Brief Description of Civil War Battles: Letter D-F

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Ezra's Church (Ga.), Battle of. (1864)

July 27, 1864, Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard was appointed to the command of the Army of the Tennessee and Gen. Hooker resigned the command of the Twentieth Corps, being succeeded by Gen. H.W. Slocum. The Army of the Tennessee was moved from the extreme left to the extreme right of the position before Atlanta. Gen. Hood, taking advantage of this movement, July 28 made an attack on the Fifteenth Corps, under Logan, at Ezra's Church. Logan was well supported by Blair's and Dodge's corps. The Federal accounts represent that the fighting continued from noon till 4 o'clock p.m. when the Confederates retired with a loss of 2,000. The Federal loss was 600. Gen. Sherman says that the Confederates sustained an overwhelming defeat. Gen. Hood states that no material advantage was gained by either opponent, and that the loss was small in proportion to the numbers engaged.


Farmville (Va.), Battle of. (1865)

After the evacuation of Richmond, Lee's army was moving westward toward Farmville, where he hoped to cross the Appomattox, burn the bridges, and check the pursuit of the Federals. Meantime Ord, with his command of the Army of the James, was also advancing toward Farmville to burn the bridges and intercept Lee at that point. His advance consisted of 2 regiments of infantry and a squadron of cavalry under Gen. Theodore Read. At Farmville the Confederates made a short halt. Read appearing, he was attacked by Lee. In the conflict Read was killed, his column brushed aside and the retreating army crossed the river. After the death of Read, Ord's command arrived, and the Confederates began to entrench themselves. On the same afternoon, Apr. 7, 1865, Sheridan struck the enemy farther back, capturing 16 pieces of artillery and 400 wagons, and held them in check until the arrival of the Second Corps, when a general attack was ordered, resulting in the capture of 6,000 or 7,000 prisoners.

Fishers Hill (Va.), Battle of. (1864)

Early's retreat from the Opequan after the battle of Sept. 19, 1864, did not stop at Winchester, but continued to Fishers Hill, south of Winchester and about 12 miles from the scene of the battle of Opequan Creek. Here Early rallied his forces. To drive him from this position, Sheridan dispatched Torbert with 2 divisions of cavalry by a circuitous route to the Confederate rear, and on the evening of Sept. 22 the Sixth and Nineteenth corps engaged Early in front, while Torbert's forces fell upon his rear. The Confederates retreated and Sheridan followed them through Harrisonburg, Staunton, and the gaps in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sheridan then devastated the valley so as to render it untenable for Confederate troops. At Fishers Hill he captured 1,100 prisoners and 16 guns.

Five Forks (Va.), Battle of. (1865)

Mar. 27, 1865, Gen. Sheridan with 10,000 cavalry, returned from his raid through the Shenandoah Valley and rejoined the Army of the Potomac before Richmond. On the 29th Grant began a movement to turn the Confederate right or destroy their line of retreat south. Sheridan, with the Fifth Corps, under Gen. Warren and about 9,000 cavalry, crossed Hatchers Run and proceeded by way of the Boydton plank road toward Dinwiddie Court-House. Warren found the Confederates in force on the White oak road. Sheridan, passing Dinwiddie, turned north, Lee had sent a strong force, chiefly the divisions of Johnson and Pickett, to meet the threatened attempt on the roads to his rear. Mar. 31 this column met and defeated Warren and then attacked Sheridan at Five Forks and drove him back toward Dinwiddie. The next morning, Apr. 1, Sheridan advanced with his cavalry and the Fifth Corps, about 12,000 strong. By 2 p.m. the Confederates had retired into their main works. Ayres, on the left of the Fifth Corps, made a charge, carrying all before him and taking 1,000 prisoners; Griffin captured the works in his front, taking 1,500 prisoners; Crawford seized the Ford road in the Confederate rear: Merritt's cavalry made a charge, and the day was won, but not without a desperate resistance. Lee's army was virtually overwhelmed. For 6 miles it fell back along the White Oak road. More than 5,000 prisoners were taken, with 6 guns and 13 colors. Seridan's loss was about 1,000, of whom 634 were of Warren's corps.

Fort Fisher (N.C.), Capture of. (1864)

In November, 1864, an expedition was planned against Fort Fisher, N.C. This fort occupies a peninsula on the South coast of North Carolina, between the mouth of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean, about 18 miles from Wilmington. It formed the principal defense of that city, which was the most important seaport through which the Southern Confederacy received foreign supplies, and from which departed blockade runners laden with cotton and other products of the South. It was also deemed a point of considerable strategic importance. Fort Fisher and its connected works mounted 75 guns. The armament of the works guarding the approaches to Wilmington was about 150 guns, including some 150 pound Armstrong guns. The garrison of the fort and outworks consisted of 2,300 men. Dec. 13, 1864, the expedition started. It was composed of a fleet of 73 vessels, carrying 655 gun, some of them of the largest caliber, and a land force of 6,500 men under Gen. Butler. The expedition was accompanied by a boat loaded with 215 tons of gunpowder, which it was designed to explode in the vicinity of the fort, with the object of igniting and exploding the magazines. This proved a failure, Dec. 24 the fort was bombarded by the fleet for an hour and a half. The next day, after a reconnaissance by the land troops, Butler ordered their reembarkation and return. Butler was relieved of the command and superseded by Gen. Terryk with the addition of 1,500 men and a small siege train. Jan. 13, 1865, the fort was again attacked. The troops were landed under protection of Porter's guns. On the 14th, a small advance work was taken by the Federals. The ships reopened fire on the 15th. At 3 p.m. a general assault was made, and for 5 hours a desperate hand-to-hand encounter was maintained. Not until 10 p.m. was resistance ended and the garrison forced to surrender. Two thousand and eighty-three prisoners were taken, including Gen. Whiting and Col. Lamb. The Federal loss was 110 killed and 530 wounded. The Confederate Loss in killed and wounded was about 500. The next morning by the accidental explosion of a magazine 200 men were killed and 100 wounded.

Fort Henry (Tenn.), Capture of. (1862)

The main line of Confederate defense in he West in January, 1862, extended from Columbus, Ky., on the Mississippi River, to the Cumberland Mountains, in eastern Tennessee. On this line of defense were Forts Henry and Donelson, in the northern part of Tennessee, the former on the eastern bank of the Tennessee River and the latter on the western bank of the Cumberland, about 12 miles apart. Gen. Halleck, commander of the Department of Missouri, determined to make an attack on Fort Henry, which was near the center of the line. Jan. 30 an expedition was sent out from Cairo, consisting of 7 gunboats, 4 of them ironclad, under command of Commodore Foote, and a land force of 15,000 men commanded by Brig. Gen. Grant. On the night of Feb. 5 the infantry were landed 4 miles from the fort. The gunboats anchored abreast till 10 o'clock next morning, when they began to advance. Fort Henry mounted 17 guns and was garrisoned by 2,734 men, under command of Brig. Gen. Tilghman. The attack was to have been made by the gunboats, seconded by the land forces. Foote began the bombardment before the arrival of Gen. Grant, whose march was delayed by muddy roads and swollen streams. Tilghman answered the fire of the gunboats for 1 hour and 20 minutes and then surrendered unconditionally, the greater part of his garrison having already escaped to Fort Donelson. Grant arrived half an hour after the battle, and the fort was turned over to him. The part of the garrison that surrendered consisted of about 65 able-bodied men ad 60 invalids. Tilghman's loss was 21 killed and wounded. The Federal loss was 48.

Fort McAllister (Ga.), capture of, and Fall of Savannah (1864)

After the destruction of Atlanta and its railroad connections Gen. Sherman took up his march toward Savannah. His army was composed of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Twentieth corps. Gen. Howard commanded the right wing and Gen. Slocum the left. The cavalry was under the direction of Gen. Kilpatrick. Sherman passed down the peninsula between the Ogeechee and Savannah rivers and about the middle of December appeared before Savannah, held by the Confederate General Hardee with 15,000 men. To the south of Savannah, on the Ogeechee River, stands Fort McAllister, which had resisted many attacks from the sea and effectually prevented the ascent of the river by the Federal gunboats. The defenses of the fort were weak to the landward and a garrison of less than 300 men held the works. Fort McAllister mounted 23 guns in barbette and 1 mortar. Dec. 13, 1864, Gen. Hazen's division of the Fifteenth Corps crossed the river and assaulted the fort from the rear. The garrison was overpowered and in 15 minutes after the bugle sounded "Forward" the fort was taken. Communication was now open to Dahigren's fleet, lying in the harbor. Siege guns were brought from Hilton Head, and when the investment of Savannah was completed Sherman demanded its surrender. Hardee refused, but on the night of Dec. 20, when all the arrangements for the assault had been completed he evacuated the city. It Was occupied next day by Sherman's army. Two hundred guns and 35,000 bales of cotton fell into Federal hands. Thus ended Sherman's march from Atlanta to the sea, a distance of more than 300 miles. Out of the entire army of 66,000 men 63 were killed, 245 were wounded, and 260 were captured on the march, which consumed 27 days.

Fort Pillow (Tenn.), Capture of. (1862)

This fort was located on the Chickasaw Bluff in the Mississippi River, 40 miles above Memphis. It was built by the Confederates during the Civil War. It was occupied by the Federal troops June 5, 1862, its evacuation having been compelled by the destruction of the Confederate flotilla on the previous day. The Federal forces not long afterwards abandoned it in consequence of operations on the Tennessee River. Apr. 12, 1864, the fort was garrisoned by 19 officers and 538 men of the Union Army, about one-half of whom were negro troops. On that day Gen. Forrest with Confederate cavalry assaulted and captured it.

Fort Stedman (Va.), Assault on. (1865)

When, in March, 1865, it became apparent to Lee that he must evacuate Richmond, he planned an assault on Fort Stedman, on Grant's right. During the assault Longstreet and Hill were to retire to the south followed by the assaulting column and join Johnston. The assault took place Mar. 25. The batteries were carried and 500 prisoners captured. The Confederates were gathered in the works they had taken. Mar. 27 the surrounding artillery of the Union army was brought to bear on the position, and 1,900 of the Confederates surrendered. The Federal loss was 919.

Fort Sumter (S..) Fired on. (1861)

At 3:30 o'clock on the morning of Apr. 12, 1861, Gen. Beauregard, in command of the Confederate troops in and around Charleston, S.C., demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, about 3 1/2 miles from the city. The fort was garrisoned by Maj. Anderson with 70 men. Beauregard had a force of 7,000 men. Anderson having refused to surrender, at 4:30 a.m. the bombardment was begun. The firing was kept up until dark and renewed on the morning of the 13th. Buildings in the fort were several times set on fire. Anderson was only able to return a feeble fire, and it was impossible to furnish him with the number of reinforcements necessary to hold the fort. Accordingly, on Apr. 14 he evacuated the works, lowering the flag with a salute, and with the garrison sailed north. This was the first conflict of the Civil War. There were no casualties on either side.

Fort Wagner (S.C.), Battle of. (1863)

In order to test the efficacy of monitors and ironclads as against land fortifications. Admiral Dupont attempted to force the defenses of Charleston Harbor with a fleet of such vessels. Apr. 7, 1863, he started to attack Fort Sumter. His fleet consisted of 7 Ericsson monitors, the frigate Ironsides, partially ironclad, and the Keokuk, a frailer ironclad. The opposing forts mounted 300 guns. The expedition signally failed. June 12 Gen. Gillmore was placed in command of an expedition against the same fort with 11,500 men, 66 guns, and 30 mortars. Admiral Dahlgren was to cooperate with him with the frigate Ironsides and 6 monitors. Gillmore's intention was to capture Fort Wagner, on Morris Island, and then proceed against Fort Sumter. July 10, 1863, a combined attack by sea and land was made on that fortification. He advanced within musket range of Fort Wagner, but delayed the assault till the next day, when it was repulsed. In these operations Gillmore lost about 150 men, the Confederates 300. July 18 another attempt was made to reduce the place, but it was completely repulsed, with a loss of 1,200. Gillmore now determined to approach the fort by a series of parallel trenches. The first was opened July 24 and the third Aug. 9. Beauregard was in command of Fort Sumter. Aug. 17 Gillmore opened on that fort. By the 23d Sumter was battered to ruins. Additional parallels were opened toward Fort Wagner. Final operations began Sept. 5, with 17 siege and cohorn mortars, 13 Parrott rifles, and the 11-inch shells of the Ironsides. An assault was to have been made Sept. 7, but during the previous night the garrison evacuated the place. Though 122,300 pounds of metal were thrown against the work, the bomb proofs were found intact.

Franklin (Tenn.), Battle of. (1864)

With the purpose of drawing Sherman's army out of Georgia, Gen. Hood evacuated Atlanta early in September, 1864, and marched north, threatening Sherman's communication with his base of supplies at Nashville. Oct. 29 Hood crossed the Tennessee River at Florence with about 35,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry. (He stated his effective force at 40,000, Sept. 20) His army was formed in 3 corps, under Cheatham, Stewart, and S.D. Lee; the cavalry under Forrest. Sherman had sent Gen. Thomas to Nashville and placed under his command Gen. Stanley with the Fourth Corps, Gen. Schofield with the Twenty-third, and most of Wilson's cavalry, a force aggregating, according to Federal accounts, 27,000 men. Schofield was in command of the field, and upon Hood's advance he fell back toward Nashville. By Nov. 30 Schofield's army had reached Franklin, on the south bank of the Harpeth River, about 18 miles south of Nashville. Hood here assailed him. His first blow fell upon two brigades of Wagner's division, which had been posted outside the hastily erected works. The Union troops lost 1,000 men in the attack. Schofield's line was broken and defeat seemed imminent, when Gen. Opdycke, commanding one of Wagner's brigades, made a brilliant charge and saved the day. The Confederate made several assaults, each of which was repulsed with terrible loss. Schofield succeeded in getting his troops over Harpeth River in retreat, and by daylight he was well on his way to Nashville. The Federal statement of losses in this battle is as follows: Union, 189 killed, 1,033 wounded, and 1,104 missing, a total of 2,326; Confederates, 1,750 killed, 3,800 wounded, and 702 prisoners, a total of 6,252.

Frayser's Farm (Va.), Battle of. (1862)

One of the Seven Days' Battles before Richmond. June 30, 1862, Longstreet and A.P. Hill crossed the Chickahominy in pursuit of McClellan's retreating army. Huger and Magruder marched around the White Oak Swamp to operate on his flank, and a brigade was brought over the James River from Fort Darling. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon Longstreet and Hill made the attack. Huger and Magruder failed to arrive. The fighting was furious and the advantage with the Confederates. Nearly one-fourth of McCall's division, upon which the attack was made, were killed. Of the Confederate loss Gen. Pryor, of the Fifth Brigade of Longstreet's corps, reported the Fourteenth Alabama Regiment nearly annihilated. One of the 1,400 men with whom he crossed the Chickahominy June 26, 860 had been lost up to this time.

Fredericksburg (Va. ), Battle of. (1862)

After the battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg) McClellan occupied Harpers Ferry Sept. 22, 1862. Nov 7 he was relieved of his command by Gen. Burnside. Lee's army was at that time at Culpeper and westward of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Burnside divided the army, now numbering about 110,000 men, into 3 grand divisions of 2 corps each. By Nov. 17 he had moved this army down the left bank of the Rappahannock to Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg. Here the advance was delayed, awaiting the pontoon train from Washington. In the meantime Lee had concentrated the Confederate army of about 80,000 in the hills behind Fredericksburg. Dec. 11, 1862, the pontoons were laid, and on the 12th Franklin's division crossed. The Union forces were formed with Franklin on the left, Hooker's division in the center, and Sumner's on the right. The battle was opened by Franklin on the morning of the 13th, and continued in a series of disconnected and unsuccessful attacks on the Confederate works until night. On the 14th and 15th a truce was obtained by the Federals for burying their dead. On the evening of the latter date they retired across the river and the Confederates again occupied Fredericksburg. The Federal losses were1,284 killed, 9,600 wounded, and 1,769 missing a total of 12,653. The Confederates lost 608 killed, 4,116 wounded, and 653 captured or missing a total of 5,377. Later in the month the Federal army went into winter quarters at Falmouth, and Jan. 25, 1863, Burnside was relieved of the command at his own request Gen. Burnside testified before the Committee on the Conduct of the War that he had 100,000 men in action at the battle of Fredericksburg. Col. Walter H. Taylor, late adjutant-general of the Army of Northern Virginia, stated that Gen. Lee had actively engaged in the battle less than 20,000 men.


Website: The History
Article Name: Brief Description of Civil War Battles: Letter D-F
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my collection of Books: A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897 by James D. Richardson, A Representative from the State of Tennessee published by the authority of Congress 1899.
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