Union Wartime Organisation: Northeastern and New England Theatre

Union Wartime Organisation

Northeastern and New England Theatre

April 1861-June 1865

Summary

This theatre broadly covers the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.

The Department of the East initially covered the entire region east of the Mississippi, but it was rapidly diminished as new territorial commands were established in its former territory (e.g. Departments of Florida, Washington, Annapolis, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the Ohio, Virginia, Northeastern Virginia, Kentucky, the Shenandoah, the Potomac, Western Virginia and New England – and more in the western theatre). It remained as a nominal command for those areas not involved in or connected to active operations.

In October 1861, the Department of the East was renamed as the Department of New York, reflecting its reduced scope. It was revived as the Department of the East in January 1863. In the meantime, within this reduced theatre, the Department of New England existed briefly from October 1861 to February 1862, primarily as a vehicle for recruiting and organising new military forces for coastal operations.

While little or no active campaigning was directed by the Department of the East, it was important for the maintenance of garrisons, fortifications, recruitment, and Regular Army logistical functions. There were minor incidents on the Canadian border, with commerce raiders off the coast, clandestine and political activities, and draft riots, requiring administrative and diplomatic competence.

On June 27 1865, as part of the post-war reorganisation and demobilisation of the army, the Department of the East was subordinated to the new and extensive Military Division of the Atlantic. At this point, it was joined by the Department of Washington, the Department of Virginia, the Department of North Carolina, the Middle Department, and the Department of South Carolina.

Union High Command on April 12 1861 Northeastern and New England Theatre

  • Department of the East: John Ellis Wool

Department of the East

(From Pre-War organisation, April 12 1861-October 26 1861, discontinued, to Department of New York)

  • John Ellis Wool (April 12 1861-October 26 1861)

April 12 1861: See Pre-War organisation.

April 13 1861: The Department of Florida was established with headquarters at Fort Pickens, comprising the state of Florida transferred from the Department of the East.

April 19 1861: The states of Pennsylvania and Delaware were transferred from the Department of the East to the Department of Washington.

April 27 1861: The Department of Washington was extended to include the District of Columbia, and Maryland as far as Fort Washington and Bladensburg, Maryland, taken from the Department of the East.

May 3 1861: The Department of the Ohio was established, comprising Illinois, Ohio and Indiana, transferred from the Department of the East.

May 8 1861: The parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia north of the Kanawha River, north and west of the Greenbrier River and thence on a line northwest to the southwest boundary of Maryland were transferred from the Department of the East to the Department of the Ohio.

May 9 1861: The Department of the Ohio was extended to include the parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia north of the Kanawha River and west of the Greenbrier River, and on a line drawn from the Greenbrier River to the southwest corner of Maryland, then to the Pennsylvania border and to the northeast corner of McKean county, Pennsylvania, to its existing territory of Illinois, Ohio and Indiana. These territories were detached from the Department of the East and the Department of Pennsylvania.

May 22 1861: The Department of Virginia was established with headquarters at Fortress Monroe, comprising the territory of Virginia within sixty miles of Fort Monroe, detached from the Department of the East. It also assumed authority over any territories of North Carolina and South Carolina to be occupied by Union forces.

May 27 1861: The Department of Northeastern Virginia was established, comprising the part of Virginia east of the Allegheny Mountains and north of the James River, and west of the existing Department of Virginia (within sixty miles of Fort Monroe). Its territory was detached from the Department of the East.

May 28 1861: The Department of Kentucky was established, comprising that territory of the state within 100 miles of the Ohio River, detached from the Department of the East.

July 19 1861: The Department of the Shenandoah was established, comprising the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, taken from the Department of the East. The remainder of Kentucky and the state of Tennessee not already assigned were detached from the Department of the East and assigned to the Department of the Shenandoah.

August 17 1861: Command of the Department of the East became vacant until it was formally discontinued on 26th October 1861.

September 19 1861: The Department of Western Virginia was established, comprising Virginia west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its territory was taken from the Department of the East and the Department of the Ohio.

October 1 1861: The Department of New England was established, comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut detached from the Department of the East.

October 26 1861: The Department of the East was discontinued. The Department of New York was established, with responsibility for the remaining authority of the Department of the East with headquarters at Albany.


Department of New England

Union High Command on October 1 1861 Northeastern and New England Theatre

  • Department of the East: Vacant
  • Department of New England: Benjamin Franklin Butler awaited

(Established, October 1 1861-February 20 1862, discontinued)

  • Benjamin Franklin Butler (October 1 1861-February 20 1862)

October 1 1861: The Department of New England was established, comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, detached from the Department of the East. Headquarters was at Boston, Massachusetts. Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler was appointed to command the Department of New England, arriving on 6th October 1861.

October 6 1861: Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler arrived to command the Department of New England.

February 20 1862: The Department of New England was discontinued, and the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut reverted to local control.


Department of New York

Union High Command on October 26 1862 Northeastern and New England Theatre

  • Department of New York: Edward Denison Morgan

(Established from Department of the East, October 26 1861-January 3 1863, discontinued, to Department of the East)

  • Edward Denison Morgan (October 26 1861-December 31 1862)

October 26 1861: The Department of New York was established, with responsibility for the remaining territory of the discontinued Department of the East, with headquarters at Albany. Major-General Edwin Denison Morgan, Governor of New York, assumed command of the Department of New York.

February 1 1862: The state of New Jersey transferred from the Department of New York to the Department of the Potomac. The state of Pennsylvania was incorporated into the Department of the Potomac.

January 1 1863: Command of the Department of New York became vacant.

January 3 1863: The Department of New York was discontinued, and the state of New York transferred to the Department of the East. The Department of the East was established comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut transferred from local control, and New York taken from the discontinued Department of New York.


Department of the East

Union High Command January 3 1863 Northeastern and New England Theatre

  • Department of the East: John Ellis Wool awaited

(From Department of New York, January 3 1863-June 27 1865, transferred to Military Division of the Atlantic)

  • John Ellis Wool (January 12 1863-July 17 1863
  • John Adams Dix (July 18 1863-April 9 1865)
  • John James Peck temporary April 10 1865-April 18 1865)
  • John Adams Dix (April 19 1865-June 27 1865)

January 3 1863: The Department of New York was discontinued, and the state of New York transferred to the Department of the East. The Department of the East was established comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut transferred from local control and New York taken from the discontinued Department of New York. Major-General John Ellis Wool was appointed to command Department of the East, arriving on 12th January 1863.

January 12 1863: Major-General John Ellis Wool arrived to command the Department of the East.

February 6 1863: The state of New Jersey transferred from the Middle Department to the Department of the East.

July 18 1863: Major-General John Adams Dix assumed command of the Department of the East, succeeding Major-General John Ellis Wool.

September 14 1864: The District of Northern New York was established in the Department of the East, comprising Albany, Sacket’s Harbor, Ogdensburg and Champlain, New York.

April 10 1865: Major-General John James Peck assumed temporary command of the Department of the East, succeeding Major-General John Adams Dix.

April 19 1865: Major-General John Adams Dix assumed command of the Department of the East, succeeding Major-General John James Peck.

June 27 1865: The Military Division of the Atlantic was established. It included the Department of the East, the Department of Virginia, the Department of North Carolina, the Department of South Carolina, and the Middle Department. The Department of the East transferred to the Military Division of the Atlantic. The District of Northern New York was discontinued.

District of Northern New York

Union High Command on September 14 1864 Northeastern and New England Theatre

  • Department of the East: John Adams Dix
    • District of Northern New York: John Cleveland Robinson

(Established, September 14 1864-June 27 1865, discontinued)

  • John Cleveland Robinson (September 14 1864-June 27 1865)

September 14 1864: The District of Northern New York was established in the Department of the East, comprising Albany, Sacket’s Harbor, Ogdensburg and Champlain, New York. Brigadier-General John Cleveland Robinson assumed command of the District of Northern New York.

June 27 1865: The District of Northern New York was discontinued.


Union High Command on June 27 1865

  • Military Division of the Atlantic: George Gordon Meade awaited
    • Department of the East: John Adams Dix

 

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