Wednesday May 8 1861
MEDIA MESSAGES MOSTLY MISLEADING
The relations between the government(s) and the media in the days of
the Civil War were just about as pleasant and peaceful as they are
today. After printing an editorial a couple of days ago suggesting
that the south needed “a dictator” to win its war for independence,
the Richmond Examiner promised today not to publish any information
on military movements or activities, lest it give help to the enemy.
This promise lasted approximately as long as it took the ink to dry,
and indeed the paper was as good a source of war news in Washington
as it was in Richmond.
Thursday May 8 1862
SCHENCK, STONEWALL SPAR SEVERELY
It must have seemed like a good idea at the time as Robert Schenck
took his 6000 men (detached from Gen. Fremont’s command) into a
battle today at McDowell, or Bull Pasture Mountain, in western
Virginia. Unfortunately, he soon discovered that he was up against
10,000 Confederates under Stonewall Jackson, and retreating seemed
like an even better idea. Jackson’s men pursued as far as Franklin,
Va. They were already getting the name of “foot cavalry” for their
speed of movement.
Friday May 8 1863
ALIEN AMNESTY ABRUPTLY AMENDED
All during the Civil War the draft laws of the United States had
applied only to citizens, thereby leaving alien residents exempt.
(Aliens served, of course, and in large numbers, but they were all
volunteers.) Today Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation announcing
that henceforth the draft would be extended to include any
non-citizen who had applied for citizenship. The impulse to serve
was not universal, and many citizenship papers were hastily
Sunday May 8 1864
LONGSTREET LOSS LEAVES LEE LACKING
Skirmishing and establishment of lines continued around Spotsylvania
Court House today, with the Confederate forces getting into position
first. They were therefore in position when G.K. Warren’s corps
arrived, thinking that they were moving around the Confederate right
flank. A fight ensued. Two of Lee’s three corps had inexperienced
commanders today as Longstreet had been severely wounded on Friday
and A.P. Hill called in sick today.
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