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The Civil War Month by Month: Aug 1862

CW - 150

Civil War 150th anniversary

The Civil War 150th Anniversary

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

August 1862

This Month's Events

  • 6 August. This is election day in North Carolina and leading candidate Zebulon Vance is not even in the state, but with his regiment, the 26th, in Virginia.

  • 9 August. The Battle of Cedar Run (or Cedar Mountain or Slaughter's Mountain) takes place in Virginia as the Confederates attempt to block Union advances into the state. A heavy artillery duel is followed by an attack led by Union General Nathaniel Banks. His outnumbered forces are proving very successful until Stonewall Jackson rides into the conflict and rallies his troops, leading to a Confederate victory.

  • A reporter noted, "During the progress of the fight I galloped from point to point along the rear, but could nowhere obtain a panoramic view. The common sentiment of civilians, that it is always possible to see a battle, is true of isolated contests only. ... I have been assured by many soldiers that they have fought a whole day without so much as a glimpse of the enemy. The smoke and dust conceal objects..."

  • 28-30 August. The Second Battle of Bull Run (aka Second Manassas) is much larger than the first battle and pits the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, against the Army of Virginia led by General John Pope. Lee is victorious and Pope is forced to retreat.

  • This month blockade running, especially through Wilmington, is getting some sorely needed commodities into the Confederacy, but when the Kate docks from Nassau, she also brings yellow fever and an epidemic sweeps the city. When the Kate sets out again, she takes with her a Confederate official carrying funds to buy a ship in England. That ship, the Giraffe, when purchased by the Confederate government, becomes the blockade runner R. E. Lee.

  • All month. The problem of desertion from the armies is increasing. In North Carolina, the rate is particularly high in men from Randolph County and the mid-state area around it where Union sentiment had been strong before secession. Deserters and other Unionists hiding out in the the area are known as "outliers". The conflict in this area becomes a miniature civil war, an increasing cycle of violence marked by outrages on both sides. It is estimated that betwwen 250 and 400 people died in this internal conflict, usually known as the "Randolph County War," which lasts until the end of the war. See Chapter 16 of Silk Flags and Cold Steel (below).

  • This month the sheet music for a new song, "The Battle Cry of Freedom" by George Frederick Root is released. It is estimated that by 1864 more than 350,000 copies will have been sold -- a chart topper of its day. Root also wrote "Tramp, Tramp, the Boys Are Marching" (which will have both a Northern and a Southern version) and other well-known songs.
    Video source: -- performed by the 69th Irish Brigade Reenactment Band.

  • This month in Virginia, a reporter pens this observation as he watches the 15th New York Engineer Regiment at work. "The regiment...was composed of laborers and artificers of every possible description. There were blacksmiths, moulders, masons, carpenters, boatbuilders, joiners, miners, machinists, riggers and ropemakers. They could have bridged the Mississippi, rebuilt the Tredegar iron works, finished the Tower of Babel, drained the Chesapeake, constructed the Great Eastern, paved Broadway, replaced the Grand Trunk railroad, or tunnelled the Straits of Dover. I have often thought that the real greatness of the Northern army lay in its ingenuity and industry, not in its military qualifications."

This Month's Fiction

Adult Fiction

Young Adult fiction

Children's Fiction

This Month's Non-Fiction

Adult Nonfiction

Children's Nonfiction

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