The Civil War: Year 4 (1864)

Course InstructorDr. Joseph Fitzharris is retired as Professor of Military History at the University of St. Thomas, where he taught courses on American Military History, the Civil War, and World War II. He has published on both wars. The Great Plains Regional Coordinator for the Society for Military History, he received the Simmons Memorial Service Award for service to the SMH. He is active in both the Twin Cities Civil War Round Table and the Dr. Harold C. Deutsch World War II History Roundtable.

Course Information:  Tuesdays, September 9-October 14, 2014, 9:30-11:30 a.m., O'Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditorium, UST St. Paul Campus

Course Description: In this course, the fourth in a five-year series, we will examine the three major campaigns of 1864 – critical points of the war, as well as looking at Prisoners of War (their experiences and the “cartel” that handled exchanges), the politics of war (1864 was an election year in the north), and the Indian Campaigns by Sibley and Sully (that cover 1863-1866), growing out of the 1862 “Dakota Uprising”).  Suggested background reading for those joining us this year: James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom (chs. 1-23), McPherson & Hogue, Ordeal by Fire (chs. 1-21), Donald, Baker & Holt, The Civil War and Reconstruction (chs. 1-18).

Registration fee for the series:  $80.00 per person

To register on-line with a credit card, click on this link

To complete the registration form on-line and then mail in a check payment, click on this link

To register by check or cash through the mail or in-person, click on this link for the printable registration formFall 2014 Printable Registration Form

Link to campus mapSt. Paul Campus Map

Detailed Course Syllabus (subject to change):

September 9

Overview: Indian Campaigns of 1863-1866

We will start with an overview of the war, reviewing 1861-1863, noting what we will deal with in 1864, and then looking to 1865. In the summers of 1863-1866, Gens. Sibley and Sully conducted extensive campaigns against the Dakota nation, using Fort Snelling as a primary logistics base.
September 16

The Red River Campaign

The first major campaign of 1864 was Nathaniel Banks’ Red River Campaign for east Texas. Popular with Banks, Halleck, and Lincoln, it was opposed by Grant, Sherman, and Steele. Involving troops from Steele’s Army of Arkansas, Smith’s Corps from the Army of the Tennessee, and Admiral Porter’s gunboat fleet, this wasteful sideshow that delayed Sherman’s Atlanta campaign and put off the Mobile Campaign as well.
September 23

The Overland Campaign

In March of 1864, Grant became General-in-Chief, making his headquarters in the field with the Army of the Potomac. The campaign waged by Meade under Grant’s direction changed the pace of war in the east. In a series of Union defeats, Meade brought his Army from the Wilderness to Petersburg, where he began a siege threatening both Richmond and the government of the Confederacy. We will include Butler’s Wilmington Operations and the Army of the James.
September 30

The Prisoner of War Cartel and the PW Experience

Shortly after the war began, the Union and the Confederacy established a Prisoner of War Cartel to formally handle PW exchanges. As the volume of prisoners grew, both sides established PW camps to hold the enemy combatants until parole. Rebel violations of paroles following Vicksburg, and Rebel refusal to treat black soldiers honorably led to the end of the exchange of prisoners and the growth of PW Camps like “Andersonville.”
October 7

The Politics of War

The Union election of 1864 was critical for both nations. The Rebels pinned their hopes on the Democrats – the party of “peace” on southern terms (Gen. McClellan was the candidate), and attempted to shape the battlefield to favor a democratic victory. The Radical Republicans  failed to replace Lincoln with Treasury Secretary Chase. Forming the “War Unionist Party,” Lincoln maneuvered legally and otherwise to favor soldier votes (which he overwhelmingly received). Sherman’s taking of Atlanta is often credited with sealing Lincoln’s victory.
October 14

The Atlanta Campaign and the Battle of Nashville

TheAtlanta campaign was one part of Grant’s planned concentration in time for the spring of 1864. It started late, took far longer than either Davis or Lincoln wanted, resulted in the replacement of Joseph Johnston by John Bell Hood, and the Rebel loss of Atlanta. Hood’s maneuverings into Tennessee culminated in the destruction - outside Nashville - of his Army of Tennessee. We will cover Sherman’s “March to the Sea” and the fall of Savannah - which overlap 1864 and early 1865 next year.
Course Website 

The course website includes outlines of the previous program sessions covering 1861 – 1863, links to maps, Civil War Round Tables, and other resources: