1861 June 10th

June 10 1861 Monday

Battle of Big Bethel, VA (CWSAC Limited Battle – Confederate Victory)

Chesapeake Bay Blockade

McClellan’s West Virginia Campaign

France. Napoleon III proclaimed French neutrality in regard to the American Civil War.

CSA. Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke CSN was ordered to design and build an ironclad warship on the hull of the burned USS Merrimack which was salvaged at the Norfolk Navy Yard. The resulting vessel was to be named the CSS Virginia.

Maryland. Expedition to Rockville began.

Missouri. Union Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon met pro-Confederate Governor Claiborne Jackson and Missouri State Guard Major General Sterling Price at St Louis’ Planter’s House hotel in a last attempt to resolve conflicting claims for state and Federal sovereignty. The conference proved futile and after four hours, Lyon abruptly ended the meeting. Jackson and Price retreated to Jefferson City, ordering the railroad bridges to be burned behind them. Lyon moved elements of his St Louis garrison up the Missouri River by steamer to capture the state capital at Jefferson City.

Texas. Governor Harris authorised the raising of troops for the Confederate army.

Battle of Big Bethel, Virginia, also known as Bethel Church or Great Bethel. This was the first substantial land battle in Virginia. Confederate defences had been built at Little Bethel Church and at Big Bethel Church a short distance further north, along a tributary of Back Creek called Marsh Creek. Confederate Colonel John Bankhead Magruder’s force of 1,200 to 1,400 men included Colonel Daniel Harvey Hill’s 1st North Carolina, Lieutenant-Colonel William D Stuart’s 3rd Virginia, a cavalry battalion under Major E B Montague, and the Richmond Howitzers artillery under Major George Wythe Randolph (later Confederate Secretary of War). Union Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler at Fortress Monroe ordered State Brigadier-General Ebenezer Weaver Pierce to lead an attack from Fortress Monroe with 3,400 men in seven regiments against Big Bethel Church to prevent the continuous harassment by Confederate scouts. At 1 am the 7th New York (Colonel John E Bendix) moved to occupy New Market Bridge on the road from Hampton to Big Bethel. An hour later six more regiments (1st New York, 2nd New York, 3rd New York, 5th New York (Colonel Abram Duryée’s Zouaves), 1st Vermont, 4th Massachusetts and a battery of the 2nd US Artillery) advanced by two columns to rendezvous at a road junction about a mile and a half south of Little Bethel. They were to make a surprise attack on Big Bethel, three miles distant on the Yorktown Road. The two converging columns encountered each other on the way and there was a mistaken discharge of a volley by the 7th New York on the grey-clad 3rd New York, resulting in two killed and 19 wounded. The Confederate 1st North Carolina was alerted and abandoned Little Bethel. They fell back to their entrenchments behind Brick Kiln Creek near Big Bethel Church. Pierce pursued and, after a poorly managed frontal attack along the road, was repulsed. Crossing further downstream, the 5th New York Zouaves attempted to turn the Confederate left flank but were also repulsed. Union Major Theodore Winthrop (7th New York serving on Pierce’s staff) led a detachment of troops from the 5th New York, 1st Vermont, and 4th Massachusetts in an attempt to turn the Confederate left flank. Attempting to cross downstream, this attack was also repelled and only the 1st Vermont under Lieutenant-Colonel Peter T Washburn managed to cross the creek. Winthrop, described as a brilliant young author, was killed in the attack. The disorganised Union forces retired, returning to Hampton and Newport News. Captain Hugh Judson Kilpatrick was the first Regular Army officer to be wounded in the Civil War; he was eventually promoted to Major-General of US Volunteers. The Union forces were disorganised and retired to Hampton and Newport News. Within hours of the battle, Magruder withdrew his forces to Yorktown where he had established a defensive line protected by the Warwick River. The Confederates reported one man killed and seven wounded. The Union reported 76 to 79 casualties. Although only a minor skirmish, it was proclaimed by the Southern press as a significant victory. (CWSAC Limited Battle – Confederate Victory).

Virginia. Confederate Brigadier-General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was placed in command of forces in Prince William, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, opposing the Union army gathering on the south bank of the Potomac River.

Union Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln

Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin

Secretary of War: Simon Cameron

Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

  • Coast 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 James Harmon Ward USN

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

  • Department of Annapolis: John Adams Dix interim Nathaniel Prentiss Banks awaited
  • Department of the East: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of Florida: Harvey Brown
  • Department of Kentucky: Robert Anderson
  • Department of New Mexico: Edward Richard Sprigg Canby
  • Department of Northeastern Virginia: Irvin McDowell
  • Department of the Ohio: 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
  • Department of the West: Nathaniel Lyon

Confederate Organisation

CSA: The Department of the Potomac was extended to include Prince William, Fairfax and Loudoun counties of Virginia.

CSA: Matthew Fontaine Maury promoted Commander CSN.

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 the Potomac: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
    • Army of the Potomac: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
  • Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger
  • Department of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes
    • Defences of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes
  • Department of the Peninsula: Daniel Harvey Hill temporary
    • Army of the Peninsula: Daniel Harvey Hill temporary
  • Department of South Carolina: Daniel Harvey Hill
  • Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring
  • Department of Texas: Earl Van Dorn
  • Department of West Florida: Braxton Bragg
    • “Forces in Pensacola”: Braxton Bragg
  • Defences of Savannah: Alexander Robert Lawton
  • Indian Territory: Benjamin McCulloch
  • Forces in Harper’s Ferry”: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
  • Forces in Richmond: Thomas Turner Fauntleroy
  • Army of the Kanawha: Henry Alexander Wise
  • Army of the Northwest: Robert Selden Garnett

Union Generals

  • Major-General USA Winfield Scott 5 July 1841 to rank from 25 June 1841 General-in-Chief
  • Major-General USA George Brinton McClellan 14 May 1861 Department of the Ohio
  • Major-General USA John Charles Frémont 3 July 1861 to rank from 14 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USA John Ellis Wool 25 June 1841 Department of the East
  • Brigadier-General USA William Selby Harney 14 June 1858
  • Brigadier-General USA Edwin Vose Sumner 16 March 1861 Department of the Pacific
  • Brigadier-General USA Irvin McDowell 14 May 1861 Department of Northeastern Virginia
  • Brigadier-General USA Joseph Fenno King Mansfield May 17 1861 to rank from May 14 1861 Department of Washington
  • Brigadier-General USA Montgomery Cunningham Meigs 15 May 1861 Quartermaster-General
  • Brigadier-General USA Robert Anderson 17 June 1861 to rank from 15 May 1861 Department of Kentucky
  • Brigadier-General USA William Starke Rosecrans 16 June 1861 to rank from 16 May 1861
  • Major-General USV John Adams Dix 16 May 1861 Department of Annapolis interim
  • Major-General USV Benjamin Franklin Butler 16 May 1861 Department of Virginia
  • Major-General USV Nathaniel Prentiss Banks 3 June 1861 to rank from 16 May 1861 Department of Annapolis awaited
  • Brigadier-General USV Nathaniel Lyon 17 May 1861 Department of the West
  • Brigadier-General USV Jacob Dolson Cox 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Samuel Peter Heintzelman 27 May 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Robert Cumming Schenck 5 June 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV John Pope 14 June 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Joseph Jones Reynolds 14 June 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Stephen Augustus Hurlbut 14 June 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV William Tecumseh Sherman 3 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Andrew Porter 6 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV William Buel Franklin 6 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Charles Pomeroy Stone 6 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Thomas West Sherman 6 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Benjamin Franklin Kelley 6 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Joseph Hooker 6 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV John Alexander McClernand 6 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Frederick West Lander 6 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Erasmus Darwin Keyes 7 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV David Hunter 7 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Don Carlos Buell 7 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Fitz-John Porter 7 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV George Archibald McCall 7 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Rufus King 7 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Franz Sigel 7 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 17 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Charles Smith Hamilton 7 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Samuel Ryan Curtis 7 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Philip Kearny 7 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Alpheus Starkey Williams 9 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV William Reading Montgomery 9 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Israel Bush Richardson 9 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss 9 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Darius Nash Couch 9 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 17 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Ulysses Simpson Grant 9 August 1861 to rank from May 17 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV James Cooper 12 August 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV Julius Stahel 12 November 1861 to rank from 17 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General USV John Wolcott Phelps 9 August 1861 to rank from 27 May 1861
  • Colonel George Wright 3 March 1855 District of Oregon
  • Colonel Philip St George Cooke 14 June 1858 Department of Utah
  • Colonel Edward Richard Sprigg Canby 14 May 1861 Department of New Mexico
  • Colonel Harvey Brown 14 May 1861 Department of Florida
  • State Major-General Robert Patterson Department of Pennsylvania Army of the Shenandoah

Confederate Generals

  • General ACSA Samuel Cooper 31 August 1861 to rank from 16 May 1861 Adjutant-General and Inspector General
  • General ACSA Albert Sidney Johnston 31 August 1861 to rank from 30 May 1861
  • Major-General PACS David Emanuel Twiggs March 22 1861 Department No 1
  • Brigadier-General ACSA Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard March 1 1861 Department of the Potomac & Army of the Potomac
  • Brigadier-General ACSA Braxton Bragg March 7 1861 Forces in Louisiana & Department of West Florida & Forces in Pensacola & Forces in New Orleans
  • Brigadier-General ACSA Joseph Eggleston Johnston May 15 1861 to rank from May 14 1861 Forces in Harper’s Ferry
  • Brigadier-General ACSA Robert Edward Lee 31 August 1861 to rank from 14 June 1861 to rank from 15 May 1861 Military Adviser to the President
  • Brigadier-General PACS Alexander Robert Lawton 13 April 1861 Defences of Savannah
  • Brigadier-General PACS Milledge Luke Bonham 23 April 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS Benjamin McCulloch 11 May 1861 Indian Territory
  • Brigadier-General PACS William Wing Loring 20 May 1861 Department of Southwestern Virginia
  • Brigadier-General PACS Charles Clark 22 May 1861.
  • Brigadier-General PACS John Buchanan Floyd 23 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS William Henry Talbot Walker 25 May 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS Henry Rootes Jackson 4 June 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS Earl Van Dorn 5 June 1861 Department of Texas
  • Brigadier-General PACS Theophilus Hunter Holmes 5 June 1861 Department of North Carolina & Defences of North Carolina & Department of Fredericksburg
  • Brigadier-General PACS Henry Alexander Wise 5 June 1861 Army of the Kanawha
  • Brigadier-General PACS Robert Selden Garnett 6 June 1861 Army of the Northwest
  • Colonel Daniel Harvey Hill May 1861 Department of South Carolina & Department of the Peninsula temporary & Army of the Peninsula temporary
  • State Brigadier-General Benjamin Huger Department of Norfolk
  • Colonel Thomas Turner Fauntleroy Forces in Richmond

 

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