On the first day of the new year, General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson opened what was called the Romney campaign, or the Valley campaign. It was the campaign through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia during spring 1862 in which Jackson employed audacity and rapid, unpredictable movements on interior lines. His 17,000 men marched 646 miles in 48 days and won several minor battles as they successfully engaged three Union armies (52,000 men), preventing them from reinforcing the Union offensive against Richmond.
This was also the first day of the United States first income tax, a levy of 3% of incomes greater than $600, and 5% on incomes over $10,000.
On the 4th, Jackson’s force attacked Bath, Virginia, and on the 6th, his artillery shelled Hancock, MD for two days from the West Virginia side of the Potomac River.
On January 10th, President Lincoln, becoming frustrated by McClellan’s lack of aggressiveness, met with Irvin McDowell, William Franklin, Salmon P. Chase, Edwin Stanton, and Thomas Scott, telling them “…if McClellan is not going to use the army any time soon, I would like to borrow it.”
On that same day, Federal forces withdrew from Romney, WV.
Also on January 10, Federal forces attacked Confederate forces at Middle Creek in Eastern Kentucky. The Rebels were forced to retreat into Virginia by a Union Colonel named James A Garfield, who would later become the 20th President of the United States. This battle, along with the Mill Springs battle, cemented Union control of Eastern Kentucky until the fall.
Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Secretary of War, resigned amid charges of corruption on January 11th.
On the 14th, Stonewall Jackson’s forces take Romney, WV.
And on the 15th, Edwin Stanton becomes Secretary of War, replacing Cameron.
On January 18th, the confederate territory of Arizona was formed.
January 19th saw the Battle of Mill Springs in Eastern Kentucky, completing the rout of Confederate forces in the area.
On January 26th, Lincoln issued General War Order #1, calling for a Union Offensive. McClellan ignores the order.
And on January 30th, the future of the world’s navies was re-written with the launching of the ironclad USS MONITOR.