Sep 12, 9:01 AM EDT

This Week in the Civil War

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This Week in The Civil War for Sunday, Sept. 14: Third Battle of Winchester, Virginia.

Confederate units often had ranged freely through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia but fought a bruising fight against Union forces at Winchester in that state 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. Union forces under Philip Sheridan and Confederates led by Jubal A. Early saw thousands of casualties in the Third Battle of Winchester on Sept. 19, 1864. Fierce fighting ended with a Union victory and marked the beginning of the decline of the Confederate threat along the strategic valley corridor slanting almost south to north alongside mountain ridges. Elsewhere in Virginia, The Associated Press reported in a dispatch dated Sept. 14, 1864 that Robert E. Lee's Confederate army was reportedly being reinforced in Virginia. "It is stated by deserters that Lee's army has been strengthened by reinforcements from various points and by large numbers of conscripts." AP also reported that shelling continued around Petersburg, Va., this week 150 years ago in the civil war: "The Confederates have kept up a brisk artillery firing ... The result of is that five or six Federal soldiers are brought into the hospital every day."

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This Week in The Civil War for Sunday, Sept. 21: More fighting in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.

Confederates freshly defeated at the Third Battle of Winchester, Virginia, erected defensive works at Fisher's Hill in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. A smaller battle was fought Sept. 21-22, 1864, with the Union taking the offensive against Southern cavalry before crashing through Southern infantry lines. Confederate Jubal A. Early was forced to retreat with his troops southward down the Shenandoah Valley. Meanwhile, news of the Union victory at Winchester reached Northern troops, eliciting cheers. The Associated Press reported on Sept. 20, 1864, that there was a raucous celebration among Union troops of the Army of the Potomac when they got word of developments in Winchester. AP reported: "The news of the victory in the Valley was read to the troops along the lines this afternoon, and was received with unbounded enthusiasm and repeated cheering. A salute of one hundred shotted guns will be fired tomorrow at daylight, in honor of the victory." AP added that Confederate desertion appeared on the rise. It added that some Confederate deserters told had they had recently obtained fresh beef from livestock sezied in the countryside. The report also said some rebel pickets close to Union forces were offering to trade their fresh beef for Union coffee and other supplies.

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This Week in The Civil War for Sunday, Sept. 28: Quiet prevails at Petersburg, Virginia.

The Associated Press reported on Sept. 28, 1864, 150 years ago during the Civil War, that relative calm prevailed for a few days amid a longstanding Union siege at Petersburg, Virginia, not far from the Confederate capital of Richmond. "Quiet still prevails in front of Petersburg, broken only by the usual picket firing and occasional artillery duels, the effect of which is to consume a large quantity of powder." The AP dispatch added that heavy firing could still be heard in bursts from the area around the James River and there were reports of large groups of Confederate cavalry on the move, their war aims unclear. The Union besieged Petersburg as crucial Confederate supply point 25 miles to the south of Richmond. The siege would drag on nearly until the end of the war before Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant would cut through and hasten the end of the war in 1865.

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This Week in The Civil War for Sunday, Oct. 5: Fighting in Georgia.

Confederates after the fall of Atlanta waged harassing attacks on Union forces northwest of that major Southern city 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. A Confederate force moving northward around Atlanta clashed with Union troops for several hours on Oct. 5, 1864, near Allatoona Pass. Union forces held their ground behind an earthen defense work until Union reinforcements could arrive and the Confederate attackers retreated. Elsewhere, The Associated Press reported intermittently heavy skirmishing in Virginia along the north side of the James River only miles from the Confederate capital of Richmond. AP said the Confederates had extremely stout defense works, "a very formidable line of works was found, behind which the enemy were posted in heavy force." Shelling took its toll, sometimes erupting with little warning. Said AP of one burst of fighting, "A shell from one of the enemy's battery's grazed General Meade's boot leg to-day; took a piece from the tail of General Humphrey's horse and entered the ground."

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