1861 July 11th

July 11 1861 Thursday

Battle of Rich Mountain, VA (CWSAC Major Battle Union Victory)
Monroe Station, MO

McClellan’s West Virginia Campaign
Patterson’s Shenandoah Valley Operations

Go to July 12 1861

USA. Sea vessels propelled under sail were never able to generate the power to move an armoured warship. When steam propulsion began to be applied to warships, naval constructors renewed their interest in protecting their vessels with armour. Experiments had been tried with armoured warships during the Crimean war and the British and French navies had each built armoured ships and were planning to build others. Some of these attempted to combine steam and sail propulsion but increasingly, it was seen that steam alone was a sufficient means of propulsion. In 1860, the French Navy commissioned La Gloire, the world’s first ocean-going ironclad warship. It was an existing wooden ship with additional armour added to it. Great Britain followed a year later with HMS Warrior, which was a purpose-built ironclad warship and instantly became the most advanced warship in the world.
The use of armour remained controversial, however, and the United States Navy was generally reluctant to embrace the new technology. By comparison, Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory was an early enthusiast of the advantages of armour. As he saw it, the Confederacy could not match the industrial North in numbers of ships at sea so they would have to compete by building vessels that would be individually superior to those of the Union. The edge would be provided by armour. Mallory gathered about himself a group of men who were able to put his vision into practice, among them John M Brooke, John L Porter, and William P Williamson.When Mallory’s men searched the South for factories that could build engines to drive the heavy ships that he wanted, they found no place to do it immediately. At the best facility, the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, building engines from scratch would take at least a year. Upon learning this, Williamson suggested taking the engines from the hulk of the former USS Merrimack, recently raised from the bed of the Elizabeth River. His colleagues promptly accepted his suggestion and expanded it, proposing that the design of their projected ironclad be adapted to the hull. Porter produced the revised plans, which were submitted to Mallory for approval. The new design was accepted and work began almost immediately.
The burned-out hull of the USS Merrimack was towed into the graving dock that the Union Navy had failed to destroy at the Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk. During the subsequent conversion process, the plans were further modified to incorporate an iron ram fitted to the prow. Her offensive power, in addition to the ram, consisted of 10 guns: six 9-inch smooth-bore Dahlgren guns, two 6.4-inch, and two 7-inch Brooke rifles. The armour plating was originally meant to be 1 inch thick but was enhanced by double plates, each 2 inches thick, backed by 24 inches of iron and pine. The armoured casemate was pierced with 14 gun ports: four on each broadside, three forward, and three aft.

Mississippi. Union and Confederate forces raided lighthouse towers at the three Mississippi River passes. CSS Sumter had sent boats on 23 June to the different lighthouses to stave in the oil casts and bring away the lighting apparatus to prevent the enemy’s shipping from using the lights. They revisited one station on 11 July to remove the lens, but they found that a crew from the steam sloop USS Brooklyn had removed everything of value only a few hours earlier.

Missouri. Union Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon closed the St Louis State Journal for expressing disloyal sentiments.

Monroe Station, Missouri. A company of about 100 Confederate cavalrymen made a demonstration at Monroe Station, 30 miles west of Hannibal. They burned the Station-house, six railroad coaches and eighteen freight cars, and tore up the railroad track on each side of the town. One Union man was killed and others wounded in earlier skirmishing with Colonel Robert E Smith’s 16th Illinois Infantry near Monroe.  Smith’s troops held out with the help of a 6-pounder gun against a reported 2,000 Confederates with two guns until reinforcements arrived by rail in the form of the remainder of the 16th Illinois Infantry and a second gun. Colonel John McAuley Palmer’s 14th Illinois Infantry arrived two days later. The Union report listed several men wounded and estimated as many as 100 Confederate casualties and prisoners.

Virginia. Expedition to Romney began.

Virginia. Incidents at Camp Garnett and Belington.

Rich Mountain and Laurel Hill, Virginia. Union Major-General George Brinton McClellan had left Clarksburg on 27 June to march south to attack Lieutenant-Colonel John Pegram’s Confederates in the vicinity of Rich Mountain. Meanwhile, Indiana State Brigadier-General Thomas Armstrong Morris’s brigade marched from Philippi to confront Brigadier-General Robert Selden Garnett’s command at Laurel Hill. Union Brigadier-General William Starke Rosecrans led a reinforced brigade of four regiments (8th Indiana Infantry, 9th Indiana Infantry, 13th Indiana Infantry, 19th Ohio Infantry, and Burdell’s detachment of cavalry) south around the Confederate left flank by a mountain path revealed by a Unionist sympathiser to seize the Staunton to Parkersburg Turnpike. Rosecrans surprised 350 Confederates under Captain Julius Adolphus De Lagnel at Hart House about a mile and a half behind Pegram’s positions and cut off the Confederate force. A sharp two-hour fight ensued in which the Confederate force was split in two. McClellan was wary of advancing as he mistook the sound of firing as indicating a defeat for Rosecrans and he held back. Half of Pegram’s force was able to escape through mountainous terrain towards Beverly. Hearing of Pegram’s defeat, Garnett abandoned Laurel Hill and fell back towards Carrick’s Ford.
This small but influential success permitted the Union occupation of much of western Virginia. It also boosted McClellan’s reputation in the public eye. Union losses were reported as 46 to 60 men and the Confederates as 170 to 300, with perhaps as many as 500 men and 6 guns captured. (CWSAC Major Battle Union Victory)

Union Organisation

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

Department of Annapolis: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks

Department of the East: John Ellis Wool

Department of Florida: Harvey Brown

Department of Kentucky: Robert Anderson

Department of Northeastern Virginia: Irvin McDowell

  • Army of Northeastern Virginia: Irvin McDowell

Department of the Ohio: George Brinton McClellan

  • Army of Occupation: George Brinton McClellan

Department of the Pacific: Edwin Vose Sumner

  • District of Oregon: George Wright

Department of Pennsylvania: Robert Patterson

  • Army of the Shenandoah: Robert Patterson

Department of Texas: Vacant

Department of Utah: Philip St George Cooke

Department of Virginia: Benjamin Franklin Butler

Department of Washington: Joseph King Fenno Mansfield

Western Department: Nathaniel Lyon interim John Charles Frémont awaited

  • District of Ironton: Benjamin Gratz Brown
  • 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: Theophilus Hunter Holmes

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: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

  • Army of the Potomac: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

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
  • Forces in Missouri: Benjamin McCulloch

Defences of Savannah: Alexander Robert Lawton

District of Harper’s Ferry: Joseph Eggleston Johnston

  • Army of the Shenandoah: Joseph Eggleston Johnston

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: Robert Selden Garnett

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

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster-General)

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

General ACSA

Samuel Cooper
Albert Sidney Johnston
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston

Major-General PACS

David Emanuel Twiggs
Leonidas Polk

Brigadier-General ACSA

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
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
Robert Selden Garnett
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
Barnard Elliott Bee
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

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