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150 Years Ago: Wednesday, July 10, 1861

Charles Benedict Calvert, a U.S. Representative from Maryland, writes U.S. President Abraham Lincoln regarding the resolution passed in the House yesterday. The resolution, which releases the military from obligation to recapture fugitive slaves, has angered many slaveholders in the border state of Maryland. Calvert has seen Union troops take fugitive slaves and employ them; in some cases, they have been sent with troops into Virginia. Calvert requests that fugitive slaves be kept in the camps in a “place of confinement” until owners have a chance to come and claim them. Ideally, Calvert prefers that the camps refuse to take in any fugitive slaves at all. Lincoln understands that the Union’s relationship with Maryland is a delicate one; he cannot lose the state to the Confederacy. While the House resolution stands, Lincoln will not support it. For Lincoln, the war is not about emancipation; it is about taking down the rebellion and keeping the country together.

In Richmond, Virginia, the city continues to work on its defenses. With Washington City only 100 miles away, the Confederate government knows that its capital will be a prime target for the Union. The Richmond Daily Dispatch reports:

“The late action of the State Convention, together with the resolution passed by the Council on Monday, has made the services of the free Negroes of the city available to do such work; and if those who are now encumbering the city with their worse than useless presence were immediately set to work, the whole of the defenses could soon be completed, and at the same time our operations be relieved of the anomalous condition they have lately presented, of labor performed by volunteer free Negroes, who came more than a hundred miles to work on the defenses of the city, while hundreds of the same class are now in our midst, idle and vicious, and corrupting our slaves.”

The U.S. Senate takes time today to pass a bill authorizing the employment of 500,000 volunteers – with an appropriation of $600 million – for the single purpose of suppressing the rebellion.

In cities across the Union, newspapers continue to advertise for medical supplies, writing materials and volunteers to support the military effort.

U.S. General George McClellan directs General William Rosecrans to attack Confederate forces at Laurel Hill and Rich Mountain, Virginia. Rosecrans has the advantage when it comes to manpower, but his men are slowed down by unfamiliar roads and uneven land. The attack simply cannot take place today.

A resident of Washington, Horatio Nelson Taft, was going to visit the Rhode Island camp today with his daughter Julia, but with the downpour of rain they decide against it. In his diary, Taft writes that there “has been nothing like a dry time yet this season.” Taft feels that a battle is now impending, as regiments have started to move into Virginia. “My impression is the Rebels will run”, he writes.

Daily Civil War Calendar

July 2011

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