This Day in the Civil War

Thursday, Feb. 13 1862

The attack on Ft. Donelson began today. The gunboat Carondelet started the morning with a bombardment. This was followed by an attack by Grant’s forces, led by C.F. Smith on the left and McClernand on the right. In an unusual move the Confederates changed commanders in the middle of the battle, when Gen. John B. Floyd arrived with reinforcements and assumed command from Gen. Pillow. The change failed to lead to any improvement in the Confederate situation.

Friday, Feb. 13 1863

The union gunboat USS Indianola, commanded by George Brown, was in a rather tricky position. She was serving as a tugboat, ignominiously enough, and needed to get past Vicksburg to deliver supplies. Brown simply waited for nightfall, got up steam, and ran the river. Despite heavy Confederate fire, his ship and the three barges she had in tow passed the city untouched.

Saturday, Feb. 13 1864

Gen. William T. Sherman’s forces continued their progress through Mississippi today. This particular stretch was known as the Meridian Campaign, for the excellent reason that that was their next objective. On this day heavy fighting flared at Chunky Creek, Miss., with additional combat taking place at Wayne.

Monday, Feb. 13 1865

Today Gen. Sherman was marching through South Carolina, approaching the banks of the Congaree River. All the forces the South had available, Beauregard in Atlanta, Hardee in Charleston and Fort Sumter, even the great cavalryman Wade Hampton, who had been sent South to help with the defense, seemed unable to do anything to stop or even slow the implacable Sherman. After crossing the Congaree, he would make clear his target: Columbia, the capital. At this point, though, nobody had a clue where he was headed.

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