1861 May 24th

May 24 1861 Friday

Alexandria, VA

Chesapeake Bay Blockade

Go to May 25 1861

Kentucky. Resolutions of mediation and neutrality were adopted by the Kentucky State authorities.

Louisiana. All US-registered vessels that had arrived in New Orleans since 6 May 1861 were seized by the Confederate Marshal.

Virginia. Confederate Colonel John Bankhead Magruder established his headquarters at Yorktown and began to build defences facing the Union forces gathering at Fortress Monroe. Magruder’s small force of Virginians was increased to about 1,500 men by the arrival of Colonel Daniel Harvey Hill’s 1st North Carolina, Lieutenant-Colonel William D Stuart’s 3rd Virginia, a cavalry battalion under Major E B Montague and the Richmond Howitzer artillery battalion under Major George W Randolph. Magruder laid out the line of defence along the marshy Warwick River.

Virginia. Occupation of Alexandria and Arlington Heights by Union forces. Union Brigadier-General USA Joseph King Fenno Mansfield crossed to the south bank of the Potomac River with three columns of infantry. He occupied a line running from Alexandria to the chain bridge above Washington and began the construction of defences. Union forces also occupied Arlington Heights, overlooking the Potomac River to the west of Alexandria.

Alexandria, Virginia. Union Commander Steven Clegg Rowan USN, commanding USS Pawnee, demanded the surrender of Alexandria. A Union amphibious expedition accompanied by the improvised gunboats USS Thomas Freeborn, USS Anacostia, and USS Resolute departed from Washington Navy Yard, while 10,000 Union troops led by Brigadier-General Charles Pomeroy Stone entered Virginia to occupy the town.

Virginia. Union Major Ephraim Ellsworth, commanding 11th New York (Fire Zouaves) was killed by James T Jackson, proprietor of the Marshall House Tavern in Alexandria, while removing a Confederate flag. Ellsworth was the first Union officer killed in the war. Jackson was then killed immediately by Private Francis E Brownell. A dramatic report of the episode made by a correspondent of the New York Tribune caused a sensation and inflamed war sentiment in the North. Ellsworth’s pre-war fame as an expert drill instructor attracted even more attention to his dramatic end and he became a hero in the popular imagination.

Union Organisation

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 Virginia: Benjamin Franklin Butler

Department of Washington: Joseph King Fenno Mansfield

Department of the West: William Selby Harney

Confederate Organisation

CSA: The Alexandria Line (Forces in Alexandria) was discontinued.
CSA: The Army of the Potomac was established in the Department of Alexandria comprising the former Forces in Alexandria.
CSA: Brigadier-General Milledge Luke Bonham assumed command of the Army of the Potomac.

CSA: Brigadier-General ACSA Joseph Eggleston Johnston arrived to command the Forces in Harper’s Ferry, succeeding Colonel Thomas Jonathan Jackson.

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: Milledge Luke Bonham

  • Army of the Potomac: Milledge Luke Bonham

Department of Norfolk: Jones Mitchell Withers temporary Benjamin Huger awaited

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

Hampton Line: John Bankhead Magruder

Forces in Harper’s Ferry”: Joseph Eggleston Johnston

Forces in Richmond: Thomas Turner Fauntleroy

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
William Wing Loring
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd

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