This Day in the Civil War

Friday June 21 1861

John H. Winder received his commission as Brigadier General in the army of the Confederate States of America today, and possibly the toughest assignment of the war. He was named inspector general of all the military camps in the Richmond area. Among other duties, he was charged with finding uniforms and weapons for the armies, paperwork for discharges for those unfit for service, capturing deserters and caring for the sick and wounded. He would lead a busy war.

Saturday June 21 1862

Jefferson Davis, contrary to the Victorian stereotype, was very open with his wife, Varina, about the actions and progress of the war. “We are preparing and taking position for the struggle which must be near at hand. The stake is too high to permit the pulse to keep its even beat,” he wrote today. “A total defeat of McClellan will relieve the Confederacy of its embarrassments in the East, and then we must make a desperate effort to regain what Beauregard has abandoned in the West.”

Sunday June 21 1863

The siege of Vicksburg was beginning to feel, to those on both sides, as though it had gone on forever, and might easily continue for all time. “One day is like another in a besieged city,” wrote one Confederate major today. “All you can hear are the crack of the Enemy’s guns, with the sharp crack of the rifles of their sharp-shooters going from early dawn to dark and then at night the roaring of the terrible mortars is kept up sometimes all this time.” People’s minds were beginning to be affected.

Tuesday June 21 1864

Gen. U.S. Grant had a busy day today. First he met with Meade and the two settled plans for the use of cavalry to disrupt the Confederate railroads that were not already in Union hands. They also decided to extend the lines to the left, and keep extending, if necessary, until they encircled the town. Then he had to scurry off to meet his commander-in-chief, who had arrived at City Point by ship, and take him on a tour of the lines on horseback.

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