The American Civil War 150th Anniversary – January 8-14, 1862

Here are some of the events of the Civil War that were happening 150 years ago today. Sources are numbered according to the list at the bottom of this post.

Also see the articles, “What Happened In the Civil War January 1862” and a lode of information about USA and CSA naval ships, battles and blockade runners. There is also much day-by-day information in journals from people on both sides of the war at Daily Observations From The Civil War and some news stories of the day at Civil War Daily Gazette.

January 8

CSA soldier with Bowie knife

CSA soldier with Bowie knife (Source: Library of Congress). Now add rebel yell:

Military: “We renewed our march this morning, and, like yesterday, made slow progress. We were in rear of the infantry, and it moved very slowly all day. We passed through a very broken, hilly country and marched about eight miles. Camped on Sleepy Creek.” (from “Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery – George Michael Neese, quoted at Daily Observations from the Civil War.)

In Washington, the White House checks out General Halleck’s The Science of War from the Library of Congress. (6) Horatio Nelson Taft notes that General McClellan’s “health is nearly restored” and he is out riding around.

General Grant, in Cairo, Illinois, responds to General Halleck’s order to make “a demonstration on Mayfield, & in the direction of Murray [Kentucky]”: “This movement will be carried out tomorrow.” However, Grant is rarin’ for a fight. (Scroll down.)

Romney-Bath Campaign: In “Camp Mud” at Unger’s Store, Virginia, after a very difficult march in winter conditions, General Jackson has been mulling overnight the news that Union troops under General Benjamin Kelley have broken through Confederate lines at Hanging Rock and seized 2 artillery pieces. Worried that his headquarters may be attacked next and his supply lines broken, Jackson resolves to attack Kelley in Romney. Before he can move, though, the horses must be roughshod, a technique to give the animal traction on slippery surfaces in which the shoe nails are left sticking out or else rough shoes are used. See also “Signs now mark Stonewall’s campaign here in preparation for Civil War 150th anniversary.

Battles: Roan’s Tan Yard/Silver Creek, Missouri. Union victory, Major W.M.G. Torrence, USA/Colonel J. A. Poindexter, CSA.

Politics: A CSA Cabinet meeting discusses the propriety of establishing contact with a Spaniard for a line of steamers to run the Union blockade of CSA ports via Matamoros, Mexico. (5)

January 9

Military: In response to General McClellan’s order to attack Roanoke Island, General Burnside‘s expeditionary force meets at Fort Monroe and sets off for the North Carolina coast on the 11th. (7) (See also this source.).

President Lincoln, apparently like Grant rarin’ to go, tells General McClellan, “I think you better go before the Congressional Committee the earliest moment your health will permit—to-day, if possible” and “I send the within copy of dispatch from Gen. Buell, with the remark that neither he nor Halleck meets my request to name the day when they can be ready to move.”

January 10:

Military: Romney Campaign: General Kelly (USA) and his men withdraw from Romney. (8)

Battles: Middle Creek, Kentucky. Union victory (indecisive), Col. James Garfield, USA/General Humphrey Marshall, CSA.

January 11

USS Essex ironclad gunboat

The USS Essex ironclad gunboat. (Source: Library of Congress)

Battles: Lucas Bend. The ironclads USS Essex and St. Louis, under Admiral Andrew Hull Foote and Commodore David D. Porter, meet three Confederate timber warships, under Commodore Rodger and Flag Officer G. N. Hollins, towing the gun platform New Orleans, on the Mississippi River at Lucas Bend, Kentucky. Results are inconclusive, with the US commander wounded and the CSA ships withdrawing to the protection of a nearby Confederate battery at Columbus, but it is one of the first engagements with the new ironclads and one of the last ones to see the involvement of wooden warships in a major role.

Military: The Burnside expedition sets off for Cape Hatteras from Fort Monroe and quickly encounters heavy seas and fog.(7)

January 13

General Burnside reading a newspaper with Matthew Brady, 1864

General Burnside reading a newspaper with Matthew Brady, 1864. (Source: Library of Congress)

Military: The Burnside expedition reaches Hatteras Inlet, where USA General Butler and Commodore Stringham send out a tugboat to bring the fleet across the bar into harbor. Two officers and two ships are lost during the process. Some of the heavier ships are unable to cross the bar and must anchor at sea. (7)

President Lincoln replaces US Secretary of War Cameron with E. M. Stanton. The president also convenes a council of generals and cabinet members to discuss military plans, but General McClellan does not go into details of his plan, fearing leaks and a “cabal” of personal enemies in the council. (6)

Using the North’s decision to attack Bull Run/Manassas rather than Winchester (now General Jackson’s headquarters) in the summer of 1861 as an example, Lincoln gives General Buell and General Halleck his assessment of the war: “I state my general idea of this war to be, that we have the greater numbers and the enemy has the greater facility of concentrating forces upon points of collision; that we must fail unless we can find some way of making our advantage an overmatch for his; and that this can only be done by menacing him with superior forces at different points at the same time, so that we can safely attack one or both if he makes no change; and if he weakens one to strengthen the other, forbear to attack the strengthened one, but seize and hold the weakened one, gaining so much.”

Unidentified young union sailor during Civil War

Unidentified young union sailor during Civil War (Source: Library of Congress)

January 14

Military: The start of 12 days of “terrific weather” for the Burnside expedition at Cape Hatteras, requiring “utmost care on the part of the commanders of the vessels to prevent a general disaster.” (7)

Romney Campaign: General Jackson (CSA) and his men enter Romney. (8)


(1) timeline

(2)  Library of Congress timeline

(3)  Smithsonian Civil War Timeline

(4)  “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson

(5) University of North Carolina “Civil War Day by Day”

(6) The Lincoln Log timeline.

(7) The Burnside Expedition, by General Burnside.

(8) Blue and Gray Timeline.

Categories: American Civil War

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