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The Civil War Month by Month: Apr 1862

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 1862

This Month's Events

  • 4 April. Yorktown, Virginia is besieged by Federal forces. The town's remaining Revolutionary defense lines from Washington's attack on the British army in 1783 are now replaced with new fortifications.

  • 6 April. At Shiloh, Tennessee Confederate troops attack General Grant's Union troops. With 100,000 troops involved, this is the largest battle in the Western hemisphere up to this time. The battle continues into the next day and the Confederacy's initial advantage is lost when Union reinforcements arrive during the night. Losses are so heavy that when the Confederates retreat, they are not pursued. Confederate General Albert S. Johnston is one of the fallen. Ironically the name Shiloh means "tranquil".

    Poet Herman Melville wrote a "Requiem" for the dead:
    ...The church so lone, the log-built one, That echoed to many a parting groan And natural prayer Of dying foemen mingled there-- Foemen at morn, but friends at eve-- Fame or country least their care: (What like a bullet can undeceive!) But now they lie low, While over them the swallows skim, And all is hushed at Shiloh.
    Among the soldiers who do survive the battle is Henry Morton Stanley of the 6th Arkansas (Confederate). Eventually he will serve on both sides. After the war he becomes a world famous explorer, the man who said "Dr. Livingston, I presume?", and is knighted by Queen Victoria.

  • 10-11 April. Union forces begin bombardment of Fort Pulaski which guards access to Savannah, Georgia. Using new rifled cannons, they breach the walls within 2 days. This advance in artillery ends the era of huge coastal forts; no more will be built.

  • 12 April. The Salisbury, North Carolina newspaper for this date records the arrest of a man named C. G. Bell, suspected of being a spy, "...a Lincoln emissary sent out here to burn railroad bridges or seek information for the enemy". The arrival of men chasing Bell for stealing horses strengthens this conviction despite Bell's pleads that he is a "good Southern man" even though he is a thief. Warns the paper, "No doubt their [sic] are many such characters lurking in the South. Let everybody be on the lookout."

  • 12 April. The 49th Regiment North Carolina Troops is organized at Raleigh with Stephen Dodson Ramseur as colonel. It includes men from several counties including Gaston and Lincoln: Co. H, Gaston Rangers, and Co. K, Pleasant Home Guards.

  • 12 April. Twenty Union soldiers led by James J. Andrews steal a locomotive, the General at Big Shanty, Georgia. Their objective is to destroy bridges on the railroad connecting Chattanooga and Atlanta. The wild chase that follows will, generations later, be the subject of a famous movie by Buster Keaton.

  • 16 April. The Confederacy passes a Conscription Act drafting men between the ages of 16 and 35 and extending the enlistments of any men already in the army to 3 years.

  • 18-28 April. Admiral David Farragut and the Union Navy fight their way up the Mississippi to New Orleans. Since the city is so low, the ships actually end up above the levees with their guns pointing down into New Orleans. A break in the levees would flood the city. Despite this, when Admiral Farragut sends a representative to accept the city's surrender, he is met with defiance. Rather than attacking the city, the naval force continues upriver, destroys the forts on that side of the city, and then returns on the 29th. [See next month.]

  • 26 April. After an almost month-long siege, the Union captures Fort Macon, overlooking the channel to Beaufort.

  • During this month in one of the more improbable episodes in the war, 3 young men go to Richmond to kidnap Jefferson Davis. They don't suceed, but they have some exciting adventures. [See right.]

This Month's Fiction

Adult fiction

Children's Fiction

This Month's Non-Fiction

Adult Nonfiction

Children's Nonfiction

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