By Daniel Franc
Today, the Civil War seems distant. But exactly 150 years ago, this four-year national convulsion was just beginning. The months and years to come would witness a profound change in the American military, political and social landscapes.
On the anniversary of such a momentous era, it seemed only fitting to track the course of those events. Every other issue, we will include a timeline for a month or two-week period exactly 150 years ago.
It begins now, in September 1861. It will be four long and bloody years before the war concludes, leaving America reeling in its wake.
Compiled by Daniel Franc ‘15
Sept. 2, 1861: Confederate victory by the Missouri State Guard at the Battle of Dry Wood Creek forces Union to abandon southwestern Missouri.
Sept. 3, 1861: Confederate troops enter previously neutral Kentucky.
Sept. 6, 1861: Union troops capture Paducah, KY.
Sept. 10, 1861: Union victory at the Battle of Carnifex Ferry in western Virginia.
Sept. 11-15, 1861: Union victory at the Battle of Cheat Mountain in western Virginia; along with Carnifex Ferry, this contributes to the Confederate withdrawal from the region and the later creation of the state of West Virginia.
Sept. 13-20, 1861: Confederate victory at the First Battle of Lexington, Missouri; also known as the Battle of the Hemp Bales, as Confederate troops reportedly used water-soaked bales of hemp as mobile fortifications during their final assault. All Union forces in Lexington surrender.
Sept. 17, 1861: Confederate victory at the Battle of Liberty, Missouri, allows Missouri State Guards to reinforce Confederates at Lexington.
Sept. 19, 1861: Confederate victory at the Battle of Barbourville marks the first military engagement in Kentucky.