On November 1, the highly-popular George McClellan was promoted to General-in-Chief of the entire Union Army.
On the 2nd, President Lincoln relieved the controversial John C. Fremont from duty.
Two days later, the U.S. Navy entered Port Royal Sound which lies between the strategically vital ports of Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA after being battered by a fierce storm on the trip down the coast. On that same day, Major General Thomas Jackson, now called “Stonewall,” took command of Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
On November 6th, Jefferson Davis was elected to the office of President of the Confederacy for a 6-year term.
November 7th saw the opening of a major attack and amphibious operation against the Confederate forts of Fort Walker and Fort Beauregard guarding the entrance to Port Royal Sound. Union commander Flag Officer Samuel DuPont put his ships on an elliptical path, bombarding first one fort, then the other. The Union ships were challenged by Rebel gunboats, but the smaller craft fled when fired upon. By early afternoon, the guns at Fort Walker were silenced, and the troops were withdrawn. The commander of Fort Beauregard followed suit and Union soldiers were landed and took possession of both forts. As a result of this action, Union forces moved north, taking St. Helena Sound and the city of Beaufort. The Port of Charleston was besieged and remained that way to the war’s end.
That same day, Ulysses S. Grant saw his first action as commander of the District of Southeast Missouri when, on his way to attack Rebel forces at Columbus, Kentucky, learned that enemy troops had crossed the Mississippi and occupied Belmont, Missouri. Grant landed his force on the Missouri side of the river and overran the encampment. However, the Confederate remnants reorganized and reinforced from Columbus, counter-attacked, supported by heavy artillery from across the river. Grant was forced to retreat to Paducah, Kentucky.
Williams then met Nelson at a point northeast of Pikeville between Ivy Mountain and Ivy Creek. Waiting by a narrow bend in the road, the Confederates surprised the Union troops by firing upon their constricted ranks. A fight ensued, but neither side gained the bulge. As the shooting ebbed, Williams's men felled trees across the road and burned bridges to slow Nelson's pursuing force. Night approached and rain began which, along with the obstructions, convinced Nelson's men to go into camp. In the meantime, Williams retreated into Virginia, stopping in Abingdon on November 9. Sill's force arrived too late to be of use, but he did skirmish with the remnants of Williams's retreating force before he occupied Pikeville on the 9th. This bedraggled Confederate force retreated back into Virginia for supplies. The Union forces consolidated their power in eastern Kentucky Mountains.
Between the 8th and 10th, Unionists in Kentucky, encouraged by the approach of a large body of Federal troops, revolted, burning railroad bridges to delay the advance of Rebel troops. Also on the 8th, a British mail ship, carrying two Confederate commissioners was stopped in the Bahamas Channel by the US warship San Jacinto. The two commissioners were removed and were taken to Fort Warren, arriving there on the 23rd.
On November 9th, Major General Henry Halleck, who would eventually become the Union General-in-Chief, was given command of the states east of the Mississippi. Major General Don Carlos Buell took command of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee.
On the 15th, Buell’s former command, the Department of Ohio, was taken over by William T. Sherman. Also on the 15th, a second Union rebellion began in eastern Tennessee, centered on the city of Chattanooga.
On the 19th of November, Julia Ward Howe penned the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which would become the anthem for the Union.
On November 20th, after a previous request by a Reverend from Ridleyville, Ohio, Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase instructed the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia “The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. Eventually, the phrase “In God We Trust” would be added to all U.S. currency and coin.
On November 22nd, Union naval forces under Harvey Brown commenced bombardment of Fort McRee, which lay on the road to Pensacola. Even though the guns of the fort eventually fell silent, darkness and the falling tide compelled the Union ships to withdraw without completing the assault.
Also on the 20th, Kentucky’s Confederate government filed a secession ordnance.
November 26th was the day that the constitutional convention for the newly-declared state of West Virginia was convened in Wheeling.
On November 28th, the Confederate Congress officially admitted Missouri to the Confederate Army.
And on the 27th, the British ship Trent made port in London and reported that the ship had been boarded and the two commissioners removed by the U.S. Navy.
The next day, November 8th, another battle was fought around Ivy Mountain in Kentucky. While recruiting in southeast Kentucky, Confederates under Col. John Stuart Williams ran short of ammunition at Prestonsburg and fell back to Pikeville to replenish their supply. Brig. Gen. William "Bull" Nelson sent out a detachment from near Louisa under Col. Joshua W. Sill, while he started out from Prestonsburg with a larger force in an attempt to "turn or cut the Rebels off." Williams prepared for evacuation, hoping for time to reach Virginia, and sent out a cavalry force to meet Nelson about eight miles from Pikeville. The Rebel cavalry escaped, and Nelson continued on his way.