By Daniel Franc
Oct. 3, 1861: Inconclusive Battle of Greenbriar River in West Virginia. Though casualties are light and almost equal on each side, both the Federal and Confederate commanders exaggerate their enemy’s losses to give the impression of victory.
Oct. 9, 1861: A Confederate attempt to take Fort Pickens in western Florida is defeated at the Battle of Santa Rosa Island. The fort will remain in Federal hands for the entire war.
Oct. 21, 1861: Federal victories at the Battles of Camp Wildcat, KY, and Fredericktown, MO; Confederate victory at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, VA. This is the second-largest battle of the Eastern Theater in 1861, and the perceived incompetence of the Federal commanders (as well as the defeats at First Bull Run and Wilson’s Creek earlier in the year) provokes the establishment of the Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. Colonel Edward Baker, a U.S. Senator from Oregon, is killed at Ball’s Bluff, and remains the only Senator ever to fall in battle.
Oct. 25, 1861: Federal cavalry under John C. Fremont defeat the Missouri State Guard at the First Battle of Springfield, MO.
Oct. 31, 1861: Missouri Legislature approves Ordinances of Secession. Nevertheless, the state would remain strongly pro-Union throughout the war.
Compiled by Daniel Franc ‘15