January 1862

In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln continued urging his military commanders to move and made the first cabinet change in his administration. In Richmond, President Jefferson Davis handled infighting among his commanders. Federal officials commandeered railroads for military purposes. The Confederate line in Kentucky was broken, and the Federal Navy began impacting the southern war effort.

Prophesizing Disastrous Failure

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s Confederate army begins moving out of winter quarters at Winchester toward the Potomac River as part of Jackson’s plan to capture Romney.

The Federal Stalemate in the Western Theater

Abraham Lincoln tries to coordinate action in the Western Theater, but his generals are reluctant to comply.

Drawing Us Into Their Quarrel

The government of Great Britain receives the official news that the U.S. would release Confederate envoys James Mason and John Slidell, thus averting an international crisis.

The Bottom Is Out of the Tub

Desperate for action, Abraham Lincoln calls a meeting of the Army of the Potomac’s top brass without General-in-Chief George B. McClellan.

The Middle Creek Engagement

A Federal detachment led by a future U.S. president moves to drive Confederates out of southeastern Kentucky.

The Champagne and Oysters Must Stop

Abraham Lincoln addresses corruption in the War Department by appointing a new secretary determined to wage more aggressive war.

Two Distinct and Different Plans

General-in-Chief George B. McClellan develops a plan of attack and defends his military secrecy to increasingly skeptical politicians and subordinates.

A Day for a Demonstration

Abraham Lincoln’s repeated requests for Federal forces to launch an invasion of eastern Tennessee continue to go unheeded, causing great frustration.

Crossing Hell on the Ice

Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s Confederates seize their objective in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, while Frederick Lander is barred from pursuing Jackson’s men.

The Battle of Mill Springs

Federals and Confederates clash over control of the vital Cumberland Gap on the Confederacy’s fragile defensive line across Kentucky.

Turning Slowly Toward Eastern Tennessee

Don Carlos Buell looks to secure eastern Tennessee for the Federals, but weather and a lack of supplies hamper the mission.

A Cheesebox on a Raft

Federals launch their first-ever ironclad warship, thereby changing the course of naval history.

Beauregard Gets Shipped West

Jefferson Davis arranges to send a troublesome general away from the Confederate seat of government at Richmond.

The President’s General War Order Number 1

Abraham Lincoln designates February 22 as “the day for a general movement of the Land and Naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces.”

A Most Disagreeable and Unfavorable Position

A group of Confederate officers led by William W. Loring petition Richmond to force Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson to remove them from the miserable town of Romney.

They Want a Victim

The Radical-dominated Joint Committee seeks to put the blame of the Ball’s Bluff disaster on the shoulders of Charles P. Stone, for both military and political reasons.

I Will Take Fort Henry

Henry W. Halleck receives intelligence convincing him to allow Ulysses S. Grant and Andrew H. Foote to move against Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.

The Resignation of “Stonewall” Jackson

An order from the Confederate secretary of war prompts Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson to submit his resignation from the Confederate army.

The U.S. Military Railroad

Abraham Lincoln signs a bill into law that nationalizes the railroads and telegraphs for the war effort.

Last Updated: 2/2/2022

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