November 1861

Besides the Battle of Bull Run in July, there had been no major military moves by either side thus far. The Federals had just suffered a military disaster at Ball’s Bluff, and more people in both North and South began growing louder in their calls for action.

McClellan Replaces Scott

1 Nov – Major General George B. McClellan, commanding the Federal Army of the Potomac, was promoted to general-in-chief of all armies after the retirement of Winfield Scott.

Fremont Finally Removed

2 Nov – Major General John C. Fremont finally received the order removing him from command of the Federal Army of the West and replacing him with Major General David Hunter.

Lee Receives a New Assignment

5 Nov – President Jefferson Davis reassigned General Robert E. Lee to command a new Confederate military department responsible for protecting the coastal regions of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

The Confederate National Elections

6 Nov – Elections took place throughout the Confederacy to replace the provisional national government with a permanent one.

The Battle of Belmont

7 Nov – Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant’s Federals narrowly escaped destruction in an engagement in southeastern Missouri.

The Fall of Port Royal

7 Nov – After struggling through a horrific storm on the Atlantic, the Federal naval squadron attacked and captured a vital Confederate port.

The Trent Affair

8 Nov – Captain Charles Wilkes of the U.S.S. San Jacinto halted the neutral British steamship R.M.S. Trent on the open sea and seized two Confederate envoys under dubious circumstances.

The Ivy Mountain Engagement

8 Nov – Brigadier General William “Bull” Nelson’s Federals won a minor victory in eastern Kentucky but failed in their ultimate goal of destroying the enemy.

The Federal Military Shakeup

9 Nov – The U.S. War Department issued General Orders No. 97, authorizing a major military reorganization.

The Davis-Beauregard Feud Continues

10 Nov – The feud between Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General P.G.T. Beauregard, which had begun in October, continued into this month.

The Growing Rift Between Lincoln and McClellan

13 Nov – President Abraham Lincoln called upon new General-in-Chief George B. McClellan, who refused to see him. This symbolized the evolving relationship between Lincoln and McClellan.

Lee Takes Coastal Command

15 Nov – One week after taking command of the Confederate Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida, General Robert E. Lee met with South Carolina Governor Francis W. Pickens to discuss the military situation along the coast.

The Trent Affair: American Reaction

16 Nov – News of the capture of Confederate envoys James Mason and John Slidell spread throughout America and was met with mixed reactions in North and South.

The Kentucky Sovereign Convention

18 Nov – Delegates assembled for the Kentucky “Sovereign Convention” at the pro-Confederate town of Russellville, near the Tennessee border.

Divisions in the Indian Territory

20 Nov – The war threatened to divide the Native American tribes just as it divided North and South, with Unionist Natives fleeing toward Kansas and Confederate allies of the Five Civilized Tribes in pursuit.

Federal Attack on Pensacola Bay

22 Nov – Colonel Harvey Brown, commanding the Federal garrison at Fort Pickens on Florida’s Gulf coast, directed a preëmptive attack on Confederates seeking to take back the fort.

“Stonewall” Jackson’s Winter Offensive

24 Nov – Brigadier General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, commanding the Confederate Shenandoah Valley District, developed a plan to join forces with General William W. Loring’s Army of the Northwest and conduct a winter offensive in the region.

The Trent Affair: British Outrage

27 Nov – News of the U.S. seizure of Confederate envoys James Mason and John Slidell aboard the British steamer Trent officially reached Great Britain, where it was met with immediate outrage.

Unionist Suppression in Eastern Tennessee

30 Nov – Confederate officials hanged two men as part of an effort to stop Unionists from sabotaging the Confederacy by burning bridges in eastern Tennessee.


Last Updated: 4/9/2017


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