This Day in the Civil War

Sunday Dec. 29 1861

While a civil war was going on between North and South, another one was in progress in the (theoretically) independent Indian Territory. The Creek tribe, which favored the Union, moved en masse to a distant part of the territory. They had been opposed by the Confederate-leaning Choctaw and Chickasaw. The Seminole and Cherokee nations were themselves divided, with large factions favoring each side. One Cherokee, in fact, Stand Watie, not only enlisted in the Confederate army but rose to the rank of brigadier general. While some native people had welcomed escaped slaves and allowed them to join and intermarry into their tribes, others practiced slave ownership themselves in areas where it was permitted.

Monday Dec. 29 1862

Gen. William T. Sherman’s forces attacked in what is known as the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou. Hampered by bad terrain, Sherman’s larger force was fairly easily fended off by a smaller number of Confederates. The futile attack cost Sherman 208 killed, 1005 wounded and 563 missing, versus Confederate losses of “only” 63 dead, 134 hurt and 10 missing. The project to prove that Vicksburg could not be attacked by land from the north was continuing.

Tuesday Dec. 29, 1863

Skirmishing picked up today, for no detectable reason. Aside from battles in Arkansas and Texas, most of them were at various points in Tennessee: Mossy Creek, Talbott’s Station, Cleveland and La Vergne being the primary points of disputation. Most actions involved small skirmish parties attempting to break Federal supply lines, with the added benefit of taking the supplies for the skirmishers.

Thursday Dec. 29 1864

Little military action took place today, a reflection of end-of-year ennui, bad weather in most locations, and general weariness. Everyone but the occupant of the Confederate White House could see that the war could not continue much longer, short of divine intervention which gave no evidence of being imminent. The closest thing available was a letter from Francis Preston Blair Sr. to Jefferson Davis, suggesting a private and unofficial visit to "explain the views I entertain in reference to the state of the affairs of our Country." The Blair dynasty had been powerful, if quiet, influences in American politics since the administration of Andrew Jackson.

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