This Day in the Civil War

Saturday June 1 1861
BIG BALL BOUNCED BRILLIANTLY

In the Eastern Theater the boys were flocking to the colors, and being received into training camps that had no weapons for them but obsolete Mexican-War-era flintlocks. For that matter, the troops in the field carried similar weapons, while frantic orders were being placed in Europe for state-of-the-art caplock muskets. On the Mississippi River, at the juncture with the Ohio in the obscure Illinois town of Cairo, guns were being placed and tested including one mortar which could shoot a 32-pound ball across the river.



Sunday June 1 1862
LEADER LEE LOPS LOSSES, LAMENTS LACK

The Battle of Seven Pines, intended to be a major blow to wipe out two corps of the Army of the Potomac, was turning into a debacle. Northern losses were 5000, but the South lost 6,000 they could ill afford, including the badly wounded commanding general Joseph Johnston. In his place Jefferson Davis named one Robert E. Lee. Arriving at the scene, Lee’s first order to his new army was to have the attack discontinued.



Monday June 1 1863
CHICAGO COLUMNS CONSIDERED CONSPIRATORIAL, CLOSED

Lord knows, the Constitution of the United States had been honored more in the breach during this long and awful war. Abraham Lincoln had suspended the right of habeas corpus in several instances, then done damage to the concept of judicial review by ignoring orders from the Supreme Court to cut this behavior out. Today it was the First Amendment taking the lumps, as Ambrose Burnside closed the Chicago "Times" for allegedly publishing statements of dubious loyalty.



Wednesday June 1 1864
COLD HARBOR CONFLICT COMMENCES, CONFUSINGLY

U.S. Grant was still trying to get around the right flank of Lee’s army, and Lee had been pulling back to prevent him. Today the armies converged on a hamlet--all too near Richmond for Lee’s taste--called Cold Harbor. Lee set his men to furiously digging trenches and other defenses, and they were soon needed when the Union cavalry of Phil Sheridan came to call. Fighting dismounted against R. H. Anderson’s infantry, neither side gained much advantage, but the battle had officially begun.

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