1861 April 21st

April 21 1861 Sunday

At Sea. USS Saratoga, Commander Alfred Taylor, captured the illegal slave ship Nightingale with 961 slaves on board.

District of Columbia. Union Colonel Charles Ferguson Smith placed under guard the steamers Baltimore, Mount Vernon, Philadelphia, and Powhatan. These vessels plied between Aquia Creek and Washington and they were ordered to be outfitted and armed at Washington Navy Yard for the defence of the Capital.

Maryland. Maryland Governor Thomas H Hicks wrote to Union Brigadier-General Benjamin Franklin Butler advising that he should not land his troops at the port of Annapolis. Butler replied that he intended to land there nonetheless and then to march onward to Washington, DC. Governor Hicks protested Butler’s forcible possession of the Annapolis & Elkridge railroad. Despite riots and vandalism by pro-Secessionist militants, Union forces began to move with increasing ease across the state.

Maryland. US forces took possession of the Philadelphia & Baltimore Railroad.

Maryland. Occupation of Fort Carroll by Union forces.

New York. The Union 6th New York Infantry, 12th New York Infantry, 71st New York Infantry , 1st a Rhode Island Infantry, a Massachusetts regiment and a battery of artillery departed from New York to reinforce the defence of the capital.

North Carolina. The US Mint at Charlotte was seized by North Carolina state forces.

Pennsylvania. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles sent orders to the Philadelphia Navy Yard to procure five steamers to be armed for coastal service, and similar orders were sent to the Commandants of the Navy Yards in New York and Boston.

Virginia. The US Navy vessels at the Gosport Navy Yard at Norfolk had been set on fire, scuttled and sunk by the US officers in charge to prevent capture. Subsequently, the Confederates began to construct a new armoured warship on the remains of the scuttled USS Merrimack at Norfolk. They raised the ship, cut it down to the waterline and built a 170-foot long iron casemate with sloping sides, improvising an almost impregnable ironclad ram. A cast-iron prow four feet long was considered to be its primary weapon. The armour had four inches of wrought iron laid criss-cross on 22 inches of oak. When the ship in fighting trim the bow and stern were awash, leaving the iron citadel above the water. It was armed with six 9-inch Dahlgren smoothbore guns, and four rifled guns of 6-inch and 7-inch calibre. The heavy vessel had a draught of 22 feet and was powered by the two salvaged engines of the Merrimack. These engines produced a top speed of only four knots and the ship was extremely slow and difficult to manoeuvre, requiring thirty minutes to turn full circle. Estimates vary from 3,200 tons to 4,500 tons and a length between 275 and 300 feet. The reconstruction of the renamed CSS Virginia was completed on 5 March 1862.

Virginia. Confederate Virginia State Brigadier-General Philip St George Cocke was assigned command of all Virginia state forces along the Potomac River.

Virginia. The Union 4th Massachusetts Infantry arrived by sea from Annapolis, Maryland, to reinforce Fort Monroe.

Virginia. Anti-secessionists met in Monongahela County, in a show of support for the Union against the Confederacy.

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 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

CSA: Colonel Earl Van Dorn arrived to command the Department of Texas.

Van Dorn, Earl / Mississippi / Born 17 September 1820 Port Gibson, Mississippi / Died Spring Hill, Tennessee 7 May 1863
USMA 1 July 1842 52/56 Infantry / Cadet USMA 1 July 1838 / 7th US Infantry 1 July 1842 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 30 November 1844 / 1st Lieutenant USA 3 March 1847 / Captain USA 2nd US Cavalry 3 March 1855 / Major USA 28 June 1860 / Resigned USA 31 January 1861 / Brigadier-General Mississippi Militia 23 January 1861 / Major-General Mississippi Militia 18 February 1861 / Colonel ACSA Infantry 16 March 1861 / Colonel PACS 1st Confederate Regular Cavalry 25 April 1861 / Brigadier-General PACS 5 June 1861 / Major-General PACS 19 September 1861 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1842 Brevet Captain USA 18 April 1847 Brevet Major USA 20 August 1847 / WIA Belen Gate 3 September 1847 WIA Wichita, Indian Territory 1 October 1858
Department of Texas 11 April 1861-17 September 1861 / 1st Division Army of the Potomac 24 September 1861-10 January 1862 / I Corps Potomac 4 October 1861-10 January 1862 / Trans-Mississippi District 10 January 1862-30 May 1862 / Army of the West 19 January 1862-24 June 1862 / District of Southern Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana 26 May 1862-5 September 1862 / Department No 1 20 June 1862-25 June 1862 / District of the Mississippi 2 July 1862-5 September 1862 / Army of West Tennessee 28 September 1862-9 December 1862 / Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana 12 October 1862-13 October 1862 / 1st Division Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana 9 December 1862-17 December 1862 / I Corps Mississippi 7 December 1862-14 December 1862 / Army of Mississippi 9 December 1862-16 December 1862 / Cavalry Division Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana 13 January 1863-20 January 1863 / Cavalry Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana 20 January 1863-February 1863 / Cavalry Division Army of Tennessee February 1863-16 March 1863 / Cavalry Corps Tennessee 16 March 1863-7 May 1863

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 assumed
  • 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 Seniority

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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