This Day in the Civil War

Tuesday, March 25 1862

Mary Ann Bickerdyke, 44, of Galesburg, Il., was regarded by many doctors and officers as a nag, a hag, and a major nuisance. She was dedicated to the welfare of sick and wounded soldiers, and went over, around or through anything that stood in the way of supplying same. Today she started a campaign to get proper laundry equipment for hospitals, emphasizing the money that would be saved by reusing soiled uniforms rather than replacing them.

Wednesday, March 25 1863

The two Federal ramships sent by Gen. Ellet to assist Admiral Farragut had only one obstacle: they had to pass under the guns of Vicksburg to get to him. The current was with the ships, but the wind was against them, slowing them and letting the shore batteries send withering fire. USS Lancaster was hit first in the steam drum, then by a shot to the stern that sunk her quickly. Most of her crew escaped to the Switzerland which, although disabled, was able to float out of range.

Friday, March 25 1864

The name of Nathan Bedford Forrest was enough to strike fear in the hearts of Union men anywhere in the Western theater. Forrest himself led his cavalry in an attack today on Paducah, Ky. Aiming for Ft. Anderson, which protected the city on the Ohio River, Forrest raised havoc. The fort batteries, in conjunction with the gunboats Pesota and PawPaw in the river, drove him off after a day.

Saturday, March 25 1865

A group of Rebels showed up at the gates of Ft. Stedman, near Petersburg, Va., at 3 a.m. today, saying they had had enough and were deserting. This was not exactly true, as the Federals found out an hour later when Gen. John Gordon, CSA, showed up in force and attacked. The fort was quickly overwhelmed, especially after the “deserters” went around committing sabotage and opening gates. Gordon captured the fort and almost a mile of Union lines, but didn’t have enough men to hold them and ultimately withdrew.

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