April 2nd saw the Bread Riot in Richmond, VA. A mob demanded bread from a supply wagon. The action increased in fury, resulting in the looting of several stores. The rioters were personally addressed by President Jefferson Davis, who took money from his own pockets and tossed it into the crowd.
On April 5th, President Lincoln sailed to Fredericksburg, VA to meet with General Joe Hooker to discuss strategy in Virginia.
Nine Union ironclads under the command of Samuel Dupont sailed into Charleston Harbor April 7th and attacked Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter. Damage is done to the forts, but the ships are heavily damaged by Confederate shore batteries and are forced to withdraw.
On April 12th, Confederate General James Longstreet surrounds Suffolk, VA and begins a siege that will last until May 4th.
On the 13th, Union General Nathaniel Banks carried out an ordered attack towards the Confederate strongpoint of Port Hudson, in coordination with Grant’s move against Vicksburg. The Confederates at Fort Bisland had excellent intelligence on Banks’ movement through the swamps of Louisiana’s Bayou Teche region. Banks sent Grover’s division in a flanking movement, but the movement was slowed by General Mouton. Union troops later arrived and formed a battle line outside of Fort Bisland. After a night-long artillery duel, Union forces advanced on the Fort on the 13th. The fighting continued until dusk. Later that night, Confederate General Richard Taylor learned that more Union troops were in his rear and now in position to cut off his retreat. During the night, the Confederates successfully evacuated the Fort, which the Union troops found empty and abandoned at sunup.
Ambrose Burnside on April 13th issued General Order 38 which stipulated that persons found guilty of acting for the benefit of the U.S.’s enemies would be subject to execution.
Admiral David Porter sent 12 Union ships south on the Mississippi past Vicksburg. They were hit several times by shore batteries but suffered little damage.
Union Colonel Benjamin Grierson left La Grange, TN on the 17th with 1,700 cavalry troopers to raid the state of Mississippi.
Confederate General John Marmaduke left Arkansas on the 17th to raid Missouri.
Nebraska takes the first step towards statehood with the signing of the enabling act on April 19th
On the 20th, President Lincoln announced that West Virginia would join the Union on June 20th.
Admiral Porter’s fleet resupplies Grant’s forces south of Vicksburg on the 22nd, which suffered heavy losses while passing the Confederate shore batteries.
Also on the 22nd, the Confederacy passed a comprehensive tax in kind plan which levied 10 per cent of everything grown or produced.
On April 27th, Union Colonel Streight attempted to raid Rome, Georgia. However in May, he was tricked into surrendering a few miles short of the town by Nathan Bedford Forrest. On that same day, Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner assumed command of the Department of East Tennessee. His son, Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. would die in battle while commanding American troops on the island of Okinawa in World War II.
On April 30, Union forces set camp in The Wilderness surrounding Chancellor’s mansion after crossing the Rappahannock River.
On that same day, Grant begins crossing the Mississippi and landing U.S. troops south of Vicksburg.