This Day in the Civil War

Monday Nov. 18 1861

Anyone under the impression that the Confederate States of America enjoyed the wholehearted solidarity and support of its member states and population, should contemplate the events of today. Missouri had been under two governments for months, with the secessionist (but legally elected) governor Claiborne Jackson ruling in exile in Arkansas. Kentucky, which had had a popular vote rejecting secession but declaring neutrality in any combat, was the scene of a “convention” in Russellville, Ky. today. This meeting, held by Confederate soldiers, issued a declaration of secession and formation of a Confederate state government. On the other hand, a group of North Carolinians met in Hatteras today for a similar cause, but they repudiated secession and declared loyalty to the Union. Such chaos in border states was perhaps to be expected...but North Carolina?

Tuesday Nov. 18 1862

Another day of maneuver, concentration of forces, and minor skirmishing, rather than full-fledged battle. The two Grand Divisions of the Army of the Potomac continued to make progress towards Falmouth, across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg, Virginia. The only action here was a small scuffle at Franklin, Va. In the West, the Union and Confederate forces were not far apart, moving around Nashville and Tullahoma in Tennessee. This resulted in minor rucktions at Double Bridge and Rural Hill, Tenn.

Wednesday Nov. 18 1863

As a part of the continuing operations along the Louisiana coast, Union gunboats were frequently under fire from Confederate artillery batteries ashore. One such back-and-forth battle took place at Hog Point, along the Mississippi-Louisiana border, today. Combatants were Captain Thomas A. Faries, Confederate States Army, on land, and the officers and men of the USS Choctaw out to sea. Sailing passed the redoubt the Choctaw fired her bow (front), stern (rear) and side guns, enfilading the shore battery. The extent of damage inflicted was not known, as landing parties were not sent ashore. While all this was going on the Choctaw's sister ships, USS Franklin and Carondelet, simply stood by and observed.

Friday Nov. 18 1864

The normal procedure for the movement of armies in the Civil War period was to march in lines, usually four men wide. The army would be strung back for miles, with supply wagons trailing towards the end. The army William T. Sherman led out of Atlanta these days completely reversed this procedure. The two wings were strung out at times to a distance of sixty miles from the far left of the Left Wing to the far right of the Right Wing. As to the supply wagons--there weren’t any, except for those carrying ammunition and a modicum of medical supplies. The supplies were being furnished, at gunpoint if necessary, by the residents of the area being swept. The only opponent available was Gen. Howell Cobb in Macon, Ga. He received a telegram from Jefferson Davis today imploring him to use any means necessary to resist Sherman, including employing slaves to build roadblocks.

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