This Day in the Civil War

Saturday June 8 1861

In one of the most farsighted acts of the time, Union Secretary of War Simon Cameron acted today to authorize the creation of the United States Sanitary Commission. The country had no Department of Public Health; even the War Department had no medical department beyond the surgeons who treated battle wounds. The vastly larger problem of disease, sanitation, nutrition and care of the sick fell largely to the Sanitary Commission, which maintained hospitals, gathered donated supplies, raised money and hired nurses.

Sunday June 8 1862

Gen. Thomas J. Jackson, operating in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, was clearly doomed. Not one but two Federal forces were approaching to catch him in a pincer movement. Battle took place at Cross Keys when Fremont’s force attacked first. While this was going on Jackson was nearly captured by the other Federal unit approaching from the north. Ewell held off Fremont, Jackson escaped, and Fremont was ordered to pull back.

Monday June 8 1863

Yet another cavalry review was held today near Brandy Station, Va. now that Robert E. Lee had arrived to view it. Not just Lee, either--nearly the entire Army of Northern Virginia was encamped near Culpepper Court House, almost on the northern border of Virginia, and the Confederacy. Gen. Longstreet and Gen. Hood had their divisions view the cavalry display, the second in three days that Jeb Stuart had ordered. Although spectacular, it was tiring to man and beast.

Wednesday June 8 1864

Gen. John Hunt Morgan paid a visit to Mt. Sterling, Kentucky today. The official purpose of the visit was to capture the Union garrison in the town, and this was indeed accomplished with Morgan’s usual dispatch. Military matters having been attended to, some of the men in the band took advantage of time on their hands by robbing the city bank. The exact disposition of the funds has never been accounted for, as it was never established that the robbery was done at Morgan’s orders. Pvt. James Pleasant Gold managed to get himself taken prisoner by those Union forces that evaded capture. This group headed at high speed for Lexington.

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