1861 June 24th

June 24 1861 Monday

Mathias Point, VA

McClellan’s West Virginia Campaign

Chesapeake Bay Blockade

Missouri. Incident at Jackson.

Tennessee. Governor Isham G Harris declared Tennessee to have left the Union. A popular vote of 104,913 voted in favour of secession and 47,238 against.

Virginia. A major fire occurred in Richmond.

Virginia. Incident at Rappahannock River.

Virginia. The Union armed steamer Monticello was fired on by Confederates at Carter’s Creek.

Mathias Point, Virginia. USS Reliance and USS Thomas Freeborn shelled Confederate batteries at Mathias Point. Commander James Harmon Ward USN, commander of the Union Potomac Flotilla, had learned that the Confederates were installing a new battery on a wooded promontory at Mathias Point that would effectively control traffic on the Potomac River at that point. Ward took his flagship, the USS Thomas Freeborn along with the USS Reliance and a company of sailors and marines under Lieutenant James C Chaplin USN to attack the Confederate position, to remove trees from the location so that the Confederates could not hide a battery on the point and instead to put a Union battery at the point. When the USS Thomas Freeborn arrived at Mathias Point at about 10 am (or 1 pm) its crew began to bombard the woods in order to give cover to Chaplin’s landing party. Union skirmishers immediately became engaged with Confederate skirmishers and drove them back. The landing party worked at establishing a position for the artillery which they had carried on the boats with them but had not yet brought ashore. Soon afterwards, 400 to 500 Confederate soldiers arrived and began to move against and fire upon the small Union force. Ward initially had accompanied the landing party, but he quickly returned to the USS Thomas Freeborn in order to direct the firing of the ship’s guns at the location where the Confederates began their counterattack. Chaplin evacuated his party to their small boats after the initial Confederate approach in force. The gunfire from the USS Thomas Freeborn beat back the counterattack.

Ward ordered Chaplin to land again and to build sandbag breastworks while the firing from the ship temporarily quietened the Confederates. Confederate Colonel Daniel Ruggles ordered his men, under the immediate command of Colonel J M Brockenbrough, to approach the Union force through the forest in order not to expose the men in an open field. This detour delayed their counterattack. Meanwhile, Chaplin and his small force hastily completed the construction of the small breastwork and after trying to hide the exact location of the work with branches, again began to withdraw from the shore about 5 pm in order to retrieve their artillery.

At this time, the Confederates, further supported by four companies of men under the command of Major R M Mayo, renewed their attack against the USS Thomas Freeborn and against the landing party, which was moving toward the boats. Heavily outnumbered and under fire, Chaplin and his men were unable to retrieve and unload their guns and were forced to withdraw completely. Commander Ward was shot while trying to sight the ship’s gun and died after about 45 minutes. His mortal wounding unsettled the crew of the USS Thomas Freeborn and they fired no more in support of Chaplin’s force. Ward was the only member of the Union force killed, although four men were wounded. Ward was the first Union Navy officer killed during the Civil War. The Confederates continued to hold their position and operate the battery on Mathias Point, which they finally emplaced on the day after the battle. The Confederates were not attacked by land forces and did not abandon this or neighbouring batteries until the withdrawal from Manassas and other northern Virginia locations in March 1862.

Union Organisations

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: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
  • 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
    • 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
  • Department 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
  • 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 Liberation: Gideon Johnson Pillow
  • 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 & Army of Occupation
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • General ACSA Robert Edward Lee 31 August 1861 to rank from 14 June 1861 Military Adviser to the President
  • 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 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
  • Brigadier-General PACS William Joseph Hardee 17 June 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS Benjamin Huger 17 June 1861 Department of Norfolk
  • Brigadier-General PACS Thomas Jonathan Jackson 17 June 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS Richard Stoddert Ewell 17 June 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS Henry Hopkins Sibley 17 June 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS Edmund Kirby Smith 17 June 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS Barnard Elliott Bee 17 June 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS John Clifford Pemberton 17 June 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS John Bankhead Magruder 17 June 1861 Department of the Peninsula & Army of the Peninsula
  • Brigadier-General PACS James Longstreet 17 June 1861
  • Brigadier-General PACS David Rumph Jones 17 June 1861.
  • Brigadier-General PACS John Henry Winder 21 June 1861 Provost Marshal General
  • Colonel Daniel Harvey Hill Department of South Carolina
  • State Major-General Gideon Johnson Pillow Army of Liberation
  • Colonel Thomas Turner Fauntleroy Forces in Richmond
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