The Eastern Shore of Virginia in the Civil War
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Gen. John Adams Dix, the Union commander of the Department of Maryland, wrote in an 1861 letter to Francis Blair of President Lincoln's administration that "we are in the most danger on the Eastern Shore [of Virginia]." Dix did not exaggerate when he implied that Accomac and Northampton County embodied secessionist sentiment on the Delmarva Peninsula in 1861. Dix knew that the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the most southern region of Delmarva, heavily influenced its neighbors to the north. If it made a strong demonstration in favor of the Confederacy, the Eastern Shore of Maryland might go spiraling toward secession. It could also decrease Union sentiment and progress in lower Delaware. With this in mind, Dix decided to make a preemptive strike on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in late 1861. Although this campaign describes only part of the question that this thesis entails it embodies the overarching importance of what occurred in the area.1
1. Delmarva is a modern connotation denoting the peninsula made up by parts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Susie M. Ames, "Federal Policy Toward the Eastern Shore of Virginia." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 69 (1961) : 432-459.
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