American Civil War: 1861

American Civil War: 1861


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In the three months that followed the election of Abraham Lincoln, seven states seceded from the Union: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Representatives from these seven states quickly established a new political organization, the Confederate States of America. On 8th February the Confederate States of America adopted a constitution and within ten days had elected Jefferson Davis as its president and Alexander Stephens, as vice-president. Montgomery, Alabama, became its capital and the Stars and Bars was adopted as its flag. Davis was also authorized to raise 100,000 troops.

At his inaugural address, President Lincoln attempted to avoid conflict by announcing that he had no intention "to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." He added: "The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without yourselves being the aggressors."

President Jefferson Davis took the view that after a state seceded, federal forts became the property of the state. On 12th April, 1861, General Pierre T. Beauregard demanded that Major Robert Anderson surrender Fort Sumter in Charleston harbour. Anderson replied that he would be willing to leave the fort in two days when his supplies were exhausted. Beauregard rejected this offer and ordered his Confederate troops to open fire. After 34 hours of bombardment the fort was severely damaged and Anderson was forced to surrender.

On hearing the news, Abraham Lincoln called a special session of Congress and proclaimed a blockade of Gulf of Mexico ports. This strategy was based on the Anaconda Plan developed by General Winfield Scott, the commanding general of the Union Army. It involved the army occupying the line of the Mississippi and blockading Confederate ports. Scott believed if this was done successfully the South would negotiate a peace deal. However, at the start of the war, the US Navy had only a small number of ships and was in no position to guard all 3,000 miles of Southern coast.

On 15th April, 1861, President Lincoln called on the governors of the Northern states to provide 75,000 militia to serve for three months in order to put down the insurrection. Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee, all refused to send troops and joined the Confederacy. Kentucky and Missouri were also unwilling to supply men for the Union Army but decided not to take sides in the conflict.

Some states responded well to Lincoln's call for volunteers. The governor of Pennsylvania offered 25 regiments, whereas Ohio provided 22. Most men were encouraged to enlist by bounties offered by state governments. This money attracted the poor and the unemployed. Many African Americans also attempted to join the army. However, the War Department quickly announced that it had "no intention to call into service of the Government any coloured soldiers." Instead, black volunteers were given jobs as camp attendants, waiters and cooks.

Major General Irvin McDowell was given command of the Union Army and in July, 1861, Lincoln sent him to take Richmond, the new base the Confederate government. On 21st July McDowell engaged the Confederate Army at Bull Run. The Confederate troops led by Joseph E. Johnston, Thomas Stonewall Jackson, James Jeb Stuart, Jubal Early, E. Kirby Smith, Braxton Bragg and Pierre T. Beauregard, easily defeated the inexperienced Union Army. The South had won the first great battle of the war and the Northern casualties totaled 1,492 with another 1,216 missing.

After this defeat at Bull Run, Abraham Lincoln decided to appoint George McClellan as leader of the the Army of the Potomac. McClellan, who was only 34 years old, insisted that his army should undertake any new offensives until his new troops were fully trained.

On 30th August, 1861, Major General John C. Fremont, commander of the Union Army in St. Louis, proclaimed that all slaves owned by Confederates in Missouri were free. Abraham Lincoln was furious when he heard the news as he feared that this action would force slave-owners in border states to help the Confederates. Lincoln asked Fremont to modify his order and free only slaves owned by Missourians actively working for the South. When Fremont refused, he was sacked and replaced by General Henry Halleck. This upset the Radical Republicans in Congress who wanted to turn the conflict into a war against slavery.

In the autumn of 1861 the main action took place in Kentucky. On 4th September General Leonidas Polk and a large Confederate Army moved into the state and began occupying high ground overlooking the Ohio River. Ulysses S. Grant and his Union Army, had been assembling at Cairo, Illinois. He now moved his troops into Kentucky and quickly gained control of the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers as they flowed into the Ohio. President Jefferson Davis, aware that Union forces now controlled the main waterway into the heartland of the Confederacy, sent in General Joseph E. Johnston with reinforcements.

In November, 1861, Lincoln decided to appoint George McClellan as commander in chief of the Union Army. He developed a strategy to defeat the Confederate Army that included an army of 273,000 men. His plan was to invade Virginia from the sea and to seize Richmond and the other major cities in the South. McClellan believed that to keep resistance to a minimum, it should be made clear that the Union forces would not interfere with slavery and would help put down any slave insurrections.

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

I consider the Union is unbroken. I shall take care that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all States. There need be no bloodshed or violence; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority.

The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without yourselves being the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it.

My system is built upon the idea as a ruling one, namely, that we must change the question before the public from one upon slavery, or about slavery, for a question upon union or disunion. In other words, from what would be regarded as a party question to one of patriotism or union.

The occupation or evacuation of Fort Sumter, although not in fact a slavery or a party question, is so regarded. Witness the temper manifested by the Republicans in the free states, and even by the Union men in the South.

I would therefore terminate it as a safe means for changing the issue. I deem it fortunate that the last administration created the necessity. For the rest, I would simultaneously defend and reinforce all the ports in the Gulf and have the Navy recalled from foreign stations to be prepared for a blockade. Put the island of Key West under martial law.

15th April, 1861: Drowning the exaltations of the triumphant South, louder than their boom of cannon, heard above their clang of bells and blare of trumpets, there rang out the voice of Abraham Lincoln calling for seventy-five thousand volunteers for three months. This proclamation was like the first peal of a surcharged thunder-cloud, clearing the murky air. The South received it as a declaration of war; the North as a confession that civil war had begun; and the whole North arose as one man.

17th April, 1861: The 6th Massachusetts, a full regiment one thousand strong, started from Boston by rail. An immense concourse of people gathered in the neighborhood of the Boston and Albany railroad station to witness their departure. The great crowd was evidently under the influence of deep feeling, but it was repressed, and the demonstrations were not noisy. Tears ran down not only the cheeks of women, but those of men; but there was no faltering.

Before entering my front gate, I raised my eyes and saw the picture of my little family framed in by the window. Home, family, comfort, beauty, joy, love were crowded into an instant of thought and feeling, as I sprang through the door and quickly ascended the stairway.

My wife was patriotic, strong for the integrity of the Union, full of the heroic spirit, so when the crisis came, though so sudden and hard to bear, she said not one adverse word. I saw her watch me as I descended the slope toward the ferry landing, looked back, and waved my hat as I disappeared behind the ledge and trees.

In Mrs. Davis' drawing room last night, the president took a seat by me on the sofa where I sat. He talked for nearly an hour. He laughed at our faith in our own powers. We are like the British. We think every Southerner equal to three Yankees at least. We will have to be equivalent to a dozen now. He said only fools doubted the courage of the Yankees or their willingness to fight what they saw fit. And now that we have stung their pride, we have roused them till they will fight like devils.

At railroad stations in Maine, on the approach and departure of our trains, there was abundant cheering and words of encouragement. However, here and there were discordant cries. Few, indeed, were the villages where no voice of opposition was raised. But, later in the war, in the free States after the wounding and the death of fathers, brothers, and sons, our sensitive, afflicted home people would not tolerate what they called traitorous talk.

I propose to ratify whatever needs ratification. I propose to render my clear and distinct approval not only of the measure but of the motive which promoted it. I propose to lend the whole power of the country, arms, men, money, and place them in his hands with authority almost unlimited, until the conclusion of this struggle. I want sudden, bold, forward, determined war; and I do not think anybody can conduct war of that kind as well as a dictator.

I promptly received the desired authority for raising the regiment, and departed for the City of New York. I found the people of New York in the full blaze of the patriotic emotions excited by the firing upon Fort Sumner and the President's call for volunteers. There were recruiting stations in all parts of the town. The formation of regiments proceeded rapidly. Wealthy merchants were vying with each other in lavish contributions of money for the fitting out of troops, and numberless women of all classes of society were busy stitching garments or bandages for the soldiers, or embroidering standards.

In New York, I found that many of the German cavalrymen I had counted upon had already enlisted in the infantry regiments then forming. But there were enough of them left to enable me to organize several companies in a very short time, and I should certainly have completed my regiment in season for the summer campaign, had I not been cut short in my work by another call from the government. I received a letter from the Secretary of State informing me that circumstances had rendered my departure for my place at Madrid eminently desirable, and that he wished me to report myself to him at Washington as soon as possible.

Who are they? They belong to that fanatical abolitionist clique who are labouring to divert this war from its legitimate objective into an exterminating crusade against Southern slavery.

There was a great battle yesterday. The Yankees are overwhelmingly routed. Thousands of them killed. I was in the fight. We at one time stood for two hours under a perfect storm of shot and shell - it was a miracle that none of our company was killed. We took all of their cannon from them; among the batteries captured was Sherman's - battle lasted about 7 hours - about 90,000 Yankees, 45,000 of our men. The cavalry pursued them till dark - followed 6 or 7 miles. General Scott commanded them. I just snatch this moment to write - am out doors in a rain - will write you all particulars when I get a chance. We start just as soon as we can get our breakfast to follow them to Alexandria. We made a forced march to get here to the battle - travelled about 65 miles without stopping. My love to all of you. In haste.

When the Unionists resumed their advance, the rebels successfully resisted their rather desultory attacks at different points. With every unsuccessful onward attempt there was a rapid melting away of the assailants. Fewer and fewer officers and men could be rallied for another advance. Towards four o'clock, the rebels felt strong enough to take the offensive. A brigade with a battery under Earle managed to strike the Federal right on the flank and rear and throw it into utter confusion, which spread rapidly along the whole front. Now came the disastrous end. Without any formal orders to retreat, what was left of the several organizations yielded to a general impulse to abandon the field. Officers and men became controlled by the one thought of getting as far as possible from the enemy.

I saw Burnside's men, who had come back from the field with their muskets gleaming in the sunshine. They had some appearance of formation and were resting on their arms. I noticed other troops more scattered; ambulances in long columns leaving the field with the wounded. There were men with broken arms; faces with bandages stained with blood; bodies pierced; many were walking or limping to the rear; meanwhile shells were shrieking and breaking in the heated air. I was sorry, indeed, that those left of my men had to pass that ordeal.

When forming, I so stationed myself, mounted, that the men, marching in twos, should pass me. I closely observed them. They were pale and thoughtful. Many looked up into my face and smiled. As soon as it was ready the first line swept up the slope, through a sprinkling of trees, out into an open space on high ground. An enemy's battery toward our front and some musketry shots with no enemy plainly in sight caused the first annoyance. Soon another battery off to our right coming into position increased the danger. And, worse than the batteries, showers of musket balls from the wood, two hundred yards away.

Many officers labored to keep their men together, but I saw could effect nothing under fire. At last I ordered all to fall back to the valley and reform behind the thicket. Before many minutes, however, it was evident that a panic had seized all the troops within sight. Some experienced veteran officers, like Heintzelman, entreated and commanded their subordinates, by turns, to rally their men; but nothing could stop the drift and eddies of the masses that were faster and faster flowing toward the rear.

Captain Heath, of the Third Maine, who, promoted subsequently to lieutenant colonel and fell in the battle of Gaines Mills, walked for some time by my horse and shed tears as he talked to me: "My men will not stay together, Colonel, they will not obey me," he said. Other brave officers pleaded and threatened. Surgeons staying back pointed to their wounded and cried: "for God's sake, stop; don't leave us!" Nothing could at that time reach and influence the fleeing crowds except panicky cries like: "The enemy is upon us! We shall be taken!" These cries gave increase to confusion and speed to flight.

Heintzelman, with his wounded arm in a sling, rode up and down and made a last effort to restore order. He sharply reprimanded every officer he encountered. He swore at me. From time to time I renewed my attempts. My brother, C. H. Howard, if he saw me relax for a moment, sang out: "Oh, do try again!" Part of the Fourteenth New York from Brooklyn rallied north of Bull Run and were moving on in fine shape. "See them," said my brother; "let us try to form like that!" So we were trying, gathering a few, but in vain. Then I stopped all efforts, but sent out this message and kept repeating it to every Maine and Vermont man within reach: "To the old camp at Centreville. Rally at the Centreville camp."

The conduct of General Jackson also requires mention as eminently that of an able, fearless soldier and sagacious commander, one fit to lead his efficient brigade. His prompt, timely arrival before the plateau of the Henry House, and his judicious disposition of his troops, contributed much to the success of the day. Although painfully wounded in the hand, he remained on the field to the end of the battle, rendering valuable assistance.

Our victory was as complete as one gained by infantry and artillery alone can be. An adequate force of cavalry would have made it decisive. It is due under Almighty God, to the skill and resolution of General Beauregard, the admirable conduct of Generals Bee, Kirby Smith and Jackson and of the Colonel Evans, Cocke, Early and Elzey, and the courage, and unyielding firmness of our patriotic volunteers.

The defeated troops commenced pouring into Washington over the Long Bridge at daylight on Monday, 22nd July. The day drizzling all through with rain. The Saturday and Sunday of the battle had been parched and hot to an extreme - the dust, the grime, and smoke, in layers, sweated in, their clothes all saturated with the clay-powder filling the air - stirred up everywhere on the dry roads and trodden fields by the regiments, swarming wagons, artillery. All the men with this coating of sweat and rain, now recoiling back, pouring over the Long Bridge - a horrible march of twenty miles, returning to Washington baffled, humiliated, panic-struck. Occasionally, a rare regiment, in perfect order, with its officers (some gaps, dead, the true braves) marching in silence, with lowering faces, stern, weary to sinking, all black and dirty, but every man with his musket, and stepping alive; but these are the exceptions.

In the village of Hampton there were a large number of Negroes, composed in a great measure of women and children of the men who had fled thither within my lines for protection, who had escaped from marauding parties of rebels who had been gathering up able-bodied blacks to aid them in constructing their batteries on the James and York rivers. I have employed the men in Hampton in throwing up entrenchments, and they were working zealously and efficiently at that duty, saving our soldiers from the labor under the gleam of the midday sun.

I have seen it stated that an order had been issued by General McDowell, in his department, substantially forbidding all fugitive slaves from coming within his lines or being harbored there. Is that order to be enforced in all military departments? If so, who are to be considered fugitive slaves? Is a slave to be considered fugitive whose master runs away and leaves him? Is it forbidden to the troops to aid or harbor within the lines the Negro children who are found therein, or is the soldier, when his march has destroyed their means of subsistence, to allow them to starve because he has driven off the Rebel masters?

In a loyal state, I would put down a service insurrection. In a state of rebellion. I would confiscate that which was used to oppose my arms, and take all the property which constituted the wealth of that state and furnished the means by which the war is prosecuted, besides being the cause of the war; and if, in so doing, it should be objected that human beings were bought to the free enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, such objection might not require much consideration.

Lincoln means well but has no force of character. He is surrounded by Old Fogy Army officers more than half of whom are downright traitors and the other one half sympathize with the South. One month ago I began to doubt whether this accursed rebellion could be put down with a Revolution in the present Administration.

Sherman openly confessed, after he had been assigned to the command of the department, that he had not wished it and was afraid of his new responsibilities. With the vivid imagination inherent to genius, he clearly saw how formidable were the difficulties of the part he was expected to play in the suppression of the Rebellion. They simply appalled him. He found himself in command of raw troops, not exceeding twenty thousand in number. He believed that they should be multiplied many times. He feared the rebel forces in the State largely outnumbered his own, and he could not rid himself of the apprehension, that, if he should be attacked, he would have no chance of success.

It was not really want of confidence in himself that brought him to this state of mind, but, as it seemed to me, his intense patriotism and despair of the preservation of the Union in view of the fanatical, blood-thirsty hostility to it throughout the South. This dread took hold of him, he literally brooded over it day and night. It made him lapse into long, silent moods even outside his headquarters. He lived at Galt House, occupying rooms on the ground floor. He paced by the hour up and down the corridor leading to them, smoking and obviously absorbed in oppressive thoughts. He did this to such an extent that it was generally noticed and remarked upon by the guests and employees of the hotel. His strange ways led to gossip, and it was soon whispered about that he was suffering from mental depression.

A part of the men of the 27th Regiment, in the Stonewall Brigade, who had volunteered for twelve months, now found their year just expired. Assuming that the application of the last conscription act was a breach of faith to them, they demanded their discharge, and laying down their arms refused to serve another day. Their Colonel, Grigsby, referred the case to General Jackson for instructions. On hearing it detailed, he exclaimed, his eye flashing, and his brow rigid with a portentous sternness, "What is this bit mutiny? Why does Colonel Grigsby refer to me to know what to do with a mutiny? He should shoot them where they stand." He then turned to his adjutant, and dictated an order to the Colonel to parade his regiment instantly, with loaded muskets, to draw up the insubordinate companies in front of them, disarmed, and offer them the alternative of returning to duty, or being fusiladed on the spot. The order was obeyed, and the mutineers, when confronted with instant death, promptly reconsidered their resolution.

After the battle of Donelson, Mother Bickerdyke went from Cairo in the first hospital boat, and assisted in the removal of the wounded to Cairo, St. Louis and Louisville, and in nursing those too badly wounded to be moved. On the way to the battlefield, she systematized matters perfectly. The beds were ready for the occupants, tea, coffee, soup and gruel, milk punch, and ice water were prepared in large quantities, under her supervision, and sometimes her own hand.

When the wounded were brought on board, mangled almost out of human shape; the frozen ground from which they had been cut adhering to them; chilled with the intense cold in which some had lain for twenty-four hours; faint with loss of blood, physical agony, and lack of nourishment; racked with a terrible five-mile ride over frozen roads, in ambulances, in common Tennessee farm wagons, without springs; burning with fever; raving in delirium, or in the faintness of death, Mother Bickerdyke's boat was in readiness for them.

I never saw anybody like her. There was really nothing for us surgeons to do but dress wounds and administer medicines. She drew out clean shirts or drawers from some corner, whenever they were needed. Nourishment was ready for every man as soon as he was brought on board. Everyone was sponged from blood and frozen mire of the battlefield, as far as his condition allowed. His blood-stiffened, and sometimes horribly filthy uniform, was exchanged for soft and clean hospital garments. Incessant cries of "Mother! Mother! Mother!" rang through the boat, in every note of beseeching and anguish. And to every man she turned with a heavenly tenderness, as if he were indeed her son.


List of weapons in the American Civil War

The American Civil War, fought between the Union and Confederate forces, took place from 1861 to 1865. During the war, a variety of weapons were used on both sides. These weapons include edged weapons such as knives, swords, and bayonets, firearms such as rifled muskets, breech-loaders and repeating weapons, various artillery such as field guns and siege guns and new weapons such as the early grenade and landmine. [1]

The Civil War is often referred as one of the first "modern" wars in history as it included the most advanced technology and innovations of warfare available at the time. Some of the advances and innovations of the Civil War included mass production of war materiel, rifling of gun barrels and the use of the Minié ball, the advent of repeating firearms and metallic cartridges, transportation railroads with armed locomotives, ironclad warships, submarines, one of the first uses of air corps for aerial reconnaissance, communication (especially the telegraph), advances in medicine and the gradual decline of tactics from previous centuries. [2]


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When American won Independence from England in 1776, there were 13 colonies which formed a federal government. Colonies expanded from east coast to west forming 34 states by 1861. There were differences between states in the north and states in the south – which resulted in the American Civil War.

The difference in the attitude towards slavery can be seen as the root cause of the American Civil War. This had repercussions in the economic and political sphere too. The factors which led to the outbreak of the Civil War in America can be consolidated as below.


The Civil War and Nebraska, 1861

This year marks the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the beginning of the American Civil War on April 12, 1861, the date when Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina. Nebraska was then a U.S. territory, whose creation in 1854 by the so-called Kansas-Nebraska Act had been a major factor leading up to war. The act gave Southerners the right to take their slaves into new territories located west of the Missouri River, a part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase where slavery had previously been prohibited. Northern outrage over the prospect that slavery might spread into the West sparked the rise of the new Republican Party, which was determined to resist slavery's extension. The 1860 election of Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln to the presidency prompted South Carolina, and soon ten other slave-holding states of the Deep South, to leave the Union and form the Confederate States of America.

Despite Nebraska Territory's distance from the great Civil War drama playing out between 1861 and 1865 on battlefields in the East and South and in the rival capitals, Nebraskans were not mere bystanders. A large percentage of the territory's men served in the Union army. Nebraska civilians were touched by the war as well, including politicians who met in party conventions or held public office editors who debated wartime issues in their newspapers and merchants and farmers who ran the stores and raised the crops. As in all wars, those at home waited, often in vain, for the safe return of loved ones from the battlefronts. Telegraph lines that had reached Nebraska in 1860 meant that local editors received war news that was only a few days old. Less than a week after the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, Robert W. Furnas of the Brownville, Nebraska Advertiser, editorialized on the war's outbreak in the April 18 issue. Furnas, a Republican who had supported Abraham Lincoln for president, was outraged by the attack and gave a ringing call for patriots to support the U.S. government and the Union:

"Civil War is upon us and it is now the business of the government to pursue such a course as will most speedily and effectually silence the traitors and re-establish the supremacy of law and order. The immortal sentiment of Stephen Decatur is the motto of the people-May my country ever be right but right or wrong, my country always. . . . The damning blot must be wiped out-treason must be crushed with the strong arm of government, and the majesty of the law vindicated at the point of the bayonet if need be. The time for appeal, argument, and conciliation has gone. Let the tocsin now sound from every hill and valley let patriots rally to the call of their country, and 'woe be to him who shall attempt to withstand the tempest of a nation's wrath.'"


Today in History: The American Civil War Begins (1861)

On April 12, 1861, the American Civil War officially began with the attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina. The war was and remains one of the bloodiest civil wars ever fought in human history, resulting in more than 600,000 casualties.

Hostilities had been brewing between Southern state governments and the federal (Union) government for several years before the war officially began. There were several reasons for the hostilities, but the main reason was the issue of slavery in the United States. More specifically, the disagreements that took place before the violence broke out were over the legality of slavery in the expanding western territories.

As the United States grew in size (as it had since the early 1800s with the Louisiana Purchase), settlers branched out to the west, establishing territories and later states that would join the union. The federal government&rsquos policy was for any new territory or state that was created to be anti-slavery.

The real issue here was that if those territories entered the union as free states and territories, that would affect their representation in congress, giving the free North much more power.

US History Images

There were several political debates and compromises leading up to the Civil War. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise was passed, admitting Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. It also mandated that any new territory or state above the 36&prime / 30&prime latitude line could only be admitted as a free state (with the exception of Missouri).

In 1850, after the war with Mexico concluded, new territories were added, which brought up the debate about the expansion of slavery once more. With the Compromise of 1850, which was championed by Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, California was admitted as a free state while New Mexico and Utah were allowed to decide for themselves.

This issue continued to be debated up until the Civil War began. Outside of politics, the much larger population of the free North continued to pressure Congress to abolish slavery on moral grounds. In 1854, violence broke out in Kansas between pro and anti-slavery settlers who were angered over another Congressional Act, one that repealed part of the Missouri Compromise (it allowed both Kansas and Nebraska to choose for themselves despite their location). The fighting even included members of Congress between 1856 and 1858, when brawls broke out over the debate to extend slavery to the western territories.

In the two years before the war, occasional violence would erupt and the debate over the issue of slavery intensified. The South saw their rights being trampled on by the North. It is this feeling that ultimately led to seven Southern states to secede in early 1861, and that would lead to the first real shots being fired on April 12 at Fort Sumter.

The war would rage for four years, and would cost at least 600,000 people their lives. It remains to this day the bloodiest war in American history.


American Civil War: 1861 - History

November 6, 1860 - Abraham Lincoln, who had declared "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free. " is elected president, the first Republican, receiving 180 of 303 possible electoral votes and 40 percent of the popular vote.

December 20, 1860 - South Carolina secedes from the Union. Followed within two months by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.

Auction and Negro sales, Atlanta, Georgia.

February 9, 1861 - The Confederate States of America is formed with Jefferson Davis, a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer, as president.

March 4, 1861 - Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as 16 th President of the United States of America.

April 12, 1861 - At 4:30 a.m. Confederates under Gen. Pierre Beauregard open fire with 50 cannons upon Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The Civil War begins.

Fort Sumter after its capture, showing damage from the Rebel bombardment of over 3000 shells and now flying the Rebel "Stars and Bars" - April 14, 1861.

April 15, 1861 - President Lincoln issues a Proclamation calling for 75,000 militiamen, and summoning a special session of Congress for July 4.

Robert E. Lee, son of a Revolutionary War hero, and a 25 year distinguished veteran of the United States Army and former Superintendent of West Point, is offered command of the Union Army. Lee declines.

April 17, 1861 - Virginia secedes from the Union, followed within five weeks by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, thus forming an eleven state Confederacy with a population of 9 million, including nearly 4 million slaves. The Union will soon have 21 states and a population of over 20 million.

Map of Allegiances of the States - 1861.

April 19, 1861 - President Lincoln issues a Proclamation of Blockade against Southern ports. For the duration of the war the blockade limits the ability of the rural South to stay well supplied in its war against the industrialized North.

April 20, 1861 - Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army. "I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children." Lee then goes to Richmond, Virginia, is offered command of the military and naval forces of Virginia, and accepts.

July 4, 1861 - Lincoln, in a speech to Congress, states the war is. "a People's contest. a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men. " The Congress authorizes a call for 500,000 men.

July 21, 1861 - The Union Army under Gen. Irvin McDowell suffers a defeat at Bull Run 25 miles southwest of Washington. Confederate Gen. Thomas J. Jackson earns the nickname "Stonewall," as his brigade resists Union attacks. Union troops fall back to Washington. President Lincoln realizes the war will be long. "It's damned bad," he comments.

Ruins of the Stone Bridge over which Northern forces retreated until it was blown up by a Rebel shell adding to the panic of the retreat, with the Federals returning to Washington as "a rain-soaked mob."

July 27, 1861 - President Lincoln appoints George B. McClellan as Commander of the Department of the Potomac, replacing McDowell.

McClellan tells his wife , "I find myself in a new and strange position here: President, cabinet, Gen. Scott, and all deferring to me. By some strange operation of magic I seem to have become the power of the land."

September 11, 1861 - President Lincoln revokes Gen. John C. Frémont's unauthorized military proclamation of emancipation in Missouri. Later, the president relieves Gen. Frémont of his command and replaces him with Gen. David Hunter.

November 1, 1861 - President Lincoln appoints McClellan as general-in-chief of all Union forces after the resignation of the aged Winfield Scott . Lincoln tells McClellan, ". the supreme command of the Army will entail a vast labor upon you." McClellan responds, "I can do it all."

November 8, 1861 - The beginning of an international diplomatic crisis for President Lincoln as two Confederate officials sailing toward England are seized by the U.S. Navy. England, the leading world power, demands their release, threatening war. Lincoln eventually gives in and orders their release in December. "One war at a time," Lincoln remarks.

January 31, 1862 - President Lincoln issues General War Order No. 1 calling for all United States naval and land forces to begin a general advance by February 22, George Washington's birthday.

February 6, 1862 - Victory for Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Tennessee, capturing Fort Henry, and ten days later Fort Donelson. Grant earns the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.

February 20, 1862 - President Lincoln is struck with grief as his beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, dies from fever, probably caused by polluted drinking water in the White House.

March 8/9, 1862 - The Confederate Ironclad 'Merrimac' sinks two wooden Union ships then battles the Union Ironclad 'Monitor' to a draw. Naval warfare is thus changed forever, making wooden ships obsolete. Engraving of the Battle

The Monitor at dock, showing damage from the battle.

In March - The Peninsular Campaign begins as McClellan's Army of the Potomac advances from Washington down the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay to the peninsular south of the Confederate Capital of Richmond, Virginia then begins an advance toward Richmond.

President Lincoln temporarily relieves McClellan as general-in-chief and takes direct command of the Union Armies.

April 6/7, 1862 - Confederate surprise attack on Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's unprepared troops at Shiloh on the Tennessee River results in a bitter struggle with 13,000 Union killed and wounded and 10,000 Confederates, more men than in all previous American wars combined. The president is then pressured to relieve Grant but resists. "I can't spare this man he fights," Lincoln says.

April 24, 1862 - 17 Union ships under the command of Flag Officer David Farragut move up the Mississippi River then take New Orleans, the South's greatest seaport. Later in the war, sailing through a Rebel mine field Farragut utters the famous phrase "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"

May 31, 1862 - The Battle of Seven Pines as Gen. Joseph E. Johnston 's Army attacks McClellan's troops in front of Richmond and nearly defeats them. But Johnston is badly wounded.

June 1, 1862 - Gen. Robert E. Lee assumes command, replacing the wounded Johnston. Lee then renames his force the Army of Northern Virginia. McClellan is not impressed, saying Lee is "likely to be timid and irresolute in action."

June 25-July 1 - The Seven Days Battles as Lee attacks McClellan near Richmond, resulting in very heavy losses for both armies. McClellan then begins a withdrawal back toward Washington.

Young Georgia Private Edwin Jennison, killed in the Seven Days Battles at Malvern Hill - the face of a lost generation.

July 11, 1862 - After four months as his own general-in-chief, President Lincoln hands over the task to Gen. Henry W. (Old Brains) Halleck .

Second Battle of Bull Run

August 29/30, 1862 - 75,000 Federals under Gen. John Pope are defeated by 55,000 Confederates under Gen. Stonewall Jackson and Gen. James Longstreet at the second battle of Bull Run in northern Virginia. Once again the Union Army retreats to Washington. The president then relieves Pope.

September 4-9, 1862 - Lee invades the North with 50,000 Confederates and heads for Harpers Ferry , located 50 miles northwest of Washington.

The Union Army, 90,000 strong, under the command of McClellan, pursues Lee.

September 17, 1862 - The bloodiest day in U.S. military history as Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Armies are stopped at Antietam in Maryland by McClellan and numerically superior Union forces. By nightfall 26,000 men are dead, wounded, or missing. Lee then withdraws to Virginia.

Confederate dead by the fence bordering Farmer Miller's 40 acre Cornfield at Antietam where the intense rifle and artillery fire cut every corn stalk to the ground "as closely as could have been done with a knife."

September 22, 1862 - Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves issued by President Lincoln.

President Lincoln visits Gen. George McClellan at Antietam, Maryland - October, 1862

November 7, 1862 - The president replaces McClellan with Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside as the new Commander of the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln had grown impatient with McClellan's slowness to follow up on the success at Antietam, even telling him, "If you don't want to use the army, I should like to borrow it for a while."

December 13, 1862 - Army of the Potomac under Gen. Burnside suffers a costly defeat at Fredericksburg in Virginia with a loss of 12,653 men after 14 frontal assaults on well entrenched Rebels on Marye's Heights. "We might as well have tried to take hell," a Union soldier remarks. Confederate losses are 5,309.

"It is well that war is so terrible - we should grow too fond of it," states Lee during the fighting.

January 1, 1863 - President Lincoln issues the final Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in territories held by Confederates and emphasizes the enlisting of black soldiers in the Union Army. The war to preserve the Union now becomes a revolutionary struggle for the abolition of slavery.

January 25, 1863 - The president appoints Gen. Joseph (Fighting Joe) Hooker as Commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Burnside.

January 29, 1863 - Gen. Grant is placed in command of the Army of the West, with orders to capture Vicksburg.

March 3, 1863 - The U.S. Congress enacts a draft, affecting male citizens aged 20 to 45, but also exempts those who pay $300 or provide a substitute. "The blood of a poor man is as precious as that of the wealthy," poor Northerners complain.

May 1-4, 1863 - The Union Army under Gen. Hooker is decisively defeated by Lee's much smaller forces at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia as a result of Lee's brilliant and daring tactics. Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson is mortally wounded by his own soldiers. Hooker retreats. Union losses are 17,000 killed, wounded and missing out of 130,000. The Confederates, 13, 000 out of 60,000.

"I just lost confidence in Joe Hooker," said Hooker later about his own lack of nerve during the battle.

Confederate soldiers at the Sunken Road, killed during the fighting around Chancellorsville.

May 10, 1863 - The South suffers a huge blow as Stonewall Jackson dies from his wounds, his last words, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."

"I have lost my right arm," Lee laments.

June 3, 1863 - Gen. Lee with 75,000 Confederates launches his second invasion of the North, heading into Pennsylvania in a campaign that will soon lead to Gettysburg.

June 28, 1863 - President Lincoln appoints Gen. George G. Meade as commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Hooker. Meade is the 5th man to command the Army in less than a year.

July 1-3, 1863 - The tide of war turns against the South as the Confederates are defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.

Union soldiers on the Battlefield at Gettysburg.

July 4, 1863 - Vicksburg , the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, surrenders to Gen. Grant and the Army of the West after a six week siege. With the Union now in control of the Mississippi, the Confederacy is effectively split in two, cut off from its western allies.

July 13-16, 1863 - Anti-draft riots in New York City include arson and the murder of blacks by poor immigrant whites. At least 120 persons, including children, are killed and $2 million in damage caused, until Union soldiers returning from Gettysburg restore order.

July 18, 1863 - 'Negro troops' of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment under Col. Robert G. Shaw assault fortified Rebels at Fort Wagner, South Carolina. Col. Shaw and half of the 600 men in the regiment are killed.

August 10, 1863 - The president meets with abolitionist Frederick Douglass who pushes for full equality for Union 'Negro troops.'

August 21, 1863 - At Lawrence, Kansas, pro-Confederate William C. Quantrill and 450 pro-slavery followers raid the town and butcher 182 boys and men.

September 19/20, 1863 - A decisive Confederate victory by Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee at Chickamauga leaves Gen. William S. Rosecrans ' Union Army of the Cumberland trapped in Chattanooga, Tennessee under Confederate siege.

October 16, 1863 - The president appoints Gen. Grant to command all operations in the western theater.

November 19, 1863 - President Lincoln delivers a two minute Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a National Cemetery.

Lincoln among the crowd at Gettysburg - Nov 19, 1863

November 23-25, 1863 - The Rebel siege of Chattanooga ends as Union forces under Grant defeat the siege army of Gen. Braxton Bragg. During the battle, one of the most dramatic moments of the war occurs. Yelling "Chickamauga! Chickamauga!" Union troops avenge their previous defeat at Chickamauga by storming up the face of Missionary Ridge without orders and sweep the Rebels from what had been though to be an impregnable position. "My God, come and see 'em run!" a Union soldier cries.

March 9, 1864 - President Lincoln appoints Gen. Grant to command all of the armies of the United States. Gen. William T. Sherman succeeds Grant as commander in the west.

May 4, 1864 - The beginning of a massive, coordinated campaign involving all the Union Armies. In Virginia, Grant with an Army of 120,000 begins advancing toward Richmond to engage Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, now numbering 64,000, beginning a war of attrition that will include major battles at the Wilderness (May 5-6), Spotsylvania (May 8-12), and Cold Harbor (June 1-3).

In the west, Sherman, with 100,000 men begins an advance toward Atlanta to engage Joseph E. Johnston's 60,000 strong Army of Tennessee.

A council of war with Gen. Grant leaning over the shoulder of Gen. Meade looking at a map, planning the Cold Harbor assault.

June 3, 1864 - A costly mistake by Grant results in 7,000 Union casualties in twenty minutes during an offensive against fortified Rebels at Cold Harbor in Virginia.

Many of the Union soldiers in the failed assault had predicted the outcome, including a dead soldier from Massachusetts whose last entry in his diary was, "June 3, 1864, Cold Harbor, Virginia. I was killed."

June 15, 1864 - Union forces miss an opportunity to capture Petersburg and cut off the Confederate rail lines. As a result, a nine month siege of Petersburg begins with Grant's forces surrounding Lee.

The 13-inch Union mortar "Dictator" mounted on a railroad flatcar at Petersburg. Its 200-pound shells had a range of over 2 miles.

July 20, 1864 - At Atlanta, Sherman's forces battle the Rebels now under the command of Gen. John B. Hood , who replaced Johnston.

August 29, 1864 - Democrats nominate George B. McClellan for president to run against Republican incumbent Abraham Lincoln.

September 2, 1864 - Atlanta is captured by Sherman 's Army. "Atlanta is ours, and fairly won," Sherman telegraphs Lincoln. The victory greatly helps President Lincoln's bid for re-election.

October 19, 1864 - A decisive Union victory by Cavalry Gen. Philip H. Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley over Jubal Early's troops.

November 8, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is re-elected president, defeating Democrat George B. McClellan. Lincoln carries all but three states with 55 percent of the popular vote and 212 of 233 electoral votes. "I earnestly believe that the consequences of this day's work will be to the lasting advantage, if not the very salvation, of the country," Lincoln tells supporters.

November 15, 1864 - After destroying Atlanta's warehouses and railroad facilities, Sherman, with 62,000 men begins a March to the Sea. President Lincoln on advice from Grant approved the idea. "I can make Georgia howl!" Sherman boasts.

December 15/16, 1864 - Hood's Rebel Army of 23,000 is crushed at Nashville by 55,000 Federals including Negro troops under Gen. George H. Thomas . The Confederate Army of Tennessee ceases as an effective fighting force.

December 21, 1864 - Sherman reaches Savannah in Georgia leaving behind a 300 mile long path of destruction 60 miles wide all the way from Atlanta. Sherman then telegraphs Lincoln, offering him Savannah as a Christmas present.

January 31, 1865 - The U.S. Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, to abolish slavery. The amendment is then submitted to the states for ratification.

February 3, 1865 - A peace conference occurs as President Lincoln meets with Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens at Hampton Roads in Virginia, but the meeting ends in failure - the war will continue.

Only Lee's Army at Petersburg and Johnston's forces in North Carolina remain to fight for the South against Northern forces now numbering 280,000 men.

March 4, 1865 - Inauguration ceremonies for President Lincoln in Washington. "With malice toward none with charity for all. let us strive on to finish the work we are in. to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations," Lincoln says.

March 25, 1865 - The last offensive for Lee's Army of Northern Virginia begins with an attack on the center of Grant's forces at Petersburg. Four hours later the attack is broken.

At Petersburg, Virginia, well supplied Union soldiers shown before Grant's spring offensive.

April 2, 1865 - Grant's forces begin a general advance and break through Lee's lines at Petersburg. Confederate Gen. Ambrose P. Hill is killed. Lee evacuates Petersburg. The Confederate Capital, Richmond , is evacuated. Fires and looting break out. The next day, Union troops enter and raise the Stars and Stripes.

A Confederate boy, age 14, lies dead in the trenches of Fort Mahone at Petersburg.

April 4, 1865 - President Lincoln tours Richmond where he enters the Confederate White House . With "a serious, dreamy expression," he sits at the desk of Jefferson Davis for a few moments.

April 9, 1865 - Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders his Confederate Army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the village of Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Grant allows Rebel officers to keep their sidearms and permits soldiers to keep horses and mules.

"After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources," Lee tells his troops.

General Lee surrendered in the parlor of this house.

Lee posed for this photo by Mathew Brady shortly after the surrender.

April 10, 1865 - Celebrations break out in Washington.

Final portrait of a war weary president - April 10, 1865

April 14, 1865 - The Stars and Stripes is ceremoniously raised over Fort Sumter. That night, Lincoln and his wife Mary see the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater. At 10:13 p.m., during the third act of the play, John Wilkes Booth shoots the president in the head. Doctors attend to the president in the theater then move him to a house across the street. He never regains consciousness.

April 15, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln dies at 7:22 in the morning. Vice President Andrew Johnson assumes the presidency.

April 18, 1865 - Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrenders to Sherman near Durham in North Carolina.

Funeral Procession on Pennsylvania Ave. - April 19, 1865

April 26, 1865 - John Wilkes Booth is shot and killed in a tobacco barn in Virginia.

May 4, 1865 - Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery, outside Springfield, Illinois.

In May - Remaining Confederate forces surrender. The Nation is reunited as the Civil War ends. Over 620,000 Americans died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. 50,000 survivors return home as amputees.

A victory parade is held in Washington along Pennsylvania Ave. to help boost the Nation's morale - May 23/24, 1865.

December 6, 1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, is finally ratified. Slavery is abolished.

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1861–1865 : The Civil War and International Diplomacy

In 1861, eleven states seceded from the United States to form the Confederate States of America and, over the course of the next four years, the U.S. fought to bring the Confederate States back under control.

During the Civil War the Confederacy repeatedly sought international support for its cause, often calling upon foreign reliance on its cotton exports to obtain it. The Union, on the other hand, strove to prevent other nations from recognizing the Confederacy as a legitimate nation and from getting involved in the Civil War.

In an attempt to starve the Confederate economy and to cut it off from its international supporters, the Union engaged in a blockade of Confederate ports—a move that was of questionable legality in international law. Despite the Confederacy’s significant international commercial ties, the lack of definitive military victories for the South and the success of Union efforts to link the Confederacy with the institution of slavery ultimately prevented any of the European powers from officially recognizing or supporting the South.


The American Civil War 1861 1865

The American Civil war was fought between 1861-1865. This war is also known as the War Between the States. This war was the consequence of the eleven Southern slave states declaring their separation from the United States. These slaves had formed the Confederate States of America or the Confederacy, under the guidance of Jefferson Davis. The American Civil war was regarded as one of the earliest industrial wars.

The American Civil War 1861 1865

Background of The American Civil War

In 1860 Republican Party leader, Abraham Lincoln had won the Presidential elections. Within a year of Lincolns win six more Southern slave states declared their independence and joined the Confederates. Prior to the war, a Peace Conference in 1861 was held which proved futile to solve the slavery problems.

Lincoln suggested for the restoration of the bonds of the union but dismissed any possibility of negotiations with the Confederates as it was not a legitimate government. The forts under the control of the Union were Fort Monroe, Fort Sumter, Fort Pickens, Fort Jefferson and Fort Taylor. However, problems began in 1861 when the Confederates launched an attack on Fort Sumter. The Union had to surrender the fort. After the attack, the Confederates moved their capital to Richmond.

During the first year of the war, both sides engaged a large number of volunteers which were beyond their capacity to train for the war. The volunteers were encouraged or at times even forced to join the war. This was done by using a draft law known as Conscription. These draft laws were unpopular amongst the volunteers.

The Union suffered a major defeat in the First Battle of Bull Run wherein they were forced to return back to Washington D.C. The U.S.Congress in an effort to prevent more states declaring independence passed the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution. As per this resolution, the war was to preserve slavery and not end it.

The Eastern theater and the Western theater wars were fought between 1861-1863. The Battle of Antietam is regarded as the bloodiest day in the American history. The Battle of Gettysburg fought in 1863 was the bloodiest battle in the Eastern theater and was considered to be the turning point in this battle. The Union defeated the Confederates in the Eastern theater.

The Battle of Chickamauga was considered to be one of the deadliest battles in the Western theater wherein the Confederates emerged victoriously. The Union under the directions of Ulysses S. Grant captured the Forts of Henry and Donelson. The Battle of Shiloh and the Battle of Vicksburg gave the control of the Mississippi River in the hands of the Union. The Western theater ended with the defeat of the Confederates.

The U.S army under the direction of Commanding General Winfield Scot planned the Anaconda Plan to win the war against the Confederates. In 1861, Union blockade was declared in respect of the Southern ports. This directly hampered the economy of the Confederates. The Southern ports thrived on their export of cotton but after the blockade, King Cotton was dead as barely 10 % of the cotton could be exported. The blockade also affected the food supplies, railroads, there was a loss of control of the main rivers, the standard of living of the people fell drastically. All these problems led to inflation and by 1864 the internal food distribution had broken down.

In the early 1864 Grant, the commander appointed for all the Union armies realized that the only way to put an end to the on-going war was to completely defeat the Confederates. The victory of the Union was to be achieved by destroying the homes, farms, and railroads of the Confederacy. In short, to completely shatter their economy. Thus a strategy was planned to launch an attack on Confederacy from all sides.

The Union suffered heavy losses at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbour but they were successful in forcing the Confederates to fall back repeatedly. The two armies were engaged in trench warfare for more than nine months in the Siege of Petersburg. General Philip Sheridan chosen by Grant to fight for the Union was successful in defeating Maj. Gen. Jubal A.

Early in many battles like the Battle of Cedar Creek. Sherman was also successful in defeating the Confederates and had claimed victory over the territory ranging from Chattanooga to Atlanta. Another important win for the Union was the Battle of Nashville. The Battle of Five Forks was the decisive battle in which the Union came out as winners. The Confederate capital was captured by the Union XXV Corps and the surviving units escaped to the west after the lost at Sayler’s Creek.

After this large scale loss, the Confederates realized that it was tactically and logically impossible to continue the war. In 1865, Confederate commander Lees army surrendered at the McLean House and after Lees surrender, the Confederates in the South also surrendered. This marked the end of the long war. However, on 14th April 1865, after the Confederates surrendered, Abraham Lincoln was shot.

He succumbed to his injuries the next morning. The war had resulted in the deaths of almost 3% of the country’s population. The number of casualties in this war is believed to be the same as the number of deaths in other American wars combined together.

The reconstruction work of the whole of the Union had begun during the war-time and continued until 1877. It was an attempt made to resolve the issues which had arisen as a result of the reunion. The main issue was the legal status of the states which had declared their secession. By the virtue of Emancipation Proclamation, almost all the Confederacy slaves were freed.

The slaves in the Border States and those in the previously occupied Confederate territory were released in 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment. The reasons for the devastating war remain ambiguous even today. The positive aspect of this war was that slavery was abolished everywhere in America.


American Civil War September 1861

September 1861 saw further political pressure put on General McClellan to attack Confederate forces near to Washington. McClellan presented his plan of attack to Lincoln on September 27th 1861. McClellan contimued to resent the political pressure that was being put on him as he knew that if his plan failed he would be blamed for possibly losing the American Civil War for the North.

September 1 st : Union forces commanded by General Rosecrans tightened their hold on western Virginia.

September 2 nd : President Lincoln voiced his concerns with regards to the declaration of martial law in Missouri. He believed that it would turn away those in the state who were sympathetic to the Union.

September 3 rd : General Polk ordered Confederate troops into Kentucky. When war started, Polk was a bishop in the Episcopal Church but resigned from the Church because of its support of the Union.

September 4 th : Troops commanded by Polk seized Columbus, thus ending Kentucky’s attempt to stay neutral in the war.

September 5 th : Union troops commanded by Ulysses Grant prepared to move into Kentucky in response to the move made by Polk.

September 6 th : Union forces captured Paducah without bloodshed. This town gave the Union a large measure of control over the river systems that were vital to the region.

September 9 th : Lincoln was advised by numerous senior military figures to relieve General Frémont of his command in Missouri. Lincoln did not take this advice but appointed General David Hunter to assist Frémont.

September 10 th : The Confederacy appointed General Albert Sidney Johnston as commander of the Confederate Armies of the West.

September 11 th : Lincoln ordered Frémont to withdraw his order regarding property and slave confiscation in Missouri for anyone who voiced their support for the Confederacy. Lincoln ordered Frémont to come into line with the Confiscation Act passed by Congress. To emphasise his order, Lincoln sent Judge Joseph Holt to St. Louis to push Frémont towards moderating his stance.

September 12 th : Lee, with 30,000 men under his command, expected to fight a force led by the Unionist General Rosecrans at Meadow Bridge, western Virginia. However, at the last moment Rosecans changed his direction of movement and engaged a Confederate force at Cheat Mountain, comprehensively defeating them. Union losses were 9 dead and 12 wounded while the Confederates lost nearly 100 men.

September 14 th : ‘USS Colorado’ sank the ‘Judah’, which was attempting to break the Federal blockade on Southern ports.

September 15 th : Confederate forces continued their efforts to capture Lexington. 3,600 Union defenders faced 18,000 Confederate troops. Colonel Mulligan, the Union commander of Lexington, waited for reinforcements unaware that all his messages to General Frémont were being read by the Confederates.

September 16 th : Union reinforcements sent to Lexington were captured en route by the Confederates who knew their movements beforehand.

September 18 th : Having received supplies, including ammunition, the Confederates launched a major assault on Lexington. The Union defenders were cut off from their fresh water supplies by Confederate snipers.

September 19 th : Confederate forces captured the hills around Lexington thus making the city even more open to artillery attacks. An attempt to get supplies to the Union defenders via the river system failed when the Confederates captured the supply boats along with their supplies.

September 20 th : Lexington finally fell to Confederate forces. Along with 1,600 prisoners, the Confederates also found $1 million – the Union forces payroll. Frémont’s perceived failure to help the Union defenders at Lexington badly counted against him in Washington DC.

September 21 st : All the evidence pointed to the situation in Missouri descending into chaos. Law and order had broken down with murder a common offence, as was the destruction of property.

September 24 th : Frémont shut down a newspaper printed in St Louis that questioned his leadership during the siege of Lexington. The editor of the ‘St. Louis Evening News’ was also arrested.

September 27 th : McClellan responded to the public’s overwhelming desire for him to launch an offensive against Confederate forces near Washington. McClellan discussed his strategy with President Lincoln. McClellan based his future strategy on highly inflated figures regarding the strength of Confederate forces near the capital. He told Lincoln that there were 150,000 Confederate troops near Washington DC. In fact, there were probably no more than 50,000. The president was told that 35,000 men were needed to guard the city with a further 23,000 needed to guard the Potomac River. This left him with about 75,000 men to launch his campaign against Confederate forces. McClellan demanded a force of 150,000 men to give him parity with the perceived strength of the Confederates.

September 30 th : Great public pressure was put on Lincoln to give his backing to an attack on Richmond led by McClellan. The president had to balance public desires with what McClellan had told him about the size of the Confederate force near the capital.


Watch the video: The American Civil War - Road To Fort Sumter - Full Documentary - Ep 1