The American Civil War 150th Anniversary – June 4-10, 1862

Here are some of the events of the Civil War that were happening 150 years ago this week. Sources are numbered according to the list at the bottom of this post.

Moonlight on the Shenandoah River

Moonlight on the Shenandoah River. (Source: )

June 4

Military events: Shenandoah Valley: US General Shields hopes to prevent CS General Jackson from escaping the Valley by taking the bridge at Port Republic while sending Colonel Samuel Carroll – “Old Brick Top” – to Staunton. Jackson, however, has no plans of escape and is prepared to meet Shields’ forces at Port Republic. Jackson and his men, along with the captured supplies, resume their march at 1 a.m. (7)

Fort Pillow, Tennessee: Now that Corinth has been abandoned, CS General Beauregard knows the fort (which has been undergoing steady bombardment) will have its rear exposed and orders its defenders to withdraw. They destroy the fort this afternoon and evening. (7)

Battles: Mississippi: A Union regiment tangles with the Confederate rear guard about seven miles outside of Corinth.

Sweeden’s Cove, near Jasper, Tennessee. Union victory.

June 5

Battles: Tranter’s Creek (note: link is to a different source than the one given in my post of June 5th). US Lieutenant William B. Avery, who had also been with General Burnside, is awarded the Medal of Honor for “[handling] his battery with greatest coolness amidst the hottest fire” at Tranter’s Creek.

Military events: Fort Pillow/Memphis: US Colonel Graham Fitch decides not to bother with restoring and occupying the heavily damaged Fort Pillow and instead sails to Memphis with a fleet composed of ironclads and mortar boats under Captain Charles Davis and a separate contingent of rams under Colonel Charles Ellet, Jr., the civil engineer who designed them. Ellet’s brother Alfred is a captain with the ram fleet, while his son Charles R. Ellett is a medical cadet with the fleet. The US sailors see only one Confederate ship, a transport, that flees when fired on but is captured before its crew can blow it up. Overnight, the fleet assembles just north of Memphis. (7)

Shenandoah Valley: CS General Jackson gets good news: Newly-promoted General Turner Ashby and his cavalry have burned the bridge at Conrad’s Store, cutting off General Shields and giving the Confederates the time needed to dig in at Port Republic. General Fremont and his men are maintaining lines near New Market. However, Jackson also needs reinforcements and turns to General Joseph Johnston, only to learn Johnston was wounded in the Seven Pines/Fair Oaks battle and that General Lee has taken his place as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. With the Army of the Potomac stalled by continuing heavy rains, Lee decides to give Jackson the men he needs and to keep him in the Valley rather than bring him to Richmond at this time, saying “His plan is to march to Front Royal and crush Shields. It is his only course, and as he is a good soldier, I expect him to do it.” (7)

Peninsula Campaign: Despite the rain, Union troops are moving about, getting in better positions.

Other: The cruel side of war.

Charles R. Ellett

Charles R. Ellett, who as a medical cadet was almost stoned on June 6, 1862, as he raised the US flag over Memphis. (Source:

June 6

Battles: Memphis. After a brief battle, the Confederate’s Cottonclad River Fleet is destroyed, except for the CSS General Van Dorn. They just can’t withstand the Ellett rams. The city falls to US forces. Col. Ellett is wounded during the attack and later dies. His son raises the US flag over Memphis. His brother Alfred takes over as a lieutenant colonel. (7)

Shenandoah Valley: General Turner Ashby is killed during battle near Harrisonburg; George Michael Neese was in the fight. General Ewell takes control of Confederate forces, orders a charge, and the Federals are driven off of the field. (7)

Military events: US General Jeremiah Sullivan occupies Jackson, Tennessee. Federals think it will make a good supply depot location. (6)

June 7

Battles: First Battle of Chattanooga. Union forces under General James Negley start bombarding the city.

Mississippi River: Confederate batteries at Grand Gulf are shelled by Flag Officer Farragut’s fleet. (12)

Other: At Corinth, Mississippi, General Sherman is trying to get Charley off guard duty and into the fighting.

June 8

Battles: First Battle of Chattanooga. Union forces keep up the bombardment until noon. Confederate forces respond in an uncoordinated fashion. CS General Edmund Kirby Smith arrives. (1)

The Battle for Cross Keys

The Battle for Cross Keys (Library of Congress)

Cross Keys/Union Church: CS General Ewell and US General Fremont face off, with CS General Jackson guarding Ewell’s rear from an attack by General Shields. Fremont eventually withdraws to the protection of his batteries. Some of Ewell’s men join Jackson’s forces at Port Republic. (6)

Mississippi River: Confederate batteries at Grand Gulf are shelled by Flag Officer Farragut’s fleet. (12)

June 9

Battles: Port Republic. General Jackson defeats Union forces, winning control of the upper and middle Shenandoah Valley. His army is now free to march to the aid of Richmond. General Shields’ forces withdraw through the Luray Valley. (2)

Cross Keys: Two brigades of General Ewell forces are holding General Fremont at bay. (1) Fremont, meanwhile, has been ordered by US President Lincoln to “stand on the defensive . . . and await further orders.” (5)

Mississippi River: Confederate batteries at Grand Gulf are shelled by Flag Officer Farragut’s fleet. (12)

Military events: Shenandoah Valley: President Lincoln telegraphs to General Banks in Winchester: “We are arranging a general plan for the valley of the Shenandoah; . . . move your main force to the Shenandoah at or opposite Front-Royal as soon as possible.” (5)

June 10

Battles: First Battle of Chattanooga. General Smith reports that Federal forces have withdrawn. Confederate losses have been light. However, Smith starts drawing in reinforcements from other areas for the defense of Chattanooga. (1)

Peninsula Campaign: At some point in this time frame, CS General Lee secretly orders his chief of cavalry General James Ewell Brown (Jeb) Stuart to explore and test US General McClellan’s right flank. (11)

Military Events: Corinth, Mississippi: US General Halleck restores Generals Ulysses S. Grant, Don Carlos Buell, and John Pope to corps commanders, respectively, Grant in command of the Army of the Tennessee, Buell in command of the Army of the Ohio, and Pope in command of the Army of the Mississippi. (6, 8)

General Jeb Stuart

General Jeb Stuart (Library of Congress; a 2007 photograph of Jared French’s 1939 oil painting that hangs in the Court House Annex in Richmond)



(2)  Encyclopedia Virginia: “The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862

(3)  “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson

(4) University of North Carolina “Civil War Day by Day”

(5) The Lincoln Log timeline.

(6) Blue and Gray Timeline.

(7) Civil War Daily Gazette timeline.

(8) Grant Chronology, Mississippi State University.

(9)”The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government” (Vol. II), Jefferson Davis.

(10) Civil War Home’s “The Peninsula Campaign.”

(11)  “The Battles for Richmond, 1862.” National Park Service.

(12)  Conquest of the Lower Mississippi.

(13) Waddell’s Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871.

(14) Daily Observations From the Civil War

Categories: American Civil War

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