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The Civil War Month by Month: Mar 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.

March 1863

This Month's Events


  • 3 March. The U. S. Congress establishes the position of Chief Signal Officer, the beginning of the Signal Corps. Almost 3,000 men will serve in the corps during the war.
              Congress also passes a conscription [draft] act today. It allows men to buy their way out of serving for $300, a much resented provision.

  • 8-16 March. Hoping to reestablish Confederate supremacy in eastern North Carolina, General Daniel Harvey Hill attacks New Bern, but is not able to retake it from the Union.

  • 9 March. A Confederate raid led by Captain John S. Mosby (with only 29 men) swoops in on Fairfax Courthouse, Viginia, capturing Union General Edwin Stoughton in his nightshirt. In addition to General Stoughton, there are 2 other officers and 30 enlisted men captured as well as 58 horses. There are no Confederate casualties. Supposedly when told of the raid, Lincoln said that he could always create another brigadier general, "...but those horses cost $125 apiece!" Mosby's Rangers are on their way to becoming a legend and Mosby himself becomes the "Grey Ghost".

  • 10 March. Lincoln offers amnesty to thousands of Union deserters if they will surrender and return to their units. By this time, the armies of both sides have massive desertion rates as the war drags on.

  • 15 March. Major William G. Morris of the 37th N. C. writes home to Dallas again, this time from Virginia. He wants his family to invest in slaves or land.

  • 18 March. In Salisbury, North Carolina, unable to buy food for their hungry families, about 50 to 75 women brandishing hatchets storm the warehouses of government agents and speculators and take flour and other supplies. Most are the wives of men away in the army. The local newspaper calls it the "Female Raid."

  • 9 March David Schenck observes the scene of enlistment day in Lincolnton. "The Enrolling officer, under the Conscription Act, enrolled all citizens up to 40 years old, today at this place. It was a solemn occasion and much seriousness prevailed. There was no denunciation of the law but a deep feeling of sadness at its necessity," wrote the 28 year old Schenck. "Many families are left in a helpless condition. I have no heart to dwell on these necessary burthens - the history of this war will be one of many sorrows and sublime patriotism." Fine words, but Schenck himself managed to avoid military service throughout the war.

This Month's Fiction

Adult Fiction

Children's Fiction

This Month's Non-Fiction

Adult Nonfiction

Voices from the Civil War : a documentary history of the great American conflict, edited by Milton Meltzer, pub. 1989, 203 p., call #: 973.7 Voi This collection of letters, diaries, memoirs, interviews, ballads, newspaper articles, and speeches depicts life and events during the four years of the Civil War. The eyewitness accounts and oral histories have all the passion, immediacy, and bias of the participant, and Meltzer's unobtrusive notes to each section and to each piece briefly introduce the setting and circumstances, producing a volume of interest to both older children and adults.

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