This Day in the Civil War

Thursday Aug. 1 1861

A few weeks ago a large party of cowboys, ranch hands and roustabouts had gathered in West Texas to go on a “buffalo hunt”, or so they said. Joined by John Baylor, later Lt. Col. Baylor, they started a campaign to chase every Federal out of the area. Today they announced that all of New Mexico and Arizona south of the 34th Parallel was now Confederate territory. More pro-Union citizens regarded it as an invasion from Texas, and now began to get hostile about it.

Friday Aug. 1 1862

Heaven knows Jefferson Davis had enough to worry about, what with the extremely limited powers of the president under the Confederate Constitution, not to mention he had a war to run. Most of his worries and complaints wound up in his letters to Robert E. Lee, as one went out today. In it Davis revealed that he was increasingly concerned about reports that the North was arming Negroes--which they weren’t, yet--and the assumption that these arms were all going to escaped slaves--which they weren’t, either. He was also worried about John Pope’s deeds in the vicinity of Manassas.

Saturday Aug. 1 1863

As it was in the beginning of the Gettysburg campaign, way back in June, so it was today--a cavalry battle at Brandy Station, Va. In the earlier battle, the Union cavalry had staged a raid, which turned into a major fight. They didn’t win, but they didn’t lose either, and departed in good order at the end of the day, rather than being routed as had usually been the case. Today was a much smaller affair, more a feeling-out of the retreating Lee’s army and trying to determine their future plans.

Monday Aug. 1 1864

Gen Jubal Early’s raid on Washington, and now Pennsylvania and Maryland, was undertaken to force a withdrawal of Union troops from the siege of Petersburg. Grant was not about to do this, so another solution had to be found. From the Western Theater Grant brought the answer: Maj. Gen. Phillip Sheridan. Although a career cavalry officer, today he was given command of infantry, the Army of the Shenandoah, and told to abate the nuisance of Early once and for all.

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