriously fly, or come out from behind their defenses and give us battle...where certain destruction awaits him.” On the Mississippi River, Ulysses S. Grant (U.S.) begins crossing the Mississippi and landing troops south of Vicksburg. The Charleston Mercury reports on fashion: “ The Latest Fashions.--The London Illustrated news, containing the fashion plates, has arrived through the blockade--from which it would appear that the costume of the ladies is returning to a simple style. Hoops are assuming rational dimensions, and the ball room dress, compared with the past styles, is almost denuded of ornament. This change is especially true in relation to street costume. Trains have entirely disappeared. The dress falls hardly below the ankle, leaving the whole foot exposed.” The month of April is now behind them, left with it are about 749 battle casualties from both sides. The war totals have risen now to 294,759 after 2 full years of fighting; sadly many more will follow.
Friday, May 1, 1863 : The Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, begins as General Robert E. Lee, (CSA), plans the offensive with Lt. General Thomas Stonewall Jackson, (CSA) (pictured), after Major General Joseph Hooker, (U.S.), takes the defensive despite having a 2 to 1 advantage in terms of men over the South (90,000 to 40,000) once the opening shots are fired around the Chancellor House, Virginia. Jackson, on a long march, rolls up the Union flank. Action takes place around Catherine Furnace, Wilderness Church, Dowdall's Tavern, Hazel Grove, the Orange Plank Road, etc.
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