This Day in the Civil War

Tuesday, April 1 1862

Gen. George McClellan was moving both his army and himself today, and moving is never an enjoyable process. The Army of the Potomac had to be transferred from its home base near Alexandria, just outside Washington, to Ft. Monroe, Va. This involved going down the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. The general himself also had to move his headquarters, his staff and all their paperwork to a new site near Yorktown. The people of Richmond were donating the bells of their churches to be melted into cannon.

Wednesday, April 1 1863

This was the second day of a voyage of Lt. Cmdr. Gillis’ and USS Commodore Morris up the Ware River in Virginia. They had had a report that there was a large store of grain stashed at a particular plantation, and sure enough they found 22,000 bushels. This morning they were preparing to load it onto their ship when a party of Confederate cavalry swept down. The sailors formed up in ranks, the ship’s guns fired, and the Navy beat the Cavalry decisively. More grain was hastily loaded, and the remainder was burned.

Friday, April 1 1864

Gen. Grant was settling into his new command at the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, which he had moved to as quickly as possible to get the heck out of Washington. There had been no large scale fighting since last fall, but both sides knew that the carnage of “63 was nowhere near to being over.

Saturday, April 1 1865

Gen. Gouvernor Warren had been the hero of Gettysburg for saving Little Round Top. Today he came close to losing the climactic battle of Five Forks by failing to coordinate his attacks with Sheridan’s cavalry. He was relieved of command of the Fifth Corps on the spot by Gen. Grant. The attack was nevertheless sufficient to cut Gen. Pickett’s command off from the rest of the Confederate line, resulting in the capture of nearly half the Southern army, and the near-capture of the vital South Side Railroad.

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