Burnside Plans His Own Amphibious Assault; Buell Has a Better Idea in Kentucky

December 29, 1861 (Sunday) Since the Union defeat at the Battle of Bull Run, Ambrose Burnside had been promoted from colonel to brigadier-general and placed in command of the rawest recruits in the Army of the Potomac, under General George McClellan. Quickly growing bored of being little more than a glorified drill sergeant, Burnside, alongRead More

Mason & Slidell Arrive in Boston; Jackson’s Winter Offensive Gains Speed

November 24, 1861 (Sunday) The storm of the previous night had kept Captain Charles Wilkes and the USS San Jacinto just outside of Boston Harbor. Their cargo, the prisoners, James Mason and John Slidell, Confederate envoys to England and France, stored inside under the guard of a US Marshal. The voyage from Fortress Monroe toRead More

Easy Victory at Port Royal; Grant Proves Himself at Belmont

November 7, 1861 (Thursday) The crews of the Union fleet off Port Royal, South Carolina, prepared their ships for battle. The weather that had prevented the attack against Forts Beauregard and Walker the previous day had lifted and the sun shown brilliantly over the calm water as the fleet formed for attack. They planned toRead More

Determined to Fight, Grant May Have Told Some Lies

November 6, 1861 (Wednesday) According to General Ulysses S. Grant, the previous day, he had received a dispatch from headquarters in St. Louis that Rebels under General Leonidas Polk near Columbus, Kentucky were sending reinforcements to the Missouri State Guard in the southwestern part of Missouri. Grant was ordered to immediately make a demonstration againstRead More

Union Fleet off of Port Royal, SC! Can R.E. Lee Visit His Wife and Save the Port?

November 5, 1861 (Tuesday) As the sun lit up the Atlantic sky over Port Royal, South Carolina, the masts of the Union Naval fleet under Flag Officer Du Pont appeared like a forest growing out of the sea. Two Rebel forts, Beauregard and Walker, guarded the inlet. The Union wanted a port on the SouthernRead More

Lincoln Says Good-Bye to Scott; McClellan Takes Command

November 1, 1861 (Friday) For President Lincoln and his Cabinet, the day began at 9am. They met to discuss and debate General-in-Chief Winfield Scott’s request to be placed on the retired list. The Cabinet was unanimous that it should be accepted and General George B. McClellan should be given the position. Lincoln, however, was notRead More

General Scott Retires from Service

October 31, 1861 (Thursday, Halloween) “For more than three years I have been unable, from a hurt, to mount a horse or walk more than a few paces at a time, and that with much pain. Other and new infirmities, dropsy and vertigo, admonish me that a repose of mind and body, with the appliancesRead More

Joint Expedition to Port Royal Underway; Swett Arrives in St. Louis

October 29, 1861 (Tuesday) Throughout the summer and early autumn of 1861, it became clear that a full, successful blockade of South Atlantic ports was nearly impossible. The blockade of Charleston, specifically, involved a refueling issue. The ships had to return to a northern port for more coal. Seizing a Southern port and turning itRead More

Fremont Arrives in Springfield, Makes Wild Claims

Sunday, October 27, 1861 The small, but surprising, Union victory in Springfield, Missouri on the 25th had paved the way for General John C. Fremont and his Army of the West to enter the town on this date. Fremont arrived towards evening, accompanied by an infantry division commanded by General Franz Sigel. For a month,Read More

Rosecrans Retreats in Western Virginia; The Chicamacomico Races

Saturday, October 5, 1861 When last we left the armies of Lee and Rosecrans, drying out on opposing spurs of Big Sewell Mountain in Western Virginia, each side was well entrenched and practically daring the other to attack. In the several days since, little to no movement was made by either. The rains had stoppedRead More