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It was just 160 years ago today, May 15, 1862, when Union ships attempted to sail up the James River to test the defenses around Richmond Virginia. In a brief skirmish, Union forces discovered that Richmond would be a tough nut to crack, as accurate fire from Fort Darling and atop Drewry’s bluff repulsed the scouting ships.
The Union ships, including the famous Ironclad U.S.S. Monitor, sailed up the James River to reconnoiter the Confederate defenses. As part of the failed Union Peninsular Campaign to take Richmond and end the war quickly, these ships were scouting out the possibility of Naval operation inland against Virginia. Though casualties were light, perhaps the biggest disaster came to the Union high command that the war was not going to be that easy. 160 years ago today, a brief skirmish stated one thing for sure, the Civil War was not going to be short, but very, very long.
What was happening yesterday, on May 14th?