Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Summer of 1861: July 30 through Sept. 2, 1861

July 30, 1861:
Gen. Benjamin Butler, in command of the Federal garrison at Ft. Monroe, Virginia, sends inquiry to the Sec. of War: we have 900 escaped slaves–what do we do with them?

July 31, 1861: Pres. Lincoln signs a commission promoting the unknown Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of Brigadier General, upon the recommendation of Rep. Elihu Washburne (R-Ill). Grant is put in charge of troops and supplies being gathered at Cairo, Illinois.

August 5, 1861: The USS Vincennes, off the coast of northern Florida, captures and burns a Rebel blockade runner, the Alvarado.

Congress passes the First Confiscation Bill, to whit: the property of persons in arms in rebellion to the United States is forfeit to the U.S. government.

August 8, 1861: Influenced by Gen. Butler’s legal arguments (he was a lawyer as a civilian), Sec. Cameron of the U.S. War Department authorizes Butler to keep the escaped slaves as "contraband of war."

August 10, 1861: BATTLE OF WILSON’S CREEK, Missouri. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, advancing through Springfield with 5,200 men (mostly Missouri and Kansas troops and Regulars with some from Iowa), meets a combined Rebel force of two Confederate brigades under Gen. Benjamin McCullough (mostly Arkansas troops, with a regiment from Louisiana and another from Texas) and the Missouri State Guard–technically not Confederate troops–under Gen. Sterling Price, for a total of over 13,000. Lyon splits his army, sending a brigade under Gen. Franz Sigel around the Rebel right, and then launches an attack at a superior enemy line. He is pushed back and then drives back two Rebel attacks. Lyon is killed instantly while leading a charge. The Federal troops fall back to Springfield, and eventually to the railhead at Rolla, Missouri. Losses:

U.S .– 258 killed, 873 wounded, 186 missing Total: 1,317

C.S. – 277 killed, 945 wounded, 10 missing Total: 1,232

Aug. 16, 1861: Several newspapers, including the New York Daily News and the Brooklyn Eagle are brought to court on sedition charges--for being pro-Confederate in their editorials.

Passed on Aug. 5, the First Confiscation Bill, allowing the Government to sieze the property of persons in arms against the United States is passed. It takes effect this week.

Aug. 14-20, 1861:Hero of Fort Sumter, Robert Anderson, is promoted to Brigadier General while military theoretician Henry Halleck is appointed Major General.

The "stone fleet"--a collection of old ships beyond useful life, loaded with many tons of rock rubble, readies to sail south. The intention of these ships is that they be sunk in the mouth of Charleston Harbor to block ships from getting in or out.

Aug. 24, 1861:In Richmond, Pres. Davis appoints three commissioners to act on behalf of the Confederacy in Europe. James Mason of Virginia (and the author of the much-hated 1850 Fugitive Slave law) is commissioner to Great Britain, John Slidell (former US Senator from Louisiana) is sent to France, and Pierre Rost of Louisiana to Spain. Their mission is to secure arms and supplies, purchase warships, borrow money, and work to establish diplomatic relations and even recognition for the CSA from these nations.

Aug. 24, 1861: Harper’s Weekly publishes an article on the issue of fugitive slaves coming into Union lines, and whether Federal troops are obligated to return runaways to their masters. Sec. of War Cameron tells Gen. Butler in Virginia 16 days ago that "property" belonging to persons in rebellion is considered forfeit. 
"Hence no question can arise as to fugitives from service within the States and Territories in which the authorities of the Union is fully acknowledged. But he says that in the States wholly or in part under insurrectionary control, where the laws of the United States are so far opposed and resisted that they can not be effectually enforced, it is obvious that the rights dependent upon the execution of those laws must temporarily fail, and it is equally obvious that the rights dependent on the laws of the State within which military operations are conducted must be necessarily sub- ordinate to the exigencies created by the insurrection, if not wholly forfeited by the treasonable conduct of parties claiming them. To this the general rule of right to services forms an exception."

San Bernardino, California - Maj. William S. Ketchum of the 4th U.S. Infantry, having steamed from San Francisco to San Pedro and landed his force of 2 companies of Regulars and 90 U.S. Dragoons, marched inland to quell uprisings in pro-Confederate Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. On this date, his force camps on the outskirts of San Bernardino and later marches through the streets as a demonstration of Federal power.

Aug. 27, 1861: Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. A joint U.S. Army-Navy expeditionary force sets out from Hampton Roads (Chesapeake Bay), under the commands of Flag Officer Silas Stringham and Gen. Benjamin F. Butler. This force approaches Hatteras Inlet, the best sea entrance through the Outer Banks barrier islands that guard the coast of North Carolina. The inlet is guarded by two Confederate forts, Ft. Clark and Ft. Hatteras. On this date, Butler's troops land behind Ft. Hatteras and set artillery batteries to shell the fort.

Aug. 28, 1861:
Battle of Hatteras Inlet:  Naval guns batter both forts and Ft. Clark is abandoned. Fort Hatteras surrenders later, leaving the Hatteras Inlet in Federal possession. Now, the U.S. Navy has open access to the vastness of Pamlico Sound, the vast inland waters that in turn give access to nearly all of the North Carolina coast. North Carolina, with the exception of the port of Wilmington, is effectively closed off to blockade-running commerce, and is vulnerable to more Union amphibious assaults on forts and towns that are on the Sound. This Northern victory cheers the Northern populace after the disastrous defeats on land in the summer weeks preceding this one. In the following weeks, Ocracoke Inlet and the rest of NC's inlets fall to Federal forces.

Aug. 30, 1861: Without approval from the White House, Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont, commander of the Army's Dept. of Missouri, declares martial law throughout all of Missouri. He also orders the confiscation of property of all pro-Southerners who are in arms against the government. He also declares all slaves in his district to be free.

Sept. 1, 1861: Little-known Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, as ordered by Department commander Gen. Fremont, assumes command of all Federal troops in the district between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers, known as the Department of Southwest Missouri.

West Virginia - Small forces collide in sharp skirmishes at Burlington, Blue Creek, and Boone Court House.

Sept. 2, 1861: Pres. Lincoln communicates with Gen. Fremont on his martial law proclamation in Missouri, and most of all with the provision to free the slaves, indicating that it is rather premature. He reminds Fremont (a fervent abolitionist) that he had no authority to do this and should rescind the order. Lincoln feels that this would alienate any Southern Unionists and "perhaps ruin our rather fair prospect for Kentucky."

Missouri: Dry-Wood Creek - A brigade of Kansas cavalry leavs Fort Scott, Kansas, and rides to intercept Gen. Price's Missouri troops moving slowly north to follow up their victories at Wilson's Creek and the subsequent occupation of Springfield, the principal town of the region. The Kansans surprise Missouri mounted troops near the Missouri state line, but are soon overwhelmed by the superior Rebel numbers. The Kansas troops retreat.

Tension on the border of "neutral" Kentucky increases. Capt. Given Campbell, a Pro-Confederate Kentuckian cavalry officer stationed in Paducah (at the confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers), writes to his girlfriend in St. Louis, on this date:
Mr. Lincolns Govt. does not allow one pound of provisions or goods of any kind to come to this place; and the Military authorities at Cairo have threatened to shell & burn the town of Paducah to the ground, if the citizens offer any more indignities to the vessels of U.S. This is a large threat, but the people here are not the least frightened, and on account of these warm Southern sentiments the town is known in the South as "little Charlestown." Matters here are rapidly assuming a grave aspect, and we are all satisfied that this state will soon commence her ordeal of fire & blood. Many families have left Louisville, Lexington & other places in the state from a vivid apprehension of coming dangers. I am satisfied that Ky. will never be a reliable member of the Confederate States until she has gone through a bloody purgation.

First Bull Run Campaign and Aftermath: July 14 through July 27, 1861

July 14, 1861: With about 40,000 troops, Gen. Irvin McDowell of the U.S. Army marches out of Washington into Virginia toward the railroad junction of Manassas.

July 17, 1861: Pres. Davis orders Gen. Joseph Johnston, with 9,000 men in the Shenandoah Valley, to move to Manassas, and reinforce Beauregard, who has 22,000 there.

July 18, 1861: BLACKBURN’S FORD– Virginia: Gen. McDowell sends troops forward to test the crossings over Bull Run, near Manassas. At this ford, they are driven back by Confederates under Gen. James Longstreet.

July 21, 1861: FIRST BATTLE OF BULL RUN (Manassas), Virginia – In the first major battle of the war, Gen. McDowell takes two divisions and marches north to move around the Confederate left flank. McDowell has about 32,000 with him, but is only using 20,000 for the flank movement. He is facing Beauregard who, unbeknownst to the Yankees, now has 31,000, as Johnston’s men from the Shenandoah begin disembarking from the trains in the dark hours of the morning, and moving into position. The Union troops in the flanking force cross the Sudley Ford on the Bull Run River, and as they advance, encounter only one under-strength C.S. brigade under "Shanks" Evans. Evans resists the Union advance, but finally breaks. Beauregard sends the brigades of Bee and Bartow to the left to relieve Evans; these troops take up position on Henry House Hill just as the Union attack rolls up to hit them. This line crumbles as Thomas J. Jackson’s brigade advances to the hill, and holds it against determined Federal attacks. Gen. Bee points to Jackson, and yells to his men, "There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!" Bee’s South Carolinians do rally, although
Bee is killed minutes later. More Confederate reinforcements arrive, and Jackson’s line holds. As Hampton’s Legion moves up to support Jackson, and Stuart’s cavalry too, the Union artillery places a battery so that it can enfilade (fire on the flank) the Rebel line. The 33rd Virginia Inf. Reg. rushes to capture the battery. Wearing blue uniforms, the Virginians are mistaken for friends; the Union guns do not fire on them and are therefore captured. About this time, Stuart leads his 1st Virginia Cavalry in a charge, and the Union line begins to dissolve. The Confederate line, now strongly reinforced by brigades under Cocke, Early, and Kirby-Smith, moves forward, and the Federal troops begin to retreat, which later turns into a rout, men dropping their rifles and losing touch with their regiments. A crowd of picknickers from Washington on a hill across the river also take alarm, and their carriages clog the Cub Run bridge, the only safe retreat rout. The retreat then turns into a panic, and the Federal soldiers retreat steadily all night, 30 miles back to Washington. Back at Manassas, Jackson urges Gen. Beauregard and Johnston to pursue and occupy Washington, but both commanders err on the side of caution. Confederate victory.


U.S.– 460 killed, 1,124 wounded, 1,312 missing or captured total of 2,896.

C.S.– 387 killed, 1,582 wounded, 13 missing total of 1,982.

July 24, 1861: Gen. Jacob Cox of the Union Army attacks Gen. Henry Wise’s brigade at Tyler Mountain in western Virginia and defeats Wise’s troops.

July 25, 1861: A small force of Confederate cavalry under Captain John Baylor skirmish with a Union garrison from Ft. Fillmore, in southern New Mexico Territory, and capture the fort, driving the Federal troopers north.

July 27, 1861: Gen. Irvin McDowell is relieved of command of the U.S. Army of the Potomac, and Gen. George McClellan is put in his place.

Prelude: April 20 through July 13, 1861

April 20, 1861: In response to Virginian threats to attack the Gosport Naval Yard at Norfolk, Virginia, Commander McCauley, a southerner in the US Navy, orders the naval yard with its mills, machine shops, dry dock, warehouses and several ships to be burned to prevent it falling into the hands of the Virginians. However, Virginia troops enter and are able to put out most of the fires and save the dry dock.

April 20, 1861: Robert E. Lee, although opposed to secession and even to slavery, decides to support his state's secession by tendering his resignation from the U.S. Army. He says, in a letter to a sister, that he hopes never to draw his sword again save in the defense of his home state.

April 23, 1861: The Commonwealth of Virginia state representatives vote for Virginia to join the Confederacy.

April 27, 1861: Virginia offers the Confederacy the state capital of Richmond to be capital of the Confederate States. Richmond is the second largest city in the Confederacy, and the largest industrial town.

April 26, 1861: St. Louis, Missouri. Illinois state militia, U.S. Regulars, and Missouri volunteers, led by Capt. Nathaniel Lyon of the U.S. Army, take possession of the U.S. Arsenal and load 21,000 rifled muskets on a steamboat to Illinois for safe-keeping. Mostly German-speaking St. Louisians, solidly for the Union, form new militia units for the Union to keep the Federal property in hand.

April 29, 1861: Annapolis: Maryland legislature schedules a vote on secession, and it is defeated by 53-13. Federal officials close down the Chesapeake Bay ferries, and many pro-secession delegates from the pro-Confederate Eastern Shore are unable to attend.

May 1, 1861: Newly-elected Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson secretly begins communication with the Confederates for artillery to help them take the St. Louis arsenal, which still has over 18,000 rifles and ammunition. Jackson calls for the Missouri Volunteer Militia (the state troops) to assemble outside of the city.

Confederate troops commanded by Col. Thomas J. Jackson occupy Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.

May 6, 1861: Arkansas votes 69 to 1 to secede from the Union. (Apparently, this was made possible by threatening scores of pro-Union delegates with violence not to come. Many who showed up anyway were denied entrance.)

Also, Tennessee votes 66-25 to secede from the Union, to be ratified by a public referendum on June 8.

May 9, 1861: C.S. Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory commissions James D. Bulloch of Georgia a commander in the Confederate Navy, and send him to Great Britain to begin acquiring naval vessels and stores from British shipyards.

May 10, 1861:
In St. Louis, Missouri, Federal regular,s reinforced with several regiments of pro-Union state militia led by Capt. Nathaniel Lyon of the U.S. Regulars, march out to the outskirts of town, near Lindell’s Grove (now part of the St. Louis Univ. campus), to Camp Jackson, where Gen. David Frost and the pro-Secession Missouri Volunteer Militia are camped. Lyon’s forces surround the state force and force their surrender. Lyon marches the 660 prisoners through downtown St. Louis with all 6,000 of his troops. Rioting breaks out throughout the city. An angry crowd attacks the column, throwing paving stones and finally firing into the bluecoats. The Union troops return fire. 28 civilians are killed, and at least 100 wounded. 5 soldiers had also been killed, with dozens injured.

May 11, 1861: Stephen Mallory, Secretary of the C.S. Navy, receives authorization from Pres. Davis to begin researching the building of ironclad ships, to help even the imbalance of navies between North and South.

May 13, 1861: Federal troops under Gen. Benjamin Butler occupy Baltimore and establish martial law.

May 13, 1861: In England, Queen Victoria pronounces her government’s official position of neutrality in the American conflict.

May 16, 1861: The pro-Union Kentucky state legislature refuses to vote for secession. Instead, the body votes to declare Kentucky "neutral." Both Federal and Rebel troops elect to honor the "neutrality" for the time being, and send no troops into Kentucky–nor does Kentucky send any regiments to either army.

May 20, 1861: North Carolina votes to secede from the Union.

The Confederate Congress votes to relocate the C.S. capital to Richmond, Virginia.

May 23, 1861: The referendum vote in Virginia votes in favor of secession, 97,000 votes to 32,000 votes. Delegates from the western counties, however, are forming a pro-Union convention in Wheeling.

May 24, 1861: Federal troops cross the Potomac River and occupy Alexandria, Virginia. One regiment, the 11th New York Fire Zouaves, is led by Col. Elmer Ellsworth, a young Chicago man who is personal friends with the Lincolns. Ellsworth rushes into the Marshall House Hotel and tears down the Confederate flag flying there. On his way down the stairs, he is met by the hotel owner, James Jackson, with a shotgun, who fires and kills Ellsworth on the spot. Corporal Brownell, of the 11th N.Y., fires and kills Jackson. Ellsworth provides the North with its first martyr. His body lies in state in the Capitol rotunda.

May 26, 1861: Postmaster General Montgomery Blair announces severing cross-border postal connections with the states currently in rebellion.

May 31, 1861: Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard is given command of the Confederate Army forming in northern Virginia, near Manassas.

June 1, 1861: Skirmishes in northern Virginia cause few casualties, but heighten tensions.

June 3, 1861: Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln’s main opponent in the presidential race, dies of typhoid fever.

Battle of Phillippi: In a small battle in the western mountains of Virginia, Ohio regiments under command of Gen. George McClellan (who is not actually present) surprise a small Confederate force under Col. Porterfield. The Rebels flee the battlefield in disarray.

June 8, 1861: In a referendum, the people of Tennessee ratify the decision to secede made by its convention in May by a vote of 104,913 to 47, 238. Unionists in eastern Tennessee vow to resist secession, however.

June 10, 1861: Battle of Big Bethel: At the tip of the James peninsula in Virginia, a few miles from Union-held Ft. Monroe, Union troops under Gen. Butler advance to test the Rebel lines near Newport News under Gen. "Prince" John Magruder, who is outnumbered 2 to 1. A poorly planned attack results in a Union rout and retreat, as they lose 18 killed and 53 wounded. The Southerners lose only 1 killed and 6 wounded.

June 14, 1861: Confederates abandon Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in the face of a Union advance.

In Illinois, a little-known graduate of West Point who works as a tanner in his father’s saddle shop, Ulysses S. Grant, is commissioned a colonel of volunteers and give command of the unruly 21st Reg. of Illinois Infantry.

June 18, 1861: Newly promoted to Brig. General, Nathaniel Lyon and his brigade of Union troops marches west from St. Louis toward Jefferson City, the state capital, to prevent the state legislature from voting to secede. Gov. Jackson the state government flee south, and Lyon’s army occupies the capital. On this date, a few days later, Lyon’s forces put to rout a small Rebel force at Boonvillle.

June 19, 1861: Having declared the state offices vacant, the delegates at Wheeling, Virginia, elect Franice H. Pierpont as provisional governor of Virginia and call for the western counties to secede from the state of Virginia. They offer a loyal Virginia state government to Washington, and choose representatives and 2 senators.

June 27, 1861: Federal naval and army units attempt to land and capture Confederate batteries at Mathias Point, Virginia, which command the Potomac. The Federals are beaten off.

June 30, 1861: The CSS Sumter, the South’s first warship to steam as a commerce raider, commanded by Capt. Raphael Semmes, slips downriver from New Orleans and escapes through the Union Navy blockade. Sumter heads to sea to raid Northern commercial shipping.

July 2, 1861: Washington acknowledges and recognizes the loyal government of Virginia in Wheeling. West Virginia begins to raise troops for the Union army.

July 5, 1861: Advancing Union troops under Gen. Franz Sigel run into the Missouri State Guard near Carthage, Missouri, in the southwestern part of the state. The Missouri troops, although undisciplined and poorly armed, attack Sigel’s flanks and force him to retreat. The Rebels claim a victory.

July 11, 1861: Two small Union forces in West Virginia advance on Confederate bases at Laurel Mountain, forcing them to retreat, and at Rich Mountain, trapping the Confederate garrison and forcing a surrender.

July 13, 1861: The Union troops in West Virginia under McClellan advance, and attack the Confederate force at Carrickford, under Gen. Robert S. Garnett, who is killed in the fight. West Virginia is firmly in Northern hands now.

Fort Sumter Is Attacked: The War Begins, April 12-19, 1861

April 12, 1861: BATTLE OF FORT SUMTER, SC: South Carolina artillery batteries under command of Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard in Charleston Harbor open fire on Ft. Sumter at 4:30 AM. An artillery duel commences and lasts through the day and night. The Relief Expedition appears off the harbor bar, but does not enter, since they are not warships.

Pensacola, Florida - Federal troops are landed by the USS Powhatan at Ft. Pickens, Florida. The fort holds, and is not taken by Confederate forces.

George Templeton Strong, a New York lawyer of some social prominence, writes in his journal:

"The streets were vocal with newsboys–‘Extry–a Herald! Got the bombardment of Fort Sumter!!!’ We concluded it was probably a sell and that we would not be sold, and declined all invitations too purchase for about four blocks. But we could not stand it longer. I sacrificed sixpence and read the news to Ogden and that galvanized pumpkin Mr. Dunscomb by the light of the corner gas lamp. The despatch is a column long, from Charleston, in substance to this effect. The rebel batteries opened on Sumter at ‘twenty-seven minutes after four’ this morning. Major Anderson replied only at long intervals till seven or eight o’clock when he began firing vigorously. At three P.M. (date of telegram) he had produced no serious effect. ‘No men hurt’ in the rebel batteries. . . . Fort Sumter suffering much. ‘Breaches, to all appearance, are being made.’ The Harriet Lane in the offing, but no other government ships on hand. ‘Troops are pouring in,’ and ‘within are area of fifty miles, where the thunder of the artillery can be heard, the scene is magnificently terrible.’ That magnificent and terrible sentence sounds as if it belonged to a genuine despatch from the South. Yet I doubt its genuineness vehemently. I can hardly hope that the rebels have been so foolish and thoughtless as to take the initiative in civil war and bring matters to a crisis. If so, they have put themselves in a horribly false position."

April 13, 1861: After an exhausting 2-day artillery duel wherein 40,000 projectiles were fired, and in which neither side has lost anyone killed, Maj. Robert Anderson surrenders the 80 or so men of the two under-strength companies of US Army artillerists to the Confederates. Accepting the surrender is Gen. Beauregard, who studied artillery at West Point under the tutelage of Robert Anderson.

George Templeton Strong writes, "So Civil War in inaugurated at last. God defend the Right."

April 14, 1861: At surrender ceremonies at Ft. Sumter, ammunition is inadvertantly ignited, killed 2 U.S. soldiers and wounding 4 others.

April 15, 1861: Pres. Lincoln issues a call to all of the states for 75,000 volunteers to repress the rebellion in the Southern States. The slave states still in the Union react negatively. The states of Kentucky and North Carolina both issue statements refusing to raise troops for Federat service.

April 17, 1861: Missouri and Tennessee announce refusal to supply troops. Virginia's State Convention votes 88-55 in favor of secession--with a public referendum to be held May 23 to make it official. But Virginia immediately begins to act as a member of the Confederacy from this day.

April 18, 1861: Having been offered field command of the United State Army, Col. Robert E. Lee officially and formally turns it down.

April 19, 1861: Lincoln orders a blockade of the Southern Coast.

April 19, 1861: The 6th Massachuestts Infantry, a militia unit on its way to protect Washington, is attacked by an angry mob in the streets of Baltimore while changing trains. Shots are fired at the troops, who shoot back. Killed are 9 civilians and 4 soldiers, with many dozens badly wounded. The Baltimore Massacre raises a firestorm of outrage in the North, and sympathy in the South. James Randall writes the famous song Maryland, My Maryland! which becomes a favorite Confederate rally song, even though Maryland does not eventually secede. Rioting continues in Baltimore (which long before had acquired the nickname "Mobtown") for several more days.

George Templeton Strong, in his journal, writes: "There has been a serious disturbance in Baltimore. Regiments from Pennsylvania or Massachusetts assailed by a mob that was repulsed by shot and steel. . . . It’s a notable coincidence that the first blood in this great struggle is drawn by Massachusetts men on the anniversary of Lexington. This is a continuation ofo the war that Lexington opene–a war of democracy against oligarchy. God defend the Right, and confound all traitors. Amen and amen."

April 8, 1861

April 8, 1861: The Ft. Sumter expedition sails.

Secession: Dec. 1860 through April 1861

Dec. 20, 1860: South Carolina secedes from the Union

Dec. 24, 1860: The Federal garrison in Charleston Harbor, SC, commanded by Maj. Robert Anderson, is quietly moved from Ft. Moultrie to Ft. Sumter in the middle of the harbor, a more easily defended fort. SC officials protest to Washington over this "belligerent" move. Later, Gov. Pickens of SC demands that Federal facilities be turned over to the state, but Pres. Buchanan refuses. Buchanan also refuses to send aid, provisions, or reinforcements to Ft. Sumter in order to avoid any semblance of provoking South Carolina.

Jan. 9, 1861: Mississippi secedes from the Union.

Jan. 10, 1861: Florida secedes.

Jan. 11, 1861: Alabama secedes.

Jan. 19, 1861:  Georgia secedes.

Jan. 21, 1861: Sen. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, having called in vain for compromise, gives his last speech in the Senate expressing hope that the U.S. will not use force to repress the seceding states, resigns his office to return home. Senators from Alabama and Florida also resign.

Jan. 26, 1861: Louisiana secedes.

Jan. 29, 1861:  Kansas, after years of internecine violence, ratifies a state constitution that prohibits slavery. Kansas is accepted on this date as the 34th State of the Union.

Jan. 31, 1861: All Federal installations, including the valuable U.S. Arsenal, are captured in New Orleans by Louisiana State troops.

Feb. 1, 1861: Texas secedes.

Feb. 4, 1861: The Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America convenes in Montgomery, Alabama to unite the seceded states. On the same date, a Peace Convention meets in Washington, DC, led by former President of the U.S. John Tyler of Virginia, to find a last-ditch compromise to the crisis.

Feb. 8, 1861: The Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America adopts a Constitution as the official instrument of combining the seceding states, and the CSA is a reality. Montgomery is the national capital.

Feb. 9, 1861: The Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America elects Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as Provisional President of the Confederate States, with Alexander Stephens of Georgia as Vice President. Davis is reportedly disappointed, as he wished to command troops in the field (he was a graduate of West Point, had commanded a regiment in the Mexican War, and had served as Sec. of War). But, he dutifully accepts the post as President.

Feb. 11, 1861: Jefferson Davis leaves Mississippi to travel to Montgomery for his inauguration. Abraham Lincoln leaves Springfield, Illinois to begin a long trip and speaking tour on the way to Washington. In Montgomery, the C.S. Consitution is signed, making it official.

Feb. 18, 1861: Jefferson Davis is inaugurated in Montgomery as President of the Confederate States.

Feb. 23, 1861: Due to some threats against his life, Abraham Lincoln is safely escorted by night into Washington, DC.

Feb. 28, 1861: Missouri convenes a State Convention to debate and decide on whether to secede, which leads to many weeks of inconclusive wrangling in the state chambers. North Carolina votes in a referendum on secession, and the Union vote defeats this measure, 46,603 votes to 46,409--a slim margin.

March 4, 1961: Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated President of the United States before a large crowd of 30,000 people. "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of Civil War."

March 6, 1861: The Confederacy calls for 100,000 volunteer soldiers from the states.

March 11, 1861: The Confederate Constitution is adopted officially in its permanent form. Oddly, there is very little difference between this one and the U.S. Constitution--in fact, there isn't even any mention of the legality of secession.

On this date, Gen. Winfield Scott informs Pres. Lincoln that to relieve the U.S. garrison at Fort Sumter would require an assault force of nearly 20,000 men, and therefore considers the project unfeasible. Fort Pickens near Pensacola, Florida and several other forts in the South are in similar peril. Most U.S. arsenals and other Army posts have already been captured by state troops in the seceded states.

March 13, 1861: Lincoln refuses to meet with the three commissioners sent by the Confederate government to negotiate a treaty.

March 16, 1861: Southern sympathizers in the desert Southwest gather in Tucson and organize the Territory of Arizona--and then vote for the Territory of Arizona to secede and join the Confederacy.

March 18, 1861: The Arkansas State Convention holds on vote on secession. The motion is defeated, 39 to 35 votes. Arkansas does not secede--yet.

March 21, 1861: Missouri State Convention votes 98-1 against secession--yet declares itself neutral on the impending crisis.

March 29, 1861: Pres. Lincoln announces a plan to re-supply and relieve Ft. Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

April 1, 1861: Lincoln orders the USS Powhatan to Pensacola with some troops for the relief of Ft. Pickens.

April 4, 1861: Virginia votes not to hold a referendum on secession, 89-45

April 6, 1861: A naval expedition for the relief of Ft. Sumter is readied to sail for Charleston. Pres. Lincoln sends a letter to Gov. Francis Pickens of South Carolina, informing him of the relief force, and promising that it is only a peaceful re-supply mission.

Nov. 6, 1860

Nov. 6, 1860  -- Abraham Lincoln is elected President of the United States, by gaining 38.9% of the popular vote. His name is not on the ballot in any of the states that eventually join the Confederacy, and only the slave states of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri include the Republican ticket on the ballot. The Democratic Party had been unable to nominate a candidate in their convention in Charleston the previous spring, and so the party splits: Sen. Stephen Douglas of Illinois is the Northern Democrat candidate, and Vice President John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky is the Southern Democrat candidate.


Abraham Lincoln (Repub) 1,865,908 votes, 17 states, 180 electoral votes, 39.8%

Stephen Douglas (No. Dem.) 1,380,202 votes, 2 states, 12 electoral votes, 29.5%

John C. Breckenridge (So. Dem.) 848,019 votes, 10 states, 72 electoral votes, 18.1%

John Bell (Const. Union) 590,901 votes, 3 states, 39 electoral votes, 12.6%

It is interesting to note that John Bell and his party--a compromise party--carries 3 slave states, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, all three very populous, thereby gaining him 39 electoral votes, whereas Douglas has beaten his popular vote count by more than 2 to 1, but gains only Missouri and part of New Jersey (which splits its electoral votes). Even if all slave states had combined their vote behind one candidate, and all the Democrats had been united, the combined popular vote would have outstripped the Republicans by almost a million votes--but the combined electoral votes would still be only 123, not enough to beat Lincoln's 180. Why? One reason: Lincoln won many northern states (such as Illinois, New York, and California--which was a hotbed of secessionist sympathy, frankly) by a slim margin of the popular vote, but Breckenridge won each of his states by a landslide, thus padding his popular vote total. Also, slave states, by Constitutional law, could count 3/5 of each slave toward their population which determined how many Congressmen each state could send, and how many electoral votes they had. So each Southern state got more electoral votes with fewer actual citizens who could vote.