September 1861

In Washington, George McClellan continued to organize his growing Army of the Potomac. President Abraham Lincoln handled a delicate political situation with a popular Federal general. Federal authorities arrested northern citizens and suppressed northern newspapers for “unpatriotic” or “anti-Union” views. Military activity increased in Missouri and Kentucky, and the Federals took firm control of western Virginia.

Writing in a Spirit of Caution

Abraham Lincoln addresses the delicate issue of John C. Fremont’s proclamation imposing martial law in Missouri and freeing slaves belonging to disloyal masters.

The End of Neutral Kentucky

Kentucky’s neutrality, which had been in question for several months, officially ends with the Confederate occupation of Columbus.

I Am Now Ready for Paducah

Ulysses S. Grant counters the Confederate invasion of Kentucky by invading the state with a force of his own.

Vacillating and Harassing Orders

Confederate commanders bicker over where their troops should be positioned, hindering their chances to hold western Virginia.

You Are Quite a Female Politician

After six days, John C. Fremont finally responds to Abraham Lincoln’s request to modify clauses in his controversial Missouri proclamation.

The Carnifex Ferry Engagement

William S. Rosecrans’s Federals clash with John B. Floyd’s Confederates as Rosecrans tries to strengthen his foothold in western Virginia.

Resisting an Invasion of Maryland

Nathaniel P. Banks, commanding Federals around Baltimore, receives orders to use military force to prevent the state from seceding.

Insinuations Unfounded and Unbecoming

Joseph E. Johnston sends Jefferson Davis an angry letter protesting his ranking among the full Confederate generals. This causes a permanent rift between the two.

King Cotton and Confederate Diplomacy

The Confederacy continues working to get support from Great Britain, even at the cost of holding the British economy hostage.

The Invaders Must be Expelled

The Unionist Kentucky legislature demands that Confederates leave the state, but Leonidas Polk refuses unless the Federals do the same.

The Cheat Mountain Expedition

While Federals threatens Confederates in the Kanawha Valley, another Confederate force to the north targets Federals on Cheat Mountain.

The Fall of Ship Island

Federal forces seize an important base to be used as a staging area for future operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

A Deadly Drift of Lead

The pro-secessionist Missouri State Guards advance northward and threaten Lexington, a key commercial town on the Missouri River.

The Fall of Lexington

Sterling Price’s Missouri State Guards capture a Federal force and a key commercial town in their effort to expel the Federals from their state.

Repairing the Disaster at Lexington

Despite the recent loss of Lexington and the scattering of his forces, John C. Fremont reports that his troops are somehow “gathering around the enemy” in Missouri.

Turmoil in Kentucky Continues

Confederates form a defense line across Kentucky while Federals open recruitment efforts, thereby ensuring that turmoil in the state will continue.

I Presume War is Declared

The growing tension between George B. McClellan and Winfield Scott results in a harsh exchange after a conference on military strategy.

All the World is Laughing

Federals advance on Munson’s Hill, a few miles southwest of Washington, and make an embarrassing discovery.

Floyd and Wise Finally Part Ways

Confederates fall back in southwestern Virginia as the long dispute between John B. Floyd and Henry A. Wise finally comes to an end.

Last Updated: 10/13/2021

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