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April 11, 1862: Snow and a Salute

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Diary Entry:
Six inches of snow this morning, which is more than we saw at any time during the winter. This evening Battery L fired a salute of 34 rounds in honor of the recent victories.

See the scanned diary page.

More Information:
Battery L of the 1st New York Light Artillery had been stationed at Camp Andrew in Baltimore since late-February 1862, and remained there through most of May. Battery L, also known as Reynolds’ Battery, was organized in the fall of 1861.

It’s hard to say what victories in particular Cyrus was referring to in this diary entry. He may have been thinking of the Union victories at Forts Henry and Donelson in Tennessee that occurred in February or of the more recent  Battle of Shiloh on April 6 and 7.

The Battle of Shiloh took place near Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, 22 miles north of Corinth, Mississippi, an important intersection of the railroads in the region. 23,746 men were killed, wounded or missing from both the Union and Confederate armies during the battle. Shiloh showed that the war was probably going to be drawn out and deadly. The battle also made it possible for the Union to eventually gain control of Corinth and the major railroads in northern Mississippi.

Cyrus and the soldiers at Camp Andrew may also have heard news of the Union victory in the Battle of Fort Pulaski, near Savannah, Georgia, on April 10 and 11, 1862. The Federals used 36 guns placed in 11 batteries on nearby Tybee Island to bombard the walls of the fort until the Confederates surrendered. The battle was significant because it was the first use of rifled artillery to destroy a masonry fort. Victory at Fort Pulaski also meant that the Union could close Savannah as a port and extend their blockade of Atlantic coastal cities farther south.

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