Chronological History of the American Civil War
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his wife, and an employee, J.W. Brink, were tried but judged to have acted in self-defense. McCanles was the first man Hickok was reputed to have killed in a fight. Saturday, July 13, 1861 : Confederate Brig. Gen. Robert S. Garnett' Garnett was killed while retreating
from Rich Mountain; he was the first general officer to be killed in the war. Sunday, July 14, 1861 : Horace Greeley (pictured) is best known today for his travel advice (“Go west, young man! and grow up with the country!”) But today, he was being very persuasive by giving the military suggestions. Headlines screamed in Greeley’s New York Tribune today, “FORWARD TO RICHMOND!” General Irwin McDowell was supposed to be putting an end to this ludicrous secession matter, was the attitude. Towards this end he had been given the largest army by far ever assembled by the United States of America, some 35,000 strong. What the revered editor completely overlooked was the fact that this immense army had had so little training that it amounted to little more than an armed mob. Lincoln, with less excuse, felt the same way. When McDowell asked for more time for training, the
President replied “You are green, it is true; but they are green also. You are all green alike.” Most Northerners and Southerners believed the coming conflict would consist of one climactic, winner-take-all battle. Federal troops were enlisted for only 90 days, more than enough time, Northern leaders believed, to rout the Southern army and end the "callow" rebellion. The Union's first goal was Richmond, Virginia, the newly designated capital of the Confederacy and only 100 miles from Washington, D.C. To reach Richmond, the army first had to capture Manassas Junction, an important railway junction 30 miles southwest of Washington. Troops set out for Manassas on July 14, 1861. So naive was the nation about the coming horrors that 200 or so private citizens from Washington, D.C., accompanied federal troops on the march. They hoped to witness and be entertained by this once-in-a- lifetime event. Tuesday, July 16, 1861 : McDowell’s Manassas march is a military mess. It was the largest army ever assembled by the United States of America. Some 1,400 officers, many with field experience in the prewar Army but many lacking this background, marched 30,000 men out of the filthy, stinking training camps they had been residing in around the perimeter of Washington D.C. Unfortunately very little of the men’s training had been in marching or water conservation. They hiked awhile, got tired and sat down, or wandered off to pick blackberries. Nearly everyone drank up the contents of their canteens in the first hours of the march, and then were angry that there was no place to refill them. Knapsacks got heavier with every step, and equipment by the ton was dropped along the roadside. Also that day, the Tennessee General Assembly passes legislation authorizing the use of Confederate funds only, and outlawing the payment of all debts to non-slave- holding states, regardless of when they were entered into. Wednesday, July 17, 1861 : Arriving at Fairfax Court House, McDowell discovers large quantities of supplies left by the retreating Confederates. General Beauregard stationed near Manassas, Virginia with a force of 22,000 men, requests aid to repulse the Federal advance into Virginia. Confederate President Jefferson Davis orders General Joseph Johnston to Manassas. The U.S. Congress authorizes paper money commonly called "Greenbacks." Thursday, July 18, 1861 : Longstreet's Confederate forces push McDowell's Union troops back in skirmishes at Blackburn's Ford, Virginia. Saturday, July 20, 1861 : Confederate state's congress began holding sessions in Richmond, Virginia. Today, Generals on both sides maneuvered their forces and made their plans for a battle to be fought on the fields of north Virginia almost in sight of Washington. From Centerville, from Winchester, from the Shenandoah Valley came the Confederates. Joseph Johnston was their commander, and he planned an attack on the Federal left. Federal commander, McDowell’s men had been retreating from Centerville in terrible heat with little water or rations, likewise planned to attack his enemy’s left. Near the little town of Manassas ran the creek called Bull Run. Washington orders prohibit harboring of fugitive slaves in military camps or permitting such slaves to accompany troops on the march.
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