Sunday, May 8

This Week in The Civil War: Sunday, May 8

Preparing For War

By the second week of May, Union and Confederate forces are moving troops and mobilizing for the looming fight.

On the Union side, regiments and military units from states including Ohio, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania are gathering in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., setting up tent camps.

Likewise, there are troop movements in the South, particularly in Virginia.

A correspondent writing to The Associated Press on May 8 reports that "Fourteen hundred Tennessee troops and a battalion of Alabama troops have reached Lynchburgh," a Louisiana regiment reached Richmond and 4,000 troops including two companies from Georgia have entered Norfolk. "The authorities were fortifying Norfolk in all directions ...and erecting batteries and impressing persons to labor," the correspondent reports.

It is a time of determining where loyalties stand. President Lincoln's War Department has ordered troops to Cairo, Ill., to counter the secessionist threat there. And delegates gather May 12, 1861, for a convention in Wheeling in Virginia's northwestern corner, "all overwhelmingly for the Union," another dispatch notes. The pro-Union sentiment will eventually lead to the new state of West Virginia joining the Union later in the war.

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