Chronological History of the American Civil War
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Sunday, May 24, 1863 : Charles Rivers Ellet (U.S.) (pictured) ex-commander of the U.S.S. Queen of the West (he lost his ship to the Rebels, just 3 months before) was now in charge of the the Mississippi Marine Brigade (U.S.). Today, at Austin, Mississippi, his detachment landed near the town. They quickly marched to the town, ordered all of the town's people out and burned down the town. This was in reprisal for the Confederates firing on the marine's ship earlier that day. One of Ellet’s own officers condemned the burning and claimed he never forgot “the sad scene of women and children left alone with their burning houses slowly eating away all hope.” Monday, May 25, 1863 : Earlier General Ambrose E. Burnside (U.S.) had issued
General Order Number 38, warning that the "habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy" would not be tolerated in the Military District of Ohio. The ex-Ohio State Representative, Clement Vallandigham gave a major speech on May 1, 1863, charging that the war was being fought not to save the Union, but to free the slaves by sacrificing the liberty of all Americans to "King Lincoln". Today, Vallandigham is banished to the Confederacy for his "pro-Confederate remarks." The exchange took place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Confederate warship C.S.S. Alabama captures of two Union vessels off the coast of Bahia, Brazil. The South lost two ships; the Confederate steamers, the C.S.S. Red Chief and the C.S.S. Starlight to capture on the Mississippi River in Louisiana. The Arkansas True Democrat, reports a long list of deserters in the Consolidated Regiment commanded by Col. O. P. Lyles, (CSA) at Port Hudson (14 th , 18 th and 23d)--$30 reward for each. Tuesday, May 26, 1863 : Federal expedition from Bolivar, Tennessee to Wesley Camp, Somerville, and Antioch Church, Tennessee, and skirmishes with Rebel guerrillas. Another Federal expedition from Haynes' Bluff to Mechanicsburg, MS, and skirmishes, as Major General Frank Blair, (U.S.) believes he burned over 500,000 bushels of corn, plus bacon, etc. Wednesday, May 27, 1863 : Union forces attacked Port Hudson; the frontal assaults were beaten back . It was a failure as Confederate troops were well dug in. The North lost 293 dead and 1,545 wounded. As at Vicksburg, a decision was taken to besiege Port Hudson which would last for the next 48 days. The U.S.S. Cincinnati is sunk by the cannon batteries at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, of Maryland, challenges the authority of President Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. military to suspend the writ of habeas corpus (the legal procedure that prevents the government from holding an individual indefinitely without showing cause) in Maryland. Lincoln, did not respond directly to Taney's edict, but he did address the issue in his message to Congress later in July. He justified the suspension through Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, which specifies a suspension of the writ "when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." Although military officials, continued to arrest suspected Southern sympathizers, the incident led to a softening of the policy. Thursday, May 28, 1863 : The 54th Massachusetts Infantry, the most famous African-American regiment of the war, leaves Boston for combat in the South. For the first two years of the war, President Abraham Lincoln resisted the use of black troops despite the pleas of men such as Frederick Douglass, who argued that no one had more to fight for than African Americans. The regiment included two of Frederick Douglass's sons. Friday, May 29, 1863 : General Grant (U.S.) asks, Admiral Porter for some heavy naval guns to be brought on land to annoy the defenders of Vicksburg. 30,000 Confederate troops, manned these defenses commanded by General John Pemberton (U.S.). Vicksburg’s defenders, faced 41,000 Union troops commanded by Grant – though this figure was to rise to 70,000 men by the summer. Life for the besieged citizens, of Vicksburg and Port Hudson was hard as the food and freshwater supplies dwindled. Saturday, May 30, 1863 : Brig. General John McNeil and his Union force were following Brig. General John S. Marmaduke's Confederates. They caught up with them at the Castor River in Missouri and attacked them at the first chance they got. The Confederates were forced to retreat.
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