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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Civil War: Events of June 1862

On June 1, what was undoubtedly the most important personnel moves in history occurred when Jefferson Davis appointed Robert E. Lee to command of the Army of Northern Virginia.

The next day, James Andrews, the Union special ops warrior who commanded what became known as the Great Locomotive Chase, briefly regained his freedom, escaping from Swims Jail in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He was recaptured the next day.

Confederates, outflanked and outmanned, evacuated Fort Pillow in Northern Tennessee on June 4th.  Ft. Pillow was the last Rebel garrison on that part of the Mississippi River.

June 5th saw President Lincoln establish diplomatic relations with the “Negro nations” of Haiti and Liberia.

The city of Memphis, TN was surrendered to the Union on June 6th.

On June 6th, a short skirmish was fought on Good’s Farm near Harrisonburg, VA.  Stonewall Jackson’s forces had given way before the superior numbers of John C. Fremont.  Fremont advanced from Harrisonburg toward Port Republic.  A Rebel unit under newly-promoted Brigadier General Turner Ashby formed the rear guard, covering Jackson.  The 1st New Jersey Cavalry attacked Ashby’s forces, but Ashby defeated the attack.  In a subsequent infantry fight, Ashby’s horse was shot from underneath him.  Not hesitating, Ashby continued to charge on foot and was killed. 

Two days later, another battle was fought at Cross Keys Tavern, Virginia.  Fremont found Jacksons bivouac and his column, along with another commanded by James Shields, advanced on the position.  Jackson controlled the last intact bridge and the only useable ford across the South River.  Shields sent Union cavalry under Samuel Carroll to secure the North River Bridge at Port Republic, which he accomplished on the early morning of the 8th.  Jackson and his staff narrowly escaped capture, although three member of his staff were gathered up by the Federals, including Jackson’s physician and friend Dr. Hunter McGuire.  Jackson responded aggressively with cannon fire and sending the 37th Virginia charging headlong back across the bridge and into the town.  Carroll fell back.  Fremont, renewed his advance from Harrisonburg, clashing with Confederate forces under Ewell, Trimble, and Elzey.  Fremont attempted an elaborate right wheel, attempting to envelop Ewell.  But as the soldiers were climbing Victory Hill, Trimble’s men stood and delivered a devastating volley, killing many, and sending the rest back down the hill in confusion.  Trimble then advanced on the Union right behind artillery fire.  Fremont was paralyzed by the collapse on his left flank and failed to mount a counterattack and retreated. 

Having been recaptured, James Andrews is hung in Atlanta on June 7th.  Also on the 7th, Union General Benjamin Butler, commanding New Orleans, executed a man named William Mumford for tearing down the U.S. flag from the New Orleans mint.

On June 10th, Union General in Chief Henry Halleck assigned U.S. Grant, Don Carlos Buell and John Pope to the positions of Corps commanders.

From June 12th through the 15th, Confederate Cavalier J.E.B. Stuart conducted his famous ride around the Union Army, raiding supplies and performing other mischief during the Peninsula Campaign.

On June 16th, Confederates defeated the only Union attempt to capture the Port of Charleston by land during the Battle of Secessionville.

On June 17th, four naval ships escorting a resupply convoy steamed up the White River towards St. Charles, AR.  The encountered and fought with Rebel shore batteries, which hit and destroyed the USS Mound City.  Union soldiers then went ashore, outflanked the Rebel positions and captured the guns, opening St. Charles to Union occupation.

On that same day, the U.S. Congress freed all the slaves in the territories of the United States.  Also, Halleck consolidates the forces of Fremont and Nathaniel Banks under John Pope.  Fremont, the old frontiersman, resigns.  On the Confederate side, Braxton Bragg relieved P.G.T. Beauregard of Command of the Army of the Mississippi. 

Six other members of James Andrew’s team were hung in Atlanta.  On the same day, Union forces capture the western gateway of the Cumberland Gap.

Ulysses S. Grant war ordered to take command of the Memphis District on the 18th.

On June 19th, the bill passed by Congress outlawing slavery in the U.S. territories was signed by President Lincoln.

Starting on June 25th, Robert E. Lee executed a series of brilliant attacks on the Union forces of George B. McClellan.  McClellan had been preparing to lay siege to Richmond, VA but lost the initiative in a defeat at the battle of Oak Grove.  After that, Lee counterattacked at Beaver Dam Creek (Mechanicsville), Gaines’s Mill, Garnett’s and Golding’s Farm, and Savage Station.  The Union forces retreated over seven days before taking a stand in the Battle of Glendale.  Lee’s generals did a poor job of carrying out his orders and that allowed the Army of the Potomac to escape to a strong defensive position on Malvern Hill on July 1st.  There, Lee’s assaults were beaten back with heavy loss.  The so-called Seven Days retreat crushed Northern morale after expecting a quick end to the war.  Lee, despite heavy casualties that shocked the Confederacy and clumsy maneuvering by his generals, nevertheless relieved the threat to the Confederate capital and set the stage for his victories at Second Bull Run and the invasion of Maryland.
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