Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Brigadier General George Shepley (U.S.) was still military governor of the Federal occupied parishes of Louisiana. Tuesday, January 26, 1864 : President Lincoln commutes another 9 planned executions, as he did not want to “add to the butchering business.” On the same day, he approves a plan to improve trade between the Union and those parts of the Confederacy, now under Union control. Lincoln was already thinking beyond the end of the war, and wanted to ‘normalise’ internal trade as much as possible. Local elections are permitted in Tennessee, but only where the federal government feels it is in control of the state. General Longstreet’s (CSA) command occupy Sevierville, Tennessee. Union troops under Brig. General Innis N. Palmer (U.S.) in Hertford County, North Carolina destroy 200,000 pounds of pork, plus tobacco, cotton, wagons, etc. Wednesday, January 27, 1864 : Brig. General Samuel D. Sturgis’ Union scouts observed that the Confederates had concentrated on the Fair Garden Road near Sevierville, so Sturgis ordered an attack there. Attack started at 4:00 a.m. and by 4:00 p.m., Union soldiers using sabers had routed the Rebels. Thursday, January 28, 1864 : Brig. General Samuel D. Sturgis (U.S.) set out to capture and kill more of the routed Rebels, after a few hours decided to turn his men toward Brig. General Frank C. Armstrong’s Confederate cavalry. Armstrong had strongly fortified his position, and three infantry regiments had arrived to reinforce him. Thus, the Union troops suffered severe casualties in the attack. The Federals had won the big battle, but the fatigue of continual fighting and lack of supplies and ammunition forced them to withdraw. Union casualties totaled about 100 men; Confederate losses were 165. At Lee’s House, on the Cornersville Pike, near Pulaski, Tennessee, Confederate cavalry wait in ambush and capture a Union forage train (wagons) searching for corn and pork. Many of the Union men are shot but not mortally. They are taken 20 miles and given paroles signed by Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest (CSA) and released. The Federals were kindly treated, although one was robbed of his watch. Friday, January 29, 1864 : Federal troops leave from Vicksburg, Mississippi, on an expedition to Waterproof, Louisiana. Waterproof was once the most popular spot for covered wagons crossing the Mississippi River and was just north of present-day Natchez. Over the next month, numerous plantations will be raided; confiscating everything of value from gold and silver to farm animals and weapons. The Federal steamer, Sir William Wallace, is fired upon on the Mississippi River, near Vicksburg, Mississippi, resulting in Union 3 deaths and 4 severely wounded. In Virginia, rebels cause the destruction of the steamer, U.S.S. Smith Briggs . Candidates announce their positions, as local elections return to Davidson County in Tennessee. Saturday, January 30, 1864 : Major General Jubal A. Early (CSA) with the assistance of local Partisan Rangers capture a wagon train at Medley, West Virginia. The train consisted of 93 wagons loaded with commissary stores and forage, half had to be burned as their teams escaped. In a report of Major-General Rousseau (U.S.) on conditions in Middle Tennessee after 2 years of Union control states: “The negro population is giving much trouble to the military, as well as to the people. Slavery is virtually dead in Tennessee, although the State is excepted from the emancipation proclamation. Negroes leave their homes and stroll over the country uncontrolled. Hundreds of them are supported by the Government who neither work nor are able to work. Many straggling negroes have arms obtained from soldiers, and by their insolence and threats greatly alarm and intimidate white families, who are not allowed to keep arms, or who would generally be afraid to use if they had them. The military cannot look after these things through the country, and there are no civil authorities to do it.”

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