This Day in the Civil War

Tuesday May 28 1861

The question of the survival of the Confederate States of America could not be answered strictly within the confines of the boundaries of North America. One thing that could weigh heavily in the balance would be recognition of the new government by one of the real political heavyweights of the world powers: France, Spain, England, Germany....somebody in Europe. Interestingly enough, the House of Commons today took up the debate on recognition in London.

Wednesday May 28 1862

Since long before the Revolutionary War, it had been the tradition in British naval service to issue sailors a ration of a pint of rum per day at sea. This tradition had carried over to American sailors. Not willing to leave a good thing alone, Asst. Navy Sec. Fox wrote today to a senator, “I beg you for the enduring good of the service, to abolish the spirit ration and forbid any distilled liquors being placed on board any vessel belonging to the U States, excepting of course the Medical Department. All insubordination, all misery, every deviltry on board ships can be traced to rum.” Tragically, the forces of enforced temperance would eventually prevail.

Thursday May 28 1863

At first it was unthinkable. Later it was just too risky politically. Finally it seemed inevitable, and so it was done: Black men were allowed to enlist as soldiers in the United States Army. Today the first unit allowed to be recruited was dispatched from its training facility near Boston. They were sent to Hilton Head, S.C, not far from a certain Confederate stronghold known as Fort Wagner.

Saturday May 28 1864

The maneuvering between Lee and Grant continued. Grant’s objective was to get around the Confederate right flank, and he was headed across the Pamunkey River for the vicinity of Hanoverville. Lee, needing to keep between Grant and Richmond, repositioned towards Cold Harbor. Cavalry battles occurred today at Aenon Church, Jones’ Farm Crump's Creek, Haw’s Shop, and the Totopotomoy River. No one knows if Haw ever got his shop back in business again.

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