February 1862

The Confederacy suffered several devastating military setbacks in Tennessee and on the Atlantic Coast, while a new hero emerged in the North. In Washington, Congress passed part of the Republican Party agenda and held military officers accountable for defeats. The Lincolns suffered a personal tragedy, and the president continued trying to compel his commanders to advance.

The Fort Henry Campaign

The Federal invasion of Tennessee begins with a joint army-navy operation against Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.

McClellan Unveils the Urbanna Plan

George B. McClellan submits a 22-page report arguing in favor of his plan to move the Federal Army of the Potomac down the Virginia coast by water.

“Stonewall” Jackson Resumes Command

Confederate officials talk Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson out of resigning from his command in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Feasting and Dancing

First Lady Mary Lincoln hosts a lavish ball at the White House, prompting some to criticize her for being insensitive to those suffering hardships due to war.

The Fall of Fort Henry

Federals capture a key point on the Tennessee River that opens a path into Tennessee.

The Fort Donelson Campaign Begins

Ulysses S. Grant plans to follow up the victory at Fort Henry by capturing a much stronger Confederate fort in Tennessee.

The Fall of Roanoke Island

The Federal army-navy effort to seize North Carolina’s Outer Banks continues, with the potential reward being a strengthening of the naval blockade and the opening of an invasion route into southern Virginia.

The Ordeal of Charles P. Stone

Federal troops arrest General Charles P. Stone in the early morning hours after new “evidence” surfaces confirming Stone’s disloyalty to the Union.

The Battle of Elizabeth City

Federals confront the Confederate “mosquito” fleet north of Albemarle Sound on the North Carolina coast, threatening nearby Elizabeth City in the process.

Fort Donelson: Attacks on Land and Water

Federal army and navy forces attack Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River, but they find the defenses much stronger than Fort Henry.

Fort Donelson: The Confederate Breakout

The Confederate try breakout out of the Federal grip around Fort Donelson before deciding on whether or not to surrender.

The Fall of Fort Donelson

Federals score their greatest victory of the war up to this time, generating a new national hero in the process.

The Confederate Exit from Missouri

Federal forces push Sterling Price’s Missouri State Guards out of their home state, where they join a new army and prepare to counterattack.

The Death of Willie Lincoln

President and Mrs. Lincoln’s 12-year-old son dies from what doctors call “bilious,” or typhoid, fever.

The Battle of Valverde

Henry H. Sibley’s Confederate Army of New Mexico begins its mission to conquer the New Mexico Territory, culminating in a fight for a ford on the Rio Grande.

The Official Inauguration of Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis takes the oath of office to become the first official president of the Confederate States of America.

The Legal Tender Act

Abraham Lincoln signs a bill into law establishing the first Federal paper currency in U.S. history–the “U.S. Note.”

Everything Seems to Fail

George B. McClellan coordinates a Federal invasion of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, but unexpected complications thwart his plans.

Preparing to Withdraw from Northern Virginia

Joseph E. Johnston concludes that his Confederate army must abandon its positions along the Centreville-Manassas line in northern Virginia.

Last Updated: 2/28/2022

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