1861 May 14th

May 14 1861 Tuesday

USA. Responding to public clamour and the recommendations of Major-General Winfield Scott, and following the rebuff by Robert Edward Lee who had joined the Confederacy, US President Abraham Lincoln appointed George Brinton McClellan as the second-ranking General in the US Army. McClellan was already the highest officer in the Ohio militia and had a high reputation, despite having resigned from the Army in 1857.

The expansion of the general officer corps of the US Regular Army led very soon to the appointment also of John Charles Fremont as a Major-General and the promotion of Irvin McDowell and Joseph King Fenno Mansfield as Brigadier-Generals.

McClellan and Fremont both had high reputations but their appointments at such a high grade demonstrated both Lincoln’s boldness in seeking to strengthen the pool of senior officers. McClellan had left the Army in 1857 as a Captain, and Fremont had not served since 1848, when he was a Lieutenant-Colonel and their promotions above more senior serving officers was a sign of the pressure of public opinion to discover Generals outside the conventional pool of officers. The search to identify new and younger talent was essential insofar as the four Generals currently in post were aged 74 (Winfield Scott), 77 (John Ellis Wool), 60 (William Selby Harney), and 74 (Edwin Vose Sumner). McClellan was aged 34 and Fremont was a comparatively sprightly 48.

McDowell and Mansfield were career soldiers who benefitted from serving in high staff positions in Washington, DC, at the time of the crisis. McDowell had been an Assistant Adjutant-General since 1847 and was well acquainted with the running of the army. Mansfield had been an Inspector-General since 1853. They were aged 42 and 57 respectively.

Kentucky. US President Abraham Lincoln ordered Major Robert Anderson to provide military aid to Kentucky Unionists even though the state had claimed neutrality.

Maryland. Governor Hicks issued a call to raise four regiments to serve the Union within the state of Maryland and for the defence of the capital.

Maryland.  Massachusetts State Brigadier-General Benjamin Franklin Butler seized a supply of weapons and a schooner loaded with arms in Baltimore.

Missouri. The Missouri State Legislature had passed the “Military Bill” on 11 May 1861 in direct response to the action at Camp Jackson in St Louis the previous day. The final version of the act was approved on 14 May and authorised Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson to disband the old Missouri Volunteer Militia and to reform it as the Missouri State Guard. The Guard was intended to be a secessionist force to resist a feared invasion by the Union Army. It also outlawed or prohibited other militia organizations except those authorized by the Guard’s district commanders. This latter provision was intended to prevent pro-Union Missourians from organising “Home Guard” companies in the areas outside the metropolitan St Louis area. This prohibition affected the predominantly Unionist German United States Reserve Corps regiments which had mustered in St Louis above and beyond the Missouri requirement under the Federal Militia Act of 1792. The law did allow for the formation of new local Home Guards for youths under 18 and men over 45. It also specified that the language of all spoken commands was to be English, thereby excluding the large ethnic German population, which held predominantly Unionist and anti-slavery views.

The act divided the state into nine Military Districts based on the Federal Congressional Districts and made men ages 18 to 45 years of age eligible for service in the Missouri State Guard unless officially exempted. While each district raised a “division”, they were organised effectively as standard brigades. Each district’s division was to be commanded by a State Guard Brigadier-General who was a resident of the district and elected by the commissioned officers of the district. An act was passed on 15 May to permit the appointment of a Major-General to act as the field commander of the Missouri State Guard. The first commander thus appointed was Sterling Price, a former governor and one of the most influential men in Missouri. The first eager recruits for the Missouri State Guard had assembled in Jefferson City by mid-May. However, after the Price–Harney agreement on 20 May between Price and Union Brigadier-General William Selby Harney, the movement of Guardsmen to the state capitol was halted. The State Guard continued to be recruited in their home districts.

Virginia. Union Colonel Justin Dimick and the garrison of Fortress Monroe seized a well just outside the fort because the fort did not have enough water for its garrison. Union forces also occupied the Mill Creek Bridge which was needed for access to the Peninsula from the fort and the nearby Clark farm. The fort soon could not hold all of the arriving reinforcements so the Union forces established Camp Troy, soon to be renamed Camp Hamilton, on Segar farm on the Hampton side of Mill Creek, within range of the guns of Fort Monroe.

Virginia. A force of Virginia militiamen commanded by Confederate Colonel Thomas Jonathan Jackson seized a train of railroad cars and locomotives on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Harper’s Ferry. They were diverted to Winchester to supplement the Confederate rolling stock.

Virginia. USS Minnesota, Captain Silas Horton Stringham, captured the schooners Mary Willis, Delaware Farmer, and Emily Ann at Hampton Roads laden with tobacco for Baltimore. The Argo, bound for Bremen from Richmond, was captured on the same date.

Union Organisation

USA: Colonel Edward Richard Sprigg Canby assumed temporary command of the Department of New Mexico, succeeding the vacancy created by the resignation of Colonel William Wing Loring to join the Confederacy.

Canby, Edward Richard Sprigg / Kentucky-Indiana / Born 9 November 1817 Piatt’s Landing, Kentucky / KIA Siskiyou, California 11 April 1873
USMA 1 July 1839 30/31 Infantry / Cadet USMA 1 July 1835 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 2nd US Infantry 1 July 1839 / Regt Adjutant 24 March 1846-3 March 1847 / 1st Lieutenant USA 18 June 1846 / Major USA 10th US Infantry 3 March 1855 / Colonel USA 19th US Infantry 14 May 1861 / Brigadier-General USV 11 April 1862 to rank from 31 March 1862 / Major-General USV 7 May 1864 / Brigadier-General USA 28 July 1866 / Mustered Out USV 1 September 1866 / Brevet Captain Assistant Adjutant-General 3 March 1847 / Brevet Major USA 20 August 1847 / Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel USA 13 September 1847 Brevet Brigadier-General USA 13 March 1865 Brevet Major-General USA 13 March 1865 / WIA White River 8 November 1864
Department of New Mexico 14 May 1861-3 July 1861 / District of New Mexico 3 July 1861 / Department of New Mexico 9 November 1861-26 August 1862 / Military Division of West Mississippi 7 May 1864-16 November 1864 / Assistant Adjutant-General (Secretary of War) 9 November 1863-7 May 1864 / Military Division of West Mississippi 25 November 1864-17 May 1865 / Army of West Mississippi 18 February 1865-3 June 1865 / Department of the Gulf 17 May 1865-27 June 1865 / Army of the Gulf 3 June 1865-27 June 1865 / Department of Louisiana 27 June 1865-28 May 1866 / Department of Texas 27 June 1865-28 May 1866 / Department of Washington 13 August 1866-31 August 1867 / Second Military District 27 August 1867-28 July 1868 / Department of Washington 14 August 1868-12 November 1868 / Fifth Military District 4 November 1868-5 March 1869

USA: George Brinton McClellan was promoted Major-General USA 14 May 1861.

McClellan, George Brinton / Pennsylvania / Born 3 December 1826 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Died Orange, New Jersey 29 October 1885
USMA 1 July 1846 2/59 Engineers / Cadet USMA 1 July 1846 / Engineers 1 July 1846 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 24 April 1847 / 1st Lieutenant USA 1 July 1853 / Captain USA 1st US Cavalry 3 March 1855 / Resigned USA 16 January 1857 / Major-General Ohio Militia 23 April 1861 / Major-General USA 14 May 1861 / General-in-Chief of the US Army 1 November 1861-11 March 1862 Relieved 22 July 1862 / Resigned USA 8 November 1864 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1846 Brevet 1 Lt USA 20 August 1847 Brevet Captain USA 13 September 1847 / WIA Contreras 19 August 1847
Department of the Ohio 3 May 1861-23 July 1861 / Department of Virginia 1 June 1861 Declined / Army of Occupation 14 June 1861-23 July 1861 / Military Division (Department) of the Potomac 25 July 1861-17 August 1861 / Department of the Potomac 17 August 1861-5 November 1862 / Army of the Potomac 20 August 1861-9 November 1862 / General-in-Chief 1 November 1861-11 March 1862 / Army of Virginia 2 September 1862-11 September 1862

USA: John Charles Frémont was promoted Major-General USA 3 July 1861 to rank from 14 May 1861.

Frémont, John Charles / Georgia / Born 21 January 1813 Savannah, Georgia / Died New York, New York 13 July 1890
Instructor US Navy 1833-1835 / Professor US Navy 1835 / 2nd Lieutenant USA Topographical Engineers 7 July 1838 / Captain USA Topographical Engineers 29 January 1845 / Lieutenant-Colonel USA US Mounted Rifles 27 May 1846 / Major USV California Volunteers 23 July 1846 / Resigned USA 27 October 1846 / Dismissed USA 31 January 1847 Revoked / Resigned USV 15 March 1848 / Major-General USA 3 July 1861 to rank from 14 May 1861 / Relieved 28 June 1862 / Resigned USA 4 June 1864 / Major-General USA Retired 28 April 1890 / Brevet Captain USA 31 July 1844
Western Department 3 July 1861-2 November 1861 /Western Army 24 September 1861-23 October 1861 / Mountain Department 29 March 1862-26 June 1862 / I Corps Virginia 26 June 1862-28 June 1862

USA: Irvin McDowell was promoted Brigadier-General USA 14 May 1861

McDowell, Irvin / Ohio / Born 15 October 1818 Columbus, Ohio / Died 4 May 1885
USMA 1 July 1838 23/45 Artillery / Cadet USMA 1 July 1834 / 1st US Artillery 1 July 1838 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 7 July 1838 / 1st Lieutenant USA 7 October 1842 / Assistant Adjutant-General 13 May 1847 / Brigadier-General USA 14 May 1861 / Major-General USV 16 March 1862 to rank from 14 March 1862 / Mustered Out USV 1 September 1866 / Major-General USA 25 November 1872 / Retired USA 15 October 1882 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1838 Brevet Captain USA 23 February 1847 Brevet Major USA 31 March 1856 Brevet Major-General USA 13 March 1865
Department of Northeastern Virginia 27 May 1861-17 August 1861 / Army of Northeastern Virginia 8 July 1861-15 August 1861 / Army of the Potomac 15 August 1861-19 August 1861 / McDowell’s Division Army of the Potomac 3 October 1861-13 March 1862 / I Corps Potomac 13 March 1862-4 April 1862 / Department of the Rappahannock 4 April 1862-26 June 1862 / III Corps Virginia 26 June 1862-5 September 1862 / Department of the Pacific 21 May 1864-27 June 1865 / Department of California 27 June 1865-31 March 1868 / Fourth Military District 4 June 1868-4 July 1868 / Department of the West 16 July 1868-16 December 1872

USA: Joseph King Fenno Mansfield promoted Brigadier-General USA 17 May 1861 to rank from 14 May 1861

Mansfield, Joseph King Fenno / Connecticut / Born 22 December 1803 New Haven, Connecticut / DOW Sharpsburg, Maryland 18 September 1862
USMA 1 July 1822 2/40 Engineers / Cadet USMA 1 July 1818 / 2nd Lieutenant USA Engineers 1 July 1822 / 1st Lieutenant USA 5 March 1832 / Captain USA 7 July 1838 / Colonel USA Inspector-General 28 May 1853 / Brigadier-General USA 17 May 1861 to rank from 14 May 1861 / Major-General USV 11 March 1863 to rank from 18 July 1862 posthumously / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1822 Brevet Major 9 May 1846 Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel USA 23 September 1846 Brevet Colonel USA 23 February 1847 Brevet Brigadier-General USA 6 May 1861 / WIA Monterey 7 July 1846 MWIA Antietam 17 September 1862
Inspector-General USA 28 May 1853-27 April 1861 / Department of Washington 27 April 1861-17 August 1861 / 1st Brigade 1st Division Department of Virginia 3 March 1862-22 June 1862 / Suffolk Division VII Corps Department of Virginia 22 July 1862-8 September 1862 / XII Corps Potomac 15 September 1862-17 September 1862

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
  • Potomac Flotilla USN: Commander James Harmon Ward USN

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

  • Department of Annapolis: Benjamin Franklin Butler awaited
  • Department of the East: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of Florida: Harvey Brown
  • Department of New Mexico: Edward Richard Sprigg Canby
  • Department of the Ohio: George Brinton McClellan
  • Department of the Pacific: Edwin Vose Sumner
    • District of Oregon: George Wright
  • Department of Pennsylvania: Robert Patterson
  • Department of Texas: Vacant
  • Department of Utah: Philip St George Cooke
  • Department of Washington: Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
  • Department of the West: William Selby Harney

Confederate Organisation

CSA: Robert Edward Lee was promoted Brigadier-General ACSA 14 June 1861 to rank from 14 May 1861.

Lee, Robert Edward / Virginia / Born 19 January 1807 Stratford, Westmoreland, Virginia / Died Lexington, Virginia 12 October 1870
USMA 1 July 1829 2/46 Engineers / Cadet USMA 1 July 1825 / 2nd Lieutenant USA Engineers 1 July 1829 / 1st Lieutenant USA 21 September 1836 / Captain USA 7 July 1838 / Superintendent USMA 1 September 1852-31 March 1855 / Lieutenant-Colonel USA 2nd US Cavalry 3 March 1855 / Colonel USA 1st US Cavalry 16 March 1861 / Resigned USA 25 April 1861 / Major-General Commander-in-Chief Provisional Army of Virginia 22 April 1861-8 June 1861 / Brigadier-General ACSA 14 June 1861 to rank from 14 May 1861 / General ACSA 14 June 1861 / General-in-Chief 31 January 1865 / Paroled Appomattox, Virginia 9 April 1865 / WIA Chapultepec 1847 13 September 1847 CIA Appomattox 1865 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1829 Brevet Major USA 18 April 1847 Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel USA 20 August 1847 Brevet Colonel USA 13 September 1847
Military Adviser to the President 8 June 1861-4 November 1861 / Army of the Kanawha 21 September 1861-5 November 1861 / Department of South Carolina Georgia and East Florida 5 November 1861-14 March 1862 / Military Adviser to the President 13 March 1862-31 May 1862 / Department of Northern Virginia 1 June 1862-9 April 1865 / Army of Northern Virginia 1 June 1862-9 April 1865 / General-in-Chief 31 January 1865-9 April 1865

CSA: Joseph Eggleston Johnston was promoted Brigadier-General ACSA 15 May 1861 to rank from 14 May 1861.

Johnston, Joseph Eggleston / Virginia / Born 3 February 1807 Farmville, Virginia / Died 21 March 1891
USMA 1 July 1829 13/46 Artillery / Cadet USMA 1 July 1825 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 4th US Artillery 1 July 1829 / 1st Lieutenant USA 31 July 1836 / Resigned USA 31 May 1837 / 1st Lieutenant USA Topographical Engineers 7 July 1838 / Captain USA 21 September 1846 / Lieutenant-Colonel USA Voltigeurs and Rifles 9 April 1847-28 August 1848 / Lieutenant-Colonel 1st US Cavalry 1 March 1855 / Brigadier-General USA Quartermaster-General 28 June 1860 / Resigned USA 22 April 1861 / Brigadier-General Virginia Militia 17 April 1861 Declined / Major-General Virginia Militia 23 April 1861-27 April 1861 / Major-General Provisional Army of Virginia 27 April 1861-4 May 1861 / Brigadier-General Provisional Army of Virginia 4 May 1861-14 May 1861 / Brigadier-General ACSA 15 May 1861 to rank from 14 May 1861 / General ACSA 31 August 1861 to rank from 4 July 1861 / Paroled Greensboro, North Carolina 2 May 1865 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1829 Brevet Captain USA 7 July 1838 Brevet Major USA 12 April 1847 Brevet Colonel USA 17 April 1847 Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel USA 13 September 1847 / WIA Jupiter Inlet 1838 WIA Cerro Gordo 12 April 1847 WIA Chapultepec 13 September 1847 WIA Fair Oaks 31 May 1862
Quartermaster-General USA 28 June 1860- 21 April 1861 / Forces in Richmond 24 April 1861-8 May 1861 / Forces in Harper’s Ferry 15 May 1861-4 July 1861 / District of Harper’s Ferry 4 July 1861-20 July 1861 / Army of the Shenandoah 4 July 1861-20 July 1861 / Department of the Potomac 21 July 1861-22 October 1861 / Army of the Potomac 21 July 1861-14 March 1862 / Department of Northern Virginia 22 October 1861-31 May 1862 / Army of Northern Virginia 14 March 1862-31 May 1862 / Military Division of the West 4 November 1862-16 December 1863 / Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana 4 July 1863-23 August 1863 / Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana 2 December 1863-22 December 1863 / Department of Tennessee 16 December 1863-18 July 1864 / Army of Tennessee 27 December 1863-18 July 1864 / Department of South Carolina Georgia and Florida 22 February 1865-26 April 1865 / Department of Tennessee and Georgia 22 February 1865-26 April 1865 / Army of Tennessee 25 February 1865-15 March 1865 / Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia 6 March 1865-26 April 1865 / Army of the South 22 February 1865-9 April 1865 / Army of Tennessee 9 April 1865-26 April 1865

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

  • Department of Alexandria: Philip St George Cocke
    • Alexandria Line: Philip St George Cocke
  • Department of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes
    • Defences of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes
  • Department of South Carolina: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
    • “Forces in Charleston”: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
  • Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring
  • Department of Texas: Earl Van Dorn
  • Department of West Florida: Braxton Bragg
    • “Forces in Pensacola”: Braxton Bragg
  • District of Louisiana: David Emanuel Twiggs
    • “Forces in New Orleans” “Army of Louisiana”: Braxton Bragg
  • Defences of Savannah: Alexander Robert Lawton
  • Indian Territory: Benjamin McCulloch
  • Potomac Line: Daniel Ruggles
  • Forces in Harper’s Ferry”: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
  • “Forces in Norfolk”: Walter Gwynn
  • Forces in Richmond: John Bankhead Magruder
  • Forces in the Kanawha Valley: Christopher Quarles Tompkins

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

Winfield Scott
George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont

Brigadier-General USA

John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
Irvin McDowell

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General PACS

David Emanuel Twiggs

Brigadier-General ACSA

Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Braxton Bragg

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Milledge Lake Bonham
Benjamin McCulloch

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