October 1864


The Battle of Peebles’ Farm continued west of Petersburg as Federals and Confederates fought inconclusively in the rain.

Famed Confederate spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow drowned off Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Carrying secret dispatches and $2,000 in gold, Greenhow was returning from Europe aboard the British blockade runner Condor when U.S.S. Niphon ran her aground. Greenhow escaped on a small boat that capsized in rough waters, and the gold’s weight pulled her down. Greenhow had gained notoriety for running a spy ring in Washington that helped Confederates win the Battle of Bull Run in 1861.

General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates fought at Athens and Huntsville in Alabama, then captured blockhouses at Carter’s Creek Station, Tennessee. General Sterling Price’s Confederates fought at Union, Franklin, and Lake Springs in Missouri.


The Battle of Peebles’ Farm ended, as Confederates withdrew to their entrenchments and Federals seized control of the contested ground. This enabled the Federal Army of the Potomac to extend its siege lines another three miles west toward the Appomattox River.

In Georgia, General John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee began cutting supply lines for Major General William T. Sherman’s Federal Army of the West occupying Atlanta. Fighting erupted in northern Georgia, as Confederates broke the Western & Atlantic Railroad and interrupted the Federal supply link between Atlanta and Chattanooga.

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates fought near Columbia, Tennessee. Sterling Price’s Confederates occupied Washington on the Missouri River, some 50 miles west of St. Louis.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrived at Augusta, Georgia. He met with General P.G.T. Beauregard, the hero of Fort Sumter and Bull Run, and gave him command of the Military Division of the West. This encompassed the Department of Tennessee (under John Bell Hood) and the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana (under General Richard Taylor). Beauregard was only permitted to direct field operations if he was personally present.


John Bell Hood’s Confederates occupied the railroad line between Chattanooga and Atlanta, capturing Big Shanty, Kennesaw Water Tank, and other points in northern Georgia. William T. Sherman responded by sending Major General George H. Thomas’s Federal Army of the Cumberland to Nashville to defend against raids by Hood, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Joseph Wheeler.

President Davis addressed a crowd at Augusta: “Now we have arms for all, and are begging men to bear them… We are fighting for existence, and of fighting alone can independence be gained… Ours is not a revolution. We are a free and independent people, in states that had the right to make a better government when they saw fit… Our struggle is for inherited rights; and who would surrender them.”

Davis proceeded to Columbia, South Carolina, where he addressed another crowd with optimism: “(Hood’s) eye is now fixed upon a point far beyond that where he was assailed by the enemy… And if but a half, nay, one-fourth, of the men to whom the service has a right, will give him their strength, I see no chance for Sherman to escape from a defeat or a disgraceful retreat.”

Confederate scouts killed Federal Lieutenant John R. Meigs, the topographical engineer for Major General Philip Sheridan in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Despite Confederate claims that Meigs was killed in a fair fight, Sheridan ordered General George A. Custer to destroy every house within five miles of Dayton, Virginia. In retaliation, Confederates killed Sheridan’s chief quartermaster and medical inspector.

Sterling Price’s Confederates operated west of St. Louis along the Missouri River, as Federal resistance to Price’s advance increased.


John Bell Hood’s Confederates continued disrupting Federal supply lines, fighting near Acworth, Moon’s Station, and Lost Mountain. William Sherman left 12,000 Federals in Atlanta and moved his remaining 55,000 men toward Marietta to face the Confederates. This evening, Major General S.G. French’s Confederates positioned themselves against a Federal garrison guarding supply warehouses at Allatoona Pass.

William Dennison replaced Montgomery Blair as U.S. postmaster general.

Sterling Price’s Confederates began withdrawing from the St. Louis area due to increased Federal resistance; fighting occurred near Richwoods.


The Battle of Allatoona occurred in Georgia, as Confederates attacked the Federal garrison when its commander, Brigadier General John M. Corse, refused to surrender. The outnumbered Federals desperately held their positions as a messenger relayed a wire, “General Sherman says hold fast. We are coming.” The Confederates ultimately withdrew when S.G. French received incorrect information that a large Federal force was advancing to reinforce the garrison.

Federals suffered 706 casualties while Confederates lost 799 at Allatoona. The battle was relatively insignificant except that Sherman’s message inspired evangelist Philip Paul Bliss to write a revival hymn titled, “Hold the Fort, For We Are Coming.” The Confederates left millions of rations in Federal warehouses. Meanwhile, John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee withdrew to further disrupt Federal supply lines, hoping Sherman would abandon Atlanta to pursue the Confederates.

President Davis addressed a crowd in Augusta, Georgia, accompanied by Generals P.G.T. Beauregard, William Hardee, and others. Davis said, “Never before was I so confident that energy, harmony, and determination would rid the country of its enemy and give to the women of the land that peace their good deeds have so well deserved… we must beat Sherman, we must march into Tennessee… we must push the enemy back to the banks of the Ohio.”

In Indiana, Federal military authorities arrested Lambdin P. Milligan for conspiring against the U.S., giving aid and comfort to the Confederates, and inciting insurrection. A military tribunal convicted Milligan in December and sentenced him to death in June 1865. He was granted a presidential reprieve, and the Supreme Court ultimately ruled in Ex Parte Milligan (1866) that military authorities had no right to try civilians outside the actual theater of war.

Philip Sheridan’s Federal Army of the Shenandoah destroyed all food and supply sources in Strasburg, Virginia. Since this deprived civilians as well as soldiers of basic necessities, Confederates considered the action a war crime.

Sterling Price’s Confederates fought along the Osage River in Missouri. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s secretary John Nicolay headed west to gauge election prospects in Missouri.


An editorial in the Richmond Enquirer supported enlisting blacks in the Confederate army; black military recruitment was slowly gaining support throughout the South.

Philip Sheridan’s Federals continued destroying the Shenandoah Valley after clearing out Jubal Early’s Confederates. Federals demolished over 2,000 barns, 120 mills, 500,000 bushels of grain, and killed, captured, or drove off over 4,000 heads of livestock and 3,000 sheep. The outraged but outnumbered Confederates responded with guerrilla attacks on Federal units.

Thomas L. Rosser’s Confederate cavalry attacked Federals under General George A. Custer near Fisher’s Hill in the Shenandoah. Federals repulsed the attack, but it proved that Confederate resistance in the region remained.

General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates fought near Florence, Alabama in their continued efforts to disrupt Federal supply lines in Tennessee and Georgia.


This evening, U.S.S. Wachusett captured the famous Confederate commerce raider C.S.S. Florida off Bahia, Brazil. Florida had been anchored in the harbor, unaware that Wachusett was there as well. Urged by the U.S. consul in Brazil, Wachusett Commodore Napoleon Collins fired on Florida before boarding the ship and capturing her crew. The capture was strongly protested by Brazilian and European officials because it violated international law since Florida was anchored in a foreign port. Most northerners approved the capture, but Secretary of State William H. Seward feared an international incident and condemned the capture as illegal.

Federals repulsed a Confederate attack near Richmond, Virginia.

General Sterling Price’s Confederates continued their Missouri invasion, fighting near the state capital of Jefferson City.


Sterling Price’s Confederates continued fighting near Jefferson City.


Federals under George A. Custer and Wesley Merritt routed Thomas L. Rosser’s Confederates near Woodstock in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The Confederates fled 26 miles back to the main Confederate lines, and the fight was nicknamed the “Woodstock Races.”

Sterling Price’s Confederates fought at Boonville, Russellville, and California in Missouri.

10 OCT

Philip Sheridan established positions near Cedar Creek, north of Strasburg. Believing he had suppressed Confederate resistance in the Valley, Sheridan was unaware that General Jubal Early was planning an attack. A corps of Sheridan’s army was transferred to Petersburg, which made the personnel in the armies of Sheridan and Early more even. Early seized the opportunity.

President Lincoln wrote to Maryland politician Henry W. Hoffman: “I wish all men to be free. I wish the material prosperity of the already free which I feel sure the extinction of slavery would bring. I wish to see, in process of disappearing, that only thing which ever could bring this nation to civil war.”

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates clashed with Federal gunboats on the Tennessee River near Eastport, Mississippi. General John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee fought Federal supply guards near Rome, Georgia.

11 OCT

Several northern states held elections, which pleased President Lincoln by resulting in sizeable Republican majorities. In Ohio, Republicans won 12 congressional seats and a 50,000 popular vote majority. In Indiana, Republican Oliver P. Morton won the governorship, and Republicans won eight of the state’s 11 congressional seats. In Pennsylvania, Republicans won a narrow victory mainly because of the pro-Republican absentee soldier vote. These elections demonstrated that soldiers’ votes would be crucial in next month’s national election. Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton arranged as many soldier furloughs as possible so troops could go home and vote.

Sterling Price’s Confederates fought near Boonville and Brunswick in Missouri.

Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals began concentrating at Rome, Georgia.

12 OCT

U.S. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney died in Washington at age 89. Taney had been involved in many historic Supreme Court decisions, including the controversial Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) case.

Rear Admiral David D. Porter assumed command of the Federal North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, replacing Acting Rear Admiral Samuel P. Lee. Porter’s main goal was to help in the capture of Fort Fisher guarding Wilmington, North Carolina.

13 OCT

Maryland voters approved a new state constitution that included abolishing slavery by just 375 votes (30,174 to 29,799). The measure would have been defeated had Unionist Governor Augustus Bradford not allowed absentee soldiers to vote.

John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee continued disrupting Federal supply lines in northern Georgia, seizing the important railroad north of Rome to Tunnel Hill, which included Dalton and Tilton.

Confederate partisans under John S. Mosby wrecked a section of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad near Kearneysville, west of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. This included burning a passenger train and stealing $173,000 from army paymasters.

President Lincoln tallied the estimated electoral college vote in next month’s presidential election to be 120 for the “Union Vote” and 114 for the “Supposed Copperhead Vote.” Lincoln also continued working to furlough as many soldiers as possible so they could go home and vote.

14 OCT

Sterling Price’s Confederate invasion of Missouri continued, as Price issued a proclamation requesting that citizens join his army and redeem Missouri from Federal control.

15 OCT

A Confederate detachment under Jo Shelby captured Federal troops at Sedalia, Missouri after a hard fight that included citizens and home guards.

President Davis detached General Braxton Bragg as his chief of staff and sent him to command defenses at Wilmington, North Carolina, which was the Confederacy’s last major seaport.

Funeral services were held for U.S. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who died on 12 October. President Lincoln and other prominent officials attended the funeral.

17 OCT

John Bell Hood’s Confederates began withdrawing to Gadsden, Alabama, practically giving up on harassing Federal supply lines. Hood planned to attack Chattanooga and capture all supply lines to Atlanta, thus isolating William T. Sherman’s Federal Army of the West in enemy territory.

General P.G.T. Beauregard assumed command of the Confederate Military Division of the West.

Lieutenant General James Longstreet returned to his corps command in General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia after recovering from wounds received at the Battle of the Wilderness in May.

Kentucky Governor Thomas Bramlette ordered state authorities to arrest Federal troops attempting to interfere with the upcoming elections. He instructed, “If you are unable to hold a free election, your duty is to hold none at all.”

Governors of six Confederate states (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi) met at Augusta to define a unified defense policy. The governors approved eight resolutions supporting President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate government.

Sterling Price’s Confederates captured Carrollton and burned Smithville, Missouri as they approached Lexington in northwestern Missouri.

18 OCT

Philip Sheridan arrived in Washington to meet with U.S. Chief of Staff Henry W. Halleck and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton about future operations in the Shenandoah Valley. Meanwhile, Confederates scouted Federal positions at Cedar Creek; the Federals were unaware that Confederate General Jubal Early was planning one last, desperate attack to destroy Sheridan’s army.

In Liverpool, England, women supporting the South held a benefit for Confederate soldiers at St. George’s Hall.

19 OCT

The Battle of Cedar Creek erupted at 5 a.m. when Confederates attacked the Federal right and left; many Federals were still asleep when the attack began. The Federals slowly withdrew as Confederates wasted time looting camps. Philip Sheridan returned from Washington and urged his men to counterattack. When the men cheered him, Sheridan yelled, “God damn you! Don’t cheer me, fight!” The Federals rallied near Middletown.

By 4 p.m., Federals drove off the tired Confederates, as Jubal Early’s entire line virtually crumbled. The retreat soon became a rout. Federals suffered 5,665 casualties while Confederates lost 2,910, including Major General Stephen D. Ramseur. Sheridan became a northern hero. Jubal Early wrote to General Robert E. Lee, “I found it impossible to rally the troops… The rout was as thorough and disgraceful as ever happened to our army… If you think that the interests of the service would be promoted by a change of commanders, I beg you will have no hesitation.” Early withdrew to New Market, where his army gradually dispersed.

Lieutenant Bennett H. Young and 21 Confederate raiders attacked St. Albans, Vermont, about 20 miles from the Canadian border. The group robbed the town’s three banks of a total of $208,000. They rounded up the town residents, killing one and wounding another before fleeing back into Canada. Canadian authorities arrested Young and 12 raiders but refused to extradite them to the U.S. because of Canada’s neutrality. About $75,000 was recovered. Nobody stood trial for the raid, which was the northernmost land action of the war.

Marylanders in Washington serenaded Lincoln in support of their new state constitution. Lincoln addressed both the news and rumors that Democrats planned to immediately seize control of the federal government if they won the upcoming elections: “Most heartily do I congratulate you, and Maryland, and the nation, and the world, upon the event… I am struggling to maintain government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling especially to prevent others from overthrowing it.”

General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates left Corinth, Mississippi to cooperate with John Bell Hood’s move to Alabama and Tennessee.

Sterling Price’s Confederates pushed James G. Blunt’s Federals at Lexington back to the Little Blue River in Missouri.

The Confederate Navy officially received C.S.S. Shenandoah after fitting out in the Medeira Islands.

20 OCT

Three Federal forces closed in on Sterling Price’s Confederates in northwestern Missouri: General Alfred Pleasonton’s cavalry, A.J. Smith’s infantry, and Major General Samuel R. Curtis’s Army of the Border. Citizens had not joined the Confederate invasion as Price had hoped.

President Lincoln issued a proclamation setting aside the last Thursday in November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to Almighty God the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.” This marked the second consecutive year that Lincoln called for a day of thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November; this later became a permanent national holiday.

In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Jubal Early’s Confederates withdrew after yesterday’s rout at Cedar Creek, fighting at Fisher’s Hill.

21 OCT

Sterling Price’s Confederates repulsed Federal defenders and forced the evacuation of Independence, Missouri. William T. Sherman’s Federals stopped pursuing the Confederate Army of Tennessee under John Bell Hood at Gaylesville, Alabama as Sherman tried determining Hood’s next move.

People serenaded President Lincoln at the White House in celebration of the Federal victory at Cedar Creek two days ago. Lincoln proposed three cheers for “all our noble commanders and the soldiers and sailors…”

22 OCT

Sterling Price’s Confederates fought at Independence and reached Westport (now part of Kansas City). The Federal forces closing in on Price (under overall command of Samuel Curtis) outnumbered him by nearly three-to-one. Price planned to attack and defeat the Federal force in his front before turning to attack and defeat Federal cavalry behind him.

John Bell Hood’s Confederates moved to Guntersville, Alabama on their way to Hood’s planned invasion of Tennessee. Hood moved west across northern Alabama due to a high Tennessee River and low supplies.

Federal naval forces captured blockade runners off Charleston, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina. The illicit Confederate trade was more lucrative and dangerous than ever.

23 OCT

The Battle of Westport occurred at Sterling Price’s Confederates attacked Federals in their front under James Blunt. The fight surged back and forth until Price pushed Blunt back across Brush Creek. The Federals then regrouped and attacked the Confederate left as Alfred Pleasonton’s cavalry pushed back the Confederate rear guard. This forced Price to withdraw down the Missouri-Kansas state line. This battle effectively ended Confederate resistance in not only Missouri, but in the entire Trans-Mississippi Theater. Each side lost some 1,500 men, which was a much more devastating figure for the undermanned Confederates.

24 OCT

Sterling Price’s Confederates continued withdrawing, moving slowly and protecting their long supply train as the Federal pursuit was delayed.

Andrew Johnson, governor of the puppet government of Tennessee, proclaimed the immediate emancipation of all slaves in the state.

President Lincoln told the 189th New York Volunteers, “While others differ with the Administration, and, perhaps, honestly, the soldiers generally have sustained it; they have not only fought right, but, so far as could be judged from their actions, they have voted right…”

25 OCT

Sterling Price’s Confederates continued withdrawing in Missouri, as Federals pursued and clashed with various units. A Federal cavalry charge at Mine Creek inflicted 1,060 Confederate casualties and resulted in the capture of Generals John Marmaduke and William L. Cabell. About one-third of the Confederate supply train was either captured or destroyed.

26 OCT

Sterling Price’s Confederates continued withdrawing from Missouri, fighting at Glasgow and Albany along the way. Alfred Pleasonton’s Federal cavalry stopped pursuing and returned to Fort Scott, Kansas. Samuel Curtis’s Federals continued pursuing, but there were discrepancies over command.

John Bell Hood’s Confederates clashed with Federals at Decatur, Alabama as they were unable to cross the Tennessee River there.

Captain Samuel P. Cox’s Missouri militia ambushed William “Bloody Bill” Anderson and his partisans near Richmond, Missouri. The militia killed Anderson, placed his head on a telephone pole, and dragged his body through town before burying it in an unmarked grave. Anderson had been one of the most notorious “Border Ruffians” who burned homes, looted towns, and murdered soldiers and civilians, often torturing and scalping his victims.

27 OCT

The Battle of Hatcher’s Run occurred outside Petersburg, as the Federal Army of the Potomac tried stretching to the left in another effort to extend the Confederate defenses under siege. The Federals advanced about 12 miles southwest of Petersburg and threatened the Confederate-held South Side Railroad. Confederates repulsed the advance at Hatcher’s Run and Burgess’ Mill, retaining control of the Boydton Plank Road and South Side Railroad. Federals suffered 1,758 casualties while Confederate losses were uncertain. The siege of Petersburg continued with ongoing fortification construction, sharpshooting, skirmishing, picketing, and patrolling.

U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton canceled the delivery of beef to the 30-acre Elmira prisoner of war camp in upstate New York. Stanton’s War Department also blocked efforts by camp commandant Benjamin F. Tracy to obtain other foodstuffs and supplies. Inmates lived in tents and suffered from rampant diseases such as smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia while subsisting on bread, water, and captured rats in what they called “Hellmira.”

In its one-year existence, Elmira’s mortality rate was nearly 25 percent while the rate in other Federal prison camps averaged about 12 percent. Elimra’s rate nearly matched the 28 percent mortality rate at the notorious Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia. However, food and medical supplies were much scarcer in the Confederacy, which was under Federal blockade.

This evening, a Federal torpedo sunk C.S.S. Albemarle on the Roanoke River near Plymouth, North Carolina. A steam launch crept up beside Albemarle and detonated the torpedo at the end of a pole. The Federal launch was badly damaged, but the 15-man crew escaped by jumping into the water.

28 OCT

Following up the Battle of Westport on 25 October, Federals under James Blunt defeated Jo Shelby’s Confederate detachment at Newtonia, Missouri. General Samuel R. Curtis, the overall commander of Federal forces in Missouri, prepared to destroy the entire Confederate force under overall command of Sterling Price.

John Bell Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee continued moving west across northern Alabama in preparation for invading Tennessee. Hood hoped that invading Tennessee would draw Federals under William T. Sherman out of Atlanta. However, Sherman learned of Hood’s westward movement and began returning his pursuing troops to Atlanta. General George H. Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland, stationed at Nashville, was assigned to confront Hood.

29 OCT

This morning, General William S. Rosecrans, commanding the Federal Department of Missouri, recalled troops from Samuel Curtis’s command to guard various posts. This left Curtis with too few troops to pursue Sterling Price’s Confederates. Price escaped, but his army was no longer an effective fighting force. Besides disrupting some supply lines and diverting Federal troops from other areas of battle, Price’s invasion of Missouri failed to help the overall Confederate war effort.

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates captured the Federal ship Mazeppa, which carried 9,000 pairs of shoes.

30 OCT

Advance units of John Bell Hood’s Confederates reached Tuscumbia and Florence, Alabama. William T. Sherman stopped pursuing Hood, saying, “Damn him! If he will go to the Ohio River, I’ll give him rations. Let him go north, my business is down south.” Sherman tried convincing the Lincoln administration to approve his plan to march through Georgia to the Atlantic Ocean. However, President Lincoln was reluctant because failure could cost him reelection next month.

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates badly damaged the gunboat Undine on the Tennessee River and captured it with two transports.

C.S.S. Olustee, formerly the raider Tallahassee, ran the Federal blockade at Wilmington, North Carolina and took six prizes during the first week of November.

31 OCT

John Bell Hood arrived at Tuscumbia and reinforced his Confederates across the Tennessee River at Florence. This became Hood’s base for invading Tennessee and attacking George H. Thomas in the hopes of forcing William T. Sherman to leave Atlanta and chase him.

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederates arrived at Fort Heiman and organized captured Federal gunboats into a makeshift Confederate “navy” to attack Federal shipping on the Tennessee River.

A Federal naval squadron of seven ships commanded by William H. Macomb captured Plymouth, North Carolina on the Roanoke River after dueling with shore batteries.

By presidential proclamation, Nevada became the 36th state. Nevada was rushed into statehood mainly because voters were mostly Republicans who could deliver electoral votes to President Lincoln in next month’s election. Nevada became known as the “Battle State” for gaining statehood during the war.


Last Updated: 11/14/2014


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