Confederate Wartime Organisation: Gulf Coast Theatre

Confederate Wartime Organisation

April 1861-June 1865

Gulf Coast Theatre, 1861-1862

Summary

This theatre broadly covers the western part of Florida, the eastern part of Louisiana, and the southern parts of Alabama and Mississippi, and adjacent operational regions. From June 1862, it was effectively subordinated to the operations of the Western Theatre so from that date onward it is described in Part 2e: Western Theatre.

The very first large-scale military organisation of the Confederacy was the Department of Louisiana, created before the outbreak of war to defend New Orleans, the most populous city of the South and the gateway to the Mississippi. The Confederates understood that the Mississippi River was a vital strategic artery and access to it needed to be defended as an urgent priority. Furthermore, the Confederacy’s economic and strategic dependence on cotton exports required every available port to be held open and their fortifications to be acquired by State or national troops. The unofficial Department was re-designated briefly as the District of Louisiana after war broke out, but the first significant Confederate formation was Department No 1, established on May 27 1861, comprising the state of Louisiana except along the Mississippi River north of the 31st parallel; and also, southern Mississippi and southern Alabama including Mobile. The remainder of Mississippi, northwestern Louisiana, and Alabama came under the counterpart Department No 2 better known as the Western Department.

Department No 1 was responsible primarily for the defence of the Mississippi so the District of Alabama was established on September 12 1861, comprising the southern parts of Alabama east of the Pascagoula River. After just over a month it was found more convenient to transfer the Alabama segment entirely to the new Department of Alabama and West Florida. After the fall of New Orleans, the Department served little obvious purpose and on June 25 1862 it was discontinued, and the parts of Louisiana west of the Mississippi were transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department.

The Department of West Florida was also formed before the war to oppose the US garrison at Fort Pickens, at Pensacola, Florida. On October 7 1861, it was extended by the addition of parts of Alabama from Department No 1 and was renamed the Department of Alabama and West Florida. The subordinate District of Alabama was short-lived. The Confederates gathered and recruited a comparatively large force along the Gulf Coast, but the impossibility or undesirability of capturing Fort Pickens or Pensacola was soon apparent. The majority of the field forces were transferred to the operations in Tennessee and north Mississippi in early 1862. By the end of June 1862, the remaining commands were transferred to the supervision of the Western Department and remained subordinated to the strategic demands of that wider theatre.

Confederate High Command on April 11 1861 Gulf Coast Theatre

  • Department of Louisiana: David Emanuel Twiggs
    • “Forces in New Orleans” “Army of Louisiana”: Braxton Bragg
  • Department of West Florida: Braxton Bragg
    • “Forces in Pensacola”: Braxton Bragg

Department of Louisiana

Confederate High Command on February 22 1861 Gulf Coast Theatre

  • “Department of Louisiana” established: Braxton Bragg assumed
    • “Forces in New Orleans” “Army of Louisiana” established: Braxton Bragg assumed

Established, February 22 1861-April 17 1861, discontinued, to District of Louisiana

  • Braxton Bragg (February 22 1861-March 22 1861)
  • David Emanuel Twiggs (March 22 1861-April 16 1861)
  • Paul Octave Hébert (April 16 1861-April 17 1861)

February 22 1861: The unofficial “Department of Louisiana” was established. Louisiana State Brigadier-General Braxton Bragg assumed command of the “Department of Louisiana”. The Forces in New Orleans (“Army of Louisiana”) was established in the “Department of Louisiana”.

March 22 1861: Major-General David Emanuel Twiggs assumed command of the “Department of Louisiana”.

April 16 1861: Colonel Paul Octave Hébert assumed command of the “Department of Louisiana”, succeeding Major-General David Emanuel Twiggs.

April 17 1861: The “Department of Louisiana” was discontinued, and its territory transferred to the District of Louisiana.

Forces in New Orleans (“Army of Louisiana”)

Established, February 22 1861-April 17 1861, transferred to District of Louisiana

  1. Braxton Bragg (February 22 1861-April 17 1861)

February 22 1861: The Forces in New Orleans (“Army of Louisiana”) was established in the “Department of Louisiana”. Louisiana State Brigadier-General Braxton Bragg assumed command of Confederate Forces in New Orleans (Army of Louisiana).

April 17 1861: The Forces in New Orleans transferred from the “Department of Louisiana” to the District of Louisiana.


Department of West Florida

Confederate High Command on March 7 1861 Gulf Coast Theatre

  • “Department of Louisiana”: Braxton Bragg
    • “Forces in New Orleans” “Army of Louisiana”: Braxton Bragg
  • Department of West Florida established: Braxton Bragg awaited
    • “Forces in Pensacola” established: Braxton Bragg awaited

Established, March 7 1861-October 7 1861, discontinued, to Department of Alabama and West Florida

  • Braxton Bragg (March 7 1861-October 7 1861)

March 7 1861: The Department of West Florida was established. Brigadier-General Braxton Bragg appointed to command of the Department of West Florida, arriving on 11th March 1861. Forces in Pensacola was established in the Department of West Florida.

March 11 1861: Brigadier-General Braxton Bragg arrived to command of Department of West Florida.

October 7 1861: The Department of West Florida was discontinued, and incorporated in the Department of Alabama and West Florida. The Forces in Pensacola was discontinued, and its field forces incorporated into the Department of Alabama and West Florida.

Forces in Pensacola

Established, March 7 1861-October 7 1861, discontinued, to Army of Pensacola.

  • Braxton Bragg (March 7 1861-October 7 1861)

March 7 1861: Forces in Pensacola was established, comprising the forces in and near Pensacola. Brigadier-General Braxton Bragg appointed to command of the Forces in Pensacola, arriving on 11th March 1861.

March 11 1861: Brigadier-General Braxton Bragg arrived to command of Forces in Pensacola.

October 7 1861: The Forces in Pensacola was discontinued.

District of Louisiana

Established, from “Department of Louisiana”, April 17 18161-May 27 1861, to Department No 1)

  • David Emanuel Twiggs (April 17 1861-May 27 1861)

April 17 1861: The District of Louisiana was established from the territory of the former “Department of Louisiana”. Major-General David Emanuel Twiggs assumed command of the District of Louisiana. Forces in New Orleans transferred from the “Department of Louisiana” to the District of Louisiana.

May 27 1861: The District of Louisiana was discontinued, and incorporated into Department No 1. The Forces in New Orleans transferred to Department No 1.

Forces in New Orleans

Transferred from “Department of Louisiana”, April 17 1861-May 27 1861, transferred to Department No 1)

  • Braxton Bragg (April 17 1861-May 27 1861)

April 17 1861: The Forces in New Orleans transferred from the “Department of Louisiana” to the District of Louisiana. Brigadier-General Braxton Bragg retained command of the Forces in New Orleans.

May 267 1861: The Forces in New Orleans transferred from the District of Louisiana to Department No 1.


Department No 1

Confederate High Command on May 27 1861 Gulf Coast Theatre

  • Department No 1: David Emanuel Twiggs awaited
    • “Forces in New Orleans” “Army of Louisiana”: Braxton Bragg
  • Department of West Florida: Braxton Bragg
    • “Forces in Pensacola”: Braxton Bragg

Established, from District of Louisiana, May 27 1861-June 25 1862, discontinued, to Western Department

  • David Emanuel Twiggs (May 27 1861-October 7 1861 interim October 18 1861
  • Mansfield Lovell (October 7 1861-June 20 1862)
  • Earl Van Dorn (June 20 1862-June 25 1862)

May 27 1861: Department No 1 was established, comprising the state of Louisiana except along the Mississippi River north of the 31st parallel; and also, southern Mississippi and southern Alabama including Mobile. Headquarters were at New Orleans, Louisiana. Major-General David Emanuel Twiggs appointed to command of Department No 1, arriving on 31st May 1861.

May 31 1861: Major-General David Emanuel Twiggs arrived to command Department No 1.

August 14 1861: Forces in New Orleans was discontinued.

September 12 1861: The District of Alabama was established in Department No 1.

October 7 1861: Major-General Mansfield Lovell appointed to command Department No 1, arriving on 18th October 1861, to succeed Major-General David Emanuel Twiggs.

October 14 1861: The District of Alabama transferred from Department No 1 to the Department of Alabama and West Florida.

October 18 1861: Major-General Mansfield Lovell arrived to command Department No 1, succeeding Major-General David Emanuel Twiggs.

May 28 1862: Western Louisiana transferred from Department No 1 to the District of Eastern Texas and Western Louisiana in the Trans-Mississippi Department.

June 20 1862: Major-General Earl Van Dorn assumed command of Department No 1, succeeding Major-General Mansfield Lovell.

June 25 1862: Department No 1 was discontinued, and its territory incorporated into the Western Department.

Forces in New Orleans (“Army of Louisiana”)

Transferred from District of Louisiana, May 27 1861-August 14 1861, discontinued

  • Braxton Bragg (May 27 1861-August 14 1861)

May 27 1861: The Forces in New Orleans (“Army of Louisiana”) transferred from the District of Louisiana to Department No 1. Brigadier-General Braxton Bragg retained command of the Forces in New Orleans (“Army of Louisiana”).

August 14 1861: Forces in New Orleans (“Army of Louisiana”) was discontinued.

District of Alabama

Established, September 12 1861-October 14 1861, transferred to Department of Alabama and West Florida

  • Jones Mitchell Withers (September 12 1861-October 14 1861)

September 12 1861: The District of Alabama was established in Department No 1, comprising the southern parts of Alabama east of the Pascagoula River. Brigadier-General Jones Mitchell Withers assumed command of the District of Alabama.

October 14 1861: The District of Alabama transferred from Department No 1 to the Department of Alabama and West Florida.


Department of Alabama and West Florida

Confederate High Command on October  7 1861 Gulf Coast Theatre

  • Department No 1: David Emanuel Twiggs interim Mansfield Lovell awaited
    • District of Alabama: Jones Mitchell Withers
  • Department of Alabama and West Florida: Braxton Bragg

Established, from Department of West Florida, October 7 1861-June 29 1862, discontinued, to Gulf District

  • Braxton Bragg (October 7 1861-April 2 1862)
  • Samuel Jones (April 2 1862-April 28 1862)
  • John Horace Forney (temporary April 28 1862-June 29 1862)

October 7 1861: The Department of Alabama and West Florida was established and formally recognised on 14th October 1861, comprising the territory of the former Forces in Pensacola, and extended to include the Gulf coast of Alabama and the panhandle territory of Florida. Major-General Braxton Bragg appointed to command the Department of Alabama and West Florida, arriving on 14th October 1861.

October 14 1861: Major-General Braxton Bragg arrived to command the Department of Alabama and West Florida. The District of Alabama transferred from Department No 1 to the Department of Alabama and West Florida. The Army of Pensacola was established in the Department of Alabama and West Florida.

December 12 1861: The Department of Alabama and West Florida was extended to include Pascagoula Bay and Mississippi east of the Pascagoula River.

January 27 1862: The District of Alabama was discontinued. The Army of Mobile was established in the Department of Alabama and Western Florida, comprising the field forces of the former District of Alabama.

March 12 1862: The Army of Pensacola was discontinued, and its forces transferred to the Army of Mississippi and the Army of Mobile.

April 2 1862: Major-General Samuel Jones assumed command of the Department of Alabama and West Florida, succeeding Major-General Braxton Bragg.

April 28 1862: Brigadier-General John Horace Forney assumed temporary command of the Department of Alabama and West Florida, succeeding Major-General Samuel Jones.

June 29 1862: The Department of Alabama and West Florida was discontinued, and incorporated into the Western Department.

District of Alabama

Transferred from Department No 1, October 14 1861-January 27 1862

  • Jones Mitchell Withers (October 14 1861-January 27 1862)

October 14 1861: The District of Alabama transferred from Department No 1 to the Department of Alabama and West Florida. Brigadier-General Jones Mitchell Withers retained command of the District of Alabama.

December 20 1861: The District of Alabama was extended to include Pascagoula Bay.

January 27 1862: The District of Alabama was discontinued, and its field forces designated as the Army of Mobile.

Army of Pensacola

Established, from Forces in Pensacola, October 22 1861-March 12 1862, discontinued to Army of Mississippi and Army of Mobile)

  • Braxton Bragg (October 22 1861-January 27 1862)
  • Samuel Jones (January 27 1862-March 8 1862)
  • Thomas Marshall Jones (temporary March 8 1862-March 12 1862)

October 22 1861: The Army of Pensacola was established in the Department of Alabama and West Florida, comprising the former Forces in Pensacola, Florida. Major-General Braxton Bragg appointed to command the Army of Pensacola, arriving on 29th October 1861.

October 29 1861: Major-General Braxton Bragg arrived to command the Army of Pensacola.

January 27 1862: Brigadier-General Samuel Jones assumed command of the Army of Pensacola, succeeding Major-General Braxton Bragg.

March 8 1862: Colonel Thomas Marshall Jones assumed temporary command of the Army of Pensacola, succeeding Brigadier-General Samuel Jones.

March 12 1862: The Army of Pensacola was discontinued, and its forces transferred to the Army of Mississippi and the Army of Mobile.

Army of Mobile

Established, from District of Alabama, January 27 1862-June 27 1862, discontinued, to II Corps Mississippi

  • Jones Mitchell Withers (January 27 1862-February 5 1862)
  • John Bordenave Villepigue (February 5 1862-March 11 1862)
  • William L Powell (temporary March 11 1862-June 27 1862)

January 27 1862: The Army of Mobile was established in the Department of Alabama and Western Florida, comprising field forces of former District of Alabama. Brigadier-General Jones Mitchell Withers assumed command of the Army of Mobile.

February 5 1862: Colonel John Bordenave Villepigue assumed temporary command of the Army of Mobile, succeeding Brigadier-General Jones Mitchell Withers.

March 11 1862: Colonel William L Powell assumed temporary command of the Army of Mobile, succeeding Colonel John Bordenave Villepigue.

June 27 1862: The Army of Mobile was discontinued, and its field forces incorporated into II Corps (Mississippi).


 

 

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