What Happened in May 1861

Historical Events

  • May 1 Lee orders Confederate troops under T J Jackson to Harper's Ferry
  • May 3 Gen Winfield Scott presents his Anaconda Plan for the North against the South in American Civil War
  • May 3 Lincoln asks for 42,000 Army Volunteers & another 18,000 seamen
  • May 4 At Gretna LA, one of 1st guns of Rebel navy is cast
  • May 5 Alexandria, VA - CS troops abandon city
  • May 6 Arkansas & Tennessee becomes 9th & 10th states to secede from US

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 6 Jefferson Davis approves a bill declaring War between the Union & the Confederacy

President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis
President of the Confederate States of America
Jefferson Davis
  • May 7 Riot occurs between prosecessionist & Union supporters in Knoxville TN
  • May 8 Richmond, Virginia, is named the capital of the Confederacy
  • May 10 Union troops march on state militia in St Louis, MI

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 13 Queen Victoria announces Britain's position of neutrality

Queen of the United Kingdom Victoria
Queen of the United Kingdom
  • May 13 The Great Comet of 1861 is discovered by John Tebbutt of Windsor, New South Wales, Australia.
  • May 14 The Canellas meteorite, an 859-gram chondrite-type meteorite, strikes the earth near Barcelona, Spain.
  • May 16 Twiggs Surrender, San Antonio, Texas during US Civil war
  • May 16 Confederate government offers war volunteers $10 premium
  • May 16 Kentucky proclaims its neutrality
  • May 18 Battle of Sewall's Point VA-1st Federal offense against South
  • May 18 Friedrich Hebbel's "Kriemhildes Rache" premieres in Weimar
  • May 20 Cornerstone of University of Washington laid in Seattle
  • May 20 Kentucky proclaims its neutrality in Civil War
  • May 20 North Carolina becomes 11th & last state to secede from Union
  • May 20 US marshals appropriate previous year's telegraph dispatches, to reveal prosecessionist evidence
  • May 21 Richmond, Va, is designated Confederate Capital
  • May 23 3 fleeing slaves enter Fort Monroe Virginia
  • May 23 Virginia citizens vote 3 to 1 in favor of secession from the Union
  • May 24 Alexandria, VA occupied by Federal troops
  • May 24 Maj Gen Benjamin Butler declares slaves "contraband of war"
  • May 25 John Merryman is arrested under suspension of writ of habeas corpus it later sparks a supreme court decision protecting writ
  • May 26 US Postmaster General Blair announces end of postal connection with South
  • May 26 Union blockades New Orleans LA & Mobile AL
  • May 29 Dorothea Dix offers help in setting up hospitals for Union Army
  • May 31 Gen Beauregard is given command of Confederate Alexandria Line
  • May 31 Mint at New Orleans closes

Famous Birthdays

  • May 3 Emmett Dalton, American outlaw (d. 1937)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 6 Rabindranath Tagore, Indian philosopher/poet/writer (Nobel 1913), born in Calcutta (d. 1941)

  • May 6 Motilal Nehru, Indian freedom fighter (d. 1931)
  • May 11 Frederick Russell Burnham, father of the international scouting movement (d. 1947)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 16 H. H. Holmes [Herman Webster Mudgett], American serial killer, born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire (d. 1896)

Serial Killer H. H. Holmes
Serial Killer
H. H. Holmes
  • May 19 Dame Nellie Melba, Australian opera singer (d. 1931)
  • May 27 Victoria E Matthews, educator
  • May 31 Emily Perkins Bissell, welfare worker (1st christmas seal drive, 1907)

Famous Deaths

  • May 3 Anthony Philip Heinrich, composer, dies at 80
  • May 9 Peter Ernst von Lasaulx, German philosopher and writer (b. 1805)
  • May 12 Christian Heinrich Hohmann, composer, dies at 50
  • May 24 Elmer Ellsworth, US warrior (Chicago Zouaves), shot to death at 23
  • May 24 James T Jackson, US landlord (doodde EE Ellsworth), shot dead)