What Happened in May 1861

Historical Events

  • May 1 Lee orders Confederate troops under T J Jackson to Harper's Ferry
  • May 3 General 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 and another 18,000 seamen
  • May 4 At Gretna, Louisiana, one of 1st guns of Rebel navy is cast
  • May 5 Alexandria, Virginia - Confederate troops abandon the city
  • May 6 Arkansas & Tennessee becomes 9th & 10th states to secede from US
  • 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, Missouri

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
Victoria
  • 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 Major General Twiggs surrenders to Confederate Army in San Antonio, Texas (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 Virginia - 1st Federal offense against the 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 and last state to secede from the Union
  • May 20 US Marshals, in search of secessionist evidence, seize the previous year's telegraph dispatches
  • 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, Virginia occupied by Federal troops
  • May 24 Union Major General 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 towns of New Orleans and Mobile
  • May 29 Dorothea Dix offers help in setting up hospitals for Union Army
  • May 31 General 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 interestRabindranath Tagore

May 6 Rabindranath Tagore, Indian philosopher, poet, writer (Nobel Prize for Literature 1913), born in Calcutta, British India (d. 1941)

  • May 6 Motilal Nehru, Indian lawyer and freedom fighter, born in Agra, British India (d. 1931)
  • May 11 Frederick Russell Burnham, father of the international scouting movement (d. 1947)

Person of interestH. H. Holmes

May 16 H. H. Holmes [Herman Webster Mudgett], 1st known 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)
  • May 24 Elmer E. Ellsworth, American soldier, the first Union officer killed in the American Civil War, dies at 24