fronting Union and Confederate forces began to produce the conflicts and casualties of earnest war. As yet they were both few and unimportant: the assassination of Ellsworth when Alexandria was occupied; a slight cavalry skirmish at Fairfax Court House; the rout of a Confederate regiment at Philippi, West Virginia; the blundering leadership through which two Union detachments fired upon each other in the dark at Big Bethel, Virginia; the ambush of a Union railroad train at Vienna Station; and Lyon's skirmish, which scattered the first collection of rebels at Boonville, Missouri.
Comparatively speaking, all these were trivial in numbers of dead and wounded — the first few drops of blood before the heavy sanguinary showers the future was destined to bring.
But the effect upon the public was irritating and painful to a degree entirely out of proportion to their real extent and gravity.
The relative loss and gain in these affairs was not greatly unequal.
The victories of Philippi an