The Lincoln administration had approved plans for a Federal invasion of northern Virginia as troops continued pouring into Washington. The Federal naval blockade was slowly gaining strength, but southern blockade runners were still delivering supplies with little interference. War hysteria continued spreading as people awaited the one big battle they believed would decide the war.
4 July – The 37th Congress of the United States assembled in special session as requested by President Abraham Lincoln’s militia proclamation of April 15.
5 July – Secessionists defeated a Federal detachment in a minor clash as both sides scrambled to link with larger forces in southwestern Missouri.
6 July – C.S.S. Sumter completed her first major raid on Federal shipping, Federals strengthened their blockade and their strategy, and a Federal crew fought back against Confederate privateers off the Atlantic Coast.
7 July – Heavy skirmishing erupted at the foot of Laurel Hill as Major General George B. McClellan’s Federals prepared to attack Confederate defenders led by Brigadier General Robert S. Garnett.
8 July – Henry Hopkins Sibley received a promotion to Confederate brigadier general and “entrusted” to command the Department of New Mexico due to his “recent service in New Mexico and knowledge of that country and the people.”
9 July – The standoff between Federal Major General Robert Patterson and Confederate Major General Joseph E. Johnston continued in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, as each commander waited to see what the other would do next.
11 July – A detachment of Major General George B. McClellan’s Federal force attacked an isolated portion of Brigadier General Robert S. Garnett’s Confederates near the town of Beverly in western Virginia.
13 July – One Confederate commander surrendered his command, and another became the first general killed in action in the war.
14 July – Letter from Major Sullivan Ballou, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, to his wife in Smithfield.
16 July – The largest army ever assembled in North America went into motion at 2 p.m., targeting the Confederate army at Manassas.
17 July – A Federal force sought to clear Confederates out of the Great Kanawha Valley, while Confederates tried consolidating and coordinating their armies in western Virginia.
18 July – The Federal Army of Northeastern Virginia arrived at Centreville, unaware that troops of the Confederate Army of the Shenandoah were en route by rail to reinforce their outnumbered comrades at Manassas.
21 July – The first major battle of the war took place in northern Virginia.
22 July – News of yesterday’s Confederate victory spread throughout North and South. Southerners celebrated while northerners resolved to continue the fight.
22 July – Letter from Major Eugene Blackford, 5th Alabama Volunteer Infantry.
23 July – Letter from Sergeant Major Philip Powers, 1st Virginia Cavalry.
24 July – The House of Representatives began considering a new form of direct taxation. In addition, Congress retroactively endorsed President Lincoln’s executive orders and approved recruiting one million three-year volunteers. Meanwhile, the War Department reluctantly accepted some 30,000 two-year volunteers from various states.
25 July – Congress approved a resolution defining the Federal government’s goals in the war.
25 July – Letter from Lieutenant Colonel Robert McAllister, 1st New Jersey Volunteer Infantry.
26 July – Major General George B. McClellan arrived in Washington to take command of all Federal troops around the capital. This was the most significant of several command changes made by the Lincoln administration this month.
27 July – Federal troops retreating from Fort Fillmore surrendered to their pursuers, giving the Confederacy control of the southern New Mexico Territory.
30 July – Major General Benjamin F. Butler, commanding the Federal garrison at Fort Monroe, Virginia, wrote to Secretary of War Simon Cameron requesting clarification on the Lincoln administration’s policy on slaves escaping from their masters and seeking protection within Federal military lines.
Last Updated: 3/11/2017
Tagged: Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Benjamin F. Butler, Bull Run, Franz Sigel, George B. McClellan, Henry A. Wise, Horace Greeley, Jacob D. Cox, Jefferson Davis, John C. Fremont, John J. Crittenden, John R. Baylor, Joseph E. Johnston, Manassas, Nathaniel Lyon, Nathaniel P. Banks, P.G.T. Beauregard, Provisional Confederate Congress, Robert E. Lee, Robert Patterson, Simon Cameron, Sterling Price, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Thomas A. Morris, U.S. Congress, Western Virginia