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This week in the Civil War - August 19, 1862

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This week 150 years ago in the war, Confederate fighters are on the move, set to open an offensive in Kentucky that would trigger fighting in the border state in late August 1862. The state is seen as crucial territory to both sides. Confederate Gen. E. Kirby Smith puts his troops on the road on Aug. 14, 1862, and within days that tramping army is moving well into Kentucky.

All told, his roughly 6,000 men present a formidable fighting force. The troops advancing on the road to Richmond, Ky., would not engage Union rivals in combat until Aug. 29, 1862, in the first of their clashes in the region.

Meanwhile, every sign suggests this war will be protracted, deadly and grim. Now the once popular move of signing up to fight is wearing thin in some cities and mandatory calls for duty are being resisted by some. The Associated Press reports a large number of people claiming "protection of the British flag" thronged the British consul's office in St. Louis one summer day seeking to exempt themselves from government-ordered militia duty. "Several affrays and struggles occurred between the disturbers and police,"AP reported, adding critics complained of those who sought to "sneak from duty by enrolling themselves as subjects of Great Britain." AP notes that several arrests were made.

Elsewhere, reports note that a Union army that waged an enormous but ultimately failed offensive to seize Richmond, Va., capital of the Confederacy, has fully withdrawn by Aug. 16 from Tidewater areas to the east. The report said several hundred of the last troops had completed the withdrawal on ships and boats in recent days and "all is quiet." The failure of the Union to capture Richmond and end the war quickly has quashed morale in the North while notably boosting spirits in the South.

From the Associated Press and ABCNewsGo

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