On 21 December 1866, the US Army suffered its worst defeat in the western Indian Wars up to that time. (Custer's defeat at Little Bighorn would later surpass it)
Fetterman, a Captain at Fort Phil Kearney, was given the mission to relieve a wood cutting party who had been attacked by Indians, possibly led by Crazy Horse and/or Red Cloud. In fact, the attack on the woodcutters was a diversion and Fetterman and his 81 man detail were led into an ambush. All 81 were killed.* Traditional history, gives the idea that Fetterman was out to make a name for himself and had said, "With 80 men, I could ride through the entire Sioux nation." For a deeper and somewhat contrarianview to the traditional, click here.
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Stuart Jenkinson, a retired teacher and motorcycle touring legend in the UK, has decided to auction off his 1955 Vincent Black Prince. Jenkinson, now 83, wants to auction it to a caring owner who can take it from the 721,703 miles it currently has to 750,000 and beyond. From the BBC article;
The bike will be auctioned at the International Motorcycle Show in Staffordshire on 24 April 2011 and has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £35,000 - £40,000.
Go ahead, give Vinnylonglegs a new owner. I'm sure the Battlefield biker readers have £40,000 to spare!
On 10 January, 1862 Union forces, under Colonel James Garfield, sought to drive out the Confederates, under General Humphrey Marshall, who were recruiting in the vicinity of Paintsville, Kentucky. Garfield was an new Colonel of Ohio volunteers who was to make his name at the Battle of Middle Creek. This fame would eventually propel him to the White House. Marshall, on the other hand, came into the battle with an outstanding reputation from the Mexican War where he led the First Kentucky Cavalry. He was to leave Middle Creek with a big question mark over his head. As Garfield approached from the north, Marshall fell back to Prestonburg along the Middle Creek to take up defensive positions, even though his rebels were not well provisioned. The Confederate cavalry that was to provide a rear screen were surprised by the Federal cavalry as they were breaking camp.
What chance does American history have against the congressional dealers of pork? Getting re-elected ai'nt enough anymore, they want immortality to surpass the people who actually built out the land with their bare hands.
With the war on the Western Front stalemating, Paul von Hindenburg, Commander-in-Chief of the German armies in the East, and his Chief of Staff, Erich Ludendorff, came up with a plan. The idea was to decisively defeat the Russians in East Prussia, so that overwhelming power could then be transferred to the Western Front. The battle that ensued was called the Second / Winter Battle of the Masurian Lakes.
On 13 February 1862, Union commanding General U.S. Grant's positioning was complete and the time had come to attack Fort Donelson. The Union forces had spent the 12th of February closing in from Fort Henry and exchanging picket fire with the Confederates manning the earthen works of Fort Donelson. The gunboats had also spent the 12th testing the river batteries and found them tough, but assumed they could be taken as Fort Henry's had been.
An enduring idea the British had about the American colonists during the Revolutionary War was that many of them were actually Loyalists to the Crown. The British had spent considerable effort trying to round up these Loyalists and get them in the fight. After several years of being disappointed by the lack of Loyalist fervor in the North, the British became sure that there were more Loyalists to be found in the backwoods of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. In early 1779, a Loyalist named James Boyd was dispatched by the British with a open Colonel commission from Savannah to recruit more Loyalists in the Georgia interior. He had done this and even fought a few skirmishes with Patriots when he arrived at Kettle Creek, in Wilkes County, Georgia on 14 February 1779. His 600 men set up camp on the creek and many of them set off to forage for food.
MONTEITH, JIMMIE W., JR.
By early 1864, Lincoln was despairing that he could find no General to prosecute the Union's war against the South in the eastern theatre. All of his leaders around the Potomac seemed to be frozen with indecision and a fear of failure. Much to his delight, a plan from a junior Cavalry General, H. Judson Kilpatrick, came into his view through Secretary of War Stanton. Kilpatrick knew that his immediate superiors would either poo-poo the idea or steal it as their own, so he approached Lincoln's adminstration directly through back channels. Kilpatrick was proposing a daring raid into the mouth of the lion to snatch Federal prisoners held in deplorable conditions in Confederate held Richmond. Kilpatrick's plan suggested more as well. Stanton and Lincoln were attracted by the idea that a raid into Richmond, apart from freeing prisoners, would also serve as a huge propaganda victory. Kilpatrick was summoned to Washington for a private meeting with Stanton and given the go ahead.
By the end of 1861, the Union forces had secured Missouri by routing the Missouri militia that favored secession. In early 1862, the Union commander, General Samuel Curtis moved his Army of the Southwest into northwest Arkansas to take the fight to the Confedrates and secure Missouri from Rebel cross border incursions.
Newly appointed Confederate Army of the West commander, General Earl Van Dorn decided to take his numerically superior, but logistically inferior forces to the northwest of Arkansas and push the Union back onto the back foot in both Arkansas and Missouri.
After several skirmishes in February and early March, 1862, Curtis settled on favorable ground to the east of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Van Dorn knew it was a good position, so decided to split his forces in an attempt to draw Curtis into a weaker position.