Civil War New Orleans

Largest City in the Confederate States of America Image: Farragut’s Fleet Passing the Forts Below New Orleans By Mauritz Frederick Hendrick de Haas The USS Hartford leads the Union fleet up the Mississippi during the Battle of New Orleans. New Orleans and its vital port became a major source of armament, supplies, and income to the Confederate Army. Its location near the mouth of the Mississippi River made the city an important and early target of the Union Army, which occupied the city for much of the war. New Orleans provided several leading officers and generals, including P.G.T. Beauregard and Harry T. Hays. Civil War Comes to New Orleans Late in 1861, Union authorities decided to send a flotilla of…

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Spotsylvania Court House in the Civil War

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House On May 7, 1864, after two days of brutal fighting failed to produce a victory at The Wilderness, previous Union commanders would have chosen to withdraw behind the Rappahannock River. But General Ulysses S. Grant ordered General George Meade to move around Lee’s right flank and seize the important crossroads at Spotsylvania Court House to the southeast. Image: Bonnie Blue Flag by Don Troiani Mule Shoe, Spotsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864 With Federals pouring over the entrenchments, Confederate formations are in disarray. To encourage his comrades, Private Tisdale Stepp of the 14th North Carolina begins singing the stirring Southern anthem Bonnie Blue Flag and others soon join him. Elements of General Robert E. Lee‘s…

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Civil War Washington DC

Our Nation’s Capital During the Civil War Image: Balloon View of Washington DC Note the unfinished dome on the Capitol Building Washington Defenses When the first inklings emerged early in 1861 that there might actually be a war between the North and South, the residents of Washington DC whose sympathies were with the Union began to feel a little threatened. By the end of April 1861, 11,000 Union troops had arrived in Washington and were put to work in late May building a series of forts and trenches. The appalling Union defeat at First Bull Run July 21, 1861, cemented the idea that a chain of fortifications around Washington was badly needed. The man chosen to oversee the building of…

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Civil War Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg: City of Hospitals Image: Fredericksburg during the Civil War Prior to the Civil War, Fredericksburg, Virginia was a town of approximately 5000 residents. After the War began, it became important primarily because it was located midway between the Union and Confederate capitals: Washington and Richmond. In early December 1862, during the initial stages of the Battle of Fredericksburg, the town’s civilians were in a quandary. Should they stay or should they go? Many were reluctant to leave their town at the mercy of Union soldiers, horses and war materiel. But as Union troops crossed the river into the town and serious firing began, many townspeople became refugees, fleeing into the countryside of Spotsylvania County. They took shelter in churches…

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Civil War Nashville

First State Capital to Fall to the Union Army Image: View of Nashville from the steps of the Capitol Building, with Union artillery in place Nashville, Tennessee was an extremely important city during the Civil War. It was in the top 50 of the most populous cities with 17,000 residents. After Fort Donelson fell to Union troops February 16, 1862, Confederate authorities surrendered Nashville to Union forces without firing a shot. Union Occupation In February 1862, Confederate leadership surrendered two strategic Tennessee forts. A Union Army and Navy team under General Ulysses S. Grant took Fort Henry on the Tennessee River (February 6), and then captured Fort Donelson (February 16), only twelve miles from Nashville. After the fall of the…

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