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 for 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 because of the interference of Confederate sympathisers in Maryland. Troops embarked on boats to proceed to the relief of the capital. The steamer Boston departed Philadelphia with the 7th New York Infantry aboard, while the ferryboat Maryland embarked the 8th Massachusetts Infantry at Perryville for Annapolis. The capital city was effectively isolated until this relief force could arrive.
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 was interrupted while pro-Union families fled the city. Secessionists dominated the city, burned railroad bridges, and blocked supplies.
Maryland. At Fort McHenry, Union Captain John Cleveland Robinson had armed and secretly supplied his garrison of 60 men to withstand a siege. The pro-Confederate mob which was disrupting Union movements through Baltimore was deterred from attacking the fort.
New York. The 4th Massachusetts Militia and the Providence Rhode Island Artillery left New York to 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.
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.
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 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
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
John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner
Brigadier-General USA (Staff)
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission
David Emanuel Twiggs
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Alexander Robert Lawton