Major Battes of 1864
May 5–7, Battle Of The Wilderness, Virginia
May 8–21, Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia
May 15, Battle of New Market, Shenandoah County, Virginia
May 31-June 12, Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia
June 15–18, Battle of Petersburg, Virginia
July 30, Battle of the Crater, Siege of Petersburg, Virginia
September 21–24, Battle of Fisher’s Hill, Virginia
April 12, Battle of Fort Pillow, Tennessee
May 13–15, Battle of Resaca, Georgia
July 22, Battle of Atlanta, Georgia
December 15–16, Battle of Nashville Nashville, Tennessee
December 24–27, Fort Fisher, North Carolina
August 5, Battle of Mobile Bay
To see a full timeline of all events from 1864 as well as events from 1861-1865, please see our Civil War Timeline page.
Civil War 1864 Articles From History Net Magazines
Julian Scott Civil War PainterCurator Michael McAfee talks about artist Julian Scott and 51st New York Infantry at Antietam.
‘John Brown’s Body’ – Stephen Vincent Benet and Civil War Memory'John Brown's Body' by Stephen Vincent Benet, published in 1928, remains a vibrant tapestry of America's diversity and its unity, its 15,000 lines re-imagining the Civil War as Lincoln understood it.
Walmart Withdraws from Wilderness BattlefieldPreservationists win Wilderness battle Rather than face what would likely have been an image-bruising court fight, Walmart has abandoned plans to build a retail supercenter on the doorstep of the Wilderness battlefield in central Virginia. “This project has been controversial, and consequently it’s been the subject of a lot of internal discussion and debate,” Walmart […]
Ten Civil War ClassicsThe country’s bloodiest war has been captured in novels, memoirs, and battle narratives. Here are 10 classics
Bloody Field at Champion’s HillAfter three months of frustration, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in May 1863 succeeded in getting his army onto the east bank of the Mississippi River in the rear of the fortress city of Vicksburg. In a lightning campaign Grant’s army defeated Confederate detachments at Port Gibson on May 1, Raymond on May 12, and Jackson on May 14, neutralizing the Mississippi capital as a Confederate base for the relief of Vicksburg. Then he turned toward Vicksburg itself.
Murder in the Civil WarGetting away with murder The battlefield claimed many a brave officer, but there were a few others who met not-quite-so-honorable ends The death toll among general officers during the Civil War was staggering. Because military necessity often placed a general officer at the head of the army, generals were killed leading hopeless charges (Lewis A. […]
The War Over Plunder: Who Owns Art Stolen in War?Over the past two decades, globalization, changing attitudes, and clearer international laws have emboldened aggrieved nations to demand the return of cultural property seized by enemy forces in the past, but laws alone can’t guarantee their success.
Explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal‘Noble Union Girls’: The thousands of Northern women who worked in Federal arsenals risked their lives for the cause.
Emmitsburg Road Preservation CampaignCivil War Preservation Trust announces latest campaign Fundraising has begun for the preservation of a crucial two-acre parcel on the Gettysburg battlefield. The property, originally part of the historic Philip Snyder farm, lies along the Emmitsburg Road and is entirely surrounded by Gettysburg National Military Park. It has been a top land acquisition priority for […]
Battlefield Preservation Effort – 7200 Acres at PetersburgU.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced the “Petersburg National Boundary Modification Act,” to protect 7,200 additional acres of historic battlefields around Petersburg, which would create the largest military park in the United States.
Lincoln’s Political GeneralsLincoln’s Political Generals, by David Work University of Illinois Press, 2009 Abraham Lincoln made his share of mistakes as commander in chief during the Civil War, but did his politically motivated appointments of nonmilitary men as Union generals help or hinder the war effort? The battlefield failures of the likes of Nathaniel Banks, Benjamin Butler […]
‘A White Man’s War’William T. Sherman’s adamant refusal to field African-American troops amounted to outright insubordination
Who kept U.S. Grant sober?John Rawlins used his brains and blue language to keep his boss in check.
Murder and Mayhem Ride the Rails – Union Soldiers Rampage in VirginiaSmoke and fire filled the skies south of Petersburg in December 1864 as the Army of the Potomac’s V Corps targeted the Weldon Railroad. During a raid along this vital supply line linking southeastern Virginia with North Carolina, liquor-fueled Federals went on a rampage in a corner of the Old Dominion that thus far had […]
Digging deeply into the earthworks at PetersburgIn the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications & Confederate Defeat by Earl J. Hess University of North Carolina Press, 2009 New biographies that focus on Civil War–era figures inevitably face the dilemma of how to interpret race, politics and equality in light of our own changing attitudes. No Civil War figure can possibly live up […]
Capital Defense – Washington, D.C., in the Civil WarWhen the first inklings emerged early in 1861 that a fighting war pitting North versus South would soon break out, the residents of Washington, D.C.—at least those whose sympathies were with the Union—began to feel more than a little threatened. Though it was a haven for freed blacks, the District of Columbia also was the […]
The South’s Last Great VictoryAn alliance of the Confederacy’s eastern and western armies earned a bloody triumph at the September 1863 Battle of Chickamauga
Hanging Captain GordonNathaniel Gordon was the only American sent to the gallows for slave traiding.
Two Ways to Approach One War: August/September 2009Two Civil Wars await anyone seeking to understand our transformative national trial.
Mothers of the Lost CauseAn army of determined Southern women buried the dead but kept
the mythic Confederate legacy of the Lost Cause alive
Fighting Dick and his Fighting MenOn a bleak hillside overlooking the battleground of Sailor’s Creek, General Robert E. Lee watched as hundreds of his men fled through the fields and wooded ravines below. “Men without guns, many without hats,” one witness recalled, “all mingled with teamsters riding their mules with dangling traces.” A relentless barrage of Union attacks on the […]
Decision at The Battle of Five Forks – 1865The headstrong Gen. Philip Sheridan (left) had little patience for the careful battle tactics of Gen. Gouverneur Warren (right) and replaced him at Five Forks. But in 1880 Sheridan would be forced to justify his actions before a court of inquiry in New York. Photograph: Library of Congress Did Philip Sheridan forever tarnish a major […]
When Railroad Guns RuledFor 85 years, railroad guns were regarded as the ultimate weapon, large enough to do substantial damage but movable to wherever railroad tracks could go. Unparalleled bunker busters, they also terrorized civilians by firing on cities from afar.
Stumbling in Sherman’s PathStandard histories of Major General William T. Sherman’s celebrated March to the Sea invariably portray the Confederacy’s response as inconsequential. Such broad generalizations may assuage wounded Southern pride, but they also rewrite history.
The 9 Lives of General John Brown GordonIndestructible Confederate general John B. Gordon survived multiple wounds and serious illnesses during the Civil War. From First Manassas to Appomattox, he proved nothing could keep a good man down.
Reimaginining the SouthA Southerner learns the skeleton in her family closet wore a coat of Union blue.
‘A Stupid Old Useless Fool’William Nelson Pendleton was far more effective behind a pulpit than he was as Robert E. Lee's chief of artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia.
Coming Apart From the Inside: How Internal Strife Brought Down the ConfederacyPoliticians and generals on the Confederate side have long been lionized as noble warriors who heroically fought for an honorable cause that had little chance of succeeding. In reality, the Confederate leadership was rife with infighting.
The Union’s Bloody Miscue at Spotsylvania’s MuleshoeUlysses S. Grant's human battering ram assaults failed to break Robert E. Lee's position at the Muleshoe despite twenty hours of fighting at the Bloody Angle.
Grenade!: The Little-Known Weapon of the Civil WarGrenades were used in the Civil War from Vicksburg to Petersburg, but they were often as dangerous to their users as to their targets.
William T. Sherman’s First Campaign of DestructionBefore Gen. Willliam T. Sherman made Georgia howl, he burned a path through Mississippi, waging a war of destruction that left Southern civilians just enough for survival but not enough to support Confederate military activity.
Load the Hopper and Turn the Crank: Rapid-Fire Guns of the Civil WarRapid-fire weapons like the Gatling gun and the Coffee Mill gun were Civil War novelties, technology that was ahead of its time.
American Indian Sharpshooters at the Battle of the CraterLieutenant Freeman S. Bowley was fighting for his life in the man-made hellhole that was the Petersburg Crater when he noticed that the former slaves in his company of the 30th United States Colored Troops were not the only men of color wearing Union blue and dodging Confederate Minié balls on the stifling hot morning […]
Burning High Bridge: The South’s Last HopeIn the final week of the war in Virginia, small villages, crossroads and railroad depots previously untouched by the fighting took on enormous importance as Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant sought to bring General Robert E. Lee to bay and the Confederate chieftain struggled to escape a Federal encirclement. Among the most important of these […]
America’s Civil War: Why the Irish Fought for the UnionThe Irish experience in the Civil War has probably received more attention — and celebration — than that of any other ethnic group. Mention of the Irish commonly conjures up images of the Irish Brigade’s doomed charge at Fredericksburg, of Father William Corby granting absolution before Gettysburg, or possibly the mourning wolfhound at the base […]
Battle of Belmont: Ulysses S. Grant Takes CommandWith Union and Confederate troops jockeying for position in neutral Kentucky, an inexperienced brigadier general -- Ulysses S. Gran- - led his equally green Federal troops on a risky foray along the Kentucky-Missouri border.
By Max Epstein
James Longstreet: Robert E. Lee’s Most Valuable SoldierThe words resonate through Confederate history like an unwelcome truth. As General Robert E. Lee made preparations for an assault on the center of the Union line at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, his senior subordinate, Lieutenant General James Longstreet, voiced objections. At one point in the discussion, Longstreet recounted his experience as a soldier […]
Battle of Fisher’s HillGeneral George Crook's flank attack at Fisher's Hill swept down on the Rebel left like a force of nature.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad: The Union’s Most Important Supply LineThe Baltimore & Ohio Railroad survived numerous hardships of the Civil War in its service to the Union.
Battle of New Market Heights: USCT Soldiers Proved Their HeroismOn a gunfire-swept slope near Richmond on September 29, 1864, USCT soldiers stood to the test and proved black men made good professional troops. Fourteen of them received the Medal of Honor for their bravery.
Account Of The Battle of the WildernessIn the dark, forbidding woods of Virginia's Wilderness, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee stumbled blindly toward their first wartime encounter. Neither had a clear idea of his opponent's intentions, but each planned to do what he did best--attack.
Battle of Sailor’s CreekThe April 6, 1865 Battle of Sailor's Creek constituted one of the darkest days in the Army of Northern Virginia's history.
America’s Civil War: Horses and Field ArtilleryWorking side by side with soldiers, horses labored to pull artillery pieces into battle. Without them, field artillery could not have been used to such deadly effect.
44th Georgia Regiment Volunteers in the American Civil WarThe hard-fighting 44th Georgia suffered some of the heaviest losses of any regiment in the Civil War.
Battle of Champion’s HillWith Ulysses S. Grant's army steadily menacing Vicksburg, Confederate General John Pemberton left the town's comforting defenses to seek out the enemy army. Too late, he found it, at Champion's Hill.
Union General Judson KilpatrickUnion General Judson Kilpatrick was flamboyant, reckless, tempestuous, and even licentious. In some respects he made other beaux sabreurs like fellow-cavalrymen George Custer and J. E. B. Stuart seem dull.
THE CLASSICS: The Passing of Armies : An Account Of The Final Campaign Of The Army Of The Potomac (Book Review)Reviewed by Peter S. Carmichael By Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Fame for his actions at Little Round Top has overshadowed the rest of Joshua Chamberlain’s historical résumé. Admirers and critics alike tend to reduce his wartime contributions to a single but decisive moment on July 2, 1863. The Bowdoin College professor is partially to blame for […]
America’s Civil War: Pre-dawn Assault on Fort StedmanLed by select groups of sharpshooters, the weary, muddy troops of the Army of Northern Virginia made one last desperate push to break out of Petersburg.
Major General George Stoneman Led the Last American Civil War Cavalry RaidEven as General Robert E. Lee was surrendering at Appomattox, a vengeful Union cavalry horde led by Maj. Gen. George Stoneman made Southern civilians pay dearly for the war. It was a last brutal lesson in the concept of total warfare.
America’s Civil War: Assault at PetersburgSixth Corps Yankees stumbled out of their earthworks and toward the muddy pits of the Army of Northern Virginia. It was the beginning of the end at Petersburg.
37th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in the American Civil WarThe service of the 37th North Carolina epitomized the grit and determination of Tar Heel fighters.
Harry Macarthy: The Bob Hope of the ConfederacyHe could make tired soldiers laugh, and his 'Bonnie Blue Flag' churned southern audiences into a frenzy. That was why Harry Macarthy was loved from one end of the confederacy to the other.
The Irish Brigade Fought in America’s Civil WarTheir casualties were enormous but their courage and capacity for fun were legendary. General Lee, himself, gave highest praise to these Yankees of the Irish Brigade.
Drones in the Great Hive: A Letter from an African-American Civil War SoldierChristian A. Fleetwood -- an African-American Medal of Honor-winner -- writes bitterly of the way the Union army treats its black soldiers.
Billy Yank and Johnny Reb: On the Road to AtlantaBell Irvin Wiley -- the late dean of common-soldier studies -- works his storytelling magic in this 1964 profile of the extraordinary men who grappled for Georgia's key city.
America’s Civil War: Last Ditch Rebel Stand at PetersburgAfter nearly 10 months of trench warfare, Confederate resistance at Petersburg, Va., suddenly collapsed. Desperate to save his army, Robert E. Lee called on his soldiers for one last miracle.
America’s Civil War: The South’s Feuding GeneralsIt sometimes seemed that Southern generals were more interested in fighting each other than in fighting Yankees. Their inability to get along together contributed greatly to the South's demise.
Eyewitness to the Battle of AtlantaAmong the blue-clad soldiers moving against Atlanta in late July 1864 was Major Thomas T. Taylor of Georgetown, Ohio. His letters to his wife described his experiences during the Battle of Atlanta.
Major General J.E.B. Stuart: Last Stand of the Last KnightMajor General J.E.B. Stuart posted his horsemen at Yellow Tavern -- between Union attackers and Richmond -- and waited for the collision. It would come with a deadliness he could never have imagined.
General Francis Channing BarlowGeneral Francis Channing Barlow's clean-cut, boyish appearance belied his reputation as one of the Union's hardest-fighting divisional commanders.
Siege of Petersburg: The City and Citizens Were Impacted from the StartCircled by Confederate trenches, hard pressed by Union forces, the people of Petersburg had nothing left to do but endure -- and pray for a miracle.
Winchester, Virginia: A Town Embattled During America’s Civil WarWinchester, Virginia, saw more of the war than any other place North or South.
Battle of the Wilderness With General Robert E. LeeAs the Union army crossed the Rapidan River to commence its powerful 1864 spring offensive, Confederate General Robert E. Lee scrambled to divine his enemy's intentions. But not even Lee could fully pierce the fog of war.
Eyewitness to American Civil War: Iron Brigade Soldier’s Wartime LettersTimothy Webster survived Fredericksburg and Gettysburg with the Iron Brigade, but not Petersburg.
Battle of Yellow TavernBadly misunderstanding his opponent's intentions, Jeb Stuart played into Phil Sheridan's hands at Yellow Tavern. A swirling cavalry fight ensued.
Book Review: The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7-12, 1864 (Gordon C. Rhea) : CWTThe Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7-12, 1864, by Gordon C. Rhea, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, (504) 388-6666, 483 pages, $34.95. Gordon Rhea has reached the halfway mark in his ongoing, comprehensive account of 1864’s Overland Campaign. The first installment, The Battle of the Wilderness, May […]
Book Review: Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy (by Richard McMurry): CWTA Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents, by Richard M. McMurry, University of Nebraska Press, 402-472-3581, 222 pages, $32. Ever since Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Civil War historians have focused most of their attention on the campaigns and battles fought in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. This emphasis on what happened in the eastern theater has […]
Book Review: The Spotsylvania Campaign (edited by Gary W. Gallagher) : MHThe Spotsylvania Campaign, edited by Gary W. Gallagher, Univ. of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1998, $29.95.After having taken one another’s measure in the Wilderness on May 5 and 6, 1864, Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee put their wills–and the endurance of their soldiers–to the ultimate test in […]
Book Review: How Robert E. Lee Lost the Civil War (Edward H. Bonekemper, III) and Robert E. Lee’s Civil War (Bevin Alexander): CWTHow Robert E. Lee Lost the Civil War, by Edward H. Bonekemper, III, Sergeant Kirkland’s Press, (540) 899-5565, 248 pages, $29.95, and Robert E. Lee’s Civil War, by Bevin Alexander, Adams Media, (800) 872-5627, 352 pages, $24.95. Robert E. Lee is widely regarded as the Civil War’s greatest soldier. Terms like “genius” and “invincible” abound […]
Book Review: The Spotsylvania Campaign (Essays) : ACWFor sheer, unmitigated hellishness, the fighting around Spotsylvania outstripped all other Civil War battles. By Cowan BrewThe two weeks of horrific fighting around the tiny crossroads hamlet of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, in May 1864 represented a watershed of sorts for Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the armies they commanded. Even for veterans […]
A Solider’s Legacy – August 1999 Civil War Times FeatureA Soldier’s Legacy SUBMITTED BY REX ROWLAND OF CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE NAME Calvin Kelley DATES 1834(?) to May 22, 1864 ALLEGIANCE Confederate RANK Private UNIT 8th Arkansas Infantry, Company K SERVICE RECORD Enlisted on October 12, 1861. Wounded in the December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863, Battle of Murfreesboro. Wounded in the September 1863 Battle of […]
America’s Civil War: July 1999 From the EditorFrom the EditorAmerica's Civil War Like Philadelphia’s Catherine Hewitt, Mobile-born Susan Tarleton lost her fiancé-general to an enemy bullet. The Civil War made widows of thousands of young–and not so young–American women. Thousands more, like Catherine Hewitt, lost their sweethearts before they ever got a chance to marry. One of those unfortunate lovers was Susan […]
War’s Last Cavalry Raid – May ’98 America’s Civil War FeatureWar's Last Cavalry Raid By Chris Hartley Even as General Robert E. Lee was surrendering at Appomattox, a vengeful Union cavalry horde led by Maj. Gen. George Stoneman made Southern civilians pay dearly for the war. It was a last brutal lesson in the concept of total warfare. Six-foot-four-inch Major General George Stoneman, powerfully built, […]
Hard-Fighting John Hammond – Sidebar: January ’98 America’s Civil War FeatureHard-Fighting John Hammond Although many citizens heeded the call to defend and preserve the Union, no one in Essex County, New York, felt more strongly about serving his country than John Hammond. The son of Charles F. Hammond, a local businessman in Crown Point, New York, John was born on August 17, 1827. He attended […]
THE BURNING OF COLUMBIA FROM THE UNION AND CONFEDERATE PERSPECTIVES – October 1998 Civil War Times FeatureBurning Columbia An excerpt from “Sherman’s March from Savannah to Bentonville.” From Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. BY UNION MAJOR GENERAL HENRY W. SLOCUM The fall of Savannah resulted in the adoption of the plan which Sherman had contemplated. In a letter dated December 24th Sherman says: “Many and many a person in […]
“Never Were Men So Brave” – December 1998 Civil War Times FeatureNever Were Men So Brave Their casualties were enormous but their courage and capacity for fun were legendary. General Lee, himself, gave highest praise to these Yankees of the Irish Brigade. BY JOHN F. McCORMACK, JR. Out Hanover Street in Fredericksburg they marched that December morning in 1862, sprigs of green in their caps, a […]
BETRAYAL AT EBENEZER CREEK – October 1998 Civil War Times FeatureBETRAYAL AT EBENEZER CREEK Trapped between charging Rebels and a deadly flooded creek, thousands of fugitive slaves watched in horror as the Union army abandoned them. Then came catastrophe–and excuses. BY EDWARD M. CHURCHILL Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis had few complaints about the able-bodied black men who were supplying the muscle and sweat to […]
The 44th Georgia Suffered Some of the Heaviest Losses – March ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureThe hard-fighting 44th Georgia suffered some of the heaviest losses of any regiment in the Civil War.By Gerald J. Smith On March 10, 1862, companies of Georgians from Henry, Jasper, Clarke, Spalding, Clayton, Putnam, Fayette, Pike, Morgan, Henry and Greene counties all assembled at Camp Stephens, outside Griffin. Responding to Governor Joseph Brown’s mandate to […]
Hancock’s ‘Well-Conducted Fizzle’ – Jan. ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureHancock's 'Well-Conducted Fizzle' With Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia stubbornly clinging to Petersburg,Ulysses S. Grant decided to cut its vital rail lines. To perform the surgery, he selected one of the North’s proven heroes– ‘Hancock the Superb.’ By Bruce A. Trinque General UIysses S. Grant had hammered and probed the defenses of Petersburg, […]
The Proving Ground – April ’96 Civil War Times FeaturethePROVINGground The Mexican War gave future civil war generals their first taste of combatJOHN C. WAUGH Chatham Roberdeau Wheat would one day lead a famous Louisiana battalion called “Wheat’s Tigers” into battle for the Confederacy. He would fight and die in the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, Virginia, in 1862. But that was still some 15 […]
Drones in the Great Hive – December ’95 Civil War Times FeatureDRONES IN THE GREAT HIVEBy Christian A. Fleetwood An African-American Medal of Honor-winner writes bitterly of the way the Union army treats its black soldiers. Christian A. Fleetwood was one of 13 African-American soldiers who won theMedal of Honor at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, Virginia, on September 29and 30, 1864. At one time he […]
A Town Embattled- February ’96 Civil War Times FeatureWinchester, Virginia, saw more of the war than any other place North or Southa town EMBATTLEDCHRIS FORDNEY Ten thousand Confederate troops filled the small town of Winchester, Virginia, early in the summer of 1861. Soldiers were quartered in almost every building. Then, in mid-July, a call came to stop a Federal advance on Manassas, and […]
Mexican War: The Proving Ground for Future American Civil War GeneralsFor young American army officers of the time, the Mexican War was not only the road to glory, it was the road to promotion--a proving ground for future Civil War generals.