July 1861

Federal forces continued advancing into western Virginia, where a new northern hero emerged. Fighting continued for control of Missouri, and Confederates looked to control the New Mexico Territory. The Federal and Confederate Congresses assembled to raise money for war, and the great battle that everyone had been waiting for finally took place.

Getting Into Fighting Order

Secessionists defeat a Federal detachment in a minor clash as both sides scramble to link with their main forces in southwestern Missouri.

The Special Session of the 37th U.S. Congress

The 37th Congress of the United States assembles in special session as called by President Abraham Lincoln.

Naval Operations Along the Coast and at Sea

The C.S.S. Sumter completes her first raid on U.S. shipping, Federals strengthen their blockade, and a Federal crew takes on Confederate privateers.

Irksome Delays in Northwestern Virginia

Federals are delayed in their advance against Robert S. Garnett’s Confederates at Laurel Hill and Rich Mountain in northwestern Virginia.

Our Whole Line as a False One

Robert Patterson feebly tries to engage Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley, but Johnston has other ideas.

The Battle of Rich Mountain

A detachment of George B. McClellan’s Federal army attacks an isolated portion of Robert S. Garnett’s Confederate army near Beverly in northwestern Virginia.

You Have Annihilated Two Armies

In northwestern Virginia, one Confederate commander surrendered his force, and another became the first general killed in action.

From Sullivan Ballou, 2nd Rhode Island

Letter from Major Sullivan Ballou, 2nd Rhode Island, to his wife.

General Beauregard is Attacked

The largest army ever assembled in North America went into motion at 2 p.m., starting the great campaign that many hoped would end the war.

You Will Not Need Your Beautiful Flag

In western Virginia, a Federal force looks to capture the Great Kanawha Valley while Confederates try to consolidate their forces.

Johnston Steals a March

The Federal army reaches Centreville in northern Virginia, while Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederates slip out of the Shenandoah Valley undetected and head east.

Last Updated: 7/18/2021

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