September 1861

Military buildup continued on both sides, and people were clamoring for more action in the hope that the war would end by winter. Slavery was becoming a political issue in the North; politicians maintained that the war was not being fought to free slaves even though Federal military commanders were confiscating slaves as the Federal armies advanced into southern territory.

Lincoln Responds to Fremont’s Proclamation

2 Sep – President Lincoln addressed the delicate issue of Major General John C. Fremont’s August 30 proclamation imposing martial law in Missouri and liberating slaves belonging to Confederate sympathizers.

The End of Neutral Kentucky

3 Sep – Kentucky’s neutrality, which had been in question for several months, officially ended when Confederate forces entered the state ahead of the Federals.

Operations in Southwestern Virginia

6 Sep – Confederate Brigadier General John B. Floyd sent reinforcements to Brigadier General Henry A. Wise but soon realized that he needed them back to defend against an approaching Federal force under Major General William S. Rosecrans.

The Fremont Controversy: Fremont’s Retort

8 Sep – After six days, Major General John C. Fremont finally responded to President Lincoln’s request to modify clauses in his controversial proclamation.

The Battle of Carnifex Ferry

10 Sep – Federals led by Brigadier General William S. Rosecrans won a minor victory that strengthened their foothold in western Virginia.

The Federal Crackdown on Maryland Secessionism

11 Sep – Secretary of War Simon Cameron issued orders to Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, commanding Federal forces around Baltimore, to use military force to prevent the Maryland legislature from approving an act of secession.

Starving England for Cotton

13 Sep – The Confederacy continued trying to garner support from Great Britain, even if they had to hold the British economy hostage to get it.

Attack on Cheat Mountain

15 Sep – While Brigadier General William S. Rosecrans’s Federals operated against Confederates near Carnifex Ferry, another Confederate force to the north targeted Federals stationed on Cheat Mountain.

The Fall of Ship Island

16 Sep – Federal forces seized an important base for future operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Fall of Lexington

20 Sep – The pro-secessionist Missouri State Guards captured a Federal force and a strategically important town in northwestern Missouri.

The Fremont Controversy Continues

22 Sep – As Major General John C. Fremont continued garnering ill favor with fellow officers and politicians, President Abraham Lincoln wrote to a colleague explaining why he could not support Fremont’s controversial emancipation proclamation.

The Confused Missouri Situation

23 Sep – Despite the recent loss of Lexington and the scattering of his forces, Major General John C. Fremont notified his superiors that his troops were somehow “gathering around the enemy” in Missouri.

Turmoil in Kentucky

24 Sep – Federal Brigadier-General Robert Anderson, hero of Fort Sumter, tried calming tensions in Kentucky, but the state was quickly being torn apart by both sides.

Dubious Victory at Munson’s Hill

28 Sep – Federals advanced on Munson’s Hill, a few miles southwest of Washington, and discovered that it was not as heavily defended as presumed.

Rising Tension Between McClellan and Scott

28 Sep – The growing tension between Major General George B. McClellan and General-in-Chief Winfield Scott resulted in a harsh exchange after a conference on military strategy.

Western Virginia: Floyd and Wise Part Ways

30 Sep – Confederates fell back in southwestern Virginia as the long dispute between Confederate Generals John B. Floyd and Henry A. Wise finally came to a bitter end.

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Last Updated: 4/9/2017

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