Year
1862
Month Day
April 29

Union captures New Orleans

Union troops officially take possession of New Orleans, completing the occupation that had begun four days earlier.

The capture of this vital southern city was a huge blow to the Confederacy. Southern military strategists planned for a Union attack down the Mississippi, not from the Gulf of Mexico. In early 1862, the Confederates concentrated their forces in northern Mississippi and western Tennessee to stave off the Yankee invasion. Many of these troops fought at Shiloh in Tennessee on April 6 and 7. Eight Rebel gunboats were dispatched up the great river to stop a Union flotilla above Memphis, leaving only 3,000 militia, two uncompleted ironclads, and a few steamboats to defend New Orleans. The most imposing obstacles for the Union were two forts, Jackson and St. Phillip. In the middle of the night of April 24, Admiral David Farragut led a fleet of 24 gunboats, 19 mortar boats and 15,000 soldiers in a daring run past the forts.

Now, the river was open to New Orleans except for the ragtag Confederate fleet. The mighty Union armada plowed right through, sinking eight ships. At New Orleans, Confederate General Mansfield Lovell surveyed his tiny force and realized that resistance was futile. If he resisted, Lovell told Mayor John Monroe, Farragut would bombard the city and inflict severe damage and casualties. Lovell pulled his troops out of New Orleans and the Yankees began arriving on April 25. The troops could not land until Forts Jackson and St. Phillip were secured. They surrendered on April 29, and now New Orleans had no protection. Crowds cursed the Yankees as all Confederate flags in the city were lowered and stars and stripes were raised in their place.

The Confederacy lost a major city, and the lower Mississippi soon became a Union highway for 400 miles to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Britain’s Prince William weds Kate Middleton

On April 29, 2011, Great Britain’s Prince William marries his longtime girlfriend Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. Some 1,900 guests attended the ceremony, while another 1 million spectators lined the streets of London and an estimated 2 ...read more

Riots erupt in Los Angeles after police officers are acquitted in Rodney King trial

In Los Angeles, California, four Los Angeles police officers that had been caught beating an unarmed African American motorist in an amateur video are acquitted of any wrongdoing in the arrest. Hours after the verdicts were announced, outrage and protest turned to violence as the ...read more

Joan of Arc relieves Orleans

During the Hundred Years’ War, the 17-year-old French peasant Joan of Arc leads a French force in relieving the city of Orleans, besieged by the English since October. At the age of 16, “voices” of Christian saints told Joan to aid Charles, the French dauphin, in gaining the ...read more

First African American college chartered

By an act of the Pennsylvania legislature, Ashmun Institute, the first college founded solely for African American students, is officially chartered. Established in the rolling farmlands of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, Ashmun Institute was named after Jehudi Ashmun, the ...read more

U.S. Army liberates Dachau concentration camp

On April 29, 1945, the U.S. Seventh Army’s 45th Infantry Division liberates Dachau, the first concentration camp established by Germany’s Nazi regime. A major Dachau subcamp was liberated the same day by the 42nd Rainbow Division. READ MORE: Dachau Concentration Camp: Facts and ...read more

World War II monument opens in Washington, D.C.

On April 29, 2004, the World War II Memorial opens in Washington, D.C. to thousands of visitors, providing overdue recognition for the 16 million U.S. men and women who served in the war. The memorial is located on 7.4 acres on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the National ...read more

President Nixon announces release of Watergate tapes

On April 129, 1974, President Richard Nixon announces to the public that he will release transcripts of 46 taped White House conversations in response to a Watergate trial subpoena issued in July 1973. The House Judiciary committee accepted 1,200 pages of transcripts the next ...read more

Newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst is born

The newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst is born in San Francisco. He was the only son and principle heir to western mining magnate George Hearst. George Hearst had made a fortune with his shrewd investments in successful western mining operations. His son William, however, ...read more

“Hair” premieres on Broadway

In a year marked by as much social and cultural upheaval as 1968, it was understandable that the New York Times review of a controversial musical newly arrived on Broadway would describe the show in political terms. “You probably don’t have to be a supporter of Eugene McCarthy to ...read more

Rodney King trial verdict announced

A jury in the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley acquits four police officers who had been charged with using excessive force in arresting black motorist Rodney King a year earlier. The announcement of the verdict, which enraged the black community, prompted the L.A. riots, which ...read more

The end of the road for Oldsmobile

On April 29, 2004, the last Oldsmobile comes off the assembly line at the Lansing Car Assembly plant in Michigan, signaling the end of the 106-year-old automotive brand, America’s oldest. Factory workers signed the last Oldsmobile, an Alero sedan, before the vehicle was moved to ...read more

Adolf and Eva marry

During the night of April 28-29, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun marry, only hours before they both died by suicide. Braun met Hitler while employed as an assistant to Hitler’s official photographer. Of a middle-class Catholic background, Braun spent her time with Hitler out of public ...read more