This Day in the Civil War

Saturday May 4 1861
MULTIPLE MEETINGS MARK MILITANCY

The secession from the Union was not received with joy by all the residents of Southern states. In particular, the people of western Virginia were not thrilled. The mountainous region had social and cultural differences with the southern and eastern parts of the state. Meetings took place today in Wheeling, Kingswood, and Preston County to discuss another act of secession.



Sunday May 4 1862
CONFEDERATE CAPITUALTION CAUSES CONSOLIDATION

Gen. Joseph Johnston’s decision yesterday to withdraw from Yorktown, Va., allowed McClellan to move the Army of the Potomac in today without opposition. Some units were ordered to move further ahead on the road to Williamsburg, and they encountered troops of Longstreet and Hill, with minor unpleasantness occurring. The Stars and Stripes were raised over Gloucester Point, across the river from Yorktown.



Monday May 4 1863
CHURCH CLASH CONCLUDES CHANCELLORSVILLE

Gen. Joseph Hooker’s plan to flank the Confederates at Fredericksburg had ground to a complete halt almost as soon as it began. Surprise and initiative lost, he began to withdraw back across the fords of the Rappahannock. U.S. Gen. “Uncle” John Sedgwick’s forces, who had finally taken bloody Marye’s Heights in Fredericksburg, were attacked at Salem Church in an attempt to cut them off from this escape. They managed to resist and make their way to Bank’s Ford, which they crossed in the night.



Wednesday May 4 1864
POTOMAC PROCESSION PRECEEDS PETERSBURG

The Army of the Potomac re-crossed the Rapidan River one last time in the area known as the Wilderness. Numbering around 122,000, they marched against a foe that was reduced to some 66,000 men. Their march led them around the Confederate right, requiring Lee to move out from Orange Court House near Gordonsville to match the maneuver. Gen. Richard Ewell led the way, with A.P. Hill’s men next in line. Longstreet’s men brought up the rear.

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