1861 August 26th

August 26 1861 Monday

Battle of Kessler’s Cross Lanes, VA (CWSAC Limited Battle – Confederate Victory)
Ball’s Cross Roads, VA
Wayne Court House, VA

Confederate Invasion of New Mexico
Rosecrans’ West Virginia Campaign
Cape Hatteras Expedition

Go to August 27 1861

USA. The US War Department prohibited the transmission or publication of intelligence about army and navy movements calculated to give information to the enemy. The US Postmaster-General directed postal agents to arrest express agents and others engaged in transmitting mail to seceded States in violation of Presidential proclamations.

California. Charged with the supervision of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Santa Barbara counties, Union Major William Scott Ketchum steamed from San Francisco to San Pedro and made a rapid march with Companies D and G of the 4th US Infantry to encamp near San Bernardino on 16 August, arriving on 26 August. By the beginning of September, they were reinforced by a detachment of 90 men from the 1st US Dragoons and a howitzer. Except for frequent sniping at his camp, Ketchum’s garrison successfully stifled any secessionist uprising from Belleville. A show of force by the Dragoons in the streets of San Bernardino quelled a secessionist political demonstration during the September gubernatorial elections. Union commanders relied on the volunteer San Bernardino Mounted Rifles and Captain Clarence E Bennett for intelligence and help in holding the pro-Southern San Bernardino County for the Union as Regular Army troops were gradually withdrawn and replaced by California Volunteers.

Maryland. Incident at Great Falls.

New Mexico Territory. Operations at Fort Stanton began.

North Carolina. Union Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler and Captain Silas Horton Stringham USN (commanding the Atlantic Blockading Squadron) embarked on an amphibious expedition from Fort Monroe to capture Hatteras Inlet in North Carolina. The North Carolina Sounds occupy most of the coast from Point Lookout to the Virginia border. With their eastern borders marked by the Outer Banks, they were well located for raiding Northern maritime commerce. Cape Hatteras, the easternmost point in the Confederacy, is within sight of the Gulf Stream, and ships in the Caribbean trade reduced the time of their homeward journeys to New York, Philadelphia, or Boston by riding the current northwards. Raiders, privateers, or state-owned vessels, could lie inside the inlets, protected from both the weather and from blockaders until an undefended victim appeared. Watchers stationed at the Hatteras lighthouse would signal a raider, which would dash out and make a capture, often being able to return the same day. Immediately after seceding from the Union the state of North Carolina established forts at the inlets and waterways that allowed entrance to and egress from the sounds, in order to protect these raiders from Union reprisal. In 1861 only four inlets were deep enough for ocean-going vessels to pass: Beaufort, Ocracoke, Hatteras, and Oregon Inlets. Hatteras Inlet was the most important of these, so it was given two forts, named Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark. Fort Hatteras was sited adjacent to the inlet, on the sound side of Hatteras Island. Fort Clark was about half a mile to the southeast, closer to the Atlantic Ocean. The forts were not very strong; Fort Hatteras had only ten guns mounted by the end of August, with another five guns in the fort but not yet mounted. Fort Clark had only five. Furthermore, most of the guns were rather light 32-pounders or smaller, of limited range, and inadequate for coastal defense. The personnel problem was even worse. There were only six regiments available for the defense of the entire North Carolina coastline. Only a fraction of the 7th North Carolina Infantry occupied the two forts at Hatteras Inlet. The other forts were likewise only weakly held. Fewer than a thousand men garrisoned Forts Ocracoke, Hatteras, Clark, and Oregon. Reinforcements, if needed, would have to come from as far away as Beaufort. The military authorities in North Carolina did little to keep the poor state of their defences secret.
Several Union naval captains, victims of either capture or shipwreck, were loosely detained at or near Hatteras Island while awaiting return to their homes. They were allowed virtually free access to the forts and made mental notes of everything. When they returned to the North, at least two of them gave full and valuable descriptions to the Navy Department. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles recommended that the coast should be rendered useless to the South by sinking old, useless, ballast-laden ships in the inlets to block them up. He ordered Commander H S Stellwagen to go to the Chesapeake Bay to buy some suitable old hulks. At the same time, he was told to report his activities to Stringham, commanding the Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Stringham was in charge of the blockade of the North Carolina coast. This was the first involvement of Stringham with what was to become the attack at Hatteras Inlet. Stringham opposed the plan to block the inlets from the beginning. He believed that the tidal currents would either sweep the impediments away or would rapidly scour new channels. As he saw it, the Confederates could not be denied access to the sounds unless the inlets were actually held by the Union. In other words, in order to establish an effective blockade in this part of North Carolina, the forts that the seceded state had set up would have to be captured. Since the Navy could not do it alone, the cooperation of the Army would be needed.
Meanwhile, Butler was ordered to assemble a force of about 860 men for the expedition to Hatteras Inlet. He soon had 500 men from the German-speaking 20th New York Infantry (Colonel Rush Hawkins), 220 from the 9th New York Infantry (Colonel Maximilian Weber), 100 from the 99th New York Infantry, known as the Union Coast Guard (Captain William Nixon), and 60 Regular Army gunners from the 2nd US Artillery (Lieutenant Frank H Larned). The Union troops were put aboard two of the vessels that Commander Stellwagen had purchased: the Adelaide and the George Peabody. When an objection was raised that the two ships would not be able to survive a Cape Hatteras storm, Stellwagen pointed out that the expedition could proceed only in fair weather anyway, as a storm would prevent landings.
While Butler was gathering his forces and acquiring two more transport ships, Stringham was also making preparations. He learned that the War Department orders to Butler’s superior, Major-General John Ellis Wool, had contained the statement, “The expedition originated in the Navy Department, and is under its control.” Reasoning that he would be blamed if anything went wrong, he decided to make his own plans to avoid that eventuality. The Union naval squadron consisted of USS Minnesota, USS Monticello, USS Wabash, USS Pawnee, Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane, the tug Fanny, and the two transport ships to carry the 900 troops. The expedition would be joined later by USS Susquehanna and USS Cumberland. The tug Fanny was needed to tow some of the surf boats that would be used for the landing. The flotilla, less the USS Susquehanna and USS Cumberland, departed Hampton Roads and moved down the coast to the vicinity of Cape Hatteras.

Virginia. Skirmishes at Piggott’s Mill and Blue’s House.

Wayne Court House, Virginia. A Union force of 53 men from Camp Pierpont at Ceredo, met a Confederate force at Wayne Court House and claimed four Confederates killed and 8 captured.

Ball’s Cross Roads, Virginia. Two companies of the Union 23rd New York Infantry met a Confederate force at Ball’s Cross Roads and lost one man killed and one man wounded.

Kessler’s Cross Lanes, Virginia, also known as Cross Lanes. Confederate Brigadier-General John Buchanan Floyd, commanding the Army of the Kanawha, crossed the Gauley River to attack Colonel Erastus Barnard Tyler’s 7th Ohio Infantry encamped at Kessler’s Cross Lanes, near Summersville. The Union forces were surprised and routed and the remaining troops withdrew over the mountains to Elk River and then to Charleston. Floyd then withdrew back to the river and entrenched a defensive position at Carnifex Ferry. The Union lost two men killed, four wounded and five captured at Cross Lanes. The Confederates claimed they had inflicted 245 casualties while the Union reported 15 men killed 40 wounded and 30 or 100 captured) compared to 40 Confederates. (CWSAC Limited Battle – Confederate Victory)

Union Organisation

USA: John Fulton Reynolds confirmed Brigadier-General USV 26 August 1861 to rank from 20 August 1861.

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln
Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin
Secretary of War: Simon Cameron
Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

Atlantic Blockading Squadron: Silas Horton Stringham
Gulf Blockading Squadron: William Mervine
Pacific Squadron: John Berrien Montgomery
West Indies Squadron: Garrett J Pendergrast
Western Gunboat Flotilla: John Rodgers
Potomac Flotilla: Thomas Tingey Craven

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

Department of the Cumberland: Robert Anderson awaited

Department of the East: Vacant

Department of Florida: Harvey Brown

Department of the Ohio: William Starke Rosecrans

  • Cheat Mountain District: Joseph Jones Reynolds
  • Cheat River District: Henry Washington Benham
  • District of Grafton: Benjamin Franklin Kelley
  • Army of Occupation: William Starke Rosecrans

Department of the Pacific: Edwin Vose Sumner

  • District of Oregon: George Wright

Department of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan

  • Army of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan

Department of Texas: Vacant

Department of Virginia: John Ellis Wool

Western Department: John Charles Frémont

  • District of Ironton: Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
  • District of North Missouri: John Pope
  • Southern District of New Mexico: Benjamin Stone Roberts

Confederate Organisation

CSA: The Department of the Peninsula was extended to include Gloucester, Matthews, and Middlesex counties of Virginia. This ensured that all forces operating against the Union force gathering at Fort Monroe could be coordinated.

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

Military Adviser to the President: Robert Edward Lee

Department No 1: David Emanuel Twiggs

Department of Fredericksburg: Daniel Harvey Hill

  • District of Aquia: vacant

Department of Middle and Eastern Florida: John Breckinridge Grayson

Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger

Department of North Carolina: Richard Caswell Gatlin

  • Defences of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes

Department of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

  • Army of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

Department of the Potomac: Joseph Eggleston Johnston

  • Army of the Potomac: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
  • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson

Department of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley

Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring

Department of Texas: Earl Van Dorn interim Paul Octave Hébert awaited

  • Defences of Galveston: John Creed Moore

Department of West Florida: Braxton Bragg

  • “Forces in Pensacola”: Braxton Bragg

Western Department: Leonidas Polk

  • District of Upper Arkansas: William Joseph Hardee
  • Western Army: Benjamin McCulloch

District of East Tennessee: Felix Kirk Zollicoffer

Defences of Savannah: Alexander Robert Lawton

Indian Territory: Benjamin McCulloch

Forces in Richmond: Thomas Turner Fauntleroy

Army of the Kanawha: John Buchanan Floyd

Army of Liberation: Gideon Johnson Pillow

Army of the Northwest: William Wing Loring

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

Winfield Scott
George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
Henry Wager Halleck

Major-General USV

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter

Brigadier-General USA

John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
Irvin McDowell
Robert Anderson
William Starke Rosecrans

Brigadier-General USV

Samuel Peter Heintzelman
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Andrew Porter
Fitz-John Porter
William Buel Franklin
William Tecumseh Sherman
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Don Carlos Buell
Thomas West Sherman
John Pope
George Archibald McCall
William Reading Montgomery
Philip Kearny
Joseph Hooker
John Wolcott Phelps
Ulysses Simpson Grant
Joseph Jones Reynolds
Samuel Ryan Curtis
Charles Smith Hamilton
Darius Nash Couch
Rufus King
Jacob Dolson Cox
Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
Franz Sigel
Robert Cumming Schenck
Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
Frederick West Lander
Benjamin Franklin Kelley
John Alexander McClernand
Alpheus Starkey Williams
Israel Bush Richardson
James Cooper
James Brewerton Ricketts
Orlando Bolivar Willcox
Michael Corcoran
George Henry Thomas
Ambrose Everett Burnside
Henry Hayes Lockwood
Louis Blenker
Henry Warner Slocum
James Samuel Wadsworth
John James Peck
Ormsby McKnight Mitchel
George Webb Morell
John Henry Martindale
Samuel Davis Sturgis
George Stoneman
Henry Washington Benham
William Farrar Smith
James William Denver
Egbert Ludovicus Vielé
James Shields
John Fulton Reynolds
William Farquhar Barry

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster-General)
Henry Knox Craig
Lorenzo Thomas (Adjutant-General)
James Wolfe Ripley (Ordnance)

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

General ACSA

Samuel Cooper
Albert Sidney Johnston
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

Major-General PACS

David Emanuel Twiggs
Leonidas Polk

Brigadier-General ACSA

Braxton Bragg

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Milledge Lake Bonham
Benjamin McCulloch
William Wing Loring
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd
William Henry Talbot Walker
Henry Rootes Jackson
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
Henry Alexander Wise
Earl Van Dorn
William Joseph Hardee
Richard Stoddert Ewell
David Rumph Jones
Benjamin Huger
John Bankhead Magruder
James Longstreet
Edmund Kirby Smith
John Clifford Pemberton
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Richard Caswell Gatlin
Daniel Smith Donelson
Samuel Read Anderson
Gideon Johnson Pillow
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
Felix Kirk Zollicoffer
Daniel Harvey Hill
Jones Mitchell Withers
Richard Heron Anderson
Robert Augustus Toombs
Samuel Jones
Arnold Elzey
William Henry Chase Whiting
Jubal Anderson Early
Isaac Ridgway Trimble
Daniel Ruggles
George Bibb Crittenden
John Breckinridge Grayson
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Albert Pike
Paul Octave Hébert

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