This Day in the Civil War

Tuesday May 7 1861

Yesterday the Tennessee legislature had voted to pass an Ordinance of Secession. The vote, however, was very narrow, and the split was geographic. West Tennessee sided with the Confederacy. The eastern part of the state, however, was strongly pro-Union. Today, as Gov. Isham Harris was putting the finishing touches on an alliance with the South, a riot between the factions broke out in Knoxville. One man was killed in the fighting--which side he was on is not known--and Harris decided against submitting the issue to popular referendum.

Wednesday May 7 1862

The Federals continued their pursuit of the retreating Virginians on the Peninsula today. No major battle occurred, but there was an attack on William D. Franklin’s men by Confederate G.W. Smith. Smith was protecting the wagons holding vital Southern supplies. This is variously known as the Battle of West Point, Barhnamsville, or Eltham’s Landing. Other fighting occurred at Purdy, Tenn., and Horse Creek, Mo.

Thursday May 7 1863

President Abraham Lincoln, along with General of the Armies Henry Halleck, paid a call on Gen. Joseph Hooker today in the aftermath of the defeat at Chancellorsville. Lincoln was exceedingly nervous about the effect on Northern morale as the casualty reports began to filter back to waiting families at home. Meanwhile, President Jefferson Davis was also nervous as Grant’s Federal troops edged ever closer to Vicksburg. If Port Hudson and the city were lost the Mississippi River would be back in Union hands and the Confederacy effectively cut in half.

Friday May 7 1864

Two campaigns began today which, combined, would bring an end to the War of Southern Independence. Near Chattanooga, Tenn., the army of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman was on the march today. His orders were to head for the interior of Georgia. In northern Virginia Gen. U.S. Grant, beaten the day before, did not retreat as his predecessors had always done. He headed for Spotsylvania Court House to attack again. The Army of the Potomac was grimly delighted.

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