"Our worst fears are confirmed"

John G. Nicolay (1832 – 1901) to Therena Bates, July 21 – 22, 1861. Manuscript. John G. Nicolay Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Thus go the fortunes of battle. Our worst fears are confirmed. The victory which seemed in our grasp at four o’clock yesterday afternoon, is changed to an overwhelming defeat—a total and disgraceful rout of our men. The whole army is in retreat, and will come back as far as the lines of fortification on the other side of the river.

This blog complements the Library of Congress exhibition, “The Civil War in America.” This series of posts chronicles the sacrifices and accomplishments of those—from both the North and South—whose lives were lost or affected by the events of 1861–1865. To learn more about the object featured in this blog entry, visit the online exhibition.