June 1864

1 JUN

The Battle of Cold Harbor began in Virginia as a Federal attack was sharply repulsed. The Confederates continued shifting right to meet the Federal advance. Both sides prepared defenses, and Federal General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant planned to renew the attacks tomorrow morning.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis ordered Major General Robert Ransom, commanding at Richmond, to summon all local forces possible to the Chickahominy and meet the threat to the capital. General Robert E. Lee, commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, urged General P.G.T. Beauregard to move forces north if possible, covering the area from the James north to the Chickahominy in front of Richmond.

In Georgia, General George Stoneman’s Federal cavalry captured Allatoona Pass, which held the vital railroad and enabled Major General William T. Sherman to receive supplies from Chattanooga. Sherman’s Federals shifted northward away from the New Hope Church area, skirmishing along the way.

Brigadier General S.D. Sturgis and 8,000 Federals left Memphis to destroy Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his threat to Sherman’s supply lines. Sturgis headed toward Ripley, Mississippi while Forrest was at Tupelo regrouping from a northern raid.

2 JUN

In Virginia, Ulysses S. Grant ordered another attack on Confederates at Cold Harbor, but various delays postponed the general assault until tomorrow. This evening, many Federal veterans pinned cloth and paper bearing their names to their coast, hoping their bodies would be identified after being killed in the upcoming fight.

In Georgia, William T. Sherman abandoned plans to flank the Confederates southward and instead moved his forces northeast toward Allatoona and the Chattanooga-Atlanta railroad. Fighting erupted at various points.

 

3 JUN

The Battle of Cold Harbor occurred in Virginia, as Federals attacked Confederate positions at dawn. Three Federal corps totaling 60,000 men advanced, but the Confederates were heavily entrenched with access to enfilade fire. Advancing over open ground, the Federals were easy targets. About 7,000 were killed or wounded within a half-hour. The Confederates lost less than 1,500 men. Grant later admitted that ordering this assault was the worst mistake he ever made. This ended a month of nearly continuous warfare that had cost the Federals nearly 80,000 casualties.

Robert E. Lee, commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, wrote to President Davis about the victory at Cold Harbor, “Our loss today has been small, and our success, under the blessing of God, all that we could expect.” But Lee lacked the reserves to drive the Federals off, and the Confederate capital at Richmond remained in grave danger.

In Georgia, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston learned of William T. Sherman’s movement around Johnston’s right. Johnston planned to abandon the New Hope Church area and respond to a Federal movement once more.

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the National Banking Act of 1864 into law. This established a national currency through the sale of government bonds. This also established a Bureau of Currency with an Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, authorized to regulate nationally chartered banks. The banking laws enacted by Lincoln and the Republican Congress gave government a virtual monopoly over currency, ending the currency competition that had facilitated the nation’s rapid economic growth prior to the war. Besides emancipation, these new banking laws fundamentally changed the U.S. more than anything else in the war.

Lincoln wrote to a New York political group, “My previous high estimate of Gen. Grant has been maintained and heightened by what has occurred in the remarkable campaign he is now conducting…”

4 JUN

In Georgia, Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederates shifted in a night rainstorm from New Hope Church northward to an already prepared position along Lost, Pine, and Brush Mountains. The mountains intersected the Western & Atlantic Railroad, about eight miles below Ackworth. Johnston again shifted into the Federals’ front before they could complete their movement and established a strong defensive position. Fighting erupted at various points.

Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis’s 8,000 Federal cavalrymen advanced from Memphis into northern Mississippi to confront 3,500 Confederate troopers under General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was harassing Federal operations on the Mississippi River and threatening William Sherman’s long supply lines from Memphis. Sturgis was hampered by heavy rain, but he had canceled a similar expedition last month and refused to cancel another.

General John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate raid into Kentucky that began last month continued, as Morgan skirmished with Federal defenders while advancing on Lexington.

5 JUN

The Battle of Piedmont occurred in the Shenandoah, as William “Grumble” Jones’s Confederates tried stopping the Federal advance of David Hunter. Both sides surged back and forth until Jones was killed. Demoralized by his death, the Confederates retreated into the Blue Ridge. The Federals suffered about 420 casualties while the Confederates lost about 1,600, of whom 1,000 were taken prisoner.

In Georgia, William T. Sherman’s Federals continued shifting northeastward toward Joseph Johnston’s new line on the mountains in front of Marietta.

Ulysses S. Grant proposed to Robert E. Lee a truce to collect the dead and wounded in the field at Cold Harbor. Grant had resisted contacting Lee because according to military tradition, the commander who loses a battle requests a ceasefire, and Grant would not admit to losing. Wounded soldiers languished for days before dying of injury, thirst, or exposure. When medical teams finally entered the field, only two survivors remained.

Federal forces fired 319 rounds into Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

In Washington, politicians speculated whether President Lincoln’s vice president should be replaced with a pro-war Democrat in the upcoming nominating convention.

6 JUN

In the Shenandoah, David Hunter’s Federals occupied Staunton and destroyed warehouses, mills, workshops, and railroads. Troops looted private homes and businesses, and Hunter became the most hated man among Valley residents.

7 JUN 

A convention assembled in Baltimore to nominate candidates for president and vice president in the upcoming election. To broaden support, the Republican Party changed its name to the National Union Party and invited pro-war Democrats to join them. Delegates from 25 northern states attended. Despite his waning popularity, most delegates supported re-nominating Abraham Lincoln for president.

In Virginia, the Federal and Confederate armies remained entrenched. The Federals could not penetrate the Confederate line to get to Richmond, and they had no more room to maneuver north of the James River. Therefore, Ulysses S. Grant devised a daring plan to move the massive Army of the Potomac across the James to attack both Richmond and Petersburg from the south. To mask his move, Grant send a Federal cavalry detachment under Major General Philip Sheridan west to attack Confederate railroad supply lines and divert Confederate cavalry from scouting the main movement. The Federal Army of the James would also assist by attempting a breakout from Bermuda Hundred, where they were pinned on the Virginia peninsula by Confederates.

President Davis wrote to a Louisiana citizen that he hoped “to prevent the oppression and redress the wrongs of citizens, but I cannot hope to have effected all I desired.” Skirmishing occurred in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri.

8 JUN

In Georgia, Federals marched through rain and mud to the Western & Atlantic Railroad. William T. Sherman’s forces were depleted by garrisoning the railroad back to Chattanooga. Fighting erupted at various points.

In the Shenandoah, David Hunter’s Federals were joined by General George Crook’s Army of the Kanawha arriving from the west. With 18,000 men and 30 guns, Hunter continued advancing up the Valley to Lexington and Lynchburg.

John Hunt Morgan’s Confederates captured the Federal garrison at Mount Sterling during their Kentucky raid. The Confederates robbed $18,000 from the local bank; Morgan blocked future investigations of this crime and never explained why it was perpetrated or the extent of his involvement.

At the National Union Convention, delegates nominated Abraham Lincoln for a second term as president. All delegations except Missouri voted for Lincoln; Missouri then switched from Ulysses S. Grant to Lincoln to make it unanimous. Pro-war Democrat Andrew Johnson of Tennessee replaced Republican Vice President Hannibal Hamlin of Maine to broaden the ticket’s appeal. Johnson had been the only southern senator who did not resign his seat when his state seceded, and Lincoln had rewarded him by appointing him Tennessee’s military governor.

The National Union platform supported continuing the war until the rebellion was suppressed, and “as Slavery was the cause, and now constitutes the strength, of this Rebellion… (we) demand its utter and complete extirpation from the soil of the Republic.” This call for a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery undermined the Radical Republicans’ platform, which had also called for such an amendment last month. However, the platform did not endorse the Radicals’ call for confiscating the property of Confederates.

President Lincoln sent a report to Congress from Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton recommending repeal of the provisions in the Conscription Act allowing draftees to hire a substitute or pay $300 to avoid service.

9 JUN

Delegates from the National Union Convention arrived in Washington to congratulate President Lincoln on being nominated for a second term yesterday. Lincoln expressed support for a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. He added that southerners had been offered the chance to return to the U.S. without having “the overthrow of their institution,” but had refused to do so. This evening, a brass band serenaded Lincoln at the White House.

In Kentucky, John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate raiders were driven out of Mount Sterling and pushed toward Winchester.

In Georgia, William T. Sherman prepared his Federal Army of the West to confront Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate Army of Tennessee defending the Lost, Pine, and Brush mountains.

Major General Benjamin F. Butler’s Federal Army of the James broke out of Bermuda Hundred on the Virginia peninsula but failed to capture Petersburg. Confederates had not expected an attack on Petersburg, which was defended by only about 1,000 troops. But the slow Federal advance allowed the Confederates to build defenses as men were pulled from hospitals, offices, and even military prisons. The Federal attack was poorly coordinated, and General Quincy A. Gillmore, concerned about Confederate reinforcements, ordered a withdrawal.

Ulysses S. Grant issued orders for the Federal Army of the Potomac near Cold Harbor, Virginia to prepare defenses to cover the army’s planned crossing of the James River. President Davis warned Robert E. Lee, opposing Grant at Cold Harbor, “The indications are that Grant despairing of a direct attack is now seeking to embarrass you by flank movements.” Davis was also worried about the threat at Petersburg and Johnston’s failure to attack in Georgia.

 

10 JUN

The Battle of Brice’s Crossroads occurred between the forces of Federal General Samuel Sturgis and Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest about 100 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee. Forrest correctly predicted that mud and hot weather would result in Federal cavalry arriving first, and he attacked while the enemy was relatively equal in numbers.

Ineffective command led to Federal disaster; the cavalry was easily defeated, and when the infantry finally arrived, the exhausted troops were quickly routed and sent fleeing in panic. The Federals suffered 2,240 casualties, including 1,623 captured, while Confederates lost only 492. This was Forrest’s greatest victory.

John Hunt Morgan’s Confederates raided Lexington, Kentucky, burning the Federal depot and stables, and capturing about 7,000 horses. Morgan’s men then broke into two columns, with Morgan’s unit advancing on Cynthiana.

In Georgia, William T. Sherman’s three Federal armies moved cautiously toward the mountains, with various fighting breaking out.

The combined Federal Armies of the Shenandoah and the Kanawha under Generals David Hunter and George Crook continued their advance southward up the Shenandoah Valley to Lexington and Lynchburg. To stop them, Robert E. Lee sent Confederates under General John C. Breckinridge back to the Valley.

The Confederate Congress expanded the Conscription Act by increasing the military draft eligibility age range from 18 and 45 to 17 and 50.

11 JUN 

Samuel Sturgis’s retreating Federals fought rearguard actions at Ripley and Salem, Mississippi after their defeat at Brice’s Crossroads yesterday.

John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate column raided Cynthiana, Kentucky, capturing some 300 Federals.

Robert E. Lee dispatched General Wade Hampton and about 4,700 Confederate cavalrymen to prevent Federal General Philip Sheridan’s cavalry from joining David Hunter in the Shenandoah Valley. The Battle of Trevilian Station occurred, as dismounted Confederates attacked Federal troopers on the Trevilian road, but Confederate reinforcements under General Fitzhugh Lee did not arrive. When the Federals attacked in full force, Hampton withdrew. However, Hampton linked with Lee and attacked near Trevilian Station; their surge was met by Federal reinforcements.

David Hunter’s Federals captured Lexington amidst skirmishing. The Federals destroyed homes, barns, and farms, including most of Lexington’s livestock. They also burned the Virginia Military Institute, prompting Virginia Governor John Letcher to endorse guerrilla warfare “upon the vandal hordes of Yankee invaders.” When Hunter learned of Letcher’s proclamation, he ordered the burning of the governor’s home.

C.S.S. Alabama arrived at Cherbourg, France for refitting. The Federal Navy had long sought the dangerous and elusive raider.

12 JUN

This evening, the 100,000-man Federal Army of the Potomac began one of the great movements in military history by preparing to secretly cross the 2,100-foot wide James River. A token force of one corps remained at Cold Harbor to feign an attack and deceive the Confederates, which succeeded. For the first time, Robert E. Lee misunderstood Ulysses S. Grant’s strategy.

The Battle of Trevilian Station continued, as Federals under General George A. Custer attacked Wade Hampton’s Confederates west of Trevilian Station. However, Fitzhugh Lee’s Confederate troopers arrived and repulsed Custer with heavy losses. The battle was a Federal victory, but the Confederates prevented Philip Sheridan’s cavalry from linking with David Hunter in the Shenandoah Valley. Sheridan withdrew to rejoin the Army of the Potomac, moving leisurely to keep the Confederate cavalry occupied as long as possible. Federals suffered 1,007 casualties during the campaign, while Confederates lost 612.

John Hunt Morgan’s Confederates were badly defeated at Cynthiana, Kentucky. Morgan withdrew to Abingdon in southwestern Virginia. Morgan’s Kentucky raid served no significant purpose except to boost southern morale. Attempts to draw Federal manpower away from other points to defend Kentucky were generally unsuccessful.

Samuel Sturgis’s shattered Federal force continued retreating to Memphis, with fighting breaking out along the way.

13 JUN

The bulk of the Federal Army of the Potomac moved rapidly from Cold Harbor toward the James River. Learning that the Federals at Cold Harbor were gone, Robert E. Lee sent troops across the Chickahominy River to guard the Richmond approaches, failing to realize that Richmond was not Ulysses S. Grant’s objective. As Lee prepared to attack the Federals outside Richmond, the Federals were crossing the James below the capital. The lead Federal unit–the Second Corps–reached the James while pontoon bridges were still under construction. Meanwhile, Grant ordered Benjamin Butler to obstruct navigation of the James by sinking old hulks in the river.

Lee, unaware of Grant’s move and concerned about David Hunter in the Shenandoah, further divided his army by sending his Second Corps under General Jubal Early west. Early was instructed to defend Lynchburg, drive Hunter from the Valley, and if possible, move north to threaten Maryland or even Washington. This would force Grant to send troops to defend the capital, thus easing Federal pressure on Richmond.

President Davis replied to complaints of neglect by General Edmund Kirby Smith in the Trans-Mississippi Department that “my ability to sustain you will be the measure of the assistance rendered to you.” There was little help Davis could offer.

Lieutenant General Richard Ewell was assigned to command the Department of Richmond. He replaced Major General Robert Ransom, Jr., who was assigned to the Department of Western Virginia.

14 JUN

Ulysses S. Grant transferred Eighteenth Corps to Benjamin F. Butler’s Army of the James via water and ordered them to attack Petersburg once more. Grant assured Chief of Staff Henry W. Halleck that Petersburg would be captured before Confederate reinforcements could arrive. Meanwhile, the Army of the Potomac’s Second Corps began crossing the James, and Federals continued indicating to Robert E. Lee they intended to attack north of the James.

In Georgia, William T. Sherman sent Federal skirmishers forward. They were observed from the crest of Pine Mountain by Joseph Johnston and his top commanders, Generals William Hardee and Leonidas Polk. A Federal artillery shell killed Polk, the Confederates’ most beloved general. Polk’s death was a serious blow to Johnston’s command.

U.S.S. Kearsarge arrived at Cherbourg to confront C.S.S. Alabama. Captain John A. Winslow commanded Kearsarge, which had sailed from the Dutch coast in response to a challenge from Alabama Captain Raphael Semmes to fight.

The Confederate Congress passed a law imposing new taxes on property and income and then, due to Federal military pressure on Richmond, adjourned.

15 JUN

Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee did not heed warnings from General P.G.T. Beauregard that the Federal Army of the Potomac would target Petersburg, not Richmond. Beauregard could muster only 3,000 men to face an attacking force of about 16,000. Beauregard placed most of his troops on the eastern defense line and wired Lee to hurry to Petersburg.

Meanwhile, the lead Federal unit withdrew because its commander overestimated the city’s defenses, and Eighteenth Corps had been decimated at Cold Harbor and was reluctant to attack. After several hours of vacillation, the Federals finally advanced, but it was too late to capture Petersburg. The Federal Second Corps arrived at 7 p.m. but deferred to the Federal commanders already on the scene. Meanwhile, Confederate reinforcements began pouring into the city, and the opportunity to capture the vital railroad city was lost.

The Federal Army of the Potomac continued crossing the James River. President Lincoln wired Ulysses S. Grant, “… I begin to see it. You will succeed. God bless you all.”

In Georgia, General George H. Thomas’s Federal Army of the Cumberland moved around Joseph E. Johnston’s right flank, advancing on Kennesaw Mountain. The Federal Armies of the Tennessee and the Ohio also pressed ahead against Confederate entrenchments, and fighting occurred at various points.

Former Democratic Congressman Clement Vallandigham returned to Ohio after being exiled to the Confederacy by President Lincoln last year. Vallandigham had been banished for opposing the war and encouraging men to evade the draft. Lincoln urged the Ohio governor to watch the former congressman closely and “arrest all implicated” if Vallandigham resumed organizing war protests.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 95 to 66 to approve a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, but it failed to obtain the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The amendment had previously passed the Senate by the required two-thirds margin.

16 JUN

The Battle of Petersburg occurred, as the Federal Army of the Potomac began pouring into the region after crossing the James River and attacked Confederate defenses outside the city at 6 a.m. Some 14,000 Confederates under General P.G.T. Beauregard defended against about 50,000 Federals. The Federals captured some outposts, but they were stopped by nightfall.

Meanwhile, Federals attacked and recaptured Bermuda Hundred on the Virginia peninsula. Robert E. Lee, still unaware that the Army of the Potomac had crossed the James, sent two divisions to retake Bermuda Hundred, which they did by 6 p.m.

In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, General David Hunter’s Federals advanced on Lynchburg. However, about 2,000 Confederates under General John C. Breckinridge reached the town first and prepared defenses. Confederate skirmishers slowed the Federal advance as Jubal Early’s Confederates hurried to reinforce Lynchburg.

President and Mrs. Lincoln, along with son Tad, traveled to Philadelphia to attend the Great Central Fair benefiting the U.S. Sanitary Commission. Crowds cheered the Lincolns as they rode up Broad Street to Chestnut Street in an open carriage. In the fair’s main address, Lincoln said, “War, at the best, is terrible, and this war of ours, in its magnitude and in its duration, is one of the most terrible… We accepted this war for an object, a worthy object, and the war will end when that object is attained.”

The Confederate War Department authorized Lieutenant Bennett H. Young to organize raiders in Canada for a potential invasion of New England.

In Georgia, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston responded to Federal advances on his left by withdrawing his Army of Tennessee to Mud Creek.

 

17 JUN

The Battle of Petersburg continued as the Confederates withdrew to stronger defenses after midnight and repulsed more Federal attacks. The Confederates successfully counterattacked later today. Robert E. Lee finally realized that most of the Army of the Potomac was south of the James, and he ordered two corps of his Army of Northern Virginia to Petersburg.

In Georgia, the right flank of William T. Sherman’s Federal Army of the West launched a fierce attack on Joseph E. Johnston’s new Confederate line at Mud Creek. The Federals made some gains against the Confederate corps under General William Hardee.

President Lincoln and family returned to Washington from their Philadelphia trip. An explosion occurred in the cartridge-manufacturing building of the Washington Arsenal, killing or mortally wounding 18 and injuring up to 20 people.

In the Shenandoah, Jubal Early’s Confederates joined John C. Breckinridge’s defenders at Lynchburg to face David Hunter’s advancing Federals. Skirmishing occurred in Missouri and Arkansas.

18 JUN

Most of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia arrived to defend Petersburg. The battle continued, but Federal attacks were repulsed due to exhaustion, poor leadership, and Confederate resolve. The 1st Maine lost 632 men, the heaviest battle loss of any regiment in the war. Four days of heavy fighting had cost another 8,150 Federal casualties without any substantial result.

Major General George G. Meade, commanding the Federal Army of the Potomac, ordered the Federals to dig entrenchments. Meade conceded that the “moral condition of the army” was broken after two months of continuous fighting. Ulysses S. Grant arrived and admitted that Petersburg could not be captured by direct assault. He told his subordinates, “I have determined to try to envelop Petersburg.”

Grant resolved to surround the city and seize the five railroads and primary roads supplying Petersburg. These were the siege tactics that Grant had used at Vicksburg last year, and it initiated a new style of trench warfare. It also ended six weeks of movement and battle that had begun at the Rapidan River.

In the Shenandoah, David Hunter decided against attacking Lynchburg, convinced he was facing 20,000 Confederates. Hunter’s failure to advance on Charlottesville first as Ulysses S. Grant had urged enabled the Confederates to seize a vital railroad that threatened the Federal line of retreat. Hunter hurriedly withdrew toward Staunton.

In Georgia, Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederates realigned their defenses once more, forming a semicircle above Marietta along the Big and Little Kennesaw Mountains. Opposing forces skirmished at Acworth and Allatoona, as William T. Sherman began planning to attack this nearly impregnable defense.

19 JUN

U.S.S. Kearsarge destroyed the famed Confederate commerce raider C.S.S. Alabama off Cherbourg, France. Alabama was in Cherbourg being refitted when challenged to fight by Kearsarge beyond the three-mile international boundary. Alabama sailed out to answer the challenge and opened fire shortly before 11 a.m. The ships fired as they circled each other, but soon Alabama’s superstructure was destroyed, and Captain Raphael Semmes ordered his men to abandon ship. Nearby civilian vessels rescued Semmes and other survivors. Alabama sunk at 12:24 p.m.

Over nearly two years, Alabama had captured 65 ships and hundreds of Federal prisoners while traveling some 75,000 miles on the high seas. Federal officials blamed the British for Alabama’s depredations because the ship had been built in British harbors; after the war, the U.S. demanded that Britain pay $19 million in damages caused by British-built Confederate commerce raiders.

David Hunter’s Federals withdrew from the Shenandoah and moved back into the Kanawha Valley in West Virginia. Hunter had succeeded in pushing all the way to Lynchburg and prompting Robert E. Lee to dispatch Jubal Early to stop him. But Hunter had failed in joining with Philip Sheridan’s cavalry, and his retreat into West Virginia left the Shenandoah wide open for Early to launch a northern offensive.

20 JUN

In Georgia, William T. Sherman’s Federals continued probing Confederate defenses at the Kennesaw Mountains. Fighting erupted at various points.

President Lincoln left Washington with son Tad and Assistant Navy Secretary Gustavus Fox to visit the Army of the Potomac on the James River. Before leaving, he urged the Ohio governor to watch prominent Copperhead Clement Vallandigham closely and “arrest all implicated” if Vallandigham resumed organizing war protests.

21 JUN

Ulysses S. Grant ordered Federal cavalry to scout lines and Federal troops to extend the siege lines left toward the Appomattox River, west of Petersburg. The goal was to form a semicircle of trenches south of the city with both ends anchored on the bending Appomattox.

President Lincoln visited Grant and other Federal officers at Grant’s new headquarters at City Point on the James River. Lincoln hoped the visit would ease his concerns about the costly Virginia campaign. The men visited aboard the steamer Baltimore before Grant escorted Lincoln on a horseback tour of the Petersburg lines.

President Davis reluctantly accepted the resignation of Treasury Secretary Christopher Memminger, telling him, “I knew of the extreme difficulty of conducting the Treasury Department during the pending struggle.” Memminger had been intensely criticized for imposing economic policies that harmed the Confederacy. However, Federal military success played a larger role in disrupting the southern economy.

22 JUN

The Battle of Globe Tavern occurred outside Petersburg, as Ulysses S. Grant ordered a Federal attack where the Weldon Railroad delivered supplies from Wilmington, North Carolina and the South Side Railroad delivered supplies from Lynchburg in the Shenandoah. As Federals destroyed tracks west of Petersburg, General A.P. Hill’s Confederate corps positioned itself between two Federal units and pushed them back, taking 1,700 prisoners. This kept the Weldon Railroad in Confederate hands and prevented the Federal line from extending west.

Meanwhile, two Federal cavalry divisions headed toward Burkeville to disrupt the South Side Railroad. They were nearly annihilated, but Federals destroyed some 60 miles of track that took the Confederates substantial time to repair.

President Lincoln and General-in-Chief Grant steamed up the James River to meet with General Benjamin F. Butler commanding the Federal Army of the James and Admiral Samuel Lee commanding the naval squadron. Lincoln left for Washington this afternoon.

Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan assumed command of the Confederate Department of Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee.

In Georgia, John Bell Hood’s Confederates launched a strong attack near Zion Church and Culp’s Farm, but Federals ultimately repulsed the drive.

23 JUN

Jubal Early’s newly named Confederate Army of the Valley advanced from Lynchburg, Virginia as Federals under General David Hunter withdrew into West Virginia. In one of the war’s biggest gambles, Early was to advance northward and threaten Washington to ease Federal pressure on Petersburg and Richmond.

Outside Petersburg, a Confederate attack drove off Federal cavalry that briefly held a section of the Weldon Railroad. This kept the railroad in Confederate hands and prevented the Federals from extending their lines west.

President Lincoln returned to Washington late this afternoon after visiting the Army of the Potomac.

 

24 JUN

Federal cavalry under Major General Philip Sheridan fought off Confederate attacks while trying to return to the Army of the Potomac outside Petersburg.

Delegates to the Maryland constitutional convention approved abolishing slavery in the state.

The flag over Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor was replaced under Federal bombardment.

25 JUN

Federal engineers began digging a tunnel under Confederate lines at Petersburg that would enable them to detonate explosives beneath the enemy earthworks.

26 JUN

The flag over Fort Sumter was replaced again under Federal bombardment.

Jubal Early’s 14,000 Confederates reached Staunton, Virginia.

27 JUN

The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain occurred, as William T. Sherman lost patience with continuous flanking maneuvers and ordered a direct assault on Confederate defenses. Federals advanced on several positions, including a salient that became known as the “Dead Angle.” The Confederates easily repulsed the attacks, winning the largest battle of the campaign thus far. Federals suffered 2,051 casualties while Confederates lost just 442. Sherman was highly criticized for this ill-conceived attack.

President Lincoln formally accepted the National Union Party’s presidential nomination.

The flag over Fort Sumter was replaced again under Federal bombardment.

28 JUN

Jubal Early’s Confederates advanced northward down the Shenandoah Valley, causing concern among Washington officials.

President Lincoln signed a bill into law repealing the Fugitive Slave Acts.

In Georgia, General Joseph E. Johnston began preparing new defenses along the Chattahoochee River, behind the Kennesaw Mountain line.

29 JUN

The Battle of Ream’s Station occurred outside Petersburg, as Federals attempting to extend their lines westward were surprised by Confederates blocking their path. The Federals were almost completely surrounded before abandoning their artillery and supply wagons and fighting back to the main army line. Each side lost about 600 men.

President Davis informed Georgia Governor Joseph Brown that he had sent Joseph E. Johnston “all available reinforcements, detaching troops even from points that remain exposed to the enemy.”

30 JUN

President Lincoln accepted the resignation of Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase. Chase had offered to resign several times before, but Lincoln opted to keep Chase in his cabinet so he would not become a rival in the upcoming presidential election. But now that Lincoln had been nominated for a second term, Chase was expendable. Lincoln wrote to Chase that “you and I have reached a point of mutual embarrassment in our official relation which it seems can not be overcome, or longer sustained, consistently with the public service.”

Lincoln signed the Internal Revenue Act of 1864 into law. This raised federal income taxes and import tariffs, and imposed taxes on items such as matches and photographs. These taxes were considered an emergency wartime measure.

In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Jubal Early’s Confederate Army of the Valley continued advancing northward and arrived at New Market.

—–

Last Updated: 11/14/2014

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