This Day in the Civil War

Tuesday July 9 1861

There was little military action conducted today, but that didn’t mean that things weren’t in the works. McClellan was moving brigades around, with three at Buckhannon and one at Philippi, in preparation for a planned action against Robert S. Garnett. As usual, McClellan greatly outnumber his opponent; as usual he didn’t believe it and waited until more forces could be gathered. The attack was to be aimed in the direction of Laurel Hill and Rich Mountain.

Wednesday July 9 1862

John Hunt Morgan had had a varied career. The native Kentuckian had been expelled from college, then joined the Army and served in the Mexican War, then bought a hemp factory and raised a militia group. Today he was leading his cavalry forces against the Union, and doing so very effectively. In fact he routed the Yankees, and captured the town of Tompkinsville, Ky.

Thursday July 9 1863

With the formal surrender of Gen.Gardner’s forces at Port Hudson today, the official reconquest of the Mississippi River was complete. Even more than Vicksburg, Port Hudson’s location and elevation made it a perfect chokepoint for hostile shipping. The hostility was still around in full force, however. Guerillas, irregulars, and even occasional Confederate regulars on both sides of the river would persist in their efforts for the rest of the war. Sniping, sabotage and occasional mortar fire was never entirely suppressed.

Saturday July 9 1864

It wasn’t really the the fault of the men in Blue that they did poorly at the Monocacy River in Maryland today. Raw recruits, short-term enlistees, a few veterans on leave--it was a rag-tag force of 6000 defenders that Gen. Lew Wallace cobbled together to oppose the 18,000 Confederates of Jubal Early who were marching on Washington. Losing a third of their force, including 1200 missing or captured, they nevertheless delayed Early’s march for a day. A part of the regular army’s Sixth Corps was rushing up from City Point, Va. to assist in Earlys ouster.

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