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.
1 February – The Federal invasion of Tennessee began with a joint army-navy operation against Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.
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.
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.
5 February – First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln held a grand ball for 500 guests at the White House, despite the continuing war.
6 February – Federals captured a key point on the Tennessee River that opened a path to invade Tennessee.
7 February – Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant began planning to follow the victory at Fort Henry by capturing a much stronger Confederate fort.
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.
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.
10 February – Federals confronted the Confederate “mosquito” fleet north of Albemarle Sound on the North Carolina coast, threatening nearby Elizabeth City in the process.
13 February – Federal forces attacked Fort Donelson, but they found the defenses much stronger than those of Fort Henry.
15 February – The Confederates tried breaking out of the Federal grip around Fort Donelson before deciding on whether to surrender.
16 February – Federals scored their greatest victory of the war up to this time, generating a new northern military hero.
20 February – President and Mrs. Lincoln’s 12-year-old son died of what doctors called “bilious,” or typhoid, fever.
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.
22 February – Jefferson Davis took the oath of office to become the first official president of the Confederacy.
24 February – Federal forces invaded Tennessee and seized the first Confederate state capital of the war.
25 February – President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law establishing the first Federal paper currency in U.S. history–the “U.S. Note.”
Last Updated: 3/11/2017
Tagged: Abraham Lincoln, Army of New Mexico, Army of the Potomac, Charles P. Stone, Economy, Fort Donelson, Fort Henry, George B. McClellan, Henry H. Sibley, Jefferson Davis, Mary Lincoln, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Willie Lincoln