February 1862

The Confederate defensive line through Kentucky had been broken, and Federal forces were preparing to advance on the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers. Federals were also readying offensives on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Southern concerns intensified as Confederate armies had been depleted by soldiers returning home for the winter.

Federals Target Fort Henry

1 February – The Federal invasion of Tennessee began with a joint army-navy operation against Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.

McClellan Unveils the Urbanna Plan

3 February – Federal General-in-Chief George B. McClellan submitted a 22-page report arguing in favor of his plan to move the Army of the Potomac down the Virginia coast by water.

“Stonewall” Jackson Resumes Command

4 February – Virginia Governor John Letcher dispatched Congressman Alexander Boteler to Winchester to persuade Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson to withdraw his resignation from the Confederate army.

Mrs. Lincoln’s White House Ball

5 February – First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln held a grand ball for 500 guests at the White House, despite the continuing war.

The Fall of Fort Henry

6 February – Federals captured a key point on the Tennessee River that opened a path to invade Tennessee.

The Fort Donelson Campaign

7 February – Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant began planning to follow the victory at Fort Henry by capturing a much stronger Confederate fort.

The Fall of Roanoke Island

8 February – The Federal army-navy effort to seize North Carolina’s Outer Banks continued, with the potential reward being a strengthening of the naval blockade and the opening of an invasion route into southern Virginia.

The Ordeal of Charles P. Stone

9 February – Federal troops led by General George Sykes arrested Brigadier General Charles P. Stone in the early morning hours after new “evidence” surfaced confirming Stone’s disloyalty to the Union.

The Battle of Elizabeth City

10 February – Federals confronted the Confederate “mosquito” fleet north of Albemarle Sound on the North Carolina coast, threatening nearby Elizabeth City in the process.

Fort Donelson: Federal Attacks Fail

13 February – Federal forces attacked Fort Donelson, but they found the defenses much stronger than those of Fort Henry.

Fort Donelson: The Confederate Breakout

15 February – The Confederates tried breaking out of the Federal grip around Fort Donelson before deciding on whether to surrender.

The Fall of Fort Donelson

16 February – Federals scored their greatest victory of the war up to this time, generating a new northern military hero.

The Death of Willie Lincoln

20 February – President and Mrs. Lincoln’s 12-year-old son died of what doctors called “bilious,” or typhoid, fever.

The Battle of Valverde

21 February – Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s Confederate Army of New Mexico began its mission to conquer the New Mexico Territory, culminating in a fight at a ford on the Rio Grande.

The Official Inauguration of Jefferson Davis

22 February – Jefferson Davis took the oath of office to become the first official president of the Confederacy.

The Fall of Nashville

24 February – Federal forces invaded Tennessee and seized the first Confederate state capital of the war.

The Legal Tender Act

25 February – President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law establishing the first Federal paper currency in U.S. history–the “U.S. Note.”

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Last Updated: 3/11/2017

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