Civil War Naval History December 1863 - History

Civil War Naval History December 1863 - History

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2 Rear Admiral Porter reported: "In the operations lately carried on up the Tennessee and Cumber-land rivers, the gunboats have been extremely active and have achieved with perfect success all that was desired or required of them. With the help of our barges, General Sherman's troops were all ferried over in an incredibly short time by the gunboats, and he was enabled to bring his formidable corps into action in the late battle of Chattanooga, which has resulted so gloriously for our arms. The Mississippi Squadron continued to patrol the rivers relentlessly, restricting Confederate movements and countering attempts to erect batteries along the banks.

Commodore H. H. Bell, pro tem commander of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, reported to Secretary Welles the estimated Confederate naval strength at Mobile Bay. C.S.S. Gaines and Mor-gan mounted ten guns; C.S.S. Selma mounted four, as did the nearly completed ironclad C.S.S. Nash-ville. All were sidewheelers. Ironclad rams C.S.S. Baltic, Huntsville, and Tennessee all mounted four guns each. The latter, Admiral Buchanan's flag ship, was said to be "strong and fast." C.S.S. Gunnison was fitted as a torpedo boat carrying 150 pounds of powder and another screw steamer was reported being fitted out, though a fire had destroyed her upper works. In addition to two floating batteries mounting 3 guns each and 10 transport steamers at Mobile Bay, the report noted: "At Selma there is a large vessel building, to be launched in January. There are three large rams building on the Tombigbee River, to be launched during the winter." Rear Admiral Farragut would face four of these ships in Mobile Bay the following year. Lack of machinery, iron, and skilled mechanics prevented the rest from being little more than the phantoms which rumor frequently includes in estimates of enemy strength.

Boat expedition from U.S.S. Restless, Acting Master William R. Browne, reconnoitered Lake Ocala, Florida. Finding salt works in the area, the Union forces destroyed them. "They were in the practice of turning out 130 bushels of salt daily." Rear Admiral Bailey reported. "Besides destroying these boilers, a large quantity of salt was thrown into the lake, 2 large flatboats, and 6 ox carts were demolished, and 17 prisoners were taken. " These destructive raids, destroy-ing machinery, supplies, armament, and equipment, had a telling and lasting effect on the South, already short of all.

3 Rear Admiral Dahlgren issued the following orders to emphasize vigorous enforcement of the blockade and vigilance against Confederate torpedo boats: "Picket duty is to be performed by four monitors, two for each night, one of which is to be well advanced up the harbor, in a position suitable for preventing the entrance or departure of any vessel attempting to pass in or out of Charleston Harbor, and for observing Sumter and Moultrie, or movements in and about them, taking care at the same time not to get aground, and also to change the position when the weather appears to render it unsafe. The second monitor is to keep within proper supporting distance of the first, so as to render aid if needed." The Admiral added: "The general object of the monitors, tugs, and boats on picket is to enforce the blockade rigorously, and to watch and check the movements of the enemy by water whenever it can be done, particularly to detect and destroy the torpedo boats and the picket boats of the rebels."

U.S.S. New London, Lieutenant Commander Weld N. Allen, captured blockade running schooner del Nile near Padre Pass Island, Texas, with cargo including coffee, sugar, and percussion caps.

5 Boat crew under Acting Ensign William B. Arrants from U.S.S. Perry was captured while reconnoitering Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina, to determine if a ship being outfitted there as a blockade runner could be destroyed. Noting that a boat crew from T.A. Ward had been captured in the same area 2 months before, Rear Admiral Dahlgren wrote: "These blunders are very annoying, and yet I do not like to discourage enterprise and dash on the part of our officers and men. Better to suffer from the excess than the deficiencies of these qualities."

6 U.S.S. Weehawken, Commander Duncan, sank while tied up to a buoy inside the bar at Charleston harbor. Weehawken had recently taken on an extra load of heavy ammunition which reduced the freeboard forward considerably. In the strong ebb tide, water washed down on an open hawse pipe and a hatch. The pumps were unable to handle the rush of water and Weehawken quickly foundered, drowning some two dozen officers and men.

U.S.S. Violet, Acting Ensign Thomas Stothard, and U.S.S. Aries, Acting Lieutenant Devens, sighted blockade running British steamer Ceres aground and burning at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, North Carolina. During the night, Ceres floated free and, the flames having been extinguished, was seized by Violet.

7 In his third annual report to the President, Secretary Welles wrote: "A blockade commencing at Alexandria, in Virginia, and terminating at the Rio Grande, has been effectively maintained. The extent of this blockade . covers a distance of three thousand five hundred and forty-nine statute miles, with one hundred and eighty-nine harbor or pier openings or indentations, and much of the coast presents a double shore to be guarded . a naval force of more than one hundred vessels has been employed in patrolling the rivers, cutting off rebel supplies, and co-operating with the armies. The distance thus traversed and patrolled by the gunboats on the Mississippi and its tributaries is 3,615 miles, and the sounds, bayous, rivers and inlets of the States upon the Atlantic and the Gulf, covering an extent of about 2,000 miles, have also been . watched with unceasing vigilance." Welles reported a naval strength of 34,000 sea-men and 588 ships displacing 467,967 tons, mounting 4,443 guns. More than 1,000 ships had been captured by alert blockaders, as the results of weakness at sea were driven home to the beleaguered South. The North's mighty force afloat had severed the Confederacy along the Mississippi and pierced ever deeper into her interior; amphibious assaults from the sea had driven her still further from her coasts; and the vise of the blockade clamped down more tightly on an already withering economy and military capability.

Steamer Chesapeake of the New York and Portland Line, en route to Portland, Maine, was seized off Cape Cod by a group of 17 Confederate sympathizers led by John C. Braine. The bizarre undertaking had been planned at St. John, New Brunswick, by Captain John Parker (whose real name seems to have been Vernon G. Locke), former commander of the Confederate privateer Retribution. Parker ordered Braine and his men to New York where they purchased side arms and boarded Chesapeake as passengers. At the appropriate moment they threw aside their disguises. and after a brief exchange of gunfire in which the second engineer was killed, took possession of the steamer. They intended to make for Wilmington after coaling in Nova Scotia. Captain Parker came on board in the Bay of Fundy and took charge.

News of the capture elicited a quick response in the Navy Department. Ships from Philadelphia northward were ordered out in pursuit. On 17 December U.S.S. Ella and Annie, Acting Lieutenant J. Frederick Nickels, recaptured Chesapeake in Sambro Harbor, Nova Scotia. She was taken to Halifax where the Vice Admiralty Court ultimately restored the steamer to her original American owners. Most of the Confederates escaped and John Braine would again cause the Union much concern before the war ended.

Assistant Secretary Fox transmitted a list of ships reported to be running the blockade and urged Rear Admiral Lee to prosecute the blockade even more vigorously. "While the captures are numerous, it is not the less evident that there are many that escape capture." Some ships would successfully run the blockade until the end of the war.

8 The disabled merchant steamer Henry Von Phul was shelled by a Confederate shore battery near Morganza, Louisiana. U.S.S. Neosho, Acting Ensign Edwin P. Brooks, and U.S.S. Signal, Acting Ensign William P. Lee, steamed up to defend the ship and silenced the battery. Union merchantmen were largely free from such attacks when convoyed by a warship.

9 U.S.S. Circassian, Acting Lieutenant Eaton, seized blockade running British steamer Minna at sea east of Cape Romain, South Carolina. The steamer was carrying cargo including iron, hardware, and powder. In addition, Eaton reported, "she has also as cargo a propellor and shaft and other parts of a marine engine, perhaps intended for some rebel ironclad."

10 Confederate troops burned schooner Josephine Truxillo and barge Stephany on Bayou Lacomb, Louisiana. Next day they burned schooner Sarah Bladen and barge Helana on Bayou Bonfouca.

11 Confederate troops fired on U.S.S. Indianola in the Mississippi in an attempt to destroy her, but the effective counterfire of U.S.S. Carondelet, Acting Maser James C. Gipson, drove them off. The Union Navy was exerting great effort to get Indianola off the bar on which she had sunk in February, and on 23 November Gipson had written Rear Admiral Porter: "I will do all that lies in my power to protect her from destruction."

Major General D. Maury, CSA, wrote of reports that had reached him of a Union naval attack on Mobile "at an early day." Maury prophetically stated that "I expect the fleet to succeed in running past the outer forts," but he added, I shall do all I can to prevent it, and to hold the forts as long as possible."

14 General Beauregard ordered Lieutenant Dixon, CSA, to proceed with submarine H. L. Hunley to the mouth of Charleston harbor and "sink and destroy any vessel of the enemy with which he can come in conflict." The General directed that "such assistance- as may he practicable" he rendered to Lieutenant Dixon.

15 Captain Semmes, after cruising for some time in Far Eastern waters, determined to change his area of operations. Leaving the island of Condore in C.S.S Alabama, he wrote: "The homeward trade of the enemy is now quite small, reduced, probably, to twenty or thirty ships per year, and these may easily evade us by taking the different passages to the Indian Ocean. there is no cruising or chasing to be done here, successfully, or with safety to oneself without plenty of coal, and we can only rely upon coaling once in three months. So I will try my luck around the Cape of Good Hope once more, thence to the coast of Brazil, and thence perhaps to Barbados for coal, and thence? If the war be not ended, my ship will need to go into dock to have much of her copper replaced, now nearly destroyed by such constant cruising, and to have her boilers overhauled and repaired, and this can only be properly done in Europe." The cruise of the most famous Confederate commerce raider went into its final 6 months.

Captain Barron advised Secretary Mallory from Paris of the great difficulty encountered in purchasing or seeking to repair Confederate ships in European ports. The "difficulties and expense and some delay," he said, were due to "the spies" of U.S. Ambassador Charles Francis Adams in London. Barron reported that they "are to be found following the footsteps of any Confederate agent in spite of all the precautions we can adopt. The shrewd U.S. diplomat moved time and again to frustrate Southern efforts in Europe.

Admiral Buchanan wrote Commander C. ap R. Jones regarding C.S.S. Tennessee: "The Tennessee will carry a battery of two 7-inch Brooke guns and four broadsides, 6.4 or 9 inch. There is a great scarcity of officers and I know not where I will get them. I have sent the names of 400 men who wish to be transferred from the Army to the Navy, and have received only about twenty. Jones replied, "Strange that the Army disregard the law requiring the transfer of men."

16 In acknowledging resolutions of congratulations and appreciation passed by the Chamber of Commerce of New York for "one of the most celebrated victories of any time" the capture of New Orleans Rear Admiral Farragut wrote: "That we did our duty to the best of our ability, I believe; that a kind Providence smiled upon us and enabled us to overcome obstacles before which the stoutest of our hearts would have otherwise quailed, I am certain."

Thomas Savage, U.S. Consul-General at Havana, reported to Commodore H. Bell regarding blockade runners in that port: "A schooner under rebel colors, called Roebuck, 41 tons, with cotton arrived from Mobile yesterday. She left that port, I believe, on the 8th. She is the only vessel that has reached this port from Mobile for a very long time. The famous steamer Alice, which ran the blockade at Mobile successfully so many times, is now on the dry dock here fitting out for another adventure."

U.S.S. Huron, Lieutenant Commander Stevens, captured blockade runner Chatham off Doboy Sound, Georgia, with cargo of cotton, tobacco, and rosin.

U.S.S. Ariel, Acting Master William H. Harrison, captured sloop Magnolia off the west coast of Florida. She was inbound from Havana with cargo of spirits and medicines.

17 Lieutenant Commander Fitch, U.S.S. Moose, reported that he had sent landing parties ashore at Seven Mile Island and Palmyra, Tennessee, where they had destroyed distilleries used by Con-federate guerrilla troops.

U.S.S. Roebuck, Acting Master Sherrill, seized blockade-running British schooner Ringdove off Indian River, Florida, with cargo including salt, coffee, tea, and whiskey.

19 Expedition under Acting Master W. R. Browne, comprising U.S.S. Restless, Bloomer, and Caroline, proceeded up St. Andrew's Bay, Florida, to continue the destruction of salt works. A landing party went ashore under Bloomer's guns and destroyed those works not already demolished by the Southerners when reports of the naval party were received. Browne was able to report that he had "cleared the three arms of this extensive bay of salt works. .Within the past ten days," he added, "290 salt works, 33 covered wagons, 12 flatboats, 2 sloops (3 ton each) 6 ox carts, 4,000 bushels of salt, 268 buildings at the different salt works, 529 iron kettles averaging 150 gallons each, 103 iron boilers for boiling brine [were destroyed], and it is believed that the enemy destroyed as many more to prevent us from doing so."

20 Steamer Antonica ran aground on Frying Pan Shoals, North Carolina, attempting to run the blockade. Boat crews from U.S.S. Governor Buckingham, Acting Lieutenant William G. Salton-stall, captured her crew but were unable to get the steamer off. Rear Admiral S. P. Lee noted: She will be a total loss. ." Antonica had formerly run the blockade a number of times under British registry and name of Herald, "carrying from 1,000 to 1,200 bales of cotton at a time."

U.S.S. Connecticut, Commander Almy, seized British blockade running schooner Sallie with cargo of salt off Frying Pan Shoals, North Carolina.

U.S.S. Fox, Acting Master George Ashbury, captured steamer Powerful at the mouth of Suwannee River, Florida. The steamer had been abandoned by her crew on the approach of the Union ship, and, unable to stop a serious leak, Ashbury ordered the blockade runner destroyed.

21 Rear Admiral Dahlgren wrote Secretary Welles that, after 10 days of "wretched" weather at Charleston, a quantity of obstructions had been washed down from the upper harbor by the "wind, rain, and a heavy sea." The Admiral added: "The quantity was very considerable, and besides those made of rope, which were well known to us, there were others of heavy timber, banded together and connected by railroad iron, with very stout links at each end. This is another instance of the secrecy with which the rebels create defenses; for although some of the deserters have occupied positions more or less confidential, not one of them has even hinted at obstructions of this kind, while, on the other hand, the correspondents of our own papers keep the rebels pretty well posted in our affairs.

Admiral Buchanan wrote Commander C. Jones at the Confederate Naval Gun Foundry and Ordnance Works, Selma, Alabama: "Have you received any orders from Brooke about the guns for the Tennessee? She is all ready for officers, men, and guns, and has been so reported to the Department many weeks since, but none have I received."

22 Captain Semmes of C.S.S. Alabama noted the effect of Confederate commerce raiding on Northern shipping in the Far East: "The enemy's East India and China trade is nearly broken up. Their ships find it impossible to get freights, there being in this port [Singapore] some nineteen sail, almost all of which are laid up for want of employment. the more widely our blows are struck, provided they are struck rapidly, the greater will be the consternation and consequent damage of the enemy.

23 Rear Admiral Farragut advised Secretary Welles from the New York Navy Yard that U.S.S. Hartford, which had served so long and well as his flagship in the Gulf, was again ready for sea save for an unfilled complement. The Admiral, anxious to return to action, suggested that the sailors might be obtained in Boston and other ports.

Rear Admiral Dahlgren ordered retaliatory steps taken against the Confederates operating in the Murrell's Inlet area where two Union boat crews had recently been captured (see 17 October and 5 December). "I desire . ." he wrote Captain Green, U.S.S. Canandaigua, "to administer some corrective to the small parties of rebels who infest that vicinity, and shall detail for that purpose the steamers Nipsic, Sanford, Geranium, and Daffodil, also the sailing bark Allen and the schooner Mangham, 100 marines for landing, and four howitzers, two for the boats, two on field carriages, with such boats as may be needed." The force left its anchorage at Morris Island on 29 December.

24 Commander C. Jones wrote Admiral Buchanan that guns for C.S.S. Tennessee would be sent from the Selma Gun Foundry "as soon as they are ready." Jones added: "We had an accident that might have been very serious. An explosion took place while attempting to cast the bottom section of a gun pit. The foundry took fire, but was promptly extinguished. Fortunately but two of the molds were burned. I had a narrow escape, my hat, coat, and pants were burned. Quite a loss in these times, with our depreciated currency and fixed salaries. As a large casting is never made without my being present, I consider my life in greater danger here than if I were in command of the Tennessee, though I should expect hot work in her occasionally. What chance have I for her?"

U.S.S. Fox, Acting Master Ashbury, seized blockade running British schooner Edward off the mouth of the Suwannee River, Florida, after a two hour chase during which the schooner at-tempted to run down the smaller Union ship. She was carrying a cargo of lead and salt from Havana.

C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured and burned bark Texan Star in the Strait of Malacca with cargo of rice.

U.S.S. Sunflower, Acting Master Van Sice, captured blockade runner Hancock near the lighthouse at Tampa Bay with cargo including salt and borax.

U.S.S. Antona, Acting Master Zerega, seized blockade running schooner Exchange off Velasco, Texas, with cargo including coffee, nails, shoes, acids, wire, and cotton goods.

25 Confederate batteries on John's Island opened an early morning attack on U.S.S. Marblehead, Lieutenant Commander Meade, near Legareville, South Carolina, in the Stono River. Marblehead sustained some 20 hits as U.S.S. Pawnee, Commander Balch, contributed enfilading support, and mortar schooner C.P. Williams, Acting Master Simeon N. Freeman, added her firepower to the bombardment. After more than an hour, the Confederates broke off the engagement and withdrew. Meade later seized two VIII-inch sea coast howitzers.

U.S.S. Daylight, Acting Lieutenant Francis S. Wells, and U.S.S. Howquah, Acting Lieutenant MacDiarmid, transported troops from Beaufort, North Carolina, to Bear Inlet, where the soldiers and sailors were landed without incident under the Daylight's protecting guns. Wells reported: "Four extensive salt works in full operation were found at different points along the coast and near the inlet, which were all thoroughly destroyed.

26 C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured and burned ships Sonora and Highlander, both in ballast, at anchor at the western entrance of the Straits of Malacca. "They were monster ships," Semmes wrote, "both of them, being eleven or twelve hundred tons burden." One of the masters told the commerce raider: Well, Captain Semmes, I have been expecting every day for the last three years to fall in with you, and here I am at last. The fact is, I have had constant visions of the Alabama, by night and by day; she has been chasing me in my sleep, and riding me like a night-mare, and now that it is all over, I feel quite relieved."

As the year drew to a close, it became evident that the much-hoped-for European aid, if not actual intervention, on behalf of the Confederacy would not be forthcoming. This was expressed by Henry Hotze, Confederate Commercial Agent in London, in a letter this date to Secretary of State Benjamin: . it is absolutely hopeless to expect to receive any really serv-iceable vessels of war from the ports of either England or France, and . our expenditure should therefore be confined to more practicable objects and our naval staff be employed in eluding, since we can not break, the blockade."

26-31 U.S.S. Reindeer, Acting Lieutenant Henry A. Glassford, with Army steamer Silver Lake No. 2 in company, reconnoitered the Cumberland River at the request of General Grant. The force moved from Nashville to Carthage without incident but was taken under fire five times on the 29th. The Confederates' positions, Glassford reported, "availed them nothing, however, against the guns of this vessel and those of the Silver Lake No. 2; they were completely shelled out of them. The gunboats continued as far as Creelsboro, Kentucky, before "the river gave unmistakable signs of a fall." The ships subsequently returned to Nashville.

29 Under Captain Green, U.S.S. Nipsic, Sanford, Geranium, Daffodil, and Ethan Allen departed Morris Island for Murrell's Inlet to destroy a schooner readying to run the blockade and disperse Con-federate troops that had been harassing Union gunboats. The force arrived at an anchorage some 15 miles from Murrell's Inlet the following day, rendezvousing with U.S.S George Mangham.

Preparations for landing commenced immediately, but debarkation was delayed by heavy seas. With surprise lost, part of the purpose of the landing was frustrated. However, on 1 January, U.S.S. Nipsic, Commander James H. Spotts, landed sailors and Marines at Murrell's Inlet and succeeded in destroying the blockade runner with cargo of turpentine. The ships then returned to Charleston.

Boat crews from U.S.S. Stars and Stripes, Acting Master Willcomb, destroyed blockade running schooner Caroline Gertrude aground on a bar at the mouth of Ocklockonee River, Florida. At-tempting to salvage the schooner's cargo of cotton, the Union sailors were taken under heavy fire by Confederate cavalry ashore and returned to their ship after setting the blockade runner ablaze.

30 Expedition under command of Acting Ensign Norman McLeod from U.S.S. Pursuit, destroyed two salt works at the head of St. Joseph's Bay, Florida.

31 U.S.S. Kennebec, Lieutenant Commander McCann, captured blockade runner Grey jacket, bound from Mobile to Havana, with cargo of cotton, rosin, and turpentine.

U.S.S. Sciota, Lieutenant Commander Perkins, and U.S.S. Granite City, Acting Master Lamson, with troops embarked, made a reconnaissance from pass Cavallo, Texas, and landed the soldiers on the Gulf shore of Matagorda Peninsula in action continuing through 1 January. While Granite City covered the troops ashore from attacks by Confederate cavalry, Sciota reconnoitered the mouth of the Brazos River. Returning to the landing area, Sciota anchored close to the beach and shelled Confederate positions. Granite City fell down to Pass Cavallo to call up U.S.S. Monogahela, Penobscot, and Estrella to assist. Confederate gunboat John F. Carr closed and fired on the Union troops, "making some very good hits," but was driven ashore by a severe gale and destroyed by fire. The Union troops were withdrawn on board ship. Report-ing on the operation, Lieutenant Colonel Frank S. Hasseltine wrote: "Captain Perkins, of the Sciota, excited my admiration by the daring manner in which he exposed his ship through the night in the surf till it broke all about him, that he might, close to us, lend the moral force of his XI-inch guns and howitzers, and by his gallantry in bringing us off during the gale. To Captain Lamson, of the Granite City, great credit is due for his exertion to retard and drive back the enemy. By the loss he inflicted upon them it is clear but for the heavy sea he would have freed us from any exertion.

Though the war's decisive areas of combat were east of the Mississippi, the attention of the Navy Department continued to be nationwide. Secretary Welles advised Rear Admiral C. Bell, commanding the Pacific Squadron, that it would be wise to keep at least one ship constantly on duty in San Francisco in order to give "greater security to that important city. Welles promised to send Bell two additional steamers to augment his squadron.

Secretary Welles noted in his diary: "The year closes more satisfactorily than it commenced. The War has been waged with success, although there have been in some instances errors and misfortunes. But the heart of the nation is sounder and its hopes brighter."

Battle of Bean's Station, 14 December 1863

A minor battle during the American Civil War. A Confederate army under General Longstreet had attempted to recapture Knoxville, Tennessee, originally captured by Union forces on 3 September 1863. After a failed assault (battle of Knoxville, 29 November 1863), news arrived of the defeat of the Confederate army besieging Chattanooga (battle of Missionary Ridge, 25 November 1863) and of the approach of a relief column under General Sherman.

Longstreet remained outside Knoxville until the night of 4 December. That night they marched to Blain's Crossroads, eighteen miles to the east. The successful Union commander at Knoxville, General Burnside, had been officially replaced before the siege, but his replacement, Major-General John G. Foster, had been stuck outside the town during the siege. On 10 December he arrived and took command (Burnside was soon back in active service once the details of events at Knoxville were known).

Longstreet was still a threat. Burnside had sent forces to watch his retreat. On 10 December General Shackelford, commanding the Union cavalry, was already at Bean's Station leading the advance of a force under General Parke. Longstreet spotted an opportunity to defeat part of the Union army, and began to move back down the Holston valley. On 13 December Shackelford wrote back to General Parke, suggesting that the infantry be marched up to support him. Parke agreed, and ordered a detachment of infantry to march to Shackelford's support on the following morning.

The next day the fighting began at about 2 p.m. when the Confederate cavalry encountered the Union pickets about three miles east of Bean's Station. This soon developed in a general engagement, with Brigadier General A. Gracie's brigade in the forefront on the Confederate side. The Union cavalry was slowly forced back. McLaw's division managed to get around the Union left flank, and as darkness fell the Confederate forces were in occupation of Bean's Station. The fighting had been fierce, with around 700 Union and 900 Confederate killed and wounded.

An attempt to cut off the retreating Union army failed when it encountered Parke's infantry. Bean's Station marked the end of the fighting in the Knoxville Campaign. Despite being a Confederate victory it had little long term effect. Longstreet had had a change to attack an isolated Union detachment, but would have needed significant reinforcements to go back on to the offensive. Instead, as the winter set in the fighting in east Tennessee stopped. The next spring Longstreet's men returned to the Army of Northern Virginia.

The Civil War in America December 1862&ndashOctober 1863

On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all slaves within the rebellious states &ldquoare, and henceforward shall be free.&rdquo Bitterly denounced in the South&mdashand by many in the North&mdashthe Proclamation reduced the likelihood that the anti-slavery European powers would recognize the Confederacy as an independent nation and opened the way for large numbers of African Americans to join the U.S. armed forces. At the same time, tensions created by losses on the battlefield and sacrifices on both sides of the home front were reflected in public meetings and demonstrations. Though peace movements were increasing in strength in both the South and North, a majority on both sides remained bitterly determined to pursue the war to victory.

Only two months after the North’s major defeat at Chancellorsville, Virginia, in May 1863, the Union victory at Gettysburg (July 1&ndash3, 1863), dramatically raised Northern morale. The fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4 militarily split the Confederacy in two&mdashand set Ulysses S. Grant on the path to becoming the Union’s final and most aggressive general-in-chief. In the Confederate states, food shortages and exorbitant prices caused riots in several cities. Rampant guerrilla warfare in Kansas and Missouri created a war within the war.

The Sacking of Fredericksburg

On November 5, 1862, Lincoln replaced McClellan with Ambrose E. Burnside as the commanding general of the Army of the Potomac. Burnside moved quickly and arrived at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on November 17. Essential supplies moved more slowly. But by December 11 and 12, Union troops were preparing for the ill-fated attack that began on December 13. In this unpublished drawing, sketch artist Arthur Lumley described the deplorable behavior of Federal soldiers on the eve of battle: &ldquoFriday Night in Fredericksburg. This night the city was in the wildest confusion sacked by the union troops = houses burned down furniture scattered in the streets = men pillaging in all directions a fit scene for the French revolution and a discrace [sic] to the Union Arms. this is my view of what I saw. Lumley.&rdquo

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From Parlor Table to Operating Table

As Union troops advanced throughout the South, civilians in the path of the armies had to decide whether to stay in their homes and hope for the best, or take what belongings they could and &ldquorefugee&rdquo elsewhere. Betty Maury’s family fled to Richmond before the Battle of Fredericksburg, but received reports from friends that her home in the city had been used as a Federal hospital. Surgeons performed amputations on her parlor table, and at least one soldier was buried in her yard.

Betty Herndon Maury (1835&ndash1903). Diary entry, December 28, 1862. Betty Herndon Maury Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (082.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0082p1]

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Clara Barton

Twenty years before founding the American Red Cross, Clara Barton came to the aid of soldiers fighting in the Civil War. At the war’s outbreak, Barton worked as a U.S. Patent Office clerk and collected provisions and medical supplies for the Union army. Restless with her limited role and undeterred by War Department regulations and prevailing stereotypes, Barton became known as the &ldquoAngel of the Battlefield&rdquo as she distributed supplies and tended to the wounded and dying. During the course of the war, Barton kept notes that documented the appalling carnage and medical conditions of the wounded transported to Fredericksburg.

Unattributed. Clara Barton, ca. 1862. Albumen silver print in carte-de-visite album. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (083.00.00) [Digital ID# cph-3g06307]

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Keeping Track of Soldiers

Clara Barton came to Fredericksburg on the eve of a major battle in December 1862 to provide supplies and nursing skills to Union medical staff. She tended to wounded soldiers in the temporary hospital established at the Lacy plantation house, and noted in her pocket diary information about the soldiers she encountered, should loved ones want to find the soldiers after the battle. Recording the identities of soldiers in her diaries was a practice she continued throughout the war.

Clara Barton (1821&ndash1912). Diary, January&ndashFebruary 1863. Page 2. Clara Barton Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (084.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0084, cw0084p1]

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Hooker Appointed Commander

By January 1863, Lincoln recognized that General Burnside had lost the confidence of the Federal army. Summoning Joseph Hooker to the White House, Lincoln named him the new head of the Army of the Potomac. President Lincoln used the opportunity to warn Hooker that his earlier criticism of General Burnside, and the withholding of his support, had undermined the morale of the troops he now commanded. Aware of Hooker’s weaknesses as well as his demonstrated fighting ability, in crafting this letter Lincoln attempted to counsel his new commander.

Abraham Lincoln to General Joseph Hooker, January 26, 1863. Alfred Whital Stern Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (094.00.00) [Digital ID# al0166]

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Draft of the Emancipation Proclamation

On July 13, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln consulted Secretary of State William H. Seward and Gideon Welles, the secretary of the navy, on the particulars of the Emancipation Proclamation. Seward anticipated anarchy in the South and perhaps foreign intervention in the war. Lincoln let the matter rest, but on July 22 he presented this draft proclamation to the full cabinet, to mixed reactions. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Attorney General Edward Bates advocated the document’s immediate release. Salmon P. Chase, treasury secretary, was cool to the idea, fearing it would result in chaos. Postmaster General Montgomery Blair was in opposition and believed that it would lead to Republican defeat in the coming fall congressional elections. Seward favored waiting to release it until the Union achieved a battlefield victory. Lincoln again dropped the issue, but it was clear to his advisors that he was set on issuing an emancipation proclamation by year’s end.

Abraham Lincoln. Initial draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, July 22, 1862. Page 2. Abraham Lincoln Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (153.00.00) [Digital ID# al0153p1, al0153p2]

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Field Hospital at Work

Jefferson Davis first became impressed with the abilities of United States Army surgeon Samuel Preston Moore (1813&ndash1889) during the Mexican War. A graduate of the Medical College of South Carolina, Moore was persuaded by Davis in 1861 to serve as the Surgeon General of the Confederate army, a position he would retain throughout the war. Despite severe shortages of doctors and medical supplies, Moore was conscientious in his responsibilities, establishing examining boards to remove unfit surgeons and organizing the Confederate medical services along the same lines as those provided by the United States Army. Aware of the critical need to improve surgical operations in the field, Moore directed the publication of this manual and had it distributed to all medical officers.

A Manual of Military Surgery Prepared for the Use of the C. S. A. Army. Richmond, Virginia: Ayreson & Wade, 1863. Page 2. Confederate States of America Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (085.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0085, cw0085p1]

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Presidential Fundraiser

The Emancipation Proclamation expanded the scope of Union war aims but was controversial in the North, where opinions remained mixed on the question of abolition. Nevertheless, white Unionists generally accepted the proclamation as a necessary war measure, and it was a great boost to the morale of African Americans and their allies. This broadside edition, one of only forty-eight copies printed, was signed by President Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and presidential secretary John G. Nicolay. The edition was specifically created to raise funds for the Sanitary Commission at the Great Central Sanitary Fair held in Philadelphia in June 1864. Signed copies could be purchased for ten dollars. The event attracted more than one hundred thousand visitors and raised more than one million dollars, but not all of the signed copies were sold.

By the President. . . . Emancipation Proclamation. Philadelphia: Leypoldt, 1864. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (087.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0087]

H. H. Brownell. All Slaves Were Made Freemen by Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, January 1, 1863. Recruitment and "John Brown Song" broadside. Page 2. Alfred Whital Stern Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (089.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0089, cw0089p1]

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A Satanic Emancipator

The Southern Illustrated News published in Richmond was an attempt to offer a Confederate version of popular Northern illustrated periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly and Leslie’s Illustrated. This wood engraving from the issue of November 2, 1862, vividly pictures Southern hostility towards Abraham Lincoln following the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. The human mask of Lincoln in the figure’s left hand is removed to reveal Satan. The chain in the right hand represents efforts to subdue the Confederacy. Additional touches include a noose awaiting Lincoln on top of the then unfinished Washington Monument, and a scrolled copy of the Emancipation Proclamation on the ground.

Southern Illustrated News, November 2, 1862. Confederate States of America Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (088.00.00) Digital ID# cw0088]

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&ldquoI always carry a haversack&rdquo

Walt Whitman believed in the power of kind attention and &ldquopersonal magnetism&rdquo to help wounded and ill soldiers heal. He visited the hospitals of Washington almost daily, using this leather haversack as a cornucopia of food and small gifts to lift the spirits or improve the health and comfort of the patients in the wards. &ldquoIt is a comfort & delight to me to minister to them&rdquo he told William Davis, who sent a donation in response to Whitman’s fundraising appeals on behalf of the wounded. Whitman sat by the bedsides of the sick, wrote letters home for the wounded, and held the hands of the dying.

Walt Whitman to William S. Davis, October 1, 1863. Feinberg-Whitman Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (149.01.00) [Digital ID# cw0149_01]

Walt Whitman’s Civil War haversack. Feinberg-Whitman Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (214.01.00) [Digital ID# cw0214_01]

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Passing the Time in Prison

While incarcerated at the Old Capitol Prison complex in Washington, D.C., Antonia Ford of Fairfax Court House, Virginia, made this lace collar for her mother. Ford was thought to have provided intelligence to Confederate partisan John S. Mosby prior to his raid on Fairfax in March 1863, and her case was not helped by the honorary commission as an aide-de-camp to General J.E.B. Stuart that was found at her home. Although an ardent Confederate, during her imprisonment Antonia fell in love with Union Major Joseph C. Willard, co-owner of the famous Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. After she took an oath of allegiance to the United States and he resigned from the Union army, Ford and Willard married in March 1864.

O.H. Willard, photographer. Antonia Ford Willard. Albumen print. Willard Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (094.01.00) [Digital ID# cw0094_01]

Antonia Ford Willard. Crocheted lace collar, 1863. Willard Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (098.01.00) [Digital ID# cw0098_01]

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The Loss of Jackson

The tremendous success of General Robert E. Lee’s daring maneuvers at Chancellorsville was tempered by the death of one of his most valuable subordinates, General Thomas J. &ldquoStonewall&rdquo Jackson. While on a nighttime reconnaissance ride, Jackson was mistakenly fired upon by his own troops. His arm was successfully amputated, but pneumonia proved fatal. Before Jackson’s death Lee purportedly lamented, &ldquoHe has lost his left arm but I my right arm.&rdquo With Jackson gone, Lee struggled to find another corps commander he trusted so completely. The loss of Jackson was felt deeply by his men and mourned by Confederates throughout the South.

Jedediah Hotchkiss (1828&ndash1899) to Sara Hotchkiss, May 10, 1863. Page 2. Jedediah Hotchkiss Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (097.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0097, cw0097p1]

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Fields of Chancellorsville

English-born special artist Alfred R. Waud covered the action of the Army of the Potomac from 1861 to 1865 for the New York Illustrated News and Harper’s Weekly, shaping the image of war for the home front in the North. Waud portrayed the Eleventh Corps on the night of May 1, 1863, as they, in the words of Major General Daniel Sickles, &ldquoswept frantically over the cleared fields&rdquo away from the Confederate line at Chancellorsville. Stonewall Jackson attacked the flank, forcing other Union troops to double their efforts to keep his forces at bay.

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Battlefield of Chancellorsville

In late April and early May, 1863, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia engaged Union troops near Chancellorsville, south of Fredericksburg, Virginia. A Confederate force of more than 60,000 soldiers launched an attack against Union troops. The battle resulted in a Confederate victory but at a tremendous cost. Confederate General &ldquoStonewall&rdquo Jackson, the hero of First Manassas (First Bull Run), died as a result of wounds suffered during the battle. This map illustrates actions in the early summer of 1863. Other military engagements in the region included the Battle of Fredericksburg of 1862 and the Wilderness Campaign of 1864.

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&ldquoDisloyal Sentiments&rdquo

Under orders from Major General Burnside, Representative Clement L. Vallandigham (D-Ohio), was arrested for violating Burnside’s General Order No. 38 by uttering &ldquodisloyal sentiments&rdquo and hindering the government’s prosecution of the war after giving an anti-war speech at Mount Vernon, Ohio, on May 1, 1863. Convicted by a military tribunal, Vallandigham was sentenced to prison for the duration of the war. Although President Lincoln commuted the congressman’s sentence to banishment behind Confederate lines, Vallandigham petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, unsuccessfully, to have his conviction overturned on appeal. In 1866, the use of military tribunals to try civilians in the United States would be limited by a Supreme Court decision in Ex parte Milligan.

Petition of Former Representative Clement L. Vallandigham (1820&ndash1871), to the Supreme Court of the United States, October term, 1863. Transcript of testimony before the Military Commission held at Cincinnati on May 6 and 7, 1863. Page 2 - Page 3. Law Library, Library of Congress (098.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0098, cw0098p1, cw0098p2]

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Suspension of Habeas Corpus

Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis both confronted the challenge of balancing an effective prosecution of the war with respect for the civil liberties of each region’s citizens, especially with regard to suspending the writ of habeas corpus, which requires that a person taken into custody appear in court to be charged. In 1863 Congress gave Lincoln wide latitude in suspending the writ, whereas Jefferson Davis received only temporary suspension powers from the Confederate Congress in 1862 and 1864.

Jefferson Davis (1808&ndash1889). &ldquoTo the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America,&rdquo February 3, 1864. Burton Norvell Harrison Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (099.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0099]

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Battleground of Gettysburg

One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War was fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 1&ndash3, 1863. General Robert E. Lee came face to face with a Union army led by General George G. Meade. The map shows Union positions in black and Confederate positions is red. Himself a combatant at Gettysburg, The map’s creator, Charles Wellington Reed of the 9th Massachusetts Battery, was awarded the Medal of Honor for the conspicuous bravery he exhibited in saving the life of Captain John Bigelow during the second day of that battle.

Charles Wellington Reed (1841&ndash1926). Plan of Gettysburg Battle Ground, 1863. Chas. W. Reed, 9th Mass. Battery, deposited for copyright 1864. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (105.00.00) [Digital ID# g3824g-cw0347000]

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The Devil's Den

The photographer Alexander Gardner literally composed this iconic image of a dead Confederate soldier at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The young soldier had fallen in battle on the southern slope of Devil’s Den. Four photographs were made of the soldier in that spot before Gardner moved the body about seventy-two yards away, placing him next to the picturesque stone wall. The soldier’s head rests on a knapsack. A rifle, propped up against the wall, completes the tableau.

Alexander Gardner (1821&ndash1882). Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, 1863. Albumen silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (102.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-ppmsca-33066]

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&ldquoMake Our Effort Pretty Certain&rdquo

After two days of inconclusive fighting against the Union flanks at Gettysburg, General Lee ordered an attack against the center on July 3, known to history as &ldquoPickett’s Charge.&rdquo C.S.A. colonel Edward P. Alexander’s artillery barrage tried to weaken the Union defenses, after which the infantry, under command of Lieutenant General James Longstreet, charged the Union center. Longstreet asked Alexander to advise Pickett whether or not to make the charge based on his artillery’s effectiveness against the enemy, and Alexander’s postwar scrapbook included Longstreet’s original battlefield notes and his own replies. Pickett’s Charge was a disaster for the Confederates.

James Longstreet (1821&ndash1904) to Edward Porter Alexander (1835&ndash1910), July 3, 1863, with annotation of Alexander’s reply. Page 2. Edward Porter Alexander Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (104.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0104, cw0104p1]

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Following the News

Telegraph lines sped up the dissemination of news in the mid-nineteenth century, but it could still take days to receive the latest telegraphic dispatches from the war, particularly in the South. In Richmond, Virginia, Anna J. Sanders recorded in her diary on July 5, 1863, that a battle in Gettysburg had begun well for the Confederates, whereas the battle had already ended with a Northern victory on July 3. By July 8 Sanders knew Vicksburg had fallen, and, on July 9, it was clear that both Vicksburg and Gettysburg had been lost by the Confederates.

Anna Johnson Sanders (ca. 1815&ndash1890). Diary entries for July 1863. George Nicholas Sanders Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (106.00.00) Digital ID# cw0106]

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View of Vicksburg

On July 4, 1863, Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton and his Confederate garrison marched out of Vicksburg and surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant and the Federal army that had been targeting the city for nearly a year. The almost simultaneous Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg were the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. After Gettysburg, Lee’s forces never regained enough strength to seriously threaten the North. The fall of Vicksburg, and the last Confederate Mississippi River bastion, Port Hudson, a few days later, re-opened the Midwest to trade with the outside world and allowed the Union forces of Grant to operate with greater flexibility in the Deep South.

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Memoir of a Siege

Mary Ann Loughborough, wife of a Confederate officer, authored this vivid account of the hardships she and other citizens of Vicksburg experienced during the spring and summer 1863 when they took to living in caves they dug in hillsides within the beleaguered city. &ldquoI shall never forget my extreme fear during the night, and my utter hopelessness of ever seeing the morning light. Terror stricken, we remained crouched in the cave, while shell after shell followed each other in quick succession. I endeavored by constant prayer to prepare myself for the sudden death I was almost certain awaited me. My heart stood still as we would hear the reports from the guns, and the rushing and fearful sound of the shell as it came toward us.&rdquo

Mary Ann Webster Loughborough (1836&ndash1887). My Cave Life in Vicksburg. With Letters of Trial and Travel. By a Lady. New York: D. Appleton, 1864. Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (110.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0110p4, cw0110, cw0110p1, cw0110p2]

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Civilian Privations

Adalbert Volck was a Baltimore dentist whose additional talents as an artist were channeled in producing a number of political prints reflecting his pronounced Southern sympathies. This copper engraving of a young woman in prayer is a case in point. Only on closer inspection does the viewer become aware that the woman is praying not in the comfort of her home but in a cave during the bombardment of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Volck was clearly communicating the idea that the Northern siege of the city was a barbaric act against innocent civilians.

Adalbert J. Volck (1828&ndash1912). &ldquoCave Life in Vicksburg&rdquo in V. Blada’s War Sketches. London [Baltimore]: 1864. Lithograph. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (109.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0109]

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Vicksburg Daily Citizen

Vicksburg, Mississippi, like many Southern cities, suffered acutely from the ravages of the Civil War. However, this final edition of the Vicksburg Daily Citizen attests to the determination of the city’s defenders. This issue of the Confederate newspaper is printed on the back of wallpaper because supplies of every kind had been exhausted during the long and difficult siege. The defiant spirit is still in evidence on July 2 as the paper reads: &ldquoThe Yankee Generalissimo surnamed Grant has expressed his intention of dining in Vicksburg on the Fourth of July. . . . Ulysses must get into the city before he dines in it.&rdquo Vicksburg surrendered two days later. On July 4, 1863, Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton and his Confederate garrison marched out of Vicksburg and surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. On July 2, Vicksburg surrendered, the publisher fled, and the Union forces found the type of the Citizen still standing. They printed a new edition (characterized by the misspelled &ldquoCTIIZEN&rdquo) using material already in type and added the note quoted below:

Vicksburg Daily Citizen, July 2, 1863. Vicksburg, Mississippi. Newspaper printed on wallpaper. Reverse. Newspaper Section, Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (108.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0108, cw0108p1]

Vicksburg Daily Citizen [second edition], July 2, 1863. Vicksburg, Mississippi. Newspaper printed on wallpaper. Newspaper Section, Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (108.01.00) [Digital ID# cw0108_02, cw0108_02p1]

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Pickett's Charge

The Battle of Gettysburg reached its apex on the afternoon of July 3. Federal troops on Cemetery Ridge saw, less than a mile away, Confederate forces massing for a great frontal assault. Led by men under the command of C.S.A. general George E. Pickett, 15,000 Confederates tried to break the center of the Union lines. The objective, &ldquoa little clump of trees,&rdquo was reached, but Federal reinforcements arrived, the line held, and the Confederates withdrew under heavy fire, having lost nearly 6,000 men. New York artist Edwin Forbes covered the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. His studio oil painting depicts the ill-fated &ldquoPickett’s Charge&rdquo and is based on the artist’s eyewitness account.

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Assault on Fort Wagner

Having struggled for the right to fight, African Americans played an important role in the Union Army, ultimately comprising ten percent of the troops. This Kurz and Allison print captures the moment when Sergeant William Harvey Carney (1840&ndash1908), who thirty-seven years later was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor in this battle, carried the United States flag to the walls of Fort Wagner on Morris Island in South Carolina. The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, composed of free African Americans, took heavy losses, including the death of its commander, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (1837&ndash1863), in its failed bid to wrest the fort from Confederate forces.

Storming Fort Wagner. Chromolithograph. Chicago: Kurz & Allison Art Publishers, 1890. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (116.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-pga-01949]

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A Member of the 54th Massachusetts

Two days after the unsuccessful Union assault on Fort Wagner on Morris Island in Charleston Harbor, Lewis Douglass, son of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, wrote to his fiancée Amelia Loguen to assure her of his safety. Lewis’s thoughts focused on what his comrades in 54th Massachusetts Infantry had achieved at Fort Wagner in earning a reputation for courage and demonstrating their willingness to die for a worthy cause.

Lewis Henry Douglass (1840&ndash1908) to Helen Amelia Loguen, July 20, 1863. Page 2. Carter G. Woodson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (117.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0117, cw0117p1]

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Recruitment for the Cavalry

Cavalry recruits of 1861 who expected to be engaged in offensive operations may have been disappointed to discover that most of their energies were aimed at reconnaissance screening, and the pursuit of retreating enemy forces. It was generally conceded that the Confederate cavalry had superior horseman during the first half of the war, as well as more daring leadership under figures such as General J. E. B. Stuart. Beginning with the Battle of Brandy Station in June 1863, the Union cavalry came into its own for the remainder of the conflict. Key reasons for the turnaround were vastly improved cavalry organization and the more than 600,000 horses procured for the Union cavalry by the U.S. Army, giving them a two-to-one advantage over the enemy.

Light Cavalry. Philadelphia: King & Baird, 1861. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (101.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0101]

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Identity Regained

When this ambrotype was acquired by a private collector, the identity of this tough-looking C.S.A. cavalry trooper had been lost over time, as is the case with thousands of keepsake photographic images of common soldiers on both sides of the conflict. In March 2012, the portrait appeared in a special Civil War supplement in the Washington Post. Karen Thatcher, from West Virginia, opened the paper and immediately identified &ldquoUncle Dave.&rdquo Family photographs of Private Thatcher were used to confirm his identity.

Unattributed. [Private David M. Thatcher of Company B, Berkeley Troop, 1st Virginia Cavalry Regiment], between 1861 and 1865. Sixth-plate, hand-colored ambrotype. Promised gift of the Liljenquist family, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (100.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-ppmsca-32680]

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Avoiding the Draft

After the initial rush to enlist at the start of the war had passed, both the Confederacy (in 1862) and the Union (in 1863) passed conscription laws encouraging enlistment and providing for drafting recruits when necessary. Age limits exempted youth or older men from service, and men in certain occupations that contributed to the war effort were also exempted. On both sides men could hire substitutes to serve in their place, which newspaper reporter Sylvanus Cadwallader did in 1864. This sheet music cover graphically conveys the inequities of the draft enacted under the Enrollment Act of 1863.

&ldquoCertificate of Exemption on Account of Having Furnished a Substitute,&rdquo issued to Sylvanus Cadwallader (1825&ndash1908), September 30, 1864. Sylvanus Cadwallader Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (112.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0112]

Frank Wilder, composer. &ldquoWanted a Substitute.&rdquo Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co., deposited for copyright 1863. Music Division, Library of Congress (111.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0111]

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The Draft Riots

On July 11, 1863, draft officers began drawing names in heavily Democratic New York City, where sentiment against abolition and conscription ran high and racial tensions had reached a boiling point. From July 13 to 17, 1863, New York erupted into four of the bloodiest days of mob violence in United States history. The uprising began with thousands of people foregoing work to demonstrate outside the draft office on Third Avenue. A stone hurled through an office window and the discharge of a pistol turned the demonstration into a riot. Surging into the draft office, the rioters smashed everything, then proceeded to the headquarters of the New York Times and the New York Tribune, and moved on to loot and burn the four-story Colored Orphan Asylum. Hundreds were injured and 105 killed.

Unattributed. [Civil War induction officer with lottery box], ca. 1863. Sixth-plate tintype. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (113.00.00) [Digital ID# ds-00292]

&ldquoThe Mob in New York. Resistance to the Draft&mdashRioting and Bloodshed,&rdquo New York Times, July 14, 1863. Newspaper Section, Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (114.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0114]

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Union and Emancipation for a Common Cause

Emancipation as a war aim was never universally popular in the North. In a letter that would be read aloud to a Union mass meeting in Springfield, Illinois, on September 3, 1863, Lincoln explained that if white Americans did not want to fight for black Americans then they should fight to save the Union. Only force could quell the rebellion, and emancipation had weakened the enemy and provided soldiers for the North. But having made a pledge of freedom to black soldiers and their families, Lincoln was determined to keep the promise once the Union was saved.

Abraham Lincoln to James C. Conkling (1816&ndash1899). Draft letter, August 26, 1863. Abraham Lincoln Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (115.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0115]

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Making Do With Less

The blockade of Southern seaports and the prohibition of trade with the North quickly depleted food supplies throughout the Confederacy. The deprivations forced Southern cooks to invent substitutes for the most basic foods and beverages. The only cookbook printed in the South during the war, the Confederate Receipt Book, contains recipes for apple pie without apples, artificial oysters, and substitutes for coffee and cream. In an effort to fend off insect infestation in cured meats, there was even a suggestion to &ldquoprevent skippers,&rdquo the nickname of that time for skipping insects such as locusts and grasshoppers.

Confederate Receipt Book. Richmond, Virginia: West & Johnston, 1863. Page 2. Confederate States of America Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (091.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0091, cw0091p1]

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Inflation in the Confederacy

This postwar table of the relative prices of gold and United States &ldquogreenback&rdquo currency relative to Confederate money shows at a glance one of the primary challenges faced by Confederate civilians. Their currency had lost more of its value with each year of the war. At the same time, wartime production disruptions and the Union naval blockade made basic commodities harder to come by, and they were sold at drastically inflated prices when they could be found.

Lancaster & Co. &ldquoTable of Prices in Confederate Currency of Gold and Greenbacks,&rdquo February 19, 1866. Manuscript document. Burton Norvell Harrison Family Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (093.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0093]

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A Civil War within the Civil War

Pro- and anti-slavery factions on the Kansas-Missouri border had a history of violence in the 1850s, and irregular guerrilla forces operated in the Trans-Mississippi Theater during the war. Confederate &ldquobushwacker&rdquo William Quantrill’s guerrillas burned the town of Lawrence, Kansas, and killed almost 200 men in August 1863. The Quantrill raid prompted Union general Thomas Ewing to issue General Orders No. 11, banishing all non-loyal inhabitants from several counties in western Missouri. Yet this war within a war continued.

John M. Schofield (1831&ndash1906). &ldquoEvents in Missouri, 1863&rdquo journal, August 26, 1863, entry. Page 2. John McAllister Schofield Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (119.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0119, cw0119p1]

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Johnny Clem

Philadelphia artist James Fuller Queen created a variety of images during the American Civil War that include sentimental lithographs with scenes from the front, portraits of famous generals, fund-raising images featuring local institutions for soldiers, and images of wounded soldiers recovering in local hospitals. His lithograph of folk-hero John Clem was reproduced widely. John Clem was nine years old when he was allowed to tag along with the 22nd Michigan regiment in 1861. The boy was first identified in news accounts as &ldquoJohnny Shiloh&rdquo after that 1862 battle before his fame grew as &ldquothe drummer boy of Chickamauga&rdquo in 1863. Clem became a career army man and retired as a general in 1915.

James Fuller Queen (ca. 1820&ndash1886), artist. John Clem: A Drummer Boy of 12 Years of Age Who Shot a Rebel Colonel upon the Battle Field of Chickamauga, Ga. September 20, 1863, between 1863 and 1869. Lithograph. Philadelphia: P. S. Duval & Son, ca. 1865. Marian S. Carson Collection, Prints and Photographs Division (121.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-ds-00297]

Alfred R. Waud. Chickamauga, [September 18󈞀, 1863]. Chinese white and black ink wash on paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (120.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-ppmsca-21066]

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Reality Becomes Legend

War has a way of embellishing the accomplishments of real people, including the nine- year-old boy who attached himself to the 22nd Michigan Infantry and was popularized as &ldquoJohnny Clem, The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga.&rdquo While historical sources dispute when Clem enlisted, where he actually served, and his real exploits during the war, U.S. brigadier general Richard W. Johnson cited Clem’s sterling example in a letter to his young son Harry as a lesson in what happens to good boys who follow orders and do their duty.

Richard W. Johnson (1827&ndash1897) to Harry Johnson, January 27, 1864. Richard W. Johnson Correspondence, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (122.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0122]

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Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

Lookout Mountain rises nearly 2,000 feet above the Tennessee River at Chattanooga. This rocky outcropping was a popular spot for soldiers to pose for a portrait. One of the men gathered here with his telescope has been identified as Union officer, Major Charles S. Cotter, chief of artillery in the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment. His regiment fought in the Battles of Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga.

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Ticket to Ride

Railroads served a vital transportation role for both the Union and Confederacy in terms of moving troops and supplies quickly. The North had more trains and miles of track than did the South, but the Confederates had the advantage of using their railroads as interior lines, whereas the Yankees often had to build their own infrastructure in enemy territory. Unlike the Union, however, the Confederacy lacked the power to effectively organize private railroads for military use or the industrial capacity to repair damaged lines.

Quartermaster’s Department, Confederate States of America. Train ticket from Macon, Georgia, to Richmond, Virginia, December 27, 1862. Confederate States of America Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (124.00.00) [Digital ID# cw0124]

Quartermaster’s Department, Confederate States of America. Train ticket from Macon, Georgia, to Richmond, Virginia, December 27, 1862. Confederate States of America Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (124.00.01) [Digital ID# cw0124p1]

Isaac H. Bonsall. [Railroad Yard, Chattanoogna, Tenneessee], 1863 or 1864. Albumen silver print. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (125.00.00) [Digital ID# LC-DIG-ppmsca-32286]

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Battle of Chattanooga

The Confederates were determined to starve the Federal troops out of Chattanooga, which could be used as a Union gateway for movement into Georgia. The Federals were just as determined to stay in possession and break the siege. President Lincoln recognized Chattanooga&rsquos importance as a railroad center when he wrote: &ldquoIf we can hold Chattanooga, and East Tennessee, I think the rebellion must dwindle and die.&rdquo As Secretary of War Stanton dispatched 20,000 reinforcements by rail from the east, Major General Grant, recently named commander of the Union&rsquos newly created Military Division of the Mississippi, arrived in Chattanooga on October 23, 1863. By mid-November Major General William T. Sherman arrived with an additional 17,000 men, which gave the Federals sufficient strength to strike in late November in a series of battles that broke the siege. Chattanooga remained in Union hands for the rest of the war.

Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library [ONRL]

Established: ONRL established in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy by an omnibus appropriation act (38 Stat. 1025), March 4, 1915.

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Department of the Navy:

  • Navy Department Library (NDL), Office of the Secretary of the Navy (1800-82)
  • NDL, Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Bureau of Navigation (BuNav, 1882-84)
  • Naval War Records Office (NWRO), NDL, ONI, BuNav (1882-84)
  • Office of Library and Naval War Records (OLNWR), ONI, BuNav (1884-89)
  • OLNWR, Office of the Secretary of the Navy (1889-1915)
  • Historical Section, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OCNO, 1918-26)

Transfers: To ONI, OCNO, by order of the Secretary of the Navy, July 1, 1919.

Functions: Performed archival and library functions (collection, arrangement, description, publication, and reference) on the noncurrent permanently valuable records of the Department of the Navy.

Abolished: By merger with the Office of Naval History, March 10, 1949, pursuant to instructions from the Chief of Naval Operations.

Successor Agencies: Naval Records and History Division (1949-52) Naval History Division (1952-71) and Naval Historical Center (1971- ).

Finding Aids: James R. Masterson, comp., "Preliminary Checklist of the Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library," PC 30 (1945).

Related Records: Administrative records and general correspondence of the Office of Naval Records and Library, 1885-1945, and of the Historical Section, 1917-19, in RG 38, Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.


NDL established by order of President John Adams, March 31, 1800. Transferred to the ONI, BuNav, by General Order 292, Navy Department, March 23, 1882. Nucleus of Naval Records Collection dates from establishment of NWRO (also known as the Office of Records of the Rebellion) as an unofficial adjunct to NDL, 1882, to compile for publication primary source documents on naval aspects of the Civil War. NWRO formally consolidated with NDL by Naval Appropriation Act (23 Stat. 185), July 7, 1884, to form OLNWR, which returned to the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, October 19, 1889, at which time the pre-1886 office files of the Secretary were transferred to it. OLNWR redesignated ONRL, 1915 (SEE 45.1). Historical Section, established in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, July 18, 1918, to collect records relating to U.S. Navy operations in World War I, merged functionally into ONRL by order of the Secretary of the Navy, July 1, 1919, and consolidated legislatively by the Navy Appropriation Act (44 Stat. 595), May 21, 1926. During the period between World War I and World War II, ONRL acquired many documents relating to naval history from private and public sources. The Naval Records Collection was transferred to the National Archives in November 1942.

1,127 lin. ft.

History: Department of the Navy established by act of April 30, 1798 (1 Stat. 553), assuming responsibility for naval affairs formerly vested in the War Department. Reconstituted as a military department under the National Military Establishment (NME) pursuant to the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 500), July 26, 1947, and continued as such under the Department of Defense, which superseded the NME pursuant to the National Security Act Amendments of 1949 (63 Stat. 578), August 10, 1949.

45.2.1 General records

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1798-1886. Confidential letters sent, 1861-75. Uncoded versions of letters sent in cipher, 1888- 1910. Letters received, 1801-86. Decoded versions of letters received in cipher, 1888-1910. Issuances, 1798-1913, with gaps.

Microfilm Publications: M89, M124, M125, M147, M148, M149, M209, M441, M472, M480, M518, M977, M984.

Related Records: Correspondence of the Office of the Secretary of the Navy in RG 80, General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1798-1947.

45.2.2 Fiscal records

Textual Records: Letters sent by the Accountant of the Navy, 1798-1800. Letters received from the 4th Auditor and 2d Comptroller of the Treasury, 1847-84. Letters received from the Secretary of the Treasury, 1884. Ledgers, 1811-13, 1845-51. Registers of bills and warrants, 1811-65. Inventories of naval stores and property, 1798-1800, 1878, 1885-1913.

45.2.3 Personnel records

Textual Records: Correspondence concerning appointments and resignations, 1803-90. Muster rolls and payrolls, 1798-1859. Rosters, 1798-1889. Registers of applications and appointments, 1814-87. Registers of regular officers, 1798-1874 and volunteer officers, 1861-79. Registers of officers' orders, 1823-73.

45.2.4 Legal records

Textual Records: Case files, 1846-74. Records relating to prizes, prize cases, and the awarding of prize money, 1861-74. Records relating to prisoners of war, 1862-65. Records of examining boards, 1867, 1871-72. Contract ledgers, 1834-56. Records of proceedings of courts of inquiry into restoring retired officers to active duty, 1857-59. Correspondence relating to fraud investigations, 1864-65. Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General, consisting of court-martial records, 1799-1867 and miscellaneous case files, 1863-83.

Related Records: Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy), RG 125.

45.2.5 Miscellaneous records

Textual Records: Letters relating to the Barbary pirates, 1803-8. Correspondence relating to the reception of liberated Africans in Liberia, including letters from the American Colonization Society, 1818-58. Letters sent relating to the Naval Asylum, 1834-40. Records relating to the operations of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps in the Second Seminole War, 1835-42.

109 lin. ft.

History: Established by an act of February 7, 1815 (3 Stat. 202), to consist of three officers attached to the Secretary's office to provide assistance in the discharge of his official duties. Responsibilities confined in practice to logistical matters (supply and construction). Abolished by an act of August 31, 1842 (5 Stat. 579), and superseded by autonomous bureaus (SEE 45.4).

Textual Records: Official journal of the board, 1815-42, with a register, 1825-42. Letters sent, 1815-42, with a register, 1817- 42. Letters received, 1814-42. Reports from the Chief Naval Constructor, 1827-34. Contracts, 1794-1842. Inventories of naval stores in navy yards, 1814-16, 1825-43 and in shore establishments, 1819-42. Navy yard budget estimates, 1835-36. Journals of timber expeditions, 1817-19.

38 lin. ft.

History: Bureaus of Naval Yards and Docks Construction, Equipment, and Repairs Provisions and Clothing Ordnance and Hydrography and Medicine and Surgery established by an act of August 31, 1842 (5 Stat. 579), as successors to the Board of Naval Commissioners. Existing bureaus were reorganized and increased to eight (Yards and Docks, Provisions and Clothing, Ordnance, Equipment and Recruiting, Construction and Repair, Steam Engineering, Navigation, and Medicine and Surgery) by an act of July 5, 1862 (12 Stat. 510). (For subsequent histories of these bureaus, see History blocks below.) Bureaus gradually replaced by unified commands reporting to the Chief of Naval Operations, beginning in 1966.

45.4.1 Records of the Bureau of Yards and Docks

History: Established as the Bureau of Naval Yards and Docks, 1842. Renamed Bureau of Yards and Docks, 1862. Abolished by Department of Defense Reorganization Order, March 9, 1966.

Textual Records: Payrolls of civilian employees, 1811-79. Letters received from timber agents ("Live Oak Letters"), 1828-59. Reports of experiments on preserving timber against marine worms, 1850-55. History (1797-1875) of the Boston Navy Yard, by Commodore George Henry Preble, 1875.

Microfilm Publications: M118.

Related Records: Records of the Bureau of Naval Yards and Docks and the Bureau of Yards and Docks in RG 71, Records of the Bureau of Yards and Docks.

45.4.2 Records of the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography

History: Established, 1842. Redesignated Bureau of Ordnance, with hydrographic functions to Bureau of Navigation, 1862. Abolished by an act of August 18, 1959 (73 Stat. 395), with functions to Bureau of Naval Weapons.

Textual Records: Letters received relating to hydrography, 1842- 62. Journals of the North Pacific Exploring Expedition, 1853-56.

Microfilm Publications: M88.

Related Records: General records of the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography in RG 74, Records of the Bureau of Ordnance. Hydrographic records of the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography in RG 37, Records of the Hydrographic Office.

45.4.3 Records of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and

History: Established, 1842. Abolished, 1862, with functions divided among Bureaus of Equipment and Recruiting, Construction and Repair, and Steam Engineering.

Textual Records: Statistics on the cost of naval construction, 1825-53. Reports on the sailing qualities of naval vessels, 1826- 48. Reports of engineers, 1844-50.

Related Records: Records of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repairs in RG 19, Records of the Bureau of Ships.

45.4.4 Records of the Bureau of Construction and Repair

History: Established as one of the successors to Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repairs, 1862. Consolidated with the Bureau of Engineering by an act of June 20, 1940 (54 Stat. 492), to form Bureau of Ships.

Textual Records: Register of contracts, 1865-76.

Related Records: Records of the Bureau of Construction and Repair in RG 19, Records of the Bureau of Ships.

45.4.5 Records of the Bureau of Steam Engineering

History: Established as one of the successors to Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repairs, 1862. Redesignated Bureau of Engineering by an act of June 4, 1920 (41 Stat. 828). Consolidated with Bureau of Construction and Repair by an act of June 20, 1940 (54 Stat. 492), to form Bureau of Ships.

Textual Records: Register of acting assistant engineers, 1861-65. Report of machinery inspection on U.S.S. Trenton, 1886.

Related Records: Records of the Bureau of Steam Engineering in RG 19, Records of the Bureau of Ships.

45.4.6 Records of the Bureau of Navigation

History: Established as one of the successors to Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repairs, 1862. Initially responsible for providing nautical charts and instruments and for supervising the Naval Observatory, Hydrographic Office, and Nautical Almanac Office. Acquired personnel responsibilities in an exchange of functions with the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting in the Navy Department reorganization of June 30, 1889, under General Order 372, Navy Department, June 25, 1889. Redesignated Bureau of Naval Personnel by an act of May 13, 1942 (56 Stat. 276).

Textual Records: Letters sent relating to resignations and appointments, 1813-42. Cruising reports on naval vessels, 1895- 1910. Daily reports of vessel arrivals and departures, 1897-1910. Register of movements of vessels, 1900-10.

Related Records: General records of the Bureau of Navigation in RG 24, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel. Hydrographic records of the Bureau of Navigation in RG 37, Records of the Hydrographic Office.

45.4.7 Records of the Bureau of Equipment

History: Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting established as one of the successors to the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repairs, 1862. Initially responsible for recruiting and equipping officers and managing naval enlisted personnel. Acquired responsibility for supervision of the Naval Observatory, Nautical Almanac Office, Office of the Superintendent of Compasses, and Office of the Inspector of Electrical Appliances in an exchange of functions with the Bureau of Navigation in the Navy Department reorganization of June 30, 1889, under General Order 372, Navy Department, June 25, 1889. Acquired Hydrographic Office from Bureau of Navigation by General Order 72, Department of the Navy, May 9, 1898, implementing an act of May 4, 1898 (30 Stat. 374). Redesignated Bureau of Equipment by the Naval Services Appropriation Act (26 Stat. 192), June 30, 1890. Functionally abolished by redistribution of responsibilities pursuant to an act of June 24, 1910 (36 Stat. 613), effective June 30, 1910. Formally abolished by act of June 30, 1914 (38 Stat. 408).

Textual Records: Letters sent by the resident inspector at the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, CA, 1888-90. Records relating to the installation of wireless telegraphs at the Puget Sound Naval Yard, WA, and the San Juan Naval Station, PR, 1907.

Related Records: Records of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repairs and the Bureau of Equipment in RG 19, Records of the Bureau of Ships. Records of the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting in RG 24, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

159 lin. ft.

History: Established by the Navy Appropriation Act (38 Stat. 929), March 3, 1915, to function as a naval general staff, with the Chief of Naval Operations as ranking naval officer and principal uniformed adviser to the Secretary of the Navy. (For a detailed administrative history, SEE RG 38, Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.)

45.5.1 Records of the Office of Naval Intelligence

Textual Records: Letters, reports, and other communications sent by naval attaches in London, 1889-1914. Letters sent and received by Lt. Nathan Sargent, naval attache in Rome, Vienna, and Berlin, 1889-93. Reference copies of letters, telegrams, and reports sent and received by the Office of the Secretary of the Navy and BuNav relating to disturbances in Latin America, 1903-14, including Panama, 1903-4, Santo Domingo, 1904-7, and Cuba, 1906 and to the Chinese Revolution, 1911-12. War diaries of U.S. Navy vessels, 1917-27.

Related Records: Additional records of the Office of Naval Intelligence in RG 38, Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

45.5.2 Records of the Ships Movements Division

Textual Records: Movement reports of naval vessels, including submarines, 1892-1941.

45.5.3 Records of the Communications Division

Textual Records: Retained copies of messages sent and received by various units of the Navy Department, 1912-26 and by U.S. naval stations, France, and U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, 1917-23.

45.5.4 Records of the Division of Operating Forces

Textual Records: Letters sent and other records of the Commander- in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, 1917- 19. Messages sent and received by the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in France, 1918-20. Correspondence of the Commander, Mine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, 1918-19.

45.5.5 Miscellaneous records

Textual Records: Unconditional surrender documents of Japanese military, naval, air, home guard, and civilian forces on islands in the Pacific, August-October 1945.

21 lin. ft.

Textual Records: Correspondence, orders, logs, and miscellaneous records of the Baltimore Naval Station, 1863-64 Charlestown (Boston) Navy Yard, 1814-67 Gosport (Norfolk, VA) Navy Yard, 1840 Havana Naval Station, 1899-1903 Key West Naval Air Station, 1918-19 Mare Island, CA, Navy Yard, 1854-91 Mound City, IL, Naval Station, 1864-71 New Orleans Naval Station, 1863-67 Newport Torpedo Station, n.d. New York (Brooklyn) Navy Yard, 1815-75 Pensacola Naval Air Station, 1911-14 Pensacola Navy Yard, 1837-1911 Philadelphia Navy Yard, 1823-76 Portsmouth, NH, Navy Yard, 1840-45 Rio Grande Station (Brownsville, TX), 1875-79 U.S. Naval Academy, 1852 and Washington, DC, Navy Yard, 1814-1909.

Engineering Plans (35 items): Sail plan profiles and other ship plans drawn by sailmaker Charles Ware at Charlestown (Boston) Navy Yard, and by others, 1812-54. SEE ALSO 45.10.

Related Records: Records of Naval Districts and Shore Establishments, RG 181. Records of the United States Naval Academy, RG 405.

2 lin. ft.

45.7.1 Records of the Board for Testing Ordnance

History: Established by the Secretary of the Navy, July 12, 1836. Terminated September 1837.

Textual Records: Minutes of meetings, August 1836-September 1837.

45.7.2 Records of the Board to Prepare a Code of Regulations for
the Government of the Navy

History: Established by the Secretary of the Navy, August 3, 1857, pursuant to provisions of the Naval Appropriation Act (11 Stat. 243), March 3, 1857. Terminated February 19, 1858.

Textual Records: Board journal, August 1857-February 1858.

45.7.3 Records of the Naval Examining Board

History: Established by the Secretary of the Navy, December 27, 1861, to examine and report upon various matters, particularly "plans, propositions, and suggestions" made to the Navy Department by outside parties. Terminated December 1865.

Textual Records: Minutes of meetings, January-July 1862. Letters referred to the board, March 1861-July 1862.

45.7.4 Records of the Permanent Commission

History: Established by the Secretary of the Navy, February 11, 1863, as a successor to the Naval Examining Board in "questions of science and art." Terminated December 1865.

Textual Records: Minutes of meetings, 1863-64. Correspondence, 1863-65. Letters referred, 1861-65.

45.7.5 Records of the Joint Army and Navy Board

History: Established jointly by the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of War, February 15, 1866, to consider and report upon harbor defenses. Terminated July 14, 1866.

Textual Records: Board journal, March-July 1866.

45.7.6 Records of the Board for the Examination of Officers for

History: Established by the Secretary of the Navy pursuant to act of April 21, 1864 (13 Stat. 53). Terminated April 1869.

Textual Records: Letters sent, October 1868-April 1869.

45.7.7 Records of the Commission to Ascertain the Cost of
Removing the Naval Observatory

History: Established by the Secretary of the Navy pursuant to an act of June 20, 1878 (20 Stat. 241). Terminated December 7, 1878.

Textual Records: Commission journal, July-December 1878.

100 lin. ft.

45.8.1 Records acquired from the War Department

Textual Records: Letters sent by the Secretary of War to naval officers, constructors, shipbuilders, and others, 1790-98. Records of the Philadelphia Arsenal relating to military and naval supplies, 1796-1814. Correspondence between the Secretary of War and Samuel Hodgdon and John Harris, storekeepers at the Philadelphia Arsenal, relating to the arming of frigates and warships, 1795-98.

Microfilm Publications: M739.

45.8.2 Records acquired from the Department of the Treasury

Textual Records: Indexes to bonds executed by navy paymasters, 1809-65. Notes on naval fiscal matters, 1844-62.

45.8.3 Records acquired from the State Department

Textual Records: Letters from collectors of customs to the Secretary of State relating to commissions for privateers, 1812- 13.

45.8.4 Records acquired from private citizens

Textual Records: Originals and copies of logs, journals, and sea diaries of naval officers, 1776-1910, including copies of logs of the U.S.S. Wasp, 1776 U.S.S. Ranger, 1777-80 U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard, 1779 H.M.S. Serapis, 1779 H.M.S. Alliance, 1779-80 and H.M.S. Ariel, 1780 copies of logs kept aboard U.S.S. Constitution, 1798-1894 log of the U.S.S. Monitor, 1862 and logs and journals of American privateers and merchant vessels, 1776-1869. Letter books of naval officers, 1778-1909.

Microfilm Publications: M206, M875, M876, M981, M1034, T1097.

Engineering Plans (110 items): Ship plans, sketches, and statistical compilations relating to the construction of U.S., British, and French Navy ships, and U.S. drydock facilities, prepared or collected by Naval Constructor Francis Grice, 1813- 51. SEE ALSO 45.10.

45.8.5 Records acquired from foreign sources

Textual Records: Documents and copies of documents, 1691-1908, many of them concerning the British Navy, including logs and journals of naval and merchant vessels, 1775-1889 documents relating to John Paul Jones, 1778-79 and registers of U.S. prisoners in Halifax, Barbados, Jamaica, and Quebec, 1805-15.

45.8.6 Records acquired from various sources relating to the
government and citizens of the Confederate States of America

Textual Records: Account books of naval vessels and payrolls of civilian personnel at naval shore establishments, 1861-64. Muster rolls, payrolls, logs, and journals of Confederate privateers, 1861.

Related Records: War Department Collection of Confederate Records, RG 109. Treasury Department Collection of Confederate Records, RG 365.

1,225 lin. ft.

History: Two collections of records, one arranged by geographical region ("Area File") and the other by topic ("Subject File"), were created by ONRL staff during the period 1924-42 by combining loose documents obtained from departmental and other sources with original records in the Naval Records Collection. During the period 1918-27, the historical Section created two similar collections of records dealing with World War I and the postwar decade.

Textual Records: "Area File" and "Subject File," 1775-1910. "Area File" and "Subject File" of records, separated from the 1775-1910 collections, dealing with the Confederate States Navy, 1861-65. "Area File" and "Subject File," 1911-27.

Microfilm Publications: M625, M1091.

Maps and Charts (508 items): Separated from the 1775-1910 "Subject File," relating to naval operations, engagements with enemy vessels, naval bases, hydrographic surveys, and public land surveys, ca. 1775-1910 (280 items). Separated from the 1911-27 "Subject File," relating to World War I mining operations, convoy and submarine activities, and naval bases, ca. 1914-18 (228 items).


Maps and Charts: Photostatic copies of historical maps and charts of the Mediterranean Sea area (ca. 1780-1816), n.d.

SEE Maps and Charts UNDER 45.9. SEE Engineering Plans UNDER 45.6 and 45.8.4.

783 images

Posters: Used by the U.S. Navy during World War I in recruiting and as a means of involving civilian and navy personnel in the war effort, 1914-18 (WP).

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.

American Civil War Timeline 1863

Federal combined operation against a Confederate position on the Arkansas river that succeeded but at too high a cost for General Grant, who ordered a withdrawal.

20-22 January 1863

The &lsquoMud March&rsquo &ndash a failed offensive by the Army of the Potomac, foiled by heavy rain and mud. Soon afterwards Burnside was replaced by General Joe Hooker.

1 May 1863: Battle of Port Gibson, Mississippi

Part of Grant&rsquos Vicksburg campaign in which a small Confederate army of 6,000 was defeated by 23,000 Union soldiers.

2-5 May 1863: Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia

A Confederate victory that ended a Union offensive and opened the chance of a Confederate invasion of the north.

7 May 1863

Start of the Big Black River campaign, aimed at the capture of Vicksburg, the key to the Mississippi.

12 May 1863, Battle of Raymond, Mississippi

First battle during the Big Black River campaign

14 May 1863: Battle of Jackson, Mississippi

Second victory for Grant during his Vicksburg campaign.

16 May 1863: Battle of Champion&rsquos Hill, Mississippi

Union victory in Grant&rsquos Vicksburg campaign that defeated General Pemberton&rsquos mobile army defending Vicksburg.

17 May 1863: Battle of Big Black River, Mississippi

Second defeat inflicted on the remnants of Pemberton&rsquos army.

19 May 1863:

First Union attack on Vicksburg defeated

22 May 1863

Second Union attack on Vicksburg defeated. After this second failure, Grant was able to settle down into a regular siege.

27 May 1863

Union attack on Port Hudson, 240 miles south of Vicksburg. Repulsed with heavy losses

June 1863

First week of June sees Lee&rsquos invasion of Pennsylvania start up the Shenandoah Valley.

7 June 1863: Battle of Milliken&rsquos Bend, Louisiana

Defeat of a Confederate force being sent from Louisiana to help at Vicksburg. Most famous for the impressive performance of two recently formed units made up of Black soldiers.

9 June 1863: Battle of Brandy Station.

Largest cavalry battle of the war. A confederate victory in which a large Union cavalry force, sent on to find General Lee, was repulsed after some initial success.

14-15 June 1863: Battle of Winchester (Second), Virginia

Confederate victory in a battle caused by the failure of a federal army to retreat in time.

14 June 1863

Union attack on Port Hudson repulsed with heavy losses.

14 June 1863

General Rosecrans begins a campaign in Tennessee that drives the Confederates back 80 miles in a week, leaving Knoxville and Chattanooga (a key rail junction) exposed to the Union.

1-3 July 1863: Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Defeat of General Lee&rsquos invasion of the North. The confederate army suffered severe casualties, and was never as effective again. Over a third of Lee&rsquos army became casualties.

4 July 1863: Surrender of Vicksburg.

The garrison of 30,000 was released on parole, on the expectation that they would spread gloom around the Confederacy. General Grant was later to say that the surrender of Vicksburg was the decisive event of the war.

9 July 1863

Port Hudson surrenders after news of surrender of Vicksburg reaches the garrison. The North now controls the Mississippi River.

18 July 1863: Battle of Fort Wagner, South Carolina

A failed Union attack during the Charleston campaign. Its significance was the impressive performance of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the north&rsquos elite black regiment. This battle changed the general view of Black soldiers in the north.

16 August 1863

Rosecrans begins the Union campaign against Chattanooga.

3 September 1863

Union forces under General Burnside enter Knoxville

8 September 1863

Confederates evacuate Chattanooga. Confederate General Bragg withdraws to Georgia, where he is soon reinforced.

10 September 1863: Battle of Bayou Forche

Battle just outside Little Rock during the Union conquest of Arkansas that saw the Confederate defenders of the city forced to retreat south.

10-13 September 1863

Bragg attempts to defeat separate parts of Rosecran&rsquos army but is let down by his subordinates.

19-20 September 1863: Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia

The bloodiest battle of the western theatre. A Confederate victory, although not as decisive as it could have been, that resulted in the only Confederate siege of a city at Chattanooga.

October 1863

President Lincoln forms a new Division of the Mississippi, to cover the area between the Mississippi and the Appalachian mountains, partly to improve the command structure at Chattanooga. General Grant is appointed to command the new division. A sizable new Union army is soon formed in the area, including 17,000 men under General Sherman.

14 October 1863: Battle of Bristoe Station,

Confederate army under General Hill attacked one Union force, just to find itself under attack by a second.

28-29 October 1863: Battle of Wauhatchie, Tennessee

Accidental battle that marked the only Confederate attempt to break Grant's 'Cracker Line' feeding supplies into Chattanooga.

Successful delaying action that allowed the Union forces under Burnside to get back inside the defences of Knoxville.

19 November 1863

23 November 1863: Battle of Orchard Knob/ Indian Hill, Tennessee

The first battle of Grant&rsquos attack on Chatanooga. The approaches to the Confederate positions on Missionary Ridge were captured.

24 November 1863: Battle of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

First attack by Grant&rsquos new army forces the Confederate forces off Lookout Mountain.

25 November 1863: Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee

Second Union attack outside Chattanooga that included one of the few occasions in the war where a frontal attack against a fortified position succeeded. The battle breaks the siege of Chattanooga.

29 November 1863: Battle of Knoxville, Tennessee

Failed Confederate assault on the Union positions at Knoxville.

4 December 1863

14 December: Battle of Bean's Station, Tennessee

A minor Confederate victory that ended the serious fighting in the Knoxville campaign.

The Attack

The Hunley’s approach was stealth and by the time they were spotted, it was too late. At about 8:45pm, several sailors on the deck of the USS Housatonic reported seeing something on the water just a few hundred feet away. The officer on the deck thought it might be a porpoise, coming up to blow. As the object approached the ship, the crew realized it was no porpoise. The alarm sounded and the sailors fired their guns, the bullets pinging off the metal hull of the Hunley. Below the surface, the spar torpedo detonated and the explosion blew a hole in the ship. The Housatonic sank in less than five minutes, causing the death of 5 of its 155 crewmen.

Image courtesy of Dan Dowdey.

North Carolina in the Civil War

North Carolina joined the Confederacy on May 20, 1861. It was the second-to-last state to leave the Union. While seven states from the Deep South seceded as a direct result of Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency, North Carolina joined Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas in initially choosing to remain within the Union. After Confederate forces in Charleston, South Carolina fired on the Federal garrison at Fort Sumter in April 1861, however, the state’s position changed dramatically. When Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to crush the rebellion of the southern states that had seceded, North Carolina opted to become one of the eleven states of the Confederacy rather than fight against its neighboring states.

Though the state had officially joined the Confederacy, North Carolinians remained divided over whether to support the Union or Confederate war efforts throughout the Civil War. A large proportion of the state’s white population supported the Confederacy of the approximately 150,000 white men in North Carolina between the ages of 15 and 49 when the Civil War began, almost 125,000 (or more than 80 percent) served in the Confederate Army at some point during the war. Over the course of the war, 24,000 of these men deserted their military units. These numbers only partly reveal the extent of Confederate loyalty in North Carolina, however. In 1862, the Confederate national government passed the first in a series of conscription acts, requiring that physically able men of military age serve in the army. While many of North Carolina’s Confederate soldiers volunteered for service because of a personal commitment to the Confederate cause, others joined the army under threat of imprisonment or death if they refused. Whether they volunteered or were conscripted, North Carolina’s Confederate troops suffered heavily during the Civil War: between 33,000 and 35,000 died in battle, of wounds, or of disease between 1861 and 1865.

From the beginning of the Civil War, several thousand North Carolinians, especially those living in the state’s coastal and mountain regions, remained loyal to the United States and resisted the Confederacy’s control over the state. At least 10,000 white and an additional 5,000 black North Carolinians joined Union army units and fought against the Confederacy. Thousands more North Carolinians refused to be conscripted into Confederate military service or to support the state’s war effort by paying taxes or contributing material. In 1864, William Woods Holden sought election to governor on a peace platform, which proposed that North Carolina abandon the Confederacy and negotiate terms to end the state’s participation in the war. North Carolina’s wartime governors, John W. Ellis, Henry Toole Clark, and Zebulon Vance, struggled to suppress both political dissent and outright resistance to the Confederacy. Tensions between Unionists and Confederate forces culminated in two infamous mass killings. The first occurred in late January or early February of 1863 in Madison County, where members of the 64th North Carolina infantry killed thirteen citizens of the county suspected of being Unionists and deserters from the Confederate Army. A year later in February 1864, Major General George E. Pickett hanged twenty-two North Carolinians captured fighting for the Union after they had deserted the Confederacy.

Due to its geographic location away from major rivers and other strategic objectives, North Carolina saw relatively few significant military campaigns during the Civil War. Until the last year of the war, most military action in the state took place along the Atlantic coast. In the spring of 1862, a Union military force under Major General Ambrose Burnside landed from the sea and captured Hatteras, Roanoke Island, and New Bern. In the spring of 1863, Confederate forces under Lieutenant General James Longstreet attacked Union garrisons in Washington as part of an effort to gather provisions for men and horses before Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia began its Gettysburg campaign. Other major campaigns in the eastern part of the state included the Confederate attack on the Union stronghold at Plymouth from April 17-20, 1864, which resulted in the town’s capture. The port city of Wilmington emerged as an important center for Confederate commerce with Europe, with ships seeking to run the Union blockade often based their operations in that city. As Union forces succeeded in capturing other major Confederate ports, Wilmington remained the final major coastal city under Confederate control. After a combined Union land and naval attack on Fort Fisher, the Confederate fortress defending the city, Wilmington fell to Federal forces on February 22, 1865. As Confederate resistance in other parts of the South collapsed in 1865, North Carolina found itself on the front lines of major military campaigns. In the spring of 1865, the state witnessed the largest battle to take place within its borders, as Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston attacked Union forces under the command of Major General William T. Sherman at Bentonville on March 19, 1865. The disbandment of the Confederacy’s last major field army, the Army of Tennessee, took place when Johnston surrendered to Sherman at Durham Station on April 26, 1865. Despite the lack of major battles in North Carolina, the state’s soldiers saw action in all of the Civil War’s significant military campaigns. In Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, North Carolina troops earned a reputation as determined, steady soldiers, but at a very high cost. North Carolina regiments also participated in campaigns in the war’s western theater. At many major battles, including Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, North Carolina lost more soldiers than any other Confederate state.

The Civil War changed forever the situation of North Carolina’s more than 360,000 African-Americans. At the war’s outbreak, more than 330,000 of the state’s African-Americans were enslaved. As Union armies entered the state’s coastal regions, many slaves fled their plantations to seek the protection of Federal troops. Once within Union lines, they built fortifications and served as domestic laborers, and more than 5,000 African-American men joined Union Army regiments. Many former slaves took the opportunity to leave North Carolina for the North, emigrating to places such as Worcester, Massachusetts during the war years. Under the terms of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, any slave in Confederate-held territory in North Carolina was granted his or her freedom on January 1, 1863. In reality, most of North Carolina’s slave population remained behind Confederate lines and could not receive their freedom until the end of the Civil War. The ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865 permanently ended slavery in North Carolina and the rest of the United States.

Civil War Naval History December 1863 - History

Union Regimental Histories


1st Regiment Cavalry (African Descent)

Organized at Vicksburg. Miss., October 9, 1863. Attached to post of Goodrich Landing, District of Northeast, La., to January, 1864. 1st Brigade, United States Colored Troops, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to March, 1864.

SERVICE.--Duty at Skipwith Landing until January, 1864. Expedition to Tallulah C. H. November 10-13, 1863. Merriweather's Ferry, Bayou Boeuf, Ark., December 13. At Vicksburg until February, 1864. Expedition up Yazoo River February 1-March 8, 1864. Satartia February 7. Occupation of Yazoo City February 9-March 6. Near Yazoo City February 28. Yazoo City March 5. Designation of Regiment changed to 3rd U.S. Colored Cavalry March 11, 1864.

1st Regiment Mounted Rifles

Organized at Memphis, Tenn., March, 1864. Attached to District of Memphis, Tenn., 16th Army Corps, Dept. Tennessee, to June, 1864. 1st Brigade, Cavalry Division, District of West Tennessee, to July, 1864. 1st Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, District West Tennessee, to December, 1864. 1st Brigade, Cavalry Division, District West Tennessee, to June, 1865.

SERVICE.--Duty in the Defenses of Memphis, Tenn., until August, 1864. Expedition from Memphis to Grand Gulf, Miss., July 7-24. Near Bolivar July 6. Port Gibson July 14. Grand Gulf July 16. Smith's Expedition to Oxford, Miss., August 1-31. Tallahatchie River August 7-9. Hurricane Creek August 9. Oxford August 9 and 11. Hurricane Creek August 13-14 and 19. At Memphis and in District of West Tennessee, until December. Grierson's Expedition from Memphis against Mobile & Ohio Railroad December 21, 1864, to January 5, 1865. Verona December 25, 1864. Okolona December 27. Egypt Station December 28. Franklin and Lexington January 2, 1865. Mechanicsburg January 3. The Ponds January 4. Moved from Vicksburg to Memphis and duty there until June, 1865. Expedition from Memphis into Southeast Arkansas and Northeast Louisiana January 26-February 11. Mustered out June 26, 1865.

1st Regiment Heavy Artillery (African Descent)

Organized at Vicksburg, Miss., September 26, 1863. Attached to post of Vicksburg, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to March, 1864. Unassigned, 1st Division, U.S. Colored Troops, District of Vicksburg, to April, 1864.

SERVICE.--Post and garrison duty at Vicksburg, Miss., until April, 1864. Designation changed to 4th U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, March 11, 1864, and to 5th U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery April 26, 1864.

2nd Regiment Heavy Artillery (African Descent)

Organized at Natchez, Miss., September 12, 1863. Attached to post of Natchez, Miss., District of Northeast Louisiana, to January, 1864. Post of Vicksburg, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to March, 1864. District of Natchez, Miss., to April, 1864.

SERVICE.--Garrison duty at Natchez and Vicksburg, Miss., until April, 1864. Skirmish at Vidalia February 7, 1864. Designation changed to 5th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery March 11, 1864, and to 6th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery, April 26, 1864.

1st Regiment Infantry (African Descent)

Organized at Milliken's Bend, La., and Vicksburg, Miss., May 16, 1863. Attached to African Brigade, District of Northeast Louisiana, to July, 1863. Post of Vicksburg, District of Vicksburg, Miss., until March, 1864.

SERVICE.--Duty at Milliken's Bend, La., until July, 1863. Action at Milliken's Bend June 7, 1863. At Vicksburg, Miss., until March, 1864. Action at Ross' Landing, Grand Lake, February 14, 1864. Designation of Regiment changed to 51st U.S. Colored Troops March 11, 1864.

2nd Regiment Infantry (African Descent)

Organized at Vicksburg, Miss., July 27, 1863. Attached to post of Vicksburg, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to March, 1864.

SERVICE.--Post and garrison duty at Vicksburg, Miss., until March, 1864. Expedition to Trinity November 15-16, 1863 (Detachment). Designation of Regiment changed to 52nd U.S. Colored Troops March 11, 1864.

3rd Regiment Infantry (African Descent)

Organized at Warrenton, Miss., May 19, 1863. Attached to African Brigade, District of Northeast Louisiana, to July, 1863. Post Goodrich Landing, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to January, 1864. 1st Brigade, U.S. Colored Troops, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to March, 1864.

SERVICE.--Duty at Milliken's Bend and Goodrich Landing until March, 1864. Haines' Bluff February 3, 1864. Designation of Regiment changed to 53rd U.S. Colored Troops, March 11, 1864.

4th Regiment Infantry (African Descent)

Organized at Vicksburg, Miss., December 11, 1863. Attached to post and District of Vicksburg, Miss., to March, 1864. Post Goodrich Landing, District of Vicksburg March, 1864.

SERVICE.--Post duty at Vicksburg and at Goodrich Landing, until March, 1864. Skirmish at Columbia February 4, 1864. Designation of Regiment changed to 66th U.S. Colored Troops March 11, 1864.

5th Regiment Infantry (African Descent)

Organization not completed.

6th Regiment Infantry (African Descent)

Organized at Natchez, Miss., August 27, 1863. Attached to Post of Natchez, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to January, 1864. Post of Vicksburg, Miss., to March, 1864.

SERVICE.--Post duty at Natchez and Vicksburg, Miss., until March, 1864. Skirmish near Natchez November 11, 1863 (Detachment). Designation of Regiment changed to 58th U.S. Colored Troops March 11, 1864.

Source - "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion" by Frederick H. Dyer (Part 3)

President Abraham Lincoln Frees the Slaves

Lincoln said the proclamation was “essentially a war measure” with “the desired effect of depriving the Confederacy of much of its valuable laboring force.”

On this day in history, September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, freeing more than three million black slaves in the Confederate states as of January 1, 1863.

The bold move recast the Civil War as a struggle against slavery. When the war between the states began not long after Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th president in 1861, he claimed it was not about slavery but about restoring the Union.

Despite pressure from abolitionists and radical Republicans, as well as his personal belief that slavery was morally wrong, he chose to act with prudence until he could gain more widespread support from the general public for an anti-slavery policy.

He told his cabinet in July 1862 that he would issue a formal emancipation of all slaves in any rebel state that did not return to the Union by January 1, 1863. But it would exempt the loyal slaveholding border states. They convinced him not to make an announcement until after a Northern victory on the battlefield.

Five days after the Union armies prevailed at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland, the first major battle to take place in the North and the bloodiest single day in American history, Lincoln declared on September 22 that all slaves in rebel areas within 100 days would be free.

The Emancipation Proclamation

None of the slave states did return to the Union. So Lincoln signed and issued the final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. It took effect and maintained “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

Lincoln is reported to have said: “I never in my life felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper.” It applied only to the states that had seceded from the Union, leaving the slavery of 500,000 blacks in the loyal border states unaffected. It also exempted those parts of the Confederacy under Northern control.

It decreed the freedom of 3,100,000 of the country’s four million enslaved people, and liberated 50,000 immediately, with most of the rest emancipated as the Federal armies moved forward. The proclamation did not make former slaves citizens or compensate slave owners in the South.

“Slaves Forever Free”

It read in part: “That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free . . .

“And the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom. . . .

“Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do . . .

“Order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.”

Legacy of the Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation provided for the recruitment of black military units among Union troops. As the war became one to end legal human bondage, tens of thousands of ex-slaves volunteered for the armed forces. About 180,000 African Americans served in the U.S. Army and 18,000 more in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War.

Anti-slavery nations such as France and Great Britain, which had been friendly to the Confederacy and considered recognizing it as a separate country, now found it difficult to aid the South. Lincoln’s support among the abolitionists also ensured they would not block his re-nomination in 1864. And the Republican Party was strengthened so much that it held power for the next twenty years.

The proclamation was not a law passed by Congress but a presidential order. Therefore, Lincoln favored a constitutional amendment to guarantee its perpetuity. When the 13th Amendment took effect in December 1865, slavery was abolished throughout the nation.

“A New Birth of Freedom”

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, delivered in November 1863, referred to the proclamation and abolition of slavery as a goal of the war with the words “a new birth of freedom.” The proclamation thus added moral force to the Union cause and reinforced it politically and militarily.

The Emancipation Proclamation has assumed its rightful place among the world’s essential documents of human freedom. But Lincoln’s handwritten draft of the final version was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Today, the original, official copy is enshrined in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

The anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was commemorated as a holiday for many years, with the African American Juneteenth festival held in some states to observe it. An original copy of the proclamation was hung in the Oval Office of the White House above a bust of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and near a portrait of Abe Lincoln in 2010.

“The Emancipation Proclamation . . . is valid in law, and will be so held by the courts,” Lincoln wrote. “I think I shall not retract or repudiate it. Those who shall have tasted actual freedom I believe can never be slaves or quasi-slaves again.”

Civil War Naval History December 1863 - History

Civil War Years, 1863, T-Shirts and Souvenirs from the official merchandise of America's Best History.

ABH Travel Tip

National Park Service sites are made available for your enjoyment of the history and recreation opportunities there. Please take time to keep your parks clean and respect the historic treasures there.

Photo above: Statue of John Burns on McPherson Ridge, Gettysburg, the only citizen to fight in the battle. John Burns would personally meet Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863.

Civil War Timeline - Major Battles

For four years from 1861-1865, battles were waged around the landscape of the United States, pitting brother against brother in a Civil War that would change the history of the USA forever. Over 720,000 of our citizens would perish in the battle for state's rights and slavery. Major battles were fought from Pennsylvania to Florida, from Virginia to New Mexico, and in the end, there would be one nation, under God, and indivisible, that last trait in jeopardy through the first half of the 1860's. The battles listed below are considered Class A/B (Decisive/Major) battles by the American Battle Protection Program of the NPS.

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January 1, 1863 - Second Battle of Galveston - Class B. Strength: Union 6 gunboats, unknown infantry Confederates 2 gunboats, unknown infantry. Casualties: Union 400 captured Confederates 143 killed/wounded. Union commander William B. Renshaw blows up a stranded ship USS Westfield Union soldiers on shore thought fleet had surrendered and laid down their arms. Galveston remained the only major port in Confederate hands at the end of the war.

April 30 - May 6, 1863 - Battle of Chancellorsville - Class A.
Strength: Union 134,000, Confederates 60,000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing/Captured): Union 17,287, Confederates 13,303.
Perfect battle plan by General Robert E. Lee with risky split force move triumphs over General Joe Hooker's Union troops, but victory comes at high cost, with loss of General Stonewall Jackson to friendly fire.

May 1, 1863 - Battle of Port Gibson - Class B.
Strength: Union 2 corps Confederates 4 brigades.
Casualties: Union 861 Confederates 787.
Union victory at Port Gibson south of Vicksburg turned the flanks of the Confederate force, causing their retreat into Bayou Pierre, leaving several hundred prisoners behind.

May 3, 1863 - Second Battle of Fredericksburg - Class B.
Strength: Union 27,100 Confederates 12,000.
Casualties: Union 1,100 Confederates 700.
Union Generals Sedgwick and Gibbon attack the center of Marye's Heights, but are repulsed by Barksdale's brigade. Second attack against the flank and center pushes the Confederate force off the hill and back to Lee's Hill.

May 3, 1863 - Battle of Salem Church - Class B.
Strength: Union 23,000 Confederates 10,000.
Casualties: Union 4,611 Confederates 4,935.
Sedgwick, leaving Gibbon behind in Fredericksburg, moves out to join Hooker in Chancellorsville. General Robert E. Lee sends troops to engage, eventually driving the Union back to Fredericksburg, off Marye's Heights, and across the Rappahannock River.

May 12, 1863 - Battle of Raymond - Class B.
Strength: Union 12,000 Confederates 4,400.
Casualties: Union 446 Confederates 820.
Surprised by reinforcements of the Union, the Confederate defeat led to Federal troops reaching the Southern Railroad and preventing supplies from reaching Vicksburg, tightening the siege.

May 14, 1863 - Battle of Jackson, Mississippi - Class B.
Strength: Union 2 corps Confederates 6,000.
Casualties: Union 286 Confederates 850.
Battle meant to defend the troops of Confederate General Johnston as they retreated from Jackson, allowing Union control and ability to cut supply and railroad lines to Vicksburg.

May 16, 1863 - Battle of Champion Hill - Class A.
Strength: Union 32,000 Confederates 22,000 soldiers.
Casualties: Union 2,457 Confederates 3,840.
Three divisions of General Pemberton's Confederate force engage the Union twenty miles from Vicksburg, resulting in a decisive Union victory leading into the Vicksburg siege.

May 17, 1863 - Battle of Big Black River Bridge - Class B.
Strength: Union 3 divisions Confederates 5,000.
Casualties: Union 276 Confederates 1,751, including 1,700 captured.
Retreating from their defeat at Champion Hill, Pemberton defends the east bank of the river, but can not withstand a charge. After crossing the river, Pemberton orders the bridge burned and the Confederate force escapes to Vicksburg.

May 18 - July 4, 1863 - Siege of Vicksburg - Class A.
Strength: Union 77,000 Confederates 33,000.
Casualties: Union 4,835 Confederates 3,202 (killed, wounded, missing), 29,495 (captured).
After driving Pemberton's force from Champion Hill back into Vicksburg, U.S. Grant attempted two major assaults on May 19 and 22, which were repulsed with heavy casualties. A siege ensued for forty days with no reinforcements or supplies, the Confederates surrendered on July 4, one day after the Battle of Gettysburg. The Mississippi River would now be in control of the Union Army for the remainder of the war.

June 9, 1863 - Battle of Brandy Station - Class B.
Strength: Union 11,000 Confederates 9,500.
Casualties: Union 907 Confederates 523.
In the largest predominantly cavalry battle of the war, Union cavalry under Pleasonton attack J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry in inconclusive battle and fail to discover Lee's infantry near Culpeper. Despite that failure, draw in battle proved the effectiveness of the Union cavalry for the first time.

June 13-15, 1863 - Second Battle of Winchester - Class B.
Strength: Union 7,000 Confederates 12,500.
Casualties: Union 4,443, including 4,000 missing or captured Confederates 269.
After the Battle of Brandy Station, Robert E. Lee ordered General Ewell to clear the Shenandoah Valley to precipitate his invasion of Pennsylvania. Ewell attacked the various forts surrounding Winchester, defeating the Union garrison and capturing the city.

July 1-3, 1863 - Gettysburg - Class A.
Strength: Union 104,256 Confederates 71-75,000.
Casualties: Union 23,049 Confederates 23-28,000.
General Robert E. Lee's push into northern territory ends in the largest battle of the war with over fifty thousand casulaties. The ill-fated decision on the Third Day to attack the center of the Union line with Pickett's Charge ends in Confederate defeat and their High Water of the Confederacy would not again venture as deep into northern territory.

May 21 to July 9, 1863 - Siege of Port Hudson - Class A.
Strength: Union 30-40,000 Confederates 7,500.
Casualties: Union 5-10,000 Confederates 1,000 with 6,500 captured.
South of Vicksburg in Louisiana, Union General Banks was ordered to attack Port Hudson and then aid Grant in Vicksburg. His initial assaults failed, resulting in a forty-eight day siege. Both Union and Confederate soldiers suffered heavily from the fighting and disease. With the fall of Vicksburg and a lack of food and supplies, the Confederates surrendered, giving complete control of the Mississippi to the Union.

July 4, 1863 - Battle of Helena - Class B. Strength: Union 4,129 Confederates 7,646. Casualties: Union 239 Confederates 1,649. In an attempt to relieve pressure on Vicksburg, Confederate forces under General Holmes attack the fortifications of the Arkansas town along the Mississippi River. Miscommunication and confusing orders wasted some initial success, and the Confederates would issue a general retreat, securing eastern Arkansas for the Union.

July 17, 1863 - Battle of Honey Springs - Class B.
Strength: Union 3,000 Confederates 6,000.
Casualties: Union 79-200 Confederates 180-500.
In the largest battle in the Indian territory of Oklahoma, the Union victory of General Blunt led to the capture of Fort Smith and the Arkansas River Valley to the Mississippi. Engagement unique in that more Native and African-American soldiers took part than white soldiers.

July 18, 1863 - Second Battle of Fort Wagner - Class B.
Strength: Union 5,000, 6 ironclads Confederates 1,800.
Casualties: Union 1,515 Confederates 174.
Second attempt by the Union, including the 54th Massachusetts black regiment, to take South Carolina Fort Wagner fails when charges on the sixty yard wide approach in the dusk to night battle are reproached by the Confederate defenses.

August 17 - September 9, 1863 - Second Battle of Fort Sumter - Class B.
Strength: Union 413 Confederates 320.
Casualties: Union 117 Confederates 9.
Union General Gilmore bombard the fort and deploy a naval landing party, but are repulsed by P.G.T. Beauregard's men. Confederates remain in control of the fort. During this same period of time, the Union continued to attack Fort Wagner, which succumbed to the attacks.

September 8, 1863 - Second Battle of Sabine Pass - Class B.
Strength: Union 5,000, 4 gunboats, 18 transports Confederates 36 infantry.
Casualties: Union 200 killed/wounded/captured Confederates 0.
Ambitious amphibious assault, largest in U.S. history, planned against well-fortified Confederate location, Fort Sabine/Griffin, with little knowledge of river, ends in overwhelming defeat due to accurate gun barrage from the Confederate fort against the ships.

September 10, 1863 - Battle of Bayou Fourche - Class B.
Strength: Union 12,000 Confederates 7,700.
Casualties: Union 72 Confederates 64.
General Steele captures Little Rock after cavalry battle at the bayou forces Confederate troops back toward the town, which fell that afternoon.

September 19-20, 1863 - Chickamauga - Class A.
Strength: Union 60,000 Confederates 65,000.
Casualties: Union 16,170 Confederates 18,454.
Union troops headed into Georgia after forcing the Confederates out of Chattanooga Confederate troops under General Bragg wanted to force the Union out of Georgia and recapture Chattanooga. After several days of fighting, the Union returned to Chattanooga, defeated, with Bragg's Army now commanding the heights surrounding the city. This was the second most costly battle in the war per casualties after Gettysburg.

October 14, 1863 - Battle of Bristoe Station - Class B.
Strength: Union 8,383 Confederates 17,218.
Casualties: Union 540 Confederates 1,380.
Confederate attack by A.P. Hill's Third Corps is repelled by General Warren's Second Corps. Although a Union victory, Warren would retreat to Centreville and Confederate troops would destroy the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.

October 28-29, 1863 - Battle of Wauhatchie - Class B.
Strength: Union 2 corps Confederates 36 infantry.
Casualties: Union 420 Confederates 408.
Night battle against Brown's Ferry, which provided a supply line for the Union to Chattanooga, is defeated by two corps of Union troops under Generals Hooker and Geary. The supply line, known as the Cracker Line, would hold, leading the way to the Battle of Chattanooga one month later.

November 7, 1863 - Second Battle of Rappahannock Station - Class B.
Strength: Union 2,000 Confederates 2,000.
Casualties: Union 419 Confederates 1,670, including 1,600 captured.
General Early's troops secured the bridgehead defenses through the day, withstanding constant shelling from Sedgewick's artillery. General Lee, thinking the artillery shelling was a feint, was surprised at dusk when a sudden infantry assault secured the bridge, capturing one thousand six hundred men.

November 23-25, 1863 - Chattanooga - Class A. Strength: Union 72,500 Confederates 49,000. Casualties: Union 5,824 Confederates 8,684. Besieged by Confederate troops since the Battle of Chickamauga, U.S. Grant relieved pressure on the siege by opening the Cracker Line for supplies and reinforcements. With a series of attacks on points at Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, the Union prevailed, eliminating Confederate control in Tennessee and setting the stage for Sherman's March to Atlanta in 1864.

November 27 - December 2, 1863 - Battle of Mine Run - Class B.
Strength: Union 81,000 Confederates 48,000.
Casualties: Union 1,272 Confederates 680.
Meade's attempt at a quick strike battle was thwarted by traffic jams, allowing Lee's Second Corps to interdict the Union at Payne's Farm. During the night, Lee built fortifications along the river while Meade planned an artillery assault, then attack the next day. After the artillery barrage, Meade changed his mind, thinking the defenses too strong, and retired to winter quarters at Brandy Station.

November 27, 1863 - Battle of Ringgold Gap - Class B.
Strength: Union 16,000 Confederates 4,200.
Casualties: Union 509 Confederates 221.
The Confederate Army of the Tennessee retreats after defeat at the Battle of Chattanooga with General Cleburne's troops defending the gap with great success against the Union pursuit. Battle allowed safe passage for the majority of the Confederate force Grant decides to call off the pursuit and return to Chattanooga.

November 29, 1863 - Battle of Fort Sanders - Class B.
Strength: Union 440 Confederates 3,000.
Casualties: Union 13 Confederates 813, including 226 captured.
Dawn assault by James Longstreet against tough defenses is repulsed due to poor planning and execution. On December 4, Longstreet would leave Knoxville, ending the campaign to take the city.

Note: Image above: The Battle of Chickamauga painting by Kurz and Allison, 1890. Courtesy Library of Congress. Casualty and troop strength numbers from Wikipedia Commons.

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