June 1861

In both North and South, troops were gathering, arming, training, and parading as politicians delivered emotional speeches and military leaders prepared for battle. Northerners were eager to restore the Union and southerners were eager to defend their new independence. States quickly and haphazardly organized militias into regiments that were sent to join the national forces gathering in Washington and Richmond.

The Battle of Philippi

3 June – Federals won a minor victory that cleared Confederates out of the Kanawha Valley of western Virginia and secured the railroad line between Washington and the West.

The Federal Grip on Missouri Tightens

4 June – General Sterling Price, representing the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard, issued a proclamation in response to a rumor that the new Federal commander in the state sought to disarm Missourians.

The U.S. Sanitary Commission

7 June – Secretary of War Simon Cameron reluctantly approved merging northern states’ aid societies into what became the U.S. Sanitary Commission.

The Tennessee Secession

8 June – Tennessee voters approved the legislature’s measure (endorsed by Governor Isham G. Harris) to secede from the U.S. and join the Confederacy.

The Battle of Big Bethel

10 June – The Confederacy won the war’s first land battle in Virginia, stopping a Federal drive up the Peninsula between the York and James rivers.

Colonel Charles P. Stone’s Maryland Expedition

15 June – Federals led by Colonel Charles P. Stone seized Edwards’s and Conrad’s ferries on the Potomac River, which were the main approaches from Maryland to the strategic town of Leesburg, Virginia.

The Western Virginia Secession

17 June – Delegates to a Unionist meeting at Wheeling in western Virginia unanimously approved declaring their independence from the Confederacy.

Neutral Kentucky Leans Toward Union

20 June – Pro-Confederate Kentuckians boycotted an election that resulted in several pro-Union candidates winning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Testing New Federal Technology

24 June – Professor Thaddeus S.C. Lowe ascended in a balloon to demonstrate the usefulness of aerial military reconnaissance, and J.D. Mills demonstrated the “Union Repeating Gun,” forerunner to the modern machine gun.

Keeping Maryland in the Union

27 June – Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, commanding Federal occupation forces in Baltimore, ordered the arrest of Police Marshal George P. Kane for suspected secessionist activity as part of the ongoing effort to keep Maryland in the Union.

The Bull Run Campaign Begins

29 June – President Abraham Lincoln held a special cabinet meeting in which Major General Irvin McDowell explained his plan to invade northern Virginia, crush the Confederate army, and capture Richmond.

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Last Updated: 3/11/2017

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