The weather still detemined how much warfare took place in January 1862. The American Civil War was determined by a series of skirmishes in the winter months coupled with a great deal of political work. In January 1862 Lincoln issued two orders both of which required McClellan to go on the offensive as opposed to remaining, in Lincoln’c mind, on the defensive.
January 1st: The Cabinet urged greater success in Missouri, which seemed to be a state out of control. Martial law was introduced to St. Louis but General Halleck was urged to do more by politicians in Washington DC.
January 3rd: Jefferson Davis expressed his concern that Union forces were stationed at Ship Island in the Mississippi Sound. This base was only 65 miles from New Orleans. General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson started his campaign to disrupt the North’s movement of supplies. His targets were the Baltimore to Ohio railway and the Ohio to Chesapeake canal.
January 4th: Jackson’s reputation for keeping his men on the move was cemented when Union forces could barely find his 10,000 men who were on the march.
January 6th: The Senate urged Lincoln to replace McClellan because of his seeming lack of activity. However, Lincoln supported McClellan.
January 7th: Three Union gunboats made a sortie along the Mississippi to within three miles of the important Confederate stronghold at Columbus. Their information was fed back to General U Grant.
January 9th: General Grant started his campaign against Columbus.
January 11th: Secretary of War Simon Cameron resigned over accusations of corruption and basic incompetence. 100 Union ships transported 15,000 troops to Port Royal, North Carolina, to support the men who are already there.
January 13th: Edwin Stanton became Secretary of War.
January 14th: Lincoln called for a more robust campaign in Missouri. McClelland urged caution.
January 19th: A battle at Mill Spring (sometimes called the Battle of Somerset) led to as many as 195 Confederate troops being killed with 200 taken prisoner. However, the Union’s leader in the attack, General Zollicoffer, was killed.
January 25th: By this day, what was left of the Confederate force at Mill Spring had been forced 100 miles to the southwest to Gainsboro, which resulted in the Confederate line having a large gap punched through it.
January 27th: Lincoln issued General War Order Number One. This urged the Union army into action and set February 22nd as the date he expected a major surge in action.
January 30th: The ‘USS Monitor’ was launched – a revolutionary new vessel designed by John Ericsson. The ‘Monitor’ marked a new stage in the development of ironclads. Mason and Slidell finally arrived in Great Britain.
January 31st: Lincoln issued his Special War Order Number One. This ordered the army that had been protecting Washington DC to launch an attack on Manassas Junction – as long as the safety of the capital had been ensured – by February 22nd. Great Britain announced that it would remain neutral in the war.