Monday, November 5, 2007

ON THIS DAY: Tuesday, Nov. 5, 1861

Returning from his failed campaign in western Virginia, Gen. Robert E. Lee had net public derision as ”Granny Lee.” He is well regarded well enough by Confederate President Jefferson Davis, however, that today he is appointed commander of the new Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida. In less than a year, Lee will re-emerge in command in his beloved Virginia and begin a career of mounting fame.

In western Virginia, Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes records the toll sickness is taking on the 23rd Ohio. Of a strength—on paper—of 936 men, about a third are absent or incapacitated, leaving only 657 “present for duty.” Some of those absent because of illness will die. In the course of the war, twice as many men will die from sickness as from wounds in combat.

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