This Day in the Civil War

Thursday, Feb. 6,1862

Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, CSA, was in command of Ft. Henry, and U.S. Gen. Ulysses “Sam” Grant was on his way to pay a visit. Tilghman’s garrison was threatened from upriver, downriver, and even from the Tennessee River itself, which had invaded the partly-flooded fort. Exercising the better part of valor, he sent all but the sick, a few artillerists and himself to the stronger Ft. Donelson on the Cumberland River. He and the remaining men set about the defenses. Battle started about 11 a.m. with an attack by the U.S. Navy’s gunboats in the river. Tilghman managed to hit Foote’s boats with 59 shots, but was compelled to surrender by 2. Grant’s land-bound forces, as it turned out, were stuck in the swamps and missed the fight completely.

Friday, Feb. 6, 1863

The great powers of Europe were beginning to extend gracious offers of mediation to help the backward North Americans resolve their intramural squabbles. Yesterday, Queen Victoria had put a polite spin on things by saying to Parliament that “ has not yet seemed to Her Majesty that any such overtures could be attended with a probability of success.” Today, Secretary of State Stewart informed the government of France that the kind offer of mediation extended by Napoleon III was being declined by Lincoln’s government. The South, while hoping for full diplomatic recognition from some government someplace, would have settled for negotiations, since it would have acknowledged their existence as a separate nation.

Saturday, Feb. 6, 1864

In Richmond on this day a law took effect that was intended to accomplish two things: display defiance toward the Federal government , and relieve the desperate shortage of supplies. In the first part of the law, it was declared illegal to use US paper money in any transaction. In the second, no export of cotton, tobacco, sugar, molasses or rice was to leave port unless the government was given half the proceeds of the sale of the total tonnage.

Monday, Feb. 6, 1865

South of Petersburg today occurred the Battle of Hatcher’s Run. Gen. U. S. Grant was continuing to extend his lines in hopes of surrounding the Army of Northern Virginia. Robert Lee’s forces were doing what they could to impede this. Brig. Gen. John Pelgram, CSA, led his cavalry forces out, and was killed. His wedding to Hetty Caty had been the social event of the year in Richmond; his funeral took place in the same church. Hetty had been a bride for three weeks when she became a widow.

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