This Day in the Civil War

Wednesday, Feb. 12 1862

U. S. Grant’s Federal army, under the command of Gen. McClernand, was on this day arrayed on the hills around the west side of Ft. Donelson. The delay was caused by the fact that the gunboats, which had left Ft. Henry at the same time as the army, had to travel about eight times further to arrive. Although the Confederate defenders could still enter and exit the fort to the east, it was in fact under seige.

Thursday, Feb. 12 1863

The USS Queen of the West, although unsuccessful as a ramship last week, was still an implacable hunter on the waters and tributaries of the Mississippi. Today she took a jaunt up the Red River. Her commander, Col. C.R. Ellet, took a landing party as far as the Atchafalaya, where he came upon a Confederate wagon train. The twelve wagons were destroyed, along with seventy barrels of beef, ammunition and stores from another train.

Friday, Feb. 12 1864

Shortages of almost every conceivable material were plaguing the Confederacy by this stage of the war. Among the annoyances was a lack of proper cloth to use for cartridge bags, which held gunpowder required to fire naval guns. Today Cmdr. John Brooke of the Confederate Office of Ordnance and Hydrograpy wrote to France for 22,00- yards of material, to be sent by 22 different ships to keep it from all being lost to capture.

Sunday, Feb. 12 1865

A Confederate force under Lt. Charles W. Read had loaded four torpedo boats onto wagons and hauled them across Drewry’s Bluff, intending to use them to attack Union boats on the James River. Caught by a sleet storm today, they hid in a barn. A young Confederate soldier came to tell them that one of their scouts had been captured and Union troops knew all about the plan and lay in wait for them at the James. Were it not for the storm, they would have walked straight into the trap.

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