Confederate hopes for independence were fading following their worst month of the war to date. Conversely, optimism was rising in the North as Federal armies were threatening northern Virginia at Harpers Ferry; Richmond and Norfolk at Fort Monroe; Savannah and Charleston at Port Royal, South Carolina; New Orleans and Mobile on the Gulf Coast; in northwestern Arkansas; and on the Mississippi, Cumberland, and Tennessee Rivers.
1 Mar – Federal troops abandoned Albuquerque in the face of Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s advancing Confederate Army of New Mexico.
2 Mar – Major General Earl Van Dorn led a unified Confederate army northward to confront Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis’s outnumbered Federals in northwestern Arkansas.
5 Mar – Major General Henry W. Halleck received authorization to remove Major General Ulysses S. Grant from command after Halleck alleged that Grant had neglected his duty.
5 Mar – General Joseph E. Johnston issued orders to withdraw his Confederate Army of the Potomac from its Manassas Junction-Centreville line southward to the Rappahannock River, almost halfway to the Confederate capital at Richmond.
6 Mar – President Abraham Lincoln submitted a message asking Congress to consider a plan of gradual, compensated slave emancipation.
7 Mar – Major General Earl Van Dorn’s Confederates attacked Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis’s Federals in northwestern Arkansas, as part of Van Dorn’s mission to reclaim Missouri.
8 Mar – Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis regrouped his Federal Army of the Southwest and prepared to counterattack Major General Earl Van Dorn’s Confederates at Pea Ridge and Elkhorn Tavern.
8 Mar – President Abraham Lincoln demonstrated his flagging confidence in General-in-Chief George B. McClellan by creating a corps command structure within the Army of the Potomac.
8 Mar – The Confederate ironclad Virginia demolished the Federal naval fleet off Hampton Roads, rendering all wooden warships obsolete and threatening to permanently break the Federal blockade.
9 Mar – A naval duel at Hampton Roads off the Virginia coast marked the first time in history that two ironclad warships did battle.
10 Mar – General-in-Chief George B. McClellan’s Federals finally entered northern Virginia, but the Confederate retreat from that area jeopardized McClellan’s overall strategy.
11 Mar – President Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order removing George B. McClellan as general-in-chief of all Federal armies and creating new military departments that would report directly to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
11 Mar – Letter from David Ash, Company B, 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, three days after the Battle of Pea Ridge.
13 Mar – Confederate defenders abandoned a position on the Mississippi River under artillery bombardment from Major General John Pope’s Army of the Mississippi.
14 Mar – Federals occupying points on the North Carolina coast advanced to the mainland in hopes of capturing one of the state’s largest cities.
17 Mar – Major General George B. McClellan finally mobilized the Army of the Potomac to begin his grand offensive to destroy the Confederacy.
22 Mar – Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson began a campaign intended to keep Federals busy so they could not move east and join the Federal drive on Richmond.
22 Mar – The steamship Oreto left England, destined to become the menacing Confederate commerce raider C.S.S. Florida.
23 Mar – Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s 3,500-man Confederate army attacked 9,000 Federals south of Winchester in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. This marked an inauspicious start to what became a legendary campaign.
25 Mar – Federals advanced deep into western Tennessee this month as Confederates gathered in northern Mississippi to counterattack.
26 Mar – Detachments of the Federal and Confederate armies in the New Mexico Territory clashed east of Santa Fe.
28 Mar – The resumption of fighting around Apache Canyon marked a turning point in the New Mexico theater of the war.
28 Mar – President Jefferson Davis submitted a special message to the Confederate Congress urging members to approve conscription.
31 Mar – As the Federal Army of the Potomac headed for the Virginia Peninsula, Confederates scrambled to determine their landing point. Meanwhile, President Abraham Lincoln and Major General George B. McClellan disagreed on manpower.
Last Updated: 4/9/2017
Tagged: Abraham Lincoln, Albert Sidney Johnston, Army of New Mexico, Army of the Potomac, Army of the Southwest, Army of the West, C.S.S. Virginia, Compensated Emancipation, Earl Van Dorn, Edwin M. Stanton, George B. McClellan, Henry Hopkins Sibley, Henry W. Halleck, Ironclad, Jefferson Davis, John Pope, Peninsula Campaign, Samuel R. Curtis, Shenandoah Valley, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant