Major Highlights for the Week
Wednesday, May 6, 1863
Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s victorious army cautiously advanced in the Wilderness in Virginia, only to find that Major General Joseph Hooker’s Army of the Potomac had withdrawn during the night before and early in the morning. Hooker informed Washington of his movements and President Abraham Lincoln gained further knowledge by reading Richmond newspapers. Late in the afternoon, President Lincoln and Major General Henry W. Halleck left to meet with Hooker.
On the Confederate side, Major General Ambrose Powell Hill was assigned to command the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, replacing the fatally wounded Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, who was trying to recover at a small house at Guiney’s Station.
Thursday, May 7, 1863
The two worried presidents, Lincoln and Davis, spent the day trying to strengthen their military positions. President Abraham Lincoln and Major General Henry W. Halleck, after meeting with the Army of the Potomac commander, Major General Joseph Hooker, returned to Washington in the evening.
On the Mississippi River, Major General Ulysses Grant, joined by Major General William T. Sherman’s corps from Milliken’s Bend, began to move from the Grand Gulf area towards Jackson, Miss., and the railroad between Vicksburg and Jackson. Grant began to depend less on his supply lines and live off the country, although he did carry some necessities with him.
At the village of Spring Hill, Tenn., Confederate Major General Earl Van Dorn was assassinated by Dr. James Brodie Peters. Van Dorn was writing at his desk when Peters entered and shot him in the back of the head, killing the general instantly. Peters was later arrested by Confederate authorities, but he was never brought to trial for the killing.
Friday, May 8, 1863
Militarily speaking, the only skirmish of note occurred near Grove Church, Va., President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that being an alien would not exempt anybody from military service if he had declared his intention to become a citizen. Records are replete with names of those who claimed to be aliens in order to escape the draft.
Saturday, May 9, 1863
Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston was ordered to take command of the Confederate troops in imperiled Mississippi. Federal Major General Ulysses Grant’s advancing army fought skirmishes on this day near Utica, Miss. Other skirmishes occurred near Big Sandy Creek, Miss., and at Bayou Tensas near Lake Providence, La.
Sunday, May 10, 1863
DEATH OF STONEWALL JACKSON
In a small house near Guiney’s Station, Va., south of Fredericksburg, Confederate Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, died. Pneumonia had set in after the amputation of his arm. General Robert E. Lee, sorely grieved, did not know how to replace him. Flags dipped in mourning throughout the South and solemn honor guards escorted the body to Lexington, Va. The South lost one of its greatest captains and in return, gained a timeless legend.
Monday, May 11, 1863
President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, again created a problem for the president. In an argument over an appointment, Chase tendered his resignation again. Lincoln turned it down, but, coming as it did after the Cabinet crisis the previous December, it foretold more trouble in the official family.
Tuesday, May 12, 1863
Federal Major General Ulysses Grant had been moving steadily northeastward towards a position between Jackson and Vicksburg, Miss., had a division at the village of Raymond, about 15 miles from the state capitol. Here this division under Major General John A. Logan was struck by a Confederate brigade under Brigadier General John Gregg. An engagement lasted for several hours, until the outnumbered Confederates were driven back towards Jackson. Each side suffered about 500 casualties.
Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of May 6-12, 1863
1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Bivouacked near Banks Ford, Va., until June 1863.
2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Chapel Hill, Tenn., until June 4, 1863.
3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Fort Heiman, Ky., until June 2, 1863.
4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the Battles of Raymond, Miss., in support of Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign.
5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Movement to join army in rear of Vicksburg via Richmond and Grand Gulf.
6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Camp Pope near Iowa City, Iowa, until June 16, 1863.
7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty in Mankato and other points in Minnesota until June 1863.
8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On frontier duty at various points in Minnesota: Anoka, Princeton, Monticello, Kingston, Manannah, Paynesville, Fort Ripley, Sauk Center, Pomme de Terre, Alexandria and Fort Abercrombie until May 1864.
9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty in various frontier Minnesota communities until June 1863.
10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Regiment on detached service for garrison duty at various outposts in frontier Minnesota until June 1863.
1st Regiment Minnesota Cavalry “Mounted Rangers” – Organized at St. Cloud, St. Peter and Fort Snelling for frontier duty against Indians until June 1863.
Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On duty at Fort Donelson, Tenn., until June 5, 1863.
1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty during siege of Vicksburg, Miss., until July 4, 1863.
2nd Independent Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty at Murfreesboro, Tenn., until June 4, 1863.
3rd Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery - Organized at Fort Snelling, Minn., from the enlisted men of the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiments.
2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Bivouacked near Falmouth, Va., until June 1863.