1861 May 26th

May 26 1861 Sunday

Chesapeake Bay Blockade
McClellan’s West Virginia Campaign

Go to May 27 1861

Cuba. A force of 600 US soldiers who had been evacuated by sea from posts in Texas arrived in Havana.

USA. US Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court Roger B Taney issued a writ of habeas corpus. He ordered that John Merryman, who was arrested by Pennsylvania Major-General George Cadwalder while trying to recruit Confederate soldiers, should be set free. This established a precedent regarding the limits of military power under the law.

USA. US Postmaster-General Francis Preston Blair Jr announced that postal services to the Confederate States would be discontinued on 31 May 1861.

Alabama. USS Powhatan, commanded by Lieutenant David Dixon Porter USN, established the naval blockade at Mobile.

California. Operation at Mad River began.

California. Incident at Eel River.

Louisiana. The Union gunboat USS Brooklyn, under Commander Charles H Poor, established the naval blockade of New Orleans from the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Louisiana. The Confederate privateer Calhoun arrived in New Orleans with three whalers and their cargoes as prizes.

Virginia. In response to the burning of bridges on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad near the town of Farmington, Union Major-General George Brinton McClellan ordered Colonel Benjamin Franklin Kelley to advance 70 miles southwest from Wheeling to the area of the sabotage and to secure the important bridge over the Monongahela River at Fairmont. Kelley led the (Union) 1st Virginia Infantry and Company A of the 2nd Virginia Infantry, reinforced by the 16th Ohio Infantry under Colonel James Irvine. Meanwhile, the 14th Ohio Infantry under Colonel James Blair Steedman was ordered to occupy Parkersburg and then proceed to Grafton, about 90 miles further east. This rapid movement to control the railroads across western Virginia ensured that these vital lines of communication between Washington, DC, and the Midwestern states were protected.

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 Hampton Line was discontinued and re-established as the Army of the Peninsula.
CSA: The Department of the Peninsula was established with headquarters at Yorktown, comprising the area occupied by the field forces of the Army of the Peninsula.
CSA: Colonel John Bankhead Magruder assumed command of the Department of the Peninsula.
CSA: The Army of the Peninsula was established in the Department of the Peninsula, comprising the field forces of the former Hampton Line on the Yorktown peninsula.
CSA: Colonel John Bankhead Magruder assumed command of the Army of the Peninsula.

CSA: Virginia State Brigadier-General Benjamin Huger arrived to command the Department of Norfolk.

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: Benjamin Huger

Department of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes

  • Defences of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes

Department of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

  • Army of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

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”: 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
William Henry Talbot Walker

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