1861 July 5th

July 5 1861 Friday

Battle of Carthage, MO (CWSAC Formative Battle – Confederate Victory)

McClellan’s West Virginia Campaign

Patterson’s Shenandoah Valley Operations

Maryland. USS Dana, Acting Master’s Mate Robert B Ely, captured the sloop Teaser in Nanjemoy Creek.

Missouri. Incidents at Brier Fork and Carthage.

Missouri. A Confederate force commanded by Brigadier-General Benjamin McCulloch surprised a company of Union troops from Brigadier-General Franz Sigel’s command at Neosho. The Union troops were captured and paroled.

Carthage, Missouri, also known as Dry Fork, and Brier Fork. Confederate Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson had assumed command of approximately 4,000 pro-Confederate men of the Missouri State Guard at Lamar. Learning that Union Colonel Franz Sigel was encamped at Carthage, Governor Jackson made plans to attack the smaller but better armed Union force of about 1,100 men with eight guns. Sigel had two infantry regiments (3rd Missouri and 5th Missouri) and two batteries with eight guns under Captain Christian Essig and Captain Theodore Wilkins. Pro-Confederate State Major-General Sterling Price, commander of the Missouri State Guard was not present so Jackson commanded the action for the pro-Confederates, assisted by Colonel Lewis Henry Little. The four brigade-sized “divisions” of the State Guard were led by State Brigadier-General and Brigadier-General William Yann Slack, State Brigadier-General Mosby Munroe Parsons, and State Brigadier-General James Spencer Rains, supported by seven guns.

Jackson marched his troops south during the morning and the rival armies met ten miles north of Carthage. Jackson advanced within 800 yards of Sigel and established a battle line on a ridge ten miles north of Carthage, and induced Sigel to attack him. Opening with artillery fire, Sigel closed to the attack. Jackson replied with his own artillery. Jackson and the Missouri State Guard engaged Sigel’s brigade. Learning of a large Confederate force moving into the woods on his left, Sigel feared that they would turn his flank and withdrew. The Confederate force in the woods was about 2,000 strong but they nearly all unarmed and untrained recruits. Apart from a sharp struggle at Dry Fork Creek, the Confederates did not exploit their numerical advantage. Sigel’s men retreated southwards and evaded a pincer movement at Buck Creek and the 3rd Missouri Infantry scattered the Missouri State Guardsmen in their path.

The Confederates pursued but Sigel conducted a successful rearguard action stage by stage for ten miles until he reached the outskirts of Carthage in the evening. Jackson’s men attempted to surround Sigel’s force in the town and skirmishing persisted until the two sides faced a stand-off across the Carthage town square. Sigel retreated under cover of darkness to Sarcoxie. One isolated Union company at Neosho was captured (see above) but the majority of the Union force avoided capture.

Several independent cavalry units were attached to Rains’ division. Among these, a contingent of 150 mounted troops under the command of Captain Joseph Orville Shelby distinguished themselves in the vanguard throughout the battle and in the pursuit to Sarcoxie. Shelby’s cavalry was acclaimed as having “snatched the victory at Carthage from Sigel’s grasp”.

The success bought time for the Confederates to train, equip, and organise the raw recruits of the Missouri State Guard. Most of the training was conducted at Cowskin Prairie, a former livestock auction site in southwest Missouri. A key figure who imposed order on the embryonic force was Colonel and Adjutant-General Lewis Henry Little, a native of Maryland and career Regular Army officer.

This battle marks the only occasion in American history when a State Governor has led troops on the battlefield, albeit against the Union to which the state belonged. Union losses were reported as 13 killed and 31 wounded and Confederate as 200 to 250 men. (CWSAC Formative Battle – Confederate Victory)

Texas. USS South Carolina (Commander James Alden) began a four-day blockading cruise off Galveston, which resulted in the capture or destruction of eleven vessels. On this day, the schooners Falcon and Coralia were taken off Galveston.

Virginia. Incident at Newport News.

Virginia. A small skirmish occurred between the Confederate forces of Brigadier-General John Bankhead Magruder and Union forces of Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler (9th New York “Hawkins’ Zouaves”) near Curtis’ Farm at Newport News. Both sides withdrew to their lines after an inconclusive action.

Union Organisation

USA: The states of Missouri and Illinois were transferred from the Department of the Ohio to the Western Department.

USA: The District of Ironton was established in the Western Department, comprising the area around Ironton, Missouri.

USA: Colonel Benjamin Gratz Brown assumed command of the District of Ironton.

Brown, Benjamin Gratz / Missouri / Born 28 May 1826 Frankfort, Kentucky / Died Kirkwood, Missouri 13 December 1885
Colonel USV 4th Missouri Infantry (3-months) 22 April 1861 / Resigned USV 30 July 1861
District of Ironton 5 July 1861-7 August 1861

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln

Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin

Secretary of War: Simon Cameron

Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

  • Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Silas Horton Stringham USN
  • Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer William Mervine USN
  • Pacific Squadron USN: Captain John B Montgomery USN
  • Western Gunboat Flotilla USN: Commander John Rodgers USN
  • Potomac Flotilla USN: Commander Stephen Clegg Rowan USN

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
  • 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

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

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