1861 May 18th

May 18 1861 Saturday

Battle of Sewell’s Point, VA

Chesapeake Bay Blockade

Arkansas. The state of Arkansas was admitted to the Confederacy.

California. Operations at Fort Humboldt ended.

CSA. The schooner Savannah, Captain Thomas H Baker, was commissioned as a Confederate privateer.

Sewell’s Point, Virginia. Two Union gunboats, including USS Monticello commanded by Captain Henry Eagle USN with Lieutenant Daniel L Braine as his second in command, duelled with Confederate batteries on Sewell’s Point near Norfolk, in an attempt to enforce the blockade of the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads. The Confederate forts were commanded by Virginia State Brigadier-General Walter Gwynn and Captain Peyton Colquitt. The Confederate battery was unfinished but it could command the entrance to the Elizabeth River and the harbour at Norfolk when its guns were permanently in place. Some sources describe that USS Monticello’s bombardment of the Sewell’s Point battery as the first gunfire by the Union Navy during the Civil War, but there had been a brief exchange of fire between the Union gunboat USS Yankee and shore batteries manned by Virginia volunteer forces which had not yet been incorporated into the Confederate States Army at Gloucester Point on the York River on 7 May 1861. The two sides reported ten casualties.

Union Organisations

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

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

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

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

Winfield Scott
George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont

Major-General USV

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler

Brigadier-General USA

John Ellis Wool
William Selby Harney
Edwin Vose Sumner
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield
Irvin McDowell
Robert Anderson
William Starke Rosecrans

Brigadier-General USV

Samuel Peter Heintzelman
David Hunter
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Andrew Porter
Fitz-John Porter
William Buel Franklin
William Tecumseh Sherman
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Don Carlos Buell
Thomas West Sherman
Nathaniel Lyon
John Pope
George Archibald McCall
William Reading Montgomery
Philip Kearny
Joseph Hooker
John Wolcott Phelps
Ulysses Simpson Grant
Joseph Jones Reynolds
Samuel Ryan Curtis
Charles Smith Hamilton
Darius Nash Couch
Rufus King
Jacob Dolson Cox
Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
Franz Sigel
Robert Cumming Schenck
Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
Frederick West Lander
Benjamin Franklin Kelley
John Alexander McClernand
Alpheus Starkey Williams
Israel Bush Richardson
James Cooper

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

General ACSA

Samuel Cooper

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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