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150 Years Ago: Wednesday, May 22, 1861

The citizens of recently the seceded state of North Carolina are still reacting to the news. Plantation mistress Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston writes “So now we are under Mr. Davis rule! ‘Hurrah for Jeff Davis!'” Lewis Leon, a Jewish Southerner from Charlotte, leaves his home behind as a Private with the Charlotte Grays, Company C, First North Carolina Regiment; they are heading from Raleigh to Richmond, Virginia to join with forces there and officially begin their tour of duty.

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia, has been arguing for several days with Confederate Secretary of War Leroy Pope on the length of service for new volunteers as well as who will provide them with arms. There has been a lot of confusion as to the duration of the service; originally the CSA government was suggesting 12 months, but when they realized it would leave them without an army by 1862 they changed the recommended enlistment to three years. Also, many of the states want the Confederate government to provide things like arms to the volunteers, especially for those serving the Southern cause outside of their home state. Pope writes Brown, telling him that it is policy to only arm those who present themselves for a three year term and not those who only offer 12 months service; so far Brown has only been willing to recruit volunteers for 12 months and has complained that he wants them put into service before he raises three year troops. The Confederate government believes that they will have more men than arms, therefore if Brown wants to only recruit 12 month enlistments he will have to supply them or change the recruitment terms.

Around noon, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln participates in a flag raising ceremony at Washington’s General Post Office building on E Street between 7th and 8th Streets NW. The New York Herald reports that “The ropes were then placed in the hands of the President, when, amid the most deafening applause from the crowd below, the flag was raised to its prominent position. It remained for a moment or two motionless, when suddenly, a gentle wind rising from the north, its ample folds were extended in a most graceful and beautiful manner, eliciting one universal outburst of applause from the assembled multitude.”

General Benjamin Butler and his staff arrive at Fort Monroe, Virginia. There is a grand review of 4,000 troops in the evening; a very magnificent spectacle met with great enthusiasm by the men.

It is the eve of the Virginian vote for the Ordinance of Secession. Colonel Thomas J. Jackson sends the 5th Virginia Infantry to position themselves at key strategic areas, including a Potomac bridge near Cherry Run and a signal tower west of Point of Rocks.

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