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The Civil War Month by Month: Mar 1864

CW - 150

Civil War 150th anniversary

The Civil War 150th Anniversary

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

March 1864

This Month's Events

  • 3 March. William Woods Holden, editor of the Raleigh, North Carolina Standard, announces that he is a candidate for governor. "If elected, I will do everything in my power to promote the interests, the honor and the glory of North Carolina, and to secure an honorable peace."
              Among his supporters are members of a secret organization, the Heroes of America. Also called the "Red Strings", this underground group is composed of Unionists. Many are white working men and poorer whites whose families are suffering from the war, but free African Americans and slaves contribute to its efforts. The HOA members are part of the "underground railroad" that smuggles deserters, refugee Unionists, and escaping Union prisoners out of the South.

  • 4 March. The "Stars and Bars" is adopted as the official flag of the Confederacy. [See March 1861.]

  • 5 March A long planned Union raid on Richmond fails and its commander, Ulric Dahlgren, lies dead. Supposedly papers found on his body contain orders to capture and execute Jefferson Davis and the members of the Confederate cabinet. Is this true? See The Dahlgren Affair below in Books.

  • 7 March. At Salem, North Carolina, a diarist writes: "During this week the examining board of surgeons with the enrolling officers were busy at Winston, conscripting a good many persons who had heretofore been exempted. At first the conscripts were treated very harshly. They were marched about under guard, kept like prisoners in the guardhouses, and not allowed to go home without a guard, nor to give security for their appearance. After a while though, milder measures were adopted. We learn to see strange sights in our once free and highly favored land. Lord have mercy upon us.

  • 12 March. Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant becomes commander of the United States armies. A few days later he, in turn, promotes William Tecumseh Sherman.

  • 16 March. Confederates led by Nathan Bedford Forrest start a move into Tennessee and Kentucky.

  • 25 March. Confederate recruiting officers are now in Gaston County to conscript all able-bodied men "to 45 years of age".

  • This month Union forces moving up the Red River arrive at Alexandria, Louisiana.

This Month's Fiction

Adult Fiction

Children's Fiction

Big, bad ironclad! A Civil War steamship showdown by Nathan Hale, pub. 2012, 118 p. Each of the books in Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales has elements of the strange but true and is presented in an engaging, funny format, highlighting the larger-than-life characters that pop up in real history. Big Bad Ironclad! covers the history of the amazing ironclad steam warships used in the Civil War. From the ship's inventor, who had a history of blowing things up and only 100 days to complete his project, to the mischievous William Cushing, who pranked his way through the whole war, this book is filled with surprisingly true facts and funny, brave characters that modern readers will easily relate to. Praise for Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad "Livelier than the typical history textbook but sillier than the many outstanding works on the Civil War available for young readers, this will appeal to both history buffs and graphic-novel enthusiasts."

This Month's Non-Fiction

Adult Nonfiction

Red River Campaign : politics and cotton in the Civil War, by Ludwell H. Johnson, pub. 1958, 317 p. "Red River Campaign" examines how partisan politics, economic needs and personal profit determined military policy and operations in Louisiana and Arkansas during the spring of 1864. In response to the demands of Free-Soil interests in Texas and the New England textiles manufacturers' need for cotton, Lincoln authorised an expedition to open the way to Texas. General Nathaniel Banks conducted a combined military and naval campaign up the Red River that lasted only from March 12th to May 20th, 1864, but which was one of the most destructive campaigns of the war.

Children's Nonfiction

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