Rebels Begin their Long, Treacherous Retreat from New Mexico

April 13, 1862 (Sunday) Union Col. Edward Canby was poised to take Albuquerque, defended by no more than 200 Rebels. His force, 1,100-strong, could have captured the city, but he was unsure just when the rest of the Confederates, moving south from Santa Fe, under the command of General Henry Sibley, would arrive. When combined,Read More

Lincoln to McClellan: “You Must Act”

April 9, 1862 (Wednesday) While the Battle of Shiloh raged for two days in the west, General George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac moved not an inch. Four long days has passed since McClellan learned that the Confederates had fortified across the entire Virginia Peninsula. He had expected them to retreat to Yorktown, which heRead More

General McClellan and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

April 5, 1862 (Saturday) The previous day had been a good one for George Briton McClellan, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac. The Rebels to his front gave up ground quickly as he advanced two columns up the Virginia Peninsula. Though a division had been withheld from him a few days ago, heRead More

McClellan’s First Good Day is Also His Last

April 4, 1862 (Friday) Though the Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley and south of Washington had fallen back, Lincoln was still apprehensive over covering the capital. The Rebels had fallen back to Fredericksburg, Orange Court House and Mount Jackson (in the Valley), but Washington wasn’t fully aware of how many were where. So worried andRead More

McClellan’s Plan Discovered! Johnston Ordered to Reinforce the Peninsula

March 27, 1862 (Thursday) Ten days had passed since Union General George B. McClellan had started his Army of the Potomac to Fortress Monroe. This change of base, from around Washington to the Virginia Peninsula, was the first step in his conquest of Richmond. Almost daily had the transport vessels been arriving. By this date,Read More

The Rebels Burn Hampton, Virginia; A Possible Prisoner Exchange?

Wednesday, August 7, 1861 General Benjamin Butler had been in a quandary over what to do with the 800 or more escaped slaves that had taken shelter near Fortress Monroe on the Virginia Peninsula. He had assumed that since they were considered property by the enemy, they could be confiscated as “contraband of war.” Butler’sRead More

Butler’s Growing Contraband Problem

Tuesday, July 30, 1861 Benjamin Butler had a problem. Being commander of Fortress Monroe on the Virginia Peninsula was no easy job. Though there had been no major fighting since the Battle of Big Bethel, Confederates in General John Bankhead Magruder’s Army of the Peninsula threatened his positions at Newport News, Hampton and along theRead More

Sigel Fights the Battle of Carthage

Friday, July 5, 1861 Though he was outnumbered roughly six to one, Colonel Franz Sigel marched his small brigade of Union Missouri troops north from Carthage towards the camp of the secessionist Governor Jackson. The Missouri State Guard had been throughly whipped by General Lyon’s Union troops two weeks earlier, but since then, had pulledRead More

Rebel Victory at Big Bethel

Monday, June 10, 1861 The accidental but deadly engagement between two different regiments of Union troops, each mistaking the other for the Rebels, blundering into each other on the way to Big Bethel, was observed by Confederate Capt. W. H. Werth, commander of the Chatham Grays. He watched both regiments firing musket, shot and shellRead More

Blundering Their Way to Big Bethel

Sunday, June 9, 1861 While Union General Patterson was in a holding pattern in southern Pennsylvania and Colonel Stone was gathering his wits and troops in Washington for the Rockville Expedition, General Butler, with men at Fortress Monroe and Newport News, planned a pre-dawn attack on a nearby Rebel fortification. For a few days, detachmentsRead More