This Day in the Civil War

Sunday, March 23, 1862

Gen. Thomas J. Jackson’s men had marched 26 miles yesterday. Today they got up early, marched until 2 p.m., and went straight into the Battle of Kernstown. As might be expected, given that they were not only tired but outnumbered anywhere from 3-1 to 5-1 depending on who you ask, the Stonewall Brigade lost the battle. However, the sheer audacity caused the Federals to shift 60,000 troops to the area from the Peninsula. This is considered the opening of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

Monday March 23, 1863

Admiral David Farragut got his two surviving ships back past Vicksburg to downstream safety today. Why was the commanding admiral personally under the guns, instead of “leading from the rear” as was the custom among commanding officers of the day? He wrote to his wife after the excitement was over: “ You know my creed: I never send others in advance when there is a doubt, and being one on whom the country has bestowed its greatest honors, I though I ought to take the risks which belong to them. So took the lead.”

Wednesday, March 23, 1864

U.S. Grant wrapped up several days of consultations in Cincinnati with William T. Sherman. Grant headed for Washington to get to work, and Sherman headed back for Nashville to plan the March Through Georgia. The Fifth Corps of the US Army had been commanded by Maj. Gen. George Sykes. He was replaced today by Gouvernor K. Warren, the former signal officer who had saved Little Round Top, and the Union left, at Gettysburg.

Thursday, March 23, 1865

Despite spending three days fighting the Battle of Bentonville, William T. Sherman’s army rolled into Goldsborough, N.C. on the same day as the forces of Schofield. This was almost to the day the schedule of progress established by Sherman and Grant months earlier. Johnston’s Confederates, having been ousted from Bentonville, set up to guard the roads connecting them with Lee at Petersburg.

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