Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Monday, February 8, 1864 : A skirmish with Rebels at Jacksonville, Florida, as Brig. General Truman Seymour (U.S.) starts his march inland. More fighting at Ringgold, Georgia, Barbourville, Kentucky, and at Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Major General W. Sherman (U.S.) command finds fighting at Coldwater Ferry and Morton on his drive to Meridian, Mississippi. Tuesday, February 9, 1864 : Libby Prison (pictured) in Richmond, Virginia, had gained an infamous reputation for the overcrowded and harsh conditions, under which officer prisoners from the Union Army were kept. Today, 109 Union officers made their escape through a tunnel about three feet in diameter and at least sixty feet in length. It was the largest escape of its kind during the war. 59 made it back to Union lines, 48 were recaptured and 2 men drowned in the James River. Yazoo City, Mississippi, is occupied by Major General William T. Sherman, (U.S.) on his way to Meridian. President Lincoln walks to M. B. Brady's studio and has several photographs made, including one that we today use on the $5 bill. Wednesday, February 10, 1864 : Commander Peirce Crosby (U.S.), of the U.S.S. Florida , forced blockade runner Fanny and Jenny aground near Masonboro Inlet, North Carolina. On the ship was found a solid gold jewel-studded sword inscribed: “To General Robert E. Lee, from his British sympathizers.” He also sighted blockade runner Emily aground nearby, and unable to get either steamer afloat burned them. The Daily Times (Leavenworth, Kansas) tells us: “In a lecture at Portland, Maine, the lecturer, wishing to explain to a little girl the manner in which a lobster casts his shell, when he has outgrown it, said, “What do you do when you have outgrown your clothes? You cast them aside, do you not?” “Oh, no,” replied the girl, “we let out the tucks.” At the White House, President Lincoln tries to rescue 6 horses from the White House stables during a fire. He is unsuccessful; one had belonged to his deceased son, Willie. Patterson McGee is dismissed as President's coachman, and is arrested on charge of having started the fire. Thursday, February 11, 1864 : General William Sooy Smith (U.S.) still behind schedule to join Sherman in Mississippi, leaves Collierville, Tennessee. Brig. General H. W. Gilmore (CSA) leads a raid of Confederate irregulars on the Baltimore and the Ohio Railroad, between Kearneysville and Duffield’s Depot, in West Virginia. He succeeds in derailing the express passenger train going west and robbing the crew and passengers. Friday, February 12, 1864 : In Jackson, Tennessee a group of concerned citizens paid the $5,139.25 that Col. Fielding Hurst (U.S.) demanded against town as payback of fines the U.S. government took from his pay. He takes the money, then burns the city, and proceeded to Brownsville, where he burned a sizeable number of suspected Confederate sympathizers’ homes and businesses. Actor, John Wilkes Booth takes his farewell benefit, after playing on stage at Nashville. Saturday, February 13, 1864 : General William T. Sherman’s (U.S.) forces continued their push through Mississippi on their Meridian Campaign. Heavy fighting flared at Chunky Creek, and Wayne, Mississippi. The Memphis Bulletin publishes a statement signed by 300 of the city’s leading citizens, recommending immediate and unconditional emancipation of all slaves as “the best, truest policy and only alternative,” and urges Tennesseans to reestablish relations with the government.

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