Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Tuesday, March 8, 1864 : The Willard Hotel in Washington was the classiest place in town, and almost turned away Major General Grant (U.S.) and his young son, until the clerk noticed the signature in the register. President Lincoln invites Grant to the White House, but neglected to tell him that this was the night of the weekly Open House, when the “best people” of the town would attend, and Grant not stopping to change into dress uniform arrives - as is. Rather scruffy- looking and being so short compared to Linclon, that Lincoln asks him to stand on a sofa in the East Room. He wanted everyone could get a look at him. Grant did, but he was mortified. In Madison County, in West Tennessee, Col Fielding Hurst’s (U.S.) men arrest and kill Private Alex Vale of Company H Newsome’s 18th (CSA). Wednesday, March 9, 1864 : The rank of lieutenant general had not been in use in the U.S. Army in some time. In fact, the only man in American history to have held the distinction, had been George Washington, and the rank retired with him. Today, a ceremony was declared in Washington with President Lincoln, and the entire Cabinet in attendance. Ulysses Simpson “Sam” Grant is awarded this commission of "Lieutenant General". In West Tennessee, Col. Fielding Hurst (U.S.) captures and brutally murdered Lieutenant Willis Dodds. Dodds was an officer in Co. F., Newsome's 18th Cavalry (CSA), and had returned home on furlough. Most of the men in the 18th were either relatives, or neighbors and young Willis Dodds was bright, brave and a favorite among the troops. A dispatch of General Forrest reads, “Pvt. Silas Hodges . . . states that he saw the body of Lt. Dodds very soon after his murder, and that it was horribly mutilated, the face having been skinned, the nose cut off, the under jaw disjointed, the privates cut off, and the body otherwise barbarously lacerated and most want only injured, and that his death, was brought about by the most inhuman process of torture." Confederate spy, Belle Edmondson, writes, “Mrs. Dupre arrived from Dixie, sent Helen two letters by me. I was so much disappointed that I did not get one. I expect my friends will all forget me now, that I cannot run to Memphis and bring what they want.” (she fears that she will be arrested for spying on site) Thursday, March 10, 1864 : When asked about conditions, General Nathan Bedford Forrest (CSA) writes: “Hurst is still reported in West Tennessee, and a portion of Jackson and Brownsville have been burned by his men. From Tupelo to Purdy, the country has been laid waste, and unless some effort is made by the Mobile & Ohio RR or the Government, the people are bound to suffer for food. They have been, by the enemy and roving bands of stories, stripped of everything.” Forrest also asked that higher command deliver his reports on the atrocities committed by Hurst to the newspapers . . . “such conduct should be made known to the world.” The Red River Campaign in Louisiana, begins as Major General Nathaniel P. Banks (U.S.) begins to concentrate troops at New Orleans, for a drive into the heartland of the Confederacy. The Union hoped to capture everything along the Red River in Louisiana, and continue into Texas. Lieutenant General, Grant (U.S.) didn’t hang around Washington for his next title, “Commander of the Armies of the United States” as he was now in Virginia, with General Meade (U.S.) making his next plans. Friday, March 11, 1864 : As soon as General Sherman (U.S.) heard of Grant’s promotion, he wrote him a letter. In it, Sherman strongly recommended, that Grant keeps his headquarters in the field and stay as far away from Washington as possible, to avoid “meddling” by Lincoln and other politicians. This was, in fact, precisely what Grant wound up doing. In Sheffield, England, disaster strikes as a newly built dam breaks. The claims for damages formed one of the largest insurance claims of the Victorian period, and it will be ranked as the 20th deadliest floods in history, worldwide.

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