1861 August 5th

August 5 1861 Monday

Athens, MO

Confederate Invasion of New Mexico

Wilson’s Creek Campaign

Puerto Rico. The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured the large brig Santa Clara.

USA. The Tax Law of 1861 passed by the US Congress was also levied nominally on the seceded Southern states.

California. Incident at Pitt Valley.

Florida. The Confederate prize ship Alvarado was driven ashore near Fernandina by USS Jamestown, Commander Charles Green. The vessel was then burned by a boat crew from the USS Vincennes.

Kentucky. Elections for the state legislature of Kentucky indicated a high majority of support for pro-Union candidates.

Maryland. Incident at Point of Rocks. Sixty men of the Union 28th New York skirmished with Confederate cavalry, reporting no losses and claiming 3 Confederates killed, 2 wounded and 7 captured.

Missouri. Incident at Kirksville.

Missouri. Union Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon reached Springfield after withdrawing from an exposed position at McCullah’s Farm and Dug Springs. Lyon awaited the arrival of reinforcements led by Brigadier-General Franz Sigel.

Athens, Missouri. Confederate Colonel Martin Edwin Green’s force of about 2,000 Missouri State Guardsmen and three guns tried to capture Athens from its garrison of about 500 Missouri Home Guards.

Union Colonel David Moore’s pickets warned of the secessionists’ advance at 5am, and Moore called out the regiment to begin assembling it for battle. Many men were absent on weekend leaves so after removing his sick men across the river, Moore had only 333 men available to put in line. Green’s much larger force surrounded the town on three sides, with the river at the back of the Unionists.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles S Callihan commanded the Union left flank. He found himself facing Major B W Shacklett’s cavalry and Captain James Kniesley’s three-gun battery. The Union troops had no artillery. Fortunately for them, Kniesley’s guns (a 6-pounder, a 9-pounder, and an improvised hollowed log) were supplied with only a few rounds of solid shot and some improvised canister rounds. The artillery had little impact on the battle. The first shot from the artillery passed over the defenders, across the river, and into the Croton railway depot. Another passed through the Benning house and into the river. Predictably, the log cannon flew apart on its first ignition and played no further part in the battle.

As the Confederates advanced, the firing became general. Despite the absence of artillery, Moore’s force was well armed with rifled muskets and bayonets while the Missouri State Guard had mainly shotguns and squirrel guns. Many of Green’s men were poorly equipped, untrained, and untested recruits but Captain Hackney’s Home Guard managed to drive the Confederates away from Stallion Branch. However, Callihan was unnerved by the sight of Major Shacklett’s large cavalry force advancing and fled toward the river with one of the Home Guard’s cavalry companies. Other Unionist troops held their positions. Shacklett’s advance faltered as his men advanced through a cornfield. Shacklett was wounded in the neck and his demoralised men began falling back. Seeing this, Moore commanded his men to fix bayonets and their counterattack sent the Missouri State Guardsmen into headlong retreat. Kniesley withdrew his artillery. Most of the Union force was on foot so their pursuit was ineffective. Although a few shots were fired at long range across the river by some Iowa militiamen, they played no other part in the battle. By the time a relief force reached Athens, the Confederates had already begun their general retreat.

Moore reported Union losses as three dead and twenty wounded, or alternatively, 10 killed and 10 wounded. Confederate losses are unknown but were reported by the Union as 23 killed and 50 wounded. Moore estimated 31 Missouri State Guardsmen killed and wounded and twenty captured. Moore also captured 40 horses and gear, hundreds of arms, and a wagon load of long knives. The defeat was demoralising for Confederate resistance in northeastern Missouri.

Virginia. Incident at Rich Mountain.

Union Organisation

USA: Lorenzo Thomas confirmed Brigadier-General to rank from 3 August 1861, Adjutant-General of the US Army.

Thomas, Lorenzo / Delaware / Born 26 October 1804 New Castle, Delaware / Died Washington, District of Columbia 2 March 1875
USMA 1 July 1823 17/35 Infantry / Cadet USMA 1 September 1819 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 4th US Infantry 1 July 1823 / Regt Adjutant 1 March 1828-15 February 1831 / 1st Lieutenant USA 17 March 1829 / Captain USA 23 September 1836 / Assistant Quartermaster 30 September 1836-7 July 1838 / Assistant Adjutant-General 1 July 1838 / Major USA 4th US Infantry 1 January 1848 / Adjutant-General’s Department 1 January 1848 / Lieutenant-Colonel USA Assistant Adjutant-General 15 July 1852 / Chief of Staff US Army 15 March 1853 / Colonel USA Adjutant-General 7 March 1861 / Brigadier-General USA Adjutant-General 5 August 1861 to rank from 3 August 1861 / Special Assignment 23 March 1863-1865 / Retired USA 22 February 1869 / Brevet Major USA 1 July 1838 Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel USA 23 September 1846 Brevet Brigadier-General USA 7 March 1861 Brevet Major-General USA 13 March 1865
Adjutant-General 7 March 1861-23 March 1863 / Member of the War Board 17 March 1862-23 July 1862

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln

Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin

Secretary of War: Simon Cameron

Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

  • Coast Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Silas Horton Stringham USN
  • Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer William Mervine USN
  • Pacific Squadron USN: Captain John B Montgomery USN
  • Potomac Flotilla USN: Commander Thomas Tingey Craven USN

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

  • Military Division (Department) of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
    • Department of Northeastern Virginia: Irvin McDowell
      • Army of the Potomac: Irvin McDowell
    • Department of Washington: Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
  • Department of the East: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of Florida: Harvey Brown
  • Department of Kentucky: Robert Anderson
  • Department of the Ohio: William Starke Rosecrans
    • Cheat Mountain District: Joseph Jones Reynolds
    • Cheat River District: Charles J Biddle
    • 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 Pennsylvania: John Adams Dix
    • Army of the Shenandoah: Vacant
  • Department of the Shenandoah: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
  • Department of Texas: Vacant
  • Department of Virginia: Benjamin Franklin Butler
  • Western Department: John Charles Frémont
    • District of Ironton: Benjamin Gratz Brown
    • District of North Missouri: John Pope
    • Army of the West: Nathaniel Lyon

Confederate Organisation

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
    • “Forces in New Orleans” “Army of Louisiana”: Braxton Bragg
  • Department of Fredericksburg: Daniel Harvey Hill
    • District of Aquia: Daniel Ruggles
  • Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger
  • Department of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes
    • 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
  • Department of South Carolina: Daniel Harvey Hill
  • Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring
  • Department of Texas: Earl Van Dorn
    • 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: Henry Alexander Wise
  • 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

Major-General USV

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler

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
David Hunter
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Andrew Porter
Fitz-John Porter
William Buel Franklin
William Tecumseh Sherman
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Don Carlos Buell
Thomas West Sherman
Nathaniel Lyon
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

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

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