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1864 May 21: News from Many Fronts, Including Spotsylvania, New Market, Cloyd’s Mountain, Resaca, and the Red River Campaign

May 21, 2014

Following are the summaries of the week’s war news from both The Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press of May 21, 1864.

From The Prescott Journal:


There is a lull in the great storm of battle, and in the respite, brief as it is to be, the country is summing up the result.

That result is favorable.  The indomitable Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] has matched his legions against the flower of the rebel army, and buried it back in a series of the most desperate battles the world ever saw.  He has won, but the victory has cost terribly, and is not, as yet, decisive and complete.  The rebel army staggered, not routed, retreats out of one strong position into another, still desperate and defiant.  There can be no doubt of Grant’s final complete success, but the end is not yet.  The contest, unequalled [sic] in grandeur, unmeasured in importance, appalling in destructiveness, will be fought out by the rebels as long as hope remains.

— It is reported that the draft will be made to fill the quota of delinquent towns, but it is not yet ordered.

From The Polk County Press:

The News.

The news for the past week has been cheering.  On our first page will be found the official despatches announcing victory.  The latest news, however is not so satisfactory.  By the latest dispatches from Grant’s army, it would seem that that general’s advance had been stopped by muddy roads.¹  Sigel [Franz Sigel] has had a battle at New Market and got whipped.²  General Crooks [sic: George R. Crook] has won a splendid victory at Newbern, Western Virginia.³  Gen. Sherman [William T. Sherman] has captured Resaca, Ga., together with 8 guns and a thousand prisoners.4  The news from Banks’ department grows worse if anything [Nathaniel P. Banks].5  Hundred day troops are being raised rapidly, and hurried forward to the front.  Rumors of another call are floating.  Two regiments of Wisconsin 100 day men have gone into camp at Madison and Milwaukee.  Gold is up again, closing at 83 on Thursday.

1.  Grant’s Overland Campaign, including the Battle of Spotsylvania, which took place between May 8 and 21. The final result of the battle was inconclusive. While Grant was busy at Spotsylvania, two Union victories of the Overland Campaign were the Battle of Yellow Tavern (May 11) and the Battle of Meadow Bridge/Richmond Heights (May 12).
2.  The Battle of New Market took place May 15, 1864. Confederate victory.
3.  The Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain took place on May 9, 1864. Union victory.
4.  The Battle of Resaca took place May 13-15, 1864. Union victory.
5.   After the decisive Confederate victory at the Battle of Mansfield, or Sabine Crossroads (April 8), and the Union’s messy tactical victory at the Battle of Pleasant Hill (April 9), Banks actually ended the Red River Campaign with four victories at Blair’s Landing (April 12-13), Monett’s Ferry (April 23), Mansura (May 16), and Yellow Bayou (May 18).

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