General Lee Takes Over; A Railroad Twist of Fate

Tuesday, April 23, 1861 Abraham Lincoln was nervous. He had a right to be. The capital of the United States may well be surrounded by Rebels. There was no real way to tell. Communication with the rest of the North was sporadic at best. Except for the Sixth Massachusetts, bloodied in the streets of Baltimore,Read More

Washington Cut Off and Surrounded by Rebels?

Monday, April 22, 1861 General Winfield Scott thought it was probable that Washington DC was about to be under siege by Rebels. There wasn’t much to go on but rumors; however, of these rumors, he found three plausible. The first was that 1,500 to 2,000 Rebel troops were constructing a battery four miles south ofRead More

Beat Your Ploughshares into Swords!

Sunday, April 21, 1861 The rumor that Federal militia troops would again march through Baltimore, was once more the talk of the town. 3,400 Federal militiamen had just arrived in Cockeysville (17 miles north of Baltimore) via rail from Philadelphia. They were given ammunition and were now waiting for a couple of Regular US ArmyRead More

Now We are in a State of War Which Will Yield Nothing

Saturday, April 20, 1861 Robert E. Lee was revered by General Winfield Scott as “the best soldier I ever saw in the field.” Trusting Scott’s judgment, Lincoln (through Postmaster General Montgomery Blair) offered him command of the Union army. This offer, however, happened the day after Virginia seceded. Though Lee looked “upon secession as anarchy”Read More

Blood and Death in the Streets of Baltimore

Friday, April 19, 1861 The Sixth Massachusetts was the first regiment raised that was fully armed and equipped for battle. They had rifled muskets, knapsacks, even a full brass band. The Sixth had been joined by some unarmed Pennsylvania militiamen in Philadelphia. As the 36-car train pulled into the President Street Station, a small crowdRead More

Celebration, Fear, Rage and Fire; Harpers Ferry Falls to the Rebels

Thursday, April 18, 1861 New York City was filled with celebration and fervor for the War. With the events at Fort Sumter and the call for troops, the North had been more galvanized than ever before. It was to this unbounded enthusiasm that the Sixth Massachusetts, having arrived by train in the early morning, marchedRead More

The Brink of Revolution: Blood Will Flow – Virginia’s Secession

Wednesday, April 17, 1861 “We are all upon the brink of revolution,” reckoned former Supreme Court Justice John Archibald Campbell, as he spoke before the Virginia secession convention. He had recently been in Washington, acting as go-between for Secretary of State Seward and the Confederate commissioners. Now, like much of Virginia, he found himself aRead More

Virginia Prepares for Wholesale Murder

Tuesday, April 16, 1861 Minds were on Virginia. The surrender of Fort Sumter had prompted Lincoln to issue calls for militia, even from the “border” slave states still true to the Union. Kentucky and North Carolina had flatly refused. Virginia’s answer was much the same. Like North Carolina’s governor, Virginia’s Governor John Letcher at firstRead More

Lincoln Calls for 75,000; Will Virginia Secede?

Monday, April 15, 1861 The proclamation calling for 75,000 militia troops, drawn up the previous evening by President Lincoln, was published on this morning. Aside from calling for the troops and an extra session of Congress, it ordered “treasonable combinations” to disperse within twenty days. Each state would be asked for a specific quota ofRead More

Excitement in Brooklyn!

Tuesday, January 22, 1861 To prepare for its defense, the State of Georgia placed an order with D.C. Hodgkins & Sons of Macon for 200 muskets. In turn, they ordered the firearms from a New York arms manufacturer who filled the order. As the shipment of the 38 boxes of muskets was being loaded ontoRead More