Tag Archives: The New York Herald
The bombardment of Fort Sumter

The Outbreak of War at Fort Sumter

The news item below relates the events of January 11, 1861, as America plunged headlong into a cataclysmic Civil War. No event directly affected a greater proportion of the nation’s population: about 10% of Americans fought in the war and more than 700,000 sacrificed their lives. The country continues to struggle with the issues of race, civil rights, the politics of federalism and the heritage that are legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

The Civil War, Part I: A Newspaper Perspective contains major articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

Coverage begins with the events preceding the outbreak of war at Fort Sumter, continues through the surrender at Appomattox and concludes with the assassination and funeral of Abraham Lincoln. Included are descriptive news articles, eye-witness accounts and official reports of battles and events, editorials, advertisements and biographies.

Our Situation – What Has Transpired in the Last Twenty four Hours.

Intelligence has reached us within the last twenty four hours of events transpiring in various quarters of the country pregnant with the most alarming symptoms of impending danger, which seem to be momentarily hurrying us towards inevitable civil war.

The news published in the morning papers yesterday that the steamship Star of the West, with United States troops for Fort  Sumter, had been fired into by the South Carolina State militia at Morris Island, and was compelled to put out to sea, created the most intense excitement all over the city, until, at a late hour, it was announced by the bulletins at the newspaper offices that Mrs. McGowen, the wife of the commander of the steamer, had received a dispatch from her husband stating that the Star of the West had arrived at Charleston, and that the troops were landed at the fort. Then the most buoyant feeling was manifested everywhere, and people began to feel that a terrible calamity had been averted.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.


Lee and his Generals

The Pursuit of Lee – His Capture Certain

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

The theatre of the latest operations against Lee is that part of Amelia county that lies in the bend of the Appomattox river and between that stream and the Danville and Lynchburg railroads, which form a right angle at Burkesville station. Burkesville station, on the Richmond and Danville Railroad, is fifty-two miles west of Petersburg. Amelia Court House is on the same railroad, about twenty miles nearer to Richmond – that is, twenty miles up the railroad in a northeasterly direction from Burkesville station. Jettersville is on the railroad between Burkesville and Amelia Court House, but nearer to the Court House.

The Pursuit of Lee - His Capture Certain

The Pursuit of Lee – His Capture Certain

On the 6th, at daylight, General Meade, with the Second, Fifth and Sixth corps, was at Burkesville station and Lee was near Amelia Court House; consequently our troops were south and west of the enemy, and our menfaces were turned to the northeast. Our cavalry advance was at Jettersville, and, as it moved toward the enemy at Amelia Court House, its left stretched well out toward Painesville, a point about ten miles northwest of Amelia Court House, and directly on the line of Leeretreat toward the Appomattox .



The Battle of Mill Spring/Fishing Creek

The Battle of Mill Springs, also known as the Battle of Fishing Creek to the Confederates, was fought in Wayne and Pulaski counties, near current Nancy, Kentucky, on January 19, 1862. The Union victory ended an early Confederate offensive campaign in eastern Kentucky.

This report on the battle appeared in The New York Herald on January 25, 1862. The New York Herald’s war coverage is available as part of our collections as The Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective.

The Battle of Mill Spring

From Our Special Army Correspondence.

SOMERSET, Ky., Jan. 21, 1862

The long inaction of the army in this State has at length been ended, and a glorious and complete victory has awakened the troops from their lethargy. The late movements of Gen. Thomas, of which, though not ignorant, I have been heretofore silent, have achieved the aim proposed, and I hasten to send you all details at hand. The telegraph has sent you many particulars, and perhaps much I now write will have reached you ere this account, which is made up in the confusion of the camp.


Richmond Fire and Evacuation

Victory! Victory!

The Dying Struggle of the Rebellion, the Crowning Victories of the Union

Now let the country rejoice. The great jubilee of our final deliverance is at hand. Yesterday was a glorious Sabbath day for the cause of the Union, the brightest in the calendar since the beginning of this terrible war; for it opens wide the way to peace and the complete vindication of the republic.

Corner Governor and Cary Streets, Richmond, Virginia, May 1865

Corner Governor and Cary Streets, Richmond, Virginia, May 1865

Between the two Urban armies immediately under the eye of General Grant, and the rebel forces under General Lee, there was a tremendous struggle yesterday for Richmond, in the woods and fields, hills and valleys, and on the roads and creeks a few miles south and west of Petersburg, and from twenty-five to thirty miles beyond the rebel capital. The movement of General Grant in force against the Southside Railroad, the most important to Lee of his last two remaining arteries of subsistence, reduced him to the alternative of a fight for the road or the evacuation of Richmond. Grant, of permitted to occupy the Southside road, would be in a position to command, occupy or destroy the Danville road; and Lee, thus completely isolated from his communications, would be driven to the expedient of leaving the city by cutting his way out, or by a stealthy evacuation, in order to secure his necessary supplies.

General Lee accepted the wager of battle, and the results are before our readers in President Lincoln brief, graphic and admirable dispatches. They give us a birdseye view of the whole field of the army operations, and are perfectly satisfactory. Twelve thousand prisoners and fifty pieces of artillery in the work of carrying difficult positions and powerful fortifications, over a line of battle from fifteen to twenty miles in extent, will do for one day. Lee, closely cornered last night in Petersburg, will, in all probability, before tomorrow morning, if he can get off, be on the road to Lynchburg. That now is his only line of escape. The end is indeed near at hand. Let the people give thanks and rejoice.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.


Burning the Rappahannock Railway bridge. Oct. 13th 1863

The Battle of Bristoe Station

The Battle of Bristoe Station was fought on October 14, 1863, at Bristoe Station, Virginia, between Union forces under Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren and Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill during the Bristoe Campaign of the American Civil War. The Union II Corps under Warren was able to surprise and repel the Confederate attack by Hill on the Union rearguard, resulting in a Union victory.

Union casualties were 540, Confederate about 1,380. Warren, seeing Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps coming up on his left, eventually had to withdraw. Lee is said to have cut off Hill’s excuses for this defeat by saying, “Well, well, general, bury these poor men and let us say no more about it.” The Union forces won the battle, but they had to retreat to Centreville, Virginia, before standing their ground.

This battle report from the The New York Herald in our Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective segment is an excellent example of the kind of detail found in this important collection of full-text searchable newspapers.

Plan of the Battle of Bristoe Station, Orange and Alexandria Railroad, Va., Octr. 14th 1863.

Plan of the Battle of Bristoe Station, Orange and Alexandria Railroad, Va., Octr. 14th 1863.

The Battle of Bristoe Station

Yesterday was a glorious day for the Army of the Potomac, and especially for the Second corps thereof, who sustained the brunt of one of the fiercest onslaughts which has characterized the attacks made by the rebels since the inauguration of the war.


Time is wasting to detail the retrograde movement of General Meade’s army from the line of the Rapidan to its present position. Suffice it to say that on Saturday night last the entire army left the vicinity of Culpepper on its homeward march. We marched along the line of the railroad from that time until Wednesday morning, encountering the enemy at times, and skirmishing occasionally, avoiding a general engagement. A general action might have been brought on at any time between the Rappahannock and our present position; but it was reserved for Wednesday to witness a renewed trail of the capabilities of our brave men in the field. The details of the fight at Auburn in the morning you already have by telegraph. Consequently I shall confine my report to


In the afternoon the Second corps had been assigned the arduous duty of guarding the rear of the army, and on the morning of Wednesday at daylight took up its line of march in the following order: – Gen. Hayes’Third division leading, followed by the First division, Gen. Caldwell, the rear being brought up by Gen. WebbSecond division.


On reaching a point near the railroad, some three miles west of Bristoe, the Second division took the lead, followed by the Third, leaving the first at the rear. In this order they marched to Bristoe, on the south side of the track of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, with flankers well out on both sides and skirmishers deployed. (more…)