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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

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Saturday, May 03, 2014

Civil War: Events of June 1864

On June 1st, Joseph E. Johnston continued his stubborn defense against William T. Sherman with a skirmish at Allatoona Pass.  On that same day, Union General Don Carlos Buell resigned his commission.  He had been shelved after his failure to defeat, and then pursue Braxton Bragg at the Battle of Perryville in October of 1862.  Grant had offered him a command, but Buell, a man of immense pride, declined on the grounds that it would be personally degrading for him to serve under William T. Sherman or Edward Canby because he outranked them both.  In Grant's opinion, it was "the worst excuse a soldier can make for declining service."

On June 2nd, Union General John Sturgis left Memphis leading a force of 8,100 with orders to pursue and destroy Confederate Cavalry General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

On June 4th, Joe Johnston continued his slow, stubborn defense of Georgia in actions from Dallas-New Hope, Lost Mountain, Pine Mountain, and Brushy Mountain.

June 5th and 6th saw a small series of skirmishes between Union troops under Joseph Mower and CSA's Colton Greene at the Battle of Old River Lake in deep southeast Arkansas.  the results were inconclusive, but both sides were able to claim victory.  The Union advance was delayed by the Southerners, but Union troops were able to advance toward Lake Village.

On June 8th, the Republican National Convention renominated Abraham Lincoln for his second term, with Andrew Johnson as his Vice Presidential nominee.

On June 10th, Union cavalry under John Sturgis collided with CSA cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrestin the battles of Brice's Crossroads and Tishomingo Creek in Mississippi.  Although outnumbered 3-to-1, Forrest utilized brilliant tactics and a mastery of the terrain as well as aggressively maintaining the offensive defeated the Union horsemen.  At one point, Sturgis ordered a general retreat and Forrest pursued the panicked Bluecoats across six counties before the exhausted Southerners retired.  In addition to defeating a much superior foe, Forrest's men captured a mountain of supplies, including several modern artillery pieces.

From June 11th to the 12th, Union and Confederate Cavalry clashed at Trevillian Station in Virginia.  Union General Phil Sheridan intended to destroy sections of the Virginia Central Railroad and link up with David Hunter's Shenandoah force at Charlottesville, Virginia.  The Southerners, led by Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee, who had succeeded to command following the death of J.E.B. Stuart, beat the Northerners to the station, and the two columns fought to a standstill.  On the 12th, the two columns fought again.  Seven assaults by Sheridan's forces were repulsed with great loss.  Sheridan was forced to retire and rejoin Grant's army, having failed to achieve his mission.  With nearly 16,000 engaged and nearly 2,000 combined casualties, Trevillian Station was the largest and bloodiest all-cavalry engagement in the Civil War.

On the 12th, Grant admitted defeat at Cold Harbor and began crossing the James River.

On June 14th, Confederate General Leonidas Polk was scouting enemy positions near Marietta Georgia when Union General William T. Sherman spotted this cluster of enemy officers.  He ordered General Oliver Howard open fire and the third round fired passed completely through Polk's body, killing him instantly.

On the 11th, the CSS Alabama made port in Cherbourg, France.  On the 14th, the USS Kearsarge positioned itself outside the harbor, waiting for the Rebel warship to take to the sea.

On June 9th, Grant began the siege of the Confederate rail junction at Petersburg.  This siege would last until March 25, 1865.

On the 14th, Union General Baldy Smith attacked the Southern fortifications, called the Dimmock Line,m and swept through the lightly-defended line.  The Confederates fell back to a much weaker line, but Smith for some reason declined to pursue his advantage and despite, as the Confederates said later, the fact that the city lay virtually undefended, Smith held his troops overnight.  In an uncharacteristic move, the newly arrived Winfield Hancock deferred to Smith's judgement.  In the intervening hours, Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard use the time to good advantage, moving troops and reinforcing the new line.  In another lost opportunity, Union General Benjamin Butler failed to move his army to a point between Petersburg and Richmond, which would have effectively cut off both cities.  By morning, the Southern defenders had increased from 2,500 to over 14,000.  Grant arrived and with Hancock in temporary command of the Army of the Potomac, an attack was launched with three Union corps.  The Southerners fought intelligently, constructing new breastworks when breakthroughs occurred.  Counterattacks pushed the Union troops back, and many were captured.  Subsequent Union assaults were bloody and unsuccessful, and Meade ordered the Union army to dig in.

Over June 17th and 18th, Union forces under David Hunter attacked and tried to take the city of Lynchburg, a supply and hospital center for the Confederates.  CSA General Jubal Early successfully repulsed the attacks.  Hunter's defeat enabled Early to move up the Shenandoah Valley through Maryland and made it as far as Washington.

On June 19th off the coast of France, the USS Kearsarge sank the CSS Alabama in a gun duel.

On June 22nd, CSA General John Bell Hood, acting without orders, attacked Union forces under John Schofield and Joseph Hooker in order to keep them from outflanking CSA forces at Kolb's Farm near Marietta, Georgia.  The attack was unsuccessful.

In one of the more audacious acts of the war, on June 25th Union engineers began digging a tunnel from Union lines at Petersburg under Confederate entrenchments, with the idea of loading the tunnels with TNT and blowing up the Confederates from beneath.

On June 27th, after a series of flanking actions, US General Sherman launched a frontal attack against Southern positions at Kennesaw Mountain in Cobb County, Georgia.  While a tactical victory for the South, Union General Schofield threatened the Confederate left flank, inducing Joseph Johnston to withdraw yet again towards Atlanta.  This move resulted in Johnston's firing.

On the 28th, the U.S. Congress repealed the fugitive slave laws.

US Secretary of the Treasury resigned on June 30th, due in part to his insatiable desire for higher office.  He was eventually nominated by Lincoln for the US Supreme Court in December.

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