This Day in the Civil War

Thursday June 13 1861

Gen Lew Wallace, lawyer and politician, was without military training but had served in the Mexican War. Like many politicians, he attained general’s rank by raising a regiment, the 11th Indiana. Today he marched 500 men to Romney in western Virginia, allegedly to protect pro-Union citizens from harassment. After a skirmish with Confederates he turned around and marched back to Maryland. He later wrote the book “Ben-Hur.”

Friday June 13 1862

Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry, along with a few artillery pieces, today continued their circumambulation of McClellan’s Army of the Potomac on the Virginia peninsula. Having headed north from Richmond they today reached the South Anna River and headed right. They passed through Hanover Court House without incident, then had a minor skirmish at Haw’s Shop. Reaching Old Church he had to decide whether the skirmish was enough reason to turn back. He went on.

Saturday June 13 1863

After days of scouting, Gen. Joseph Hooker acknowledged that most of Robert E. Lee’s men had departed from the banks of the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg and were heading north. After days of prodding by his commander-in-chief, Hooker agreed that perhaps he should do something about this, and he uprooted the Army of the Potomac from the site where they had been camped for months. Seeing Hooker leave, Confederate Gen. A. P. Hill, who had remained at Fredericksburg to fool Hooker into thinking the whole army was still there. concluded that he was now free to follow Lee as well.

Monday June 13 1864

Some of the most violent conflicts during the War of the Rebellion have no battlefield memorials today--because they were fought at sea. The career of Confederate Captain Raphael Semmes and his ship, CSS Alabama, was perhaps the most brilliant example. Circling the world, he harassed, captured and destroyed Union shipping from India and Australia to South Africa and Brazil. He had recently pulled into Cherbourg, France for a badly needed refit. Today the USS Kearsarge sailed from Dover, England. Captain Winslow intended to anchor off Cherbourg Harbor for as long as necessary.

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