Wednesday, May 18, 2011

US Navy shells Sewall's Point, Va.; Arkansas admitted to Confederacy

Confederate batteries at Craney Island & Sewall's Point
  • In its first acknowledged offensive against the Confederacy, the Union Navy engages Confederate batteries at Sewall’s Point, Virginia, near Norfolk,opposite Federally-held Fortress Monroe. This is the second action (after Gloucester) as part of its blockade of the Chesapeake Bay. Two Union gunboats, including USS Monticello, both under command of Navy Lieutenant D.L. Braine, duel with Confederate batteries on Sewell's Point under command of Brig. Gen. Walter Gwynn and Capt. Peyton Colquitt in an attempt to enforce the blockade of Hampton Roads at the mouth of the Rappahannock River, completing the full blockade of Virginia. The two sides do each other little harm over two days of shelling. There are only ten casualties total on both sides. /1861

  • Confederate Congress in Montgomery, Alabama, votes to admit Arkansas to the Confederate States of America./1861
    • Francis Blair, Jr.
      In another administrative bungling act, President Lincoln had made matters at the Federal Arsenal at St. Louis, Missouri, even more confusing. The military chief there, Gen. William S. Harney, had been relieved of command on April 21, then reappointed May 8. Next Lincoln had sent a letter to local Unconditional Union Republican politician Francis Blair, Jr., giving him authority at his discretion to recommend to Lincoln whether to relieve Harney again because the general was suspected of tolerating Confederate elements. Today Lincoln sends Blair (brother of Postmaster General Montgomery Blair and brother-in-law of Gustavus V. Fox) yet another letter, rescinding his first one./1861

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