1861 April 15th

April 15 1861 Monday

Go to April 16 1861

USA. US President Abraham Lincoln summoned a special session of the US Congress to consider the question of war against the Confederate states. Only Congress could formally declare war but as it was not in session, the President’s summons and call to arms was the equivalent of a declaration of war. He issued a Proclamation calling for 75,000 militiamen to serve for 90 days.

California. Incidents at Mad River and Van Dusen’s Creek.

Florida. The Confederates demanded the surrender of Fort Pickens at Pensacola Bay but this was rejected.

Indiana.  Governor Oliver P Morton opened Camp Morton at Indianapolis for the training of volunteer recruits. It became a prisoner of war camp early in 1862. The majority of prisoners were exchanged by late 1862 and it reverted to a training camp. It reopened as a prisoner of war camp in early 1863 and remained in operation until it closed finally in June 1865.

Kentucky. The Governor of Kentucky asserted its neutrality and refused to furnish its quota of militia for Federal service.

New York. Seventeen vessels registered from Southern ports and without US clearance to depart were seized and fined by the New York authorities.

North Carolina. The Governor of North Carolina refused to furnish its quota of militia for Federal service.

North Carolina. Fort Macon near Beaufort was taken over by North Carolina troops under Captain Josiah Solomon Pender before the state seceded from the Union. It was located at the eastern end of Bogue Bank, in the Outer Banks. Construction began in 1826 and was completed by 1834. Only four guns were mounted in the dilapidated and neglected masonry fortification completed in 1826. The garrison comprised one single US Army sergeant. The local military authorities set about improving the armament until 56 pieces (5 8-inch and 2 10-inch Columbiads, 19 24-pounders, 32 32-pounders, and 6 field guns) were finally mounted. However, they had sufficient ammunition for only three days of action. Confederate Colonel Moses J White was assigned to command a new garrison of 430 men.

Texas. US troops evacuated Fort Stockton.

Union Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln
Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin
Secretary of War: Simon Cameron
Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

Pacific Squadron: John Berrien Montgomery

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

Department of the East: John Ellis Wool

Department of Florida: Harvey Brown awaited

Department of New Mexico: William Wing Loring

Department of the Pacific: Albert Sidney Johnston interim Edwin Vose Sumner awaited

  • District of Oregon: George Wright

Department of Texas: Carlos Adolphus Waite

Department of Utah: Philip St George Cooke

Department of Washington: Charles Ferguson Smith

Department of the West: William Selby Harney

Confederate Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Jefferson Finis Davis
Vice-President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens
Secretary of War: Leroy Pope Walker
Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory

Department of Louisiana: David Emanuel Twiggs

  • “Forces in New Orleans” “Army of Louisiana”: Braxton Bragg

Department of South Carolina: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

  • “Forces in Charleston”: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

Department of Texas: Earl Van Dorn awaited

Department of West Florida: Braxton Bragg

  • “Forces in Pensacola”: Braxton Bragg

Defences of Savannah: Alexander Robert Lawton awaited

“Forces in Harper’s Ferry”: Kenton Harper

Union Generals

Major-General USA

Winfield Scott

Brigadier-General USA

John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Joseph Eggleston Johnston

 Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General PACS

David Emanuel Twiggs

Brigadier-General ACSA

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Braxton Bragg

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton

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