This Month in the Civil War – Fort Fisher Surrenders – by S. McBride

As William Tecumseh Sherman was offering the capture of the key Confederate city of Savannah, Georgia to President Abraham Lincoln as a “Christmas gift”, a combined amphibious Army and Navy force was engaged in an attempt to capture Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina. That was the only remaining Atlantic seaport accessible to blockade runners who were bringing in supplies to keep the rapidly-fading Confederate hopes of victory alive.

Read the entire article in the Jan. 15th issue of the Express.

Schaghticoke at Fort Fisher – by C. Kelley

Last week I wrote about the amphibious assault by the Union Army and Navy on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, defender of the last access point for supplies to the Confederacy in the Civil War. The Confederates surrendered on January 14, 1865, and the fort’s ammunition store blew up the next day, killing 200 men.

Read the entire article in the Jan. 8th issue of the Express.

Bicentennial of the Battle of Plattsburgh – by Chris Kelly


I will take a week off from Schaghticoke mill history to remind us all that 200 years ago at this time of year, New York State was being invaded by a large British Army via Lake Champlain. I was reminded of this because recently I heard an NPR radio broadcast recreating the invasion of Washington, D.C. two hundred years ago in August. The British Army, fresh from beating Napoleon at Waterloo, marched into Washington and burned the White House and Capitol buildings.


This Month in the Civil War – June, 1864 Cold Harbor to Petersburg- by S. McBride


The Union’s Army of the Potomac had suffered a terrible loss of men in May, 1864 in battles at The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Courthouse, but General Ulysses S. Grant was committed to bringing the bloody and costly War Between the States to an end before the year ended. The Confederates had suffered considerable losses as well.  Grant’s plan to prevent Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia from being reinforced as Grant moved his troops toward Richmond was to have diversions in other places. Union General Franz Sigel had fought forces under Confederate General John Breckinridge at New Market in the Shenandoah Valley in mid-May.  Greatly outnumbered, Breckinridge had called up cadets from the Virginia Military Institute, some of them boys as young as 15, and most of whom were killed or wounded.  But they defeated Sigel.

Read the entire article in the June 19th issue of the Express.


The Red River Campaign April 1864 – by Sandy McBride

Although Ulysses S. Grant’s army had won a crucial victory at Vicksburg in July of 1863, taking control of trade and travel on the Mississippi River for the Union, the Confederacy had maintained control of the Trans-Mississippi region to the west of the river.  They were able to continue trade through Texas and Mexico, selling cotton to the nations of Europe in exchange for guns, thereby keeping their efforts to gain their independence going.

Grant had been given control of all the Union armies in March, 1864, and he had a plan to end the War Between the States by November.  He would concentrate the bulk of Union forces in the east to go after Robert E. Lee in Virginia and Joseph E. Johnston in Georgia.  He would push them back and force them to give up the fight.

Read the entire article in the April 24th issue of the Express