This Day in the Civil War

Monday Oct. 14 1861

The story of Missouri in the Civil War is often overlooked by history, but a long and often bloody story it was. The border state was very closely divided in sympathies, and perhaps the most unifying sentiment was a wish to be left alone. As this was not to be the case, the two sides both regarded it as vital to possess it. Missouri State Guard pro-secessionist Jeff Thompson issued a proclamation today calling on the people in Washington, Jefferson, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francis and Iron Counties to join him in fighting the “yoke of the North.” He suggested that residents (the area is roughly between St. Louis and Cape Girardeau) “drive the invaders from your soil or die among your native hills.” Quite a number of his followers and their opponents would do precisely that.

Tuesday Oct. 14 1862

A number of Midwestern states conducted their elections for members of the United States House of Representatives today. Both North and South had an intense interest in these elections, for the same reason: a change in the makeup of the House could change the support of the Legislative Branch for the conduct of the War. The results seemed grim for Lincoln and the Republican Party, as the Democrats scored solid gains in the races in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania. The only source of support was, oddly enough, in Iowa, which voted solidly Republican. The shift was not enough to cost Lincoln his majority, but it was a source of hope in Richmond that perhaps the North was becoming tired of the war.

Wednesday Oct. 14 1863

The campaign in Northern Virginia, until now largely a matter of feint and maneuver and bluster and threat, broke into actual fighting near the little town of Bristoe Hill today. The lead units of the Army of Northern Virginia, under Gen. A. P. Hill, caught up with the trailing members of the Union army as that force was pulling back to keep themselves between the Confederates and Washington D.C. Hill’s force, however, was just not large enough to do serious damage when confronted by a determined Federal resistance. The delay allowed Hill’s men to dig in around Centerville to await the presumed main attack. There would be no Third Manassas.

Friday Oct. 14 1864

The continuing conflict between the Confederate cavalry expedition of Gen. Richard Early and his Union opponent Gen. Phillip Sheridan continued apace today. Over the last few weeks this venture, intended as a side venture to pressure Grant to send troops to suppress it and thereby relax the siege of Petersburg, had turned very sour indeed for Early. Since Sheridan had come East and been given the assignment to catch, kill, or drive him away things had gone from bad to worse. Skirmishing occurred today on Hupp’s Hill, Virginia, and not far away at Duffield’s Station, West Virginia. Both were near the town of Strasburg. The two armies were now just a few miles apart and moving slowly.

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