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The Civil War Month by Month: Apr 1863

CW - 150

Civil War 150th anniversary

The Civil War 150th Anniversary

Interesting facts, links, and suggested books for each month of the Civil War.

April 1863

This Month's Events

  • 1 April. The first United States conscription (draft) law takes effect.

  • 2 April. In North Carolina the Adjutant General's Office issues an order drafting slaves, able-bodied males between 18 and 45, from counties in the central part of the state. These men will be sent to Wilmington to build military fortifications.

  • 7 April. Fort Sumter is in the news again as Federal ironclads attack at Charleston, South Carolina, but are driven off.

  • 14 April. Carolina Seabury of Massachusetts had come to Mississippi in 1854 to teach French, but was fired in 1862 because she was a Northener. Still in Mississippi, today she visits a hospital with other women volunteers. "A pretty little curly headed drummer boy looked so wishfully at us--I asked the doctor about him--He can't speak a word of English--was his reply--He is a French boy from New Orleans. I said only "Avez vous une mere?" [Have you a mother?] when he sprang up and commenced an autobiography at once." Promising to send the 15 year old runaway (whose mother is in France) a book in French, Caroline passes on to other soldiers. Later that summer she attempts to return north through the armies. See excerpts from her diary in Blood below.

  • 17 April. Colonel Benjamin Grierson leads his Union cavalry out of LaGrange, Tennessee. In the next 16 days they will cover more than 600 miles, all the way to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The raid is incredibly successful as the swiftly moving troopers destroy railroads and telegraph lines, capture more than 500 men, 1,000 mules and horses, and capture or destroy huge amounts of stores. It also distracts the attention of the Confederates from the growing Union threat to Vickburg.

  • 24 April. The Confederacy imposes a "tax-in-kind" that takes 10 per cent of all crops and livestock raised for slaughter, an immense hardship for poor families. Slaves are still not taxed.

  • During this month, still hoping to re-establish Confederate control in the area, General Daniel Harvey Hill besieges Washington, North Carolina for much of the month. However, he is forced to give up the attempt when his superiors call for troops for use in Virginia and the Union troops are succesfully resupplied by incoming ships.

  • 30 April. The Battle of Chancellorsville (Spotsylvania County, Virginia) begins. See next month.

This Month's Fiction

Adult Fiction

Young Adult Fiction

Children's Fiction

The ghost battalion : a story of the Iron Scouts, by Manly Wade Wellman, pub. 1958, 173 p., call #: J Wel NC. At 18, Clay Buckner is off to join the "Iron Scouts", Company B of the 1st North Carolina Cavalry. (While the 1st was a real outfit, Clay's company is fictional.) This is the story of his adventures from battles to being captured and accused of spying.

This Month's Non-Fiction

Adult Nonfiction

Battles and leaders of the Civil War : Being for the most part contributions by Union and Confederate Officers, edited by Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel. Originally pub. 1887; many editions. Call #: 973.7 Bat [vol.].

Children's Nonfiction

Chancellorsville: Disaster in Victory, by Bruce Palmer, pub. 1967, 95 p., call #: j973.734 P. The story of this crucial battle that the Confederacy won, but lost too much in doing so. Diagrams and a chronology trace the course of the battle.

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