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This week in the Civil War for October 19 1864

Confederate forces, though far outnumbered and ill-equipped, attacked sleeping and encamped Union soldiers on Oct. 19, 1864, at Cedar Creek in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The Confederate charge swept over Union fighters during the fog-shrouded hours before dawn — not far Belle Grove — shaped up early on as a disaster for the North. But the battle this week 150 years ago in the Civil War was not yet over.

Sounds of fighting drew the attention of fast-approaching Union Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, who rode into the fray with reinforcements after a trip to Washington, D.C., to confer with authorities. Amid Sheridan's rallying cries, the Union counterattacked and drove off the Confederates in what would be one of the bloodiest battles in the Shenandoah Valley. At a cost of thousands of dead and wounded soldiers on both sides, the Union muscled its way to victory and smashed the last major Confederate resistance there. The outcome, following the Union capture of Atlanta weeks earlier, provided another morale boost to the North weeks before its voters would sweep Abraham Lincoln back into office for a second term.

From The Associated Press and ABC News

This week in the Civil War for October 12 1864

The fifth chief justice of the United States, Roger Brooke Taney, died this week 150 years ago during the final months of the Civil War. Taney had issued the majority opinion in the Dred Scott decision of 1857 that found a slave under Missouri law had no constitutional right to bring suit in federal court. The highly controversial ruling had helped to stoke tensions between North and South leading up to the war.

The Associated Press, reported Oct. 15, 1864, on mourning over Taney's death three days earlier. AP said from Washington that President Abraham Lincoln had turned out to bid farewell to the chief justice. "The remains of Chief Justice Taney were accompanied to the railroad train to-day, by President Lincoln and several members of the Cabinet. The body will be conveyed to Frederick, Maryland, for interment," the AP dispatch added. AP also reported the same day that the fighting in Virginia along front lines was in somewhat of a lull. "Accounts from the Army of the Potomac continue to represent all quiet along the lines, with the exception of occasional picket firing," according to The AP.

From The Associated Press and ABC News

This week in the Civil War for October 5, 1864

Confederates after the fall of Atlanta waged harassing attacks on Union forces northwest of that major Southern city 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. A Confederate force moving northward around Atlanta clashed with Union troops for several hours on Oct. 5, 1864, near Allatoona Pass. Union forces held their ground behind an earthen defense work until Union reinforcements could arrive and the Confederate attackers retreated.

Elsewhere, The Associated Press reported intermittently heavy skirmishing in Virginia along the north side of the James River only miles from the Confederate capital of Richmond. AP said the Confederates had extremely stout defense works, "a very formidable line of works was found, behind which the enemy were posted in heavy force." Shelling took its toll, sometimes erupting with little warning. Said AP of one burst of fighting, "A shell from one of the enemy's battery's grazed General Meade's boot leg to-day; took a piece from the tail of General Humphrey's horse and entered the ground."

From The Associated Press and ABC News

This week in the Civil War for September 21, 1864


Confederate forces recently defeated at the Third Battle of Winchester, Virginia, erected defensive works at Fisher's Hill in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. And yet another battle was fought Sept. 21-22, 1864, with the Union taking the offensive against Southern cavalry before breaking through the surprised Southern infantry lines. Thus Confederate Jubal A. Early was forced to retreat with his troops further southward down the Shenandoah Valley. Meanwhile, the news of a Union victory at Winchester was embraced by Northerners.

The Associated Press reported on Sept. 20, 1864, that there was a raucous celebration among Union troops of the Army of the Potomac when they got word of developments in Winchester. Said AP: "The news of the victory in the Valley was read to the troops along the lines this afternoon, and was received with unbounded enthusiasm and repeated cheering. A salute of one hundred shotted guns will be fired tomorrow at daylight, in honor of the victory."

AP added that Confederate desertion appeared to be on the rise. It added that some Confederate deserters told had they had recently obtained fresh beef from captured herds. The report also said some rebel pickets close to Union forces were offering to trade their fresh beef for Union coffee and other supplies.

From Yahoo News and the Associated Press

This week in the Civil War for September 14, 1864


Confederate units often had ranged freely up and down the Shenandoah Valley in mountainous areas of Virginia but fought a bruising fight against Union forces at Winchester in that state 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. Both the Union forces under Philip Sheridan and Confederates led by Jubal A. Early saw high casualties in the Third Battle of Winchester, which was waged on Sept. 19, 1864.

The fighting that led to thousands of casualties on both sides was fierce. It resulted in a Union victory and marked the beginning of the decline of the Confederate threat along the strategic corridor running from south to north. Elsewhere in Virginia, The Associated Press reported in a dispatch dated Sept. 14, 1864 that Robert E. Lee's Confederate army was reportedly being reinforced.

"It is stated by deserters that Lee's army has been strengthened by reinforcements from various points and by large numbers of conscripts." AP also reported that shelling continued around Petersburg, Va., this week 150 years ago in the civil war: "The Confederates have kept up a brisk artillery firing ... The result of is that five or six Federal soldiers are brought into the hospital every day."

From Yahoo News and the Associated Press

This week in the Civil War for September 7, 1864


The Union's capture of Atlanta, one of the most important of Southern cities, immediately buoyed President Abraham Lincoln's re-election prospects — 150 years ago in the Civil War. Lincoln would ultimately be returned to office by voters with an ample victory. A North wearied by long years of grinding warfare suddenly had major news to rejoice over — even as the Confederacy and many in the South despaired. From the fall of Atlanta until the end of the war would just be a matter of months of heavy fighting to follow.

Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, days after his forces had entered the city, ordered its civilians to evacuate. Meanwhile, newspapers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer in the North reported Sherman's forces were still "in pursuit" of the fleeing Confederates. The Associated Press reported from Virginia on Sept. 9, 1864, that some Confederate forces in their defense works there had begun cheering after hearing a false rumor spread that Atlanta had been retaken." The AP report said those overly optimistic and mistaken Southern soldiers "were very jubilant for a time, indulging in loud cheering."

From the Associated Press and Yahoo News

This week in the Civil War for August 31 1864

06B8A2520A97FA4A89CA7AB589E0E27EF9E114A1_largeThe Confederacy's prized Southern city of Atlanta fell to Union Maj. Gen William T. Sherman and his troops 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. Sherman slashed the supply lines of rival Confederate commanders, hitting at points south of the Georgia city. Confederate attempts to drive back the Union invaders stumbled and the Confederate forces were forced to retreat from Atlanta on Sept. 1, 1864. Sherman's army began occupying the city the following day.

"From Sherman's Army, GLORIOUS NEWS, Atlanta has Fallen" read one of the early headlines dated Sept. 3, 1864, informing the North, in the Cleveland (Ohio) Leader. "General Sherman is reported to have entered Atlanta at nine o'clock yesterday morning," the newspaper added. "The movement by which he entered the place must have been a very bold one." It reported Sherman's forces once heavily arrayed on the northwest side of Atlanta had relocated in large numbers to the southwest side of the city to battle the Confederates there and cut off vital supply lines needed by the rebel army. Another news dispatch dated Sept. 2, 1864, said "General Sherman's advanced Atlanta this morning at 11 o'clock. "The whole Federal force will enter today." The Evening Star of Washington, D.C., said the Confederate defenders had been driven off and the enemy was set to fleeing at night.

From the Associated Press and Yahoo News

This week in the Civil War for August 24 1864

Confederates bent on control of the railroad supply line near Petersburg, Virginia, fought back against Union forces destroying tracks in the area 150 years ago in the Civil War. A Confederate force on Aug. 25, 1864, outgunned Union forces holding Ream's Station in Virginia, taking prisoners.

The hard fighting near Petersburg, Virginia, over a period of weeks would lead to thousands being wounded, killed or missing in action. The Associated Press reported on Aug. 24, 1864, that Union probing attempts north of Richmond, Virginia, had been called off at the heavily defended entrances to the Confederate capital. Instead, AP said, "nearly all the troops engaged in that movement have been withdrawn to reinforce the Federal lines in front of Petersburg." AP added that the huge Union force was now arrayed south of Petersburg, Virginia, and was attempting "to cut off Gen. (Robert E.) Lee's communications."

 From the Associated Press and ABC News.

This week in the Civil War for August 17 1864

Sharpshooters in the Petersburg Campaign-600

While Union Maj. Gen. William Sherman's forces were trying to outmaneuver Confederates defending Atlanta 150 years ago in the Civil War, the fighting also continued near Petersburg, Virginia. Union soldiers sought to seize a key railroad route near Petersburg in mid-August of 1864 but Confederates in that city, not far from the secessionist capital of Richmond, Virginia, fought back. Ultimately, Union forces gained the momentum and began tearing up the tracks.

The Baltimore Sun of Maryland, meanwhile, cited The Associated Press on Aug. 17, 1864, as saying Union forces had pressed at one point within nine miles of the outskirts of Richmond. According to the report, two groups of Union soldiers had stealthily landed on the north side of the James River in Virginia not far from the Confederate capital, managing to overrun two defensive lines of Confederate earthworks before they could go no further. AP reported that the fighting involved artillery and musket fire that raged for hours before subsiding.

From Yahoo News and the Associated Press

This week in the Civil War for August 10, 1864

Union Admiral David Farragut sailed into Mobile Bay, Alabama, with his federal warships 150 years ago this August in the Civil War, defeating a Confederate force that included the ironclad CSS Tennessee. The seizure of the Southern port marked another victory in Abraham Lincoln's federal war effort. The Associated Press, in a dispatch dated Aug. 9, 1864, reports that the Confederates were not at all giving up their naval campaign, feverishly building new vessels for the fight. The AP dispatch said the rebels "are pushing another ram to completion and erecting forts at the mouth of the Roanoke" River in North Carolina. The report also said the rebels were intent on raising a sunken gunboat along the Southeast coast. Confederate forces at this point in the war are, meanwhile, bidding to stave off Union forces pressing toward Atlanta. The fall of Atlanta would be only weeks away. The fighting near Atlanta by forces of Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman attracts the attention of the North, with one newspaper reporting he ranks among the foremost military leaders of the war at this point 150 years ago in the conflict.

From Yahoo News and the Associated Press