Thursday, May 21, 1863

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Army Events:

Operation: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad April 21 - May 31, 1863
Operation: Barre Landing, LA May 21 - 26, 1863
Expedition to: Bear River, Idaho Territory May 5 - 30, 1863
Operation: Berwick, LA May 21 - 26, 1863
Scout: Calhoun County, WV May 15 - 22, 1863
Expedition from: Camp Douglass, Utah Territory May 5 - 30, 1863
Scout: Cassville, AR May 21 - 30, 1863
Scout: Cassville, MO May 21 - 30, 1863
Scout: Clarksville, TN May 20 - 22, 1863
Raid: Clendennin's Raid, VA May 20 - 28, 1863
Operation: Eastern Shore, VA August 20 - June 3, 1863
Operation: Gloucester Peninsula, VA August 20, 1862 - June 4, 1863
Expedition from: Gloucester Point, VA May 19 - 22, 1863
Expedition to: Jasper County, AR May 21 - 30, 1863
Scout: Jasper County, MO May 21 - 30, 1863
Raid: Jones' Raid April 21 - May 31, 1863
Demonstration: Kinston, NC May 20 - 23, 1863
Expedition from: La Grange, TN May 21 - 26, 1863
Skirmish: Lancaster, VA May 20 - 21, 1863
Expedition to: Matthews County, VA May 19 - 22, 1863
Operation: Middlesex County, VA May 20 - 26, 1863
Expedition to: Middleton, TN May 21 - 22, 1863
Expedition from: Murfreesborough, TN May 21 - 22, 1863
Scout: Newton County, AR May 21 - 30, 1863
Scout: Newton County, MO May 21 - 30, 1863
Operation: Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad, VA May 15 - 28, 1863
Operation: Northern Neck, VA May 20 - 26, 1863
Scout: Northwestern Arkansas May 21 - 30, 1863
Raid: Northwestern Railroad, TN April 21 - May 21, 1863
Operation: Owen's Valley, CA April 24 - May 26, 1863
Action: Plain's Store, LA May 21, 1863
Siege: Port Hudson, LA May 21 - July 8, 1863
Operation: Santa Fe Road, MO May 21, 1863
Operation: Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad, VA May 12 - 26, 1863
Expedition to: Senatobia, MS May 21 - 26, 1863
Operation: Skull Creek, SC May 18 - 21, 1863
Expedition against: Snake Indians, Idaho Territory May 4 - October 26, 1863
Expedition to: Soda Springs, Idaho Territory May 5 - 30, 1863
Operation: Teche Road, LA May 21 - 26, 1863
Expedition from: Vicksburg, MS May 20 - 23, 1863
Siege: Vicksburg, MS May 18 - July 4, 1863
Operation: Vicksburg, MS January 20 - July 4, 1863
Expedition to: Yazoo City, MS May 20 - 23, 1863

(Source: Compendium of the War of the Rebellion Vol. I, p. 660-991. Frederick H. Dyer.)


Naval Events:

Confederate troops planted torpedoes in Skull Creek, South Carolina, "with a view of destroying the enemy's vessels, which are constantly passing through this thoroughfare."

General Grant wrote Rear Admiral Porter, informing him of an anticipated Army attack on Vicksburg and requesting the assistance of the gunboats: "I expect to assault the city at 10 a.m. tomorrow. I would request, and earnestly request it, that you send up the gunboats below the city and shell the rebel entrenchments until that hour and for thirty minutes after. If the mortars could all be sent down to near this point on the Louisiana shore, and throw shells during the night, it would materially aid me. I would like at least to have the enemy kept annoyed during the night." Porter responded and "kept six mortars playing rapidly on the works and town all night; sent the Benton, Mound City, and Carondelet up to shell the water batteries, and other places where troops might be resting during the night." Early the morning of 22 May, Mound City, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Wilson, engaged the hill batteries. An hour later she was joined by U.S.S. Benton, Tuscumbia, and Carondelet. The combined fire temporarily silenced the Confederate work. Leaving Tuscumbia to prevent further action by the hill batteries, Porter proceeded with the other three gunboats against the water batteries. These guns opened on the Union ships "furiously," but Porter forced his way to within a quarter of a mile of them. By this time the gunboats had been engaged for an hour longer than Grant had requested, and, with no Army assault apparently forthcoming, the Admiral directed his ships to drop back out of range. The gunboats were hit "a number of times" but suffered little severe damage; they were, however, nearly out of ammunition when the attack was broken off. The Admiral later learned that the troops ashore had attacked Vicksburg, an unsuccessful assault that had been obscured from the squadron's view by the smoke and noise of its own guns and the Confederate batteries. Praising Grant's effort, Porter remarked: "The army had terrible work before them, and are fighting as well as soldiers ever fought before, but the works are stronger than any of us dreamed of." Brigadier General John McArthur in turn praised the work of the gunboats. He wrote Porter: "I received your communication regarding the silencing of the two batteries below Vicksburg, and in reply would say that I witnessed with intense satisfaction the firing on that day, being the finest I have yet seen."

Under Lieutenant Commander J. G. Walker, U.S.S. Baron De Kalb, Choctaw, Forest Rose, Linden, and Petrel pushed up the Yazoo River from Haynes' Bluff to Yazoo City, Mississippi. As the gunboats approached the city, Commander Isaac N. Brown, CSN, who had commanded the heroic ram C.S.S. Arkansas the preceding summer, was forced to destroy three "powerful steamers, rams" and a "fine navy yard, with machine shops of all kinds, sawmills, blacksmith shops, etc. . . . " to prevent their capture. Porter noted that "what he had begun our forces finished," as the city was evacuated by the Southerners. The Confederate steamers destroyed were Mobile, Republic, and "a monster, 310 feet long and 70 feet beam." Had the latter been completed, "she would have given us much trouble." Porter's prediction to Secretary Welles at the end of the expedition, though overly optimistic in terms of the time that would be required, was nonetheless a clear summary of the effect of the gunboats' sweep up the Yazoo: "It is a mere question of a few hours, and then, with the exception of Port Hudson (which will follow Vicksburg), the Mississippi will be open its entire length."

Rear Admiral Farragut wrote Captain John R. Goldsborough, commanding the blockading force off Mobile: "I am much gratified to find that you are adding to the successes of the day by the number of captures recently made. . . . I know that your service is one of great anxiety, and irksome, with but little compensation save the pleasure of knowing that you are doing your duty toward your country. I know your officers would be glad to be with me in the river, and gladly would I bring them here to my assistance were it not indispensable to have them on the blockade. I feel as if I was about to make the last blow at them [the Confederates] I shall for some time to come. The fall of Port Hudson will place Admiral Porter in command of the river, and I shall join my fleet outside, and trust I shall call on my officers outside for their exertions in the reductions of the last two places--Mobile and Galveston."

U.S.S. Union, commanded by Acting Lieutenant Edward Conroy, seized blockade running British schooner Linnit in the Gulf of Mexico, West of Charlotte Harbor, Florida.

U.S.S. Currituck, commanded by Acting Master Linnekin, U.S.S. Anacostia, commanded by Acting Master Nelson Provost, and U.S.S. Satellite, commanded by Acting Master John F. D. Robinson, captured schooner Emily at the mouth of the Rappahannock River.

(Source: Civil War Naval Chronology 1861-1865. pp. I:1-41; II:1-117; III:1-170; IV:1-152; V:1-134. 1971: Naval History Division, Navy Department.)


Additional Information:

The Battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (MS011) (Grant's Operations Against Vicksburg [March-July 1863]).

The Battle of Port Hudson, Louisiana. (LA010) (Siege of Port Hudson [May-July 1863]).

The Battle of Plains Store, Louisiana. (LA009) (Siege of Port Hudson [May-July 1863]).

(Source: Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report: Battle Summaries. National Park Service. In The Civil War Battlefield Guide, 2nd ed., 1998. Edited by Frances H. Kennedy.)




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