This Day in the Civil War

Friday June 28 1861

There are limited accounts of men dressing as women during the very Victorian days of the Civil War, and we present one today. This night a party of Confederate sympathizers led by one George Hollins decided to make their move to support Secessionism. With Hollins disguised in female garb the group boarded the side-wheel steamship St. Nicholas in Chesapeake Bay. Seizing the boat from its startled crew they set forth in search of the USS Pawnee, although exactly what they planned to do if they caught it is unclear. Alas, they could not find the warship, and had to settle for taking three small commercial vessels.

Saturday June 28 1862

Control of the Mississippi River probably had more influence on the outcome of the War Between the States than any other factor. The Union forces had been working from Cairo in the north, and up from New Orleans in the South, as fast as possible to regain this control, but there was a sticking point in the middle: Vicksburg, Mississippi. Today a major test was made: Admiral Farragut took a fleet from south to north, past the bluffs and under the guns of the city. All but three ships got through. Farragut determined one important point though: the city could not be taken by boat. A land campaign would have to be conducted.

Sunday June 28 1863

There are good ways to start a day, and less than good ways. Gen. George Gordon Meade was having one of the latter sort when utterly unexpected, and frankly unwelcome orders reached his tent at 7 o’clock this morning. Joseph Hooker’s “request for reassignment” had been accepted, and Meade was henceforth commander of the Army of the Potomac. Unlike his predecessor, Meade had never plotted or maneuvered for such a command, and he was obliged to wire Secretary of War Halleck that he “was in ignorance of the exact condition of the troops”--his own--or “the position of the enemy.” This latter Halleck was able to supply, as reports were pouring in from military and civilian sources alike as to the whereabouts and activities of the Confederates infesting Pennsylvania.

Tuesday June 28 1864

On most of the military fronts it was a day of mopping up, mourning the dead and caring for the wounded, of which there were a great number around Kennesaw Mountain, Ga. Sherman had launched a frontal assault on a fortified position; it had failed as miserably as most such attacks did. In Washington, Abraham Lincoln complied with a formality and signed a bill repealing the Fugitive Slave Acts. These laws, which allowed slave hunters to go into even free states in search of their prey, had been a major factor in bringing about the War.

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