Thursday, October 20, 2011

Catching up on Civil War 150

I fell behind with a couple of features with the blog because of my aching head in September. One of them was following the Civil War 150 battles. So in the next couple of days I’m going to try and bring that up to date.

For a very long time, I wasn’t all that interested in American history. I thought it was pretty dull. I read many books on European history. I just found it so much more interesting. Then I got a two volume history on the American Revolution called a New Age Now Begins by Page Smith. I was spell bound by the book. It was so well written and had the perspective of not only the important people of the day but from the average person as well. Many letters and diary entries from the famous and not so famous made the revolution come alive.

Smith wrote a whole series of books about America history. One of them was on the Civil War and is one of the best that I’ve read on the war. So here’s playing catch up on Civil War 150.

Dry Wood Creek
September 2, 1861 in Vernon County, Missouri. The battle for Missouri continues:

Col. J.H. Lane’s cavalry, about a regiment strong, set out from Fort Scott to learn the whereabouts of a rumored Confederate force. They encountered a vastly larger Confederate force near Big Dry Wood Creek. The Union cavalry surprised the Confederates, but numbers soon made the difference. The Confederates forced the Union cavalry to retire and captured their mules, and the Confederates continued their march towards Lexington.

This is in fact part of a series of skirmished/battles that took place for control of Missouri. They included Battle of the Hemp Bales or the Battle of Lexington which occured September 13-20, 1861:

Following the victory at Wilson’s Creek, the Confederate Missouri State Guard consolidated in the northern and central part of the state. The next move was (under the command of Maj. Gen. Sterling Price) on Lexington. Col. James A. Mulligan commanded the entrenched Union garrison of about 3,500 men.

At the same time the Battle of Liberty was taking place. This took place in Clay County. Not very far the Battle of Lexington. September 17 1861:

The fight lasted for an hour without notable result. The Union withdrawal let the Confederates continue consolidating influence in northwestern Missouri.

All three battle were Confederate victories. It allowed them to gain greater control over Missouri. Missouri was considered an important state for the Union. It was important to keep it in the Union. If not the whole state, then at least the part of it that was along the Mississippi. The long range strategy of the Union was to move down the Mississippi River and control the area around it. This would cut the Confederacy in two.

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