This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, April 13: Confederate raid on Fort Pillow, Tenn.
Confederate raider Nathan B. Forrest attacked Fort Pillow in Tenn. on April 12, 1864 — 150 years ago during the Civil War. The fort located some 45 miles up the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tenn., was manned by hundreds of Union troops, including more than 200 African-American soldiers. Forrest’s cavalry of about 2,500 fighters seized the outer defenses and surrounded the fort. Union forces, after withering fire, refused to surrender and the Confederates waged an all-out attack and seized the fort. Only 62 of the African-American soldiers on the Union side survived amid high casualties and Union complaints of atrocities that the South denied. After the fight was over, Confederate raiders withdrew quickly and the Confederate battle victory did little strategically for the South to disrupt federal forces operating in the region.
This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, April 20: Confederate ram at battle of Plymouth, N.C.
Confederate forces, in a joint operation of ground troops and an ironclad ram CSS Albemarle, attacked the federal garrison at Plymouth, N.C. near the mouth of the Roanoke River on April 17, 1864. The Confederacy — 150 years ago in the Civil War — was weary of Union forces using the garrison as a springboard for raids into easternmost North Carolina. Thousands of Confederate troops pressed toward the outnumbered Union fighters holding the fort at Plymouth. By April 18, fierce shelling had erupted, threatening U.S. warships there along the river. On April 19, 1864, the CSS Albemarle reached the area and promptly sank one Union ship and badly damaged another, driving away other U.S. warships defending the garrison. A heavy Confederate bombardment ultimately forced the federal garrison to surrender on April 20, 1864. Flush with victory, the Confederacy would hold the area until late 1864 when it returned to federal control for the rest of the war.
This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, April 27: Fighting in Arkansas.
Union troops who had been backing a failed federal Army and Navy incursion up the Red River into northern Louisiana found themselves bogged down in fighting in neighboring Arkansas this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. The troops under the command of Union Maj. Gen. Fred Steel were crossing the Saline River at Jenkins’ Ferry in Arkansas when Confederate forces arrived and began to attack on April 30, 1864. The Union fighters fended off several attacks by the rebels and managed to cross the river with their supply wagons. Ultimately the Union force would regroup at its base in Little Rock, Arkansas, successfully in slipping away from the Confederate force bent on destroying the Union force.
This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, May 4: The Wilderness, start of the Overland Campaign.
The Union’s Ulysses S. Grant opened a major offensive against the Confederates this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. It would be known as the start of the Overland Campaign, a bloody offensive that would yield staggering casualties frrom the first day as Grant’s forces attacked a Confederate column early on May 5, 1864. The fierce fighting would rage for hours in dense woodlands, interrupted only by nightfall before the battle would rage again at dawn on May 6, 1864. In the end the battle by tens of thousands on both sides would prove a tactical draw. Still, Grant refused to retreat — marking the start of more fighting ahead in 1864 and the dawning of the bloodiest campaign in U.S. history.