First Black Regiments Authorized
On August 25, 1862, the US War Department authorized the Union’s military governor of the South Carolina Sea Islands to raise five regiments of African American soldiers, with white men as their officers. The order specifically stated that black soldiers were to receive “the same pay and rations as are allowed by law to volunteers in the service.” That policy would be reversed nine months later.
– Submitted by Peter A. Gilbert, Executive Director, Vermont Humanities Council
The American Civil War 365 Days, Margaret E. Wagner, p. “June 13.”
. . . Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me
August 29-30, 1862. “Just over one year after the war’s first major battle, the Federal defeat at First Bull Run, the Union suffered another humiliating loss at Second Bull Run, as Robert E. Lee continued his successful campaign against John Pope’s [75,000-man Union] Army of Virginia.
On August 29-30, 1862, Pope made a series of misjudgments that effectively ended his Civil War battlefield service. Beginning with the erroneous conviction that he had trapped Stonewall Jackson, and continuing with his failure to believe . . . [reports] that thirty thousand Confederates . . . had arrived on the battlefield, Pope ended the first day of the battle by mistaking Confederate moves to consolidate their lines as evidence the Southerners were retreating. He quickly reported to Washington that his army had won the battle. The next day, Lee’s army [of 55,000 men] disabused him of that notion when Pope sent his men to pursue the fleeing Confederates — and found them still in their line of battle. After a full day of ferocious fighting that reverberated with the demoralizing rebel yell, Pope’s army was in full retreat [to Washington], saved from complete disaster only by stubborn rearguard action.” Lincoln relieved Pope.
One anonymous survivor of the Second Battle of Bull Run described the horror that the wounded endured: “There were six of us . . . and we six had had seven legs amputated. Our condition was horrible in the extreme. Several of us were as innocent of clothing as the hour we were born. Between our mangled bodies and the rough surface of the board floor there was a thin rubber blanket. . . . There were plenty of flies to pester us and irritate our wounds. Our bodies became afflicted with loathsome sores, and — horror indescribable! — maggots found lodging in wounds and sores; and we were helpless.”
— Submitted by Peter A. Gilbert, Executive Director, Vermont Humanities Council
The Library of Congress Illustrated Timeline of the Civil War, Margaret E. Wagner, ed. (2011), p. 89.
The American Civil War 365 Days, Margaret E. Wagner, p. “March 13.”
My Brother’s Face: Portraits of the Civil War in Photographs, Diaries, and Letters, Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod, p. 46.