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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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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Civil War: Events of October 1864

On the 2nd, Jefferson Davis gives P. G. T. Beauregard command of the Department of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

On the 4th, Confederate General Hood moved north along the Western and Atlantic Railroad, attempting to sever Sherman's supply line, attacking blockhouses and encampments at Acworth and Moon's Station.

Confederate forces under Samuel French attacked Union troops in entrenched positions protecting the W & A Railroad in the Allatoona Pass on the 5th.  Despite fierce fighting, the Federals under John Corse held their ground.

In the Battle of Tom's Brook on October 9th, Sheridan ordered his cavalry to attack Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry which had been harassing his rear.  The Union troopers chased the Southerners for 10 miles, capturing 300 Confederates.  The battle was nicknamed "The Woodstock Races" for the speed of the Confederate withdrawal.  Having burned everything of value in the Valley all the way to Staunton, Virginia, Sheridan withdrew.

On October 13, Maryland voters ratified a new constitution abolishing slavery.

In what was undoubtedly delightful news for General Lee, his old warhorse General Longstreet returned to action after recovering from a friendly fire wound at The Wilderness.

The Battle of Cedar Creek, which occurred on October 19th was the last major battle in the Shenandoah Valley.  Jubal Early initially defeated the Union troops under Phil Sheridan in a surprise attack, but in a second engagement, Sheridan, dramatically riding into battle from Winchester, took his place at the head of his troops and rallied his forces and easily defeated Early in a counter-attack.  This victory permanently denied to the South the cornucopia which had largely fed the Army of Northern Virginia.

Confederate Bennett Young, who had escaped the end of Morgan's raid into Canada, led a team of Confederates covertly into St. Alban's, Vermont.  They robbed the banks of some $208,000 and successfully fled back across the border.  An embarrassed Canadian government arrested the raiders, recovering $88,000.  The Canadian court ruled that Young's soldiers were acting under orders and therefore could not be extradited.  The raiders were subsequently freed and the remaining money was returned to St. Alban's.

In the Battle of Westport on October 23rd, Confederate forces under Sterling Price fought Union troops commanded by Samuel Curtis at the town of Westport, now a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri.  Curtis, using primarily his deputy James Blunt fought Price in a succession of delaying actions at Jefferson City, Lexington, and Independence before the clash at Westport.  The Confederates almost carried the day, but a crucial regiment ran out of ammunition.  Union forces fought back, chasing Price's survivors all the way to Arkansas.  This battle, called "The Gettysburg of the West," was crucial in that this border state was finally secured by the Union.  Most of the action took place along Brush Creek, just south of the famous Country Club Plaza, and among those who fought there were some of the most famous icons of western history, including both Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody, Frederick Benteen of eventual Little Big Horn fame, and the legendary mountain man Jeremiah Johnson.  There were four future Governors and six U. S. Senators who fought on both sides.

The Battle of Decatur, Alabama took place on October 26th when a small force of less than 5,000 Union soldiers under George Thomas provided enough of a demonstration to deter the 39,000 men of General Hood from crossing the Tennessee River.

In the Battle of Burgess Mill on October 27th, Winfield Hancock, advancing up the Boydton Plank Road was surrounded and cut off when the supporting divisions under Samuel Crawford failed to penetrate the woods to support Hancock's corps.  Hancock refused to panic and managed to hold on long enough for General Gregg's cavalry to come up and open up an escape route back to Union lines.

On the 28th, Sherman decided to stop the pursuit of Hood into Alabama and return to Kingston, Georgia where he would embark on his famous "March to the Sea," and the vital port of Savannah.

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