The Civil War 145 Years Ago: October 1864

by James Durney on October 5, 2009 · 0 comments

145 Years Ago

October 1864

  • This is a difficult time for the North but victory is starting to look closer.  Hood is probing for a weak spot in Sherman’s armies.  Grant continues to dig and extend his lines forcing Lee into a static defensive campaign.  Sterling Price is advancing in Missouri, trying to reclaim his state for the Confederacy.  Jefferson Davis is returning to Richmond from his trip to Atlanta.  At several locations, he makes speeches predicting Sherman’s defeat and a Confederate victory
  • On the first, the battle of Cinch Mountain occurs.  This Union “victory” has a causality rate almost 50% higher than the “defeated” fore.
  • The Confederate spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow drowns off Port Fisher, NC.  Several Union general officers are grief stricken at the news.
  • With little choice, Jefferson Davis appoints PGT Beauregard commander of the Division of the West.  Beauregard is to coordinate the efforts of Generals Taylor and Hood.
  • The inspiration for the stirring hymn “Hold the Fort, For We Are Coming” is the defense of Allatoona Pass by Union General John M. Corse on the fifth.  This small action is part of Hood’s effort to cut Sherman’s line of communications.  Sherman sent General Thomas back to Tennessee, on the third, with orders to curtail Hood’s campaign.
  • On the seventh, the AoNV makes a major effort to recapture Fort Harrison.  After suffering heavy casualties, including General John Gregg, the attack is called off.  Lee recognizes that he has to entrench closer to Richmond.
  • Union General Phil Sheridan is advancing down the Shenandoah Valley destroying everything in his path.  CSA General Early can do little but watch Sheridan go.  His cavalry, under General Thomas L. Rosser can only harass Sheridan in a series of small skirmishes.
  • The CSS Florida attacked in a Brazilian harbor and forced to surrender.  This violation of Brazilian neutrality causes diplomatic problems.  The British ship Sea King sails and will be renamed the CSS Shenandoah.
  • October 9 is “The Woodstock Races” aka the Battle of Tom’s Brook.  Generals Custer and Merritt cause 350 causalities capturing 11 cannon and many wagons while pushing the CSA cavalry back 26 miles.
  • Elections in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana show strong support for President Lincoln.  In 1864, there is no national election day.  States will hold elections until November when they chose.
  • Chief Justice Roger B. Taney dies in Washington DC.
  • By only 374 votes, Maryland abolishes slavery.  As a loyal state, the Emancipation Proclamation that took effect January 1, 1863 did not affect them.
  • Hood’s army seizes Resaca, cutting Sherman’s line of communications to Tennessee.  Hood has been probing for weeks and is moving toward Alabama.
  • Sterling Price issues an appeal to Missourians to rally round the flag.  Very few people pay attention as Union forces consolidate.
  • Colonel Chester Harding commanding a garrison of 750 militia and Federal troops holds Glasgow Missouri for several hours.  His garrison inflicts over 100 causalities and destroys all weapons prior to surrendering.  Paroled at once, the destruction of the weapons renders the victory useless.
  • On the 17th, James Longstreet, recovered from his Wilderness wound, resumes command of the I Corps AoNV.  The same day, Sterling Price starts marching on Lexington Missouri, occupying the town on the 19th.  Hood stops operations against Sherman’s communications and marches west.
  • October 19th is Sheridan’s Ride!  Early attacks at Cedar Creek and almost routes Sheridan’s army.  Sheridan returning from a conference in Washington commences a 12-mile ride, rallies his men and breaks Early’s army.  Early suffers 2,800 causalities losing 43 cannon and 300 wagons in the route.  Among those killed is CSA General Stephen D. Ramseur.
  • On the 21st, General Sherman halts all pursuit of the Army of Tennessee.
  • Sterling Price begins trying to fight free of Union Generals Curtis, Pleasonton and Blunt.  While badly defeated on the 22nd, dissension with the Union command allows him to escape with his supply train.  The invasion of Missouri is over with the last major battle of the Trans-Mississippi.  These are the Little Blue River, Independence II and the Big Blue River.  On the 25th, CSA General John S. Marmaduke is captured along with a third of the supply train.
  • “Bloody Bill” Anderson is killed near Richmond Missouri on the 26th.
  • On the 27th & 28th, Grant attacks the South Side Railroad and the Boydton Plank Road in the last offensive of 1864, after bloody fighting the operations fail and the army goes into winter quarter under siege conditions.
  • As October ends, John B. Hood leads the Army of Tennessee back home expecting Sherman to follow.  General George Thomas has started concentrating Federal troops at Pulsaski.
  • William S. Rosecrans recalls all but 3,500 cavalry under Samuel R. Curtis allowing Sterling Price to escape from Missouri.
  • Nevada becomes the nation’s 36th state.  The two new senators provide the votes needed for the Senate to pass the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime.


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