Question of the Week: 9/9-9/15/19

In your opinion…in the western theater, what was the most Confederate raid into Northern states or territories? Why?

7 Responses to Question of the Week: 9/9-9/15/19

  1. If referring to the “most effective raid,” it was the Dakota Attack on New Ulm in August 1862 (which forced the Federal Army to open another front, involving thousands of soldiers, to the west of Minnesota. Soldiers away fighting Indians could not participate in battles further east.) There existed a shadowy, loose alignment of certain Native American tribes with the Confederate Government, still not fully explained. And the States of Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska threatened to bring their soldiers home to defend their borders, unless the Federal Government addressed the problem.
    If referring to “the most ambitious raid with the greatest potential,” it was the attempt late in 1864 to coordinate with KGC “castles” in the North to create a massive disturbance in Chicago, masking the release of thousands of Confederate prisoners held at Camp Douglas. The plans got leaked; and the attempt fizzled.
    If referring to “the most denied attempted raid,” it was the effort by Confederate General Heth to capture, and hold for ransom, the City of Cincinnati, in September 1862. Lew Wallace got there first, organized the willing civilians into work teams, digging entrenchments, throwing up breastworks, and then armed the citizen-soldiers in preparation to repel the attack… which never came. (It was forever after denied that Heth had any intention to take the Ohio city; but Major General Wallace was proclaimed, “Savior of Cincinnati,” nonetheless.)

    1. What’s the evidence of any connection between the Dakota and the CSA? The uprising was stoked by the Dakota’s confinement to land that wasn’t fertile, being cheated out of their annuity payments from the Government, a corrupt agent refusing to provide food/supplies on credit, and famine from the 1862 crop failure. That may have diverted troops to suppress the uprising but it was hardly a result of CSA machinations. If you have something to the contrary I’d look forward to seeing it.

    2. As stated above, “there existed a shadowy, loose alignment of certain Native American tribes with the Confederate Government, still not fully explained.” It is not clear whether the Dakota acted on their own initiative, or were “encouraged” by some outside inducement, “offered” by a Confederate agent; prompted by a corrupt (or incompetent) U.S. Government agent; or simply the misguided actions of a band within the tribe, enraged by overblown rumors. There is no ironclad proof how the attack on New Ulm was instigated. But what is clear: the Confederate Government benefited from the opening of another front to the war, with potential to draw away significant numbers of Union troops. Therefore, the raid on New Ulm was “the most effective raid” that took place in the West, of benefit to the Confederacy.

      1. But there is absolutely no evidence of any kind regarding the CSA connection that i am aware of. Which tribes are you referring to and what is/are the source(s) substantiating this “loose alignment”? On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence of the grievous wrongs committed by the agency .In addition, the uprising started with the killing of five settlers by a few tribal members. It only became an organized rebellion after those killings ignited things and even then it was limited to Little Crow’s band until it spread elsewhere. The mere fact that it may have “benefited” the CSA doesn’t provide any proof of CSA instigation (and, as we know, it really didn’t benefit the CSA war effort in any meaningful way – in fact, it probably harmed that effort by removing John Pope from Virginia).

  2. I don’t know about “most effective”, “most significant”, or “greatest” Confederate raid, but the one I personally find intriguing is the St. Albans Raid. Being in Vermont, it technically does not qualify as being “in the West”, but its roots were definitely “in the West”.

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