The New York Tribune, echoing the uncertainty of Northerners and Southerners alike, speculates on the shape and scope of the looming war and the Union strategy as the hot summer approaches: “During the coming Summer our troops will doubtless be chiefly employed in holding the forts, navy yards, and arsenals now in our possession in the seceded States; in fortifying and protecting the national Capital and (in) being prepared to protect loyal and punish rebellious citizens.”
But such newspaper speculation doesn't foresee the grinding July battles on the horizon, nor the length and final cost of the conflict, adding “when autumn shall usher in invigorating breezes, heavy columns will descend into the rebel territories till our flag waves in triumph ”
Other dispatches report Washington is well garrisoned with troops from the North and special provisions have been made for the feeding of such a fighting force. The secretary of war requisitions rail cars from the North to transport troops toward Manassas Junction, northern Virginia, for battles to come.
In southern Virginia, an early battle erupts June 10 when Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler sends forces from Hampton and Newport News toward Confederates stationed at Little and Big Bethel, Va. The federal forces attack along a road, are turned back and one commander is killed as Union forces withdraw. There are reports of at least one Confederate killed and others wounded.