This Day in the Civil War

Sunday June 2 1861

It was, in these early days of the War, known as the Alexandria Line. This was the name for the gathering of regiments who were “holding the line” against Northern aggression in the far north of the Confederacy. Today one Gen. Pierre Gustav Toutant Beauregard was given command of this organization, succeeding Milledge L. Bonham. Their immediate concern was Col. R.F. Kelley, USA, who was moving troops in driving rain in western Virginia. Beauregard’s command would eventually become known as the Army of Northern Virginia.

Monday June 2 1862

Gen. T. J. “Stonewall” Jackson and his swift-moving “foot cavalry” were clearly doomed. Chasing the defeated forces of Nathaniel Banks almost to the city limits of Harpers Ferry, they were being surrounded by a pincer movement of two Union forces. Jackson’s assignment, though, was to keep Yankees out of the Shenandoah Valley, and having done that, he and his men slid-fairly quietly except for skirmishing around Strasburg and Woodstock, Va.--back home.

Tuesday June 2 1863

Charles Vallandigham, formerly a member of the House of Representatives and a Democrat from Ohio, had been arrested for treason when his anti-war agitation had become too annoying for Union authorities in the Midwest to cope with. He would have been sent to prison, but Lincoln intervened to send him into exile in the South. There was just one problem--today President Davis ordered him sent to Wilmington, N.C., and confined as an “enemy alien”.

Thursday June 2 1864

Grant had been chasing Lee for a week, and last night had caught him. The question for today, therefore, was what to do about it. Grant ordered an attack, but after days of marching troops were weary, ammunition and shooters were not necessarily in the same place, and things were generally disorganized. Getting this straightened out took most of the day, so the actual battle of Cold Harbor did not begin until almost 5 p.m. Even that went so poorly that the official start was postponed to tomorrow.

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