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The Civil War Month by Month: Jan 1861

CW - 150

Civil War 150th anniversary

The Civil War 150th Anniversary

Interesting facts, links, and suggested books for each month of the Civil War.

January 1861

This Month's Events

  • 3 January. The Richmond, Virginia paper reports from North Carolina: "Wilmington, N. C., Jan. 3. --The secession flag, with fifteen stars, was raised here to-day by a large and enthusiastic gathering of people. A secession meeting was held to-night at the theatre, which was densely crowded. The secession feeling is increasing daily."

  • 9 January. After seceding from the Union on Dec. 20, 1860, South Carolina initiates hostilities by firing upon the Star of the West, an unarmed merchant vessel hired by the U. S. government to deliver troops and supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The order to fire is given by Governor Francis Pickens. The ship retreats. These are the first Confederate shots fired at a vessel flying the U. S. flag.

  • 9 January. Mississippi secedes from the Union.

  • 10 January. Florida secedes from the Union. At Pensacola the Federal garrison spike their guns and move offshore to Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island. Pickens will remain in Union hands throughout the war.

  • 11 January. Alabama secedes from the Union.

  • 11 January. Having written to the President to apologize, Governor John Ellis of North Carolina writes to militia commander John L. Cantwell in Wilmington with instructions to return Forts Johnson and Caswell which Cantwell's troops have seized to the U. S. government -- that North Carolina has no authority to take U. S. property.

  • 19 January. Georgia secedes from the Union.

  • 19 January. Governor Ellis sends Charles E. Lee of the Charlotte Military Academy to the north with orders to buy arms and military equipment for North Carolina. The bill totals $242,405.

  • 20 January. At Fort Sumter, commanding officer Major Robert Anderson asks that he be allowed to send the women and children in the fort to New York. His request is granted and 17 women, 12 children under 10 years of age, and 11 infants under 2 years of age leave.

  • 26 January. Louisiana secedes from the Union.

  • 29 January. Kansas enters the Union as a state; their constitution prohibits slavery.

  • 31 January. The North Carolina legislature re-elects Thomas Clingman as U. S. senator. (At this time senators were not elected by popular vote.) Later this year the Senate will expel him for anti-Union activities and he will go on to be a Confederate general.

  • This month in North Carolina, opinion on secession is still divided. A South Carolina diarist writes, "N. C. seems in no hurry to join us, she certainly cant be called hasty."*
    • *A Confederate Nurse, by Ada W. Bacot, p. 27. Call #: 973.775 BAC.

This Month's Fiction

Adult Fiction

Children's Fiction

This Month's Non-Fiction

Adult Nonfiction

Brother Against Brother : The War Begins, by William C. Davis and the editors of Time-Life Books, pub. 1983, 176 p., call #: 973.7 DAV. The decade of the 1850s brought the United States exceptional growth and prosperity. The population increased by 35 per cent, to more than 31 million. Railroad trackage more than trebled, reaching 30,000 miles. The production of all kinds of foodstuffs and manufactured goods rose dramatically. But along with this growth came an equal growth in tensions and disagreements between the sections. This beautifully illustrated book takes the reader through these years and up through the final collapse of compromise at Fort Sumter.

Children's Nonfiction

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