Talking about war was giving way to preparing for war. The first shots had been fired, and a frenzy of mobilization was sweeping across both North and South. However, many were still unsure what war meant. Some still hoped for a peaceful settlement, or at worst, one decisive battle to settle the dispute. Nothing was clear yet, but the people were massing for action nonetheless.
3 May – Confederate envoys met with the British foreign secretary as both the U.S. and the Confederacy moved to shore up foreign support for their respective causes.
10 May – Federal troops led by Captain Nathaniel Lyon sparked a riot in St. Louis by preëmptively seizing the allegedly secessionist Camp Jackson on the city’s western outskirts.
20 May – The Provisional Confederate Congress approved a measure relocating the national capital from Montgomery, Alabama to Richmond, Virginia.
24 May – Federal forces invaded northern Virginia and captured Alexandria, and a promising young officer became one of the war’s first casualties.
25 May – Pennsylvania militia seized John Merryman at his Maryland home for suspected secessionist activity. This provoked a controversial legal dispute between the president and the U.S. chief justice.
30 May – Secretary of War Simon Cameron endorsed Major General Benjamin F. Butler’s refusal to return fugitive slaves to their master. This set an important precedent in the war as both Federals and Confederates maneuvered for control of the Virginia seaboard east of Richmond.
31 May – Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon replaced Brigadier General William S. Harney as commander of the Federal Department of the West. Lyon quickly began working to destroy secessionism in Missouri.
Last Updated: 2/26/2017
Tagged: Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin F. Butler, Civil Liberties, Claiborne F. Jackson, Fugitive Slaves, George B. McClellan, Harpers Ferry, Irvin McDowell, Jefferson Davis, John Merryman, Joseph E. Johnston, Nathaniel Lyon, P.G.T. Beauregard, Robert E. Lee, Roger B. Taney, Secession, Shenandoah Valley, Simon Cameron, St. Louis, Sterling Price, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Virginia Peninsula, William S. Harney