1861 December 17th

December 17 1861 Monday

Battle of Rowlett’s Station, KY (CWSAC – Limited Battle – Inconclusive)

East Kentucky Operations

Georgia. Seven “stone fleet” vessels were sunk by the US Navy in an attempt to block the entrance of Savannah Harbour.

Rowlett’s Station, Kentucky, also known as Woodsonville, or Green River. Confederate Brigadier-General Thomas Carmichael Hindman commanded a force stationed near Rowlett’s Station. It comprised 8th Texas Cavalry (Terry’s Texas Rangers), 7th Texas Cavalry, and the 1st Battalion Arkansas Infantry, and numbered about 1,350 men. Union Brigadier-General Alexander McDowell McCook was nearby at Nolin with his 2nd Division from the Department of the Ohio.

The Confederates countered the Union approach by partially destroying the bridge of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad over the Green River. McCook sent two companies of the 32nd Indiana Infantry under Colonel Johann August Ernst von Willich across the Green River and began constructing a pontoon bridge for the passage of trains and artillery. When the bridge was completed four more companies of the 32nd Indiana crossed the river. The combined force advanced to a hill south of Woodsonville where, in the afternoon, they spotted enemy troops in the woods fronting them. Two companies advanced toward the enemy in the woods, who fell back until Confederate cavalry counter-attacked.

A general engagement ensued as the eight Union companies fought a larger Confederate force. Fearing that the enemy might roll up his right flank, Willich ordered a withdrawal to a stronger position in the rear. Learning of the approach of enemy reinforcements, the Confederates also withdrew from the field.

The 32nd Indiana Infantry gained popular recognition for its stand because it formed a “hollow square” – a rarely used defence against mounted cavalry – and beat off the attackers. This detachment of 500 men under Lieutenant-Colonel Henry von Trebra fought off 1,300 men of the 8th Texas Cavalry and some of Hindman’s infantry. The Confederate 8th Texas Cavalry changed its name to Terry’s Texas Rangers in honour of their fallen Colonel.

Although the action was indecisive, the action ensured the continued movement of Union men and supplies along the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. Union losses were reported as 40 and Confederate as 91. (CWSAC – Limited Battle – Inconclusive)

South Carolina. A Union expedition landed near Hilton Head and forced the Confederates to evacuate the town of Rockville. Union Brigadier-General Isaac Ingalls Stevens involved in a skirmish at Chisholm’s Island.

Virginia. Confederate Brigadier-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson’s forces arrived at Dam No 5 on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal north of Martinsburg. As it was too late in the day to begin, they prepared to break open the dam early the next morning. Some of Jackson’s troops also approached Dam No 4 with similar intentions.

Union Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln

Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin

Secretary of War: Simon Cameron

Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

  • North Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough USN
  • South Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du Pont USN
  • Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer William McKean USN
  • Pacific Squadron USN: Captain John B Montgomery USN
  • Western Gunboat Flotilla USN: Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote USN
  • Potomac Flotilla USN: Lieutenant Robert Harris Wyman USN

General–in-Chief: George Brinton McClellan

  • Department of Florida: Harvey Brown
  • Department of Kansas: David Hunter
  • Department of the Missouri: Henry Wager Halleck
    • District of St Louis: John McAllister Schofield
    • District of Central Missouri: John Pope
      • Army of Western Missouri: John Pope
    • District of North Missouri: Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
    • District of Southeast Missouri: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • District of Western Kentucky: Horatio Gouverneur Wright
  • Department of New England: Benjamin Franklin Butler
  • Department of New Mexico: Edward Richard Sprigg Canby
    • Southern District of New Mexico: Benjamin Stone Roberts
  • Department of New York: Edward Denison Morgan
  • Department of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
    • District of Grafton: Benjamin Franklin Kelley
    • Army of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
  • Department of the Pacific: George Wright
    • District of the Humboldt: Francis James Lippitt
    • District of Oregon: Albemarle Cady
    • District of Southern California: James Henry Carleton
  • Department of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
    • District of Harper’s Ferry and Cumberland: Frederick West Lander
    • Army of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
  • Department of Texas: Vacant
  • Department of Virginia: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of Western Virginia: William Starke Rosecrans
    • District of the Kanawha: Jacob Dolson Cox
    • Cheat Mountain District: Robert Huston Milroy

Confederate Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Jefferson Finis Davis

Vice-President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens

Secretary of War: Judah Philip Benjamin

Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory

Military Adviser to the President: Vacant

  • Department No 1: Mansfield Lovell
  • Department of Alabama and West Florida: Braxton Bragg
    • District of Alabama: Jones Mitchell Withers
    • Army of Pensacola Braxton Bragg
  • Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder
  • Department of the Indian Territory: Albert Pike
  • Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger
  • Department of North Carolina: Richard Caswell Gatlin
    • District of Cape Fear: Joseph Reid Anderson
    • District of Pamlico: Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
  • Department of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
    • District of Aquia: Robert Augustus Toombs
    • District of the Potomac: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
    • Army of the Potomac: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
      • I Corps Potomac: Earl Van Dorn
      • II Corps Potomac: Gustavus Woodson Smith
    • Valley District: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
      • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
    • Army of the Northwest: William Wing Loring
  • Department of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder
    • Army of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder
  • Department of South Carolina, Georgia and East Florida: Robert Edward Lee
    •  District of Middle and East Florida: William Montgomery Gardner
    • District of Georgia: Alexander Robert Lawton
    • District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
      • 1st Sub-District of South Carolina: Arthur Middleton Manigault.
      • 2nd Sub-District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
      • 3rd Sub-District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley temporary
      • 4th Sub-District of South Carolina: John Clifford Pemberton
      • 5th Sub-District of South Carolina: Thomas Fenwick Drayton
  • Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring
  • Department of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
    • Western District of Texas: Henry Eustace McCulloch
    • District of Galveston: Ebenezer B Nichols
    • Defences of Pass Cavallo: John W Glenn
  • Western Department: Albert Sidney Johnston
    • First Geographical Division: Leonidas Polk
    • District of Upper Arkansas: William Joseph Hardee
    • District of East Tennessee: George Bibb Crittenden
    • Army of Central Kentucky: William Joseph Hardee temporary
    • Army of Eastern Kentucky: Humphrey Marshall
    • Western Army: Benjamin McCulloch
  • District of Arizona: Henry Hopkins Sibley
    • Army of New Mexico: Henry Hopkins Sibley
  • Forces in Richmond: Charles Dimmock

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
Henry Wager Halleck

Major-General USV

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter
Edwin Denison Morgan

Brigadier-General USA

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

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
Alexander McDowell McCook
Oliver Otis Howard
Eleazar Arthur Paine
Daniel Edgar Sickles
Charles Davis Jameson
Ebenezer Dumont
Robert Huston Milroy
Lewis Wallace
Willis Arnold Gorman
Daniel Butterfield
Horatio Gouverneur Wright
Edward Otho Cresap Ord
William Nelson
William Thomas Ward
John Gross Barnard
Innis Newton Palmer
Seth Williams
John Newton
Winfield Scott Hancock
Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
George Wright
Isaac Ingalls Stevens
Thomas Williams
George Sykes
William Henry French
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
John Milton Brannan
William Wallace Burns
John Porter Hatch
David Sloane Stanley
William Kerley Strong
Albin Francisco Schoepf
Lovell Harrison Rousseau
James Scott Negley
Thomas John Wood
Richard W Johnson
Adolph Wilhelm August Friedrich Von Steinwehr
Joseph Bennett Plummer
John Gray Foster
George Washington Cullum
Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
Christopher Columbus Augur
Schuyler Hamilton
Jesse Lee Reno
George Washington Morgan
Julius Stahel
John McAllister Schofield
Thomas Jefferson McKean
John Grubb Parke
Zealous Bates Tower

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

Leonidas Polk
Braxton Bragg
Earl Van Dorn
Gustavus Woodson Smith
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
William Joseph Hardee
Benjamin Huger
James Longstreet
John Bankhead Magruder
Mansfield Lovell
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Edmund Kirby Smith
George Bibb Crittenden

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Milledge Lake Bonham
Benjamin McCulloch
William Wing Loring
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd
Henry Alexander Wise
Richard Stoddert Ewell
David Rumph Jones
John Clifford Pemberton
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Richard Caswell Gatlin
Daniel Smith Donelson
Samuel Read Anderson
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
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Albert Pike
Paul Octave Hébert
Joseph Reid Anderson
Simon Bolivar Buckner
Leroy Pope Walker
Albert Gallatin Blanchard
Gabriel James Rains
James Ewell Brown Stuart
Lafayette McLaws
Thomas Fenwick Drayton
Thomas Carmichael Hindman
Adley Hogan Gladden
John Porter McCown
Lloyd Tilghman
Nathan George Evans
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox
Philip St George Cocke
Robert Emmett Rodes
Richard Taylor
Louis Trezevant Wigfall
James Heyward Trapier
Samuel Gibbs French
William Henry Carroll
Hugh Weedon Mercer
Humphrey Marshall
John Cabell Breckinridge
Richard Griffith
Alexander Peter Stewart
William Montgomery Gardner
Richard Brooke Garnett
William Mahone
Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
Edward Johnson
Maxcy Gregg
Henry Constantine Wayne
Daniel Marsh Frost

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