This Week in the Civil War - 589

Jun 11, 2013

As Lee’s forces headed northwest in a steady advance, Union General Joseph Hooker on June 10, 1863 wrote Abraham Lincoln and advocated that he be allowed to move on Richmond, which would force Lee to abandon his invasion of the American North.

Lincoln replied, “I think Lee’s army, and not Richmond, is your true objective point. . . Fight him when opportunity offers.  If he stays where he is, fret him, and fret him.”  Clearly the citizens of the North were alarmed. 

The governor of Maryland called for the people of his state to rally against the anticipated invasion, and Baltimore erected breastworks to oppose Lee.  The alleged invincibility of Robert E. Lee was enough to panic the Northern electorate, even before a single Southerner could arrive on Northern soil.