April 21 1861 Sunday
Atlantic Ocean. 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 the routes between Aquia Creek and Washington. They were sent 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 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 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 was 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 of its displacement vary from 3,200 tons to 4,500 tons and its length was listed 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 to the 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.
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
CSA: Colonel Earl Van Dorn arrived to command the Department of Texas.
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
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