Ellen Sherman is packing up her St. Louis home; she and the children are moving back to her father’s home in Lancaster, Ohio. Today is her husband William Tecumseh (Cump) Sherman’s last day as President of the Fifth Street Railroad; he has served just two out the twelve months he had originally agreed to. Though it took some persuasion on the part of Sherman’s brother John and Ellen’s own political-involved Ewing family, Cump had accepted the command of Colonel of the Thirteenth Regular Infantry which he was appointed to on May 14. Though Cump had requested to raise this new Regiment at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri, General Winfield Scott had denied the request; he wants Sherman in Washington City. Knowing that Washington is not a safe place for his wife and five children – with a sixth child on the way – Cump had made arrangements with Thomas Ewing, Ellen’s father. Ellen prefers to be as close to her parents as possible, so she is very agreeable to the arrangement.
Also in St. Louis, two Union officers are reacting to two very different letters received from Washington that are dated May 16. U.S. Brigadier General William S. Harney is in shock to learn that he has been relieved of command after only a few weeks. He writes to Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas, acknowledging that he received the instructions and officially relinquishes command, but at the same time is convinced that President Lincoln could not have approved this action. He believes this is all a mistake and informs Thomas that news from Missouri over the past few weeks was more animated and blown out of proportion than what politicians in Washington may think. Harney believes that things are best left in his capable command, but leaves his fate at the hands of the President.
But one man’s loss is another man’s gain. With Harney’s removal, this now puts Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon in charge. Lyon immediately assumes command of Union troops in Missouri. It’s the position he has been aiming for over the last several months as he recruited volunteers, secured the St. Louis Arsenal and weapons, and captured rebel Camp Jackson, all on his own initiative.
In Washington, U.S. Postmaster General Montgomery Blair suspends all mail to the states that have seceded from the Union and closes accounts of secessionist postmasters. All remaining postmasters must take an oath of allegiance to the Union if they wish to retain their positions.
The Confederate government continues to make military appointments now that the government has been moved to Richmond. Today General P.G.T. Beauregard is given command of the “Alexandria Line” which includes all of northern Virginia.
From her home in New Brunswick, Canada, Betsy Edmonds writes a letter to her daughter Sarah Emma Edmonds. Sarah is better known as Private Frank Thompson to her comrades in the Second Michigan Infantry and she is now at Fort Wayne in Detroit after being mustered into service six days ago. Betsy is confused over her daughter’s behavior to pose as a young man and join a war in another country. She’s hoping that her words will reach Sarah and get her to change her course of action:
My dear child:
I take time to write you to let you know that your family is well. I received a letter from you today and I was much displeased. I implore you to give up this ruse and come home at once. This war is not yours, my child. Leave it to the Americans who fight each other, most foolishly, in my opinion.
If you will not leave the war, at least then leave that which causes you the most danger, and which must surely be your most constant trouble–that of seeming to be what you are not. Cast off the Yankee uniform and take back your skirts, Emma. Or if you must stay in this war, at least stay as the woman you are.
I pray daily for your safety. And I pray for the swift resolution to this foolish war which is ripping your adopted country apart.
Your loving mother,
Betsy closes with a final afterthought, telling her daughter not to bother writing her again until she can sign her “own rightful name” to the letter.
The day after Major Anderson’s (USA) surrender, a hundred gun salute was a part of the generous terms offered by Brigadier General Beauregard (CSA). The salute, along with the raising of the U.S. flag, would take place exactly 24 hours after the surrender at 2pm. Beauregard, likely due to his friendship with Anderson, showed great respect for Anderson and his men, and allowed them to leave with dignity and at their own pace. In the middle of the ceremony there was an accidental cannon explosion, which caused the first official fatalities of the Civil War. Private Daniel Hough was killed instantly. Four were wounded, with one – Private Edward Gallway – dying at Gibbes Hospital in Charleston on April 19. The salute was cut short to just 50 guns.
Beauregard showed great concern over the injured soldiers. Since they were on enemy territory the Union troops were not allowed to take the soldiers with them. But Beauregard promised Anderson the injured soldiers would receive the best of care. In regards to Private Hough, Beauregard issued an order to his military personnel who would now occupy the Fort: “The commanding general directs that the commanding officer of the garrison of Fort Sumter will bury the unfortunate soldier who has been accidentally killed by explosion of misplaced powder while saluting his flag. He will be buried with all the honors of war in the parade of the fort.”
As soon as U.S. troops took down their flag, the victorious Confederacy raised their new flag inside Fort Sumter. This was the first official Confederate flag design, with seven stars (one to represent each Confederate State) and three bars. Commonly referred to as the “Stars and Bars” and was designed to “not abandon” the old U.S. flag design at the request of many citizens. It’s use was approved on March 4, 1861, a little more than a month prior to the first battle.
Anderson and his command boarded a ship and headed to New York. With him, he brought the damaged U.S. flag that had once flown inside the Fort.
In Washington D.C., President Lincoln met with his cabinet and military officers and drafted a proclamation calling for a militia to suppress the rebellion. This was a call for 75,000 troops from the various states still in the Union, including states that had been debating whether or not to secede. Most states rallied around the cause after the surrender of Fort Sumter. For four states, this would be the issue that eventually pushed them over the edge and into the Confederacy. The new militia would serve just ninety days, and a special meeting of Congress was set for July 4 at noon to determine what special actions needed to be taken for this “extraordinary occasion.”
The ninety day time frame, in hindsight, was extremely short. But at the time most experienced political and military leaders on both sides felt that defeat of the opposition would easily occur within that time frame.