1862 February 7th

February 7 1862 Friday

Battle of Roanoke Island, NC

Forts Henry & Donelson Campaign

Burnside’s Expedition to North Carolina

New Mexico Territory. Confederate Brigadier-General Henry Hopkins Sibley left Fort Thorn with four mounted regiments and marched on Fort Craig where Union forces were gathering to re-conquer the Territory.

Roanoke Island, North Carolina. The Union fleet of Captain Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough USN headed towards Roanoke Island to commence the long-awaited attack. A few shells were fired inland at Ashby Harbor, the intended landing place on Roanoke Island, and the Union fleet determined that the defenders had no batteries there. The fleet then moved up Croatan Sound where it divided; some gunboats were ordered to fire on Fort Bartow at Pork Point while others concentrated their fire from 64 guns on the seven one-gun vessels of the Confederate Mosquito Fleet led by Captain William Francis Lynch CSN. Two vessels of the Mosquito Fleet were not present: CSS Appomattox had been sent away to Edenton for supplies and the schooner CSS Black Warrior was left out because she lacked the mobility of steam power. The others lined up in front of an incomplete row of pilings across the channel.

At about noon, the Union bombardment began. Once the Confederate vessels came under fire they slipped through gaps in the obstruction and left the coastal batteries to take up the fight. The weakness of the Confederate position was exposed when only four of the guns at Fort Bartow could be brought to bear on the Union gunboats. Forts Huger and Blanchard could not contribute their gunfire at all. Fort Forrest on the other side of the sound was rendered ineffectual when gunboat CSS Curlew, holed at the waterline, ran ashore directly in front in her effort to avoid sinking and masked the guns of the fort. She was burned to keep her out of Union hands. CSS Forrest damaged her screw by running on a submerged obstacle and was unable to move under her own power and the remainder of the Mosquito Fleet suffered negligible damage. They retired at the end of the day with CSS Forrest in tow because they had nearly run out of ammunition.

The gunnery duel lasted from until sunset. Losses were light on both sides and although several Union ships were hit none suffered severe damage. The Union Army transports accompanied by gunboats arrived at Ashby Harbor near the midpoint of the island. At 3 pm Union Major-General Ambrose Everett Burnside ordered the landings to begin and the troops were reaching the shore by 4 pm. A Confederate force of 200 men commanded by Colonel John V Jordan (31st North Carolina Infantry) was positioned to oppose the landing but was fired on by the gunboats; the defenders fled without attempting to return fire. Almost all of the 10,000 men present were ashore by midnight. Six launches with boat howitzers commanded by Midshipman Benjamin H Porter joined the troops to provide artillery support. The Union soldiers pushed inland a short distance and occupied the southern end of the island before going into camp for the night.

Tennessee. Union Brigadier-General Ulysses Simpson Grant encamped at Fort Henry and prepared an amphibious advance to Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. The gunboats USS Cincinnati, USS St Louis, and USS Essex returned to Cairo from Fort Henry. The three wooden gunboats (USS Conestoga, USS Lexington, and USS Tyler) were sent southwards to destroy the railroad bridge fifteen miles south of Fort Henry and to reconnoitre towards Florence, Alabama.

Grant made a personal reconnaissance of the Confederate defences at Fort Donelson but could not order an advance until his supporting gunboats descended the Tennessee and ascended the Cumberland.

After the fall of Fort Henry, Grant’s Union army Grant was now located between Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston’s two main forces (General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard at Columbus, Kentucky, with 12,000 men, and Major-General William Joseph Hardee at Bowling Green, Kentucky, with 14,000 men). Fort Henry had formed a deep salient in the centre of the line defending Tennessee and the railroad south of it was now likely to be cut, restricting the lateral mobility needed to rush reinforcements to defend against the larger opposing Union forces. Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River had a garrison of only about 5,000 men.

Johnston faced a strategic dilemma. Union forces might attack Columbus on the Mississippi or they might attack Fort Donelson and thereby threaten Nashville. Grant and Major-General Don Carlos Buell (in Louisville, Kentucky, with 45,000 men) might attack Johnston directly with Grant following up Buell’s advance.

Johnston was apprehensive about the ease with which the Union gunboats had defeated Fort Henry, unaware that the rising Tennessee River had played a crucial role in the setback by inundating the fort. Johnston was more concerned about the overland threat from Buell than he was of Grant’s river-based advance, suspecting the river operations might simply be a diversion to enable Buell to get into his rear. Johnston held a council of war in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with Beauregard and Hardee. He decided to withdraw from Columbus, to evacuate Bowling Green, and to reposition his forces south of the Cumberland River at Nashville. Johnston agreed that he should also reinforce Fort Donelson, knowing that a defeat there would cause the loss of Middle Tennessee and the vital manufacturing and arsenal city of Nashville, and the ironworks at Clarksville.

It was clear that Fort Donelson had to hold out at least until Johnston’s army had crossed to the southern side of the Cumberland. Johnston wanted to give command of Fort Donelson to Beauregard, who had advocated an aggressive campaign beginning with the defeat of Grant at that point, but he declined the command because of illness.

The responsibility went instead to Brigadier-General John Buchanan Floyd, who had arrived with his demoralised brigade from an unsuccessful campaign in western Virginia. Johnston sent two of his divisions under Brigadier-General Simon Bolivar Buckner and Floyd to reinforce the three brigades of Brigadier-General Gideon Johnson Pillow already at Fort Donelson. Pillow had succeeded Brigadier-General Lloyd Tilghman after his capture at Fort Henry.  Brigadier-General Bushrod Rust Johnson assumed command of the actual fortifications of Fort Donelson while Pillow led the overall command.

Tennessee. Union Brigadier-General John Alexander McClernand renamed Fort Henry on the Tennessee River as Fort Foote, in hour of Captain Andrew Hull Foote USN who had captured the fort by naval assault.

Tennessee. The three wooden gunboats (USS Conestoga, USS Lexington, and USS Tyler) were sent southwards from Fort Henry to destroy the railroad bridge fifteen miles further south and then to reconnoitre towards Florence, Alabama. The Confederates burned the vessels, Appleton Belle, Lynn Boyd, and Samuel Orr, to avoid their capture by the USS Conestoga.

Virginia. Expedition to Flint Hill and Hunter’s Mill near Fairfax Court House by Union Major Joseph L Moss (5th Pennsylvania Cavalry). Incidents at Williamsburg and Fairfax Court House.

Virginia. Union forces reoccupied Romney after the Confederate garrison withdrew to Winchester.

Virginia. Confederate Major-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson charged Brigadier-General William Wing Loring with neglect of duty at Romney. Jackson’s position was upheld by Governor Letcher and General Joseph Eggleston Johnston against the position of Secretary of War Judah Philip Benjamin. This ruling in Jackson’s favour over an officer only recently resigned from the US Army as a well-respected Colonel of the 1st US Mounted Infantry and commander of the US Department of New Mexico established important lessons in the military protocol of the emerging Confederate Army.

Union Organisation

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln

Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin

Secretary of War: Edwin McMasters Stanton

Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

  • North Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Louis Malesherbes Goldsborough USN
  • South Atlantic Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du Pont USN
  • West Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut USN
  • East Gulf Blockading Squadron USN: Flag Officer William McKean USN
  • Pacific Squadron USN: Rear Admiral Charles H Bell USN
  • Western Gunboat Flotilla USN: Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote USN
  • Potomac Flotilla USN: Lieutenant Robert Harris Wyman USN

General–in-Chief: George Brinton McClellan

  • Department of Florida: Lewis Golding Arnold
  • Department of Kansas: David Hunter
  • Department of Key West: John Milton Brannan awaited
  • Department of the Missouri: Henry Wager Halleck
    • District of Cairo: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • District of St Louis: John McAllister Schofield
    • District of Central Missouri: John Pope
      • Army of Western Missouri: John Pope
    • District of North Missouri: John McAllister Schofield
    • District of Southeast Missouri: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • District of Southwest Missouri: Samuel Ryan Curtis
      • Army of the Southwest: Samuel Ryan Curtis
  • Department of New England: Benjamin Franklin Butler
  • Department of New Mexico: Edward Richard Sprigg Canby
    • Southern District of New Mexico: Benjamin Stone Roberts
  • Department of New York: Edward Denison Morgan
  • Department of North Carolina: Ambrose Everett Burnside
  • Department of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
    • Army of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
  • Department of the Pacific: George Wright
    • District of the Humboldt: Francis James Lippitt
    • District of Oregon: Albemarle Cady
    • 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
  • Department of Western Virginia: William Starke Rosecrans
    • District of the Kanawha: Jacob Dolson Cox
    • Cheat Mountain District: Robert Huston Milroy
    • Railroad District: Benjamin Franklin Kelley

Confederate Organisation

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: Vacant

  • Department No 1: Mansfield Lovell
  • Department of Alabama and West Florida: Braxton Bragg
    • Army of Pensacola: Samuel Jones
    • Army of Mobile: John Bordenave Villepigue
  • Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder
  • Department of the Indian Territory: Douglas Hancock Cooper
  • Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger
    • District of Albemarle: Henry Alexander Wise awaited
  • Department of North Carolina: Richard Caswell Gatlin
    • District of Cape Fear: Joseph Reid Anderson
    • District of Pamlico: Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
    • District of Roanoke Island: Henry Alexander Wise
  • Department of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
    • District of Aquia: Robert Augustus Toombs
    • Army of the Potomac: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
      • I Corps Potomac: James Longstreet
      • II Corps Potomac: Gustavus Woodson Smith
    • Valley District: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
      • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
    • Army of the Northwest: Edward Johnson temporary
  • Department of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder
    • Army of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder
  • Department of South Carolina, Georgia and East Florida: Robert Edward Lee
    •  District of Middle and East Florida: William Montgomery Gardner
    • District of Georgia: Alexander Robert Lawton
    • District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
      • 1st Sub-District of South Carolina: Arthur Middleton Manigault.
      • 2nd Sub-District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
      • 3rd Sub-District of South Carolina: Nathan George Evans
      • 4th Sub-District of South Carolina: John Clifford Pemberton
      • 5th Sub-District of South Carolina: Thomas Fenwick Drayton
  • Department of Southwestern Virginia: William Wing Loring
    • District of Lewisburg: Henry Heth
  • Department of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
    • Western District of Texas: Henry Eustace McCulloch
    • District of Galveston: Ebenezer B Nichols
    • District of Houston: John Creed Moore
    • Defences of Pass Cavallo: John W Glenn
  • Western Department: Albert Sidney Johnston
    • First Geographical Division: Leonidas Polk
    • Trans-Mississippi District: Earl Van Dorn
    • District of East Tennessee: George Bibb Crittenden
    • Army of Central Kentucky: William Joseph Hardee
    • Army of Eastern Kentucky: Humphrey Marshall
    • Army of the West: Benjamin McCulloch interim Earl Van Dorn awaited
  • District of Arizona: Henry Hopkins Sibley
    • Army of New Mexico: Henry Hopkins Sibley
  • Forces in Richmond: Charles Dimmock

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

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
Philip St George Cooke

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
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
Joseph Bennett Plummer
John Gray Foster
George Washington Cullum
Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
Christopher Columbus Augur
Schuyler Hamilton
Jesse Lee Reno
George Washington Morgan
Julius Stahel
John McAllister Schofield
Thomas Jefferson McKean
John Grubb Parke
Zealous Bates Tower
Jefferson Columbus Davis
James Henry Lane
John McAuley Palmer
William High Keim
James Abram Garfield
Lewis Golding Arnold
Frederick Steele
William Scott Ketchum
Abner Doubleday
John Wynn Davidson
Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana
David Bell Birney
Thomas Francis Meagher
Henry Morris Naglee

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
George Bibb Crittenden
John Clifford Pemberton
Richard Stoddert Ewell

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Benjamin McCulloch
William Wing Loring
Charles Clark
John Buchanan Floyd
Henry Alexander Wise
David Rumph Jones
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Richard Caswell Gatlin
Daniel Smith Donelson
Samuel Read Anderson
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
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
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
Robert Emmett Rodes
Richard Taylor
Louis Trezevant Wigfall
James Heyward Trapier
Samuel Gibbs French
William Henry Carroll
Hugh Weedon Mercer
Humphrey Marshall
John Cabell Breckinridge
Richard Griffith
Alexander Peter Stewart
William Montgomery Gardner
Richard Brooke Garnett
William Mahone
Lawrence O’Bryan Branch
Edward Johnson
Maxcy Gregg
Raleigh Edward Colston
Henry Heth
Johnson Kelly Duncan
Sterling Alexander Martin Wood
John George Walker
John King Jackson
George Edward Pickett
James McQueen McIntosh
Bushrod Rust Johnson
Joseph Brevard Kershaw
Daniel Marsh Frost

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