Chronological History of the American Civil War

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Tuesday, April 30, 1861 : The Tennessee State Legislature has convened in secret session. Rumors say they have adopted a secession ordinance, which they will announce after an attack on Washington that is expected to take place on May 4. Wednesday, May 1, 1861 : John Houston Bills (The Pillars) wrote in his diary for: “War news worse. Lincoln has ordered out 80,000 additional troops, the South all in Motion. Troops going to rendezvous in Corinth. 300 pass the junction today, all looked belligerent.” Saturday, May 4, 1861: Again, John Houston Bills adds to his diary: “The war fever unabated. Troubles ahead. Capt. Hancock’s Company ordered to Randolph (TN) where great preparations are making to prevent the Lincoln troops from descending the river.” Monday, May 6, 1861 : Making a speech in Cleveland, Tennessee, Andrew Johnson is threatened by members of the crowd. He claims to be ready for a fight and eventually wins over most of the audience,

telling them, among other things, that Jeff Davis ought to be hanged. Thursday, May 9, 1861 : Jeff Davis (pictured) expands the Confederate Army. He signs a bill authoring the enlistment of up to 400,000 additional volunteers for up to three years or the duration of the war. Tuesday, May 14, 1861 : John Houston Bills writes in his diary: “Rev. M. Gray preaches to the departing soldiers at the Fairgrounds where an immense crowd of anxious friends is assembled to bid farewell to husbands, sons, and brothers. Troops meet at night at the Presbyterian Church. James Wood presents each a Testament.”

Wednesday, May 15, 1861 : The Tennessee General Assembly passes a Military law authorizing the Governor to call up 25,000 men into immediate service, with a reserve corps of 30,000; bear in mind that Tennessee has not officially succeeded from the Union as of this date. Monday, May 20, 1861 : Kentucky declares its neutrality in the War Between the States, while delegates to the North Carolina Secession Convention vote to withdraw from the Union. Tuesday, May 21,1861: Missouri declares its neutrality in the Civil War as Sterling Price signs an agreement with William Harney, essentially handing Missouri over to federal forces. This same day Confederate Congress votes to move its capital from Montgomery, Alabama to Richmond, Virginia. Thursday, May 23, 1861: Virginia ratifies the Secessionist Convention referendum; ex-U. S. Secretary of War, John Floyd of Virginia is commissioned a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (CSA) strikes the B&O Railroad, capturing 56 locomotives. John Houston Bills of Bolivar, Tennessee writes in his diary, "Capt. J. J. Neely Company of Cavalry parade in front of the Court House. The roll is called by Orderly Sergeant Durrett about 80 answers & more of finely mounted to be mustered into service at Jackson today. An immense crowd of both sexes are present to bid farewell to friends going into “fratricidal” ( one that murders or kills his or her own brother or sister or an individual as a countryman ) war. The scene is awfully impressive and sad to contemplate. My only son is of the number going.”

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