1861 January 3rd

January 3 1861 Thursday

USA. The US War Department reversed the orders of the former Secretary of War, John Buchanan Floyd, and began to move weapons from many US Arsenals, to avoid them falling into the hands of the seceding Southern States.

District of Columbia. South Carolina’s Commissioners left Washington, DC, after President James Buchanan refused to acknowledge official communications from a seceded institution.

Florida. The Florida state convention met to discuss matters of secession.

Georgia. Fort Pulaski was occupied by Georgia State troops under the orders of Governor Joseph E Brown. The state troops began repairing the defences and upgrading the armament. Fort Pulaski was located Cockspur Island at the mouth of the Savannah River between Savannah and Tybee Island. Construction of a fort to protect the port of Savannah began in 1829 under the direction of Major Samuel Babcock, and later by 2nd Lieutenant Robert Edward Lee. In 1833, the facility was named Fort Pulaski after the Polish military commander who fought in the American Revolution. He took part in the sieges of Charleston and of Savannah. Wooden pilings were sunk up to 70 feet into the mud to support an estimated 25,000,000 bricks. Fort Pulaski was finally completed in 1847 following eighteen years of construction. Walls were eleven feet thick, thought to be impenetrable except by only the largest land artillery of the time. Their range was about a half-mile, and because the nearest land (Tybee Island) was further away than that, it was assumed that the Fort would be invincible to enemy attack. Although completed in 1847, Fort Pulaski was under the control of only two caretakers until 1860 when Governor Joseph E Brown ordered Fort Pulaski to be taken by the state of Georgia. A steamship carrying 110 men travelled downriver from Savannah and the fort was seized by the state of Georgia. Following the secession of Georgia in February 1861, Confederate troops moved into the fort.

Maryland. Governor Thomas H Hicks issued an address to the people of Maryland against secession, and Henry Winter Davis addressed the citizens of Maryland in favour of the Union. Numerous pro-Union meetings took place throughout the state of Maryland.

Massachusetts. John A Andrews succeeded Nathaniel Prentiss Banks as Governor of Massachusetts.

Missouri. Claiborne Fox Jackson succeeded Robert M Stewart as Governor of Missouri.

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 California established: Benjamin Lloyd Beall temporary
  • Department of the East: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of New Mexico: Thomas Turner Fauntleroy
  • Department of Oregon: George Wright
  • 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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