Tricounty News

Civil War digest: This week 150 years ago July 22-28,1863

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday, July 22, 1863

As action increased at Manassas and Chester gaps in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Major General George G. Meade ordered his III Corps, under Major General 
William H. French, to move forward and attack the Confederates in Manassas Gap. Behind French were two other Federal corps.

The remnants of Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s Confederates skirmished at Eagleport, Ohio, as they fled northward.

The New York Chamber of Commerce estimated that Confederate raiders had taken 
150 Union merchant vessels 
valued at more than $12 million.

Thursday, July 23, 1863

Federal troops under Major General William H. French’s III Corps pushed into and through Manassas Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains and then, facing a brigade of Confederates, were delayed for hours. This delay allowed Lieutenant Generals James Longstreet and Ambrose Powell Hill to move their corps southward through the Luray Valley of the Shenandoah to safety. Two divisions of Lieutenant General Richard Ewell’s corps came up and established lines of defense. One Federal brigade attacked at Wapping Heights. During the night, Ewell pulled away leaving only a light rear guard near Front Royal. The Confederates continued unmolested to Culpeper Courthouse, below the Rappahannock River.

Friday, July 24, 1863

BATTLE OF BIG MOUND

Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s Confederate corps arrived at Culpeper Courthouse, south of the Rappahannock and south of Major General George G. Meade’s Federal forces. Meade’s III Corps moved into the Shenandoah Valley to Front Royal to find the Confederates gone. Meade now began concentrating his forces at Warrenton, Va.

Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s troops were forced to skirmish at Washington and Athens, Ohio. Other skirmishes took place in Dade County, Mo.; and between Federals and Indians at Cook’s Canyon, New Mexico Territory.

At Fort Wagner, Charleston Harbor, S.C., Federal ironclads and gunboats bombarded the fort as the Federal army continued to advance its siege lines after last week’s failed assault.

The defeat of Little Crow in the U.S.-Dakota War the previous year caused the widespread dispersion of the Santee Sioux, or Eastern Dakota. To protect the frontier against Santee Sioux raids, which continued into 1863, Brigadier General Henry Hastings Sibley was ordered by Major General John Pope to lead a military expedition to punish the Santee. Anticipating a meeting between Sibley and Chief Standing Buffalo, a group of Sioux and Sibley’s scouts assembled peacefully on a hill called Big Mound. Dr. Josiah S.
Weiser approached Big Mound to greet several Indian friends but was shot and killed by Tall Crown, a follower of Inkpaduta, the chief of the Wahpekute band of Dakota who was responsible for the Spirit Lake Massacre in 1857. After the killing of Dr. Weiser, the scouts and the Sioux opened fire on each other to commence the battle. Sibley sent two companies of mounted rangers into the engagement, at which point the poorly armed Santee retreated westward with their possessions. It was the first of three engagements of the Sibley Expedition. Three of Sibley’s troops were killed, four were wounded, and nine Santee died in the engagement.

Saturday, July 25, 1863

Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s men fought skirmishes near Steubenville and Springfield, Ohio, as they continued to advance northward through the state.

The Confederate Department of East Tennessee was merged into the Department of
Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg’s command.

Sunday, July 26, 1863

BATTLE OF DEAD BUFFALO LAKE

One last skirmish remained for Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan. At Salineville, Ohio, not far from the Ohio-Pennsylvania line, Morgan and his 364 exhausted men surrendered. Morgan and his main officers were sent to the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus. The raid was spectacular and had caused consternation in the North, but it accomplished little strategically.

Two prominent Americans died on this date. Sam Houston, Texas patriot, soldier and statesman, died in retirement at his home in Huntsville, Texas. He had opposed secession, but knew that as long as people had turned to it they could not go back.

Also on this date, John J.
Crittenden died in Frankfort, Ky. After a long career in Congress and his efforts to keep Kentucky in the Union, Crittenden opposed many Federal political moves, including emancipation. One of his sons had joined the Confederacy and another had joined the Union. Both rose to prominent rank.

Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s Expedition in Dakota Territory continued. His force marched to Dead Buffalo Lake and camped near the shores of the small lake. Mounted Sioux warriors appeared on the hills surrounding Sibley’s camp, threatening an attack. Sibley advanced his artillery, two companies of infantry and his pioneers to a position about
600 yards in advance of his camp and opened fire at long range on the Indians, who withdrew to a safe distance. The objective of the Sioux was to capture the army’s pack train of horses and mules to immobilize Sibley. Failing in this mission, the Indians retired from the field. One U.S. soldier was killed and the Sioux loss was less than fifteen.

Monday, July 27, 1863

Minor affairs took place near Cassville, Mo.; Rogersville, Ky.; Bayou Teche, La.; and near Bridgeport, Ala.

William Lowndes Yancey, a journalist, politician, orator, diplomat and a leader of the Southern secession movement, died in Montgomery, Ala., at the age of 48. He was appointed by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to head the diplomatic delegation to Europe to secure formal recognition of Southern independence. Unsuccessful in this effort, Yancey was elected to the Confederate States Senate where he was a frequent critic of the Davis Administration.

Tuesday, July 28, 1863

BATTLE OF STONY LAKE

Skirmishing marked the day at Marshall and High Grove, Mo.; Richmond, Ky.; and Fayetteville, W.V.

The Expedition under Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley in Dakota Territory continued when a force of approximately 2,000 Santee, Yankton, Yanktonai and Teton Sioux attempted to surprise Sibley near Stony Lake in an attempt to force him to abandon his pursuit. Most of the Indians were armed only with bows and arrows, fighting from distances greater than 100 yards. The Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Regiments of Minnesota Volunteer Infantry engaged in the battle and dislodged the Indians from the hills. Casualties were extremely light. Three Sioux warriors were killed. No U.S. troops were killed on this date, but soldiers who were separated from the main body of troops were killed the next day. Running low on supplies with exhausted troops and horses, Sibley gave up the expedition and returned to Minnesota. The Sioux were able to cross the Missouri River.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of July 22-28, 1863

1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march from Manassas Gap to Kelly’s Ford, Va.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Winchester, Tenn., until Aug. 16, 1863.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march to Helena, Ark.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Vicksburg, Miss., until Sept. 12, 1863.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Bear Creek, Miss., until Oct. 14, 1863.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Engaged at Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake and Stony Lake Battles as part of the Sibley Expedition. Participated in Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s expedition in Dakota Territory until
Sept. 12, 1863.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Engaged at Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake and Stony Lake Battles as part of the Sibley Expedition. Participated in Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s expedition in Dakota Territory until
Sept. 12, 1863.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Marched to Fort Ridgely for duty until June 5, 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Engaged at Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake and Stony Lake Battles as part of the Sibley Expedition. Participated in Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s expedition in Dakota Territory until
Sept. 12, 1863.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Engaged at Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake and Stony Lake Battles as part of the Sibley Expedition. Participated in Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s expedition in Dakota Territory until
Sept. 12, 1863.

1st Regiment Minnesota Cavalry
“Mounted Rangers” – Engaged at Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake and Stony Lake Battles as part of the Sibley Expedition. Participated in Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s expedition in Dakota Territory until Sept. 12, 1863.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Participated in the Occupation of Middle Tennessee until Sept. 6, 1863.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty at Vicksburg, Miss., until April 4, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery – Participated in the Occupation of Middle Tennessee until Aug. 16, 1863.

3rd Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery - Engaged at Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake and Stony Lake Battles at part of the Sibley Expedition. Participated in Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s expedition in Dakota Territory until
Sept. 12, 1863.

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in engagement at Wapping Heights, Va., during Lee’s Retreat from Gettysburg.