Events of the American Civil War - Vicksburg to Mobile Bay Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Events of the American Civil War - Vicksburg to Mobile Bay

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See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key! The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket... We can take all the northern ports of the Confederacy, and they can defy us from Vicksburg.
-Abraham Lincoln

As a part of the Anaconda Plan, Vicksburg, located on the eastern bank of the lower Mississippi had to be taken. Taking Vicksburg would mean the capture of the Mississippi, which would divide the south in half and cut off supply lines. It would have been essential to winning the war. No Union ship could navigate the length of the Mississippi because guns from Vicksburg would fire upon it as it passed.

Lincoln dispatched one of his more successful generals, Ulysses S Grant, to take Vicksburg. Several attempts had been made to take Vicksburg before it finally fell. He devised a new strategy to take the city.

His army marched south of the city on the western bank of the river. Grant marched south along the east side of the river. Meanwhile, Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter was north up the Mississippi River past the Vicksburg batteries on 16 April, 1863. Grant tried to cross the river at Grand Gulf on 29 April, but heavy fire there forced him to move on. He then went east over the river near Bruinsburg on 30 April.

By late afternoon Grant had landed on the other side of the Mississippi without opposition. They marched through the night so that the Confederates couldn't take down bridges or mount an opposition. Around midnight, shots were fired between Confederates around the AK Shaifer House, until both sides stopped firing in preparation for the battle that would come that morning. Around 5.30am, the battle began, but the Confederates were heavily outnumbered. 12 hours later, at five thirty in the afternoon, the Confederates began to retreat and the battle ended. This was the battle of Port Gibson, and there were 875 casualties in Grant's army. This allowed the Union to continue their advance and forced the Confederates to abandon the Grand Gulf, which Grant would use as a supply base.

Grant wanted to attack Vicksburg from the south, but first attack the railroad line in between Vicksburg and Jackson, Mississippi to stop communication and supplies. It would essentially isolate Vicksburg. On the way, the Union men encountered a small force of Confederates, resulting in what was called the battle of Raymond.

After Raymond, Grant moved to capture Jackson, Mississippi. He decided that rather than breaking the railroad line between Vicksburg and Jackson, he could destroy Jackson as a communication and supply centre, and prevent Vicksburg from receiving any reinforcements positioned in the city. Around the time Grant moved towards Jackson, Confederate General Joseph Johnston arrived in the city to organise the forces in the state.

Johnston realised he was too late to do any good, and ordered Jackson to be evacuated, while troops delayed Grant's advance. Grant's army encountered some resistance from enemy artillery, but took the city relatively easily. There were very few casualties in the battle. He destroyed telegraph lines, railroad lines, machine shops and factories. Grant was able to move to Vicksburg now.

Grant began to march west, and on 16 May he heard that Confederates were moving east to meet his advance. At about seven in the morning, the Confederates fired on the Union near a plantation and the battle of Champion Hill began. The Confederates were commanded by Lieutenant General John Pemberton, who had them in a long formation, with an unprotected left flank. Sure enough, Grant focused on the left flank around Champion Hill, and Pemberton raced to send men there. Around nine, the two sides met, and the Union artillery bombarded its enemy. After about an hour, Grant ordered an attack of two divisions. Shortly, Grant had gained a distinct advantage and used his superior numbers to force the Confederates to retreat.

Grant's 32,000 man army suffered 410 killed, 1,844 wounded and 187 missing. Pemberton lost 381 to death, 1,018 were wounded and 2,441 men were missing. However, failing to stop Grant here assured Confederate defeat at Vicksburg.

The next day, Grant encountered a brigade of Confederates guarding a few bridges over the Big Black River, who had been told to hold the bridges for a retreat from an army that wasn't retreating that way. The Federals quickly ran out the Confederates and captured quite a few men and artillery. The Confederates managed to keep Grant from running after them by burning the bridge behind them.

On 19 May, Grant made his first attack on Vicksburg by sending Sherman's men forward. His artillery pounded the Confederates, but they sent him back. Realising that he had made a mistake in ordering men forward too quickly without enough intelligence, Grant waited until 22 May to attack Vicksburg again. Artillery attacked Vicksburg again, for four hours, and then Grant ordered part of his men forward, but were again sent back, with Union casualties of around 3,000 men.

Following the two unsuccessful attempts to storm Vicksburg, Grant decided to lay siege on it. A long line of Union men dug fortifications to isolate the city from the outside world. They crept up closer and closer to the city. The plan was to dig a long tunnel below the Confederate fortifications and use explosives to blow a hole in the defences. That was the plan.

On 25 June, the explosives were detonated, and Grant's men rushed to take advantage of this hole. For 26 hours, both sides fought to control the gap, but the Union men were pushed back by the fierce defenders. On 1 July, another hole was made with the same method, but there wasn't a big rush to control it on the Union side.

Meanwhile, the city of Vicksburg was becoming weary of the siege, and its defenders were spread thin. No Confederate soldiers had come to the relief of Vicksburg yet, and they feared that they never would.

On 3 July, white flags were raised over the city and General Pemberton rode to Grant to surrender. They discussed terms under an oak tree, and before the day was out Grant sent mild surrender terms to Pemberton. He decided these were the best terms he could get, and officially surrendered Vicksburg. The follwing day, at 10am on the 4 July, the anniversary of the signing of the US Declaration of Independence, the northerners marched into the city and took possession of it.

This victory came one day after Robert E Lee withdrew his army from the battlefield of Gettysburg. These two days marked the beginning of the end of the Confederate hopes for independence.


In classic military terms, the American Civil War Battle of Gettysburg was a 'meeting engagement1' gone horribly wrong.

With Confederate troops spread in a 45 mile long arc from the Pennsylvania town of Chambersburg in the west and Carlisle in the east, the Southerners' invasion had gone extremely well for a few weeks. However, the Confederate commander General Robert E Lee did not know the location of the 90,000 man Union army that was pursuing him because his cavalry (the intelligence gathering branch of mid-1800s armies) was far out of position to the east. In fact, the entire Federal army was between Lee's cavalry and his own 75,000 man army.

When a spy convinced Lee that the Union army was closer to some parts of the spread out Rebel army than they were to each other, Lee immediately ordered his forces to consolidate near the small village of Cashtown, just west of Gettysburg. As the county seat of Adams County, Gettysburg was a market town with roads from the surrounding countryside radiating into it from all points on the compass most of the Confederate forces headed toward Gettysburg and then planned to move on to Cashtown to link up with the rest of Lee's army.

As the Southerners were attempting to consolidate their forces, the Union army was seeking out the location of the Confederate army. Thus a classic meeting engagement occurred at Gettysburg when Confederate troops under General Henry Heath ran into Union cavalry under the command of General John Buford. They took cover and began firing at each other.

Then things went horribly wrong. Both sides rushed to reinforce their men and more and more soldiers began to be drawn into the fight. Before too long, both commanding generals found that their entire armies had been drawn into a full-fledged battle, beginning on 1 July, 1863.

On the first day's fighting, the Confederates drove the Federal troops through the town of Gettysburg and into the hills to the south and east of town. Had the Southern troops been able to capitalise on their early momentum, they might have swept the Union troops from the field; however this was not the case.

On the second day's fighting, the Union troops maintained a defensive position along the high ground south and east of town and waited for the Southerners to attack. Confederate General Robert E Lee ordered his troops to attempt to turn the right flank of the Union lines but the effort failed. So he ordered an attack on the left flank, which was anchored by the highest ground on the battlefield - the hill known as Little Round Top. This effort was also unsuccessful.

On the third day, Lee ordered a frontal assault on the centre of the Union lines, believing that after hitting both flanks, Federal General George Meade would strengthen both positions and leave the centre relatively weak. After an artillery barrage that was supposed to soften up the Union lines but overshot the mark, the Rebels engaged in an historic charge into the face of the enemy's cannons and infantry.

Pickett's Charge, as it came to be known, was a complete disaster and the Confederates pulled back and shortened their lines to face the inevitable Union counterattack. But Meade had had enough and held his ground, allowing the Southerners to slip away and eventually escape back to Virginia on 4 July.

Historians agree that these three days in Pennsylvania turned the tide of the war. In fact, the small copse of trees that the Confederates reached at the climax of Pickett's Charge is known as the 'high water mark of the Confederacy'.

In November, President Abraham Lincoln came to Gettysburg and gave his famous speech. One hundred years later, President John F Kennedy declined an invitation to speak at the cemetery where Lincoln uttered his famous 258 words - as a direct consequence, Kennedy joined Lincoln as a victim of an assassin's bullet.

The New York Draft Riot

On 3 March, 1863 Lincoln issued the Enrolment Act of Conscription. It included the possibility for wealthy citizens to buy their way out of service, and blacks were exempt from the draft. By this time, New York City, which already had a sizeable anti-war Democrat population, was tired of the long war. New York State's governor Horatio Seymour was strongly against the war.

On 11 July, the first people to be drafted in New York were announced. The strong Irish community, which was poor, hated the idea that rich citizens didn't have to serve. Some people, who were prejudiced against blacks, didn't see why they should fight for slaves. This made for a very volatile situation.

After the draft was announced, a huge mob of some 50,000 people stormed through the East Side of New York City, looting, lynching and burning down buildings - black orphanages and churches. Whole families of blacks were chased and lynched, and a Mohawk Indian was even killed by mistake. However, the Union army was sent in to extinguish the disturbance, opened firing on rioters. All in all, $1.5 million of damage was inflicted and nearly 1,000 people were wounded or killed.

Chickamauga and Chattanooga

Following a Union offensive in Tennessee in which the Union ran out Confederate commander Braxton Bragg, Major General William Rosecrans began to attempt to remove the Confederates from Chattanooga, Tennessee. He sent three corps to take Chattanooga, on separate routes. Instead of hitting the well fortified east, he moved to attack the west.

Bragg was unable to muster the forces necessary to launch a counteroffensive, but decided to stay and defend Chattanooga. However, Rosecrans chased the Confederates out of the important city. The Confederates retreated south, with their line spreading along Chickamauga Creek. Bragg wanted to break the Union line and make his way into Chattanooga again. On 17 September, he moved towards the Union men, and fighting began on 18 September. Fighting through the next day, Bragg was unable to break the Union line.

On 20 September, General James Longstreet, one of Lee's trusted subordinates, and his corps were brought to assist Bragg. That day, Longstreet's men helped the assault on Rosecrans. However, in shifting his troops around, Rosecrans left a gap in his line and the Confederates took advantage of it. Rosecrans was driven from the field and General George Thomas took over, and stubbornly held the line until dark. After dark, he withdrew to Chattanooga and left his enemies to the surrounding hills.

This engagement resulted in 34,624 casualties, with about 16,000 US casualties and 18,500 CSA casualties. President Lincoln changed a few titles as a result of this battle. Ulysses S Grant was given control of all western armies and General Thomas was assigned to hold Chattanooga.

Following Chickamauga, with the Confederates in a position to control access to Chattanooga, it looked like the Union forces in Chickamauga might starve. In order to control Chattanooga and keep the army there, General Grant's men were sent to end the Confederate siege.

On 24 November, 1863, Lookout Mountain was lost by the Confederates. Lookout Mountain is a high hill in the Tennessee Valley, naturally protected on all but one side, because an army wouldn't be able to march up the other three steep sides. Sometimes, fog comes down into the valley, but below the tall mountain. As it happened, Lookout Mountain was above a layer of fog on 24 November, 1863. For this reason, the battle of Lookout Mountain was named 'The Battle Above the Clouds'.

Union General Joe Hooker was moving 12,000 men when he spotted a number of enemy soldiers, about one tenth his army in number. Though vastly outnumbered, they withdrew under orders of Bragg. Not much fighting really took place, but the poetic name of the battle and meteorological coincidence of 24 November have made it a memorable part of the war.

A few other engagements, most notably Missionary Ridge, left the Union firmly in control of Chattanooga. The city would be used on a supply line and as a staging area for future operations in the lower south, specifically Sherman's March.

Grant's 1864 Campaign

The Wilderness

On 2 May, The Army of the Potomac, which had begun yet another invasion of the south, crossed the Rapidan River. The strategy of this attack was similar to the strategy that resulted in the disastrous (for the Union) battles of Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg. This army was led by Ulysses Grant and George Meade, in four corps, led by Generals Warren, Sedgewick, Hancock and Burnside. Lee, however, had problems with finding experienced and able subordinates, especially with the death of Thomas Jackson earlier. He placed Generals Hill, Longstreet and Ewell in charge of his corps

As the Union men crossed the Rapidan, Lee spotted them and ordered an advance to meet them in the Wilderness. In the thick woods, he believed the Union men would be unable to move quickly or use their superior artillery. On 5 May, the battle began. Ewell was on the left flank and fought Warren's Union Corps. Hill fought Hancock's Corps and was hit very hard. Longstreet was marching in from a position about 25 miles away.

On 6 May, the Union's strength in numbers was beginning to crush the Confederates. However, before noon Longstreet's fresh men arrived and attacked the tired Union men under Hancock. He pushed his enemy back considerably, but the attack couldn't last, as he didn't have enough men. Longstreet, who was wounded in fighting, pulled back and the battling on this side eased. The other side's fortunes were turned with a major assault led by John Gordon, though it was too late in the day to continue the assault.

The battle ended after this attack, because neither side was willing to resume an attack. It was considered a draw, in the sense that Lee inflicted much higher casualties on his enemies, but Grant did not retreat and held his position. This made this campaign unique as opposed to Burnside retreating after Fredericksburg and Hooker withdrawing after Chancellorsville. Grant, however, boldly turned towards Fredericksburg.

Confederate casualties were relatively light, at about 7,500. Union casualties were about 10,000 more than its adversary.

Spotsylvania Courthouse

After The Wilderness, Grant moved towards Spotsylvania Courthouse, a landmark on his march to Richmond. The fifth Union corps led their march and, as luck would have it, the First Confederate Corps led their army's march towards Spotsylvania Courthouse as well. Lee knew that this was where Grant was headed. Grant progressed slowly, while the Confederates raced to Spotsylvania Courthouse without sleep. In addition, a cavalry unit under Fitzhugh Lee ambushed and attacked the Union men.

The Confederates reached Spotsylvania Courthouse first. As the Union approached it, all they saw was Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry, and charged to attack. What they didn't see was the Confederate army behind them. The rest of the day, each side set up lines along Brock Road, and set up entrenchments and earthworks. The Confederates had their fortifications laid out over five miles, with one flaw. There was a bulge of fortifications laid out as a circle with a flat end, known as the 'Mule Shoe'.

On 10 May, Colonel Emory Upton led 12 regiments through the woods, and when he was about 200 yards away from the enemy, sent his men to attack the Mule Shoe formation. A brigade of Georgians ran, and Upton nearly reached the centre of the formation before the Confederates ran him out. This attack had two major effects on the commanders. Lee realised that the Mule Shoe was very weak, and Grant considered the effects of a larger attack force on the Mule Shoe.

On 11 May, the Confederates, believing that Grant was withdrawing, removed their artillery from the Mule Shoe. However, they mistook the positioning of an attack as a retreat. On 12 May, about 20,000 Northerners swept the Mule Shoe and took most of it prisoner. However, Lee saw that the Union men were rapidly becoming disorganised, escorting captured Confederates and going through the trenches.

Lee launched a counter strike against the Union, led by John Gordon. Before noon, the Confederates had managed to regain most of their lost ground. However, the Sixth Union Corps retaliated and fought bitterly in close quarters against the Southerners. Waves of Union men fiercely attacked a specific area slightly west of the apex of the Mule Shoe. This was known as the Battle of the Bloody Angle. Several units of men that were being attacked were behind solid log structures. Attacks were unrelenting, with bayonets used for stabbing and guns ends used for clubs when their ammunition was depleted. Fighting did not end until about two hours past midnight, at which point the Union took the area.

For a few more days, Grant looked for a weak spot in the Confederacy's defences. He couldn't find one, but refused to retreat. On 20 May, Grant began sending his army to find a different route to Richmond. Though his favoured route was blocked, Grant's hammering on Lee was beginning to weaken the entire Confederate effort. There were about 10,000 reported casualties on the Confederate side, and Lee lost many of his officers. To keep the numbers of the Army of Northern Virginia up, soldiers from other places in the war were relocated. The Union suffered about 18,000 casualties, but that was much smaller proportionally than the Confederate army's losses.

Cold Harbor

After Spotsylvania Court House, Grant continued towards Richmond. After losing a smallish battle at North Anna River against the Army of Northern Virginia, Grant repositioned southeast and then fought with Lee along the Totopotomoy Creek. However, Philip Sheridan's Federal Cavalry took control of the important crossroads at Cold Harbor on 1 June.

After this, the two armies moved their armies to Cold Harbor. If the Union held Cold Harbor, about ten miles from Richmond, the Confederate capital would likely fall. The Confederates built a long, strong line of fortifications to protect the crossroads.

On 3 June, Grant ordered an assault on the Confederate forces. The Union men marched up to the impregnable fortifications. The Confederates couldn't believe that they had been ordered to attack them, as they knew they would be slaughtered. About 7,000 men were killed or wounded on the Union side, with only 1,500 Confederate casualties. One Confederate General said it was not war, it was murder.

Grant ordered another attack, but soldiers refused to go forward. A captain said 'I will not take my regiment in another such charge if Jesus Christ himself should order it!' Grant forever regretted the charge at Cold Harbor. Grant didn't order another attack, but had his troops entrenched for ten days. When he realised Lee wouldn't order an attack, he revised his strategy to attack Petersburg, another important railroad gateway into Richmond.

Richmond and Petersburg

Grant knew he couldn't win a battle against Lee when his enemy was entrenched, which was one of the reasons he chose to go to Petersburg following Cold Harbor. Quick action would prevent his enemy from digging earthworks and fortifications. Grant managed to move his army without Lee being able to see it or move against it. Finally, Lee had given Grant an opening. On 12 June, Grant had begun withdrawing his army towards Petersburg. In fact, when Lee saw Grant had left, he thought he had gone to the Chickahominy swamps.

Within a few days, Union engineers had built a bridge across the James River and Grant's army had crossed it. The first assault on the city was costly for Grant, and reinforcements under Benjamin Butler did not arrive quickly enough to make a hole in Petersburg's defences. Had the first attack succeeded, as it could have, the only defenders of Petersburg were inexperienced militia men and young people. Lee wasn't going towards Petersburg to reinforce the city, because he thought Grant was going to launch a direct assault on Richmond.

Grant attacked Petersburg again on 15 June, with a corps led by 'Baldy' Smith. Smith was delayed from attacking for a few hours due to a skillful southern regiment and other factors. He managed to tear a huge hole in the Confederate defence, but decided that it would be more wise for General Hancock's men to go into the hole, as those men were rested and ready for battle. However, it took him three hours to mobilise Hancock's men and by that time it was to late to continue the attack. The Union men had let a great opportunity go by.

Attacks came again the next day, but on 17 June, Grant had his last chance to take Petersburg before Lee would arrive and greatly supplement its garrison. After this day's actions failed, Grant decided that the city was too strong to be won through a battle. He did not want a repeat of Spotsylvania, and was very cautious about attacking entrenched Confederates. He decided to lay siege on Petersburg. Union entrenchments were strong and close to the city.

A few skirmishes, raids and smaller attacks took place away from Petersburg. Grant was very busy, however. During the siege he ordered several important attacks in different parts of the country, as General-in-Chief of Union forces. He ordered Sherman's March, the attack on Nashville and Sheridan's attack at Shenandoah Valley.

He was also busy with an elaborate plan to destroy part of the Confederate line. A group of miners in the 48th Pennsylvania regiment gave him a plan to tunnel under the Confederate line and detonate a mine. Grant approved, and they begun digging at the end of June. After a month, the regiment was ready. Grant sent a unit of cavalry towards Richmond to divert forces from Petersburg. He had a very strong attack force ready. On 30 June, tons of black powder were detonated, and a huge crater was left. Union forces came out of the crater, but the Confederates gained their composure and stood around the crater, killing hundreds of men as they came out. It did not go as planned, and was considered a disaster - largely because the doubt and lack of cooperation from Union officers. There were about 5,300 casualties as a result of this battle, and most of them were on the Union end.

Grant patiently waited. His men had plenty of food, but on the other side of the lines, the Confederates went hungry. Lee had to wait patiently, as he was in no position to launch an attack. Grant keeping Lee inside Petersburg allowed for easy Union action elsewhere, especially Sherman's March. Lee saw that the situation was getting worse, and with fewer men (due to skirmishes, disease, battles and desertions) he was rapidly becoming prisoner to Grant instead of a defender against him.

After a slow winter, Grant remained as resolute as ever. His 1864 campaign ran into the next year. Lee realised that the destruction of the Confederacy would be imminent unless he did something extraordinary. He planned a bold attack to break Grant's hold on Petersburg, attacking the Union's centre-right, but the Federal troops responded and fought back Lee, who lost about 5,000 soldiers and some of their fortifications.

Grant also sent Philip Sheridan to attack the Confederates. At the Battle of Five Forks, half of the engaged Confederates surrendered. On 2 April, Grant stuck again at the Confederate defences, and Lee was forced to leave Petersburg that month, and decided to march to meet General Johnston's army in North Carolina in order to stop General Sherman. He left Richmond, with a smaller army that included a few black men2.

After about nine months, the Siege of Petersburg was over, and Richmond was left open to the Union for the first time. It is said that Jefferson Davis was in church when someone whispered to him that Petersburg fell, and he ran out of the service to prepare the Confederate government's retreat. Everyone knew that as Petersburg fell, Richmond fell.

Indeed it did. Most of the Confederate government left the city, as well as many of the city's residents and its defenders. They left behind them great fires. Abraham Lincoln himself came to watch as the Union army marched into the city on 3 April. Finally, one of the most basic goals of the Union was accomplished - capture of Richmond. It was in ruins, as was the Confederate morale and government. Lincoln went to the home of Jefferson Davis and sat at his desk. The war was almost over.

Finishing Them Off

While Grant had pinned Lee in Petersburg, several operations were made in the south. These destroyed the economic power and infrastructure of the south, killing morale and the ability to raise an army, which were the basic things that the south would need to defeat Grant at Petersburg.

Sherman's March to the Sea

William Tecumseh Sherman was one of the best known generals of the war, and has always been something of an mystery. He was not clean shaven3, had a loose imagination, caused several major blunders, and yet advanced to a lofty position in the Union Army. What can be said of him is that, when called upon, he got the job done.

Because of a good relationship with Grant and able service in his campaigns, Sherman was given command of all Union armies in the west, a title Grant himself held at one point. After forcing Joseph Johnston's army to Atlanta, he ordered everything of military value in that city to be burnt. He sent part of his army to chase after Johnston's army (now under command of John Hood) while he began his famous march to the sea. He extended his army to be 60 miles wide and 62,000 men strong. He had them destroy everything of military value as they passed it. Sherman left Atlanta on 12 November, 1864. He had chosen to go to Savannah, Georgia, though he could have gone to Charleston, South Carolina. Legend says that he chose Savannah because he had a girlfriend in Charleston.

The Confederates were unable to muster a meaningful resistance to Sherman. A small number of untrained and inexperienced militiamen couldn't stop his well trained army. On 10 December, he captured Savannah (which sat on the Atlantic) as the city's defenders fled. He famously presented the city as a Christmas gift to President Lincoln and the Union. On 17 February, Sherman's men - who reserved a special hatred for South Carolina, because it was the first state to secede - burnt down two-thirds of Columbia, South Carolina. He continued into North Carolina later.

The Confederates were desperate to stop Sherman's march. Under Johnston, they hit Sherman on 19 March with all their available troops. The Union men were able to hold their line that day and the next, and on 21 March launched a counterattack that forced Johnston to retreat.

Sherman's march broke the southern morale and the pride that they would be able to protect their homes. He was demonised by the Confederates. The north, however, saw him as a hero. More than anything else, his march hurt psychologically, though destroying crops and important buildings in cities seriously hurt the south's economy too. Desertions also increased in the Confederate army, significantly weakening its military strength.

Mobile Bay

A large, roughly triangular bay juts into the state of Alabama and out into the Gulf of Mexico. This is Mobile Bay. It is pretty well protected by land, and was a key Confederate naval base during the Civil War, used for blockade running by southerners. Closing the bay would help secure a full blockade of the south and close the original Anaconda Plan overall strategy.

By late 1864, the Union deemed it necessary to take Mobile Bay, and dispatched Admiral David Farragut and Major General Gordon Granger to take it. The first action was by Farragut. His fleet consisted of 14 wooden ships and four ironclads that were in the design of the Monitor, from the famous battle of the Monitor and Merrimack.

As he moved into Mobile Bay, he ordered his men to steer 'eastward of the easternmost buoy', as there were torpedoes (not torpedoes as we know them today, but more like underwater mines) and other things to stop ships in between the buoys. However, a torpedo hit the ironclad USS Tecumseh and it sank (even though conventional knowledge said that ironclads were unsinkable). Almost all of the Tecumseh crew died as it sank.

Farragut boldly continued on in his flagship, the Hartford, proclaiming 'Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead'. This phrase became one of the most famous in US Naval history, along with John Paul Jones saying 'I have not yet begun to fight!' during the American Revolutionary War.

Farragut easily won a naval battle with the Confederate navy of three wooden ships and one ironclad. Meanwhile, an attack force led by Major General Granger captured three forts, the last one falling on 23 August.

The End of the War

For information about the period following the war, including surrendering, President Johnson's Impeachment and the war over Reconstruction, see this entry.

Further Reading

1A meeting engagement is occurs when opposing sides in a conflict literally walk right into each other and begin shooting.2The Confederate government very narrowly passed a bill to allow blacks to be included in the army in order to win the war.3Perhaps at this point it should be noted that while Lincoln had little success in finding competent generals, the ones he did find useful - such as Grant and Sherman - always seemed to have scraggly or stubbly chins, while one of the least competent at all, Ambrose Burnside, appeared to take pride in his pronounced sideburns (Burnside... sideburn, geddit?).

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