This Day in the Civil War

Thursday April 18 1861

In response to Lincoln’s call for militia, Pennsylvania sent five companies. Known as the “First Defenders” the men departed from Philadelphia to Washington, which required them to pass through Baltimore. This was not the healthiest thing for them to do, as pro-secession flags were flying on several buildings on Federal Hill in Maryland’s largest city. The men, unarmed, untrained and unprepared, received no more abuse than dirty looks, scowls and a few rude remarks.

Friday, April 18 1862

Today was commenced the Battle of New Orleans, with an attack on two defenses on the river below the city, Ft. Jackson and Ft. St. Phillip. Mortar fire from navy gunboats was the form of the attack, an innovation proposed by Commander David Dixon Porter to his commander, and adoptive brother, David Glasgow Farragut. The attack would continue for most of a week, and the mortars indeed did little damage to the forts.

Saturday, April 18 1863

It was a day of weeping and sorrow in the offices of the owners of the blockade-runner Alabama. Off the coast of Florida this unfortunate vessel had the misfortune to encounter the USS Susquehanna, Commodore Hitchcock commanding. Fully loaded with some of the most desirable items for a blockaded country--coffee, dry goods, wine, even nails--she was captured and confiscated. Her owners’ sorrow was balanced by the glee of Hitchcock’s men, who got to keep the proceeds instead.

Sunday, April 18 1864

The cavalry expedition of Gen. John Marmaduke, CSA, scored its first victory today in a battle at Poison Springs, Ark. They came upon a large Federal wagon train, made up of foragers who were trying to unite with Banks’ part of the Red River expedition. After a short but sharp battle the Federals fled, leaving their wagons behind, all 158 of them.

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