This Day in the Civil War

Sunday, March 16 1862

Under the American system, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were supposed to be the inviolable bedrock on which the nation stood. During the days of the Civil War, though, the bedrock developed cracks faster than the Liberty Bell. Already the right of habeas corpus had been suspended in several areas of the East, particularly in the contested areas of Maryland. The First Amendment had suffered abuse when newspapers were closed for printing “anti-Union rumors.” Today, in another unusual report from the west Coast, martial law was declared in San Francisco as Federal authorities heard increasing rumors that there was to be a Confederate attack on the city.

Monday, March 16 1863

General Ulysses S. Grant and Admiral David Dixon Porter were working remarkably well together in the project to defeat Vicksburg. Despite the cooperation between usually hostile forces, the grim fact of the matter was that they just weren’t making any progress. The expedition to the Yazoo Pass had returned, a failure, so a new plan was devised to proceed from the Yalobusha to Yazoo River, to Steele’s Bayou. This would have been very tricky even if the Confederates weren’t already aware of the plan.

Wednesday, March 16 1864

On Albermarle Sound, Union Navy operatives were becoming increasingly concerned about reports they were hearing of a new Confederate ship under construction up the Roanoke River. The newest information indicated that the ship would be a ram, and would be made with TWO layers of iron, upping the ante for the single-layered Monitor class. The reports, which were being received from spies and other agents across the remarkably porous border, claimed the CSS Albermarle was supposed to sail early next month.

Thursday, March 16 1865

As General Sherman marched through Carolina there were no Confederates who could stand up to his whole army. Gen. William Joseph Hardee, CSA, tried at least to hit the Union left wing, commanded by Slocum. Slocum first turned Hardee’s right flank and drove them back. As Hardee was trying to cope with that, he found his left flank being assailed as well. As the sun went down a storm came up, and under cover of both Hardee made a retreat to Smithville.

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