Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Today, Union vessels move out toward Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in preparation for a Federal assault on Confederate fortifications. Commodore Silas Stringham and General Benjamin Butler have eight vessels and 900 men at their disposal. Also on this day, King Kamehameha IV (pictured) of the Kingdom of Hawaii announced that his nation would merely remain neutral in the conflict. This was not entirely bad however, as it permitted Confederate-flag ships to dock in the vital Pacific port. Tuesday, August 27, 1861 : The Union lands troops under fire at Cape Hatteras, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Confederate batteries fail to prevent a takeover of the area and the Confederates abandon Fort Clark without a fight, falling back to Fort Hatteras. Control of Hatteras Inlet enables the Union to crush blockade runners. Richmond Whig reports, Jefferson Davis announces the release of Tennessee Congressman Thomas A.R. Nelson in return for “satisfactory pledges to the authorities respecting his future conduct.” Meanwhile New York Times states, General Zollicoffer issues orders to his troops to respect the personal and property rights of all citizens of East Tennessee, regardless of their political opinions. Wednesday, August, 28, 1861 : Union forces severely damage Fort Hatteras, and Confederate forces surrender with light casualties. Union and Confederate forces skirmish at Bailey's Cross Roads, Virginia, just south of Washington. Thursday, August 29, 1861 : Union forces take Fort Hatteras. This had genuine military importance in that it closed a major route for blockade runners, but its propaganda value was even greater. It was the first Federal invasion of Confederate soil in the Carolinas since secession, and caused rejoicing in the North, and corresponding despondency in the South. Many in the South were genuinely baffled as to why Lincoln was forcing a fight on them for doing what they believed to be perfectly legal, leaving the Union. Some in the North believed this as well. Peace conferences were scheduled today, one in Middletown, New Jersery and the other in Newton, Long Island, New York. Neither effort amounted to a hill of beans. Friday, August 30, 1861 : General John Fremont in Missouri declares martial law, allows for the confiscation of property belonging to 'those who shall take up arms against the United States,' and proclaims the emancipation of slaves of pro-Southerners. President Lincoln immediately cancelled all of Fremont’s decrees, calling them “dictatorial." He caught political hell for them anyway. Saturday, August 31, 1861 : Richmond announced today that no less than five men were being named as full generals, the promotions being effective on different dates so that these five would know who was superior to each other. In order they were: Samuel Cooper, Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, and P.G.T. Beauregard. The only full General the North would name wouldn’t get the job for almost another three years: U.S. Grant. Sunday, September1, 1861 : Cape Girardeau, Missouri was a slow pace Mississippi River port, nothing happened there exciting since New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12. That changed today, as Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant assumes command of Union forces in the area. Skirmishes break out at Boone Court House WV & Blue Creek West Virginia. Memphis Daily Appeal reports: “Army Hospital—Dr. Keller, the physician of the army hospital, had one day last week three hundred and thirteen patients under his charge. The proportion of deaths thus far has been exceedingly small.” First school for escaped slaves is formed by freed woman slave, Mary Chase, in Alexandria, Virginia.

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