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The Civil War Month by Month: Sep 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.

September 1863

This Month's Events

  • 7 September. Confederate forces give up their attempt to hold Fort Wagner outside Charleston S. C. after months of siege. One factor involved is the lack of fresh water as the hundreds of decaying bodies buried around the fort [see July 1863] pollute the water supplies. Shortly after Union forces take over the fort, drunken soldiers set off stored gunpowder and 300 men die.

  • 8 September. At Sabine Pass, Texas a Union fleet carrying 15,000 men attempts a landing. They are held off by Captain Richard Dowling, age 19, and his 43 men. With rifles and 6 small cannon, they account for 3 gunboats and capture 400 men. Every man in the unit is listed in the official report (the only unit this is done for during the war) and every man receives a special medal.

  • 9 September. A mob of Confederate soldiers attack the home and office of William W. Holden, editor of the Raleigh Standard who opposes the war. [See previous month.] Governor Zebulon Vance gets to the scene too late to prevent the destruction, but in time to deliver a lecture on freedom of the press.

  • 9 September. From the Moravian records at Salem, North Carolina: "The 21st Reg't N.C. Troops, in the Confederate States Service passed through Salem on their way into the western part of the state, probably to put down the Union demonstration in the counties of Yadkin and Wilkes, etc. Dinner was served to the regiment, numbering between 300 and 400, in the square. Many of the men being from this neighborhood, there were affecting meetings and sad partings with friends." . The diarist is correct. General Robert F. Hoke has indeed been sent home to North Carolina to hunt deserters and to deal with Unionist uprisings in the mountain counties which are fast falling into anarchy. However the harshness of Hoke's methods will lead to further protest and discontent.

  • 11 September. Lieutenant James Lineberger of the 49th North Carolina writes home about their chaplain's plan to teach the men in the regiment to read and write. "He gives them choice to study all branches from the alphabet up. He laid in spelling books grammar & paper. He says he thinks he can do some good and learn them to read & write.

  • 16 September. Willie Johnston, an 11 year old drummer boy from Vermont, is awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Seven Days Battle.

  • 19-20 September. In Tennessee, Union forces under General William Rosecrans fight Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee at Chickamauga near Chattanooga. The stubborn resistance exhibited by Federal forces under General George H. Thomas, even as they run out of ammunition, earns him the nickname, "the Rock of Chickamauaga." A Confederate victory that successfully stops a Union advance, still has a high price -- this battle is second only to Gettysburg in casualties. The place is ironic -- Chickamauga is a former battleground and the name is Cherokee for "river of death".

This Month's Fiction

Adult Fiction

Young Adult Fiction

Mr. Lincoln's Drummer, G. Clifton Wisler, pub. 1995, 131 p. A novel based on Willie Johnston's story. (See above.)

Children's Fiction

Keeping secrets, by Joan Lowery Nixon, pub. 1995, 163 p., call #: J Nix. In Nixon's latest Orphan Train adventure, which is set in Missouri during the Civil War, 11-year-old Peg Kelly finds herself unwittingly involved with a Union spy, Miss Violet Hennessey, who has been using Peg as a cover when visiting her "sister" to pass on information about Confederate troop movements. When Peg and her brother Danny unravel the mystery surrounding Miss Hennessey, Peg agrees to continue helping her, knowing she faces danger from both unscrupulous Union patrols and Confederate bushwhackers. The tension and danger are palpable in Nixon's exciting mystery-adventure, and readers won't be able to put this one down. The suspense builds steadily to a dramatic but startling conclusion that may require a hanky or two. As always, Nixon provides a clue to the next adventure, which will take place on the Kansas plains. Gr. 5-8.

This Month's Non-Fiction

Adult Nonfiction

Children's Nonfiction

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