Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Confederate Congress adjourns; Lee, others made full general

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fremont declares martial law, confiscations in Missouri

  • General John Fremont declares a dictatorial martial law across the state of Missouri. The unauthorized act provides for confiscation of all property belonging to "those who shall take up arms against the United States," with his intention to shoot any of them who are convicted by military court-martial. Fremont also declares that "slaves . . . are hereby declared free men." In defense of this unpopular move, Fremont says Missouri is a victim of "helplessness of civil authority and total insecurity of life." This Missouri Emancipation Proclamation is later revoked by President Lincoln. /1861
  • The Confederate tug Harmony attacks the USS Savannah under Captain Joseph B. Hull at Newport News, Virginia, inflicting damage before withdrawing./1861
  • Skirmishing continues at Bailey's Corners, Virginia./1861

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fort Hatteras, NC, falls

Bombardment of Fort Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Fort Hatteras, at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, falls into Union hands after a day and night of heavy bombardment in which Fort Hatteras sustains considerable damage. Colonel William F. Martin and Commodore Samuel Baron, CSN, surrender the Confederate garrison of 670. The Federals lose only one man. Butler returns to Fort Monroe, leaving the captured forts garrisoned. Union losses are 1 killed, 2 wounded.   Confederate losses are 5 killed, 51 wounded, 715 prisoners. This action eliminates blockade-running in the area and has propaganda value in that Northern troops have successfully invaded North Carolina. The Federal takeover of Cape Hatteras means the Yankees can command Hatteras Inlet which is a great advantage in stopping what has been an important route for Blockade runners. The capture of Cape Hatteras is an important victory for the Union, especially after the disaster at Manassas/Bull Run, Virginia, last month and Wilson’s Creek, Missouri, this month. It is the first Union naval victory and first successful incursion into Southern territory. It also gives the Union a toehold on the North Carolina coast and seals an important outlet to the Atlantic. Of this successful joint operation US Admiral D.D. Porter later wrote: “This was our first naval victory, indeed our first victory of any kind, and should not be forgotten The Union cause was then in a depressed condition, owing to the reverses it had experienced. The moral effect of this affair was very great, as it gave us a foothold on Southern soil and possession of the Sounds of North Carolina if we chose to occupy them. It was a death blow to blockade running in that vicinity, and ultimately proved one of the most important events of the war.” Hatteras Inlet will become a coal and supply depot for US blockading ships./1861
  • Off Apalachicola, Florida, the USS R.R. Cuyler, commanded by Captain Francis B. Ellison, seizes and burns the blockade runner Finland, which was prepared to receive a cargo of cotton and run the blockade./1861
  • At Marlborough Point, Virginia, the U.S.S. Yankee under Commander T. T. Craven and the U.S.S. Reliance, under Lieutenant Mygatt, engage the Confederate battery there. Meanwhile four U.S. steamers engage the Confederate battery at Aquia Creek, Virginia, for three hours./1861
  • Today in Middletown, New Jersey and Newton, Long Island, New York, peace conferences convene. While the South is incredulous that Lincoln would invade them for exercising their perfectly legal 10th Amendment rights to secede, many in the North agreed with them. Others feel the “erring sisters” can be brought back into the Union more quickly and with less bloodshed through negotiation rather than battle. Because Lincoln is bent on an aggressive policy of war, the conferences have no bearing on the Lincoln Administration./1861
  • A skirmish occurs at Morse's Mills, Missouri./1861

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hatteras' Fort Clark, NC, falls

Bombardment of Forts Hatteras and Clark
    • Today, while under fire, the United States Expeditionary Force under command of Ben Butler and Silas Stringham lands on Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with wet powder. While eight US Navy warships heavily bombard Forts Clark and Hatteras, the 900 Union troops come ashore to attack the rear of the Confederate batteries. Confederates unsuccessfully attempt to prevent the Federal attack and abandon Fort Clark under the heavy bombardment. The ships’ heavy cannonade forces the Confederates to evacuate Fort Clark. Commodore Samuel Baron, CSN, with two small vessels joined the defenders that evening. The Federals take abandoned Fort Clark with no resistance and begin firing on Confederate-held Fort Hatteras./1861
    • Union Commander Dahlgren, Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard, sends 400 seamen on steamboat Philadelphia to Alexandria, Virginia, to report to Brigadier General William B. Franklin for the defense of Fort Ellsworth. This timely naval reinforcement strengthens the fort’s defenses and consequently that of the nation’s capital. /1861 
    • The USS Yankee, commanded by Cdr. T.T. Craven, captures the schooner Remittance near Piney Point, Virginia./1861
    • The United States War Department gives Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant the command of Union troops in southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois./1861 
    • Skirmishes occur in Missouri at Ball's Mills and Lexington, in Virginia at Bailey's Cross Roads and Bailey's Corners, and in Western Virginia at Gauley Bridge./1861

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    Hatteras Inlet, NC: Expedition arrives

    • The Outer Banks of North Carolina are a series of long, narrow islands that separate Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic Ocean, and Hatteras Inlet is the only deep-water passage connecting the two. In the first months of the war, the Outer Banks have provided perfect conditions for surreptitious Confederate blockade runners and raiders. From a vantage point atop the Hatteras lighthouse, Confederate privateers can see the Gulf Stream which Northern ships use to increase speed traveling to Northern ports. Privateers lay in wait until ships appear on the horizon and then overhaul them. Northern insurance adjusters have put pressure on the Lincoln Administration’s War Department to do something about the losses. During the summer of 1861, the CSS Winslow has wreaked havoc on Union shipping off North Carolina, and Federal naval and army officials combined forces to bring the area under control. To protect Hatteras Inlet, the Confederates have built two fortresses of sand and wood, garrisoned with 350 soldiers. Today the United States Expeditionary Force under command of General Benjamin Butler and Flag Officer Silas Stringham which left Hampton Roads, Virginia, yesterday, arrives off Cape Hatteras in view of Forts Hatteras and Clark with preparation for battle in the morning./1861
    • Skirmishes occur at Antietam Iron Works, Maryland, and in Virginia at Ball’s Cross Roads and Bailey's Cross Roads./1861

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    Hatteras Expedition departs, Battle at Kessler's Cross Lanes

    Hatteras Expedition leaves Hampton Roads
    • Skirmishing breaks out at Wayne Court House, Blue's House, and Cross Lanes, western Virginia/1861 
    • From his throne in Hawaii, King Kamehameha IV proclaims the neutrality of the Hawaiian Islands in the War./1861 
    • In Western Virginia, Brigadier General John Floyd, commanding Confederate forces in the Kanawha Valley, crosses the Gauley River and attacks Col. Erastus Tyler's 7th Ohio Regiment encamped at Kessler's Cross Lanes. The Union forces are surprised and routed with 245 casualties. Confederate losses are 40. Floyd then withdraws to the river and takes up a defensive position at Carnifex Ferry./1861 
    • Hampton Roads, Virginia, is the scene of the disembarkation of the first Federal expeditionary fleet from Fortress Monroe. Its mission is to attack and capture Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, a haven for blockade runners. The amphibious force, composed of eight vessels and 900 New York troops, is commanded jointly by Flag Officer Silas Stringham and General Benjamin Butler. This joint Army-Navy operation has 500 men from the German-speaking 20th New York Volunteers, 220 from the 9th New York Volunteers, 100 from an Army unit calling themselves Union Coast Guard (actually the 99th New York Volunteers), and 20 army regulars from the 2nd U.S. Artillery on board the USS Adelaide and USS George Peabody. Stringham’s naval assault includes the USS Minnesota, Cumberland, Susquehanna, Wabash, Pawnee, Monticello, the US Revenue Service cutter Harriet Lane (used at Fort Sumter), and the tug Fanny, needed to tow some of the landing craft. Hatteras Inlet was the most important of the four inlets deep enough for ocean-going vessels, so North Carolina has constructed two forts there, named Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark. Fort Hatteras is on the sound side of Hatteras Island. Fort Clark is a half a mile southeast, nearer to the Atlantic Ocean, but neither are strong. Fort Hatteras has only ten mounted guns, with five more unmounted within the fort. Fort Clark has only five. Most of them are inadequate for coastal defense, only relatively light 32-pounders or smaller and of limited range. Worse is the scant numbers of soldiers. North Carolina raised and equipped 22 infantry regiments at the beginning of the war, but 16 of these are defending Virginia. The 6 regiments left are deployed to defend the entire North Carolina coastline. Only a few companies of the 7th North Carolina Volunteers occupy both forts at Hatteras Inlet. Other coastal forts are in similar weak shape. Less than 1,000 men garrison Forts Ocracoke, Hatteras, Clark, and Oregon, and reinforcements are as far away as Beaufort. Unbelievably, North Carolina militia authorities did not keep the sad state of their coastal defenses a secret and allowed captured and shipwrecked Yankee sea captains and others free access to the forts and their environs. At least two have provided valuable full descriptions to the US Navy Department./1861 
    • Union Captain A.H. Foote is ordered by the War Department in Washington to relieve Commander J. Rodgers in command of the Army’s gunboat flotilla on the Western rivers./1861
    • The US tug Fanny under Lieutenant Crosby reports the capture of the blockade runner sloop Mary Emma at the headwaters of the Manokin River, Maryland./1861 
    •  The USS Daylight under Commander Lockwood recaptures the brig Monticello in the Rappahannock River, Virginia./1861

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Confederate operations against New Mexico Indians

    • Confederate troops begin operations against Indians around Fort Stanton, New Mexico Territory, to last until Sept. 8./1861

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Davis appoints diplomats; Lincoln: 'Ky. camp stays'

    Beriah Magoffin. Library of Congress descripti...Image via Wikipedia
    Gov. Beriah Magoffin

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Rose O'Neal Greenhow placed under house arrest

    GreenhowImage via Wikipedia
    Rose O'Neal Greenhow
    • In Washington, D.C., Allen Pinkerton, leading the new US secret service, places Confederate spy Rose O'Neal Greenhow under house arrest. A wealthy Washington widow at the outbreak of the war, Greenhow is well connected in the capital and especially close to Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts. Openly committed to the Southern cause, Greenhow has formed a reliable spy network for the Confederacy. Her operatives had provided key information to General Pierre G. T. Beauregard about Union General Irwin McDowell's troop deployments before First Manassas in July, prompting Beauregard to request additional troops and win a decisive victory. The Federals quickly tracked down the leaks in Washington, and Pinkerton today places Greenhow under house arrest and will soon confine other suspected women in her home. But Greenhow would be undeterred in funneling information to the Confederates from visitors, including Senator Wilson. In frustration Pinkerton in early 1862 would confine Greenhow and her daughter to the Old Capitol Prison for five months, later exiling her and her daughter, "Little Rose," to the South in June 1862. Greenhow would later travel to England and France encouraging support for the Southern cause, writing her memoirs while abroad. Returning to the Confederacy in September 1864, Greenhow’s ship would run aground off the North Carolina coast as a Union war vessel chased it. Greenhow would drown when her lifeboat capsized, weighed down by a large load of gold./1861
    • The USS Release and Yankee engage Confederate batteries at the mouth of Potomac Creek, Virginia./1861
    • Skirmish occurs at Medoc, Missouri./1861
    • Fort Craig, New Mexico Territory, is abandoned by Federal forces after a skirmish./1861
    • Forces skirmish at Springfield, Western Virginia./1861

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Confederate Army of New Mexico on march

    USS LexingtonImage via Wikipedia
    USS Lexington

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Blockade runner caught off Charleston, SC

    Roswell S. RipleyImage via Wikipedia
    Brig. Gen. Roswell Ripley

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    State of Kanawha proposed; New CS diplomats approved

    • The pro-Union Second Wheeling Convention, the group of thirty-nine western Virginia counties which have seceded from the Commonwealth of Virginia, calls for the creation of the state of Kanawha. /1861
    • President Jefferson Davis approves the addition of Confederate commissioners to Europe. Everyone hopes that an eloquent commissioner like Benjamin Franklin can acquire needed arms, supplies, and recognition from Great Britain, France, and Spain/1861
    • Pro-Southern and Pro-Northern forces in Missouri battle it out at Jonesboro which follows a similar clash several days earlier at Klapsford. /1861
    • US Major-General George B. McClellan assumes command of the newly organized Department of the Potomac, replacing the Departments of Northeastern Virginia, Washington, and the Shenandoah./1861

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Confederate alliance with Missouri; More newspapers seized

    Confederate bond
    • In Charleston, Missouri, the Battle of Charleston (Bird's Point) is a minor clash in which Union forces led by Col. Henry Dougherty destroy a Confederate camp. This skirmish is the culmination of several skirmishes in the Charleston and Bird's Point area for the past week between pro-Union forces and secession groups./1861
    • Newspaper offices in Easton and West Chester, Pennsylvania, are seized by the Lincoln Administration for their supposed Southern sympathies. The editor of the Essex County Democrat in Haverhill, Massachusetts, is tarred and feathered for his pro-Confederate feelings/1861 
    • Trying to settle the political and military chaos in Missouri, the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, agrees to an alliance with Missouri's secessionist government The Congress also passes an Act authorizing the sale of Confederate Bonds. /1861 
    • US Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox orders 200 US Marines to report to Commander Dahlgren at the Washington Navy Yard for duty on board ships of the Potomac Flotilla for the purpose of scouting the Maryland countryside—especially Port Tobacco—for locations suspected of being Confederate depots for provisions and arms to be used for invading Maryland./1861
    • In Washington, Henry Halleck is promoted to Major General./1861

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Spies in White House; Privateer Jefferson Davis wrecks

    St. Augustine, Florida waterfront, 1860'sImage via Wikipedia
    St. Augustine, Florida, waterfront in 1860s
    • In Washington, President Lincoln receives a warning from Marshal Ward Lamon, in Philadelphia that too many eavesdroppers and traitors lurk about the White House. He urges that security measures be tightened, and a detective employed./1861
    • Skirmishes at Pohick Creek, Virginia, and Sandy Hook, Maryland./1861
    • Near St. Augustine, Florida, the Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis, commanded by Captain Coxetter, wrecks on the bar trying to enter St. Augustine, ending a very successful cruise. The Charleston Mercury (26 August 1861) writes: “The name of the privateer Jefferson Davis has become a word of terror to the Yankees. The number of her prizes and the amount of merchandise which she captured have no parallel since the days of the Saucy Jack [1812 privateer]."/1861

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    US Army changes & NC Stone Fleet ready

    • In Washington, President Lincoln orders a commission for Kentuckian Simon Bolivar Buckner as brigadier general of volunteers (which he will refuse in preference for a Confederate general’s commission),  and George Thomas of Virginia is appointed US brigadier general of volunteers, Army of the Cumberland. US General Wool takes command at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, superseding Benjamin Butler. In a reorganization, the US Departments of Northeastern Virginia, Washington (DC), and the Shenandoah are merged into the US Department of the Potomac, officially forming the Union Army of the Potomac, which would commit most of the bloodshed in the Eastern Theater of the war. Maj. Gen. Henry “Old Brains” Halleck is made commander of the new Department of the Potomac. Today also Lincoln watches another exhibition of J. D. Mills' gun, dubbed by Lincoln "coffee mill gun,” near the Washington Monument and advises the government to pay double the sum that mechanics say it is worth if delivered in 30 days. /1861
    • North Carolina coast
      US Lieutenant Reigart B. Lowry writes US Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox regarding the progress for sinking a stone fleet to block the inlets to the North Carolina sounds: "We have nineteen schooners properly loaded with stone, and all our preparations are complete to divide them in two divisions and place them in tow of this steamer [Adelaide] and of the Governor Peabody. I think all arrangements are complete, as far as being prepared to 'sink and obstruct' . . . the obstructing party could place their vessels in position, secure them as we propose, by binding chains, spars on end in the sand to settle by action of the tide, anchors down, and finally sink them in such a way as to block the channel so effectually that there could be no navigation through them for several months to come, at least till by the aid of our new gunboats the outside blockade could be effectual."/1861
    • Skirmish at Brunswick, Missouri./1861

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Lincoln moves to curb freedom of New York press

    Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of th...Image via Wikipedia
    President Lincoln
    • In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln issues a proclamation declaring the seceding States in a state of insurrection and prohibiting all trade and public intercourse with them. This proclamation is important as a legal issue. First, it serves notice that no further compromising will be done with the seceded states. In addition it ends a thriving cotton trade in the border states. Most importantly, it makes lawful any action that the Administration would like to take against anyone in the North whom it deems to be trafficking with the enemy. These actions could include curbing freedom of the press and jailing suspected individuals without charges for indefinite periods (suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, which is protected and guaranteed in the US Constitution). And the Lincoln Administration doesn’t waste any time. In New York, the Lincoln Administration indicts several New York newspapers in court for alleged pro- Confederate leanings, among them are the New York Journal of Commerce, the Brooklyn Eagle, and the New York Daily News/1861 
    • Patriot and Union forces clash at Fredericktown and Kirkville, Missouri/1861 

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    The West: Reconnaissance, reinforcements, and reconfigurations

    USS TylerImage via Wikipedia
    USS Tyler
    • On the Mississippi River in Missouri, the USS Tyler and Conestoga under Lieutenant S.L. Phelps scouts the river for Confederate fortifications and movements as far south as New Madrid, Missouri, while Lieutenant Roger N. Stembel of the USS Lexington, operating with the US Army, reconnoiters the river north to Cape Girardeau, Missouri./1861
    • At Mathias Point, Virginia, the USS Resolute, under command of Acting Master W. Budd, engages Confederate troops in land batteries while on a reconnaissance mission./1861
    • The US Department of Kentucky and the Department of the Cumberland are combined under General Robert Anderson, the Union’s tragic hero of Fort Sumter. The new Department of the Cumberland encompasses both Kentucky and Tennessee, violating Kentucky’s neutrality and laying claim to another state which has allied with the Confederacy. Anderson’s department headquarters situated in Cincinnati, Ohio, demonstrates its geographical fiction and Lincoln's invasive intentions./1861
    • In Washington, while President Lincoln directs new reinforcements be sent to subdue Missouri and forcibly hold her in the Union, he anxiously works on the volatile situation in Missouri by telegraph. He telegraphs Gen. John Fremont, commanding the Department of the West at Saint Louis: "Been answering your messages ever since day before yesterday. Do you receive the answers? The War Department has notified all the governors you designate to forward all available force. So telegraphed you. Have you received these messages? Answer immediately." Then he telegraphs Governor Morton of Indiana: "Start your four regiments to Saint Louis at the earliest moment possible. . . . hasten everything forward as soon as any one regiment is ready. . . . We shall endeavor to send you the arms this week."/1861

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Martial law declared in St. Louis

    John C. Frémont. Library of Congress descripti...Image via Wikipedia
    The odd bird John Fremont
    • US General John Fremont declares martial law in St. Louis, Missouri. Fremont also orders two newspapers closed for allegedly pro-Southern editorials./1861
    • In Richmond, Jefferson Davis orders the banishment of all foreign nationals whose home countries did not recognize the Confederate government./1861
    • In Washington, President Lincoln decides to violate further Kentucky’s neutrality and Tennessee’s sovereignty and send assistance to Union men in Kentucky and Tennessee. He selects Brig. Gen. Robert Anderson, a Kentuckian, to command three brigades, and consults again with Tennessee Senator Andrew Johnson and Congressman Maynard. /1861

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Confederate Navy contracts British shipbuilders

    Cmdr. James D. Bulloch, CSN
    • Confederate Naval Commander and Secret Service Agent James Dunwoody Bulloch writes from Liverpool in the United Kingdom to Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory: “After careful examination of the shipping lists of England, and inspecting many vessels, I failed to find a single wooden steamer fit for war purposes, except one paddle steamer, too large and costly for our coast. Wood as a material for ships has almost entirely gone out of use in the British merchant service, and their iron ships, though fast, well built, and staunch enough for voyages of traffic, are too thin in the plates and light in the deck frames and stanchions to carry guns of much weight. I therefore made arrangements to contract with two eminent builders for a gun vessel each . . .” Bulloch has signed his first contract with Fawcett & Preston Engineers in Liverpool and WC Miller and Son Ship Builders to build the CSS Florida, which would be finished by years’ end. He has signed the second contract in July 1861 with John Laird Sons and Company who has a shipyard near Liverpool to build the Enrica, the alias for the famous Confederate raider, the CSS Alabama. To be commanded by Admiral Raphael Semmes beginning one year from today, the CSS Alabama would range the globe for two years destroying Union merchant ships – 55 in all valued at US$4.5 million, plus ten others bonded at an additional US$562,000. In addition, Semmes would capture over 2,000 prisoners, not one harmed but deposited at the nearest port, all this without losing a single man./1861
    • In Washington, Gen. Robert Anderson, the Kentucky native who had commanded the US forces inside Fort Sumter back in April, dines with the President and is informed of his appointment on completion of his convalescence to a command in Kentucky, violating the state’s neutrality. Gen. George B. McClellan also spends most of the evening at White House. /1861
    • The USS Powhatan, commanded by Lieutenant David D. Porter, recaptures the schooner Abby Bradford off the mouth of the Mississippi River./1861