Lets see what happened this week in the American Civil War…
April 15th, 1862 – No large-scale fighting occurred today.There were skirmishes here and there though.
April 16th 1862 – A year ago in the after math of Fort Sumter, citizens on both sides had enthusiastically enlisted. This year things were different, Jefferson Davis signed a bill establishing a draft. This covered all able-bodied white men between the ages of 18 and 35. It allowed for no exceptions based on occupation, but did allow for the hiring of substitutes. Men were to be assigned to units from their home states, and allowed to elect their officers at the company, battalion and regimental levels.
April 17th 1862 – Flag Officer Farragut was preparing for the attack on New Orleans. This preparation included amassing Union troops at Ship Island, Miss, and in the area below Ft. Jackson and Ft. St. Phillip. These latter’s efforts involved not just preparation but rescue–they were severely flooded, and the troops stationed there had to spend more time bailing and moving guns and ammunition above the water’s reach than they did getting ready for battle.
April 18th 1862 – Today the Battle of New Orleans was fought, with an attack on two defenses on the river below the city, Ft. Jackson and Ft. St. Phillip. Mortar fire from navy gunboats was the form of the attack, an innovation proposed by Commander David Dixon Porter to his commander, and adoptive brother, David Glasgow Farragut. The attack would continue for most of a week, and the mortars indeed did little damage to the forts.
April 19th 1862 – Again no large-scale action a cured today.
April 20th 1862 – Fort Jackson and Fort St. Phillip on the Mississippi River were proving bigger impediments than expected to Federal progress toward New Orleans. Today the problem was not the forts themselves, but obstructions to navigation which the forts protected. Flag Officer Farragut sent parties ashore from USS Itasca to sneak in and blow the obstructions up. The bomb failed, but the landing parties did enough damage that a gap was created.
April 21st 1862 – A few days ago the Confederate Congress had passed the young nation’s first draft law. It provided for buying substitutes, but had no exemptions except for physical disability. Today this oversight was corrected. Excused from military service were hospital employees, druggists, ministers, miners and foundrymen, boat pilots, educators and (needless to say) government officials.
April 22nd, 1862 – Acting Lt. Kitteridge was exceedingly proud of his command, the USS Arthur. He was even prouder of the little plan he had come up with today. He sent two smaller boats from Arthur off on a mission near Aransas Pass, Tex., and they succeded brilliantly, capturing a schooner and two sloops from the forces of the Confederate Navy. He had failed, however, to plan either defense or escape, and was promptly set upon by very irate southerners.