1862 March 17th

March 17 1862 Monday

Establishment of the US War Board

Burnside’s Expedition to North Carolina
Peninsula Campaign
Island No 10 Campaign
Sibley’s Operations in New Mexico
Kernstown Campaign

Go to March 18 1862

USA: The post of General-in-Chief of the US Army became vacant as Major-General George Brinton McClellan was directed to concern himself solely with matters in the Department of the Potomac. As an interim measure, the highly experienced Major-General Ethan Allen Hitchcock chaired the War Board. Hitchcock had applied to return to active service but was originally rejected on the grounds of his age and earlier retirement. Former General-in-Chief Major-General Winfield Scott intervened to secure his commission as a Major-General in February 1862, and he became a special adviser to the Secretary of War.
From March 17 1862, Hitchcock served as the chairman of the War Board, the body that assisted President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin McMasters Stanton in the management of the War Department and the command of the Union armies during the period after McClellan was relieved of his responsibilities as General-in-Chief. McClellan was assured by supportive comments from Lincoln that his position was not permanently circumscribed but he later saw the change of command as part of an intrigue “to secure the failure of the approaching campaign.” The War Board included Hitchcock as chairman, and the five chiefs of the Regular Army staff: Brigadier-General Lorenzo Thomas (Adjutant General), Brigadier-General Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster General), Colonel Joseph Gilbert Totten (Chief of Engineers), Brigadier-General James Wolfe Ripley (Chief of Ordnance), and Colonel Joseph Pannell Taylor (Commissary General).

Arkansas. Confederate Major-General Earl Van Dorn was ordered by General Albert Sidney Johnston to move eastwards across Arkansas to the Mississippi River. From here he would provide reinforcements for General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard in Tennessee. Van Dorn responded that he could instead move immediately to join the action around New Madrid, Missouri, or make a bolder march to St Louis by way of the Union supply depot at Rolla, Missouri.

Kentucky. Expedition to Pound Gap ended.

Mississippi. Expedition to Yellow Creek ended.

Mississippi. Action at Riddle’s Point.

Missouri. Union Major-General John Pope continued to press Captain Andrew Hull Foote USN for two or three gunboats to run past the Confederate batteries at Island No 1o in order to help him cross the river and trap the garrison. Foote demurred, arguing that his boats were not invincible and that a chance disabling shot would deliver a valuable warship into Confederate hands. He added that a captured gunboat could threaten all the cities along the Mississippi and its tributaries. Nevertheless, Foote agreed to attack the Confederate fortifications at Island No 10 with three gunboats, which would begin by engaging the Redan Fort on the Tennessee shore. Foote ordered the USS Benton to be lashed between two other ironclads (USS Cincinnati and USS St Louis), a precaution in case one of the boats became disabled so it would not float downstream into Confederate hands.
The three ironclads attacked the Redan with bows forward, the mortar boats and the rest of the fleet joining if the range of their guns allowed. The Redan, commanded by Confederate Captain Edward W Rucker, was armed with three 8-inch Columbiads and three 32-pounders (smoothbore) and was partially flooded. The 32-pounder smoothbores were out of range throughout the three-hour fight but the huge “Lady Polk Jr” (a 128-pounder gun on the island) fired from three miles away, as did a rifled 32-pounder in another shore battery. The USS Benton took three direct hits and the ironclad USS St Louis was struck several times. The Confederate guns also damaged the engine of the USS Cincinnati. A rifled gun burst on board USS St Louis while firing, killing three men and wounding a dozen others in the crew.
The Redan took a tremendous pounding but the Confederate gunners stood to their guns until Foote retired. The upper fort was slightly damaged by USS Benton and the other boats which dismounted one gun.
For the next two weeks, fighting consisted of a bombardment of the island at long range, mostly conducted by the mortars, and occasionally replied to by the Confederate batteries. High expectations of the mortar boats were dashed; they did very little damage to the Confederate positions. After Foote had rejected Pope’s request that gunboats run past Island No 10, someone on Pope’s staff suggested that perhaps a canal could be cut to enable Union vessels to bypass the dangerous batteries. The canal was completed in two weeks, but it was not deep enough to provide passage for the gunboats. It proved useful, nevertheless, for transports and supply vessels enabling Pope to avoid total dependence on land communications.

Missouri. Confederate Major-General Sterling Price officially disbanded the Missouri State Guard and enrolled it into regular Confederate service in the Army of the West. A small number of Guard units remained independent until the end of the war in 1865, seeing action in several engagements in the Trans-Mississippi region under Brigadier-General Mosby Munroe Parsons and State Brigadier-General James S Rains. It is estimated that at least 34,000 Missourians served in the Missouri State Guard during the war and possibly as many as 40,000. The peak strength was approximately 23,000 to 28,000 men in September 1861, of whom about 5,000 were operating in Southeast Missouri under State Brigadier-General Meriwether Jefferson Thompson.

North Carolina. The CSS Nashville under the command of Lieutenant R B Pegram ran the blockade out of Beaufort, evading the gunfire of USS Cambridge, Commander W A Parker, and USS Gemsbok; LieutenAnt CAvendy.

Tennessee. Expedition to Pittsburg Landing and Savannah ended.

Tennessee. Union Brigadier-General Ulysses Simpson Grant’s Army of West Tennessee moved from Savannah to Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. The troops disembarked at Pittsburg Landing on the western bank of the Tennessee River. The Army had expanded to five Divisions. Brigadier-General John Alexander McClernand led the 1st Division and Colonel William Hervey Lamm Wallace had the 2nd Division (temporarily deputising for Brigadier-General Charles Ferguson Smith who was in interim command of the expedition). Brigadier-General Lewis Wallace’s 3rd Division was stationed three miles upstream at Crump’s Landing on the opposite bank of the river. Brigadier-General Stephen Augustus Hurlbut’s 4th Division and the 5th Division of Brigadier-General William Tecumseh Sherman, which had just returned from an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Big Bear Creek bridge, made their camp at Pittsburg Landing.
The interim commander, C F Smith, had established his headquarters at Savannah. Grant arrived in person to take command of operations from Smith and moved in with his staff. Grant was ordered to await the arrival of Major-General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio from Nashville before advancing any further south. The Confederate base at Corinth, Mississippi, was a long one or two days’ march distant and Buell was reported to be near Waynesboro, about forty miles away. Grant declined to fortify his camps, trusting that the Confederates were demoralised and too weak to oppose his advance before Buell arrived.

Virginia. The first elements of Union Major-General George Brinton McClellan’s Army of the Potomac embarked for transportation by sea from Alexandria to the Yorktown peninsula. This was the first stage of McClellan’s campaign against the Confederate capital of Richmond. Twelve divisions were to be transported in increments by 389 vessels to Fortress Monroe. McClellan believed that he had satisfactorily met the conditions of the government to provide sufficient troops for the defence and protection of the capital before commencing his operations. A fleet of 113 steamers, 188 schooners, and 88 barges began to transport the army from Alexandria in echelons of 10,000 men with all their equipment and supplies. Major-General Irvin McDowell protected the embarkation from the defences at Alexandria. McDowell’s I Corps had been set aside to advance overland towards Fredericksburg, thereby protecting the capital from direct attack by the enemy armies in Virginia. The V Corps was operating in the Shenandoah valley, leaving McClellan with the II Corps, III Corps, and IV Corps to be transported to the Peninsula.

Virginia. Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks received orders from Major-General George Brinton McClellan to leave a covering force of one division (Brigadier-General James Shields’ 2nd Division of V Corps) in the Shenandoah Valley and to send the majority of his troops eastwards. McClellan wanted the bulk of V Corps to join the Army of the Potomac on the Yorktown peninsula but events prevented this from happening. Shields’ division continued to operate around Strasburg in the Shenandoah Valley while the 1st Division of Brigadier-General Alpheus Starkey Williams prepared to leave Winchester for Alexandria. Meanwhile, Brigadier-General John Sedgwick’s 3rd Division left Harper’s Ferry and headed to join the army at Alexandria.
Although the Shenandoah Valley was to be deprived by this plan of two-thirds of its Union occupiers, the brigade of Brigadier-General Benjamin Franklin Kelley (part of the Mountain Department) was stationed to the northwest at Romney. It could feasibly support Sheilds in the Valley but it was too distant to provide immediate support. Kelley’s main duty was to ensure the security of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.


Major-General George Brinton McClellan
Army of the Potomac: Major-General George Brinton McClellan
V Corps (Potomac): Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
2nd Division, V Corps (Potomac): Brigadier-General James Shields
1st Brigade, 2nd Division, V Corps (Potomac): Brigadier-General James Shields
2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, V Corps (Potomac): Colonel Jeremiah Cutler Sullivan
3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, V Corps (Potomac): Colonel Erastus Barnard Tyler

Union Organisation

USA: Major-General George Brinton McClellan was suspended temporarily as General-in-Chief of the US Army, permitting him to exercise direct field command of the Amy of the Potomac.

USA: Major-General Ethan Allen Hitchcock was appointed Chairman of the War Board to exercise administrative but not executive command of the USA Army during the temporary suspension of the post of General-in-Chief.

USA: Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant assumed command of the District of West Tennessee, succeeding Brigadier-General Charles Ferguson Smith.
USA: Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant retained field command of the Army of West Tennessee (“Army of the Tennessee”).

USA: William Hemsley Emory promoted Brigadier-General USV 17 March 1862.

USA: Andrew Jackson Smith promoted Brigadier-General USV 20 March 1862 to rank from 17 March 1862.

USA: Marsena Rudolph Patrick promoted Brigadier-General USV 20 March 1862 to rank from 17 March 1862.

USA: Isaac Ferdinand Quinby promoted Brigadier-General USV 20 March 1862 to rank from 17 March 1862.

USA: Hiram Gregory Berry promoted Brigadier-General USV 20 March 1862 to rank from 17 March 1862.

USA: Orris Sanford Ferry promoted Brigadier-General USV 20 March 1862 to rank from 17 March 1862.

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

Chairman of the War Board: Ethan Allen Hitchcock

Department of the Mississippi: Henry Wager Halleck

  • District of West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • Army of West Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
  • District of the Mississippi: John Pope
    • Army of the Mississippi: John Pope
  • Army of the Ohio: Don Carlos Buell
  • Department of the Missouri: Henry Wager Halleck
    • District of St Louis: John McAllister Schofield
    • District of Central Missouri: James Totten
    • District of Southeast Missouri: Frederick Steele
    • District of Northeast Missouri: John Montgomery Glover
    • District of Northwest Missouri: Benjamin Franklin Loan
    • District of Southwest Missouri: Samuel Ryan Curtis
      • Army of the Southwest: Samuel Ryan Curtis
  • Department of Kansas: David Hunter

Department of the Gulf: Benjamin Franklin Butler awaited

  • Army of the Gulf: Benjamin Franklin Butler

Mountain Department: William Starke Rosecrans interim John Charles Frémont awaited

  • Cheat Mountain District: Robert Huston Milroy
  • Railroad District: Benjamin Franklin Kelley
  • District of the Kanawha: Jacob Dolson Cox
  • District of the Cumberland: Robert Cumming Schenck
  • District of the Gap: Samuel Powhatan Carter
  • District of the Valley of the Big Sandy River: James Abram Garfield

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 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

  • Army of the Potomac: George Brinton McClellan
    • I Corps Potomac: Irvin McDowell
    • II Corps Potomac: Edwin Vose Sumner
    • III Corps Potomac: Samuel Peter Heintzelman
    • IV Corps Potomac: Erasmus Darwin Keyes
    • V Corps Potomac: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks

Department of the South: Thomas West Sherman temporary David Hunter awaited

  • Western District of the South: Lewis Golding Arnold

Department of Texas: Vacant

Department of Virginia: John Ellis Wool

Military District of Washington: James Samuel Wadsworth

Confederate Organisation

CSA: Brigadier-General Samuel Gibbs French was appointed to command the District of Pamlico, arriving on 18 March 1862, to succeed Brigadier-General Lawrence O’Bryan Branch.

CSA: General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard arrived to command the Army of Mississippi.

CSA: The Missouri State Guard was officially incorporated into Confederate service in the Army of the West.

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

  • Army of Mobile: William L Powell

Department of Middle and Eastern Florida: James Heyward Trapier

Department of East Tennessee: Edmund Kirby Smith

  • Army of East Tennessee: Edmund Kirby Smith

Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder

Department of the Indian Territory: Douglas Hancock Cooper

Department of Norfolk: Benjamin Huger

Department of North Carolina: Richard Caswell Gatlin interim Joseph Reid Anderson awaited

  • District of Cape Fear: Joseph Reid Anderson interim  Samuel Gibbs French awaited
  • District of Pamlico: Lawrence O’Bryan Branch interim  Samuel Gibbs French awaited
  • District of Roanoke Island: Henry Marchmore Shaw

Department of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston

  • District of Aquia: Robert Augustus Toombs
  • Army of Northern Virginia: Joseph Eggleston Johnston
    • Right Wing Northern Virginia: James Longstreet
    • Left Wing Northern Virginia: Gustavus Woodson Smith
    • Centre Wing Northern Virginia: Daniel Harvey Hill
  • Valley District: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
    • Army of the Valley: Thomas Jonathan Jackson

Department of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

  • Army of the Peninsula: John Bankhead Magruder

Department of South Carolina and Georgia: John Clifford Pemberton awaited

  • 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

  • Eastern District of Texas: Paul Octave Hébert
  • Western District of Texas: Henry Eustace McCulloch
  • Sub-District of Houston: John C Bowen
  • Sub-District of Galveston: Ebenezer B Nichols
  • Sub-District of the Rio Grande: Hamilton Prioleau Bee awaited
  • Defences of Pass Cavallo: John W Glenn

Western Department: Albert Sidney Johnston

  • Trans-Mississippi District: Earl Van Dorn
  • District of North Alabama: Daniel Ruggles
  • Army of Mississippi: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
    • First Grand Division (Mississippi): Leonidas Polk
    • Second Grand Division (Mississippi): Braxton Bragg
    • Reserve Corps (Mississippi): George Bibb Crittenden
  • Army of Central Kentucky: Albert Sidney Johnston
  • Army of the West: Earl Van Dorn

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

Asterisk indicates concurrently Brigadier-General USA

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter
Edwin Denison Morgan
Ethan Allen Hitchcock
Ulysses Simpson Grant
Irvin McDowell*

Brigadier-General USA

Brackets indicates concurrently Major-General USV

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
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
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
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
Andrew Johnson
James Gallant Spears
Eugene Asa Carr
Thomas Alfred Davies
Daniel Tyler
William Hemsley Emory
Andrew Jackson Smith
Marsena Rudolph Patrick
Isaac Ferdinand Quinby

Hiram Gregory Berry
Orris Sanford Ferry

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
William Wing Loring
Sterling Price
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
Samuel Jones
John Porter McCown

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
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
Daniel Harvey Hill
Jones Mitchell Withers
Richard Heron Anderson
Robert Augustus Toombs
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
Lloyd Tilghman
Nathan George Evans
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox
Robert Emmett Rodes
Richard Taylor
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
Bushrod Rust Johnson
James Patton Anderson
Howell Cobb
George Wythe Randolph
Joseph Brevard Kershaw
James Ronald Chalmers
Joseph Lewis Hogg
Ambrose Powell Hill
James Johnston Pettigrew
Carter Littlepage Stevenson
Daniel Leadbetter
William Whann Mackall
Charles Sidney Winder
Robert Ransom
John Bell Hood
Daniel Marsh Frost
Winfield Scott Featherston
Thomas James Churchill
William Booth Taliaferro
Albert Rust
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne
Samuel Bell Maxey
Hamilton Prioleau Bee
James Morrison Hawes
George Hume Steuart
William Duncan Smith
James Edwin Slaughter
Charles William Field
John Horace Forney
Paul Jones Semmes
Lucius Marshall Walker
Seth Maxwell Barton
Dabney Herndon Maury
John Bordenave Villepigue
Henry Eustace McCullough
John Stevens Bowen
Benjamin Hardin Helm


%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close