This Day in the Civil War

Thursday, April 3 1862

Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston was supposed to be leading an army towards the Tennessee River hamlet of Pittsburg Landing. Their mission: destroy the Union army under the suddenly dangerous Gen. U. S. Grant. Unfortunately, as was often the case in attempts to move large numbers of men, supplies, weapons, ammunition, horses and suchlike items, delays of one sort or another delayed the entire army. Johnston feared that he was losing the element of surprise. Skirmishes occurred near a building called Shiloh Church.

Friday, April 3 1863

One of President Jefferson Davis’ most persistent problems was getting the governors of the “sovereign states” of the Confederacy to cooperate with him--or even each other--even in the face of a common enemy. Today he had to write a letter to Gov. Harris Flanagin of Arkansas who was complaining that too much assistance was going to the other side of the Mississippi River. “If we lose control of the Eastern side, the Western must almost inevitably fall into the power of the enemy,” Davis wrote.

Sunday, April 3 1864

The gunboats of Admiral David D. Porter were hard at work today. Starting at Alexandria, La., they were engaged as troop transports for the army of Brig. Gen. Andrew Jackson Smith. One division, under Brig. Gen. T. Kirby Smith, was left behind; the rest were boated up to Grand Encore, La., to prepare for the attack on Shreveport. Once disembarked they still had to march overland to Nachitoches to join up with the forces of Gen. Banks.

Monday, April 3 1865

With the fall of Petersburg, Richmond could not hold. The government evacuated, slouching towards Danville, Va., and endeavored to destroy anything that could not be hauled. The assignment to remove the archives and treasury were given to the midshipmen of the Confederate Naval Academy, except for 10 who remained behind to burn the CSS Patrick Henry, their training vessel. There was an attempt to dump the contents of the armory into the James River, but it was taking too long and it, with 25,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, was blown up.

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