This Day in the Civil War

Saturday July 6 1861

Commander Raphael Semmes was just beginning his career as the terror of Union commercial shipping. In less than a week with the CSS Sumter he had captured seven vessels. He tried to pull off a diplomatic coup today by depositing the prizes in Cienfuegos, Cuba, casually telling the Spanish colonial governor that he assumed Cuba would treat Confederate ships with “the same friendly to cruisers of the enemy.” As this would have amounted to diplomatic recognition of the Rebel government, the Spanish declined. The prizes were later released.

Sunday July 6 1862

Gen. Ambrose Burnside concluded today that his recapture of Albermarle Sound and Roanoke Island in North Carolina was essentially complete. He, along with a good part of his troops, sailed from Cape Hatteras up to the James River headquarters of Gen. McClellan. The battered Army of the Potomac, having just concluded the messy Seven Days campaign, badly needed the manpower.

Monday July 6 1863

Rear Admiral Samuel DuPont had been a brilliant naval innovator from the very beginning of the war, when the Union fleet had been in severe disarray. He was not, however, as talented in politics as he was on deck, and had clashed often with Navy Sec. Welles. After the failure to take Charleston, S,C, DuPont wanted to explain the problems to the nation. Welles vetoed this as likely to reduce confidence in the Navy, and duPont was replaced today as commander of the South Atlantic Blockading Fleet by Rear Adm. John Dahlgren, a friend of Lincoln.

Wednesday July 6 1864

Gen. Jubal Early had decided against capturing Harper’s Ferry, but that did not mean Maryland was safe. Today Early’s cavalry, under John McCausland, swooped down on Hagerstown, MD and presented them with a bill. In retribution for the raids committed by “Black Dave” Hunter in the Shenandoah Valley, McCausland demanded a payment of $20,000 from the city. The city fathers pointed out that they had had no control over Hunter, and gained no benefit from his looting, and declined to pay.

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