1861 August 5th

August 5 1861 Monday

Athens, MO

Confederate Invasion of New Mexico
Wilson’s Creek Campaign

Go to August 6 1861

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 Infantry 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 more exposed positions 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 a headlong retreat. Kniesley withdrew his ineffectual artillery. Most of the Union force was on foot so their pursuit was ineffective. Although a few shots were fired at long range from 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 that 31 Missouri State Guardsmen were killed or wounded and twenty captured. Moore also captured 40 horses and gear, hundreds of arms, and a wagonload of long knives. The defeat was demoralising for Confederate resistance in north-eastern Missouri.

Virginia. Incident at Rich Mountain.

Union Organisation

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

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

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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