Friday, June 3, 2011

Confederates surprised at Philippi, Virginia

  • CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL DAY in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Louisiana. (Jefferson Davis birthday, 1808).
  • The Democrats and the Union lose a strong supporter when Stephen F. Douglas dies unexpectedly at age 48 in Chicago, Illinois,, complications following rheumatic fever or typhoid. In Washington, President Lincoln mourns the “Little Giant” of the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates who had defeated the President in the 1858 US Senate race in Illinois but who lost to Lincoln in the 1860 Presidential election./1861
  • Battle of Philippi, western Virginia
  • Union troops under Colonel R.F. Kelley march out of the mountains through the night in driving rain and this morning surprise Confederate forces under Colonel G.A. Porterfield, at Philippi, western Virginia, and the raw Confederates retreat rapidly under fire. The Confederate troops flee the field so quickly that the Northerners call their triumph the “Philippi Races.” Only a skirmish with about 3000 Union soldiers routing roughly 800 Confederate soldiers, no one is killed in this first land engagement of the war. It helps propel the Union commander - General George B. McClellan to fame. The Confederate defeat also has a bearing on western Virginia’s secession from the Old Dominion as the absence of Confederate troops in the area encourages pro-Union Virginians in the west to declare their support for the North./1861 
  • In Washington, Lincoln, continuing under the paranoia of an imminent invasion of the District of Columbia by the demon Southerners, writes commander of the Army Winfield Scott, "I have accounts from different sources, tending to some expectation of an attack being made upon our forces across the Potomac to-morrow morning. I think it prudent to say this to you, although it is highly probable you are better informed than I am[.]"/1861
  • CSS Savannah flying both US and CS flags
  • The privateer Savannah, which left port in Charleston, South Carolina, only yesterday, overhauls the brig Joseph and sends her into Georgetown, SC. In the afternoon the brig U.S.S. Perry attacks and captures the privateer Savannah. Her cruise is ended and her crew is arrested and taken to New York./1861 
  • Confederate Secretary of War Stephen F. Mallory instructs Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke to develop an ironclad design for construction in the South./1861
  • Against its will but forced by Governor Henry M. Rector, the Arkansas Secession Convention finally adjourns, but political turmoil will continue in Confederate Arkansas. General William J. Hardee will be assigned to command Confederate forces in Arkansas, but many soldiers will not want to join the regular army and risk being moved away from their home state. A lack of organization and cohesive command will plague Arkansas for the remainder of 1861./1861

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