Monday, June 20, 2011

Jackson destroys Martinsburg Shops

"Jackson Commandeers the Railroad," June 20, 1861. Mort Kunstler
  • After evacuating Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, Colonel Thomas J. Jackson falls back, arriving this afternoon at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Shops at Martinsburg, Virginia, where “forty-two locomotives and their tenders at that important railroad center, in addition to 305 cars, chiefly coal gondolas are located. Pursuant to orders from Joseph E. Johnston, but against his better judgment that railroad equipment should always be saved, Jackson begins a systematic destruction of the Martinsburg yards. Details begin to rip up track and burn cross-ties. Other soldiers set fire to the round houses and machine shops. Locomotives and tenders, as well as at least 305 coal cars, are either set afire, heaved into the Opequon river, or dismantled to the point of uselessness over the next few days./1861
  • At Wheeling, western Virginia, across the river from the state of Ohio, Unionist Virginians from the northwestern counties who are disloyal to their state come to an important point in the Second Wheeling Convention. Today the convention selects new officers of the “Restored government of Virginia.” Among them, delegates elect attorney and railroad magnate Francis H. Pierpont of Marion County as provisional governor of “Federal Virginia,” or what will be named West Virginia./1861
  • General George B. McClellan assumes command in person of the US Army in western Virginia./1861 
  • The governor of Kansas, Charles L. Robinson, today issues a proclamation forming a state militia to defend the new state against spill-over violence from Missouri. Kansas, with just over 100,000 residents statewide, would eventually send 20,000 to war. Robinson, a Republican, had already served prison time in Kansas for his subversive activities with the son of John Brown and his illegal election as territorial governor. Robinson remains the only Kansas governor who was impeached. /1861 
  • Veteran naval officer George Nichols Hollins is commissioned a captain in the Confederate Navy. He will go to work in days and will eventually command the famous Mosquito Fleet at New Orleans./1861

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