August 1861

In Washington, Congress hurriedly passed several bills to finance the war effort. George McClellan continued organizing the newly formed Army of the Potomac. The Federals captured a key southern port, while Confederates won a major battle in Missouri. A famed Federal general created a political controversy for the Lincoln administration.

The Confederate Territory of Arizona

John R. Baylor establishes a new territorial government for the Confederacy, and Henry H. Sibley prepares to launch his own Confederate campaign into the Southwest.

General Scott is the Great Obstacle

George B. McClellan develops a Federal war strategy while complaining that Winfield Scott is standing in his way.

Washington Could Have Been Taken

Jefferson Davis responds to allegations that he hindered the Confederate army’s ability to march on Washington after Bull Run.

War is a Question of Money

The U.S. Congress approves legislation to pay for the war, including the first-ever personal income tax.

The Confiscation Act

Abraham Lincoln reluctantly signs a bill into law allowing Federal commanders to seize slaves from people supporting the Confederacy.

Dimming Confederate Hopes in the Kanawha District

Feuding between Henry A. Wise and John B. Floyd greatly diminish Confederate chances of reclaiming the Kanawha Valley in western Virginia.

Fugitive Slave Policy Defined

Simon Cameron clarifies the Lincoln administration’s policy regarding fugitive slaves escaping into Federal military lines.

I Will Gladly Give My Life for a Victory

Opposing forces inadvertently advance upon each other in southwestern Missouri, setting the stage for a battle.

The Battle of Wilson’s Creek

Federals not only suffer a second major defeat within a month, but they lose an army commander as well.

Missouri Must Now Take Her Position

Demoralized Federal troops begin a long retreat out of southwestern Missouri after their defeat at Wilson’s Creek.

I Am Here in a Terrible Place

George B. McClellan continues organizing his new Army of the Potomac and continues feuding with Winfield Scott.

Almost Open Opposition in Western Virginia

John B. Floyd ordered Henry A. Wise to join forces with him in western Virginia, but Wise is reluctant to comply.

Subject to Indictment and Condign Punishment

Both the Federal government and the people in the North step up scrutiny of anti-war sentiment, and constitutional guarantees are threatened.

Threatening Kentucky’s Neutrality

The recruitment of Federal troops in Kentucky threatens the state’s delicate neutrality.

The New State of Kanawha

Representatives of Virginia’s northwestern counties approve seceding from the state and forming the new state of Kanawha.

Advancing in Battle Array

John B. Floyd advances unopposed in western Virginia and clashes with a Federal regiment separated from the main force.

The Fall of Hatteras Inlet

The first Federal joint army-navy expedition of the war sets out to close one of North Carolina’s busiest ports.

The Controversial Fremont Proclamation

John C. Fremont issues controversial orders imposing martial law throughout Missouri and authorizing the forced emancipation of slaves.

Last Updated: 8/30/2021

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