1861 October 21st

October 21 1861 Sunday

Battle of Ball’s Bluff, VA (CWSAC Major Battle Confederate Victory)
Battle of Camp Wildcat, KY (CWSAC Formative Battle Union Victory)
Battle of Fredericktown, MO (CWSAC Limited Battle Union Victory)

East Kentucky Operations

Go to October 22 1861

Kentucky. Incidents at Joe Underwood Camp and Rockcastle Hills.

Camp Wildcat, Kentucky, also known as Wildcat Mountain, Rockcastle Hills, and Camp Wild Cat. During the morning, Union Brigadier-General Albin Francisco Schoepf moved four companies of the 33rd Indiana Infantry, 350 men, from camp Wildcat three-quarters of a mole eastwards to Round Hill, a steep, high point along the Wilderness Road. The Confederates of Brigadier-General Felix Kirk Zollicoffer had already started moving along the Wilderness Road during the morning. Confederate pickets attacked the Union force soon after they arrived at Round Hill but then withdrew to report the situation to Zollicoffer. Zollicoffer sent most of two of his regiments, the 11th Tennessee Infantry and several companies of the 17th Tennessee Infantry to attack Round Hill. Just before the attack, the outnumbered Union companies were reinforced by 250 men of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry (Union) and a small number of Home Guards. The Confederate regiments attacked up the steep hill but after an hour of fighting the 11th Tennessee retreated. More Union reinforcements arrived, forcing the 17th Tennessee also to retreat. Zollicoffer then sent the 29th Tennessee Infantry and several companies of the 17th Tennessee Infantry to attack a location called the South Rim across the road from Round Hill. By that time, the Union had fortified this point and the Confederate attack failed. The Confederates failed to detect a gap that had appeared between the 33rd Indiana Infantry and the 7th Kentucky Infantry (Union) before Col Theophilus Toulmin Garrard sent reinforcements to close it. With casualties mounting, Zollicoffer ceased attacking the Union positions. The Confederates withdrew during the night towards Cumberland Gap and continued their retreat to Cumberland Ford, which they reached on 26 October.
Schoepf reported 4 or 5 Union soldiers killed and 18 or 20 wounded. Zollicoffer reported 11 Confederates killed and 42 wounded or missing. The battle was one of the first Union victories of the Civil War and marked the second engagement between organised troops in Kentucky.  (CWSAC Formative Battle Union Victory)


Union Department of the Cumberland: Brigadier-General William Tecumseh Sherman
Schoepf’s Brigade (Cumberland): Brigadier-General Albin Francisco Schoepf

Confederate District of East Tennessee: Brigadier-General Felix Kirk Zollicoffer
Zollicoffer’s Brigade: Brigadier-General Felix Kirk Zollicoffer

Maryland. The Union joint Army and Navy expedition to Port Royal began. Union brigadier-General Thomas West Sherman commanded the army element as it left Annapolis and headed for the South Carolina coast.

Missouri. Incident at Ironton.

Fredericktown, Missouri. Two Union columns, one under Colonel Joseph Bennett Plummer and the other under Colonel William Passmore Carlin, advanced on Fredericktown to overtake the partisan raiders of Missouri State Guard Brigadier-General Meriwether Jefferson Thompson and his men. The combined Union columns numbered 2,500 to 3,500 men. During the morning, Thompson’s force left Fredericktown and headed south. About twelve miles out, Thompson left his supply train in a secure position and then turned back toward Fredericktown. He learned that Union forces had moved in and occupied Fredericktown in his absence so Thompson spent the morning attempting to discern the enemy’s numbers and disposition. Unable to do so, he placed his troops and artillery in ambush along the road and awaited the arrival of the Union forces. The bulk of the Missouri State Guard force was hidden from view on the wooded high ground that formed a U overlooking the road. Forward of the main body, Colonel Aden Lowe’s infantry regiment waited in a cornfield as bait. Close behind was a supporting 12-pounder gun as well as three 6-pounder guns farther to the rear and flank.
About noon, Plummer arrived with his column and a detachment of Carlin’s troops. Captain Stewart’s Illinois cavalry company made the initial contact. Colonel Ross’s 17th Illinois Infantry engaged Lowe’s troops first with skirmishers, and then with the main line of the regiment. A section of Union artillery was brought into service against the Missourians’ 12-pounder, which responded. The Union 20th Illinois Infantry and 11th Missouri Infantry applied pressure to both flanks of Lowe’s force as more Union artillery joined the battle. Lowe, having waited too long to disengage, was killed and his regiment retreated, taking heavy casualties. The 1st Indiana Cavalry attempted to capture the exposed 12-pounder, but they were stopped with heavy casualties by the fire of Thompson’s forces on both ridges. The cavalry called for infantry support and the 17th Illinois surged forward to claim the now abandoned artillery piece. As more Union infantrymen poured onto the field, Thompson began an orderly withdrawal of the Guardsmen. He succeeded in his withdrawal except for losing some routed cavalry.
Some of the Union soldiers believed that local civilians had assisted Thompson in the engagement. They were also angered by the reported mistreatment of Unionist citizens along the line of march. This resentment led to retaliation against the town by rank and file soliders. At least seven homes in Fredericktown were burned and other buildings damaged before the officers regained control of their men.
Thompson’s Missouri State Guardsmen suffered a total of 145 casualties during the battle, including 25 dead, 40 wounded, and 80 captured. They also lost one artillery piece, an old iron 12-pounder. Union casualties were reported as 7 killed and about 60 wounded. There were a number of other casualties (mostly Union) in skirmishes occurring before and after the battle. (CWSAC Limited Battle Union Victory)

Virginia. Reconnaissance to Thornton’s Station.

Virginia. Incidents at New River, Warwick Road, Leesburg, and New Market Bridge.

Virginia. Skirmish at Young’s Mill near Newport News.

Ball’s Bluff, Virginia, also known as Harrison’s Island, Conrad’s Ferry or Edward’s Ferry. Union Brigadier-General Charles Pomeroy Stone’s conducted a “demonstration” with 2,000 men against Confederate forces opposite the Potomac River fords near Poolesville. The 1,600 Confederate defenders were commanded by Brigadier-General Nathan George Evans. Union Colonel Charles Devens’ scouting party had discovered the mistake made the previous evening by a patrol – that there was no Confederate camp to raid. Opting not to re-cross the river immediately, Devens deployed his men in a tree line and sent a messenger back to report to Stone and get new instructions. On hearing the messenger’s report, Stone sent him back to tell Devens that the remainder of the 15th Massachusetts Infantry would cross the river and move to his position. When they arrived, Devens was to turn his raiding party back into a reconnaissance and move further toward Leesburg.
While the messenger was going back to Devens with this new information, Colonel Edward Dickinson Baker arrived at Stone’s camp to find out about the morning’s events. He had not been involved in any of the activities to that point. Stone told him of the mistake about the camp and about his new orders to reinforce Devens for reconnaissance purposes. He then instructed Baker to go to the crossing point, evaluate the situation, and either to withdraw the troops already in Virginia or to cross additional troops at his discretion. On the way upriver to execute this order, Baker met Devens’ messenger coming back a second time to report that Devens and his men had encountered and briefly engaged the enemy, one company of the 17th Mississippi Infantry. Baker immediately ordered as many troops as he could find to cross the river, but he did so without determining how many and what kind of boats were available to do this. There was a narrow path descending a steep 100-foot slope from Ball’s Bluff to the ford. A bottleneck quickly developed so that Union troops could only cross slowly and in small numbers, making the crossing last throughout the day. Meanwhile, Devens’ men (now about 650 strong) remained in their advanced position and engaged in two additional skirmishes with a growing force of Confederates. Union troops slowly crossed the river but deployed near the bluff and did not advance from there to reinforce Devens. Devens finally withdrew around 2pm and met Baker, who had crossed the river half an hour later.
Around 3 pm the fighting began in earnest as Evans’ 1,600 Confederates fired on the four Union regiments now on the Virginia shore and continued to attack them until just after dark. Exposing himself recklessly to encourage his men, Baker was killed at about 4.30 pm. He was the only United States Senator ever killed in battle. Following an abortive attempt to break out of their constricted position around the bluff, the Union forces began to re-cross the river in some disarray.
Shortly before dark the Confederate 17th Mississippi Infantry arrived and formed the core of an assault that finally broke and routed the Union line. Many of the Union soldiers were driven down the steep slope at the southern end of Ball’s Bluff and ran into the river. Some men leaped from the Bluff and were killed or injured in their descent. Boats attempting to cross back to Harrison Island were soon swamped and capsized. Many Union troops, including some of the wounded, drowned.
A total of 49 Union men were killed, 158 were wounded, and 533 were captured on the banks of the Potomac later that night. Confederate casualties were 33 killed, 115 wounded and 1 missing.

Virginia. From a military standpoint, the rout of the Union force at Ball’s Bluff was of minor significance, but its political repercussions in Washington, DC were immediate and long-lasting. A Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, headed by abolitionist US Senator Benjamin F Wade, of Massachusetts, was formed to investigate the Army’s failure. Union Brigadier-General Charles Pomeroy Stone was eventually imprisoned for eight months at Fort Lafayette, New York, without charge or trial. He never held a significant military role again and siffered the fate of an undeserving scapegoat. However unfair, the treatment he received was a warning to other Union commanders about their fate if they failed or showed any hint of disloyalty. The inexperienced Baker was lauded as a martyr to the Union cause even though his incompetence had contributed substantially to the disaster. (CWSAC Major Battle – Confederate Victory)


Union Department of the Potomac: Major-General George Brinton McClellan
Army of the Potomac: Major-General George Brinton McClellan
Stone’s Division (Corps of Observation): Brigadier-General Charles Pomeroy Stone
1st Brigade: Brigadier-General Frederick West Lander
2nd Brigade: Brigadier-General Willis Arnold Gorman

Confederate Department of the Potomac: General Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Army of the Potomac: General Joseph Eggleston Johnston
I Corps (Potomac): Major-General Earl Van Dorn
Evans’ Brigade: Brigadier-General Nathan George Evans

Union Organisation

USA: Colonel Edward Dickinson Baker (Brigadier-General Declined) was killed in action at Ball’s Bluff, Virginia.

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln
Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin
Secretary of War: Simon Cameron
Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

Atlantic Blockading Squadron: Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough
Gulf Blockading Squadron: William McKean
Pacific Squadron: John Berrien Montgomery
Western Gunboat Flotilla: Andrew Hull Foote
Potomac Flotilla: Thomas Tingey Craven

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

Department of the Cumberland: William Tecumseh Sherman

Department of the East: Vacant

Department of Florida: Harvey Brown

Department of New England: Benjamin Franklin Butler

Department of the Ohio: Ormsby McKnight Mitchel

  • District of Grafton: Benjamin Franklin Kelley

Department of the Pacific: Edwin Vose Sumner interim George Wright awaited

  • District of Oregon: Benjamin Lloyd Beall
  • District of Southern California: James Henry Carleton

Department of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan

  • District of Harper’s Ferry and Cumberland: Frederick West Lander
  • Army of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan

Department of Texas: Vacant

Department of Virginia: John Ellis Wool

Western Department: John Charles Frémont

  • District of Western Kentucky: Charles Ferguson Smith
  • District of North Missouri: John Pope
  • District of Southeast Missouri: Ulysses Simpson Grant
  • Southern District of New Mexico: Benjamin Stone Roberts
  • Western Army: John Charles Frémont

Department of Western Virginia: William Starke Rosecrans

  • District of the Kanawha: Jacob Dolson Cox

Confederate Organisation

CSA: Command of the Department of Middle and Eastern Florida became vacant after the death of Brigadier-General John Breckinridge Grayson.
CSA: Brigadier-General John Breckinridge Grayson died in Tallahassee, Florida.

CSA: The Department of Henrico was established, comprising Richmond and Henrico County, Virginia. It assumed jurisdiction over garrison troops, city guards, militia, police, hospitals, prisons, warehouses, training camps, and government administration buildings.
CSA: Brigadier-General John Henry Winder assumed command of the Department of Henrico.

CSA: Brigadier-General Gideon Johnson Pillow resigned. The resignation was cancelled on 2 February 1862 and Pillow resumed his commission on that date.

CSA: Nathan George Evans promoted Brigadier-General PACS 21 October 1861.

CSA: Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox promoted Brigadier-General PACS 21 October 1861.

CSA: Philip St George Cocke promoted Brigadier-General PACS 21 October 1861.

CSA: Robert Emmett Rodes promoted Brigadier-General PACS 21 October 1861.

CSA: Richard Taylor promoted Brigadier-General PACS 21 October 1861.

CSA: Louis Trezevant Wigfall promoted Brigadier-General PACS 21 October 1861.

CSA: James Heyward Trapier promoted Brigadier-General PACS 21 October 1861.

Commander in Chief: President Jefferson Finis Davis
Vice-President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens
Secretary of War: Judah Philip Benjamin
Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory

Military Adviser to the President: Robert Edward Lee

Department No 1: Mansfield Lovell

Department of Alabama and West Florida: Braxton Bragg

  • District of Alabama: Jones Mitchell Withers

Department of Fredericksburg: Daniel Harvey Hill

  • District of Aquia: vacant

Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder

Department of Middle and Eastern Florida: vacant

Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger

Department of North Carolina: Richard Caswell Gatlin

  • District of Cape Fear: Joseph Reid Anderson
  • District of Pamlico: Daniel Harvey Hill

Department of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

  • Army of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

Department of the Potomac: Joseph Eggleston Johnston

  • Army of the Potomac: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
    • I Corps Potomac: Earl Van Dorn
    • II Corps Potomac: Gustavus Woodson Smith
  • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson

Department of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley

Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring

Department of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert

  • District of Galveston: John Creed Moore

Western Department: Albert Sidney Johnston

  • First Geographical Division: Leonidas Polk
  • District of Upper Arkansas: William Joseph Hardee
  • District of East Tennessee: Felix Kirk Zollicoffer
  • District of the Indian Territory: Benjamin McCulloch
  • Army of Central Kentucky: Simon Bolivar Buckner
  • Western Army: Benjamin McCulloch

District of Arizona: John Robert Baylor

Defences of Savannah: Alexander Robert Lawton

Forces in Richmond: Charles Dimmock

Army of the Northwest: William Wing Loring

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

Winfield Scott
George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
Henry Wager Halleck

Major-General USV

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter
Edwin Denison Morgan

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
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Andrew Porter
Fitz-John Porter
William Buel Franklin
William Tecumseh Sherman
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Don Carlos Buell
Thomas West Sherman
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
James Brewerton Ricketts
Orlando Bolivar Willcox
Michael Corcoran
George Henry Thomas
Ambrose Everett Burnside
Henry Hayes Lockwood
Louis Blenker
Henry Warner Slocum
James Samuel Wadsworth
John James Peck
Ormsby McKnight Mitchel
George Webb Morell
John Henry Martindale
Samuel Davis Sturgis
George Stoneman
Henry Washington Benham
William Farrar Smith
James William Denver
Egbert Ludovicus Vielé
James Shields
John Fulton Reynolds
William Farquhar Barry
John Joseph Abercrombie
John Sedgwick
Charles Ferguson Smith
Silas Casey
Lawrence Pike Graham
George Gordon Meade
Abram Duryée
Alexander McDowell McCook
Oliver Otis Howard
Eleazar Arthur Paine
Daniel Edgar Sickles
Charles Davis Jameson
Ebenezer Dumont
Robert Huston Milroy
Lewis Wallace
Willis Arnold Gorman
Daniel Butterfield
Horatio Gouverneur Wright
Edward Otho Cresap Ord
William Nelson
William Thomas Ward
John Gross Barnard
Innis Newton Palmer
Seth Williams
John Newton
Winfield Scott Hancock
Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
George Wright
Isaac Ingalls Stevens
Thomas Williams
George Sykes
William Henry French
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
John Milton Brannan
William Wallace Burns
John Porter Hatch
David Sloane Stanley
William Kerley Strong
Albin Francisco Schoepf
Lovell Harrison Rousseau
James Scott Negley
Thomas John Wood
Richard W Johnson
Adolph Wilhelm August Friedrich Von Steinwehr

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster-General)
Henry Knox Craig
Lorenzo Thomas (Adjutant-General)
James Wolfe Ripley (Ordnance)

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

General ACSA

Samuel Cooper
Albert Sidney Johnston
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

Major-General PACS

Leonidas Polk
Braxton Bragg
Earl Van Dorn
Gustavus Woodson Smith
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
William Joseph Hardee
Benjamin Huger
James Longstreet
John Bankhead Magruder
Mansfield Lovell
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Edmund Kirby Smith

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Milledge Lake Bonham
Benjamin McCulloch
William Wing Loring
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd
William Henry Talbot Walker
Henry Rootes Jackson
Henry Alexander Wise
Richard Stoddert Ewell
David Rumph Jones
John Clifford Pemberton
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Richard Caswell Gatlin
Daniel Smith Donelson
Samuel Read Anderson
Gideon Johnson Pillow
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
Felix Kirk Zollicoffer
Daniel Harvey Hill
Jones Mitchell Withers
Richard Heron Anderson
Robert Augustus Toombs
Samuel Jones
Arnold Elzey
William Henry Chase Whiting
Jubal Anderson Early
Isaac Ridgway Trimble
Daniel Ruggles
George Bibb Crittenden
John Breckinridge Grayson DEC
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Albert Pike
Paul Octave Hébert
Joseph Reid Anderson
Simon Bolivar Buckner
Leroy Pope Walker
Albert Gallatin Blanchard
Gabriel James Rains
James Ewell Brown Stuart
Lafayette McLaws
Thomas Fenwick Drayton
Thomas Carmichael Hindman
Adley Hogan Gladden
John Porter McCown
Lloyd Tilghman
Nathan George Evans
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox
Philip St George Cocke
Robert Emmett Rodes
Richard Taylor
Louis Trezevant Wigfall
James Heyward Trapier
Daniel Marsh Frost

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