This Day in the Civil War

Wednesday, March 19 1862

The mission to take back the Mississippi River and thus divide the Confederacy had two naval leaders: Flag Officer Andrew Foote was working down from the north. He was currently hung up at Island No. 10, downriver from New Madrid. Mo. His opposite number was Flag Officer David Farragut, moving up from the South. He stopped in Biloxi today for newspapers. “They speak volumes of discontent...” he wrote in his report. “The cord is pulling tighter. God alone decides the contest, but we must put our shoulders to the wheel.”

Thursday, March 19 1863

A year later and Flag Officer David Farragut, although Admiral Farragut by this time, was not much further up the Mississippi. Admittedly he did not have a great deal of help in the matter: besides his flagship USS Hartford, he had only the assistance of USS Albatross, not the best of omens. He had started the week with seven ships, but the others had been damaged or destroyed in battling Port Hudson. He contented himself today with going ashore towards Natchez to tear down telegraph lines.

Saturday, March 19 1864

The legislature of the state of Georgia passed a couple of resolutions on the subjects of war and peace. The first simply expressed confidence in the leadership and decisions of President Jefferson Davis. The second was a little trickier: it resolved that the Confederate Government in Richmond should, after each Southern victory, offer to end the war. Terms would be independence for the South, of course, as well as self-determination for border states.

Sunday March 19, 1865

Gen. William T. Sherman’s army was so big that the left and the right wings had to operate as essentially separate commands. Sherman had been riding on the left with Slocum, but departed today to visit with O. O. Howard’s right. Slocum’s forces promptly ran into trouble, in the form of dug-in Confederates under Johnston near the town of Bentonville, N.C. Rather than march blindly into the unknown, the Union boys started digging trenches of their own. The Confederate attack nearly worked, but the breakthrough was stopped by Jefferson Davis. The Union General Jefferson Davis, not that other guy.

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