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The Civil War Month by Month: Oct 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.

October 1864

This Month's Events

  • 8 October. The CSS Shenandoah, commanded by North Carolinian Captain James Iredell Wadell, sets sail from England on a mission to destroy Union shipping. [See June 1865]

  • During this month Union forces led by General Philip Sheridan are cutting a path of destruction through the rich Shenandoah Valley, the "breadbasket of the Confederacy". As they destroy crops, farms, and mills, Sheridan describes the area, "A crow could not fly over it without carrying his rations with him."

  • 19 October. Sheridan, returning from Washington, hears the sound of a Confederate attack at Cedar Creek, Virginia. Galloping frantically towards the battle, he rallies his fleeing troops and is victorious. "Sheridan's Ride" becomes the title of one of America's most famous poems. [See right.] For horse lovers, the name of "the steed that saved the day" was Rienzi.
    This battle, also known as Belle Grove, ends the Confederate invasion of the North.

  • 19 October. Twenty Confederate soldiers stage a raid on St. Albans, Vermont, and escape to Canada with $200,000 stolen from 3 banks. This is the northernmost Confederate raid.

  • 20 October. General Stephen Dodson Ramseur of Lincolnton dies of wounds received the day before during the battle of Cedar Creek. He had 2 horses killed underneath him and was then mortally wounded and captured. Many Union officers who had known him before the war came to see him including George Custer and Philip Sheridan. The night before the battle he had received a telegram saying that he had a child and he wore a white flower into battle in honor of the event, but he dies without learning that the child was a girl. For his last letter to his wife, see p. 289 in the Bravest of the Brave listed right. He is buried in St Luke's Episcopal Cemetery, Lincolnton. The town of Ramseur in eastern Randolph County, North Carolina is named in his honor. [See November 1862]

  • 31 October. Nevada achieves statehood. This state constitution had been overwhelmingly approved by Nevada voters on September 7, 1864, with 10,375 votes supporting it, and a mere 1,184 against. The constitution was telegraphed to Washington, D.C. at a cost of $3,416.77, supposedly the longest and most expensive telegram ever sent up to that time.

  • This fall F. William Hauenstein, a Swiss immigrant in Indiana, builds a cider press, the world's largest. The hard (alcoholic) cider he produces -- more than 100 gallons a day -- provides not only drinks but also alcohol for army medicinal use. The mill still exists today in an outdoor museum and still produces cider, using many of its original parts.

This Month's Fiction

Adult Fiction

Young Adult Fiction

Children's Fiction

This Month's Non-Fiction

Adult Nonfiction

  • The Columbia Book of Civil War Poetry, pub. 1994, 543 p., call #: 811.0080358 Col, contains not only "Sheridan's Ride" by Thomas Buchanan Read:
    • Up from the South at break of day,
    • Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
    • The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
    • Like a herald in haste, to the chieftain's door,
    • The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar,
    • Telling the battle was on once more,
    • And Sheridan twenty miles away.

    but also another, much more "modern" poem inspired by the same incident, "Sheridan at Cedar Creek" by Herman Melville.

Children's Nonfiction

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