Monday, February 26, 2024

Today in History (general history)/ On This Day in Confederate History/ Confederate General Birthdays, Feb. 26.

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1861: Federal troops evacuate in Texas: Future Confederate General E. Kirby Smith, but still a major in the U.S. Army with the 2nd U.S. Cavalry and in command of Camp Colorado, Texas, abandoned the camp on this day. He had previously refused to surrender it to Texas State Troops under Colonel Benjamin McCulloch. Another future Confederate general, but then as a U.S. Army general, Gen. David E. Twiggs had agreed to the evacuation of all troops, and the surrender of all installations and property, to the Texas States Troops.
Unidentified Pvt. in the 1st Tex. Inf.

(Library of Congress)

1862: New Orleans Campaign: The "Committee of Safety" in New Orleans reports to President Davis that the Navy Department's finances are deplorable and inhibiting enlistments and the payment of debts that are owed by the government.

1863: Confederate partisans near Woodburn, Tennessee capture a Federal supply train and confiscate 200 mules as well as commercial and military stores. They then burn the train.

1864: Private John S. Jackman of the 9th Kentucky Infantry in the famed "Orphan Brigade," writes in his diary that at Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia there is sharpshooting and skirmishing during the day, but otherwise it has been relatively quiet.
An unidentified Kentucky Confederate
with 2 revolvers. (Library of Congress)



Sunday, February 25, 2024

Today in History (general history)/ On This Day in Confederate History/ Confederate General Birthdays, Feb. 25.

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1863: There is minor skirmishing going on in Virginia at Winchester, Hartwood Church, Chantilly, and Strasburg. At Charleston, South Carolina, inflation is making life hard for civilians, including a loaf of bread costing $25 and a barrel of flour $65.

1864: First Battle of Dalton, Ga.: Fighting on this day is reported near Dalton, Georgia,  and the Federals had to retreat. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston commanded about 40,000 soldiers in the Army of Tennessee. Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas commanded about 25,000 bluecoats in the Army of the Cumberland. Confederate casualties amounted to 140 and Federals lost about 300.

1865: Last Charge of the Army of Tennessee: Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was appointed to command the Army of Tennessee to rebuild it to give Sherman serious opposition in the Carolina Campaign. He assembles enough troops to at least be able to make a serious stand against the rampaging bluecoats.


Brigadier General Clement Anselm Evans was born on this day in 1833 in Stewart County, Georgia. Before the war, Evans was a lawyer and George State Senator but when Lincoln was elected in 1860, raised a state militia company. After the War for Southern Independence came in 1861, Evans was commissioned a major in the 31st Georgia Infantry and promoted to colonel on May 13, 1862. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1864. Evans' battles included the Seven Days Battle, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Monocacy (where he was wounded), Hatchers Run, and Appomattox at the war's end. Following the war, he became a Methodist minister and was active in Confederate veteran organizations and causes, such as the Confederate Survivors Association. He was one of the founders of the United Confederate Veterans and was the Georgia UCV commander for 12 years. Evans also authored his own memoirs and the Military History of Georgia. He was also the editor and co-authored the 12-volume Confederate Military History. Evans died July 2, 1911, and paid the honor of having his body lay in the state capitol's central rotunda. He was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. 

Brig. Gen. Clement A. Evans

Brigadier General Robert Hall Chilton was born on this day in 1815 in Loudoun County, Virginia. He graduated from West Point in 1837 ranking 48th out of 57 cadets. His U.S. Army career includes service in the 1st Regiment of Dragoons with duty on the frontier and then in Mexican American War and was brevetted a major for gallantry at the Battle of Buena Vista. He rescued wounded Col. Jefferson Davis in that battle. Following that war was a paymaster in various posts. Chilton resigned from the U.S. Army on April 29, 1861, and joined the Confederate Army as a lieutenant colonel on the staff of General Robert E. Lee. He was promoted to brigadier general on Feb. 16, 1864. In May 1864 he led a small force against an enemy force raiding the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad. Following the war he lived in Columbus, Georgia where he served as the president of a manufacturing company. Chilton died Feb. 18, 1879, in Columbus and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Va. 

Brig. Gen. Robert H. Chilton

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Today in History (general history)/ On This Day in Confederate History/ Confederate General Birthdays, Feb. 24.

 1862: SHILOH CAMPAIGN: Confederates under Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry evacuates Nashville, Tenn. under pressure from General Buel's Army of the Ohio. The Confederate forces were in shambles after the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson. General Albert Sidney Johnston appeared to be a failure and he had only 17,000 men to stop the Federal onslaught on the Mississippi Valley. Out of desperation, President Davis sent General P.G.T. Beauregard to the West to rescue the situation. Johnston welcomed Beauregard, who was sick, who set up his command in Jackson, Tennessee, and began calling on the region's Southern governors to immediately send reinforcements to Corinth, Miss. to throw back the Northern invaders.

Two Tennessee Confederates
(Library of Congress)

1863: The Confederate Ram C.S.S. Webb and C.S.S. Queen of the West attack the ironclad U.S.S. Indianola in the Red River in Louisiana, ramming it seven times until it is a wreck and surrenders. The Southern victory impairs Federal operations in the Red River and Mississippi River.


1864: President Davis appoints to the post of chief of staff General Braxton Bragg, who had been such a failure as the commander of the Army of Tennessee.

1865Civilians in South Carolina suffer mightily under the onslaught of Sherman's vengeful bummers who feel they have a license to wreak havoc on the people of the first state to secede. Sherman complains to General Wade Hampton about the "murder" of some of the bluecoat foragers. Hampton replies he is unaware of the specific complaint but reiterates his standing order to shoot on sight any Federal caught burning people's homes. "This order shall remain in force so long as you disgrace the profession of arms by allowing your men to destroy private dwellings," Hampton writes.

Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton


Brigadier General Thomas Benton Smith was born on this day in 1838 in Mechanicsville, Tennessee. He received a military education at the Nashville Military Academy and was appointed to West Point but resigned. Smith worked for the Nashville & Decatur Railroad. With the coming of war in 1861, he was elected a second lieutenant in the 20th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. After the battles of Mill Springs and Shiloh in 1862, he was promoted to colonel of his regiment and to brigadier general on July 29, 1864, and commanded an infantry brigade. His other battles included Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, the Atlanta Campaign, and Nashville where he was captured. After his surrender, a Federal colonel, William L. McMillen, beat unarmed Smith over the head with Smith's own sword, inflicting serious brain damage. Incarcerated at Johnson's Island, Ohio, and Fort Warren, Mass., Smith was not released until July 24, 1865. Following the war, Smith worked for the railroad, unsuccessfully ran for Congress, and with lingering brain damage from the assault, spent many of his post-war years in an insane asylum in Nashville. Occasionally he was able to attend veteran reunions or social events. He died May 21, 1923, and was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville.

Brig. Gen. Thomas B. Smith

Brigadier General John Crawford Vaughn was born on this day in 1824 in Roane County, Tennessee. He gained military experience in the Mexican American War serving as a captain in the Mexico City campaign. However, his regiment saw no combat action. In between wars he searched for gold in California, ran a hotel in Sweetwater, Tenn., and served as a sheriff in Monroe Co., Tenn. In the War for Southern Independence, Vaughn was elected colonel of the 3rd Tenn. Inf. Regiment and participated in the First Battle of Manassas, Va. Returning to Tennessee, he was promoted to brigadier general, led a brigade in the Vicksburg Campaign, and surrendered with the garrison at the end of the siege. Paroled in Oct. 1863, and then returned to active duty, took part in the Siege of Knoxville in 1863 under Lt. Gen. James Longstreet. After that, he mounted his brigade and served at the Battle of Piedmont, Bull's Gap, Morristown. On April 19, 1865, he joined President Jefferson Davis to escort his party. Vaughn surrendered on May 10, 1865, and was indicted by Tennessee for treason, but moved his family to Georgia. He returned to Tennessee in 1870 and entered politics and was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly. In 1874 he plead guilty in a fraud case involving a widow's pension and was fined $1,000, after which he moved back to Georgia. Vaughn died Sept. 10, 1875, and was buried with military honors at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Thomasville, Ga.

Brig. Gen. John C. Vaughn

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Today in History (general history)/ On This Day in Confederate History, Confederate general birthdays, Feb. 23.

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1861: Texas voters validated Texas' secession by a pro-secession vote of 46,129 to 14,697. Governor Sam Houston campaigned against secession, but voters decided otherwise. The vote became official on March 2, 1861, and the Secession Convention authorized the state to apply for admission to the Confederacy. Texas supplies some 70,000 men to the Confederate armies during the war including some of its most famous units. The Federals never conquer Texas but there were small incursions along the coast. Although the battles were small, Galveston, and Sabine Pass in 1863 were important and Palmito Ranch was the very last battle of the war.

1863: Confederate forces skirmish with Federals in Athens, Kentucky, and Fort Caswell, North Carolina. 

1865: Carolinas Campaign: Confederates forces skirmished with Sherman's bummers near Camden, South Carolina. Sherman had about 60,000 men in two armies to carry out the Federal scorched earth policy against the people of the South while the Confederate forces were scattered, and the Confederate government was debating about reappointing Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to rebuild the army to give serious resistance to Sherman. Vice President Alexander Stephens was urging Gen. Robert E. Lee to appoint Johnston, but Lee would only go so far as to recommend him to President Davis, but Davis still had misgivings about Johnston.


Brig. Gen. Gilbert M. Sorrell

Brigadier-General Gilbert Moxley Sorrell was born on this day in 1838 in Savannah, Georgia. At the beginning of the war, he was a bank clerk in Savannah and enlisted as a private in the Georgia Hussars of the State Militia. Sorrell participated in the capture of Fort Pulaski, Georgia. He secured a position on Brig. Gen. James Longstreet's staff July 21, 1861, at the First Battle of Manassas, Va. He has commissioned a captain on Sept. 11, 1861, was promoted to lieutenant colonel on June 24, 1862, and lieutenant colonel on June 18, 1863. He served on Longstreet's staff until October 1864 when he was appointed a brigadier general and commanded an infantry brigade in Mahone's Division. Sorrell's battles were First Manassas, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Hatcher's Run.  Following the war, he became an executive with the Ocean Steamship Company and served on the board of directors for the Georgia Historical Society. Sorrell died Aug. 10, 1901, in Roanoke, Va., and was buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.                                                     

Maj. Gen. Jeremy F. Gilmer

Major General Jeremy Francis Gilmer was born on this day in 1818 in Guilford County, North Carolina. He graduated in 1839 fourth in his class at West Point and was assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers as a second lieutenant. He was then an assistant professor of engineering at West Point. Gilmer was next assigned to Fort Schuyler, N.Y. Harbor in 1840. In the Mexican-American War, Gilmer was the Chief Engineer of the Army of the West in the New Mexico Territory and surveyed battlefields near Mexico City. After that war, Gilmer had engineering assignments in Georgia and California. During the War for Southern Independence, he left the U.S. Army and joined the Confederate Army. He served as the chief engineer on Gen. Albert Sydney Johnston's staff as a lieutenant colonel. Gilmer was severely wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, Tenn. When he recovered from his wound, he was promoted to brigadier general and made chief engineer for the Army of Northern Virginia in August 1862 stationed in Richmond, Va. A year later he was promoted to major general and made the Chief of the Engineer Bureau of the Confederacy. He also worked on the defenses of Atlanta, Ga., and Mobile, Ala. Following the war, Gilmer became president and engineer of the Savannah, Ga. Gas Company and director of the Georgia Central Railroad. Gilmer died Dec. 31, 1883, in Savannah and was buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery there.

Today in History (general history)/ On This Day in Confederate History/ Confederate General Birthdays, Feb. 22.

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1862: President Davis has his second inauguration in Richmond, Virginia, this time as the full president of the Confederacy after having been popularly elected in November 1861 to a six-year term. His first inauguration on Feb. 18, 1861, was as the Provisional President as the government was organizing. In his second inauguration address, the president said, "We are in arms to renew such sacrifices as our fathers made to the holy cause of constitutional liberty." This day is also the 292nd anniversary of Washington's Birthday.

President Jefferson Davis was inaugurated.
on Washington's Birthday in 1862, a nationwide holiday.

1864: Confederate Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry scored another victory for Southern arms at the Battle of Okolona, Mississippi. The Federal cavalry Brig. Gen. William Sooy Smith had 7,000 bluecoat troopers. Forrest's cavalry numbered just 2,500 hardened Southern horse soldiers. Forrest thwarted the Federal plan of Smith's cavalry to join up with Sherman's forces at Meridian, Mississippi. The Yankee cavalry had to limp to safety in Tennessee instead. The total casualties for the Federals were 388, to the Confederate total of 144.

1865: Sherman's bummers enter Wilmington, North Carolina, which had been abandoned by the Confederates the day before. Fighting occurs elsewhere in Camden, South Carolina, and at the Watertree River.


Brig. Gen. Hylan B. Lyon

Brig. Gen. Hylan Benton Lyon was born on this day in 1836 in Caldwell, Kentucky. He graduated from West Point in 1856 ranking 19th in a class of 48 cadets. Lyon was assigned as a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Artillery at Fort Myers during the Third Seminole War. Transferred to the Washington Territory, he was in two battles with Indiana tribes. Resigning in 1861 to join the Confederate Army, he raised Co. F of the 3rd Ky. Inf., became part of the 1st Ky. Artillery and was promoted to lieutenant colonel. Lyon was captured at Fort Donelson, Tenn., and was exchanged in September 1862. His regiment reenlisted for three years as the 8th Ky., and he was appointed colonel of the regiment. He served in the Siege of Vicksburg but managed to avoid the surrender with 250 of his men. They joined the Confederates in Jackson, Miss. served in the Army of Tennessee commanding regiments of cavalry. He was briefly captured in January 1865 but managed to escape. After the war, he went to Mexico where he worked as a civil engineer for about a year, and then returned to Kentucky. Lyon was a commissioner of prisons in Kentucky after the war and died April 25, 1907, and was buried in the Old City Cemetery in Eddyville, Ky.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Today in History (general history)/ On This Day in Confederate History/ Confederate General Birthdays, Feb. 21.

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1862: The Battle of Valverde in the New Mexico Territory is a Confederate victory. Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley's Confederate Army of New Mexico (aka Sibley's Texas Cavalry Brigade) comprises the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 7th Texas cavalry regiments with a total of 2,590 men. Federal forces under Colonel Edward Canby are made up of the 1st and 3rd U.S. Cavalry; 5th, 7th, and 10th U.S. Infantry regiments; McRae's Battery, and various Colorado Territory and New Mexico units for a total of 3,000 men. In the battle, the Confederates captured six field artillery pieces converted into the outstanding Texas Valverde Battery of the Confederate Army, which did crack service for the South in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Federal casualties are 68 killed, 160 wounded, and 204 captured or missing. The Confederates lost 36 killed, 150 wounded, and one missing.

1865Battle of Wilmington: Confederate General Braxton Bragg orders the evacuation of Wilmington, North Carolina, the last Confederate port on the East Coast. Confederates hold Galveston, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico to the very end of the war.


Brigadier General Johnson Hagood was born on this day in 1829 in Barnwell County, South Carolina. He graduated at the top of his class from the South Carolina Military Academy in 1847, studied law, and was admitted to the bar, but never practiced. Hagood spent the rest of the prewar years running his plantation and when war came in 1861, enlisted as a private in the 1st S.C. Infantry. His leadership abilities and military education marked him as the ideal citizen soldier, and he was made a brigadier general effective July 21, 1862. His battles and campaigns included Fort Sumter, Second Manassas, Second Fort Wagner, Drewry's Bluff, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Wilmington near the end of the war. Hagood's postwar career included resuming his planter's life, working in politics against Reconstruction in South Carolina, and serving one term as governor, 1880-1882. He died on Jan. 2, 1898, and was buried in Holy Apostles Episcopal Church Cemetery.

Brig. Gen. Johnson Hagood


Brigadier General John Henry Winder was born in 1800 in Somerset County, Maryland. He graduated from West Point in 1820 ranking 11th in a class of 30 cadets. Winder resigned from the U.S. Army in 1823 to take care of family matters and business but rejoined in 1827 as a second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Artillery, taught tactics at West Point, and was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1833 and then to captain in 1840. During the Mexican-American War, he was promoted to major and then lieutenant colonel. Winder distinguished himself, particularly at the Battle of Chapultepec. He resigned from the U.S. Army on April 20, 1861, and was appointed a colonel in the Confederate Army and then to brigadier general on June 21, 1861, and appointed Assistant Inspector General of the Camps of Instruction. After President Davis proclaimed martial law in Richmond, Winder was appointed provost marshal general. Late in the war, he was given command of all Confederate prisoner-of-war camps. He died of a heart attack during the war, on Feb. 7, 1865, and was buried at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Md.

Brig. Gen. John Henry Winder

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Today in History (general history)/ On This Day in Confederate History/ Confederate General Birthdays, Feb. 20

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1861: Confederate Congress in 1861: Montgomery, Alabama established the Confederate States Navy and authorized President Jefferson Davis to purchase war materials. Stephen R. Mallory was the Secretary of the Navy. He had been a U.S. Senator from Florida, a former admiralty lawyer, and chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Naval Affairs. Although never able to break the Federal blockade, he built a Confederate Navy that seriously depleted the U.S. Merchant fleet, was a serious challenge to the Northern fleets at Hampton Roads, Va.New Orleans, La.Mobile Bay, Ala., and achieved the first successful submarine attack in all naval history at Charleston, S.C. in 1864. Admiral Raphael Semmes was the most famous military leader in the C.S. Navy.

C.S. Navy Seal

1862: General Leonidas Polk withdraws his Confederate forces from Columbus, Kentucky. General Albert Sydney Johnston withdraws to near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk

1863: Confederate forces at Yazoo Pass, Mississippi repulse an attack by Federal forces. Another effort by the Northerners to get at Vicksburg is foiled.

Confederate battle flag

1864: Confederate forces under Major General Joseph Finegan are victorious at the Battle of Olustee, Florida. Finegan has 5,000 men to 5,500 for Seymour. Losses for both sides are heavy. The Federals lost 203 killed, 1,152 wounded and 506 captured or missing. The Confederate losses amount to 93 killed, 847 wounded, and six captured or missing.

1865: The Confederate House of Representatives authorizes the use of black soldiers in the Confederate Army. For more information on the subject, check out Black Confederates – Sons of Confederate Veterans ( Confederates – Sons of Confederate Veterans (


Brigadier General James Barbour Terrill was born on this day in 1838 in Bath County, Virginia. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. in 1858. Terrill was appointed to the Virginia State Militia in 1859 with the rank of major, and in 1860 practiced law in Warm Springs, Va. With the coming of war, he was elected a major of the 13th Virginia Infantry and was promoted to lieutenant colonel and then colonel. His battles were First Manassas, the Valley Campaign of 1862, the Seven Days Battles, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. Terrill was killed in action on May 30, 1864, at the Battle of Totopotomoy Creek, also called the Battle of Bethesda Church. His nomination to brigadier general had been filed prior to his death and he was promoted posthumously to his generalship on May 31, 1864. General Terrill was buried at Bethesda Church, Va.

Brig. Gen. James B. Terrill