This Day in the Civil War

Monday April 29 1861

It was a dramatic moment in Annapolis today as the Maryland House of Delegates (the state legislature) met to vote on the question of secession. Virginia had already left the Union; if Maryland followed suit the US Government would be almost forced to relocate, possibly to Philadelphia or New York. The vote was taken, and it came down 53-13 to remain with the United States. This did not, however, put an end to pro-Southern sentiment, particularly in the Eastern Shore area

Tuesday April 29 1862

Ulysses S. Grant had brought the armies down from Cairo, Il., to Pittsburg Landing, Tenn. The assemblage now numbered more than 100,000 troops and was preparing to leave for Corinth, Miss to combat the forces of Gen. Beauregard--but not with Grant in command. He found himself in second place behind Maj. Gen. Halleck. Grant felt slighted after having been the victor of Shiloh.

Wednesday April 29 1863

The last Union troops passed over the Rappahannock River fords upstream from Fredericksburg today. They were clear of even the far left wing of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, but still had to cope with the terrain which was known as the Wilderness for good reason. Federal cavalry forces under Stoneman worked even farther around the Confederate force, hampering communication with Richmond.

Friday April 29 1864

Admiral Porter’s fleet seemed doomed. Trapped on the Red River, they heard today that their nemesis, Confederate Gen. Richard Taylor, was proposing to take one of their own disabled boats and refloat it use it as a fireboat to cause havoc and destruction to the Union fleet. Lt. Col. Joseph Bailey came up with a deranged plan. Among their troops were many Midwestern and Maine men with lumberjack experience. Bailey proposed to have them build a dam across the rapids. This would raise the water level under the ships enough than when the dam was blown, they would all get downstream. For lack of alternative, Porter and Banks, head of the land forces, agreed to let him try it.

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