This Day in the Civil War

Monday Aug. 26 1861

The Confederate States of America wanted from the start to achieve diplomatic recognition from other nations of the world, as an independent country. If a European country--preferably England or France, the powerhouses of the world at this time--could be persuaded to recognize them, others would presumably follow. The ultimate hope was to achieve what the original revolutionaries of 1776 had done, attract foreign intervention and assistance with the war effort. Things were not going well. Today King Kamehameha IV of the Kingdom of Hawaii announced that his nation would merely remain neutral in the conflict. This was not entirely bad however, as it permitted Confederate-flag ships to dock in the vital Pacific port.

Tuesday Aug. 26 1862

The Battle of Manassas, or Bull Run, needed no number in front of it as there had at this point been only one fight there. This opening conflict of the war in the East had been perceived as a dreadful disaster for the Union, although in fact the results were militarily inconclusive. Today it looked like things were heating up in the area again. Fitzhugh Lee moved his cavalry to Manassas Junction and captured the railway station. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s footsore infantry marched another very long day to get to the area from below the Rappahannock, reaching Bristoe Station before collapsing. Federal Gen. John “Not Worth A Pinch of Owl Dung” Pope had, as usual, no clue what Jackson was up to. His Federal Army of Virginia spent the day at rest in camp.

Wednesday Aug. 26 1863

The Federal efforts against Charleston, South Carolina, had been going on since the opening days of the War. Today the major progress was against Fort Wagner. The fort itself was still holding out but Union troops took the rifle pits in front of them. Fort Sumter, where the whole shebang got started, was increasingly threatened. Gen. P.T.G. Beauregard was resolved to hold on to it and got confirmation from President Davis today in this effort. The other president in this conflict, wrote to a political group in Springfield Ill. that “peace does not appear so distant as it did.”

Friday Aug. 26 1864

The Union troops of Gen. John Schofield were gathered around East Point, Ga., south of Atlanta. There today they performed a maneuver called a “demonstration”. This very common tactic was not a battle, and not an assault. It basically consisted of an army assembling, flags flying and trumpets blowing and cannons glistening in the sun in full view of the enemy, and doing...nothing. The point was to impress one’s foe with the might assembled against them. In today’s case it also served to tie some of Hood’s Confederate defenders in place just in case the demonstration turned into the real thing. This allowed more units of William T. Sherman’s army to move up into position.

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