October 1861

Both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis experienced trouble with stubborn military commanders. A French invasion of Mexico threatened to spark an international incident. The Federals sustained another military disaster, and one of the greatest military careers in American history ended.

Carrying the War to the Enemy’s Country

Jefferson Davis meets with army commanders to discuss military strategy at Centreville in northern Virginia.

Terribly Grand and Terrific

Federal forces attack a Confederate detachment near Cheat Mountain in northwestern Virginia.

The Chicamacomico Races

Confederates scramble to defend the North Carolina coast, including efforts to take back Forts Clark and Hatteras at Hatteras Inlet.

A Gloomy Picture of Affairs in Kentucky

Confederates strengthen their defense line across Kentucky, as William T. Sherman gives his Federal superiors a gloomy report of affairs in the state.

My Plan is New Orleans

John C. Fremont leaves St. Louis to lead his Army of the Southwest against the secessionist Missouri State Guards of Sterling Price.

Kentuckians Resist Federal Occupation

A former U.S. vice president urges his fellow Kentuckians to resist the Federal occupation of their state.

Confederates Target Fort Pickens

Confederates attempt to seize Fort Pickens, a Federal stronghold on Santa Rosa Island near Pensacola, Florida.

Mason and Slidell Escape

Confederate envoys board a steamship in the hopes of eluding the Federal blockade and reaching Europe to gain Confederate recognition.

A Most Destructive Invention

The Confederates unveil a new metal-plated ram to break the Federal blockade at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

We Thirst Not for Your Blood

M. Jeff Thompson leads 3,000 secessionist Missourians in disrupting Federal operations and engaging in several skirmishes in southeastern Missouri.

Keeping Quite Clear of the Conflict

The European powers entertain the possibility of recognizing Confederate independence, while France capitalizes on the war by invading Mexico.

Shaking the Enemy Out of Leesburg

Federal forces converge on an isolated Confederate unit at Leesburg, a Virginia town up the Potomac River from Washington.

The Battle of Ball’s Bluff

Federal forces suffer another horrific defeat when they are driven off a cliff overlooking the Potomac River at Leesburg, Virginia.

Worrying the Administration Into a Battle

The Federal defeat at Ball’s Bluff outrages northerners, sends the Lincolns into mourning, and increases calls for an “all-out war” against the Confederacy.

An Organized System of Pillage

President Lincoln issues orders formally relieving John C. Fremont from command. But getting the orders to Fremont would be another matter.

A Deaf Ear Has Been Turned in the Southwest

John Baylor, commanding Confederates in the New Mexico Territory, expresses concern that Federals are working to drive him from the region.

Burning up a Million Devils

John C. Fremont touts the recapture of Lexington and Springfield as great victories, but they do little to change the tumultuous military situation in Missouri.

The Missouri Secession

Remnants of the popularly elected Missouri legislature gather at Neosho to approve seceding from the Union, even though a Unionist government operated at Jefferson City.

The Port Royal Campaign

A massive Federal army-navy expedition leaves Hampton Roads to capture Port Royal, South Carolina, between Charleston and Savannah.

Exalting Yourself at My Expense

Confederates reorganize the army forces in northern Virginia while Jefferson Davis takes issue with P.G.T. Beauregard.

The Resignation of Winfield Scott

President Lincoln decides the time is right for Winfield Scott to retire as general-in-chief, and his replacement should be George B. McClellan.

Last Updated: 10/31/2021

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