- Riot in Baltimore. A clash between pro-South civilians and Union troops in Maryland's largest city resulted in what is commonly accepted to be the first bloodshed of the Civil War. Secessionist sympathy was strong in Baltimore, a border state metropolis. Before his inauguration, rumors in the city of an assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln, who was on his way to Washington, D.C., forced the president-elect to sneak through Baltimore in the middle of the night. Anti-Union sentiments there only increased once the hostilities commenced at Fort Sumter on April 12. A week later, one of the first regiments to respond to Lincoln's call for troops arrived in Baltimore by train, en route to the capital. Because the rail line did not pass through the city, horse drawn cars had to take the Massachusetts infantrymen from one end of Baltimore to the other. An angry crowd of secessionists tried to keep the regiment from reaching Washington, blocking several of the transports, breaking windows, and, finally, forcing the soldiers to get out and march through the streets. The throng followed in close pursuit. What had now become a mob surrounded and jeered the regiment, then started throwing bricks and stones. Panicking, several soldiers fired randomly into the crowd, and mayhem ensued as the regiment scrambled to the railroad station. The police managed to hold the crowd back at the terminal, allowing the infantrymen to board their train and escape, leaving behind much of their equipment as well as their marching band. Four soldiers and twelve civilians were killed, and scores were injured. Maryland officials demanded that no more Federal troops be sent through the state, while Baltimore's mayor and police chief authorized the destruction of key rail bridges to prevent Union troops from entering the city. Secessionist groups, meanwhile, tore down telegraph wires to Washington, temporarily cutting the capital off from the rest of the nation. The North was outraged; editor even called for Baltimore to be burned to the ground. On May 13, Federal troops, including members of the Massachusetts regiment attacked in the previous month's riot, occupied the city and martial law was declared, squelching most subsequent pro-Confederate activities. The police chief, several commissioners, and a number of citizens were arrested for their alleged participation in the riot, and suspected secessionists, including Francis Scott Key's grandson and a number of state legislators, were held without charges. Federal forces continued to maintain an occupying presence in Baltimore for the remainder of the war.
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- Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, sometimes simply referred to as the Battle of Spotsylvania, was the second battle (following the Wilderness on May 5-7) in Lieut. Gen. 's 1864 Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. It was fought in the Rapidan-Rappahannock river area of central Virginia, a region where more than 100,000 men on both sides fell between 1862 and 1864. The battle was fought from May 8-21, 1864, along a trench line some four miles long, with the Army of Northern Virginia under Gen. making its second attempt to halt the spring offensive of the Union Army of the Potomac under the command of Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. . Taking place less than a week after the bloody, inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness, it pitted 60,000 Confederate soldiers against a Union army numbering 120,000. After Lee checked the Union advance in the Wilderness, Grant decided to take advantage of the position he held, which allowed him to slip his army around Lee's right flank and continue to move south toward the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. He already had troops on the move by the night of May 7, just one day after the Wilderness fighting ended, and on May 8, he sent Maj. Gen. and his V Corps to take Spotsylvania, 10 miles to the southeast. Lee anticipated Grant's move and sent forces to intercept him: cavalry under Maj. Gen. and the First Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. because its usual leader, Lieut. Gen. had been wounded in the Wilderness. The Confederates won the race to Spotsylvania, and on May 9, each army began to take up new positions north of the small town. As Union forces probed Confederate skirmish lines on May 9 to determine the placement of defending forces, Union VI Corps commander Maj. Gen. was killed by a sharpshooter; he was succeeded by Maj. Gen. . Lee deployed his men in a trench line stretching more than four miles, with artillery placed that would allow enfilade fire on any attacking force. There was only one major weakness in Lee's linean exposed salient known as the "Mule Shoe" extending more than a mile in front of the main trench line. Lee recognized this weakness during the fighting of May 10, when twelve regiments under the command of Col. Emory Upton followed up a concentrated, intense artillery attack by slamming into the toe of the Mule Shoe along a narrow front. They actually broke the Confederate line, and the Second Corps had a hard time driving them out. Upton's attack won him a promotion on the spot to brigadier general, and became a staple of military textbooks on how to break an enemy trench line. Similar tactics were used by Germany in its successful March 1918 offensive during World War I. Lee, seeing the danger, began to lay out a new defensive line across the heel of the Mule Shoe that night, but before he could get it finished, Grant sent his entire II Corps of 15,000 men, commanded by Maj. Gen. , to attack the position in the same manner Upton had. This time, the breach in the Confederate line was complete, thanks in large part to an order from Lee that had already pulled much of the Confederate artillery back to the new line. The II Corps took close to 4,000 prisoners and probably would have cut the Army of Northern Virginia in half if the IX Corps (Maj. Gen. , supporting it with an assault on the Confederate right flank, had pushed its attacks home with force. Instead, Lee was able to shift thousands of his men to meet the threat. Due to ineffective leadership displayed by Lieut. Gen. , Lee felt compelled to personally lead Second Corps soldiers in the counterattack. His men realized the danger this would pose and refused to advance until Lee removed himself to a safer position in the rear. The battle in the Mule Shoe lasted for an entire day and night, as the Confederates slowly won back all the ground they had lost, inflicting heavy losses on the II Corps and the reinforcing VI Corps in the process. By 3 a.m. on May 13, just as the Confederates had completed expelling the II Corps from the Mule Shoe, the new line was ready, and Lee had his battered men retire behind it. More than 10,000 men fell in the Mule Shoe, which now passed to the Union forces without a fight. On May 18, Grant sent two of his corps to attack the new line, but they were met with a bloody repulse. That convinced Grant, who had vowed to "fight it out on this line if it takes all summer," that Lee's men could not be dislodged from their Spotsylvania line. Grant, checked by Lee for a second time, responded as he had two weeks earlier. He shifted the weight of his army to the right flank and again moved to the southeast along roads Lee was unable to block. By May 20-21, the two armies were on their way to take positions along the North Anna River, another dozen miles closer to Richmond. Once again, Lee's tactics had inflicted severe casualties on Grant's army. This time, the toll was over 18,000 men, of which close to 3,000 were killed. In two weeks of fighting, Grant had lost 35,000 men, and another 20,000 went home when their enlistments ended. In fact, Grant at one point on the North Anna had fewer than 65,000 effectives. But Lee did not come out of these battles unscathed, either. At Spotsylvania, he lost another 10-13,000 men, and the Confederates had to pull men away from other fronts to reinforce him. Making matters worse, the army was taking heavy losses among its veteran units and its best officers. This may have saved Grant from a disaster on the North Anna, when his decimated army was positioned badly and was ripe to be attacked. Lee never did, because the Army of Northern Virginia was unable to do so. In fact, Lee's army would never regain the initiative it lost in those two weeks of May 1864.
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- Grand Review in Washington, D.C. Over a two-day period in Washington, D.C., the immense, exultant victory parade of the Union's main fighting forces in many ways brought the Civil War to its conclusion. The parade's first day was devoted to 's force, which, as the capital's defending army, was a crowd favorite. May 23 was a clear, brilliantly sunny day. Starting from Capitol Hill, the Army of the Potomac marched down Pennsylvania Avenue before virtually the entire population of Washington, a throng of thousands cheering and singing favorite Union marching songs. At the reviewing stand in front of the White House were President , General-in-Chief , and top government officials. Leading the day's march, General Meade dismounted in front of the stand and joined the dignitaries to watch the parade. His army made an awesome sight: a force of 80,000 infantrymen marching 12 across with impeccable precision, along with hundreds of pieces of artillery and a seven-mile line of cavalrymen that alone took an hour to pass. One already famous cavalry officer, , gained the most attention that day-either by design or because his horse was spooked when he temporarily lost control of his mount, causing much excitement as he rode by the reviewing stand twice. The next day was 's turn. Beginning its final march at 9 a.m. on another beautiful day, his 65,000-man army passed in review for six hours, with less precision, certainly, than Meade's forces, but with a bravado that thrilled the crowd. Along with the lean, tattered, and sunburnt troops was the huge entourage that had followed Sherman's on his march to the sea: medical workers, laborers, black families who fled from slavery, the famous "bummers" who scavenged for the army's supplies, and a menagerie of livestock gleaned from the Carolina and Georgia farms. Riding in front of his conquering force, Sherman later called the experience "the happiest and most satisfactory moment of my life." For the thousands of soldiers participating in both days of the parade, it was one of their final military duties. Within a week of the Grand Review, the Union's two main armies were both disbanded.