This Day in the Civil War

Sunday April 6 1862

Rebel yells were heard in the Tennessee dawn as Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston’s men burst out of the woods into the Union lines of William T. Sherman’s men. As the day wore on, fighting on a horrendous scale occurred that would make certain places immortal in American history: the Sunken Road, the Hornet’s Nest, Bloody Pond, the Peach Orchard. Among the dead that day: Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston. Hit in the leg, the wound was thought insignificant, until he died minutes later from loss of blood.

Monday, April 6 1863

President Abraham Lincoln had an exceedingly hard time getting his generals to understand how he wanted them to fight the war. They were obsessed with capturing the enemy capital; Lincoln wanted them to fight the Confederate armies. He wrote today to Hooker, the current commander: “our prime object is the enemies’ army in front of us,and is not with, or about, Richmond.”

Wednesday, April 6 1864

As states which had seceded and become part of the Confederacy were militarily defeated, there followed a time of political reorganization in each as well. Those who had held office were required to take an oath of loyalty to the Union, or they had to be replaced. New constitutions were often needed as well. Today Louisiana passed theirs: it was little changed, but abolished slavery.

Thursday, April 6 1865

The Battle of Saylor’s Creek today marked the last battle between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia. The Confederates was nearing the Appomattox River, and the lead units got successfully across. The swampy land, though, caused some separations, and when Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell’s men mistakenly followed the wrong road, they were set upon by Federal forces and after battle, compelled to surrender.

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