1861 September 12th

September 12 1861 Wednesday

Battle of Cheat Mountain, VA (CWSAC Major Battle Union Victory)

Cheat Mountain Campaign, West Virginia
Confederate Invasion of New Mexico
Rosecrans’ West Virginia Campaign

Go to September 13 1861

CSA. Braxton Bragg, the last remaining officer to hold the grade of Brigadier-General in the Confederate Regular Army (ACSA), was promoted to Major-General and became the eighth-ranking officer in the Confederacy.

Kentucky. The Kentucky legislature authorised the Governor to call out the militia to repel Confederate invaders.

Maryland. US President Abraham Lincoln ordered the arrest of disloyal members of the Maryland state legislature, in order to prevent the risk of the state’s secession.

Lexington, Missouri. Pro-Confederate Missouri State Major-General Sterling Price reached Lexington, having increased his army with recruits, many of them unarmed, during his march from Springfield. He forced Union Colonel James A Mulligan to retire into his entrenchments at Lexington. The Union defenders burned the covered bridge which led into the town so the Confederates diverted their march to approach by way of the Independence Road.

Missouri. In contravention of US President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation, Union Major-General John Charles Frémont issued illegal deeds of manumission to two slaves who had escaped from their owners in Missouri.

Missouri. Skirmish at Black River. A detachment of Indiana Cavalry and the 1st Indianan Infantry under Major Gavitt defeated a Confederate force killing five men and capturing four.

Missouri. Skirmishes at Ironton and Lexington.

Virginia. Incidents at Gauley Bridge, Cheat Mountain Pass, Cheat Summit, Hanging Rock Pass, Coal River, Peytonia, Petersburg, and Point Mountain Turnpike.

Virginia. In an attempt to resolve the command problems in western Virginia, President Jefferson Finis Davis authorised General Robert Edward Lee to transfer Brigadier-General Henry Alexander Wise and his Wise’s Legion to any command other than that of Brigadier-General John Buchanan Floyd, with whom Wise had failed to achieve any cooperation and whose authority he disputed. To replace Wise’s command, the 20th Mississippi Infantry and Phillips’ Georgia Legion were assigned to join Floyd.

Virginia. Union Brigadier-General Jacob Dolson Cox pushed forward from Carnifex Ferry. Confederate Brigadier-General Henry Alexander Wise fell back before them to Sewell Mountain.

Cheat Mountain, Virginia, also known as Elkwater. The Union forces of Brigadier-William Starke Rosecrans were mostly dispersed to protect the main transportation lines in western Virginia. Confederate General Robert Edward Lee directed his first offensive campaign of the war against them, through the local commander Brigadier-General William Wing Loring, commander of the Army of the Northwest. Lee was also attempting to mobilise the fractious Army of the Kanawha into effective and cooperative action.
Loring’s plan approach involved a two-pronged simultaneous attack against Colonel Nathan Kimball’s 14th Indiana Infantry with 300 men holding Fort Milroy on the summit of Cheat Mountain. Three more Union regiments under Brigadier-General Joseph Jones Reynolds numbered 1,500 men in entrenchments at Elkwater on the Tygart Valley River. These Union troops were guarding the Staunton to Parkersburg Turnpike. Approximately 4,500 Confederates moved to attack Cheat Summit in six brigades. The Union defenders on Cheat Summit were very familiar with the terrain and mountain trails. The three Confederate brigades commanded by Brigadier-General Henry Rootes Jackson, Colonel Albert Rust, and Brigadier-General Samuel Anderson made the advance, with two more brigades under Colonel Jesse S Burks and Brigadier-General Daniel Smith Donelson being sent to outflank the Union position at Elkwater. Colonel William Gilham’s brigade was in reserve. Loring directed Gilham’s and Burke’s brigades personally during the engagement. The approach of the three attacking Confederate brigades was poorly coordinated. Rain, fog, mountainous terrain, and a dense forest limited visibility to minimal distances. As a result, each of the three brigades assigned to attack Cheat Summit (Fort Milroy) acted independently and never made contact with either of the other two.
The Union outposts were pushed back to Elkwater and Anderson severed the road behind Kimball at the Cheat Mountain summit. Information given by captured Union soldiers was misleading and two probing attacks from Cheat Summit Fort were so aggressive that Rust and Anderson, each leading approximately 1,500 Confederates at Cheat Mountain, were convinced that an overwhelming force confronted them. Rust and Anderson withdrew their 3,000 men although they actually faced only about 300 determined Union troops in the Union fortifications.
At Elkwater, Reynolds’ brigade faced the three other Confederate brigades but could not be dislodged from well-prepared entrenchments. After Colonel John A Washington of Lee’s staff was killed during a reconnaissance of the Union right, Loring and Lee decided to call off the botched attack and recalled Anderson from his exposed position. Reynolds was so confident in the face of such timidity that he dispatched two of his own regiments from Elkwater up the mountain road to relieve the supposedly besieged fortress garrison, but the Union reinforcements were unnecessary.
The Union reported 10 killed and 14 wounded and 64 prisoners and the Confederates reported 90. The Union claimed 20 prisoners and 100 killed and wounded. (CWSAC Major Battle Union Victory)


Union Department of the Ohio: Brigadier-General William Starke Rosecrans
Cheat Mountain District: Brigadier-General Joseph Jones Reynolds
1st Brigade (Cheat Mountain): Brigadier-General Joseph Jones Reynolds

Confederate Department of Southwestern Virginia: General Robert Edward Lee, Brigadier-General William Wing Loring
Jackson’s Brigade (Southwestern Virginia): Brigadier-General Henry Rootes Jackson
Rust’s Brigade (Southwestern Virginia): Colonel Albert Rust
Anderson’s Brigade (Southwestern Virginia): Brigadier-General Samuel Read Anderson
Burks’ Brigade (Southwestern Virginia): Colonel Jesse S Burks
Donelson’s Brigade (Southwestern Virginia): Brigadier-General Daniel Smith Donelson
Reserve Brigade (Southwestern Virginia): Colonel William Gilham

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: Andrew Hull Foote
Potomac Flotilla: Thomas Tingey Craven

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

Department of the Cumberland: Robert Anderson awaited

Department of the East: Vacant

Department of Florida: Harvey Brown

Department of the Ohio: William Starke Rosecrans

  • Cheat Mountain District: Joseph Jones Reynolds
  • District of Grafton: Benjamin Franklin Kelley
  • Army of Occupation: William Starke Rosecrans

Department of the Pacific: Edwin Vose Sumner

  • District of Oregon: George Wright

Department of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan

  • 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

Confederate Organisation

CSA: The District of Alabama was established in Department No 1, comprising the southern parts of Alabama east of the Pascagoula River.
CSA: Brigadier-General Jones Mitchell Withers assumed command of the District of Alabama.

CSA: Braxton Bragg promoted Major-General PACS 12 September 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

Military Adviser to the President: Robert Edward Lee

Department No 1: David Emanuel Twiggs

  • District of Alabama: Jones Mitchell Withers

Department of Fredericksburg: Daniel Harvey Hill

  • District of Aquia: vacant

Department of Middle and Eastern Florida: John Breckinridge Grayson

Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger

Department of North Carolina: Richard Caswell Gatlin

  • Defences of North Carolina: Theophilus Hunter Holmes interim Joseph Reid Anderson awaited

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
  • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson

Department of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley

Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring

Department of Texas: Henry Eustace McCullough temporary Paul Octave Hébert awaited

  • Defences of Galveston: John Creed Moore

Department of West Florida: Braxton Bragg

  • “Forces in Pensacola”: Braxton Bragg

Western Department: Albert Sidney Johnston

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

Defences of Savannah: Alexander Robert Lawton

Forces in Richmond: Charles Dimmock

Army of the Kanawha: John Buchanan Floyd

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

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

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

David Emanuel Twiggs
Leonidas Polk
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
Henry Rootes Jackson
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
Henry Alexander Wise
Earl Van Dorn
William Joseph Hardee
Richard Stoddert Ewell
David Rumph Jones
Benjamin Huger
John Bankhead Magruder
James Longstreet
Edmund Kirby Smith
John Clifford Pemberton
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
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
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Albert Pike
Paul Octave Hébert
Joseph Reid Anderson

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