This Day in the Civil War

Friday May 10 1861

Missouri, as a border state, contained assets greatly desired by both sides. Today one Capt. Nathaniel Lyon, with Frank Blair’s Home Guard troops, marched in and captured the St. Louis Arsenal from a "guard" of 700 Southern sympathizers. As they marched the Southerners through the streets to captivity a riot broke out. Someone in the crowd fired at the troops; the troops fired back, killing 28 civilians. Two non-combatants who just happened to be in town that day were nearly killed in the shooting: William T. Sherman, walking with his son and brother-in-law, and Ulysses S. Grant, colonel at this point of the 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

Saturday May 10 1862

A Federal flotilla of seven ironclad ships, under overall command of Capt. Charles H. Davis, was travelling the Mississippi River just north of Ft. Pillow, Tenn., when it was set upon by the Confederate River Defense Fleet. The CRDF was more impressive in name than in either equipment or discipline: they had eight ships, but none of them were armored. They attacked anyway, and managed to ram and sink two Union ships, Cincinnati and Mound City. Four of the eight CDRF vessels were disabled, but Montgomery withdrew to Memphis anyway.

Sunday May 10 1863

Eight days ago, as dusk fell in the northern Virginia area known as the Wilderness, Confederate troops had fired at a party approaching them post in the gloom, thinking they were Yankees. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson had been hit in the arm and other places. He was taken to a small house south of Fredericksburg, where the arm had been amputated. The surgery was well done and was healing nicely, but pneumonia had set in, and today he is said to have said, “Let us pass over the river and rest in the shade of the trees,” and died.

Tuesday May 10 1864

Three corps of the Army of the Potomac--Hancock’s, Warren’s and Wright’s--concentrated their attack on the Army of Northern Virginia near Spotsylvania Court House today. The Southerners were formed in a salient called the “Mule Shoe” and heavily entrenched. The Northerners fought up to the center of Ewell’s lines and pierced it briefly, but could not hold. They withdrew and dug trenches of their own.

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