November 11, 2012

This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, Nov. 11

Skirmishing in Mississippi


Associated Press

— This week 150 years ago in the Civil War, Union cavalry skirmish with Confederate fighters near Holly Springs, Miss., vying for control of the town. Though not a significant fight itself, the daylong skirmishing comes amid the larger Union quest by Ulysses S. Grant to crush Confederate forces and gain control of key Southern rail supply lines and the lower Mississippi River. Grant's intent was to gain full control of the lower Mississippi and thereby split the South in two while taking away the river as a key commercial corridor for the Confederacy. But the bigger fight for the lower Mississippi River would come months later in the spring of 1863 with a focus on Vicksburg, Miss. At that time, Grant's armies would besiege Vicksburg, trapping Confederate troops with civilians there and forcing its surrender by July 1863 — a military triumph that would help catapult Grant to a position as commander of the Union armies. This week, news reports tell of soldiers in the downtime between large-scale fighting getting into trouble in Tennessee. A news dispatch dated Nov. 16, 1862, reports five murders in Nashville, Tenn., adding "two of the homicides were of saloon keepers, who refused to sell liquor to soldiers." It also said two soldiers were among those killed.