May 15 1861 Wednesday
Great Britain. Queen Victoria proclaimed the neutrality of Great Britain, forbidding British citizens from engaging in the conflict or breaking the lawfully-pronounced blockade of the Confederate states.
Panama. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles appointed Lieutenant Thomas M Brasher USN to take command of USS Bainbridge and to proceed to Aspinwall in New Granada (Panama). His mission was to protect California steamers against Confederate privateers. California steamers transported large quantities of gold from Aspinwall to New York and were vulnerable to interference.
USA. The US Army continued to rebuild its core of General officers. In June, the “Hero of Sumter” Robert Anderson directly from Major to Brigadier-General to rank from this date. Although he was a reliable officer, the elevation came more because of public clamour than for his seniority or proven merit. Montgomery Cunningham Meigs had been a Captain until 14 May 1861, when he was appointed to command one of the newly announced Regular Army regiments, the 11th US Infantry. Since the defection of Brigadier-General Joseph Eggleston Johnston to the Confederacy on 28 April 1861, he had been Acting Quartermaster-General since so his confirmation in the post was both appropriate and deserved.
CSA. Confederate Colonel Abraham Charles Myers was appointed as Quartermaster-General of the Confederate Army. He had already been appointed on 25 March 1861 as Acting Quartermaster-General. His post was confirmed substantively in December 1861.
Missouri. Expedition from St Louis to Potosi. Pro-Union forces commanded by Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon captured some secessionist prisoners and munitions in Potosi and sent them back to St Louis.
Missouri. Union Brigadier-General William Selby Harney was suspended from command of the Department of the West by US Representative Francis Preston Blair. Blair had been given Presidential authority to replace Harney with Colonel Nathaniel Lyon at any time after 18 May 1861 if Harney was unable to restrict the pro-Confederate actions of Governor Jackson of Missouri. Blair decided to act decisively to prevent Federal property from falling into Confederate hands.
USA: Major-General of Pennsylvania Militia George Cadwalader assumed command of the Department of Annapolis, succeeding Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler who had been nominated but had not assumed command.
USA: Montgomery Cunningham Meigs was promoted Brigadier-General USA 15 May 1861 Quartermaster-General.
USA: Robert Anderson was promoted Brigadier-General USA 17 June 1861 to rank from 15 May 1861.
USA: George Archibald McCall was appointed Major-General of Pennsylvania Militia and assigned to command the Pennsylvania Reserves (additional regiments furnished above and beyond the state’s specified quota).
USA: Colonel Thomas Lawson, currently Surgeon-General of the US Army died.
USA: Colonel Clement Alexander Finley was appointed Surgeon-General of the US Army, succeeding Colonel Thomas Lawon, who had held the post from 1836 until his death.
Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln
Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin
Secretary of War: Simon Cameron
Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles
Coast Blockading Squadron: Silas Horton Stringham
Gulf Blockading Squadron: William Mervine
Pacific Squadron: John Berrien Montgomery
Potomac Flotilla: James Harmon Ward
General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott
Department of Annapolis: George Cadwalader
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
CSA: Brigadier-General Joseph Eggleston Johnston was appointed to command the Forces in Harper’s Ferry, arriving on 24 May 1861.
CSA: Joseph Eggleston Johnston promoted Brigadier-General ACSA 15 May 1861 to rank from 14 May 1861.
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 interim, Joseph Eggleston Johnston awaited
“Forces in Norfolk”: Walter Gwynn
Forces in Richmond: John Bankhead Magruder
Forces in the Kanawha Valley: Christopher Quarles Tompkins
Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission
George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
Brigadier-General USA (Staff)
Montgomery Cunningham Meigs
Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission
David Emanuel Twiggs
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Alexander Robert Lawton
Milledge Lake Bonham