United States and American History: 1864 & the Civil War

About the history of the United States in 1864, the Civil War continues, Ulysses S. Grant leads the Union, biography of Nathan Bedford Forrest, Sherman burns Atlanta.


--The motto "In God We Trust" appeared on the 2cent coin

Mar. 10 Ulysses S. Grant assumed command of the Union Army.

Apr. 12 Gen. Nathan Forrest annihilated the garrison at Fort Pillow, Tenn., and set off atrocity charges that resulted in a congressional investigation. The fort was manned by 500 soldiers, half of them Negro. Forrest's cavalry--actually infantrymen who rode to their battles and dismounted to fight--were accused of killing the blacks after they had surrendered.

In his report, Forrest wrote, in his unique phonetic spelling, "We bust the fort at niner-clock and scatered the niggers. The men is still a killanem in the woods...." A millionaire slave-trader and cotton planter before earning his reputation as one of the greatest soldiers of the War, Forrest traditionally gave his foe an ultimatum: Surrender unconditionally, or face being given no quarter. This practice served him badly in the Fort Pillow incident.

His most famous saying, "git thar futest with the mostest min," exaggerates his quaint phraseology. He actually spoke and wrote clearly and graphically most of the time. But, as in his scrawled reply to the soldier who asked a 3rd time for leave, his King's English was not formally spelled: "I tole you twist, godammit know." July 4 A Federal immigrant-labor act was passed. The law guranteed newcomers a 12-month contract and encouraged immigration. July 30 Milestone Battle: Petersburg, Va. Burnside's Pennsylvania regiment of coal miners dug a 586' tunnel beneath the Rebel lines at Elliott's Salient. The blasting of the tunnel, which had been packed with 8,000 lbs. of gun-powder, killed the entire 300-man garrison in the fort above. It created a crater 170' long, 8c' wide, and 30' deep. The Union's black division led by General Ledlie rushed into the crater area and then halted, uncertain what to do next. While thousands of men milled around like cattle, the Rebels returned and began to fire down into the massed troops. The fiasco cost Burnside 4,000 men and his corps command.

Aug. 5 Milestone Battle: Mobile Bay, Ala. Adm. David Farragut--shouting "Damn the torpedoes! Go ahead!"--led an attack to seal off Mobile. The "torpedoes" were what now are called mines--floating casks of gunpowder with contact fuses. They were anchored in a line across the bay's entrance. A narrow passage, unmined, was left by Mobile's defenders, to permit the blockade runners to enter.

Farragut's attack force consisted of 4 iron-clads, 7 wooden sloops-of-war, and 7 gunboats. To each sloop, he lashed a gunboat in tandem.

The lead ironclad, Tecumseh, hit a "torpedo" and sank. The ship following, the Brooklyn, halted and began to reverse. Farragut, seeing that the Brooklyn's retreat imperiled the entire line, gave his famous order, and his flagship, Hartford, pulled out and bypassed the Brooklyn. For whatever reason, the remaining "torpedoes" failed to explode, and Farragut sailed in to defeat the waiting Confederate fleet. Nov. 8 Lincoln was reelected. Defeated Democratic candidate General McClellan received only 21 electoral votes.

Nov. 15 General Sherman left, after burning Atlanta, for his 300-mi. march to the sea. His orders:

A 7 A. M. start, 15 mi. daily

4 columns on 4 parallel roads.

Liberal foraging.

Loading of forage as wagons moved.

Devastate where opposed.

His army cut a swatch 40 to 60 mi. wide, losing only 764 men out of 62,000.

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