The American Civil War, day by day - Page 44 - Politics | PoFo

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I agree with you. A lot of people died at Andersonville and so there were a lot of upset families of dead Union soldiers and the Confederacy was on the losing side, so, Wirz was going to take the fall. That's the way it goes when you are on the losing side.

It's just like in World War II, I imagine if we were on the losing side, the Axis powers, especially the Japanese would have tried our military leaders as war criminals for the fire bombings of Tokyo or in the case of the Germans, the bombing of Dresden which killed countless civilians but had no military value whatsoever.

The Union, in the aftermath of the American Civil War wanted to hang Jefferson Davis but another Confederate willingly took the fall for him and was hung instead in his place. But the Union really wanted to hang Jefferson Davis.
@Doug64 @Potemkin

Yeah, Doug, if you get a chance, I would encourage you to visit Andersonville POW camp in person. If I remember correctly, it's a national historic site. Potem, if you visit the US, visit Andersonville. It's worth the trip in my opinion if you enjoy American Civil War history. They made a movie on Andersonville and when you visit Andersonville you learn about daily life for he POWs at the camp during that time. They had problems with a criminal gang forming amongst the POWs who were stealing from fellow prisoners, killing and terrorizing them.

So, they got tired of them and the POWs wanted to kill the the criminal gang called he Raiders who were responsible. However, it was ultimately decided the criminal gang was to be court martialed by Union Army military law and regulation and given a military trial. They had a military lawyer defending them at their trial in the POW camp.

They were convicted of murder and the Confederates provided the lumber to build the gallows to hang the convicted criminal gang members who were hung by their fellow Union soldiers after being found guilty under Union Army military law. The gravesite of the hung criminal gang that was active in the POW camp is shown here in a video directly from Andersonville:

Here is an historical explanation of the gang:

Here is a clip from the movie scene on Andersonville where 6 of the raiders were hung:

The 6 Raider gang members that were hung were given dishonorable discharges from the Union Army after the war and were buried in dishonor away from their fellow Union Army soldiers who also died at the POW camp. You can read more about the Raiders criminal gang here from an official U.S. government website that discusses this piece of American history: ... aiders.htm
July 17, Thursday

Morgan’s Confederate raiders approach Cynthiana, a town on the Licking River south of Cincinnati. Cynthiana and its Kentucky Central Railroad depot are defended by an unsuspecting Federal contingent under the command of Colonel John J. Landrum. All but a handful of Landrum’s 340 men are either green recruits or ill-trained Home Guards, and he has only a single brass 12-pounder. Morgan announces his presence by ordering his horse artillery to open fire on the town. Then he launches a three-pronged assault. The 2nd Kentucky Cavalry attack across the river from the west while his battalion of Texans and Tennesseans, who have crossed to the rear of the town, charge down the main street. A third force, the 1st Georgia, charge on the 2nd Kentucky’s left. Colonel Landrum sets up his lone cannon in the town square and tries desperately to organize a defense, but the Confederate crossfire soon forces the crew to abandon the weapon. Landrum and some of his men take shelter in the railroad depot. But Harris’s gunners have pushed their fieldpieces across the bridge by hand and turn them on the depot at point-blank range. The Federal resistance collapses. Landrum and a few men escape, but Morgan takes the rest prisoner, along with a much-needed herd of 300 horses.

Pope’s Federals capture Gordonsville, Virginia, a Southern supply base. There is a skirmish in the vicinity of Mount Pleasant and Columbia, Tennessee.

President Lincoln signs the Second Confiscation Act after lengthy and acrimonious congressional debate and after weighing a possible veto. Supported by the Radicals and the ultra-abolitionist forces, it can readily be interpreted as a virtual act of emancipation. The measure provides that slaves of all those who support or aid the rebellion will be free when they come within Union control. It calls for confiscation of other forms of property, give the President power to “employ” Blacks for suppression of the rebellion, and authorize the President to provide for colonization “in some tropical country beyond the limits of the United States, of such persons of the African race, made free by the provisions of this act, as may be willing to emigrate.” The bill also authorizes the President to tender pardon and amnesty to those he sees fit. President Lincoln opposes some provisions and wording, but last-minute changes take care of most of the objections. The measure later gives rise to a political struggle between the President and Congress over who is to handle the slavery and reconstruction measures. Many provisions of this confiscation act will never be enforced.

Another measure signed by the President upon the adjournment of Congress authorizes calling up men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five for nine months’ militia service. This will later be interpreted as a draft though never put into effect. Another bill provides for the use of postage stamps as money, due to the shortage of metal coins.

Major General U.S. Grant assumes command of all troops in the Army of the Tennessee and Army of the Mississippi, and in the District of the Mississippi and Cairo. Confederate General D.H. Hill is assigned to command of the Department of North Carolina.
@Politics_Observer I wouldn’t say it was just like WWII—the Nazi leadership were actually trying to maximize the concentration camp deaths, after all. That trial and the executions you mentioned say a lot.

From your first clip it sounded like a number of the Confederate guards should have been hung instead of Wirz, though. Not important enough to act as scapegoats, I guess.
Last edited by Doug64 on 16 Jul 2020 21:01, edited 1 time in total.

No, don't misunderstand. I don't think Wirz was trying to run Andersonville like a Nazi death camp. When you visit the camp, the camp also has a site where it explains that the Confederates wanted to engage in prisoners swaps with the Union but the Union didn't want to engage in prisoner swaps and I think the reason was that the Union wanted the prisoners to put an additional strain on Confederate manpower and resources having to guard those prisoners.

See, part of Union strategy during the American Civil War was to "forage on the enemy" where they would take food and supplies from the Confederate economy and use it to feed their troops. Perhaps a Confederate strategy during that time would have been to do what the Russians do when they were invaded and that was to burn and destroy all their crops and livestock before the enemy reaches them as to deny that to an enemy who would want to use them.

This particular strategy raises the costs to invading army given that they then have to use their own supplies to invade enemy territory and not the supplies of the enemy in that territory. Make sense? It's a very destructive strategy but when it comes to war, nobody really wins in the end as we can see in this particular strategy and at Andersonville.

It was a bit more complicated than that, here’s a good link on the issue. But to paraphrase, Lincoln stopped the prisoner exchanges in 1863 because the Confederacy refused to treat Black Union soldiers the same as the rest. They eventually caved in the summer of 1864, but by then Grant was in command of military policy and he agreed to resume the exchanges but refused to agree to the previous practice of paroling any excess—by that time Confederate prisoners far outnumbered Union prisoners, and Grant expected that substantial numbers of Confederates would violate their parole and resume the fight while substantial numbers of Union prisoners had served their terms of service and would go home. It wasn’t until winter that the South agreed to Grant’s counteroffer. And even if Grant had agreed in August 1864, Andersonville would have already been the deadliest prison of the war with 8,000 deaths, it just got worse from there.

Yes, that make sense. I remember reading how the Confederates were not treating the black Union soldiers as equals. I wasn't sure if that tied into prisoner exchanges between the Union and Confederacy at the time. My ancestor was one of the Confederate POWs imprisoned at Camp Douglas in Chicago. He survived his ordeal there. He had to walk all the way back home by foot though and was in pretty rough shape when he showed up at his house where his wife wouldn't let him in the house.
July 18, Friday

Federal Major General Pope announces that his Army of Virginia will “subsist upon the country in which their operations are carried out,” and that the citizens of the area through which his army operates will be held responsible for damage done to railroads, bridges, and telegraph lines by guerrillas. Furthermore, the people will be compelled to repair the damage and be assessed for such depredations.

Confederate troops cross the Ohio River and raid the town of Newburg, Indiana, near Evansville. There is a skirmish near Memphis, Missouri.

A motion in the British House of Commons to mediate between the Federal and Confederate governments is discussed and withdrawn.

My ancestors ended up sitting out the war in Utah, being watched over by a suspicious US Army. Considering how patriotic the US members of the JCLDS Church is now, looking back it can be difficult to understand how tense our relationship with the Federal government was through almost the entirety of the 19th century.

General Sherman is commonly associated with the total warfare of the American Civil War. However, total warfare in the American Civil War, from what I read, actually took place when Confederates gun down an officer that a Union general was good friends with. In retaliation, he ordered the burning down of every house within a 5 mile radius. That was the beginning of total war in the American Civil War. I can't remember the name of the Union general who ordered the burnings but it wasn't Sherman. I would have to look it up sometime.

I’m afraid that’s nothing new, the “scorched earth” tactic has been around as long as warfare. The Mongols would stack heads of the populations of entire cities, and when the north of England rebelled William the Conqueror turned it into a desert that took generations to recover. And it was Calgacus, the first Caledonian recorded in history, that is reputed to have said about his Roman enemies, “they make a desert and call it peace.” It’s not hard to come up with other examples throughout history.
July 19, Saturday

General Stonewall Jackson’s divisions are encamped this night at Gordonsville. In spite of the week it has taken them to arrive here from Richmond, they still beat General Hatch’s cavalry Having reached a point ten miles away only to find Jackson in Gordonsville before him, Hatch calls off the raid. This uninspired performance will soon cost Hatch his command, General Pope replacing him with a promising Kentuckian, Brigadier General John Buford.

Confederates raid Brownsville, Tennessee, and there is a skirmish near Paris, Kentucky, between Federal troops and men of John Hunt Morgan’s command. A Federal expedition destroys military stores and the railroad at Beaver Dam Station, Virginia, July 19-20. July 19-23 a Union scout is carried out in Polk and Dallas counties, Missouri.

Lincoln names John S. Phelps of Missouri as military governor of Arkansas.

Meetings to stimulate enlistments are held in various Northern cities.

General Braxton Bragg has been beset by problems. General Grant is threatening Vicksburg, and Bragg has been compelled to send considerable forces westward to aid in the defense of the city. His army at Tupelo is now desperately short of men, food, and supplies. The movement northward that Bragg has contemplated seems increasingly doubtful. He lacks the wagons and teams needed to supply his troops on the march. And to make matters worse, drought has so parched the countryside that his men would be unable to find food, forage, or even water. While Bragg grapples with these concerns, General Kirby Smith sends yet another warning coupled with another attempt to shift responsibility for defending Chattanooga: Buell, Smith writes, “is momentarily expected to attack. If possible hasten your movement to East Tennessee. The successful holding of Chattanooga depends upon your cooperation.”

Yeah, during my time in the service in war time, you saw a sense of honor and camaraderie develop with most soldiers who have seen combat that you don't see in the civilian world. While watching the movie Andersonville, you saw that with the Union soldiers too and how they handled dishonor in their ranks within the POW camp with a court martial and various punishments. Speaking from my point of view as a former soldier and veteran myself, it's a terrible stain to be branded as dishonorable and buried away from your fellow soldiers.

Such a terrible stain to have on your record for eternity. To me, I would rather be killed in action and not have made it home alive but still be considered honorable in the eyes of my peers and the army than to have made it home alive and then be branded as dishonorable and have the stain of a dishonorable discharge on my record. That is a horrible stain my friend more horrible than death in my opinion. I really feel for those Union soldiers or any soldier on any side who had to endure some of the serious horrors of some of the POW camps or the battlefields for that matter. Such a terrible and tragic loss too. Nobody should ever have to endure such horrors in my opinion. But wars are a fact of life it seems.

I can't speak from personal experience, reading Heinlein's Starship Troopers in high school killed any urge I might have had to make military service a career and I had knee problems that would have probably kept me from making it through boot camp anyway (trying to balance on a ball on a concrete slope is a bad idea). But I have family that have served and have been studying military history for decades. The phrase that I've always remembered is that "soldiers will fight for their countries, but they die for their comrades."
July 20, Sunday

General Bragg responds to General Smith’s request that he move his army to Chattanooga: “We are fearfully outnumbered in this department. I had hoped you would be able to cope with General Buell’s force, especially as he would have to cross a broad and deep river in your immediate presence. That hope still exists; but I must urge on you the propriety of your taking command in Chattanooga. The officer I sent you, I regret to say, cannot be trusted with such a command, and I implore you not to entrust him indeed with any important position.” Taking command at Chattanooga is precisely what Kirby Smith does not want to do. McCown will remain in charge there. Instead Smith continues his relentless series of messages, responding that Buell’s attack “may be hourly expected. It is your time to strike.” With this, Smith wins his game. Leaving forces under Generals Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price in northern Mississippi to deal with Grant, tomorrow Bragg will order the Army of the Mississippi to Chattanooga.

Minor fighting continues, with skirmishes at Greenville and Taberville, Missouri, and Gaines’ Landing, Arkansas. There is an affair at Hatchie Bottom, Mississippi.
July 21, Monday

On the same day that Nathan Bedford Forrest is promoted to brigadier general he strikes again, this time driving north of Murfreesboro, almost into Nashville. He destroys three railroad bridges and takes 97 prisoners. The railroad that General Nelson has just reopened is again out of commission and will remain so until July 29.

The Confederate Army of the Mississippi is ordered to Chattanooga, and Major General Price assumes command of the Confederate District of the Tennessee.

Luray, Virginia, is occupied by Federal troops operating in the Shenandoah Valley.

Lincoln and his Cabinet discuss the possible use of Blacks as soldiers.
July 22, Tuesday

At Vicksburg Admiral Farragut insists on one more try to destroy the Confederate ironclad ram CSS Arkansas, sending two ships, the ironclad Essex and the ram Queen of the West against it. Commander Porter goes on board the Essex to lead the attack. As the Federal ships open fire, aboard the Arkansas Lieutenant Brown executes a shrewd maneuver. He swings his vessel away from the bank, prow out, to present the smallest possible target. Consequently, neither Union vessel is at first able to land a solid blow. Then, at great risk to his ship, Porter brings the Essex to within five feet of the Arkansas and pours fire into her side. A shot passes through one of the Arkansas’ gunports, and a large hole appears in her armor. Porter is close enough to take the enemy ram by boarding, but the storm of fire from the Confederate batteries and infantry on the bank dissuade him. A shell fragment hits Porter in the head, cutting a slight gash. Finally the Federals give up. The Essex, struck by 42 shots, somehow escapes major damage; the Queen of the West is riddled with balls, but she, too, remains intact and her crew suffers few casualties. The Arkansas loses seven killed and six wounded; but she has withstood another savage Federal attack.

At a Cabinet meeting in Washington President Lincoln surprises most of his advisers by reading the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. It includes warnings of the consequences of the Confiscation Act, renews his offer of compensation to loyal states for gradual emancipation, and proposes that as of January 1, 1863, slaves in all states then in rebellion should be free. After long thought, the President has, independent of consultation, decided upon this course. After a discussion President Lincoln follows Secretary of State Seward’s suggestion that announcement of the emancipation be delayed until the armies achieve a military success.

The Federal War Department issues an order authorizing military and naval commanders within states in rebellion to seize and use for military purposes any real or personal property and to employ Blacks as laborers.

In Virginia there is reconnaissance by Federals from Luray to Columbia Bridge and White House Ford, plus a skirmish at Verdon, and an affair near Westover. Other activities include a reconnaissance July 22-24 by Federals to James City and Madison Court House, and a scout in King William, King and Queen, and Gloucester counties, Virginia.

Major General A.E. Burnside takes command of the IX Corps of the Union Army.

The July 17 skirmish at Cynthiana, Kentucky, has kicked off a hornet’s nest, at least of telegraph messages. Federal Brigadier General Jeremiah T. Boyle, commanding in Louisville, fires off requests for reinforcements in all directions: to Governor Oliver Morton in Indiana, to General Buell in Alabama, and directly to Washington. Morton sends a few raw recruits. Buell wires back that he can spare no troops because he is expecting an attack on his own lines. Lincoln responds by wiring Halleck at Corinth: “They are having a stampede in Kentucky. Please look to it.” Halleck then wires Buell: “Do all in your power to put down the Morgan raid even if Chattanooga expedition should be delayed.”

But by this time Morgan and his raiders were already on their way back, arriving today at Livingston, Tennessee. In just under three weeks, his brigade has ridden 1,000 miles, taken 1,200 prisoners, captured seventeen towns and turned over to local sympathizers a small fortune in Federal property. More important, the raid has distracted Federal attention from the advance on Chattanooga. Although no more than 300 volunteers actually joined the raiders in Kentucky, Morgan persists in his belief that Bluegrass men are anxious to sign up with the Confederate forces. At one point he telegraphs Kirby Smith to assure him that if the general’s army were to advance into Kentucky, “25,000 or 30,000 men will join you at once.” In fact, the recruiters who benefit the most from Morgan’s raid are Federal. More than 7,000 pro-Union men are worried enough about the Confederate raiders to enlist in seven Kentucky cavalry regiments. Volunteers also rush to the colors in Indiana. And in Ohio, a recruiting officer—Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes—is so gratified by the flood of volunteers that he is moved to cheer “Hooray for Morgan!”

Of less pleasant news for the Federals, it is found that George Ellsworth, the expert telegraph operator on Morgan’s staff, has been intercepting most of the Federal dispatches for the past twelve days, thus giving the Confederates warning of Northern operations.
July 23, Wednesday

In Washington, Major General Henry Wager Halleck assumes command of the Armies of the United States. President Lincoln sends him to Harrison’s Landing south of Richmond to assess the military situation there and make it clear to General McClellan that he can have no more than 20,000 reinforcements. If McClellan rejects this offer, the Army of the Potomac will be withdrawn from the Peninsula and sent to join General Pope’s forces north of the Rappahannock.

Federal cavalry from Fredericksburg carry out a raid on Southern cavalry and supplies near Carmel Church, Virginia. There are skirmishes at Boles’ Farm, Missouri, and on the Blackwater, near Columbus, Missouri. A Federal expedition is carried out July 23-25 from Helena, Arkansas, to Coldwater; and a skirmish is fought at White Oak Bayou, Mississippi.

General Pope in northern Virginia adds to his already highly restrictive orders to the people. This time any male who refuses to take an oath to the Union will be sent South, and if found again will be considered a spy. Any person violating the oath will be shot and his property confiscated.

The shift of General Bragg’s army around General Buell’s interposing army to Chattanooga is a difficult movement, but General Bragg handles the logistics magnificently. He sends his mounted units—the cavalry, artillery, and wagon trains, about 5,000 men in all—overland by a 430-mile route south the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, east to Rome, Georgia, then north to Chattanooga. Because of the supply problems and the drought, the 35,000 infantrymen have to be moved by train, and that involves a journey of almost 800 miles—south all the way to Mobile, Alabama, then east to Atlanta, Georgia, and thence northwest to Chattanooga. The first elements entrain today. Commissary agents will meet the trains at intervals to reprovision the men. Transfer points will be closely guarded to prevent soldiers from straying. And there will be many transfers; the movement involves six railroads of different gauges, a ferry across Mobile Bay, and a steamboat up a stretch of the Alabama River to Montgomery.
July 24, Thursday

At Vicksburg, Admiral Farragut calls it quits. He is worried about the steady lowering of the water in the Mississippi, and is pressed by other concerns besides. The troops digging the canal to bypass Vicksburg have been laid low by malaria and dysentery, and the commander, General Williams, is anxious to evacuate them to Baton Rouge for rest and medical aid. Farragut complies. The canal is completed, but the currents and low water make it useless and the project is abandoned, the soldiers board the ships, and Farragut with great relief starts back toward deep water, leaving five gunboats to guard the river between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. A few days later Flag Officer Charles Davis will lead his squadron back upstream. The first attack on Vicksburg is over.

Skirmishing breaks out on the Amite River, Louisiana; Santa Fe and Moore’s Mill near Fulton, Missouri; and White Oak Bayou, Mississippi. There is action July 24-26 in Wyoming County, western Virginia; from Fredericksburg toward Orange Court House, Virginia; from Helena to Marianna, Arkansas; and from New Berne to Trenton and Pollocksville, North Carolina, July 24-28.

Former President Martin Van Buren, seventy-nine, dies at Lindenwald, New York.
July 25, Friday

President Lincoln promulgates the Confiscation Act of Congress, calling for suppression of the insurrection. In a proclamation he asks persons in the rebellion to cease participating in or abetting it, “to return to their proper allegiance to the United States, on pain of the forfeitures and seizures....”

The last elements of General Bragg’s 35,000 Confederate infantrymen leave Tupelo, Mississippi, on their long circuitous journey to Chattanooga.

There are skirmishes at Summerville, western Virginia; Courtland and Trinity, Alabama; and Clinton Ferry, Tennessee. Other operations are July 25-26 near Mountain Store, Missouri; July 25-August 2 around Lake Ponchartrain, Pass Manchac, and up the Pearl River, Louisiana; July 25-August 1 from Holly Springs, Mississippi, to Bolivar and Jackson, Tennessee.
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