Almanac History - April 1863
April 2nd, 1863
A mob of Southerners gathered in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia and demanded bread from a bakery wagon. Soon they begin harassing and vandalizing nearby shops. This necessitates a call to the local police. President Jefferson Davis bravely places himself in the middle of the mob and tell them that while he does not want anyone to be injured, they must disperse within five minutes or he will direct the surrounding militia to fire upon them. The crowd ultimately broke up without further incident, but several arrests were made. One shopkeeper reported $13,000 in lost merchandise.
April 3rd, 1863
Lincoln prepares to visit the Army of the Potomac where he will meet with General Hooker. Jefferson Davis is concerned that the trans-Mississippi will fall into Federal hands and calls for fortifications in this area.
April 6th, 1863
Under General Grant's order, General McClernand has made his way to New Carthage, Mississippi. During this advance there is brief fighting between Unions and Confederates.
April 7th, 1863
Southern forces under General Wheeler conduct a series of raids on several railroads in Tennessee. The Louisville and Nashville line and the run between Nashville and Chattanooga are the targets of four days of surprise attacks.
April 8th, 1863
McClernand's Union troops are carrying supplies and preparing a route for General Grant's upcoming operations against Vicksburg when they are engaged in skirmishing at New Carthage near Milliken's Bend. A particularly sharp skirmish occurs at James' Plantation.
April 10th, 1863
President Jefferson Davis, keenly aware that the Southern economy is nearly at the breaking point, encourages Confederates to concentrate their agricultural efforts on crops other than tobacco and cotton which are now less critical than "corn, oats, peas, potatoes and other food for man and beast.Several months earlier theDispatch, a Richmond newspaper, had reported that the cost of feeding a family had increased over the first two years of the war from $6.65 to $68.25 a week.
April 11th, 1863
Skirmishing continues in Virginia near Williamsburg and near the Blackwater River. Longstreet's Confederate troops begin a month-long siege of Suffolk, Virginia. In Louisiana General Nathaniel Banks takes 17,000 troops toward the Red River where Confederates are positioned at Fort de Russy.
April 12th, 1863
General Hooker writes to President Lincoln telling him he wants to cross the Rappahannock River and outflank Robert E. Lee and his Confederates.
April 13th, 1863
General Burnside, now commander of the Department of the Ohio, issues a proclamation stating that Confederate sympathizers in the area will be deported to Southern lines, and he demands the death penalty for any convicted of aiding the Southern cause.
April 14th, 1863
Union troops confront Confederates at Bayou Teche, Louisiana resulting in 150 Union casualties. The Confederate losses are not clearly known, but are thought to be substantial. During this engagement theQueen of the West(formerly a Union vessel now in Confederate hands) is bombarded and destroyed.
April 15th, 1863
General Hooker, chief of the Army of the Potomac, estimates a troop strength of 130,000 men. This contrasts with Lee's forces in the area which number about 60,000.
April 16th, 1863
Admiral Porter successfully runs 12 vessel through the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg, Mississippi, losing only one ship in a heavy bombardment of shelling from the shore. The fleet anchors at Bruinsburg, Mississippi.
April 17th, 1863
In an effort to divert Confederate strength and attention from Vicksburg, Colonel Benjamin Grierson leads 1700 men on a 16-day raiding mission from La Grange, Tennessee. This expedition ultimately covers a 600 mile are of Mississippi.
April 18th, 1863
Federal troops seize and destroy a Southern salt works at New Iberia, Louisiana. Arkansas sees fighting as Confederates attack Federals at Feyetteville, meeting with little success.
April 19th, 1863
Lincoln takes General Halleck and War Secretary Edwin Stanton to Aquia Creek, Virginia on a one-day, fact-finding mission to gather information about the status of the Army of the Potomac.
April 20th, 1863
General Nathaniel Banks and his Union troops successfully take Opelousas, Louisiana. Northern and Southern troops clash in Patterson, Missouri leaving the federals defeated with about 50 casualties.
April 22nd, 1863
President Davis advises General John Pemberton at Vicksburg, Mississippi to consider disrupting the Federal naval operation by sending fire rafts down the Mississippi River.Fighting continues in Virginia near the town of Strasburg, where Confederate troops are defeated by Majors McGee and White. There are also outbreaks of fighting near Belle Plain, Virginia as Union troops set out from there to Front Royal.
April 24th, 1863
The North successfully routs Southern troops near St. Louis on the Iron Mountain Railroad. The Confederate congress makes an extremely controversial decision to place an 8% tax on all agricultural products grown the previous year.
April 25th, 1863
Fighting at Greenland Gap, West Virginia leaves 15 Northern soldiers dead and 60 taken as prisoners; nearly 100 Southern soldiers are killed and an undetermined number taken prisoner.
April 26th, 1863
Confederate raiders commanded by General John Marmaduke attack the federal garrison at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The raid is repelled and the Confederate casualties number 40 dead and 200 wounded. John McNeil's Union troops report six dead and six wounded.
April 27th, 1863
General Hooker's Army of the Potomac moves along the Rappahannock River heading toward Chancellorsville - some 70,000 strong. General Sedgewick stays behing with 30,000 men in position near the Confederate camp at Fredericksburg.
April 28th, 1863
Southern troops are defeated in a clash with Federals at Sand Mountain, Georgia.
April 29th, 1863
The Chancellorsville campaign begins. General Robert E. Lee's troops are threatened as the major portion of the Army of the Potomac continues to cross the Rappahannock River. There is skirmishing around Fredericksburg and at Crook's Run in Virginia.
April 30th, 1863
Confederate General Pemberton telegraphs President Davis that unless he has more cavalry the approaches to North Mississippi are virtually unprotected. Davis advises General Joe Johnston of the imminent threat to Vicksburg, Mississippi. In Chancellorsville, Virginia, General Stoneman and his Union cavalry raid the Confederate Army of Norther Virginia and destroy portions of the Virginia Centra Railroad, thus cutting General Lee's communication lines.