1861 April 8th

April 8 1861 Monday

South Carolina. The state of South Carolina transferred forts and other military property to the Confederate government.

South Carolina. US President Abraham Lincoln informed the South Carolina government and Governor Francis W Pickens that “an attempt will be made to supply Fort Sumter with provisions only, and that if such attempt be not resisted, no effort to throw in men, arms, or ammunition will be made without further notice, (except) in case of an attack on the fort.” This put the burden of decision on the Confederates either to back down on their threats or to be forced into firing the first hostile shot.

South Carolina. US Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane (Captain John Faunce USRM) departed New York to join the relief expedition for Fort Sumter comprising the warships USS Powhatan and USS Pawnee. A confusion of responsibility caused by Secretary of State William Henry Seward meant that the Fort Sumter expedition sailed without an armed escort.

The USS Powhatan had already been ordered to accompany the Fort Sumter expedition by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles. Simultaneously, Seward had organised a secret relief expedition for the forts in the Gulf of Mexico (Fort Taylor, Fort Jefferson and Fort Pickens). This was to be composed of a naval force under Commodore David Dixon Porter and 200 troops under Captain Montgomery Cunningham Meigs. Seward gained permission from President Abraham Lincoln for the USS Powhatan to escort this expedition. However, the USS Powhatan had already set sail for the Gulf before the conflict of interests and missions was discovered. As a result, the Fort Sumter expedition was deprived of the naval support it required to re-supply the garrison.

The Seward-Meigs-Porter affair prompted efforts to define the scope of authority and line of command of the various Departments of government.

Washington Territory. William H Wallace was appointed Governor of Washington Territory but did not serve.

Union Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln

Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin

Secretary of War: Simon Cameron

Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

African Squadron: William Inman
Brazil Squadron: Joshua Ratoon Sands
East Indian (Asiatic) Squadron: Cornelius Kinchiloe Stribling
European Squadron: vacant
Home Squadron: Garrett J Prendergast
Mediterranean Squadron: Charles H Bell
Pacific Squadron: John Berrien Montgomery

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

Department of the East: John Ellis Wool

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 the West: William Selby Harney

Confederate Organisation

CSA: Major Josiah Gorgas was appointed Chief of Ordnance of the Confederate States Army.

Gorgas, Josiah / Pennsylvania / Born 1 July 1818 Running Pumps, Pennsylvania / Died Tuscaloosa, Alabama 15 May 1883
USMA 1 July 1841 6 /52 Ordnance / Cadet USMA 1 July 1837 / Ordnance 1 July 1841 / 1st Lieutenant USA 3 March 1847 / Captain USA 1 July 1855 / Resigned USA 3 April 1861 / Lieutenant-Colonel ACSA Artillery 16 March 1861 / Major ACSA Ordnance 8 April 1861 / Chief of Engineer Bureau 8 April 1861-3 August 1861 / Chief of Ordnance Burau 8 April 1861-April 1865 / Colonel PACS 1862 / Brigadier-General PACS (Special) 15 November 1864 to rank from 10 November 1864 / Paroled Centreville, Georgia 14 May 1865 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1841
Acting Chief of Engineers 8 April 1861-3 August 1861 / Chief of Ordnance Bureau 8 April 1861-April 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 Louisiana”: David Emanuel Twiggs

  • “Forces in New Orleans” “Army of Louisiana”: Braxton Bragg

Department of South Carolina: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

  • “Forces in Charleston”: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

Department of West Florida: Braxton Bragg

  • “Forces in Pensacola”: Braxton Bragg

Forces in Harper’s Ferry”: Kenton Harper

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

Major-General PACS

David Emanuel Twiggs

Brigadier-General ACSA

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Braxton Bragg

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