This Day in the Civil War

Sunday May 12 1861

Gen. William Selby Harney was commander of the Union military forces in St. Louis, Mo. He had, in an unfortunate act of poor timing, been on a trip out of town for the last several days, missing his subordinate Nathaniel Lyon’s preemptive strike on the arsenal which provoked a two-day riot. Harney, now back in town, today issued a proclamation calling for public peace to be preserved.

Monday May 12 1862

After the fall of New Orleans a couple of weeks ago, the Union had been working its way to every town on the Mississippi River. Today a Federal flotilla with Admiral David Farragut in command made its way to the docks of Natchez, Louisiana. As the city was not in possession of weaponry or military manpower to do anything else, Farragut was presented with the surrender of the town by its mayor.

Tuesday May 12 1863

Gen. U.S. Grant was maneuvering in a northwesterly direction, seeking a position between Jackson Miss., the capital, and Vicksburg, the last Southern stronghold on the Mississippi River. Near the village of Raymond, Miss., a strong Confederate force under Gen. John Gregg fell upon John A. Logan’s division of McPherson’s corps. Despite the advantage of surprise Gregg’s men were outnumbered and had to fall back towards Jackson.

Thursday May 12 1864

It was around 4:30 in the morning when Hancock’s Union line opened its charge on the entrenched Confederates of Ewell’s corps. The sneak attack worked well, too--the Federals took some 4000 prisoners including two generals, and large numbers of artillery pieces, other arms and stands of colors. Wright attacked the Confederate left and the fighting went on until after midnight. Warren was supposed to attack the far left, but was late. This would not look good on his resume.

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