This Day in the Civil War

Saturday Aug. 10 1861

The second big battle of the Civil War, and the first in the West, took place today at an undistinguished waterway known as Wilson’s Creek, Mo. U.S. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, along with Franz Sigel, had been chasing former Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson across the state for most of the summer. Jackson, with his state militia forces commanded by Sterling Price, had joined with Confederate regulars under Gen. Ben McCulloch. Outnumbered by two to one, Lyon attacked anyway and divided his forces besides, sending Sigel around to the rear. Lyon, leading the attack, was killed early on and the Union forces retreated.

Sunday Aug. 10 1862

The Federals were officially in control of the Mississippi River as far north as Baton Rouge. This did not deter the residents of Donaldsonville from shooting at every Union ship that passed. Admiral Farragut, irate, sent a message to evacuate women and children because he was going to burn the town on his way back downriver. He passed today, but contented himself with burning several buildings belonging to one Phillip Landry, who was said to be a leader of the guerillas engaged in the sniping.

Monday Aug. 10 1863

The campaign and siege of Vicksburg had been a long and grueling undertaking. Grant’s brilliant generalship and dogged persistence were vital ingredients, but these were of little value without an army to carry them out. Ever since the end of the siege it seemed like the strength of this force was being nibbled to death by ducks, Washington ducks in this case. Today the formidable 15th Corps, commanded by one William T. Sherman, was peeled off and sent to Louisiana for garrison duty.

Wednesday Aug. 10 1864

There were no major battles today. The only fighting of any significance was the unending battle against...dirt. President Jefferson Davis, chief executive of a beleaguered nation, wrote to his commanding general in the field, to tell him he was trying to obtain and send the Army of Northern Virginia, sitting in the trenches of Petersburg, an adequate supply of soap.

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