Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Friday, January 1, 1864 : A cold air mass out of Canada sweeps across the nation, and brings temperatures well below freezing into the South as well as the North. It was in fact below zero as far south as Memphis, Tennessee, and just about everybody was too busy trying to assemble coal, firewood or other means of producing warmth to worry about conducting hostilities. The civilian population, particularly in areas where fighting had been going back and forth for years, were equally affected and had little or nothing left over to share with the military. At Rectortown, Virginia, Major John S. Mosby, (CSA) and the 43th Virginia Cavalry Battalion continue to harass the Federals behind their lines, attacking them at will, seizing Union property whenever possible, repeatedly receiving the gratulations of his superior, Major General JEB Stuart, (CSA). Despite the cold weather, things in Washington are heating up. Radical Republicans are hostile to Lincoln’s policies, fearing that they do not provide sufficient protection for ex-slaves, that the 10% amnesty plan is not strict enough, and that Southern states should demonstrate more significant efforts to eliminate the slave system before being allowed back into the Union. Consequently, Congress refuses to recognize the governments of Southern states, or to seat their elected representatives. Instead, legislators begin to work on their own Reconstruction plan. In December, 1863, Colonel Fielding Hurst (U.S.) was granted “a roving commission . . . to ‘grub up’ West Tennessee” by General William Sooy Smith (U.S.). Today, Hurst arrested and brutally murdered a deformed and helpless cripple named Ree Dougherty – just 16-years-old. Saturday, January 2, 1864 : President Lincoln submits a report to Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, quoting Brigadier General Joseph D. Webster (U.S.) (pictured) at Memphis, Tennessee,

saying that “corruption is openly and constantly charged upon officers in that Department. The President should order a Court of Inquiry.” Another small skirmish at La Grange, Tennessee. Nashville is in the grip of a smallpox epidemic, which will kill off a large number of soldiers, contraband workers, and city residents. It will be late March before it runs its course. In Little Rock, Arkansas, David O. Dodd was convicted of spying for the Confederacy and was sentenced to be hanged. General Steele (U.S.) designated January 8, 1864 for the execution day. Sunday, January 3, 1864 : Despite the extremely cold weather still hovering over the South, Federal scouts from Memphis, Tennessee, move

toward Hernando, Mississippi, and determine the Confederates, under Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest, (CSA) are scattered over the countryside, from Coldwater to Senatobia, so as to obtain forage for the men and their horses. In Hampshire and Hardy Counties, West Virginia, Major General Fitzhugh Lee, (CSA) and his Cavalry captured a train of 40 wagons with 6 mules and horses to each wagon, loaded principally with artillery ammunition and hides, and 250 head of cattle, losing 120 during the night, as they came over the mountains. The wagon train belonged to Brig. General Benjamin F. Kelley, (U.S.) commander of the Dept. of West Virginia. The weather being so cold, that it appears one Confederate's feet are so frozen the surgeon believes his feet will have to be amputated. Monday, January 4, 1864 : During General Lee’s (CSA) push last summer north to Gettysburg, he did not take food from Northern civilians, but now Lee was desperate. With the extreme cold weather that had set in, plus low supplies of food and essentials as blankets and clothing for his troops, drives General Lee to plead through telegrams to President Davis (CSA)

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