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Civil War Raids & Skirmishes in 1861

•  January 1861   •  Febuary 1861   •  March 1861   •  April 1861   •  May 1861   •  June 1861   •
•  July 1861   •  August 1861   •  September 1861   •  October 1861   •  November 1861   •  December 1861   •

JANUARY

January 8, 1861 in Fort Barrancas, Florida - On January 8, the Union garrison at Fort Barrancas fired on a party of Confederates who were trying to move on the fort. The Confederates were quickly driven away.

FEBRUARY

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MARCH

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APRIL

April 25, 1861 near Indianola, Texas - On April 25, a force of Union troops, commanded by Maj. Caleb C. Sibley, was near Indianola when they were forced to surrender to the Confederate force, commanded by Col. Earl Van Dorn. The Union troops were forced to sign a parole stating that they would not take up arms against the Confederacy until exchanged.

MAY

May 9, 1861 near San Lucas Springs, Texas - On May 9, during the morning hours, Lt. Col. ?? Reeves was commanding 6 companies of the 8th U.S. Infantry near San Lucas Springs. The springs were about 22 miles west of San Antonio. They were forced to surrender to a Confederate force, commanded by Col. Earl Van Dorn. Along with the infantry, several officers who were on leave were also captured.

May 10, 1861 in Camp Jackson, Missouri - On May 10, Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyons marched his 7,000 Union forces on Camp Jackson. They surrounded the camp and demanded its surrender. The camp contained 669 Confederate militia and was under the command of Brig. Gen. Daniel M. Frost. Frost realized the hopelessness of his situation and promptly agreed to the surrender.

May 14, 1861 in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia - On May 14 , a group of Virginia militia, commanded by Col. Thomas J. Jackson, seized a train of railroad cars and locomotives at Harper's Ferry. The train was on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

JUNE

June 5, 1861 in Pig's Point, Virginia - On June 5, the Union steamer, USS Harriet Lane, attacked the Confederate position at Pig's Point Batteries. The batteries were located near Hampton on the James River.

June 27, 1861 in Mathias Point, Virginia - Captain Ward of the Freeborn, with his own vessel, the Pawnee, and the Resolute, left Washington for the purpose of landing men at Mathias Point, there to erect a battery with which to climate against the batteries planted by the rebels, there threatening the navigation of the Potomac. A party of thirty or forty men were landed in small boats, under cover of the guns of the fleet, and at once proceeded to build a battery of sand-bags. While thus engaged, a large force of the rebels, who had been concealed in the woods, rushed upon our troops and opened a galling fire of musketry. A part of the men retired to their boats and rowed back to the Freeborn; the rest swam thither, exposed to the fire, by which several were wounded. When the attack was made Captain Ward opened fire from the guns of this vessel, dispersing the rebels, and sending them back to the woods. While thus engaged, he was struck by a bullet and died within the hour. The National flag carried by the party was riddled with balls.

JULY

July 6, 1861 off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina - off the shores of Cape Hatteras, the Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis engaged and captured the Union ships, USS Enchantress and USS John Welsh.

July 5, 1861 in Neosho, Missouri - On July 5, a Confederate force, commanded by Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch, surprised a group of Union troops, commanded by Brig. Gen. Franz Sigel, at the small town of Neosho. The Federals were quickly captured and soon paroled.

July 5, 1861 in Newport News, Virginia - On July 5, there was a small skirmish between the Confederate force, commanded by Brig. Gen. John Magruder, and the Union force, commanded by Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler. The fight was near Newport news, located near the Curtis' Farm. The fight did not have a conclusive victor. After the fight, both sides withdrew to their previous lines.

July 8, 1861 in Florida, Missouri - a group of Union State Troops discovered a Confederate camp in Florida. They made a surprise attack on the camp and quickly dispersed the Confederates.

July 17, 1861 in Scarey Creek, West Virginia - On July 17 , at the Great Kanawha Valley, Col. Jacob D. Cox was leading a force of Federals when they were suddenly attacked by a group of Confederates, commanded by Brig. Gen. Henry A. Wise. The Federals were advancing into western Virginia toward Charleston at the time. The Confederates were trying to block Cox from advancing any further. Wise only slowed the Federals down because they soon pushed the Confederates aside and continued their advance.

July 22, 1861 in Forsyth, Missouri - On July 22, a Union force, commanded by Brig. Gen. Thomas Sweeny, attacked the local Confederate force at Forsyth. The Confederates were driven away, letting Sweeny able to occupy the town.

July 24, 1861 in Tyler Mountain, West Virginia - At Tyler Mountain, Brig. Gen. Jacob Cox's force attacked the Confederates in the area, commanded by Brig. Gen. Henry Wise. The Federals forced the Confederates to retreat from the area around Charleston. Wise led his force back to Gauley Bridge.

July 26-27, 1861 in Mesilla, New Mexico Territory - On July 26, during the night through the early morning on July 27, Maj. Isaac Lynde, 7th U.S. Infantry, abandoned Fort Fillmore near Mesilla, new Mexoco Territory, in the face of Confederates under the command of Capt. John R. Baylor. Although Lynde's troops outnumbered the Confederates by a 2-to-1 margin, Lynde pulled out. He took his army and headed for Fort Stanton. Baylor pursued Lynde and caught up with his army later that day. After giving up Fort Fillmore without a fight, Lynde surrendered his 10 companies to Baylor at San Augustine Springs without firing a shot. The surrender left a large part of New Mexico open to Confederate invasion.

AUGUST

August 5, 1861 off the coast of Florida - On August 5, off the coast of Florida, the USS Vincennes captured the Confederate blockade-runner Alvarado. After the capture, the Vincennes burned the Alvarado to keep it from being used anymore.

August 7, 1861 in Hampton, Virginia - The village of Hampton, Virginia, near Fort Monroe, was burned by Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. John B. Magruder in operations against Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler's Union forces. Magruder said he had learned that Butler had intended to use the town for what he called "runaway slaves" and what Butler called "contraband."
Butler claimed that the few town residents remaining were given 15 minutes to leave and that it was a "wanton act."

August 12, 1861 in Fort Davis, Texas - On August 12, a 16-man Confederate detachment rode into an ambush set by Chief Nicholas of the Mescalero Apaches in the Big Bend country south of Fort Davis. The only person from the detachment to escape was the Mexican guide.

August 19, 1861 in Charleston, Missouri - On August 19, a group of Union forces from Bird's Point, opposite Cairo, took a train to Charleston. Once there, they attacked and defeated a small force of Missouri state troops.

August 20, 1861 in Lookout Station, Missouri - On August 20, a small Confederate force spotted a train travelling to Lookout Station. Just before the train arrived there, they attacked the train. All valuables, money, or anything of importance was taken from the train's passengers. The Confederates quickly left the area afterwards.

August 22, 1861 at Paducah, Kentucky - On August 22, the USS Lexington engaged and quickly captured the Confederate steamer, CSS W.B. Terry, and the mail steamboat, Samuel Orr, at Paducah.

August 23, 1861 in Potomac Creek, Virginia - On August 22, two Union steamer ships, USS Yankee and USS Release, engaged the Confederate batteries at the mouth of the Potomac Creek. The batteries were commanded by Col. R.M. Cary. After a short time, the ships withdrew from the area.

SEPTEMBER

September 2, 1861 in Pensacola, Florida - On September 2, a Confederate force entered Pensacola. After Union forces had earlier abandoned the U.S. dry-dock, the Confederates proceeded to destroy the docks, denying use of them by the Union naval forces.

September 4, 1861 in Shelbina, Missouri - On September 4, a Confederate force entered the town of Shelbina. They engaged the local Union force, commanded by Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut. The Federals were soon forced to leave the town, leaving it to the Confederates to occupy.

September 14, 1861 in Pensacola, Florida - On September 14, the USS Colorado, commanded by Col. Harvey Brown, descended on the Pensacola navy yard. The local Confederate force quickly left, leaving the Confederate privateer, Judah. The Colorado's men destroyed the Judah, and occupied the navy yard.

September 16, 1861 on the Cumberland River, Kentucky - On September 16, the USS Conestoga was traveling on the Cumberland River. It spotted a couple of Confederate ships nearby and proceeded to engage them. After a very brief skirmish, the Confederate ships were captured, along with the crews.

September 25, 1861 in Freestone Point, Virginia - On September 25, the Union fleet arrived just off of Freestone Point. Confederate shore batteries, commanded by Col. Louis T. Wigfall, were here and immediately opened fire on the ships. The fleet returned fire, but would eventually retire from the engagement.

September 26, 1861 near Lucas Bend, Kentucky - On September 26, a Confederate force, commanded by Brig. Gen. Simon B. Buckner, arrived near Lucas Bend. At the mouth of the Muddy River, the Federals had controlled some river locks. The Federals abandoned their position after seeing that they were outnumbered. Buckner had his men destroy the locks.

OCTOBER

October 1, 1861 in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina - On October 1, a Confederate force captured the Union supply steamer, USS Fanny, at Pamlico Sound. With the capture of the Fanny, the Confederates also captured 31 prisoners and a large number of much needed military supplies.

October 2, 1861 in Charleston, Missouri - On October 2, Union forces were able to destroy a Confederate camp. There had been a number of clashes in the Charleston area for the past few days between pro-Union forces and secession groups

October 3, 1861 in Springfield Station, Virginia - On October 3, a group of Union cavalry, commanded by Col. ?? Pratt, entered Springfield Station. There, they met and engaged a Confederate cavalry force. The skirmish results were inconclusive.

October 4, 1861 in New Orleans, Louisisna - On October 4, 2 Confederate blockade-runners tried to get through the Union naval blockade. The USS South Carolina captured the 2 Confederate ships off Southwest Pass, which is near New Orleans.

October 12, 1861 in City, Mississippi - On October 12, the ironclad CSS Manassas battled the 2 Union ships, USS Richmond and USS Vincennes, at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The Manassas forced the Union ships to run aground, but they managed to get back into the river and proceeded to retreat. This battle to temporarily halt the Union blockade at this part, but it resiumed after a short time.

October 13, 1861 in Wet Glaize, Missouri - On October 13 , a sharp skirmish occured between a group of Federals and Confederates. The action was at Wet Glaize, also known as Dutch or Monday Hollow, was near Henrytown. The Confederates were trying to raid Federal communications between St. Louis and Springfield. The Confederates were dispersed after s short time.

October 15, 1861 in Potosi, Missouri - On October 15, Jeff Thompson's Confederate raiders attacked a group of Union soldiers near the town of Polosi. Thompson's men managed to capture 50 Union soldiers and then they burned the Big River Bridge to keep any other Union force from coming after them.

October 16, 1861 in Harper's Ferry, Virginia - On October 16, a Union detachment captured 21,000 bushels of wheat that was stored in a mill near Harper's Ferry. On their return, they encountered a group of Confederates. A sharp, brisk fight ensued, forcing the Union soldiers to make their way back to Harper's Ferry.

October 26, 1861 in Romney, West Virginia - On October 26 , a force of Union troops, commanded by Brig. Gen. ?? Kelley, arrived at Romney. Romney was an important post in the northern part of western Virginia. Once there, they met a small group of Confederates and engaged them. The Federals forced the Confederates out of town with the Union losses being small.

October 26, 1861 - The CSS Sumter was sailing in the Atlantic Ocean when it spotted the Union schooner, USS Trowbridge. The Sumter captured the Trowbridge, took its crew prisoner, and then burned the ship.

October 27, 1861 near Spring Hill, Missouri - On October 27, the Union force, commanded by Maj. Gen. John Fremont, was advancing toward Springfield. When they were near Spring Hill, they encountered a retreating Confederate force, commanded by Brig. Gen. Sterling Price. The skirmish resulted in the Confederates continuing their retreat.

October 27, 1861 in Chincoteaque Inlet, Virginia - On October 27, the USS Lexington spotted 3 Confederate ships in the Chincoteaque Inlet. The Lexington sailed into the inlet, trapping the Confederate ships and capturing them.

October 31, 1861 near Morgantown, Kentucky - On October 31, a Confederate force learned of a Union camp near Morgantown. They launched a surprise attack against the camp, but were repulsed.

NOVEMBER

November 1, 1861 in Peosi River, Texas - On November 1, a Union force, commanded by Col. H.E. McCulloch, was at the Peosi River when they engaged a group of Indians. The Federals managed to drive away the Indians.

November 1-3, 1861 in Cotton Hill, West Virginia - On November 1, a Confederate force, commanded by Brig. Gen. John Buchanan Floyd, attacked the Union camp, commanded by Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, at Cotton Hill, near the Gauley Bridge. For a couple of days, the Confederates tried to dislodge the Federals from their position. On November 3, Floyd finally gave up on the effort to drive away the Federals. The Confederates ended their attack and withdrew.

November 8, 1861 in Galveston Harbor, Texas - On November 8, the Union frigat, USS Santee, was just off Galveston Harbor in the Bolivar Channel. It spotted the Confederate schooner, CSS Royal Yacht, in the channel and attacked it. The Federals captured the Royal Yacht and its crew. After transferring all of the prisoners and useful equipment, the Santee burned the Royal Yacht.

NNovember 8, 1861 in Old Bahama Channel, Cuba - The USS San Jacinto, commanded by Capt. Charles Wilkes, arrived at Cuba and found two Confederate commissioners, James Mason and John Slidell, waiting for passage to Europe. The San Jacinto waited for them to cross into international waters before they could do anything.
On November 8, the commissioners boarded the HMS Trent, a British packet, and sailed into the open waters in the Old Bahama Channel. The San Jacinto forced the Trent to stop. Wilkes demanded that the two commissioners be handed over to them. The Trent complied with the orders and continued their trip to Britian, still carrying the families of the commissioners.
The San Jacinto sailed to Hampton Roads, Virginia with the commissioners under armed guard. After they arrived and news of the capture of the Confederate commissioners became public knowledge, the event became international news. A lot of leaders thought that this might bring the possibility of armed conflict between the United States and Britian. It also created a case which the Confederacy could use against the Federals.

November 14, 1861 near Point of Rocks, Maryland - On November 14 , a small Union force broke up a Confederate camp near Point of Rocks, on the Potomac River.

November 16, 1861 in Doolan's Farm, Virginia - On November 16, a group of Confederates captured Federal foraging parties at Doolan's farm.

November 18, 1861 near Warrensburg, Missouri - On November 18, a Union wagon train was travelling near Warrensburg. A group of Confederates spotted the wagon train and attacked it. They quickly captured the train and stole whatever they could carry. After this, they quickly left the area.

November 19, 1861 in the Atlantic Ocean - On November 19, the Confederate raider Nashville captured the clipper ship Harvey Birch in the Atlantic Ocean. The Nashville then burned the Harvey Birch after capturing all usable items from the ship.

November 21, 1861 in Warsaw, Missouri - On November 21, a group of Confederates destroyed a supply of Federal stores at Warsaw.

November 22, 1861 in Fort Pickens, Florida - On November 22, Confederate forces at Fort McRee, Fort Barrancas, and the Pensacola Navy Yard open fire and attack the Union batteries at Fort Pickens. Later on, the Union forces are aided by the 2 Union ships, USS Niagra and USS Richmond.
Even though both sides sustain damage, the battle proved to be inconclusive.

November 23, 1861 in Los Angeles, California - On November 20, Union forces began a pursuit of a small Confederate group, the Showalter party. Three days later, on November 23, the Union force caught up with the Confederates and a brief fight ensued. The Confederates surrendered to the Federals soon after. A total of 18 Confederates were captured, including the party leader, Daniel Showalter. The fight occured just southeast of Los Angeles.

November 30, 1861 on the Little Cacapon River, West Virginia - On November 30, a group of local bushwackers attacked a Union camp, commanded by Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Kelly. The camp was located at the mouth of the Little Cacapon River. The bushwackers managed to capture some of Kelly's horses before the left.

DECEMBER

December 1, 1861 - On December 1, the Union gunboat, USS Penguin, captured the Confederate blockade-runner, Albion, and its cargo. The Albion was carrying some much needed supplies for the Confederacy. The Albion's cargo included varios foodstuffs, tin, copper, and some military equipment worth near $100,000.

December 2, 1861 near Newport News, Virginia - On December 2, there were 4 Federal gunboats near Newport News when they spotted the Confederate steamer CSS Patrick Henry. They engaged the Patrick Henry in a 2-hour naval battle. The Patrick Henry was slightly damaged and managed to escape.

December 3, 1861 in Vienna, Virginia - On December 3, a Confederate force encountered a small group of Union troops at Vienna. The Confederates launched an attack, capturing the entire detachment of the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry.

December 4, 1861 near Munfordville, Kentucky - On December 4, a Confederate expedition was sent to Munfordville. Just outside of town, the Confederates, commanded by Col. John H. Morgan, destroyed the Bacon Creek Bridge.

December 4, 1861 in Dunksburg, Missouri - On December 4, a Confederate raiding party headed toward the small town of Dunksburg. When they arrived, the local townspeople met the Confederates and attacked back. The Confederate attack was soon repulsed.

December 11-12, 1861 in Charleston, South Carolina - On December 11, a tragic fire started in the city of Charleston. Unable to control it initially, the fire gained momentum and swept through the city. It managed to destroy half of the entire city, including the important business district. The fire was not able to be put out until the next day.

December 17, 1861 in Rockville, South Carolina - located near Hilton Head. This attack forced the Confederates to evacuate the town.

December 18, 1861 in Milford, Missouri - On December 18, a large Union force, commanded by Brig. Gen. John Pope, surprised a poorly led force of Confederate regulars and militia near Milford at the Shawnee Mound. The Federals captured just over 1,300 Confederate troops. Pope shipped the prisoners by train to St. Louis.

December 18, 1861 in City, Virginia - While Brig. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was waiting for Brig. Gen. W.W. Loring, Jackson decided that he needed to keep his men busy. Since he had shut down the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Harpers Ferry in May, the Union army had been using the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal to transport coal from western Virginia to Washington, D.C. The canal depended on several dams to maintain the water level. He decided to destroy one of the dams, Dam No. 5 north of Martinsburg, and put the canal out of operation.
On December 16, Jackson organized the famous Stonewall Brigade and a militia brigade before dawn and headed north towards the dam. It took him almost 2 days to march his Confederate force to Dam No. 5
On December 17, late in the day, Jackson's force reached the dam and began preperations to break open the dam early the next day. Cannon fire would not be enough to destroy the dam because of its construction. He decided that it would have to be opened by human labor. The task was made even more difficult by fire from the Union troops coming from across the Potomac River. Jackson drew the Union fire away from his men by feinting a crossing of the river upstream from the dam.
Jackson gave the men in charge of opening the dam a special ration of whiskey for extra incentive.
The work force had to struggle for hours in clammy mud and water. They succeeded in opening the dam and fell back to the Confederate camp. Once the work party had returned, Jackson gathered up his force and moved back to Winchester later that same day.

December 29, 1861 in Commerce, Missouri - On December 29, a Confederate force of Confederate Partisans, commanded by Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson, descended on the small town of Commerce. While there, they also made an unsuccessful attack on the steamer, USS City of Alton.

December 31, 1861 in Biloxi, Mississippi - On December 31, a Union landing party departed from Ship Island and arrived at Biloxi. They quickly captured the town, destroyed a Confederate battery, and then left to go back to Ship Island.

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