Today in History, April 25, 1862:
Have you ever walked along the levee in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana? If you have, it’s difficult not to be awed when you look UP at the top of the levee and see a ship floating across the water…well above you.
The view makes it very obvious how incredibly vulnerable the city is to the Mighty Mississippi and the massive ships sailing her channel.
On this date in 1862 Union Admiral David Farragut had already led his fleet of US Navy ships past Ft. Jackson and Ft. St. Phillips below the Crescent City, he and his crews blew past nascent the Confederate “Navy” and placed their heavy guns off of New Orleans.
The New Orleans military, government and citizens were told…it was obvious…if they didn’t surrender, the US Navy would fire DOWN into the wooden structures of the Quarter….they may, if necessary, blast a hole in the levee and simply let nature flood out the defenders.
Confederate General Mansfield Lovell told Major Moore what would happen if resisted. So they stalled while Lovell shipped his troops and equipment north by rail to Vicksburg.
Finally on April 29 the residents folded. By May 2 the Confederates relinquished the largest, most industrial, cosmopolitan city in the Confederacy. Remember the rivers were the thoroughfares in the 1800’s.
The Union now had control of NOLA’S resources, and now the Union could ship supplies north from the Gulf as far as Vicksburg and north to south.
The War had seen a major change. And the citizens of New Orleans would find peace with General Butler worse than war with Farragut. But thats a different story.
Today in History, April 8, 1862:
John D. Lynde of Philadelphia receives a patent for an “improved” aerosol spray bottle. The concept was not new, but Lynde perfected the use of gasses to propel spray mists from a bottle.
Today we use aerosol devices for personal care products, kitchen sprays and many other applications in farming and industry. Perhaps most importantly for medical purposes such as inhalers and atomisers.
Today in History, April 7, 1862:
The Battle of Shiloh comes to and end with a Union “Victory”. Union Gen. US Grant had moved his army into Tennessee and was preparing his next campaign.
But Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, considered second only to Robert E. Lee by both armies, had different ideas. His troops, in addition to those of CSA Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard almost literally caught the Northern Army sleeping….attacking in the morning and routing the Yankees.
The Confederates, always hungry due to their lack of supplies, actually stopped to eat the breakfasts the Union soldiers left in flight. The battle was vicious all through the day. But by the morning of the 7th, Grant had been reinforced by Gen. Buell’s Corps, and Grant quickly turned the rebels back. Shiloh was not so much a victory as a recovery for the North.
But the North nearly lost it’s best commander in the aftermath, as the press excoriated Grant as a drunk who was asleep at the wheel. President Lincoln answered the charges by saying that he could not spare Grant, “he fights” and offering to buy his other generals the brand of whiskey Grant used. In truth Grant had taken to drink when missing his family during his pre-war assignment in California, but was always focused during the Civil War Campaigns.
During the battle, Albert Sydney Johnston was mortally wounded. He died looking in fascination at the sky above.