1861 April 17th

April 17 1861 Wednesday

Virginia Seceded

CSA. Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis’ invited all interested in “service in private armed vessels on the high seas” to apply for Letters of Marque and Reprisal.

Florida. USS Powhatan (Lieutenant David Dixon Porter USN) arrived off Pensacola and protected the landing of 600 troops from the steamer Atlantic at Fort Pickens. This second set of soldiers completed the reinforcement of the fort and ensured that access to the best harbour on the Gulf of Mexico was now denied to the Confederates.

Maryland. Ardent secessionists in Maryland met to discuss how to secure the state’s adherence to the Confederacy.

Massachusetts. The Union 6th Massachusetts Infantry moved to Baltimore with eleven companies of infantry. Colonel Edward Jones was warned about the risk of trouble from the city’s population and he gave orders for the troops not to fire unless first fired upon.

Missouri. The Governor refused to comply with the Federal government’s demand for its quote of militia.

Pennsylvania. Nicholas Biddle of Pottsville joined the Washington Artillery company, and so became the first African American to volunteer for the Union Army.

Missouri. Incident at Palmyra.

Tennessee. The Governor refused to comply with the Federal government’s demand for its quota of militia.

Virginia. The Virginia state convention passed an Ordinance of Secession in secret session by 88 votes to 55. Virginia seceded from the Union, subject to approval by a popular referendum to be held on 23 May 1861. Virginia was admitted to the Confederacy on 7 May 1861. The turning point for the decision to secede was the Union call to arms of 15 April 1861. The addition of Virginia, with its high population and economic strength, brought a substantial increase in military power to the Confederacy and placed pro-Confederate forces on the borders of the vulnerable capital district.

Virginia. Confederates placed obstacles in the channel at Norfolk to prevent the sailing of US Navy vessels. The subsequent passage of the obstructions by USS Pawnee and USS Cumberland revealed that these efforts were ineffective.

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 USN: Captain John B Montgomery USN

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

CSA: The “Department of Louisiana” was discontinued and replaced by the formal District of Louisiana.

CSA: The District of Louisiana was established from the former “Department of Louisiana” and Forces in New Orleans.

CSA: The Forces in New Orleans was transferred from the “Department of Louisiana” to the District of Louisiana.

CSA: Brigadier-General Braxton Bragg retained command of the Forces in New Orleans.

Bragg, Braxton / North Carolina / Born 22 March 1817 Warrenton, North Carolina / Died Galveston, Texas 27 September 1876
USMA 1 July 1837 5/50 Artillery / Cadet USMA 1 July 1833 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 3rd US Artillery 1 July 1837 / Regt Adjutant 19 November 1837-8 March 1838 / 1st Lieutenant USA 7 July 1838 / Captain USA 18 June 1846 / Resigned USA 3 January 1856 / Colonel Louisiana Militia / ADC (T O Moore) / Major-General Louisiana Militia 20 February 1861 / Brigadier-General ACSA 7 March 1861 / Major-General PACS 12 September 1861 / General ACSA 12 April 1862 to rank from 6 April 1862 / Paroled Monticello, Georgia 9 May 1865 / Brevet Captain USA 9 May 1846 Brevet Major USA 23 September 1846 Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel USA 23 February 1847
Department of Louisiana 22 February 1861-21 March 1861 / Forces in New Orleans 22 February 1861-16 April 1861 / Department of West Florida 7 March 1861-14 October 1861 / Forces in Pensacola 7 March 1861-3 October 1861 / Department of Alabama and West Florida 7 October 1861-28 February 1861 / Department of Alabama and West Florida 4 March 1862-2 April 1862 / Army of Pensacola 22 October 1861-26 January 1862 / II Corps (Second Grand Division) Army of Mississippi 5 March 1862-28 March 1862 / II Corps Mississippi 29 March 1862-6 May 1862 / Chief of Staff Army of Mississippi 30 March 1862-7 April 1862 / Army of Mississippi 6 May 1862-5 July 1862 / Western Department 17 June 1862-24 October 1862 / Army of Mississippi 15 August 1862-28 September 1862 / Western Department 3 November 1862-25 July 1863 / Army of Mississippi 7 November 1862-20 November 1862 / Army of Tennessee 20 November 1862-2 December 1863 / Department of Tennessee 25 July 1863-21 December 1863 / Military Adviser to the President 24 February 1864-31 January 1865 / Defences of Wilmington 24 October 1864-11 November 1864 / Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia 11 November 1864-6 March 1865 /Defences of Augusta 22 November 1864-2 December 1864 / Defences of Savannah 2 December 1864 / Defences of Charleston December 1864 / Defences of Wilmington January 1865 / II Corps Tennessee 22 February 1865-8 April 1865

CSA: Major-General David Emanuel Twiggs assumed command of the District of Louisiana.

Twiggs, David Emanuel / Georgia / Born 14 February 1790 Richmond, Georgia / Died Augusta, Georgia 15 July 1862
Captain USA 8th US Infantry 12 March 1812 / Major USA 28th US Infantry 21 September 1814 / Discharged USA 15 June 1815 / Captain USA 7th Infantry 2 December 1815 / 1st US Infantry 14 December 1821 / Major USA 14 May 1825 / Lieutenant-Colonel USA 4th US Infantry 15 July 1831 / Colonel USA 2nd US Dragoons 8 June 1836 / Brigadier-General USA 30 June 1846 / Defected to Confederacy 19 February 1861 / Dismissed USA 1 March 1861 / Major-General PACS 22 May 1861 / Retired PACS 11 October 1861 / Brevet Major USA 2 December 1815 to rank from 21 September 1814 Brevet Major-General USA 23 September 1846
Department of Texas 7 November 1860-18 February 1861 / Department of Louisiana 22 March 1861-15 April 1861 / District of Louisiana 17 April 1861-27 May 1861 / Department No 1 27 May 1861-7 October 1861

CSA: Brigadier-General Alexander Robert Lawton arrived to command the Defences of Savannah.

Lawton, Alexander Robert / South Carolina / Born 4 November 1818 Beaufort, South Carolina / Died Clifton Springs, New York 2 July 1896
USMA 1 July 1839 13/31 Artillery / Cadet USMA 1 July 1835 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 1st US Artillery 1 July 1839 / Resigned USA 31 December 1840 / Georgia Militia 1849 / Colonel 1st Georgia Militia January 1861 / Colonel PACS 1st Georgia 27 May 1861 / Brigadier-General PACS 28 August 1861 to rank from 13 April 1861 / Quartermaster-General PACS 10 August 1863 / Paroled Washington, Georgia 9 May 1865 / WIA Antietam 17 September 1862
Defences of Savannah 13 March 1861-26 October 1861 / Department of Georgia 26 October 1861-5 November 1861 / District of Georgia 5 November 1861-14 March 1862 / 4th Brigade 2nd Division Left Wing Army of Northern Virginia June 1862-26 June 1862 / Lawton’s Brigade 3rd Division Jackson’s Corps Army of Northern Virginia 26 June 1862-28 August 1862 / 3rd Division II Corps Army of Northern Virginia 28 August 1862-17 September 1862 / District of Georgia 7 October 1862-28 December 1862 / Quartermaster-General 7 August 1863-9 May 1865

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 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
  • District of Louisiana established: David Emanuel Twiggs assumed
    • “Forces in New Orleans” “Army of Louisiana” transferred: Braxton Bragg retained
  • Defences of Savannah: Alexander Robert Lawton
  • Forces in Harper’s Ferry”: Kenton Harper

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

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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