This Day in the Civil War

Wednesday June 5 1861

Gen. P.T.G. Beauregard, new to the command of what was not yet called the Army of Northern Virginia, issued a proclamation to get the populace fired up today. “A reckless and unprincipled tyrant has invaded your soil,” it said. “Abraham Lincoln...has thrown his abolition hosts among you, who are murdering and imprisoning your citizens, confiscating and destroying your property, and committing other acts...too revolting to humanity to be enumerated.” He also claimed the Union rallying cry was “Beauty and booty”, implying threats to women as well as other property.

Thursday June 5 1862

Abraham Lincoln, although unwavering in his opposition to slavery, was nevertheless no supporter of full racial integration in America. Although many different plans had been proposed, Lincoln’s preference was to resettle liberated slaves in a nation of their own, preferably in Africa. Today he signed a bill giving full diplomatic recognitions to the Caribbean nation of Haiti and the African country of Liberia. These were the first nations under black rule ever recognized by the United States.

Friday June 5 1863

First Longstreet’s corps had moved out of the Fredericksburg area. The next day, Ewell’s. Today it was the last Confederate corps, that of A. P. Hill, who packed up and moved out. Union Gen. Joseph Hooker tried to send out scouts across the Rappahannock to find out where everybody had gone, but they were turned back by pickets left by Hill. Hooker’s commander-in-chief suggested, none too gently, that he get a move on and find out where they were moving to, and, if he felt like it, attack them. Hooker stalled until it was too late--they were gone. Lincoln was not amused.

Sunday June 5 1864

For the first three years of the war the Confederate cavalry had humiliated their Yankee foes. It had taken immense effort, but the Union cavalry could now more than hold their own. Today Gen. W. E. “Grumble” Jones led 5600 men in an effort to evict 8500 Northerners who were raiding and wreaking havoc in the Shenandoah Valley. There were fierce skirmishes all day, culminating in a pitched battle in midafternoon. Jones was killed in the battle, and the Southerners routed.

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