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The Civil War Month by Month: Jul 1861

CW - 150

Civil War 150th anniversary

The Civil War 150th Anniversary

Interesting facts, links, and suggested books for each month of the Civil War.

July 1861

This Month's Events

  • 1 July. The U. S. Senate receives a petition for "The establishment of a board of health for the army, and that the authority of the volunteer sanitary commission may be recognized and increased." The 5 page petition reviews the history of losses due to illness in other wars and the measures taken to deal with this, mentioning Florence Nightingale and others during the Crimean War. It "respectfully represents, that there is a great and needless waste of human health and life and of effective force of soldiers in camp and barrack, independent of all the necessary losses in battle..." (The entire petition may be read in the U. S. Serial Set, available through the Heritage Quest database in NC Live.)

  • 1 July. Today's Richmond, Virginia paper notes, "The Howitzer Batteries of Captains Latham and Shields had a target practicing on Saturday evening last. At a distance of 800 yards, the shooting was excellent, a number of balls being put into a space less than the size of a man. Several shells were fired, and exploded with extraordinary precision. One of them did rather more execution than was expected of it, by bursting in the midst of a flock of sheep that chanced to come in range, killing seventeen. The next day we had '"sheep meat"' for dinner." The war will be hard on animals as well as on humans.

  • 3 July. John C. Fremont, the noted explorer, is made commander of the Union's "Western Department", but given very few resources to carry out his responsibilities. He makes one decision that will have lasting consequences; he selects Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant as commander of the District of Southeast Missouri. Fremont wrote later, "I believed him to be a man of great activity and promptness in obeying orders without question or hesitation. For that reason I gave General Grant this important command at this critical period. I did not consider him then a great general, for the qualities that led him to success had not had the opportunity for their development." Grant will assume this command on August 7th.

  • 7 July. Legislative speaker Henry Toole Clark becomes governor of North Carolina upon the death of John Willis Ellis from tuberculosis while on a visit to Virginia, generating a debate as to Clark's legal status. He will be acting governor until the next election. Clark is a planter from Edgecombe County.

  • 10 July. George Washington Rains of North Carolina is assigned the task of building a mill to supply the Confederacy with gunpowder. He builds a factory in Augusta, Georgia and, basing his work only on a pamphlet about the manufacturing of gunpowder, he eventually produces over 2.75 million pounds of powder.

  • 13 July. Robert Selden Garnett, a Confederate brigadier general is killed at the battle of Corrick's Ford, Virginia (now West Virginia). He has been a general for a little over month and is the first Confederate general to be killed. Eventually his body is taken to Brooklyn, New York and buried next to his wife, but the burial is secret due to wartime ill-feeling. The location of his grave will not be widely revealed until 1959.

  • 20 July. The New York Times uses the term "Copperhead". This term becomes widely used to refer to both anti-war Democrats and Democrats sympathetic to the South -- actually being applied to people with a wide range of views.

  • 21 July. First Battle of Manassas aka Bull Run. It is here that Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson acquires his nickname "Stonewall" as General Bernard E. Bee reputedly calls to his men, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Rally behind the Virginians." This Confederate victory brings about the general realization that this conflict is not going to be short nor easy.

  • 22 July. On this day large numbers of Union soldiers reach the end of their original 3 month enlistment. New bills will authorize the enlistment of men for 3 years.

  • 30 July. This is enlistment day for the Gaston Invincibles (Co. B, 28th Regiment North Carolina Infantry). Their first captain is Thomas H. Edwards.

This Month's Fiction

Adult Fiction

Young Adult Fiction

Bull Run, by Paul Fleischman ; woodcuts by David Frampton, pub. 1993, 104 p. . Newbery Medalist Fleischman's fictional treatment of this Civil War battle relies on individual voices to give a human face to history. The result is at once intimate and sweeping, a heartbreaking and remarkably vivid portrait. Ages 10-up.

Children's Fiction

This Month's Non-Fiction

Adult Nonfiction

Children's Nonfiction

First Bull Run; the Nation wakes to war, by Bruce Palmer., pub. 1965, 96 p. This account focuses on the battle itself. The text is supplemented with diagrams of the troop movements and chronologies. Black and white illustrations include contemporary photographs and engravings.

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