Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Chattanooga, Tennessee, the army of General William Tecumseh Sherman was on his march still toward Atlanta. Sunday, May 8, 1864 : In Virginia, after the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5-6), General Grant (U.S.) tries to push his battle weary army between General Lee’s (CSA) army and Richmond, but fails to take Spotsylvania Cross Roads. Lee’s men won the race to the crossroads, where they took refuge behind hastily constructed breastworks and waited. Now, it would be up to Grant to force the Confederates from their position. The stage was set for another one of the bloodiest engagements of the war. In the Atlanta Campaign, some fighting starts near Dalton, Georgia, as Sherman continued his march toward Atlanta with little, at present, to stop him. Monday, May 9, 1864 : Things were stalled today at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia.

Grant (U.S.) wanted it, but Lee (CSA) wasn’t giving it up. It was a stand off, a wait and see. While inspecting the artillery line Major General John Sedgwick, (U.S.) (pictured) was told by his men that sharpshooters were in the area. “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance,” he said confidently, according to legend anyway. Seconds later a bullet pierced his left eye, killing him instantly. He was the highest-ranking Union officer killed in battle. In Virginia at Beaver Dam Station, a Union cavalry brigade, under Brig. General George A. Custer (U.S.) enters without any Confederate resistance. Custer and his men proceeded, to destroy 2 locomotives, over 100 railroad cars, 10 miles of tracks, and

several reserve medical stores. They find some warehouses containing Confederate foodstuffs and destroyed 504,000 bread rations and 915,000 meat rations. Custer also freed some 378 Union prisoners, captured at the Battle of the Wilderness. The loss of the railroad transportation was the most serious damage to the Confederate Army. (U.S.) General Crook’s three brigades (6,100 men) is on a raid into southwestern Virginia. They encountered Confederate forces under Brigadier General Albert Jenkins (CSA) at Cloyd’s Mountain. The fighting was furious and hand-to-hand. Casualties were heavy for the size of the forces engaged: Union 10%, Confederate 23% some 1,500 for both sides together. Brigadier General Jenkins (CSA) is also mortally wounded. Tuesday, May 10, 1864 : In Washington, President Lincoln is pleased with U. S. Grant’s performance. He believes the boldness, and success of Grant’s campaign will create a heightened confidence in Union leadership, that will ultimately deliver his reelection. The Union forces, under Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, (U.S.) retreats further back to Grand Ecore, Louisiana, the Red River Campaign, has already been effectively over, he is just trying to retreat as far as he can. Wednesday, May 11, 1864 : As the battle between Grant and Lee rages on at Spotsylvania Court House, the Union cavalry corps under Major General Philip Sheridan (U.S.) embarked on a cavalry raid against Richmond. After disrupting Lee’s road and rail communications, Sheridan’s cavalry expedition climaxes with the battle at Yellow Tavern, just six miles from Richmond, today. The outnumbered Confederate cavalry was defeated, and Major General J.E.B. Stuart (CSA) was mortally wounded in the stomach by a Union private. Thursday, May 12, 1864 : The Army of the Potomac (U.S.) attack against Lee’s army started at 04:30 in the morning. The Northern assault was a success, but a Confederate counterattack ensured that the North, would not be able to capitalize on this. The fighting in an area known as ‘Bloody Angle’ – part of the South’s entrenchments – was some of the bloodiest of the war. The rain was so bad, the conditions worsen, their gunpowder got wet, so men turned to hand-to-hand

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