This Day in the Civil War

Wednesday, March 12 1862

The USS Ottawa under the command of Lt. Thomas F. Stevens, on this day moved in to take charge of Jacksonville, Fla. This was accomplished without difficulty or needless bloodshed, largely because there was no opposition whatever. Such was not the case farther north in Winchester, Virginia, where the Federals were able to move in only because Thomas J. Jackson’s men moved out on a mission south in the Shenandoah Valley.

Thursday, March 12 1863

Dateline: CSA Today. New Newspaper Prints in Richmond! The “Sentinel” printed its first issue in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va. today. The capital was amply served with newspapers, and they were avidly read by civilians and troops alike. Soldiers in the field would pool their last few cents to buy a paper every time a sutler had one available. The paper shortage was a problem, though--all the papers were printing on half-sheets these days.

Saturday, March 12 1864

Admiral David D. Porter prepared two naval expeditions today, and led one of them. He ordered the gunboats Eastport, Essex, Ozark, Osage and Neosho, along with four wooden steamships, to proceed up the Red River. Admiral Porter himself took several ironclads, and three wooden paddle-wheelers on a trip up the Atchafalaya River toward Simmesport, where Federal troops were to be landing.

Sunday, March 12 1865

Marching through the Carolinas, Gen. Sherman practiced the same rules he had used while marching through Georgia: anything that could be of use to the Confederacy that came into his path was put to the torch. Buildings, public property and particularly machinery was considered to fall into this category. Today one burning was particularly satisfying: the equipment at the Fayetteville Arsenal. It had originally been stolen from the US Arsenal at Harpers Ferry at the beginning of the war and shipped South.

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