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1861
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1861/01/04Newly-elected Vt. Governor Erastus Fairbanks appoints a day of fasting and prayer on January 4, 'in view of the present critical condition of our common country.' (source: newspaper clipping of unknown origin)
1861/01/05Steamer Star of the West, Captain John McGowan, USRM, departed New York with an Army detachment for the relief of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Vermonter Jacob H. Putnam, an artilleryman, was onboard. (ORN)
1861/01/09Steamer Star of the West, Captain John McGowan, USRM, was fired on by Confederate troops from Morris Island and Fort Moultrie as she attempted to enter Charleston Harbor. The relief of Fort Sumter failed. These were the first Confederate shots fired at a vessel flying the United States flag. Star of the West returned to New York. (ORN)
1861/01/10Florida secedes from the United States
1861/01/11Alabama secedes from the United States
1861/01/18The General Assembly of the State of Tennessee sent a copy of a Joint Resolution to the Governor of Vt., possibly hoping to intimidate him. (It appears they didn't know about Ethan Allen and his cronies!) (Manuscripts)
1861/01/18Georgia joins the Confederacy
1861/01/21Governor Fairbanks directs Adjt. Gen. H. H. Baxter to call upon the Town Clerks to make returns of the enlisted militia. (Crockett)
1861/01/21Jefferson Davis resigned from the United States Senate
1861/01/23Senator Jacob Collamer 'introduced a bill authorizing the President to close the ports of the seceding States and to suspend the mail service of the United States in those Commonwealths.' (Crockett)
1861/01/25Governor Fairbanks directed that General Order, No. 10 be issued, in anticipation of a call for troops. (Manuscripts)
1861/01/26Louisiana secedes from the United States
1861/01/29Kansas is admitted as the 34th State.
1861/02/01Texas secedes from the United States
1861/02/04The Peace Conference convened at Washington 'with the purpose of arriving at some compromise by means of constitutional amendments, or otherwise, whereby the Union might be preserved.' (Crockett)
1861/02/04The Confederate States of America is formed by delegates from six break-away States in Montgomery, Alabama
1861/02/21Lucius E. Chittenden addressed the Peace Conference in Washington, 'saying that the Vt. delegates throughout the session had labored under great embarrassment. The Legislature was not in session to instruct them when they were appointed and the time after their appointment was so short to permit them to consult the people of their State. The rules of the conference made it impossible for them to secure information by correspondence. In very plain terms he stated conditions as he saw them. Northern delegates had been asked to vote for proposals that were unpleasant, no to say offensive, to them, and to use their influence to persuade Congress to submit these proposals to the people.' (Crockett)
1861/03/02Nevada is organized as a United States Territory
1861/03/04President Lincoln delivered his 1st Inaugural Address (Lincoln)
1861/03/04Forty-two vessels were in commission in the United States Navy. Twelve of these ships were assigned duty with the Home Squadron, four of which were based on Northern ports. Beginning with the return of USS Powhatan to New York and USS Pocahontas to Hampton Roads on 12 March and US Ship Cumberland to Hampton Roads on 23 March, the Department moved to recall all but three ships from foreign stations, where they were badly needed, in order to meet the greater needs of the Nation in this hour of crisis. (ORN)
1861/04/04Gov. Fairbanks appointed a second fast day, setting the day apart for fasting and prayer 'that our Heavenly Father will avert from the us calamity of civil war and dispose the people to peace, and to the cultivation of a spirit of fraternal respect and forbearance.' (source: newspaper clipping of unknown origin)
1861/04/12Fort Sumter fired on by Confederate batteries -- the conflict begins. (NavHist)
1861/04/15The first Vermonter to volunteer his services for the War of the Rebellion, was George Jerrison Stannard of St. Albans, Colonel Fourth Regiment of Militia. (Peck)
1861/04/15Telegram: To His Excellency, Erastus Fairbanks, Governor of Vt.; Call made on you by tonight's mail for one regiment for immediate service. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War. (source: newspaper clipping of unknown origin)
1861/04/15President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for Militia and Convening Congress. (Lincoln)
1861/04/19William H. Flint: Enlisted for 3 months in the first Vt. regt. in co. with Channcey Stanley then he and I went up to Leicester, Vt. there was a meeting last night held in town hall for the purpose of enlisting men in answer to a call for 75,000 men by President Lincoln. (Diary)
1861/04/19President Lincoln issued proclamation declaring blockade of Southern ports from South Carolina to Texas. (NavHist)
1861/04/20 Norfolk Navy Yard partially destroyed to prevent Yard facilities from falling into Confederate hands and abandoned by Union forces. (NavHist)
1861/04/27President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus; West Virginia seceded from Virginia (Lincoln)
1861/04/29Thomas O. Seaver wrote to Governor Fairbanks, from Woodstock, requesting enlistment papers (Manuscripts)
1861/04/30Thomas A. Canfield, of Burlington, wrote to Governor Fairbanks inquiring about the need for nurses. (Manuscripts)
1861/05/06Arkansas secedes from the Union
1861/05/07Tennessee secedes from the Union
1861/05/08Richmond, Virginia is named capital of the Confederate States of America
1861/05/091st Regiment mustered in and departs for Fortress Monroe, Va. (Dyer)
1861/05/10Lieutenant C. R. P. Rodgers, commandant of midshipmen, US Naval Academy, recently relocated to Newport, R.I., informed the Navy Department that he had detailed the entire third class of midshipmen to report to commanding officers of the navy yards at Boston, New York and Philadelphia, for duty. Among this group were Edwin T. Woodward, and Henry L. Johnson, who were ordered to Boston, and Charles H. Humphrey, to New York. (ORN)
1861/05/131st Regiment at Hygea Hotel, Fortress Monroe. (Dyer)
1861/05/13Superintendent G. S. Blake, US Naval Academy, Newport, R.I., reported that ' With the exception of the commandant of midshipmen and the commanding officer of the Constitution, Lieutenants Simpson, Buckner, Scott, and [Edward P.] Lull are the only lieutenants which remain attached to the Academy. Their services are so very important in reorganizing the Academy and training the acting midshipmen that I beg to express the hope that they may be suffered to remain. (ORN)
1861/05/191st Regiment: 'About the hour of dress parade, on the 19th of May, there was great excitement among the troops at the fortress, occasioned by the first actual fighting that the Vermonters had seen. This was the attack on the steamer 'Monticello' upon the rebel battery at Sewell's Point, directly across Hampton Roads from Fortress Monroe and about two miles distant. The sound of the firing first attracted attention, and the smoke of every discharge could be distinctly seen. Adjutant Stevens became so interested that he neglected his duty at dress parade.' (Peck)
1861/05/20Benjamin Underwood of the Bradford company [Co. D, 1st Regiment], died of measles, or as Surgeon Sanborn reported it in a medical periodical, of nostalgia or home-sickness following measles from which he had begun to recover. This was the first death among the Vt. troops and caused a feeling of sadness throughout the regiment which was deepened by the impressive funeral ceremonies. His remains still lie in the little cemetery on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, where his comrades discharged the last volleys over his grave. William Flint noted the death his diary (Peck)
1861/05/21Assistant Surgeon Orville Bixby, US Army, was promoted to Surgeon, after 14 years in the service. (US Army)
1861/05/22Captain Robert Ritchie, senior officer present at the Bay of Panama, reported that he had ordered USS Cyane, Commander Bissell, presently at Acapulco, to cruise between that port and Manzanilla, as a result of a notification by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company of the presence of privateers in the area. Captain Ritchie intended to send USS Narragansett, Captain Hunt, to relieve Cyane, which would resupply in the Bay of Panama, and proceed to Callao in place of Narragansett. (ORN)
1861/05/23The first reconnoissance in force upon Virginia soil by the United States troops, was made by the 1st Regiment. Hiram Perkins to George Stannard: "I received an order from the Conl. to have all my men armed and ready to march at 3 o'clock..." William Flint: "When Rebs saw us coming they set fire to bridge. Col. Phelps rushed squad to bridge on double quick put out fire so we were able to cross." (Peck), (Diary)
1861/05/24Commander S. C. Rowan, U.S.S Pawnee, demanded the surrender of Alexandria, Virginia; an amphibious expedition departed Washington Navy Yard and occupied the town. (NavHist)
1861/05/271st Infantry participated in occupation of Newport News, VA. (Dyer)
1861/06/01Jesse Adams of Cavendish, enlisted as a Wagoner, Co. F, 3rd Regiment (Adams)
1861/06/09A battalion of the 1st Regiment, with additional Massachusetts troops, under LTC Peter Washburn, advances on Big Bethel. (Dyer)
1861/06/101st Regiment was engaged at Big Bethel. (Battles)
1861/06/14Acting Midshipman H. L. Johnson was detached from USS Mississippi to supply deficiency of officers in USS Crusader. (ORN)
1861/06/202nd Regiment organized at Burlington, and Mustered into the United Sates service by Lieutenant-Colonel Rains, U. S. A., ... it being the first three years' regiment raised in Vt..' (Peck)
1861/06/21Elisha Smart, of Stamford, was commissioned Captain in Co. B, 10th MA INF, he was killed in action at Fair Oaks, Va. on 31 May 1862 (Stamford soldiers)
1861/06/22Dana H. Whitney, was killed by bushwhackers, at Newport News, Va., the first Vermonter to lose his life in the conflict. (Service)
1861/06/23Emerson A. Boynton, 3rd VVI, wrote to his siblings from Camp Baxter, Saint Johnsbury (more)
1861/06/242nd Regiment departed Vt. for Washington, D.C., arriving on the 26th. (Peck)
1861/07/16Mustered in, including Jesse Adams, Wagoner, Co. F, 3rd Regiment, who had enlisted 1 June. (Adams)
1861/07/18Flag Officer John B. Montgomery, commanding Pacific Squadron, reported that he arrived in Acapulco on the 15th, and found USS Cyane, Commander Bissell, and USS Narragansett, Captain Hunt, at anchor in the port. Montgomery cancelled Cyane's orders to return to Panama, and intended to send her to the vicinity of Cape San Lucas. (ORN)
1861/07/20USS Sloop Cyane, Commander Bissell, was ordered to proceed to Cape San Lucas, to provide protection to US mail steamers transiting from San Francisco, and to protect commercial interests in the Gulf of California. (ORN)
1861/07/212nd Regiment was engaged at 1st Bull Run, VA (Manassas) (Battles)
1861/07/21First Sergeant Urban A. Woodbury, Company H, 2nd Regiment, wounded in action at Bull Run, VA, lost his right arm by a piece of shell while his regiment was double-quicking toward the enemy; after being wounded, was taken to a copper's shop, near Sudley's Church, where his arm was amputated, thus becoming the first 'empty sleeve' from Vt.. (Benedict)
1861/07/21Second Lieutenant Robert E Hitchcock, of Shoreham, Vt., was killed at Bull Run. Major John G. Reynolds, reporting on the battalion's action in the battle, lamented his loss, saying 'In the death of Lieutenant Hitchcock the corps has been deprived of a valuable acquisition. On the field he was ever present and zealous. He sought and won the approbation of his commanding and brother officers.' (ORN)
1861/07/29Jesse Adams, Wagoner, Co. F, 3rd Regiment, sends letters home to his Father and sister from South Amboy, New Jersey (Adams)
1861/07/30Lieutenant Henry A. Smalley, 2nd U.S. Artillery, was commissioned colonel. (Benedict)
1861/07/30Governor Fairbanks 'issued a proclamation calling for the enlistment of two regiments for a period of three years.' (Crockett)
1861/08/03John LaMountain made first ascent in a balloon from Union ship Fanny at Hampton Roads to observe Confederate batteries on Sewell's Point, Virginia. (NavHist)
1861/08/041st Regiment 'embarked upon two steamers, 'Ben de Ford' and 'S. R. Spaulding,' and sailed directly to New Haven, where it took the cars for Brattleboro, arriving there late at night on the 7th.' (Peck)
1861/08/07USS Sloop Cyane, Commander Bissell, was ordered to proceed to the Bay of Panama, via Manzanilla and Acapulco, keeping 'a vigilant lookout for secession privateers or pirates and vessels of doubtful character which you may have sufficient reason to suspect of being engaged in that service.' At the same time, US sloop St. Marys, Commander Edward Middleton, was ordered to proceed from San Francisco, to relieve Cyane as soon as possible. (ORN)
1861/08/08Theophilus Dompier, of Vergennes, enlisted; he became Pvt, Co. K, 2nd VVI on 30 August, and was later discharged for disability. (2nd Infantry)
1861/08/09C. E. Graves, a native of Vt., accepts an appointment as Chief Clerk in the Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Department, at an annual salary of $1,800. (Schuyler 91)
1861/08/11Cpl. Henry C. Lyman, Hinesburgh, Co. K, 2nd VVI, died of disease, and was interred in Prospect Cemetery, Vergennes. (2nd Infantry)
1861/08/12The 2nd Regiment was detached from [Colonel O. O.] Howard's brigade and ordered to Chain Bridge, some ten miles above Georgetown on the Potomac, and went into camp at the east end of the bridge, being brigaded with the Sixth Maine and the Thirty-third New York regiments. (Peck)
1861/08/151st Regiment mustered out, having lost 2 Enlisted men killed and 6 Enlisted men by disease. Total 8. (Dyer)
1861/08/17Emerson A. Boynton, 3rd VVI, wrote to his siblings, from Camp Logans, DC (more)
1861/08/22The 2nd and 3rd Vt., at Camp Lyon, were 'reviewed by President Lincoln, General McClellan and Secretaries Seward and Chase.' (Crockett)
1861/08/23Jesse Adams, Wagoner, Co. F, 3rd Regiment, to his mother, from Camp Tyson, Washington, D.C.: 'I now take my pen in hand to write you a few lines. I am well and hearty. My work is not so hard but what I can sleep half of the time if I was a sleeping man, but you know I never could sleep in the day-time. So, of course, I have to find something else to do. I go to the city four times a week. I have got four as handsome horses as you ever saw on a team! I guess the headers are dapple bay and the wheel horses are chestnut.' (Adams)
1861/08/24Robert B. Whitney was enlisted as a Private by Captain Henry Lyons Terry of the 4th Regiment at Rochester to serve for three years in the Civil War. (biography)
1861/08/29Union forces under Flag Officer S. H. Stringham and General B. F. Butler received the unconditional surrender of Confederate-held Forts Hatteras and Clark, closing Pamlico Sound. (NavHist)
1861/09/03The 2nd Regiment moved across the [Chain] bridge into Virginia once more, and about a mile from the bridge went into camp (Camp Advance). Here the regiment, together with the Sixth Maine built Forts Marcy and Ethan Allen.' (Peck)
1861/09/03'Moved across the [Chain] bridge into Virginia once more, and about a mile from the bridge went into camp (Camp Advance). Here the regiments, together with the Sixth Maine built Forts Marcy and Ethan Allen.' (Peck)
1861/09/08On the morning of September 8 the brigade was drawn up in a hollow square, a shooting party was detailed and the prisoner [William Scott, Company K, Third Vt.] was brought out to be shot. At this point an order from General McClellan was read, pardoning the condemned man at the request of the President. (Crockett)
1861/09/112nd Regiment was engaged or present at skirmish near Lewinsville, Va. (Battles)
1861/09/113rd Regiment was engaged or present at Skirmish near Lewinsville, Va. (Battles)
1861/09/12Jesse Adams, Camp Tyson, Washington, D.C., wrote his brother, Joe: 'Our regiment and the 33rd NY. went out towards Fairfax yesterday and came very near getting into a scrape. They went out to survey and look the property over. They were not quite careful enough and the rebels got some cannon upon to a hill in the woods about 1 (Adams)
1861/09/13First Sharp Shooter Company 'rendezvoused at Randolph early in September, 1861, and on the 13th of that month were Mustered into the state service by Charles Dana.' (Ripley)
1861/09/13Secretary Welles, to Flag-Officer S. H. Stringham, commanding Atlantic Blockading Squadron, after explaining the necessity of reducing the complement of officers on certain classes of ships in order to man new gunboats, orders the detachment of Lieutenant Lull from USS Roanoke, to report to the Navy Department. (ORN)
1861/09/13Flag Officer Montgomery, reporting from the Bay of Panama, indicted his intention to have USS Cyane, Commander Bissell, relieve him at that port and proceed with USS Lancaster, to patrol the coasts of Mexico and California. (ORN)
1861/09/14The 5th Regiment was in camp a mile north of the village of St. Albans on land belonging to Henry Seymour, Esq. (Benedict)
1861/09/15Colonel Henry A. Smalley assumes command of the 5th Regiment (Peck)
1861/09/16Fifth Regiment Inf.: 'Mustered into the United States service for three years at St. Albans, Vt. ... and in a few days went to Washington.' (Peck)
1861/09/18"The Vt. Company of United States Sharpshooters: This Company numbers 112 men and is under command of Captain Edward Weston Jr. a graduate of the Norwich Military School, who was selected by Governor Fairbanks for this responsible post. The men composing this company are all picked rifle-shots, and are worthy representatives of the Green Mountain State. They leave the encampment his afternoon at 5 o'clock for Washington." (New York Times)
1861/09/21The Fourth Regiment, the first to be clothed in army blue, Mustered into service, left Brattleboro that evening and arrived at Washington forty-eight hours later (Crockett)
1861/09/25The 5th Regiment arrived in Washington in the evening (Benedict)
1861/09/25"Arrival and Departure of the Fifth Vt. Regiment" -- This regiment which has been encamped for some time past at St. Albans, Vt., broke camp on Saturday and started for the seat of war. The men did not land in this City, but proceeded direct to Jersey City where cars were taken for Washington. They are a fine, hardy-looking set of men and appear well calculated to sustain the honor of the Green Mountain State." (Date: 23 Sept., 1861). -- "The Fifth Regiment of Vt. arrived at Jersey City yesterday by the steamer Elm City, on its way to the seat of war. It numbers 1,070 men, inclusive of officers and is thoroughly armed and equipped. Colonel H. A. Smalley, the commandant of the regiment, was educated at West Point and was formerly an officer in the Second United States Artillery. (New York Times) (5th Infantry)
1861/10/01Confederate naval forces, including CSS Curlew, Raleigh, and Junaluska, under Flag Officer W. F. Lynch, CSN, captured steamer Fanny (later CSS Fanny) in Pamlico Sound with Union troops on board. (NavHist)
1861/10/156th Regiment mustered into U. S. service. (Dyer)
1861/11/03Jerome V. Prindle died seven weeks after he was discharged; he was interred Hollow Road cemetery, North Ferrisburgh (Service)
1861/11/04Secretary Welles informed Flag Officer William W. McKean, that the US Storeship Supply, Lieutenant Commander George M. Colvocoresses, was expected to sail from New York in the next few days, with stores for the Gulf Squadron. (ORN)
1861/11/051st Lt. William Wirt Henry resigned his commission; he was later commissioned Major, 10th VVI, was awarded the Medal of Honor, and breveted Brigadier General. (Medal of Honor)
1861/11/07Naval forces under Flag Officer S. F. Du Pont captured Port Royal Sound. U S S Tyler, Commander H. Walke, and USS Lexington, Commander R. Stembel, supported 3,000 Union troops under General Grant at the Battle of Belmont, Missouri, and engaged Confederate batteries along the Mississippi River. (NavHist)
1861/11/08Jesse Adams, of Cavendish, Wagoner, Co. F, 3rd Regiment, died of disease. (Adams)
1861/11/08USS San Jacinto, Captain C. Wilkes, stopped British mail steamer Trent in Old Bahama Channel and removed Confederate Commissioners James Mason and John Slidell. (NavHist)
1861/11/11Thaddeus Lowe made balloon observation of Confederate forces from Balloon-Boat G. W. Parke Curtis anchored in Potomac River. (NavHist)
1861/11/12Stephen Thomas, native of West Fairlee, a democratic member of the Vt. Legislature, was commissioned Colonel of the 8th Regiment, which he immediately proceeded to recruit. (Peck)
1861/11/12Fingal (later CSS Atlanta), purchased in England, entered Savannah laden with military supplies -- the first ship to run the blockade solely on Confederate government account. (NavHist)
1861/11/13Calvin Morse, Jr., Co. F, 1st USSS, was promoted Chief Bugler; he was later discharged for disability (West Fairlee Cemeteries)
1861/11/16Secretary Welles informed Flag Officer Samuel F. Du Pont that 'the propeller Flambeau, Lieutenant commanding William G. Temple, has been sent to the Bahamas and Nassau to endeavor to interdict the rebel vessels which start from those points for the United States coasts. (ORN)
1861/11/191st Vt. Cav., recruited by Lemuel B. Platt; mustered in at Burlington (Dyer)
1861/11/23William H. Flint: Informed that the quota for R.I. cavalry was full and that we would not be obliged to go to war. But all but two of the company enlisted then and there in what was to be the 2nd Vt. Light Artillery. (Diary)
1861/12/01US Storeship Supply, Commander Colvocoresses, arrived at Key West, Florida, , reporting the lost of a bower due to the parting of the starboard cable. Supply was ordered to sail the next day for Fort Pickens, Florida. (ORN)
1861/12/06Captain T. Bailey, commanding USS Colorado off Fort Pickens, cited the loss of five lieutenants and four midshipmen who had been ordered home, and requested the detail of Lieutenant George Dewey, then on board the US steamer Mississippi, for duty on the Colorado. (ORN)
1861/12/14The 1st Vt. Cavalry left Vt. for Washington, 'requiring for the journey 153 cars, made up into a train of five sections.' (Peck)
1861/12/18Commander George F. Emmons, USS Hatteras, reported to Flag Officer W. W. McKean, commanding Gulf Blockading Squadron, regarding affairs off Apalachicola, and a reconnaissance of St. Joseph's Bay. (ORN)
1861/12/21Congress enacted legislation providing for the Medal of Honor. (NavHist)
1861/12/27Captain L. M. Powell, USS Potomac, sent three boats, one under Acting Midshipman Charles H. Humphrey, to interdict a blockade runner off Mobile Bar. (ORN)

(See also 1861 New York Times articles)