1861 January 16th

January 16 1861 Wednesday

California. Operations at Fort Humboldt began, concluding on 18 May 1861.

Florida. The USS Wyandotte sailed away from Fort Pickens, and the store-ship Supply sailed the following day, to collect supplies and reinforcements for the isolated garrison. USS Wyandotte, originally the USS Western Port, was a steamer acquired by the Navy as a gunboat for the Paraguay Expedition in 1858. After repairs, USS Wyandotte was recommissioned on 19 September 1859 and assigned to the Home Squadron, cruising mainly in the Caribbean in an effort to suppress the slave trade. In mid-December 1860, USS Wyandotte steamed to Pensacola and entered the dry dock at Pensacola Navy Yard for repairs. She was re-floated on 9 January 1861 but refused to surrender when Confederate forces took over the navy yard three days later. Instead, she towed the storeship USS Supply out to sea for safety. USS Wyandotte remained in Pensacola Bay, performing valuable observation and communication duty for the garrison at Fort Pickens. She later transported the Federal troops from Fort Barrancas to Fort Pickens on 10 January 1861 and patrolled the inner shore of Santa Rosa Island to prevent Confederate soldiers from attacking Fort Pickens by land. USS Wyandotte later took part in the night-time reinforcement of Fort Pickens on 12 April 1861.

Indiana. Henry S Lane resigned as Governor of Indiana and was succeeded by Oliver H P T Morton.

Maryland. Marshal Kane, in a letter to Mayor Berrett of Baltimore, denied that any organization existed to prevent the inauguration of US President Abraham Lincoln. He advised that the president-elect would need no armed escort in passing through or sojourning within the limits of Baltimore and Maryland.

Maryland. Captain Taylor USMC, commanding Fort Washington, reported to Colonel John Harris, commandant of the US Marine Corps, that the fort was defenceless and vulnerable to attack, and requested rein­forcements. The fort had been completed in 1809 and was the only fortification protecting Washington, DC. The stone structure offered a good field of fire along the Potomac River and stood on the Maryland side of the Potomac, and was a vital link in the defence of the capital by land or water. Secretary of the Navy Isaac Toucey ordered a detachment of US Marines to garrison the fort. Forty US Marines from the Washington Navy Yard were sent under Captain Algernon S Taylor. These were among the first Regular troops to be stationed in or near the capital. In May 1861, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles considered the threat to have subsided and ordered the removal of the Marines from Fort Washington.

Virginia. The Virginia state legislature received Alabama Commissioners A F Hopkins and Frank Gilmer.

Union Organisation

Commander in Chief: President James Buchanan

Vice-President: John Cabell Breckinridge

Secretary of War: Joseph Holt

Secretary of the Navy: Isaac Toucey

  • African Squadron USN: Captain William Inman USN
  • Brazil Squadron USN: Captain Joshua R Sands USN.
  • East Indian (Asiatic) Squadron USN: Captain Cornelius K Stribling USN
  • European Squadron USN: vacant
  • Home Squadron USN: Captain Garrett J Prendergast USN
  • Mediterranean Squadron USN: Captain Charles H Bell USN
  • Pacific Squadron USN: Captain John B Montgomery USN

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

  • Department of the Pacific: Albert Sidney Johnston
    • District of Oregon: George Wright
  • Department of the East: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of New Mexico: Thomas Turner Fauntleroy
  • Department of Texas: David Emanuel Twiggs
  • Department of Utah: Philip St George Cooke
  • Department of the West: William Selby Harney

Union Generals

Major-General USA

Winfield Scott

Brigadier-General USA

John Ellis Wool
David Emanuel Twiggs
William Selby Harney

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Joseph Eggleston Johnston

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