March and April, 1862

Stunning events on land and sea: Naval warfare is reinvented and a placid church gets a bloodbath


March 3 – President Lincoln appoints Andrew Johnson, the only Southern U.S. senator to remain loyal after his state seceded, military governor of Tennessee

March 4 – Henry Halleck orders Ulysses S. Grant to turn his forces over to Charles Ferguson Smith, claiming Grant failed to obey orders. Grant is reinstated March 13.

March 5 – Lincoln proposes emancipating slaves in the Border States and paying compensation to their owners.

March 6 – The Monitor, the Union’s revolutionary ironclad, departs New York Harbor for Hampton Roads, Va.

March 8 – The three-day Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas ends with a Union victory that helps the Federals establish control of Missouri for the next two years.

March 9 – The Monitor takes on fellow ironclad CSS Virginia—the refitted USS Merrimack—at Hampton Roads.

March 12 – Union naval forces occupy Jacksonville, Fla.

March 17 – General George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac leaves Alexandria, Va., for Fort Monroe, beginning the Peninsula Campaign.

March 18 – In a reorganization of Jefferson Davis’ Cabinet, Secretary of War Judah Benjamin replaces Secretary of State R.M.T. Hunter, now a Confederate senator, and is replaced in the War Department by George W. Randolph.

March 23 – The First Battle of Kernstown, a tactical loss for Stonewall Jackson, opens the Shenandoah Campaign.

March 28 – Jefferson Davis proposes a conscription program to the Confederate Congress, targeting all white males aged 18 to 35.

– The Battle of Glorieta Pass in New Mexico ends in a Union victory.


April 5 – McClellan’s army begins the siege of Yorktown, Va.

April 6-7 – In the bloodiest battle of the nation’s history to this point, the Union Army of the Tennessee defeats the Rebel Army of the Mississippi at Shiloh Church in southwestern Tennessee—killing Confederate commander Albert Sidney Johnston in the process.

April 7 – The surrender of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River ends the New Madrid Campaign. The Federals under Brig. Gen. John Pope capture some 7,000 prisoners.

April 10-11 – Union troops under Captain Quincy A. Gillmore force the surrender of Fort Pulaski near Savannah, Ga. The fort had been thought impregnable

April 12 – Jefferson Davis combines Confederate armies in the East to form the Army of Northern Virginia.

-Outside Atlanta, Union spies hijack a Confederate train, the General, headed for Chattanooga, Tenn., but are pursued and caught.

April 16 – Lincoln signs legislation to emancipate slaves in Washington, D.C.

– The Confederacy’s first conscription act is signed into law.

April 21 – Congress establishes a U.S. Mint at Denver, Colo. It will begin operations late in 1863.

April 25 – Having steamed past Forts Jackson and St. Philip on the Mississippi, Union naval forces under Flag Officer David Farragut arrive in New Orleans and demand the city’s surrender.

April 28 – New Orleans surrenders.

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