Chronological History of the American Civil War

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I find it hard to imagine how our ancestors felt after being abandoned and left to the approaching Federal troops. The not knowing what would happen next, after hearing so many horrible stories of other towns being destroyed and families being robbed or murdered. Monday, June 2, 1862: Lieutenant A. Read's (U.S.) ship U.S.S. New London, captures yachts Comet and Algerine near New Basin, Louisiana. The U.S.S. Unadilla, and U.S.S. Pembrine, provided close gunfire support for Army landings and operations on James Island, South Carolina. Tuesday, June 3, 1862 : Corinth, Mississippi fell to Unionist forces. Their next target was Memphis, Tennessee. The garrison at Fort Pillow, north of Memphis, began to pull their guns and supplies out, in preparation for abandoning the installation. A Unionist advance threatened Charleston, South Carolina. John Houston Bills (The Pillars) wrote in his diary: “Lincoln’s Cavalry invades the county. Maj. Carls’ Battalion come to the Bridge. Some cross the river. All retire in the evening & camp on Piney.” Wednesday, June 4, 1862 : John Houston Bills continues in his diary: “Much rain last evening & at night. All my sweet potatoes planted out. Col. Brewer, Dr. Harris, & servant depart on a hand car for the Junction. Federal Cavalry entered town.” The Confederate evacuation of Fort Pillow was continuing today, and the residents along the Mississippi River from Yazoo City to Memphis could read the writing on the wall. Actually, they didn’t need to read walls; they could just look at the sky. The cotton harvest had been very large, and available transportation to get it to market very scarce. Planters had huge stocks, and they were grimly determined to burn every bit of it they could rather than let it fall into the hands of the Yankees. Thursday, June 5, 1862 : Abraham Lincoln, although unwavering in his opposition to slavery, was nevertheless no supporter of full racial integration in America. Although many different plans had been proposed, Lincoln’s preference was to resettle liberated slaves in a nation of their own, preferably in Africa. Today, he signed a bill giving full diplomatic recognition to the Caribbean nation of Haiti and the African country of Liberia. These were the first nations under black rule ever recognized by the United States. John Houston Bills again writes in his diary: “Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace’s army enter & encamp around our Town of Bolivar. Wallace make his head quarter at the Fair Grounds: the army will number about 15,000 so says report.” Friday, June 6, 1862 : The Battle of Memphis took place on the Mississippi River today as citizens of the city lined the bluffs above the river to watch. The Union fleet, under Commodore Charles Davis, consisted of five ironclads and four ramships, carrying 68 guns; they were opposed by the Confederates with a mere eight boats, with 28 guns between them. The battle lasted a mere two hours and was over by 7:30 a.m. The mayor of the city tearfully surrendered the town before noon, and the Father of Waters flowed opposed to--Vicksburg. U.S. Brigadier General Jeremiah Sullivan captures Jackson, Tennessee, today as well. Saturday, June 7, 1862 : Unionists reconnaissance units came into sight of Richmond. In New Orleans, General Butler sentenced William Mumford to death for tearing down the Union flag flying over the city’s mint. John Houston entry for today: “Matters becoming more quiet. Pickets all around the town & none can get out without papers from Gen. Wallace. A kind of parole is to be sworn to by those accepting them.” Captured civilian Union spy, James Andrews and seven of his Union soldiers are hung in Atlanta. The seven soldiers would receive the newly Congress created "Medal of Honor". Sunday, June 8, 1862 : Hardeman County has been left to the Union troops now occupying Bolivar and

the surrounding area. The railroad lines here were the lifeline for not only the South but now the North as well. Hardeman County plantation owner/planter, merchant, and civic leader, John Houston Bills (The Pillars) wrote in his diary: “Churches open as usual. Our Clergy abstain from politics in their prayers or Sermons & preach the Gospel only, just what they should always have done. General Wallace & many soldiers attend.” General Lewis “Lew” Wallace (U.S.) (pictured) would later in life become governor of New Mexico during the time of the “Lincoln County War” dealing with Billy the Kid and former Hardeman Countian John Chisum (Chisum Trail). He would write the most famous novel of the 19th century, “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.” But now Wallace

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