Strange Battles of the Civil War
is an anecdotal look at engagements during the Civil War that have unique or unusual aspects. Arranged chronologically from the beginning of the conflict through its conclusion, these battles include victories against overwhelming odds, lost or misdirected orders that affected the outcomes of battles, action without orders that led to stunning results, battles with wholly unexpected political results, the "acoustic shadow" phenomenon that prevented commanders in the field from responding to nearby actions, unusual participants, unique or novel animals or equipment in battle, extremely low - and unbelievably high - casualties, and peculiar objectives.
Relatively little attention is given to logistics. Instead, the focus is on the human-interest factors in these accounts, including:
- December 20, 1861: Hungry horses trigger a clash at Dranesville, Virginia, among hay-hunting parties who fight over fodder for their animals, resulting in 250 casualties.
- May 15, 1862: At Drewry's Bluff, Virginia, the Confederate capital at Richmond is saved because Federal naval guns could not be elevated sufficiently to fire on the Southerners' position on the bluff.
- June 6, 1862: Two fragile, unarmed wooden Rebel vessels engage eight Yankee ironclads near Memphis - and capture three of them.
- September 30, 1862: At a Confederate victory of Newtonia, Missouri, most of the soldiers on both sides are Native Americans.
- September 8, 1863: Southerners at Sabine Pass, Texas, are outnumbered by approximately 225 to 1, but manage to thwart the Federal advance.
- October 29, 1863: Union mules stampede Confederate troops at Wauhatchie, Tennessee, and the Federal quartermaster recommends they be breveted to the rank of "horse."