Fortune’s Favor~June, 1862~the second week

In the second week of June, the fighting in Virginia grows in intensity. Mary Chesnut complains that General Lee is the “King of Spades” who does too much digging and pulling back to suit her. Jeb Stuart’s cavalry literally rides rings around McClellan’s army, showing that fortune favors the bold. Stonewall Jackson’s “foot cavalry” wears out boots and bests Union forces. An insightful rebel soldier acknowledges that in this war as in all wars the truth is distorted by both sides. Another Confederate soldier describes barbarities committed by Federal troops in the Shenandoah Valley.

In Kansas a state official is impeached for misfeasance in office. Congressman Owen Lovejoy, ardent abolitionist, tells a lecture audience in New York City that they must support President Lincoln and should expect bold anti-slavery action from the President. George Templeton Strong describes the boldness and dedication of his wife. The Liberator announces a bold step by women who are establishing their own civil rights publication. The American minister to Peru reports on Latin American desires and expectations for the United States to protect its neighbors from European intervention.

Battle of Cross Keys, Virginia

June 8– Sunday– Cross Keys, Virginia– Confederate forces repel a Union attack Confederate losses total 288 dead, wounded or missing while the Federal casualties amount to 684 dead, wounded or missing.

 June 9– Monday– Port Republic, Virginia–General Jackson’s Confederate soldiers beat General Fremont’s forces. Federal casualties total 1,018; Confederates lose 804 dead, wounded and missing. Since March 22nd Jackson’s troops have marched over 675 miles and fought five battles, each time successfully beating larger Union forces.

 June 9– Monday– New Bern, North Carolina– George Whitman writes to his mother describing how his regiment decided to keep its battle-torn flag rather than trade it for a new one sent by the City of New York. “It has 15 or 20 bullet holes in it and the staff was shot into at Newbern, and we think a great deal of it.”

June 9– Monday– Quebec, Canada– Newspapers here report the anticipated arrival of 24,000 or more British soldiers in Canada. Rumors say that their presence is to protect against the presumed on-going threat of invasion from the United States or, perhaps, to intervene in the American civil war.


Confederate soldiers in camp

June 10– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– Confederate soldier Isaac Smith writes to his friend Colonel G. Q. Tompkins, also in the Confederate Army. Smith frankly evaluates the war. “Your sentiments harmonize more nearly with mine, than those of any one else, & I read your statement of occurrences & remarks upon them, with a consciousness that I am reading truths, & not monstrous exaggerations- The utter disregard for truth, which permits both sides in every contest great or small, to claim a magnificent victory; & for justice, which aggravates every slight irregularity on either side, into a monstrous outrage & crime, illustrates forcibly the degrading tendency of the war– an approach to truth may be attained from the public prints only by a careful study of details in the accounts of both sides, & deducing conclusions– upon general statements nothing can be founded.”

June 10– Tuesday– Lima, Peru–Christopher Robinson, U S Minister, reports to Secretary of State Seward that the Peruvian government expects a reunited U S government to “interpose an inseparable barrier to the scourge of European despotism.”

 June 11– Wednesday– Washington, D. C.– This evening at White House, President Lincoln meets informally with Senator Orville Browning of Illinois, Mr Marshal Lamon, a friend of the president, and General James Wadsworth, an anti-slavery man from New York state, to discuss the history and operation of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law in District of Columbia.

Violet Florence Martin


June 11– Wednesday– Connemara, County Galway, Ireland– Birth of Violet Florence Martin, suffragette and author under the pen name of “Martin Ross.”

 June 12– Thursday– New York City– George Templeton Strong writes of Ellie, his wife, and her interest in nursing Union sick and wounded. “Her capacity of unselfishness and intense desire to employ it constitute a ‘call’ to this humane and patriotic womanly work . . . which I cannot but hear, though unwillingly.”


Owen Lovejoy

June 12– Thursday– New York City– A crowd comes to Cooper Union to hear Congressman Owen Lovejoy speak to the Emancipation League. Lovejoy, now age 51, is an abolitionist, a conductor on the underground railroad, a Congregational minister and, since 1857, a Republican representative from Illinois. He first rose to prominence in November of 1837 when pro-slavery men killed his brother, the out-spoken abolitionist editor Elijah P Lovejoy. Owen Lovejoy declares that President Lincoln will come out for emancipation. “If the President does not move as rapidly as you desire, if he is over scrupulous of forms, it is some compensation to know that the Commander and Chief of more than half a million of soldiers, and who is frequently under the necessity of acting without authority of law, will take no undue advantage of the power . . . that is placed in his hands. . . . . Let us, then, give the President a cordial, loyal and sympathizing support. Never has a President, not even Washington, been beset with so many trials and difficulties as environ him. The wonder is not that he should make mistakes, but that he should make so few. I no more doubt his Anti-Slavery integrity, his ultimate Anti-Slavery action, than I do my own.” The audience applauds heartily.

June 12– Thursday– Richmond, Virginia– About 1200 cavalry soldiers under the command of General James Ewell Brown (Jeb) Stuart set out on a reconnaissance mission to determine the strength of McClellan’s Federal forces.


General Jeb Stuart

June 12– Thursday– Topeka, Kansas– The state Senate convicts John Winter Robinson, Kansas Secretary of State, and removes him from office for misfeasance in a bond scandal, thus making him the first state executive branch official to be impeached and removed from office in United States history.

 June 13– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– The Liberator announces the forthcoming commencement of a publication dedicated to women’s issues. It will be called the Woman’s Journal. “It appears strange that women , constituting one half of humanity, should have no organ in America, especiallydevoted to the promotion of their interests. . . . The motto of the proposed Journal is: “Equal Rights for all Mankind” . . . . contributors [are] already secured, including Lydia Maria Child, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips.”


Lydia Maria Child

June 13– Friday– Newtown, Virginia– Robert Gould Shaw writes to his mother. “On the whole, our men show very little of the vices common in armies that have been some time in the field. They write so often to their families, and get so many letters from home, that it must have a good influence on them.”

 June 14– Saturday– Columbia, South Carolina– Mary Chesnut diaries her view of the war news. “Johnston badly wounded. Lee is King of Spades. They are all once more digging for dear life. Unless we can reenforce Stonewall, the game is up. Our chiefs contrive to dampen and destroy the enthusiasm of all who go near them. So much entrenching and falling back destroys the morale of any army. This everlasting retreating, it kills the hearts of the men. Then we are scant of powder. James Chesnut [her husband] is awfully proud of Le Conte’s powder manufactory here. Le Conte knows how to do it. James Chesnut provides him the means to carry out his plans.”

 June 14– Saturday– Kinnegad, Ireland–Birth of John J. Glennon, who will become Roman Catholic Archbishop of Saint Louis, Missouri in 1903.

 June 15– Sunday– Mt Meridian, Virginia– Jedediah Hotchkiss writes to his wife Sara Hotchkiss, complaining about the brutality of “Dutch” troops serving under Union General Fremont. [Most likely they were German-speaking immigrants.] “The men of Fremont are Dutch– of the very worst sort, they have plundered the country wherever they have been, they stripped the houses at Cross Keys completely, taking all the drapes of the ladies, breaking up the dishes &c &c. They wrapped up their dead in the blankets, carpets, quilts &c that they had taken from the houses – they were very brutal to the women in language, and stole everything they could get hold of. They came up ‘spoiling for a fight and a good many of them spoiled after the fight’ as General Ewell says.”

June 15– Sunday– Richmond, Virginia– Jeb Stuart’s cavalry return, having ridden completely around McClellan’s forces, avoiding capture, gathering intelligence for General Lee and boosting Southern morale.

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