I don’t know about you, but I love me some totally random facts! And even more so, I love me a totally random battle that not many people have heard about! So today, we are going to look at what many say is the actual first battle of the War Between the States!
1| Where and When. This battle took place on June 10th, 1861, 160 years ago! The battle took place in Big Bethel Virginia and is one of the lesser-known battles of the war.
2| It All Happened Here. Many people refer to either Ft. Sumter or First Manassas when talking of the first battle of the War Between the States. But Big Bethel is actually the first.
3| Looking at the Numbers… As with most battles of the war, the Confederate Soldiers were outnumbered. They had under 1,500 men while the Union invaders had around 3,500. But you know us, that makes the odds about even! *halo*
4| The Men Behind the Moment. Two lesser-known Generals were in command of the opposing armies. For the federals, Brigadier General Ebenezer W. Peirce led them into battle. For the Confederacy, it was Colonel John B. Magruder.
5| Confederate Gold Star Family. This battle saw the death of the very first Confederate soldier in the field. Private Henry Wyatt was the sole Confederate soldier killed in the battle, the only fatality of 8 Southern soldiers injured.
6| How did he Die? Being the first enlisted casualty of battle, it’s no wonder we know how it happened. Colonel D. H. Hill requested 4 volunteers to set fire to a house federal troops had commandeered and were using to pin down the Southern troops with their firepower. Henry was one of them. They never made it to the house, and Henry died in the line of fire.
7| The Fate of the House. After Henry’s death, the volunteers were recalled and the house was taken out by artillery fire.
8| Why Here? Confederate Forces hoped to dislodge troops from Ft. Monroe, reclaiming it for the Confederacy. Unfortunately, the same fort where Custis Lee (Robert E. Lee’s son) was born at remained the only Southern Fort in Virginia to remain in federal control through the entire war.
9| Tar Heel Legacy. North Carolina has often been known as the state that was “First at Big Bethel and Last at Palmito Ranch.” We lost more soldiers than any other state and sent the most men to the Confederate Army. As usual, we had a big hand in the events at the battle of Big Bethel.
10| The Victorious Victors *Halo* The Confederacy of course. They couldn’t let the first battle at home be won by the opposing army!
Have you heard of this battle before today? Is this the first time? I encourage you to do some research and share some of your findings in the comments below!
Have a Blessed Day and God Bless America!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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