Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Expecting an imminent attack, Van Dorn positions his troops just past Fayetteville and Elm Springs, Arkansas. Confederate General Beauregard takes charge of defenses along the Mississippi valley. Confederate General Johnston begins an operation to prevent further entrenchment of Union forces around Savannah, Tennessee. Thursday, March 6, 1862 : In Arkansas, Confederate General Van Dorn engages Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis' (U.S.) troops, and later moves his men during the night to attack from the rear at Pea Ridge. President Lincoln, responding to suggestions from senators, requests the states' cooperation to devise ways to abolish slavery, indicating the availability of Federal funds for emancipation efforts in individual states. [US government would pay slave owners for their lost of slaves] The President believes this resolution will keep Northern slave states from joining the Confederacy. In Richmond, the Confederate Congress authorizes military officials to dispose of Confederate crops and property, if Union troops advance farther into Virginia. The aim was to ensure that no cotton or tobacco fell into the hands of the North. Friday, March 7, 1862 : In Arkansas, Union General Curtis' (U.S.) troops are surprised from the rear by General Van Dorn's (CSA) forces at Pea Ridge. Confederate Brigadier Generals Benjamin McCulloch and James McIntosh are killed during battle, creating confusion in the Confederate ranks. Union General Curtis concentrates his forces at nightfall and waits for General Van Dorn's attack on Saturday. In Virginia, Union General McClelland finally begins to move toward Confederate forces under General Johnston. Johnston retreats ahead of McClellan. At Winchester, Virginia, Union General Nathaniel Banks' forces skirmish with 'Stonewall' Jackson's smaller force. Saturday, March 8, 1862 : Lincoln finally agreed with General McClellan’s plan to invade Virginia from the sea. However, the President did insist that sufficient men had to be left behind to defend the capital. The Confederates suffered a heavy defeat at the Battle of Pea Ridge losing nearly 800 men with 1,000 captured and any hope for control in Missouri. The former Union ship ‘ USS Merrimac ’ – burned as the Confederate Ironclad CSS ‘Virginia’ (pictured) – inflicted major losses on a small Union naval fleet of three ships resulting in the North losing 2 ships and 250 men at Hampton Roads. Only night fall saved the third ship. The CSS ‘Virginia ’ stood up to six full broadsides attacks with little damage done to her. However later that evening, the ‘ USS Monitor ’ entered the Hampton Roads. Sunday, March 9, 1862 : Battle of Hampton Roads, Virginia, also known as the Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack, is the first combat between ironclad warships, and arguably the most important naval battle of the Civil War. The “CSS Virginia” (formerly the sunken USS Merrimack , rebuilt as a Confederate ironclad) had arrived the day before and wreaked havoc on the wooden Union ships. Up against another ironclad her defects became more obvious, primarily that her steam engine was not powerful enough to propel the weight of her iron plating. Although, she arrived a day late, and had been laughed at as the “cheese-box on a raft”, the USS Monitor would be only the first of a new class of fighting ships. The battle lasted for 3 or 4 hours, with direct hits and ramming. The ships do not fight again, and the blockade remains in place. The days of wooden ships was over. In Virginia, the Confederate army under General Joseph Johnston retreats to a position at Rappahannock Station, close to the Rappahannock River. Instead of engaging the Confederates, McClellan's (U.S.) Army of the Potomac returns to its bases around Alexandria, Virginia. Monday, March 10, 1862 : In the aftermath of the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac, the captains of both vessels were under medical care for (relatively) minor wounds suffered in the battle. Lt. and sunk by its own northern crew as the war started, was now rebuilt from the water line up with heavy armour and renamed

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