A strong Federal force of seven regiments from Fort Monroe have marched and blundered through the night to attack Confederate positions at Big or Great Bethel, also known as Bethel Church. The attack is hesitant and confused and after about an hour the Union troops have to retire. Among the Northern losses is Major Theodore Winthrop, a brilliant young author. Ebenezer W. Pierce is the Northern field commander under Benjamin F. Butler’s direction. The Federals have something over 2,500 men with 18 killed, 53 wounded, and 5 missing for 76. Confederates under the general command of Colonel John Bankhead Magruder number about 1,200 engaged with 1 killed and 7 wounded. This essentially small engagement gives encouragement to the South and causes some pain to the North. Trophies of the fight are displayed in Richmond store windows.
A Federal expedition under Colonel Charles Stone begins its march from the Washington area to Edward’s Ferry on the Potomac in what will become known as the Rockville Expedition. During the period to July 7 there will be several small skirmishes but the expedition will protect the Potomac line north and west of Washington.
Meanwhile, Federal captures of blockade runners are increasing considerably, although a goodly amount of shipping is still getting through.
—Mary Chesnut, 1861
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.