March 1862

Warfare was revolutionized with the first naval battle between ironclads in history. George B. McClellan prepared to move his massive Federal army into Virginia. A major battle took place in Arkansas, and Federals held firm in New Mexico Territory. Federals threatened the Atlantic Coast at North Carolina, while Confederates began a counteroffensive in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Confederates Drive in New Mexico

Federal troops abandon Albuquerque in the face of Henry H. Sibley’s advancing Confederate Army of New Mexico.

The Way to Glory and Immortal Renown

Earl Van Dorn leads a unified Confederate army northward to confront Samuel R. Curtis’s outnumbered Federals in northwestern Arkansas.

Grant Removed from Command

Henry W. Halleck receives authorization to remove Ulysses S. Grant from command after Halleck alleged that Grant had neglected his duty.

Abandoning the Centreville-Manassas Line

Joseph E. Johnston issues orders to withdraw his Confederate army from its Manassas Junction-Centreville line southward to the Rappahannock River, almost halfway to the Confederate capital at Richmond.

Introducing Compensated Emancipation

Abraham Lincoln submits a message asking Congress to consider a plan of gradual, compensated slave emancipation.

The Battle of Pea Ridge

Earl Van Dorn’s Confederates attack Samuel R. Curtis’s Federals in northwestern Arkansas, as part of Van Dorn’s mission to reclaim Missouri.

The Battle of Pea Ridge: Day Two

Samuel R. Curtis regroups his Federal Army of the Southwest and prepares to counterattack Earl Van Dorn’s Confederates at Pea Ridge and Elkhorn Tavern.

The Battle of the Ironclads

A naval duel off Hampton Roads, Virginia, marks the first time in history that two ironclad warships do battle.

Their Retreat is Our Defeat

George B. McClellan’s Federals finally enter northern Virginia, but the Confederate retreat from that area jeopardizes McClellan’s overall strategy.

McClellan Removed as General-in-Chief

Abraham Lincoln issues an executive order removing George B. McClellan as general-in-chief of all U.S. armies and creating new military departments that would report directly to the secretary of war.

From David Ash, 37th Illinois

Letter from David Ash, Company B, 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, three days after the Battle of Pea Ridge.

The Fall of New Madrid

Confederate defenders abandon a position on the Mississippi River under artillery bombardment from John Pope’s Army of the Mississippi.

The Fall of New Bern

Federals occupying points on the North Carolina coast advance to the mainland in hopes of capturing one of the state’s largest cities.

A Glorious Sight in Southwestern Tennessee

Federal forces advance southward up the Tennessee River as Henry W. Halleck directs two armies to converge to invade the Deep South.

The Peninsula Campaign Finally Begins

George B. McClellan finally mobilizes the Army of the Potomac to begin its grand offensive to destroy the Confederacy.

The Power is in Your Hands

Ulysses S. Grant is reinstated as Federal commander in western Tennessee after charges that he had been derelict in duty prove unfounded.

Entertainment to the Utmost of Our Aspirations

“Stonewall” Jackson begins a campaign intended to keep Federals busy so they could not move east and join the Federal drive on Richmond.

Birth of the C.S.S. Florida

The steamship Oreto leaves England, destined to become the menacing commerce raider C.S.S. Florida.

The Battle of Kernstown

“Stonewall” Jackson’s 3,500-man Confederate army attacks 9,000 Federals south of Winchester in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. This marks an inauspicious start to what will become a legendary campaign.

Prelude to Battle in Tennessee

Federals advance deep into western Tennessee this month as Confederates gather in northern Mississippi to counterattack.

The Battle of Apache Canyon

Detachments of the Federal and Confederate armies in the New Mexico Territory clash east of Santa Fe.

The Battle of Glorieta

The resumption of fighting around Apache Canyon marks a turning point in the New Mexico theater of war.

Cease This Child’s Play

Jefferson Davis submits a special message to the Confederate Congress urging members to approve military conscription.

The Peninsula Campaign: Confederate Response

As the Federal Army of the Potomac heads for the Virginia Peninsula, Confederates scramble to determine their landing point.

Last Updated: 3/31/2022

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