1861 August 31st

August 31 1861 Saturday

Confederate Invasion of New Mexico
Rosecrans’ West Virginia Campaign

Go to September 1 1861

CSA. The Confederate government authorised the appointment of officers to the rank of “full” General. Samuel Cooper was to rank from 16 May 1861, as the most senior among Confederate generals, although he only ever served in a staff capacity. In the US Army, staff appointments were deemed to be lesser than line appointments, so Cooper was not considered the senior General of the army although his date of seniority was the earliest. Albert Sidney Johnston ranked from 30 May 1861 and became the second most senior General in the Confederate States’ Army and the most senior with a field command. Robert Edward Lee ranked from 14 June 1861 and was placed third in seniority. Joseph Eggleston Johnston ranked from 4 July 1861, the fourth in seniority. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard ranked from 21 July 1861, and was the fifth in seniority among Confederate generals.
The appointment of J E Johnston as the fourth general in seniority was made despite him being the most senior officer in the pre-war US Army. This apparent slight provoked an enduring and acrimonious feud with President Jefferson Finis Davis that affected their relationships throughout the war. In a confrontational exchange of letters, Davis asserted that A S Johnston and Lee were senior to J E Johnston as they had held a “line command” in the US Army, which conferred higher seniority ahead of J E Johnston’s former “staff” position. The argument was weak and reflected more of Davis’ partiality towards both Lee and A S Johnston, who enjoyed high reputations as fighting officers.

Florida. USS Jamestown, Commander Charles Green, captured the British blockade-running schooner Aigburth off the Florida coast.

Kentucky. The widespread publicity given to the Union Anaconda Plan made the Confederate government aware of the threat that would be posed to the Mississippi Valley by a water-borne invasion along the course of the river. In response, they set up a series of defensive positions along the river. Among these was Fort Pillow, 40 miles north of Memphis, and extensive works at Columbus. Construction of the Confederate batteries on and near Island No 10 was begun under the direction of Captain Asa B Gray. He began by laying out a battery on the Tennessee shore about a mile and a half above the island. This battery, known as Battery No 1 or the Redan Battery, commanded the approach to the bend at Island No 10. Vessels coming down the river would have to move directly toward its guns for more than a mile. It was not a very effective position as it was sited on low ground subject to flooding. Almost as soon as work was started, however, attention was diverted to strengthening the fortification of Columbus. Work continued at Island No 10, but it was regarded as less urgent and so was left short of both equipment and workers.

Missouri. Union Colonel James A Mulligan left Jefferson City with orders to march south and reinforce Colonel Thomas A Marshall, whose cavalry regiment was under pressure at Tipton, and to lead it to the defence of Lexington.

North Carolina. USS George Peabody, Lieutenant Lowry, captured the brig Henry C Brooks in Hatteras Inlet.

Virginia. Confederate gunboat CSS Teaser shelled Union positions at Newport News.

Virginia. Union Colonel George W Taylor’s 3rd New Jersey Infantry made an unsuccessful attempt to capture Munson’s Hill on the Little River Turnpike, where a Confederate outpost was maintained within sight of the centre of Washington, DC.

Virginia. Confederate General Robert Edward Lee was instructed to coordinate the forces of Brigadier-General John Buchanan Floyd, Brigadier-General Henry Alexander Wise, Brigadier-General Henry Rootes Jackson, and Brigadier-General William Wing Loring in western Virginia. Rather than being ordered to take field command in western Virginia, he was instructed to advise the existing disparate commands. He only briefly assumed command of the Army of the Kanawha and retained his post as Military Adviser to the President. Lee devised a plan by which Loring would advance on Huttonsville, while Floyd and Wise would be reinforced by Colonel John McCausland to advance towards Gauley Bridge. The Union opposition was under Brigadier-General William Starke Rosecrans who had 3,000 men at Gauley Bridge, 10,000 men near Huttonsville and 7,000 more at Sutton. Rosecrans’ troops were in two brigades under Colonel William Henry Lytle and Brigadier-General Henry Washington Benham, who were beginning their own advance from Clarksburg to attack the Confederates at Camp Gauley.

Union Organisation

USA: John Joseph Abercombie promoted Brigadier-General USV 30 August 1861.

USA: John Sedgwick promoted Brigadier-General USV 30 August 1861.

USA: Charles Ferguson Smith promoted Brigadier-General USV 30 August 1861.

USA: Silas Casey promoted Brigadier-General USV 30 August 1861.

USA: Lawrence Pike Graham promoted Brigadier-General USV 30 August 1861.

USA: George Gordon Meade promoted Brigadier-General USV 30 August 1861.

USA: Abram Duryée promoted Brigadier-General USV 30 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
Western Gunboat Flotilla: Andrew Hull Foote
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: Samuel Cooper confirmed General ACSA 31 August 1861 to rank from 16 May 1861.

CSA: Albert Sidney Johnston promoted General ACSA 31 August 1861 to rank from 30 May 1861.

CSA: Robert Edward Lee confirmed General ACSA 31 August 1861 to rank from 14 June 1861

CSA: Joseph Eggleston Johnston confirmed General ACSA 31 August 1861 to rank from 4 July 1861.

CSA: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard promoted General ACSA 31 August 1861 to rank from 21 July 1861.

CSA: George Nichols Hollins assumed command of the Mississippi River Naval Squadron.

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: Charles Dimmock

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
John Joseph Abercrombie
John Sedgwick
Charles Ferguson Smith
Silas Casey
Lawrence Pike Graham
George Gordon Meade
Abram Duryée

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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