This Day in the Civil War

Friday Sept. 6 1861

Three days ago Gen. Gideon Pillow, CSA, had marched a Confederate army into Kentucky to “protect” them from a Federal invasion. This was just the opportunity Gen. U.S. Grant, USA, had been waiting for and he had troopers, transports and gunboats conveniently ready to go. His men, loaded on the transports and protected by the gunboats, sailed across the river to land at the strategic town of Paducah. Located as it was at the junction of the Ohio with the Tennessee River, it would prove crucial to the Union effort, both to restore Kentucky to the union and to isolate the Confederacy by taking control of the Father of Waters.

Saturday Sept. 6 1862

Part of the rationale for Robert E. Lee’s excursion into Maryland was an assumption that secessionist sentiment was strong in the state. Many in the South believed that the only thing keeping Lord Baltimore’s land in the Union was the heavy presence of Union troops, and that when the Army of Northern Virginia came to call, the land would rise up to support them. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson rode into Frederick, Md. today with his men and got quite a rude surprise. Far from cheering in the streets, most people locked themselves in their houses and hid any food, supplies or valuables. Even some Southern soldiers opposed the move, feeling that their job was to defend their country, not invade another, and refused to cross the Potomac.

Sunday Sept. 6 1863

It had been a long-fought battle in the mouth of Charleston Harbor, and one of the strongest defenders had been the Confederate garrison of Battery Wagner on Morris Island. Although little more than some cannon behind a heap of sand, the battery had proved so stubborn that some in the North had taken to calling it “Fort Wagner”. The garrison was protected by a bombproof shelter, but still the Federal land and Navy guns pounded them incessantly. Gen. Beauregard, in charge of the overall defense of the harbor, knew that a Yankee landing and assault was inevitable, and against that the men could not stand. For this reason, and with great reluctance, he ordered the works abandoned under cover of darkness. Battery Gregg on the same island was also given up.

Tuesday Sept. 6 1864

The big armies were mostly quiet today. Sherman’s men were attempting to cope with the administration of the newly-conquered Atlanta, Ga. Elsewhere, in Virginia and the Shenandoah and such places, no battles occurred today. This is not to say that peace had settled on the divided land, alas. Skirmishing took place in Eight Mile Post on the Natchez and Liberty Road in Mississippi; Readyville, Tenn., Searcy and Richland, Arkansas, and on a river known as Brazos Santiago, Texas. Expeditions--missions to determine enemy locations but not specifically with an intent of fighting--were conducted by the Union forces in the region of Morganza and Bayou Sara, La.

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