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150 Years Ago: Tuesday, May 28, 1861


Missouri Major General Sterling Price responds to General William Harney’s telegram from yesterday. Sterling says that he and Governor Jackson are not aware of any activity in Arkansas. If troops try to cross into Missouri Price will send them back. Whether Price is aware of the communications between the Governor and Confederate Secretary of War Leroy Pope – which does give reference to Confederate troop support – is unknown.

U.S. General Irvin McDowell is appointed commander of the Department of Northeastern Virginia, with the main responsibility to protect the capital city of Washington.

Commander of Virginia forces, Robert E. Lee, writes a letter to his wife Mary from his new post in Manassas. Their Arlington home is now occupied by Union forces, and Mary is staying with family and out of harms way. The Lee’s know they have likely lost their home for good, but there is still discussion over where Mary should move to for the long term and Robert is very concerned for her safety.

I reached here, dearest Mary, this afternoon. I am very much occupied in examining matters, and have to go out to look over the ground. Cousin John tempts me strongly to go down, but I never visit for many reasons. If for no other, to prevent compromising the house, for my visit would certainly be known.

I have written to you fully and to Cousin Anna. I am decidedly of the opinion that it would be better for you to leave, on your account and Cousin Anna’s. My only objection is the leaving of Cousin Anna alone, if she will not go with you. If you prefer Richmond, go with Nannie. Otherwise, go to the upper country, as John indicates. I fear I cannot be with you anywhere. I do not think Richmond will be permanent.

Colonel Thomas J. Jackson had taken over a large section of rail in Maryland and Virginia a few days ago, but its today that John Garrett, the President of the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad, acknowledges that over 100 miles of track is in control of the Confederacy.

The Richmond Daily Dispatch prints a disturbing warning to the North.

Hanging a game for two.

We can inform the Federal ruffians, newspaporial and military, that their darling idea of catching and hanging Jeff. Davis is likely to produce an effect which they have not altogether anticipated. There is another neck which is quite as likely to be broken as that of Jeff. Davis, and there are men who have ‘ “registered a vow”’ in Heaven of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life. It does not follow that because high public functionaries are surrounded by soldiers, and bloody-minded newspaper editors are crying on in supposed safety the slaughter of an unoffending people, that the means cannot be found of making them receive in their own persons the punishment of their crimes.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney once again asks for Union General George Cadwalader to deliver John Merryman to his court. Merryman is being held in Fort McHenry and has yet to be charged with a crime. Cadwalader once again refuses to appear. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is aware of this back and forth, yet also has chosen to ignore Taney’s ruling. Taney will start to write a draft outlining his reasons for his actions, and also plans to inflict find and imprisonment upon Cadwalader once he does finally show his face in Taney’s court room.

A few days ago the White House East Room was a place of mourning; tonight is serves as a place for celebration. President Lincoln and his wife Mary host a reception for civil and military dignitaries. The President looks to be in good spirits; husband and wife pass happily among the visitors, the party going well past the scheduled time.

About thecivilwarproject

Like many others, I have a passion for the Civil War era, and for decades have chosen to spend my much of free time researching this topic - particularly the people, as the human component is what I find most fascinating. The site is not a source of revenue for me, nor is it tied in with a company or individual behind the scenes. It is my own personal venture. It is because of this genuine bond of respect and affection I feel towards this period in our history that I created "The Civil War Project." If this is your first time visiting the site, I welcome you and thank you for your interest. If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to contact me at thecivilwarproject@yahoo.com.

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