1861 April 19th

April 19 1861 Friday

Naval Blockade of the Southern States Proclaimed

Baltimore Riot, MD

USA. US President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Blockade against Southern ports from South Carolina to Texas. For the duration of the war, the blockade restricted the ability of the predominantly rural South to stay well supplied in its war against the more industrialised North.

Despite the declaration of a naval blockade of the Confederacy, the US Navy was entirely unprepared and inadequate to the task. Its 42 warships, of varying age or modernity and value, with a crew of 7,600 men were scattered across the globe. The blockade was required to seal a coastline of 3,549 miles from the Potomac River to the Rio Grande – or almost double that distance if sandbars, lagoons, islands and river estuaries were included. There were 189 known harbour and river openings that might prove advantageous to blockade-running vessels.

The text of the proclamation was:

Whereas an insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of the United States for the collection of the revenue cannot be effectually executed therein comformably to that provision of the Constitution which requires duties to be uniform throughout the United States: And whereas a combination of persons engaged in such insurrection, have threatened to grant pretended letters of marque to authorize the bearers thereof to commit assaults on the lives, vessels, and property of good citizens of the country lawfully engaged in commerce on the high seas, and in waters of the United States: And whereas an Executive Proclamation has been already issued, requiring the persons engaged in these disorderly proceedings to desist therefrom, calling out a militia force for the purpose of repressing the same, and convening Congress in extraordinary session, to deliberate and determine thereon: Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, with a view to the same purposes before mentioned, and to the protection of the public peace, and the lives and property of quiet and orderly citizens pursuing their lawful occupations, until Congress shall have assembled and deliberated on the said unlawful proceedings, or until the same shall ceased, have further deemed it advisable to set on foot a blockade of the ports within the States aforesaid, in pursuance of the laws of the United States, and of the law of Nations, in such case provided. For this purpose a competent force will be posted so as to prevent entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid. If, therefore, with a view to violate such blockade, a vessel shall approach, or shall attempt to leave either of the said ports, she will be duly warned by the Commander of one of the blockading vessels, who will endorse on her register the fact and date of such warning, and if the same vessel shall again attempt to enter or leave the blockaded port, she will be captured and sent to the nearest convenient port, for such proceedings against her and her cargo as prize, as may be deemed advisable. And I hereby proclaim and declare that if any person, under the pretended authority of the said States, or under any other pretence, shall molest a vessel of the United States, or the persons or cargo on board of her, such person will be held amenable to the laws of the United States for the prevention and punishment of piracy.

Maryland. Washington was cut off from Union territory by rail, troops were embarked on boats to proceed to the relief of the capital. The steamer Boston departed Philadelphia with the 7th New York aboard, while the ferryboat Maryland em­barked the 8th Massachusetts at Perryville for Annapolis. The capital city was effectively isolated until this relief force arrived.

Baltimore Riot, Maryland. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts militiamen (26th Pennsylvania and 6th Massachusetts) arrived in Baltimore at 10 am and prepared to take the trains to Washington, DC. Their railroad cars had to be drawn by horses a mile and a half from the President Street Station along Pratt Street to the unconnected Camden station.

On the way, they were attacked by Southern sympathisers who threw missiles and blocked the streetcar rails. The militiamen disembarked to continue the march to the station on foot and they were pursued by a crowd throwing bricks and firing pistols. The militiamen fired indiscriminately against the crowds blocking their path. Fifty police officers tried to shield the troops and they increased their pace. By the time the soldiers reached Camden Station, four had been killed and thirty-six wounded. The soldiers killed twelve civilian rioters and wounded over a hundred others. Clara Barton came to the fore for the first time as a nurse for the wounded. The Union militiamen boarded the trains at Camden Station and continued on to Washington, DC.

In Baltimore, over 10,000 people gathered during the afternoon and declared their determination to prevent any more troop movements through the city. The rioters then turned against pro-Union premises along Pratt Street and began to loot and destroy property. Telegraph wires were cut and the mail interrupted while pro-Union families fled the city. Secessionists dominated the city, burned railroad bridges, and blocked supplies.

At Fort McHenry, Union Captain John Cleveland Robinson had armed and secretly supplied his garrison of 60 men to withstand a siege and the Baltimore mob was deterred from attacking the fort.

New York. The 4th Massachusetts Militia and the Providence Rhode Island Artillery left New York to further reinforce the defence of the capital.

Pennsylvania. Major-General of Pennsylvania Militia Robert Patterson was assigned to command forces in the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, but not those stationed in the District of Columbia.

Union Organisation

USA: The states of Pennsylvania and Delaware were transferred from the Union Department of the East to the Department of Washington.

USA: Pennsylvania State Major-General Robert Patterson assumed command of all field forces outside Washington and north of the Potomac River.

Patterson, Robert / Ireland-Pennsylvania / Born 12 January 1792 Cappagh, Ireland / Died Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 7 August 1881
Captain 2nd Pennsylvania Militia 2 October 1812 / Lieutenant-Colonel / Colonel / Mustered Out 2 April 1813 / 1st Lieutenant USA 22nd US Infantry 5 April 1813 / 32nd US Infantry 27 May 1813 / Captain USA Deputy Quartermaster-General 24 June 1813-5 June 1814 / Captain USA 19 April 1814 / Discharged USA 15 June 1815 / Colonel Pennsylvania Militia / Major-General USV 7 July 1846 / Discharged USV 20 July 1848 / Major-General Pennsylvania Militia 15 April 1861 / Mustered Out 27 July 1861 / WIA Cerro Gordo 18 April 1847
Department of Washington 19 April 1861-27 April 1861 / Department of Pennsylvania 27 April 1861-25 July 1861 / 2 June 1861-16 August 1861 Army of the Shenandoah

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 adjusted: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of Florida: Harvey Brown
  • 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 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: David Emanuel Twiggs
    • “Forces in New Orleans” “Army of Louisiana”: Braxton Bragg
  • Defences of Savannah: Alexander Robert Lawton
  • Forces in Harper’s Ferry”: Kenton Harper
  • “Forces in Norfolk”: William Booth Taliaferro

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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