This Day in the Civil War

Tuesday, March 11 1862

Management shuffles took place in both the armies and the departments today. The Department of Kansas was merged with Missouri and part of the monstrous Department of Ohio, which stretched from western Pennsylvania to Illinois. This new construct was named the Department of the Mississippi, with Gen. Halleck in command. A new one was created in West Virginia and parts of Virginia, called the Mountain Department and headed by Fremont. Gen. McClellan was relieved of his title of General-in-Chief but kept command of the Army of the Potomac. His men, who idolized McClellan, were the only ones not amused.

Wednesday, March 11 1863

Gen. Grant’s plodding progress toward Vicksburg suffered a setback today when his gunboats couldn’t get past a fort built out of cotton bales. Gen. Pemberton had sent Maj. Gen. W.W. Loring to a patch of flooded swamp near Greenwood to build a fort. Loring, tactfully, named it Fort Pemberton, and built it out of earthworks and cotton bales. With a couple of cannon he fended off the USS Chillicothe. The fort was effective not nearly so much because of its power as because of the element of surprise.

Friday, March 11 1864

Yesterday Lt. General U.S. Grant had spent the day in consultations and discussions of management theory with Gen. George Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac. Today he returned to Washington, but just long enough to catch a train. He was setting out for Nashville, Tenn., to have just the same sort of meeting with Gen. William T. Sherman, who was henceforth to be the commander in the Western Theater. Sherman had sent Grant a letter after he had been informed that he (Grant) would be placed in command of the overall Union war effort. In the letter Sherman had strongly recommended that Grant keep his headquarters in the field and stay as far away from Washington as possible, to avoid “meddling” by Lincoln and other politicians. This was, in fact, precisely what Grant wound up doing.

Saturday, March 11 1865

Gen. Sherman’s men today completed their march to Fayetteville, N.C., nearly surrounding the town. The first forces to enter the city itself were the targets of sniping by Confederate cavalry. The last defenders were soon compelled to flee by the last remaining exit, the bridge over Cape Fear River. Sherman sent his report that the city was secured to Schofield at Wilmington and US Navy warships were soon on their way up the river.

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