This Day in the Civil War

Monday June 10 1861

Seven Federal regiments--about 2500 soldiers--marched away from Fort Monroe near Washington D.C. today. Their mission: attack the Confederate units near Big Bethel Church. Their commander, alas: Gen. Benjamin Butler. After marching through the night, getting lost at times and parts of the force separated from others, they got to where they were going and endeavored to attack. Again lack of coordination plagued the effort, and they withdrew. Items dropped by fleeing Federals, or seized from captured ones, were displayed in the shop windows of Richmond as trophies.

Tuesday June 10 1862

Ulysses S. Grant, West Point graduate, bad businessman and worse farmer, had found the work he was born to do when the American Civil War broke out. Talking his way into a colonel’s commission in the Illinois volunteer forces, he had risen rapidly to general's rank. What he lacked, however, was a force to command. Today he regained this, as Gen. Halleck, at Corinth, reassigned Grant, along with D.C. Buell and John Pope, to their own army corps. Grant was far from the best strategist or tactician the war produced, but his bulldog tenacity and aggressiveness made up for many shortcomings.

Wednesday June 10 1863

In the aftermath of the spectacular cavalry battle of Brandy Station, the Federal cavalry counted its casualties (81 killed, 403 wounded, and 382 captured) but consoled themselves that they had retired from the field, not been driven from it. Ewell’s Confederate corps led the way as Lee’s infantrymen pulled out of Culpepper Court House and headed for the fords of the Potomac. The ANV was headed north. Hooker thought this was a great chance to take Richmond. Lincoln suggested he take Lee instead.

Friday June 10 1864

Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis, USA, had been chasing Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate cavalry force. Today an awful thing happened: he caught up with them. In what is variously known as the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads or Tishomingo Creek, Mississippi, Forrest slammed into Sturgis’ men, who were in a sorry state anyway from a fast forced march in extremely hot weather. The fight turned into a rout and Forrest captured most of the artillery and quite a few troops.

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