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150 Years Ago: Monday, April 22, 1861

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In Dubuque, Iowa, the First Iowa Infantry regiment was formed under the leadership of Colonel John F. Bates. This was the first Iowa unit established under Lincoln’s call for volunteers for 90 day service. In proportion to population, Iowa would eventually provide more men to the Union military effort than any other state. Today they boarded the ship Alhambra on route to Missouri. Pro-war sermons were given by the ministers of the Baptist and Congregational churches. Classes at the Catholic schools were dismissed, and flags were flown. Led by a Germania Band, the companies marched to the boat at the end of Jones Street. Though the Ladies Volunteer Labour Society had been working furiously to make uniforms for the militia, they were not yet complete; they would be sent two weeks later. 

Dubuque, Iowa, April 22, 1861
Illustration by Harper’s Weekly (5/25/1861 edition)
In Richmond, Colonel Thomas J. Jackson and his cadets from the Virginia Military Institute arrive to join the Virginia army. They will take over the training of volunteer militia now gathering in Richmond. 
Also in Richmond, Robert E. Lee accepts command of Virginia forces. Lee not only has the daunting task of organizing troops to protect Virginia, but also has the more difficult task of convincing his wife Mary Anna to leave their home in Arlington, VA. Given that they live right across the Potomac river from Washington City, it is not safe for his family to stay there. Mary will take a lot of convincing to leave her home, relics and slaves. But for Lee, the military effort must come first for now; an immediate threat is to keep control over Harper’s Ferry.
In northwest Virginia, more than 1,000 pro-Union citizens from Harrison county meet and pass resolutions against secession. They set a date for a convention of delegates from the northwest Virginia counties in an effort to determine their political destiny. In this region lies a very strategic military point and arsenal: Harper’s Ferry.  
Massachusetts Governor John Andrew’s tries eagerly to convince Baltimore Mayor Brown to return the dead & injured militia men back to their state for proper burial and care. Brown replies that the city is cut off and this is not a request he can honor; instead he promises to give the dead proper burial and to make sure the soldiers get proper care. Governor Andrew expresses shock that “the peaceful march of American citizens over the common highway to the defense of our common capitol should be deemed aggressive to Baltimore citizens.”   
Patriotic demonstrations and allegiance ceremonies continue to take place in both the North and South. In many states, women have joined in the effort by sewing uniforms for the newly formed regiments and collecting money for the families of volunteers. Northern newspapers are publishing many articles for men and women on how they can prepare for and assist in the war effort.
In Washington City, the citizens and leadership in Baltimore are still upset over troop movements, even though Lincoln has promised that troops will no longer go through the city, but will instead go around it. They cut telegraph wires to Washington, leaving them out of touch with the outside world. U.S. leaders have little communication as to what actions are being taken in the South, and they have no idea where the troops are from the various states that should be making their way into the city. Many citizens in Washington City continue to evacuate; they are fearful the war will soon be on their doorstep.
Brigadier General Joseph Johnston, a Virginia, meets with U.S. Secretary of War Simon Cameron to resign his position in the U.S. military. “I most go with the South,” says Johnston, visibly upset by his decision. “I owe all that I am to the government of the United States. It has educated me and clothed me in honor. To leave the service is a hard necessity, but I must go.” The U.S. had lost another strong military leader. He requests immediate written acknowledgement of his resignation, then returns home; he will leave for Richmond the next day to offer his services to his home state. 
With the lack of communication and information, U.S. General Winfield Scott becomes panicked that the city will soon be captured by Rebels. No Union troops have arrived in Washington City in two days. Lincoln stares out of the window in his office. “Why don’t they come!” he exclaims to secretary John Nicolay. “Why don’t they come!”

Daily Civil War Calendar

April 2011

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