This Day in the Civil War

Saturday, March 22 1862

Queen Victoria’s government in London had early on taken the position of strict neutrality in the matter of the American Civil War, but it was quite permitted for Englishmen to sell goods, including munitions, to both sides. Nevertheless, the Federals took a dim view of trade with the Confederacy. It was for this reason that a new vessel left the shipyards of Liverpool under the name of Oreto, private merchantman, quite unarmed, sailing for Nassau. Once there she ran up the Stars and Bars--she was actually the CSS Florida, bought and paid for by the South. Her guns, four 7-inchers, had been sent by different ship.

Sunday, March 22 1863

The project to work gunships and troops through the waterways in behind Vicksburg was officially abandoned today. The twisting jungle waters simply would not accommodate the boats. As some consolation to Flag Officer Foote, the expedition had uncovered huge quantities of corn and cotton. The edibles were confiscated or were destroyed, enough cotton was confiscated to pay for a new gunboat, and quite a few horses, mules and cattle renewed their allegiance to the Union.

Tuesday, March 22, 1864

Like all charitable groups, the United States Sanitary Commission needed to conduct fundraising in order to carry out its work of providing blankets, treatments, transportation and other services to sick and wounded soldiers. It therefore was today holding a “Sanitary Fair” in Washington. One of the items gathered for auction was an autograph album. This did not hold just signatures, but comments by the notables who wrote therein. In it Abraham Lincoln wrote: “I never knew a man who wished to be himself a slave. Consider if you know any “good” thing, that no man desires for himself.”

Wednesday, March 22 1865

As far as Gen. William T. Sherman, and his wing commanders Slocum and Howard knew, the Battle of Bentonville was about to go into a ferocious fourth day. Gen. Johnston’s forces had shown every willingness to fight to the last man. As the lead Union units neared the barricades, though, they met no opposition. Johnston had evacuated during the night. Rather than pursue, the Federal army reorganized and headed for Goldsboro.

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