The siege of Petersburg continued. Abraham Lincoln continued fending off Democrats seeking peace and Radical Republicans seeking an even harsher war policy. His reelection in November seemed unlikely. Nevertheless, the Federals scored a major victory in the Gulf of Mexico. The fall of Atlanta was imminent, and the Federal tide began turning just as the Democrats assembled to choose a presidential candidate for the upcoming election.
1 Aug – Major General Philip Sheridan was assigned to command the new Army of the Shenandoah. Sheridan’s objective was to protect Washington while clearing the Confederates out of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley once and for all.
4 Aug – Federal naval forces under Rear Admiral David G. Farragut prepared to attack one of the last remaining Confederate seaports open to blockade runners.
5 Aug – Federal naval forces under Rear Admiral David G. Farragut won a sensational victory that closed a vital Confederate seaport to shipping and boosted sagging northern morale.
5 Aug – Senator Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry W. Davis of Maryland bitterly denounced President Abraham Lincoln’s veto of a bill designed to give Congress the authority to impose a harsh reconstruction program on the Confederate states.
6 Aug – Federal cavalrymen straggled back to their lines after a failed raid, and Major General William T. Sherman tried moving around the Confederates at Atlanta to cut their railroad line.
6 Aug – Major General Philip Sheridan received command of a new Federal military department designed to drive the Confederates out of the Shenandoah Valley for good.
7 Aug – Federal cavalry attacked a Confederate detachment that had just finished raiding through Maryland and Pennsylvania.
8 Aug – Confederates surrendered Fort Gaines at the entrance to Mobile Bay, apparently without authorization. This enabled the Federals to focus all their attention on capturing the last fort guarding the bay.
9 Aug – An explosion aboard an ammunition ship nearly killed Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant at his headquarters on the James River.
10 Aug – A Confederate commerce raider embarked on a mission to attack Federal shipping on the North Atlantic coast, which spread panic among coastal residents.
14 Aug – Federal forces moved north of the James River to attack the supposedly weakened Confederate defenses outside Richmond.
16 Aug – Elements of Major General Philip Sheridan’s Federal Army of the Shenandoah scored an impressive victory, but Sheridan came under heavy criticism for withdrawing nonetheless.
17 Aug – Plummeting northern morale put President Abraham Lincoln under intense pressure to save his reelection hopes by renewing peace negotiations with the Confederacy.
18 Aug – Fighting broke out southwest of the Petersburg siege lines when Federals tried moving beyond the Confederates’ flank to sever the Weldon Railroad.
21 Aug – Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest led his Confederate cavalry on a daring raid while Federal forces were out trying to hunt him down.
23 Aug – President Abraham Lincoln asked his cabinet members to endorse a confidential memo acknowledging that he would probably not win the upcoming presidential election.
25 Aug – Confederates scored a decisive victory that decimated the Federal II Corps, but it did little to affect the Federal siege of Petersburg.
25 Aug – Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals began a major movement to the west and south of Atlanta to cut the supply lines leading into the city and starve the Confederate Army of Tennessee into submission.
27 Aug – Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant instructed the Federal prisoner exchange agents to refuse any Confederate offers to exchange prisoners.
28 Aug – Major General Sterling “Pap” Price organized a new Confederate army to move north into Missouri and claim that state for the Confederacy.
29 Aug – Delegates assembled at Chicago to nominate an opponent for Abraham Lincoln, but they were split over how to deal with the Confederacy.
30 Aug – Major General William T. Sherman’s three Federal armies worked their way to the west and south of Atlanta, threatening the key town of Jonesboro on the Macon & Western Railroad.
31 Aug – Federal and Confederate forces clashed south of Atlanta as the Federals sought to cut the last Confederate supply line into the city.
Last Updated: 8/31/2019