Posted on Apr 8, 2017
LTC Stephen F.
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During absolute warfare, the civilian population of the losing side tends to suffer deprivation once the winning side can cut off the lines of supply. Such was the case in 1863, as Richmond, Virginia was faced with a severe bread shortage. Many of the women of the Richmond rioted once bread became scarce. To his credit, CSA Jefferson Davis emptied his pockets of cash to help the common people to be able to buy what little food was available.
Conscription in times of war can bring in a mix of people from those who are prepared to fight to those who would not fight under any circumstances. Since the confederacy had much fewer able men the south was hit harder by personnel shortages in the Civil War. In 1862, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson “was rebuilding his army near Rude’s Hill, just north of New Market, in the Shenandoah Valley. Through this rebuilding, he received an influx of new conscripts, drafted into the Virginia militia and filtered into his Confederate army.
Many of these boys had no desire to fight and so Jackson had a slight mutiny on his hands. The conscription of Virginia men brought into Jackson’s family a wide variety of individuals. Mennonites, Quakers and adherents to other pacifistic religious orders were among them. A few days before the Battle of Kernstown, they had flatly refused to fight. Jackson solved this problem by making those adverse to killing their fellow man teamsters, cooks and laborers.”
By nightfall in 1865, Richmond had fallen. The CSA government was fleeing and chaos was at hand as flames swept through various parts of the city which was the capital of the CSA that morning. People were in shock and dismay.
Tuesday, April 2, 1861: The Fog Over Sumter. “While Washington was reeling from a figurative fog (and the silence that would hang over this day), Fort Sumter woke this morning to a very literal fog, allowing but a few yards of vision in any direction.
Captain Foster, head of the engineers and laborers at the fort, had requested permission from Confederate General Beauregard to allow the noncombatant laborers to leave. This was the only way to buy time for the troops in the fort. Rations were running out. If the mouths of the laborers could be fed by someone else, somewhere else, the garrison could hold out six more days. [1]
Beauregard had received the request and though he was “inclined to object” to the laborers leaving, he telegraphed Confederate Secretary of War Walker, seeking his opinion.
Walker was also of such an inclination. “No portion of the garrison must be permitted to leave unless all go.”
The Secretary detailed this order in a letter sent the same day. He wished for Beauregard to cease with the pleasantries and to “re-establish and rigidly enforce” that status of “hostile forces in the presence of each other, and who may at any moment be in actual conflict.”
Nobody in Montgomery, wrote Walker, put any stock in any promises of surrender from Washington. He believed that reinforcements could be on their way at any time and that Beauregard must keep himself “in a state of the amplest preparation and most perfect readiness.” He was not, of course, to attack the fort unless to repulse a reinforcement effort.
The Confederate Commissioners were still in Washington. Walker forbade any action (apart from what was already mentioned) until they were withdrawn, which would be shortly. After the Commissioners were safely back in the South, specific instructions would be forwarded to the General.
Speaking of the Commissioners, their fingers were on the pulse of the administration.
“The war wing presses on the President; he vibrates to that side… Their form of notice to us may be that of the coward, who gives it when he strikes. Watch at all points.” [2]
[1] Official Records, Series I, Vol. 1, p231.
[2] Official Records, Series I, Vol. 1, p284-285.”
http://civilwardailygazette.com/the-fog-over-sumter/
Wednesday, April 2, 1862: Stonewall Jackson rounds up Pacifists and Unionists “General Stonewall Jackson was rebuilding his army near Rude’s Hill, just north of New Market, in the Shenandoah Valley. Through this rebuilding, he received an influx of new conscripts, drafted into the Virginia militia and filtered into his Confederate army.
Many of these boys had no desire to fight and so Jackson had a slight mutiny on his hands. The conscription of Virginia men brought into Jackson’s family a wide variety of individuals. Mennonites, Quakers and adherents to other pacifistic religious orders were among them. A few days before the Battle of Kernstown, they had flatly refused to fight. Jackson solved this problem by making those adverse to killing their fellow man teamsters, cooks and laborers.
During this time after the battle, another group (or possibly a similar group) flatly refused to answer Jackson’s call. These men came from Rockingham County in the Upper Valley. Rather than fighting, they decided to go into hiding, taking off towards the remoteness of Swift Run Gap. [1]
This is where the story becomes fuzzy. Some historians, like James I. Robertson, claim that it was merely sixty mutineers. Others, like Peter Cozzens, in his book Shenandoah 1862, claim it to be 200. Cozzens also states that it was an “armed resistance.” Not only was it armed, but they supposedly put a levy on neighboring farms. These men apparently opposed the draft due to their Unionist views.
However, Jonas Smucker Hartzler, author of the 1905 book Mennonite Church History, seems to offer a different take (and perhaps an entirely different story). Hartzler relates that a group of seventy Mennonite men from Rockingham County gathered together with plans to cross the mountains into West Virginia [then western Virginia] and Ohio. There, they hoped to wait out the war and return to their homes after it was over.
Hartzler records that these seventy men were captured near Petersburg, [West Virginia] and taken to Staunton and then to Richmond, where they were confined in Libby Prison. Two were able to make their escape and fled back to the Valley to tell their story. [2]
It’s completely possible that Hartzler is talking about a different group of dissenters. His seventy Mennonites were captured at Petersburg, which is northwest of Swift Run Gap, where the participants in the “Rockbridge Rebellion” were reportedly captured.
There was also a smaller group of pacifists, numbering eighteen, who were captured in Moorefield, ten miles north of Petersburg. They were taken first to Mount Jackson and put to work as laborers. Finally, they marched them to Harrisonburg, the Rockingham County seat, and jailed them at the courthouse.
The book The Olive Branch of Peace and Good Will to Men by S. F. Sanger and D. Hays, published in 1907, tells the stories of both Mennonite parties using recollections of those who were captured. [3]
[1] Stonewall Jackson by James I. Robertson, MacMillan Press, 1997.
[2] Mennonite Church History by Jonas Smucker Hartzler, 1905.
[3] If you are interested, the book is fully titled: The Olive Branch of Peace and Good Will to Men; Anti-War History of the Brethren and Mennonites, the Peace People of the South, During the Civil War, 1861-1865. This obscure little tome can be found online, here. The recollections of these two groups begin on page 61. http://civilwardailygazette.com/stonewall-jackson-rounds-up-pacisfists-and-unionists/
Sunday, April 2, 1865: ‘The Rebellion has gone pp’ – The fall of Petersburg and Richmond “I see no prospect of doing more than holding our position here till night,” wrote General Lee to Secretary of War John Breckinridge at 1040am. “I am not certain that I can do that. If I can I shall withdraw to-night north of the Appomattox, and, if possible, it will be better to withdraw the whole line to-night from James River. The brigades on Hatcher’s Run are cut off from us; enemy have broken through our lines and intercepted between us and them, and there is no bridge over which they can cross the Appomattox this side of Goode’s or Beaver’s, which are not very far from the Danville railroad. Our only chance, then, of concentrating our forces, is to do so near Danville railroad, which I shall endeavor to do at once. I advise that all preparation be made for leaving Richmond to-night. I will advise you later, according to circumstances.”
Grant’s assault upon the Confederate lines at Petersburg stepped off at first light. The attack came all along the line, but the breakthrough was southwest of the city itself. Federals crumbled A.P. Hill’s lines, reaching and holding the Boydton Plank road beyond. The brigades referenced by Lee, on Hatcher’s Run, had been cut off by the Union Second Corps, which had managed to push Henry Heth’s troops across the stream. The lines before the city, assailed by the Ninth Corps, however, were holding.
Lee learned of the breakthrough along A.P. Hill’s lines when he, Hill and General Longstreet were meeting at Lee’s headquarters. As they were discussing how to best evacuate the defenses, one of Lee’s staff officers burst through the door to deliver the news. Longstreet walked to the front door, calling later that he espied “as far as the eye could cover in the field, a line of skirmishers in quiet march towards us. It was hardly light enough to distinguish the blue from the gray.”
Hill left without saying a word, returning to his shattered lines to rally his men. But too close he rode to the enemy’s pickets and was gunned down for his efforts. Word soon returned to Lee, who was to have said, “He is now at rest, and we who are left are the ones to suffer.” This only added to the chaos. Longstreet, whose corps had been set in motion to reinforce the Hatcher’s Run line, was placed in charge of Hill’s Corps until Henry Heth might be found.
It was in and around this when Lee wrote Breckinridge. The lines were caved, Hatcher’s Run was lost, there was now only one line of retreat – along the Appomattox. If they could make for the Danville Railroad, there might be some chance of uniting with Joe Johnston in North Carolina. Lee wished to mass his men along those lines and break through.
In Richmond, as he was strolling to church, Jefferson Davis was given a copy of General Lee’s message to the Secretary of War. After entering the church, and when services were in swing, Davis received another message, this one personally to him from Lee.
I think it is absolutely necessary that we should abandon our position to-night. I have given all the necessary orders on the subject to the troops, and the operation, though difficult, I hope will be performed successfully. I have directed General Stevens to send an officer to Your Excellency to explain the routes to you by which the troops will be moved to Amelia Court-House, and furnish you with a guide and any assistance that you may require for yourself.
Davis made his egress, as quietly as possible, but soon word spread through the Richmond streets like wildfire. Davis met with his cabinet amongst this chaos. The entire government had to be folded up, neatly as possible, to be unfolded as quickly as could be done in some other location. As Lee toiled in his own headquarters to construct a plan to vacate his defenses, so too did Davis sequester himself in his own office to do much the same.
“To move to night will involve the loss of many valuables,” wrote Davis to Lee, “both for the want of time to pack and of transportation. Arrangements are progressing, and unless you otherwise advise the start will be made.”
When this message reached Lee, the general, who had displayed amazing calmness throughout, finally and understandably lost his composure. Shredding the note to pieces, Lee said aloud, “I am sure I gave him sufficient notice.” And to another, he spoke, “It has happened as I told them it would at Richmond. The line has been stretched until it has broken.”
By this time, it was a battle for Forts Gregg and Whitworth on the west side of Petersburg. The eastern defenses were holding, as were much of the southern. Longstreet’s men were hurrying toward the forts to establish a defense line in their rear. If the garrison troops could hold, and Longstreet could stake his claim, Lee might be able to slip the whole of his army back into the open. The assaults were crazed and vicious, but more so was the defense. The lines were intertwined and brawling, and the artillery, fired from Fort Whitwoth towards the attackers of Fort Gregg, erupted, adding blood and slaughter.
As the Rebel ammunition dwindled, rocks and spikes were employed. And when even they were in short supply, the Federals were atop the parapets, flooding into Gregg as gore from the countless bodies tossed throughout the work. And then orders from Lee came to evacuate. Longstreet’s men were arriving, a new line was established, and the bleeding staunched for the present.
At 3pm, shortly after the fall of Gregg and Whitworth, General Lee somehow found time to reply to a message from Davis written the day before. He explained, “I have been willing to detach Officers to recruit negro troops and sent in the names of many who are desirous of recruiting companies, battalions or regiments, to the War Department. After receiving the General Orders on that subject, establishing recruiting depots in the several states, I suppose that this mode of raising the troops was preferred – I will continue to submit the names of those who offer for the service and whom I deem competent to the Department; but among the numerous applications which are presented, it is difficult for me to decide who are suitable for this duty – I am glad Your Excellency has made an appeal to the Governors of he states and hope it will have a good effect.”
To Lee, even the loss of Richmond, which at this hour seemed impossible to avoid, did not mean either the loss of the government or the army. If the whole of Virginia fell, the Confederacy and its armies could march on.
Still, in this same letter, Lee went on to describe the events of the past few days, including the loss of Five Forks and the defeat of General Pickett. He gave specifics of where the Federals had pierced his lines that morning, and how their efforts now placed the Union left upon the Appomattox River, “thus enclosing and obliged us to contract our lines to the City.”
Lee cautioned Davis, “I do not see how I can possible help withdrawing from the city to the north side of the Appomattox tonight. There is no bridge over the Appomattox above this point nearer than Goode’s & Bevil’s over which the troops above could cross to the north side and be made available to us – Otherwise I might hold this position for a day or two longer, but would have to evacuate it eventually and I think it better for us to abandon the whole line on the James river tonight if practicable.”
He informed Davis that all was in motion and that he would be better “able to tell by night whether or not we can remain here another day; but I think every hour now adds to our difficulties.”
With word of Longstreet’s timely arrival, Lee sent word to Breckinridge: “I think the Danville road will be safe until to-morrow.” The Secretary showed it to Davis, telling him also that the train for his departure would leave at 8pm.
But as Davis was making his way through the throngs in the streets, Lee sent another message to Breckinridge – this one too late.
It is absolutely necessary that we should abandon our position to-night, or run the risk of being cut off in the morning. I have given all the orders to officers on both sides of the river, and have taken every precaution that I can to make the movement successful. It will be a difficult operation, but I hope not impracticable. Please give all orders that you find necessary in and about Richmond. The troops will all be directed to Amelia Court-House.
The President was headed for Danville, well south of Lynchburg, but Lee wished for supplies to be sent to Amelia, a spot much closer to Richmond than not. This would not have posed a problem, but that it was sent too late. By the time Lee’s message reached Richmond, there was hardly any order left, and the note fell mostly on nonexistent ears.
Davis’ train was halted as the President waited until the last minute for better news from Lee. Nothing came. And at 11pm, the train finally pulled out of the station, chuffing west upon its 120-mile journey to Danville.
Danville, too, was Lee’s destination, though it would be much more harrowing for him than Davis. Once his troops could be assembled south of Lynchburg, they could all make their way to North Carolina and Joe Johnston. Richmond and Petersburg had fallen, but, if all could hold, the war, the country, was not finished.
The Rebels began their formal evacuation at midnight. Back at General Meade’s headquarters, it was obvious. Theodore Lyman, an officer on Meade’s staff whom we’ve visited with much before, wrote only this to his wife an hour before the Rebels began their egress:
[1] Sources: Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 46, Part 3, p1378 – 1382; With Grant & Meade by Theodore Lyman; Papers of Jefferson Davis; The Last Citadel by Noah Andre Trudeau; A Long Shadow by Michael B. Ballard; Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy by Ethan S. Rafuse; The Long Surrender by Burke Davis.))
http://civilwardailygazette.com/the-rebellion-has-gone-up-the-fall-of-petersburg-and-richmond/

Pictures: 1865-04-02 The fall of Richmond, Va. on the night of April 2d. 1865. By Currier & Ives; Texas Cavalry 1862-1864 by Richard Hook; 1863-04-02 Bread Riots in Richmond; 1865-04-02 Petersburg dead photographed on this date 4

A. 1862: William Henry Gillespie was torn between loyalty to the Union and personal allegiance to his previous instructor at Virginia Military Institute – then Major Thomas Jackson. When William reported to Jackson, he was told that he would be commissioned a lieutenant of engineers. However, his commission didn’t come through before his father was arrested for supporting the Union.
In many of the tales, histories, and accounts of the roundups, the name “Gillespie” crops up again and again. This man, who seemed to be everywhere and only go by one name, was the supposed leader of the deserters which were “armed with shotguns and squirrel rifles.” Harry Gilmor, of Turner Ashby’s Cavalry Gilmor’s company pursued Gillespie’s band, who fled to the mountains where the cavalry could not go, and took pot shots at the cavaliers until they left.
B. 1863: The Richmond women’s bread riot. People had moved to the CSA capital in droves. Food was short at times and prices went up in part because of supply and demand and in part because of price gouging by unscrupulous people. The winter of 1862/63 was hard and much of the southern farmland had been ravaged by war. Shortages and price increases peaked in late March and the women [particularly wouldn’t take it any longer so they stormed the cities food supplies. Other people looted whatever wasn’t secured firmly. The riot was termed a “bread riot” by locals though it turned into a general looting session. It was only stopped when the rioters listened to President Jefferson Davis who spoke to them in person and then threw the money in his pockets at them. It was a sufficient gesture to disperse the rioters. The riot ended peacefully, although 44 women and 29 men were arrested.
C. 1864: Cavalry Engagement at Crump's Corner, Red River campaign at 2 PM. Brigadier General Albert Lindley Lee's division of Union cavalry collided with 1,500 arriving Confederate 36th Texas Cavalry Regiment troopers who continued to resist any Union advance. Union intelligence determined that there were additional forces besides Confederate General Richard Taylor and the cavalry up the road from them.
Details: Nathaniel Banks' army followed Taylor and the cavalry into a dense pine forest area away from the river, probably to keep them in their front. Approaching Pleasant Hill, the Union army was excessively strung out due both to the existence of only a few camping areas with water and the lack of monitoring of the position of the rear elements. Taylor kept moving back toward Shreveport.
At the same hour, Federal Col. Arthur P. Bagby, commanding his own, McNeil's and some companies of Bush's newly formed regiment, with a section of the Valverde Battery, was attacked on the road by cavalry, infantry and artillery. He fell back toward Pleasant Hill skirmishing briskly. Other troupes pushed forward supports four and one-half miles to meet him, but the Confederates desisted before sundown and the Federal troops did not quite reach the position.
The Cavalry Division commanded by Gen. A.L. Lee, U.S.A. has this entry for the 2nd of April 1864: "The first, third and fourth brigades, Brig. Gen. Lee commanding, made a reconnaissance to Crump's Hill where the Rebels were encountered and defeated by the first and fourth brigades. Their forces consisted of about 2,000 men, with six pieces of artillery. One officer and 28 men were captured and a number killed and wounded."
D. 1865: General Robert E. Lee had alerted Confederate President Davis of the imminent fall of Petersburg and probable Union invasion of Richmond. Lt Gen U.S. Grant ordered another all-out attack against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia before dawn. A thick fog covered the attackers and the thinly defended Confederate line was broken in many places. CSA Lt. General A.P. Hill, corps commander of the Army of Northern Virginia was killed while rallying his men. When Lee receives this news, he quietly said, “He is at rest now, and we who are left are the ones to suffer.” The Army of Northern Virginia pulled back west to the Amelia Court House, just 40 miles from Richmond.
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SP5 Robert Ruck
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In April 1865 the handwriting was on the wall, in capital letters. Hope was gone but yet those that led the Confederacy continued to look for a way out. I feel for the continued loss of life at this point.
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CPT Civilian Audiologist
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The breach of Petersburg was definitely a definitive moment that spelled the end. However, the bread riot was telling. In the midst of th battles, the economic situation in the south showed that the confederate states could not withstand a sustained conflict. Food was scarce and currancy became practically worthless. It is hard to continue a fight when women and children are starving back home.
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LTC Stephen F.
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The Civil War tore up family relationships and some men turned into bandits particularly in the left while others turned to deserting and heading for the hills in the mountains of the east.
In 1865, the Confederacy was falling apart in most places. CSA Lt. General A.P. Hill, corps commander of the Army of Northern Virginia was killed while rallying his men. Panic swept through the Confederate capital and many evacuated the city. By nightfall, President Davis and the Confederate government were in flight and left for Danville, Virginia aboard a special train. Richmond was set on fire. Retreating Rebel troops set ablaze several huge warehouses and ships to prevent them from being captured by the Federals and the fires soon spread.
Saturday, April 2, 1864: ‘My fear is that they will not be willing to meet us’ – Nathaniel Banks grows eerily optimistic. “When Nathaniel Banks joined his troops and the Navy in Alexandria, Louisiana, waiting for him was a letter from General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant. Having been written on March 15th, it had been waiting for him for some time. And though he read it on March 26th, it took him until this date to fashion some kind of reply.
The gist of Grant’s letter explained in no uncertain terms that Banks’ little campaign wasn’t all that important and needed to be over by the middle of April so that A.J. Smith’s corps could be returned to the Army of the Tennessee for the spring campaign season.
For Grant’s amusement, Banks gave a quick review of where things now stood: General Frederick Steele’s army was marching south from Little Rock, Arkansas, while his own troops (along with A.J. Smith’s) were in Natchetoches, halfway between Alexandria and Shreveport – their apparent objective.
“I do not fear concentration of the enemy at that point,” explained Banks of Shreveport. “My fear is that they may not be willing to meet us there; if not, and my forces are not weakened to too great an extent, I shall pursue the enemy into the interior of Texas, for my sole purpose of destroying or dispersing his forces, if in my power, keeping in view the necessity of the co-operation of some of my troops east of the Mississippi, and losing no time in the campaign in which I am engaged.”
Banks had to know that his over-long and troubling previous sentence wouldn’t sit well with Grant. While Banks tried to assure him that “some of my troops” had expiration dates on their heads, it seemed to all appearances that Banks was more than ready to let his Red River Campaign stretch on indefinitely.
Though it was specifically A.J. Smith’s troops that Grant wanted, he also had plans for Banks’ Army of the Gulf, as well as the Navy accompanying them. Banks was not in any real way an independent commander.
Banks explained that two Rebel strongholds had to be overcome before reaching Shreveport, but again assured Grant that “General Smith’s command will return to Vicksburg on the 15th or 17th of this month.”
This must have been somewhat reassuring, though Banks followed that by explaining that the river had been (and was still) “very low, which has delayed our operations.” Without fully blaming Admiral David Dixon Porter and the Navy, Banks wrote that “the gunboats were not able to cross the rapids at Alexandria until day before yesterday.” Banks meant March 31st, and was being generous. Even on this date, Porter was still dragging vessels across Alexandria Falls.
Most of Porter’s vessels, however, were across, and it was only the transports and random ships that were still struggling. The ironclad USS Mound City, for instance, had spent the day previous helping the Ozark navigate the falls, but on this date, steamed up the river with the [William H.] Brown and [Ike] Hammitt – both steamers – lashed to her sides. A few shoals were struck, but by mid-morning, they were clear and cruising north.
The USS Carondelet, also an ironclad, who had passed through the rapids, her bottom scraping the entire way, only with the help of the Brown, was on this date, pressing forward up the Red River with the Lexington and Chilicothe (a timberclad and ironclad, respectively) following. Around 10:30 that morning, they stopped to destroy a few flatboats.
Both the Mound City and Carondelet were in the rear. That afternoon, the steamer Fort Hindman made her way down the Red River to inform them that the the main fleet was twenty-seven miles ahead of them at Grand Ecore.
Even farther behind was the USS Cricket, a traditional riverboat that had been converted to military use by adding a few guns. She would be one of the last ships to arrive at Grand Ecore – the staging ground for the Navy, just as Banks was staging at nearby Natchetoches. Admiral Porter’s flagship had been the Black Hawk, but on this date, he transfered his flag to the Cricket, and by mid-morning, they were all steaming up the river.
Admiral Porter’s fleet had been held up at the Falls, but were now waiting for General Banks to arrive. Instead, Banks was still in Alexandria. April 2nd was the day that he slated as Election Day. [1] Banks was naturally keen on the idea that Louisiana gather enough delegates to be admitted back into the Union as soon as possible – even if it meant delaying his military campaign.
Flags were hung and cannons were fired, as a plethora of suddenly-loyal (and some actually loyal) citizens gathered to perform their civic duty. In all, 300 votes were cast. It was apparently a large majority of those eligible to vote.
In the end, Banks would blame Admiral Porter and the grounding of the USS Eastport for his failure to join the infantry at Natchetoches until the day following this. In truth, the Eastport had been free of the falls for days and there was no obstruction between Alexandria and Grand Ecore. Even if there had been, Banks was in regular communication with his troops at Natchetoches. [2]
[1] According to Banks’ letter to one of his generals, the elections were held on this date (OR 34.3.19-20), though according to other sources (secondary, mostly), they were held on the 1st.
[2] Sources: Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 34, Part 1, p179-180; Part 3, p20; Official Naval Records, Series 1, Vol. 26, p50, 774, 781, 792; Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, Red River, p335; Red River Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War by Ludwell H. Johnson.
http://civilwardailygazette.com/my-fear-is-that-they-will-not-be-willing-to-meet-us-banks-grows-eerily-optimistic/

Below are several journal entries from 1862, 1863, 1864 and 1865 which shed light on what life was like for soldiers and civilians – the good, the bad and the ugly. … I am including journal entries from Sergeant Alexander G. Downing, Company E, Eleventh Iowa Infantry, Third Brigade, "Crocker's Brigade," Sixth Division of the Seventeenth Corps, Army of the Tennessee for each year. I have been spending some time researching Civil War journals and diaries and editing them to fit into this series of Civil War discussions.
In 1864, Tennessee John Houston Bills writes again in his diary about Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest sleeping at Col Neely’s last night
In 1865, Maj Gen Phil Sheridan gave an account of the Battle of Five Forks: By Sheridan’s original orders (as related by Sheridan), he wanted Ayres and Crawford to attack the Rebel flank squarely and together.
Wednesday, April 2, 1862: Journal of Sergeant Alexander G. Downing, Company E, Eleventh Iowa Infantry, Third Brigade, “Crocker's Brigade,” “It rained all day and we had no drill. The men remained in the tents, reading the Bible, magazines and papers, or writing letters home.”
Thursday, April 2, 1863: Journal of Sergeant Alexander G. Downing, Company E, Eleventh Iowa Infantry, Third Brigade “Crocker's Brigade,” “Weather warm and pleasant. No news.”
Saturday, April 2, 1864: In Bolivar, Tennessee John Houston Bills writes again in his diary from the Pillars, “Gen. Forrest slept at Col Neely’s last night; went on to Jackson today, his army in that direction, some of it west. Capt. Nat Roberts died today of pneumonia.”
Saturday, April 2, 1864: Journal of Sergeant Alexander G. Downing, Company E, Eleventh Iowa Infantry, Third Brigade, “Crocker's Brigade,” “They had a very cold winter here in Iowa and the ground has been frozen so deep that it is slow in thawing out. Farmers, as yet, have sown but little wheat, but they have everything ready to push the seeding as soon as the ground will permit. It is quite pleasant today, but the roads are very muddy yet, and there is no news of any importance.”
Sunday, April 2, 1865: Journal of Sergeant Alexander G. Downing, Company E, Eleventh Iowa Infantry, Third Brigade, “Crocker's Brigade,” “Regular camp routine is the order. We had company inspection this morning besides two hours' drill. A great many of us attended church in town this morning, also in the evening.”

A. Wednesday, April 2, 1862: The Tale of Gillespie, Who Adored Jackson as Well as the Union. “Jackson dispatched several companies to sniff out as many as 500 Unionists and pacifists, who had no desire to fight, most taking refuge in the mountains. Similar actions seemed to happen throughout the army’s time at Rude’s Hill.
In many of the tales, histories, and accounts of the roundups, the name “Gillespie” crops up again and again. This man, who seemed to be everywhere and only go by one name, was the supposed leader of the deserters.
Gillespie was actually Captain William Henry Gillespie, of Jackson’s staff. He had just graduated the Virginia Military Institute and was a favorite of his instructor, Major Jackson (later to become Stonewall Jackson). When Jackson and his army were headquartered in Winchester, Jackson called upon William, who had not yet joined the war effort. William’s father, Dr. James Lee Gillespie, was a Unionist and so it’s probable that his seventeen-year-old son was as well. When William reported to Jackson, he was told that he would be commissioned a lieutenant of engineers.
As time went by, as the army retreated from Winchester, advanced upon Kernstown and retreated again, the commission never came through. William inquired time and again, and finally, when they reached Rude’s Hill, Jackson, probably tired of the boy asking the same question over and over, said that it was being withheld due to his father’s Unionist leanings.
By this time, Dr. Gillespie had been arrested for being a Unionist, been released and then arrested again and was currently held in Orange Court House, from which he would soon escape into Union lines. Later, President Lincoln would personally request that the doctor, William’s father, be taken to his home in the Shenandoah Valley and protected.
The way that William describes it, he simply went home and, being the good son, listened to his mother, who told him to “hide at home until the Union troops could occupy the Valley.” After his desertion, his commission to lieutenancy finally came through.
Though Gillespie claimed after the war that he just went home, another soldier, Harry Gilmor, of Turner Ashby’s Cavalry, wrote just a year after the war (from notes taken in 1862) that the deserters were headed by “a man named Gillespie.” They were “armed with shotguns and squirrel rifles.” Gilmor’s company pursued Gillespie’s band, who fled to the mountains where the cavalry could not go, and took pot shots at the cavaliers until they left.
Unable to capture them, the cavalry returned to General Jackson, who then dispatched Lt. Col. John R. Jones of the 33rd Virginia, to capture whichever group made up the mutiny. Being from Rockingham County, Jones knew the area quite well. He took with him four companies of sharpshooters and two pieces of artillery. “The deserters had mortified in the Blue Ridge,” related an elderly woman living nearby, “but that General Jackson sent a foot company and a critter company to ramshag the Blue Ridge and capture them.”
And ramshagged they were. Unable to coax them out with infantry or cavalry (the apparent “critters”), Lt. Col. Jones ordered the woods to be shelled with artillery. This “greatly increased the panic among the simple mountaineers.” Unable to further resist, many surrendered immediately.
B. Thursday, April 2, 1863: The Richmond women’s bread riot. Riots occurred in Richmond where people were becoming desperate at the economic plight of the Confederacy. Food in particular was in short supply. The riot was termed a “bread riot” by locals though it turned into a general looting session. It was only stopped when the rioters listened to President Jefferson Davis who spoke to them in person and then threw the money in his pockets at them. It was a sufficient gesture to disperse the rioters. The riot ended peacefully, although 44 women and 29 men were arrested.
Details: Nowhere was this felt more than in Richmond. The Confederate capital’s population had exploded following the outbreak of war, tripling its population from pre-war figures. Aristocrats and the social elite that made up the government had taken up residence, making Richmond much like Washington in the North. In addition, refugees, wounded soldiers and criminals followed. While the elite planter class always did well, the women whose husbands were serving and the widows whose husbands had died did not.
Over the winter, food had become a concern. Much of the farmland had been destroyed by the war waged for Southern independence. With the scarcity of crops came higher prices. These prices were edged even higher by speculators looking to make a quick buck.
This rapid inflation drove prices for essentials like flour and sugar beyond the means of anyone who wasn’t part of the upper class. Women who survived off of whatever their husbands sent home, mothers who had to take menial jobs to make ends meet, and factory workers were not paid enough to match the explosion of costs.
Some women turned to begging in the streets, while still others turned to prostitution. Such were the unforeseen side effects of waging a war beyond their new nation’s means.
Through March, needed goods and supplies still trickled into Richmond. To be sure, there was a scarcity, but there was not yet an emergency. And then came the snows, dumping eight inches across the countryside and bringing everything but want and hunger to a dead stop. For ten days it fell, until March 29th, when people could again leave their homes in search of their next meal.
When prices rocketed even higher in the last week of March, the Confederate government decided it would best to commandeer the food from the farmers as they brought it into Richmond to sell. To the farmers, this was thievery, and so they simply stopped coming into the city.
Prices went up again and it became a luxury not to starve to death. The word “famine” was tossed around openly by rich and poor alike, the latter actually experiencing it, while the formers’ lives changed little. Amidst the hunger and privations, President Jefferson Davis, one of the richest men in the South, decreed March 27th as a day of fasting and prayer. Many saw this as a slap in the face. Weren’t they already fasting? Hadn’t they already prayed? This is what possibly touched off the events of April 2.
In the morning of this date, several hundred women and children met at a Baptist Church in the Oregon Hill section of the city to figure out how they were supposed to feed themselves and their emaciated children. They talked over their situation and decided to take up their plight with Governor John Letcher, who lived in a mansion on Capital Square.
As the women and their children marched towards Governor Letcher’s home, several hundred more women and children joined them. By the time they reached the square, rumor had it that they would receive satisfaction or they would take it by force.
A delegation of women was selected to confront the governor. But when they entered, his aide told them that Letcher was already at work and couldn’t meet with them now. When they pleaded that the food in Richmond be sold to them at government rates, the aide could do nothing and kicked them out of the house.
This infuriated the gathered throngs, now numbering in the thousands. A woman named Mary Jackson led them towards the business district. Rather than starve, they would turn to what the soldiers, both north and south, might refer to as “foraging.”
They broke open storehouses and helped themselves and each other to everything. Those who did not take part in the foraging, cheered the ladies on. The head of the local YMCA, Col. William Munford, invited in as many ladies as he could, giving them all the food he was able to provide. This could not, of course, feed everyone, and most continued to do the needful.
Some even joined the rioters to loot nonessentials. Of course, much was made of this, but largely, what happened was due to the very real fear of starvation.
As this tumultuous morning was reaching its crescendo, Governor Letcher finally decided that these women meant business. He put in an appearance, trying to put them in their place and get them to behave, but it was far too late. Before long, a column of Confederate troops was dispatched to deal with the crowd. They pushed back the ladies and made way for President Jefferson Davis, who had come to talk some sense into the rioting women.
The President climbed atop a cart between the ladies and the soldiers. He was greeted with epithets and hisses. Without acknowledging them, he demanded that the crowd immediately disperse. He told them that this riot would cause farmers to refuse to bring food into the city again (as if his own measures hadn’t already accomplished that).
He then took out his wallet and in a fit of arrogant audacity, flung his money at the crowd. This brought fevered cries for “bread,” “no more starvation,” and even “Union.” Seeing that this was not working, that he could not literally throw money at the problem to make it go away, he ordered the troops to load their weapons and fire into the crowd of women and children if they did not leave the square and return to their homes in five minutes.
At first it seemed to many that he was bluffing. But as the minutes ticked by, they realized that perhaps this man, this oblivious aristocrat, would indeed do such a thing. Before the time was up, the crowd had dispersed. Many had gotten enough to feed themselves and their families, and from the beginning, that was the point.
For the rest of the day, the government officials met and did everything they could do to convince themselves that there really wasn’t a serious food shortage, that this mob was mostly made up of criminals out to take whatever they could get. They city council ruled that the entire riot was “in reality instigated by devilish and selfish motives.”
C. Saturday, April 2, 1864: Cavalry Engagement at Crump's Corner, Red River campaign. Brigadier General Albert Lindley Lee's division of Union cavalry collided with 1,500 arriving 36th Texas Cavalry Regiment troopers. These Confederates would continue to resist any Union advance. Union intelligence, meanwhile, had determined that there were additional forces besides Confederate General Richard Taylor and the cavalry up the road from them. All of the senior Union officers expressed doubts that there would be any serious Confederate opposition, except for the naval flotilla. Banks' army followed Taylor and the cavalry into a dense pine forest area away from the river, probably to keep them in their front. Approaching Pleasant Hill, the Union army was excessively strung out due both to the existence of only a few camping areas with water and the lack of monitoring of the position of the rear elements. Taylor kept moving back toward Shreveport.
To quote Gen. Taylor, "Col. Debray received the order at 2 p.m. (April 1), but for some reason did not leave Many until 6 p.m. On the 2nd instant he suddenly encountered the enemy in superior force. Like a gallant veteran he made fight at once, returned to the main road, and fell back until he met my infantry. This infantry had advanced about four and one-half miles out of Pleasant Hill as a precaution."
At the same hour, Federal Col. Arthur P. Bagby, commanding his own, McNeil's and some companies of Bush's newly formed regiment, with a section of the Valverde Battery, was attacked on the road by cavalry, infantry and artillery. He fell back toward Pleasant Hill skirmishing briskly. Other troupes pushed forward supports four and one-half miles to meet him, but the Confederates desisted before sundown and the Federal troops did not quite reach the position.
The Cavalry Division commanded by Gen. A.L. Lee, U.S.A. has this entry for the 2nd of April 1864: "The first, third and fourth brigades, Brig. Gen. Lee commanding, made a reconnaissance to Crump's Hill where the Rebels were encountered and defeated by the first and fourth brigades. Their forces consisted of about 2,000 men, with six pieces of artillery. One officer and 28 men were captured and a number killed and wounded." This account of the battle was researched by Robert Gentry publisher of The Sabine Index.
It was about 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon of the 2nd of April 1864 at Crump's Corner, near the present village of Marthaville that this skirmish took place. During this skirmish, a Confederate soldier about 18 or 20 years old, was cut off from his unit. Seeing that he could not rejoin his unit, he proceeded on foot toward Pleasant Hill to join other Confederate forces.
Background: By March 31, Banks's men had reached Natchitoches, only 65 miles south of Shreveport. Franklin's men had been delayed most of a week by rain, but it had not mattered because Admiral Porter had a similar delay trying to get his heaviest gunboats over the falls at Alexandria, which was covered with mines because the river had failed to achieve its seasonal rise in water level. Porter had also spent time gathering cotton in the interior, and Banks had conducted an election in the interim. Taylor now stationed himself 25 miles northwest at Pleasant Hill, still with fewer than 20,000 men. Once Banks had assembled more supplies, he continued advancing a week later. Constant cavalry and naval skirmishing had been going on since March 21.
D. Sunday, April 2, 1865: General Grant orders another all-out attack against Lee’s army before dawn. A thick fog covers the attackers and the thinly defended Confederate line is broken in many places. Lt. General A.P. Hill, corps commander of the Army of Northern Virginia (CSA) is killed while rallying his men. When Lee receives this news, he quietly said, “He is at rest now, and we who are left are the ones to suffer.” The Army of Northern Virginia pulls back west to the Amelia Court House, just 40 miles from Richmond. Panic sweeps through the Confederate capital and many evacuate the city. By nightfall, President Davis and the Confederate government are in flight and leave for Danville, Virginia aboard a special train. Richmond is set on fire. Retreating Rebel troops set ablaze several huge warehouses and ships to prevent them from being captured by the Federals and the fires soon spread. Looting and a general breakdown in law and order occur. Grant’s men now occupy Petersburg. There was nothing between Petersburg and Richmond to stop the approach of Union forces. This has been a ten-month siege at Petersburg, and many young men have died here. Today an estimated 7,750 more casualties are added to the many thousands that have already died here (US 3,500; CS 4,250).
Background: Union troops were especially successful yesterday at Five Forks, where nearly 50% of the Confederate force there were taken prisoner defending Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia. Today, General Robert E. Lee (CSA) warns Confederate President Davis of the imminent fall of Petersburg and probable Union invasion of Richmond.

Pictures: 1864-04-02 USS Carondelet; 1864-04-02 USS Cricket – Admiral Porter’s new flagship; 1865-04-02 The Breakthrough at Petersburg map; 1865-04-02 Petersburg dead photographed on this date 7


1. Wednesday, April 2, 1862: Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston prepares his forces in Corinth, Mississippi to attack Union forces at Pittsburg Landing the next day. The Federal forces, under the command of a failed Illinois businessman with a reputation for drunkenness, were coming up the Tennessee River to camp at a place called Pittsburg Landing. Johnston and his men would march there, fight them, and throw Ulysses S. Grant and his Yankees back into the river.
https://sites.google.com/site/civilwarhardemancotn/departments/department-b/part-fifty-one
2. Wednesday, April 2, 1862: Along the Mississippi River, tornadoes cause extensive damage to military installations from Cairo, Illinois to New Madrid, Missouri.
https://sites.google.com/site/civilwarhardemancotn/departments/department-b/part-fifty-one
3. Saturday, April 2, 1864: Confederates destroyed two lighthouses at Cape Lookout, North Carolina.
https://sites.google.com/site/civilwarhardemancotn/departments/1864/week-155
4. Saturday, April 2, 1864: In Bolivar, Tennessee John Houston Bills writes again in his diary from the Pillars, “Gen. Forrest slept at Col Neely’s last night; went on to Jackson today, his army in that direction, some of it west. Capt. Nat Roberts died today of pneumonia.”
https://sites.google.com/site/civilwarhardemancotn/departments/1864/week-155
5. Saturday, April 2, 1864: Fighting broke out between both sides at Crump’s Hill (Piney Woods), Louisiana in the Red River Campaign and at Spoonville/Antoine, Arkansas on the Wolf Creek.
https://sites.google.com/site/civilwarhardemancotn/departments/1864/week-155
6. Sunday, April 2, 1865: In Selma, Alabama, Union troops rounded up hundreds of prisoners, but hundreds more escape in the darkness down the Burnsville Road. These included Confederate Generals Forrest, Armstrong, and Roddey. To the west, many Confederate soldiers continue to fight the pursuing Union soldiers all the way to the eastern side of Valley Creek. They then escape in the darkness by swimming the Alabama River near the mouth of Valley Creek. General James H. Wilson (US) lost 359 men in the battle, while General Forrest (CSA) lost over 2,700 casualties, mostly prisoners and 32 artillery pieces.
https://sites.google.com/site/civilwarhardemancotn/departments/1865/week-207

A Wednesday, April 2, 1862: The Tale of Gillespie, Who Adored Jackson as Well as the Union. “Jackson dispatched several companies to sniff out as many as 500 Unionists and pacifists, who had no desire to fight, most taking refuge in the mountains. Similar actions seemed to happen throughout the army’s time at Rude’s Hill. [4]
In many of the tales, histories, and accounts of the roundups, the name “Gillespie” crops up again and again. This man, who seemed to be everywhere and only go by one name, was the supposed leader of the deserters.
Gillespie was actually Captain William Henry Gillespie, of Jackson’s staff. He had just graduated the Virginia Military Institute and was a favorite of his instructor, Major Jackson (later to become Stonewall Jackson). When Jackson and his army were headquartered in Winchester, Jackson called upon William, who had not yet joined the war effort. William’s father, Dr. James Lee Gillespie, was a Unionist and so it’s probable that his seventeen year old son was as well. When William reported to Jackson, he was told that he would be commissioned a lieutenant of engineers.
As time went by, as the army retreated from Winchester, advanced upon Kernstown and retreated again, the commission never came through. William inquired time and again, and finally, when they reached Rude’s Hill, Jackson, probably tired of the boy asking the same question over and over, said that it was being withheld due to his father’s Unionist leanings.
By this time, Dr. Gillespie had been arrested for being a Unionist, been released and then arrested again and was currently held in Orange Court House, from which he would soon escape into Union lines. Later, President Lincoln would personally request that the doctor, William’s father, be taken to his home in the Shenandoah Valley and protected.
The way that William describes it, he simply went home and, being the good son, listened to his mother, who told him to “hide at home until the Union troops could occupy the Valley.” After his desertion, his commission to lieutenancy finally came through. [5]
Though Gillespie claimed after the war that he just went home, another soldier, Harry Gilmor, of Turner Ashby’s Cavalry, wrote just a year after the war (from notes taken in 1862) that the deserters were headed by “a man named Gillespie.” They were “armed with shotguns and squirrel rifles.” Gilmor’s company pursued Gillespie’s band, who fled to the mountains where the cavalry could not go, and took pot shots at the cavaliers until they left.
Unable to capture them, the cavalry returned to General Jackson, who then dispatched Lt. Col. John R. Jones of the 33rd Virginia, to capture whichever group made up the mutiny. Being from Rockingham County, Jones knew the area quite well. He took with him four companies of sharpshooters and two pieces of artillery. [6] “The deserters had mortified in the Blue Ridge,” related an elderly woman living nearby, “but that General Jackson sent a foot company and a critter company to ramshag the Blue Ridge and capture them.”
And ramshagged they were. Unable to coax them out with infantry or cavalry (the apparent “critters”), Lt. Col. Jones ordered the woods to be shelled with artillery. This “greatly increased the panic among the simple mountaineers.” Unable to further resist, many surrendered immediately. [7]
William Gillespie, called by Jackson’s topographer, Jedediah Hotchkiss, “a tigrous looking fellow,” evaded capture for another two weeks. [8]
[4] Greene County, Virginia: A Brief History by Donald D. Covey, History Press, 2007.
[5] The Military History of the Virginia Military Institute from 1839 to 1865 by Jennings Cropper Wise, J. P. Bell, 1915. This is Gillespie’s entry in the VMI Roster Database. Also, you can read a bit more about William’s father here.
[6] Four Years in the Saddle by Harry Gilmor, Harper & Bros., 1866.
[7] Four Years in the Stonewall Brigade by John Overton Casler, 1906.
[8] Make Me a Map of the Valley by Jedediah Hotchkiss, edited by Archie P. MacDonald, Southern Methodist University Press, 1973.
http://civilwardailygazette.com/stonewall-jackson-rounds-up-pacisfists-and-unionists/
B Thursday, April 2, 1863: Riots occurred in Richmond where people were becoming desperate at the economic plight of the Confederacy. Food in particular was in short supply. The riot was termed a “bread riot” by locals though it turned into a general looting session. It was only stopped when the rioters listened to President Jefferson Davis who spoke to them in person and then threw the money in his pockets at them. It was a sufficient gesture to disperse the rioters. The riot ended peacefully, although 44 women and 29 men were arrested.
https://sites.google.com/site/civilwarhardemancotn/departments/department-c/part-one-hundred-three
B+ Thursday, April 2, 1863: The Richmond women’s bread riot. “The Confederate army and cause were victorious upon the field of battle throughout much of 1862, culminating in the resounding victory at Fredericksburg in December. But the winter of 1863 had been an undeniably harsh one, especially to the women left behind by those fighting the war.
Nowhere was this felt more than in Richmond. The Confederate capital’s population had exploded following the outbreak of war, tripling its population from pre-war figures. Aristocrats and the social elite that made up the government had taken up residence, making Richmond much like Washington in the North. In addition, refugees, wounded soldiers and criminals followed. While the elite planter class always did well, the women whose husbands were serving and the widows whose husbands had died did not.
Over the winter, food had become a concern. Much of the farmland had been destroyed by the war waged for Southern independence. With the scarcity of crops came higher prices. These prices were edged even higher by speculators looking to make a quick buck.
This rapid inflation drove prices for essentials like flour and sugar beyond the means of anyone who wasn’t part of the upper class. Women who survived off of whatever their husbands sent home, mothers who had to take menial jobs to make ends meet, and factory workers were not paid enough to match the explosion of costs.
Some women turned to begging in the streets, while still others turned to prostitution. Such were the unforeseen side effects of waging a war beyond their new nation’s means.
Through March, needed goods and supplies still trickled into Richmond. To be sure, there was a scarcity, but there was not yet an emergency. And then came the snows, dumping eight inches across the countryside and bringing everything but want and hunger to a dead stop. For ten days it fell, until March 29th, when people could again leave their homes in search of their next meal.
When prices rocketed even higher in the last week of March, the Confederate government decided it would best to commandeer the food from the farmers as they brought it into Richmond to sell. To the farmers, this was thievery, and so they simply stopped coming into the city.
Prices went up again and it became a luxury not to starve to death. The word “famine” was tossed around openly by rich and poor alike, the latter actually experiencing it, while the formers’ lives changed little. Amidst the hunger and privations, President Jefferson Davis, one of the richest men in the South, decreed March 27th as a day of fasting and prayer. Many saw this as a slap in the face. Weren’t they already fasting? Hadn’t they already prayed? This is what possibly touched off the events of April 2.
In the morning of this date, several hundred women and children met at a Baptist Church in the Oregon Hill section of the city to figure out how they were supposed to feed themselves and their emaciated children. They talked over their situation and decided to take up their plight with Governor John Letcher, who lived in a mansion on Capital Square.
As the women and their children marched towards Governor Letcher’s home, several hundred more women and children joined them. By the time they reached the square, rumor had it that they would receive satisfaction or they would take it by force.
A delegation of women was selected to confront the governor. But when they entered, his aide told them that Letcher was already at work and couldn’t meet with them now. When they pleaded that the food in Richmond be sold to them at government rates, the aide could do nothing and kicked them out of the house.
This infuriated the gathered throngs, now numbering in the thousands. A woman named Mary Jackson led them towards the business district. Rather than starve, they would turn to what the soldiers, both north and south, might refer to as “foraging.”
They broke open storehouses and helped themselves and each other to everything. Those who did not take part in the foraging, cheered the ladies on. The head of the local YMCA, Col. William Munford, invited in as many ladies as he could, giving them all the food he was able to provide. This could not, of course, feed everyone, and most continued to do the needful.
Some even joined the rioters to loot nonessentials. Of course, much was made of this, but largely, what happened was due to the very real fear of starvation.
As this tumultuous morning was reaching its crescendo, Governor Letcher finally decided that these women meant business. He put in an appearance, trying to put them in their place and get them to behave, but it was far too late. Before long, a column of Confederate troops was dispatched to deal with the crowd. They pushed back the ladies and made way for President Jefferson Davis, who had come to talk some sense into the rioting women.
The President climbed atop a cart between the ladies and the soldiers. He was greeted with epithets and hisses. Without acknowledging them, he demanded that the crowd immediately disperse. He told them that this riot would cause farmers to refuse to bring food into the city again (as if his own measures hadn’t already accomplished that).
He then took out his wallet and in a fit of arrogant audacity, flung his money at the crowd. This brought fevered cries for “bread,” “no more starvation,” and even “Union.” Seeing that this was not working, that he could not literally throw money at the problem to make it go away, he ordered the troops to load their weapons and fire into the crowd of women and children if they did not leave the square and return to their homes in five minutes.
At first it seemed to many that he was bluffing. But as the minutes ticked by, they realized that perhaps this man, this oblivious aristocrat, would indeed do such a thing. Before the time was up, the crowd had dispersed. Many had gotten enough to feed themselves and their families, and from the beginning, that was the point.
For the rest of the day, the government officials met and did everything they could do to convince themselves that there really wasn’t a serious food shortage, that this mob was mostly made up of criminals out to take whatever they could get. They city council ruled that the entire riot was “in reality instigated by devilish and selfish motives.”
To keep this little smudge off the record, Secretary of War James Seddon forbade the newspapers to print anything about it. And for the war effort, the next day’s Richmond Dispatch featured an article about the “Sufferings in the North.”
The next day, with the misleading (and misled) papers on the racks, some women returned to the streets, again demanding they not starve to death. They were met with the threat of artillery and promptly dispersed.
Though oblivious to the actual sufferings of the lower classes, the riot made the Richmond and Confederate officials take notice. While they refused to admit that the riot was caused by anything other than criminals and probably Yankee spies, a week later, $24,000 was allotted to feed the hungry. Not surprisingly, once the starving women and children were fed, the threat of riots disappeared.
At least, that’s how it ended in Richmond. Similar such riots were cropping up all over the South. In Mobile, throughout Georgia, and North Carolina, women took it upon themselves to provide for their families. Spring of 1863 was the very opposite of the model picture of a united South. [1]
[1] Sources: Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War by Andrew F. Smith; The Confederate State of Richmond: A Biography of the Capital by Emory M. Thomas.
http://civilwardailygazette.com/the-richmond-womens-bread-riot/
C Saturday, April 2, 1864: Red River campaign. By March 31, Banks's men had reached Natchitoches, only 65 miles south of Shreveport. Franklin's men had been delayed most of a week by rain, but it had not mattered because Admiral Porter had a similar delay trying to get his heaviest gunboats over the falls at Alexandria, which was covered with mines because the river had failed to achieve its seasonal rise in water level. Porter had also spent time gathering cotton in the interior, and Banks had conducted an election in the interim. Taylor now stationed himself 25 miles northwest at Pleasant Hill, still with fewer than 20,000 men. Once Banks had assembled more supplies, he continued advancing a week later.
Constant cavalry and naval skirmishing had been going on since March 21. On April 2, Brigadier General Albert Lindley Lee's division of Union cavalry collided with 1,500 arriving Confederate Texas cavalrymen. These Confederates would continue to resist any Union advance. Union intelligence, meanwhile, had determined that there were additional forces besides Taylor and the cavalry up the road from them. All of the senior Union officers expressed doubts that there would be any serious Confederate opposition, except for the naval flotilla. Banks' army followed Taylor and the cavalry into a dense pine forest area away from the river, probably to keep them in their front. Approaching Pleasant Hill, the Union army was excessively strung out due both to the existence of only a few camping areas with water and the lack of monitoring of the position of the rear elements. Taylor kept moving back toward Shreveport.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_River_Campaign
C+ Saturday, April 2, 1864: On the evening of the 1st of April 1864 Confederate General Richard Taylor was at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana awaiting the arrival of Texas Cavalry units, some of which had arrived the day before. Taylor knew that the Federals had advanced almost to Crump's Hill, or Crump's Corners near Marthaville, so he ordered most of the Texas Cavalry to report to Mansfield by way of Logansport.
Col. Xavier B. Debray's brigade had crossed at Sabinetown with escort to order him to push on before day and join him without delay.
To quote Gen. Taylor, "Col. Debray received the order at 2 p.m. (April 1), but for some reason did not leave Many until 6 p.m. On the 2nd instant he suddenly encountered the enemy in superior force. Like a gallant veteran he made fight at once, returned to the main road, and fell back until he met my infantry. This infantry had advanced about four and one-half miles out of Pleasant Hill as a precaution."
At the same hour, Federal Col. Arthur P. Bagby, commanding his own, McNeil's and some companies of Bush's newly formed regiment, with a section of the Valverde Battery, was attacked on the road by cavalry, infantry and artillery. He fell back toward Pleasant Hill skirmishing briskly. Other troupes pushed forward supports four and one-half miles to meet him, but the Confederates desisted before sundown and the Federal troops did not quite reach the position.
The Cavalry Division commanded by Gen. A.L. Lee, U.S.A. has this entry for the 2nd of April 1864: "The first, third and fourth brigades, Brig. Gen. Lee commanding, made a reconnaissance to Crump's Hill where the Rebels were encountered and defeated by the first and fourth brigades. Their forces consisted of about 2,000 men, with six pieces of artillery. One officer and 28 men were captured and a number killed and wounded." This account of the battle was researched by Robert Gentry publisher of The Sabine Index.
It was about 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon of the 2nd of April 1864 at Crump's Corner, near the present village of Marthaville that this skirmish took place. During this skirmish, a Confederate soldier about 18 or 20 years old, was cut off from his unit. Seeing that he could not rejoin his unit, he proceeded on foot toward Pleasant Hill to join other Confederate forces.
A short distance from where the battle was raging was the home of WILLIAM HODGE BARNHILL. He and his younger sons were in the field preparing it for planting for the coming season. They lived on land he had purchased from the U.S. Government in 1852, which is located near the town of Marthaville. William's wife and daughters were on the porch of the house shelling peas for their evening meal. The fighting came very close to the Barnhill farm and shelling could be heard by the women coming from the direction of Belmont. When the fighting commenced the women of the family became frightened and retreated into the house.
Before much time had passed the women saw a young Rebel soldier walking toward their house. They hurried onto the porch to greet and talk with him. He was hot and thirsty. His clothes, the once beautiful grey of the Confederate uniform, were in tatters. He came up to the house and asked for water and the way to Pleasant Hill. They directed him to the nearby spring where they obtained all their water and gave him directions to Pleasant Hill. The young soldier got a drink from the spring and proceeded on his way toward Pleasant Hill.
A few minutes later, the Barnhill women saw three Yankees soldiers on horseback come charging up to the house. They asked the women if they had seen the Rebel soldier. In an effort to protect the young Rebel soldier, the ladies told them that the Rebel had proceeded in the opposite direction from where he had actually gone. Being suspicious the Federal soldiers searched up the road from the spring. They took off in haste after him. A few moments later from the front porch the Barnhill ladies heard three successive shots ring out thru the forest.
Later in the afternoon when the men came home from the fields, the women related to them the astonishing events that had occurred earlier in the day. The boys of the family immediately rushed off up the road in search of the Rebel soldier. They found him dead. He had been shot three times.
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/27327575
D Sunday, April 2, 1865: Union troops were especially successful yesterday at Five Forks, where nearly 50% of the Confederate force there were taken prisoner defending Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia. Today, General Robert E. Lee (CSA) warns Confederate President Davis of the imminent fall of Petersburg and probable Union invasion of Richmond. General Grant orders another all-out attack against Lee’s army before dawn. A thick fog covers the attackers and the thinly defended Confederate line is broken in many places. Lt. General A.P. Hill, corps commander of the Army of Northern Virginia (CSA) is killed while rallying his men. When Lee receives this news, he quietly said, “He is at rest now, and we who are left are the ones to suffer.” The Army of Northern Virginia pulls back west to the Amelia Court House, just 40 miles from Richmond. Panic sweeps through the Confederate capital and many evacuate the city. By nightfall, President Davis and the Confederate government are in flight and leave for Danville, Virginia aboard a special train. Richmond is set on fire. Retreating Rebel troops set ablaze several huge warehouses and ships to prevent them from being captured by the Federals and the fires soon spread. Looting and a general breakdown in law and order occur. Grant’s men now occupy Petersburg. There was nothing between Petersburg and Richmond to stop the approach of Union forces. This has been a ten-month siege at Petersburg, and many young men have died here. Today an estimated 7,750 more casualties are added to the many thousands that have already died here (US 3,500; CS 4,250).
https://sites.google.com/site/civilwarhardemancotn/departments/1865/week-207
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