May 16 1861 Thursday
USA. The US government appointed the first three men to the grade of Major-General of US Volunteers – John Adams Dix, Benjamin Franklin Butler, and Nathaniel Prentiss Banks. Dix and Butler were confirmed immediately and Banks was promoted retrospectively in June. All served throughout the war but none achieved spectacular success, having been elevated more for their political importance than their proven military acumen. The US Regular Army also gained a new Brigadier-General in William Starke Rosecrans, who ranked from this date when nominated in June 1861, primarily because of his involvement in the successful campaign in western Virginia.
CSA. The Confederate Congress authorized the recruiting of 400,000 men for the Provisional Army of the Confederate States. A $10 enlistment bounty was authorised for volunteers.
CSA. Legislation was passed by the Confederate government which stated that “the five general officers provided by existing laws for the Confederate States shall have the rank and denomination of ‘General’, instead of ‘Brigadier-General’, which shall be the highest military grade known to the Confederate States”. This ruling applied immediately to Samuel Cooper who was promoted immediately on this date. Samuel Cooper was appointed Adjutant-General and Inspector-General of the Provisional Army of the Confederate States of America, with headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. Cooper was the most senior General in Confederate service but he was not appointed as General-in-Chief as he held a staff position and not a line command conferring command seniority. The new grade was awarded retrospectively to Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert Edward Lee, Joseph Eggleston Johnston, and Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. President Jefferson Finis Davis retained direct command of the Army as President and Commander-in-Chief and did not authorise the post of General-in-Chief.
Maryland. Major-General of Pennsylvania Militia George Cadwalader was empowered to arrest any suspected person under certain circumstances to help suppress violent protests and sedition in Maryland.
Missouri. Union Captain Nelson Cole, 5th Missouri Infantry, entered Potosi and arrested a number of pro-Secessionist citizens suspected of treasonable behaviour.
New York. Commander James Harmon Ward USN set out from the New York Navy Yard with three vessels, the USS Thomas Freeborn, USS Reliance and USS Resolute, to form the first active force of the “Flying Flotilla” or Potomac Flotilla. The Flotilla eventually employed between fifteen and twenty-five vessels in the defence of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Ohio. Commander John Rodgers USN was ordered to establish a naval force to control the strategically vital western rivers. Rodgers purchased three river steamers at Cincinnati for conversion to gunboats; they were renamed Tyler, Lexington and Conestoga. This Union Western Gunboat Flotilla was placed under the control of the Union Army rather than the US Navy so that it could operate unequivocally and in direct support of the armies on western rivers. Rodgers was the first commander on the western rivers and he was responsible for the construction and organisation of an entirely new fleet, initially known as the Western Gunboat Flotilla.
Tennessee. The state of Tennessee was officially admitted to the Confederacy under the governorship of Isham Harris.
Virginia. Incident at Fort Darling.
USA: The Western Gunboat Flotilla was formed under the command of the Union Army to operate in support of the armies on western rivers.
USA: Commander John Rodgers USN assumed command of the Western Gunboat Flotilla.
USA: Major-General John Adams Dix assumed command of the Department of Annapolis, succeeding State Major-General George Cadwalader.
USA: John Adams Dix promoted Major-General USV 16 May 1861.
USA: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks promoted Major-General USV 3 June 1861 to rank from 16 May 1861.
USA: Benjamin Franklin Butler promoted Major-General USV 16 May 1861.
USA: William Starke Rosecrans promoted Brigadier-General USA 16 June 1861 to rank from 16 May 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: Silas Horton Stringham
Gulf Blockading Squadron: William Mervine
Pacific Squadron: John Berrien Montgomery
Western Gunboat Flotilla: John Rodgers
Potomac Flotilla: James Harmon Ward
General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott
Department of Annapolis: John Adams Dix
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: Samuel Cooper promoted Brigadier-General ACSA and Adjutant-General and Inspector General of the Confederate States’ Army 31 August 1861 to rank from 16 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 Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
William Starke Rosecrans
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