11.07.

1864: Southern Army Tried to Invade Washington

1864: Southern Army Tried to Invade Washington
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Lincoln presents the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet. Painted by Francis Bicknell Carpenter in 1864

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 11 July 1864
  • It is interesting that the battle between the North and the South took place less than eight kilometers from the White House, Washington. The then Northern president, Abraham Lincoln, personally watched the battle and was almost wounded.

On this day, in 1864, one of the most dramatic battles of the American Civil War began. Namely, in the Battle of Fort Stevens, the Southern army clashed with Northerners only a few kilometers from the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. (which was then the capital of the Union, i.e. the North).

Confederate Army tried to attack Washington, surprisingly, from the north. This army firstly invaded the Northern territory through the Shenandoah River valley.

Thus the Southerners bypassed Washington from the west, and then a part of their army, under General Jubal A. Early, headed toward the Northern capital.

They were met by the Northern army under General Alexander McCook at Fort Stevens. At that moment, the Southern army was closest to Washington during the entire Civil War.

It is interesting that the battle took place less than eight kilometers from the White House. Indeed, the area of ​​Fort Stevens today lies in a populated part of the city of Washington, D.C.

The then Northern president, Abraham Lincoln, personally watched the battle. In fact, he and his wife Mary rode out to observe the attack and a Union surgeon standing next to Lincoln was apparently wounded by enemy fire.

The Southerners failed to occupy Washington, D.C. , but it seems that it was not even their primary goal.

The purpose of the attack on the Northern capital was actually to drag General Grant’s troops so they could not take the southern capital Richmond in Virginia.

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