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Civil War Timeline and significant Civil War Events

1854 Anti-Slavery notherners found the Republican Party
1855 The Kansas-Nebraska Act allows incoming settlers to decide to be a slave state or a free state
1859 John Brown attempts to incite a slave uprising at Harper’s Ferry, is later executed for treason against the state of Virginia
1860 November 6 –Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln wins the presidential election in the electoral college but lacks a majority of the popular vote (1.9 million out of 4.7 million votes cast) signaling a divided nation
1860 November 10—South Carolina legislature calls a convention to discuss secession only four days after the presidential election
1860 December 20South Carolina secedes from the Union and four days later adopts a Declaration justifying its secession
1861 January 3— Delaware legislators reject secession proposals
1861 January 9Mississippi secedes from the Union
1861 January 10 Florida secedes from the Union
1861 January 11 Alabama secedes from the Union
1861 January 19 Georgia secedes from the Union
1861 January 26 Louisiana secedes from the Union
1861 January 29—Kansas joins the Union as a free state
1861 February 1 Texas secedes from the Union
1861 February 18— The Confederate States of America is organized with Jefferson Davis inaugurated as President; Alexander Stephens as Vice-President
1861 March 4—Abraham Lincoln inaugurated as President of the United States of America
1861 March 11—Confederate Congress adopts a Constitution of the Confederate States
1861 March 21CSA VP Alexander Stephens gives “Corner-Stone” speech acknowledging black slavery as cornerstone of the Confederacy.
1861 April 12-13Battle of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina; Confederates fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina as federal forces attempt to resupply the fort; Civil war begins; under Major Robert Anderson the federal forces surrender the fort to the Confederacy; important because the Confederacy was claiming all federal property in the states that seceded
1861 April 15—Lincoln calls for 75,000 militiamen to suppress the Confederate rebellion
1861 April 15-16—Kentucky and North Carolina refuse to provide troops to the Union
1861 April 16—Virginia refuses to provide troops to the Union
1861 April 17 Virginia secedes from the Union
1861 April 17—Missouri and Tennessee refuse to provide troops to the Union
1861 April 18—Robert E. Lee refuses to command the Union Army
1861 April 19—President Lincoln issues Proclamation of Blockade against Southern ports
1861 April 20 Robert E. Lee resigns his commission to the United States Army, is later offered and accepts command of Confederate forces in Virginia.
1861 May 6Arkansas secedes from the Union
1861 May 6—Britain recognizes the CSA as belligerants but not as a nation.
1861 May 20 North Carolina secedes from the Union
1861 May 20—Kentucky declared neutral; is effectively divided and has residents fighting for both sides
1861 June 8 Tennessee secedes from the Union
1861 July 20—Virginia divides, West Virginia joins the Union
1861 July 21—First Battle of Bull Run or First Manassas fought in Virginia--Confederate victory (Union troops tried to seize a vital railroad at Manassas, VA and Confederates repelled them, indicating a strong resistance and a long conflict in store)
1861 August 10—Battle of Wilson’s Creek in Missouri, Confederate victory
1861 August 28-29—Battle of Fort Hatteras in North Carolina, Union victory, Union tries to close southern ports along the Carolina coast
1861 October 21—Battle of Ball’s Bluff in Virginia, Confederate victory
1862 January 19—Battle of Mill’s Springs in Kentucky, Union victory
1862 February 6—Battle of Fort Henry in Tennessee, Union victory (along with the Battle of Fort Donelson a few days later, General Grant captures these forts on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers forcing Confederates out of Kentucky and much of Tennessee)
1862 February 8—Battle of Roanoke Island in North Carolina, Union victory
1862 February 11-16—Battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee, Union victory (see Battle of Fort Henry on 6 Feb 1862; this battle is where Union General U.S. Grant earned the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant when he would offer no terms to the Confederates except "unconditional surrender")
1862 February 28-April 8—Battle of Island Number Ten in Missouri, Union victory
1862 March 6-8—Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas, Union victory
1862 March 9Battle of Hampton Roads (Monitor vs. Merrimac), inconclusive (Merrimac withdraws after Monitor comes to the aid of her sister ships; this is the first battle of the Ironclads and permanently changed maritime warfare)
1862 April 6-7—Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, Union victory (first battle after Union sent troops into the West; Confederates attacked near Shiloh and Union forces led by Grant continued to press them in the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, proving to Lincoln that Grant was a general who would not back down or retreat; the total casualties exceeded those of all previous American wars combined and shocked both the North and South)
1862 April 16—Law prohibiting slavery in District of Columbia is signed by Lincoln
1862 April 18-28—Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip in Louisiana, Union victory (decisive battle for the possession of New Orleans which was protected by these two forts)
1862 April 29-May 30—Siege of Corinth in Mississippi, Union victory
1862 May 25—First Battle of Winchester in Virginia, Confederate victory
1862 June 25-July 1—Seven Days Battles in Virginia, Confederate victory (this was the culmination of the Peninsula Campaign, the Union attack from the Atlantic coast on the Confederate capitol of Richmond, Virginia, in which Union General McClellan marched on Richmond then assumed a defensive position instead of attacking and the Union was repelled—included the Battles of Gaines Mill and Malvern Hill)
1862 August 28-30—Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas in Virginia, Confederate victory (Confederate Generals Lee and Stonewall Jackson defeat attacking Union troops led by General Pope who is replaced by Gen. McClellan; this set the stage for Lee's first invasion of the north and the Battle of Antietam)
1862 September 17—Battle of Antietam in Maryland, inconclusive (Strategic victory for Union, led by General McClellan as they stopped the first of Lee’s two invasions of the North; bloodiest single day battle of the war, first battle fought on Union soil)
1862 September 23—Emancipation Proclamation; President Lincoln announced that on 1 January 1863 all slaves in the rebelling states would be free, it did not affect slaves in the border states that did not secede. This forced European nations to acknowledge that by choosing a side in the American Civil War they were taking a stand for or against slavery
1862 October 8—Battle of Perryville in Kentucky, inconclusive
1862 October 11—Confederate Congress exempts owners of 20 or more slaves from army service
1862 December 13—Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia, Confederate victory (Union General Burnside attacked Confederate General Lee’s fortified position and suffered twice as many losses, 10,000 casualties vs. 5,000 casualties)
1863 January 1—Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation
1863 December 31, 1862-January 2—Battle of Stones River (Second Battle of Murfreesboro) in Tennessee, inconclusive
1863 March 3—U.S. Congress passes Conscription Act calling for able-bodied males from 20-45 years of age to military service for 3 year terms (started in the South one year earlier)
1863 April 30-May 6—Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia, Confederate victory (this battle boosted morale in the South because the Union was losing troops and is widely considered Lee's greatest victory but it was also very costly as their brilliant General Stonewall Jackson was accidentally killed by his own men who mistook him and his party for Union cavalry)
1863 May 16—Battle of Champion Hill in Mississippi, Union victory
1863 May 18-July 4—Siege of Vicksburg in Mississippi, Union victory (Vicksburg surrenders to Union General Grant and now all of the Mississippi River is in Union control)
1863 May 21-July 9—Siege of Port Hudson in Louisiana, Union victory
1863 July 1-3—Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, Union victory, ends Confederates second invasion of the North (Lee had hoped to pave a way to Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg ended these hopes; one of the largest battles in the Western Hemisphere with over 165,000 soldiers participating)
1863 July 13-16—Draft riot in New York, 50,000 riot draft they feel favors the rich
1863 August 1—Jefferson Davis offers amnesty to Confederate deserters
1863 September 19-20—Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia, Confederate victory (Confederate General Braxton Bragg was reinforced by a corps from the Army of Northern Virginia and repelled Union Major General Rosencrans' forces)
1863 October 5—Confederate David attacks Union New Ironsides with a torpedo, both survive, Union blockade of Charleston Harbor continues
1863 November 19—Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address dedicating battlefield as a National cemetery
1863 November 23-25—Battle of Chattanooga in Tennessee, Union victory (Union General Grant is reinforced with troops from the East and is able to push back Southern troops, opening the road to Atlanta for federal troops who were preparing for the assault on Atlanta--the heart of the Confederacy)
1863 December 8—Lincoln issues Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction to pardon any who participated in the rebellion if they will now take an oath of loyalty to the Union
1864 February 9—Escape from Libby Prison, Union prisoners escape Richmond prison and make it to Union lines
1864 February 17—CSS Hunley (submarine) sinks USS Houstonic with a torpedo outside Charleston Harbor, SC. Both sink.
1864 March 2—U.S. Grant is appointed Lt. General and assumes command of all Union Armies
1864 April 8—Battle of Mansfield in Louisiana, Confederate victory
1864 April 12—Massacre at Fort Pillow, Tennessee (Confederate Nathan Bedford Forrest captured Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River and many of the U.S. Colored Troops defending the fort were massacred)
1864 May 8-21—Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia, inconclusive (after the inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness, Union General Grant pressed on trying to meet Confederate General Lee in more favorable circumstances, this battle was also inconclusive and had high casualties but proved Grant’s resolve to never retreat and impressed upon Lee the futility for the South in a war of attrition)
1864 June 15-18—Second Battle of Petersburg in Virginia, Confederate victory (Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard successfully defended this important railroad junction and communication area against Union forces in trench-warfare patterns and held off long enough for reinforcements from General Lee to end the battle, although a ten-month siege continued)
1864 July 30—Battle of the Crater in Virginia, Confederate victory
1864 August 2-23—Battle of Mobile Bay in Alabama, Union victory
1864 August 31-September 1—Battle of Jonesborough in Georgia, Union victory (Union General Sherman burned Atlanta, destroying a vital city and railroad junction and demoralizing the South)
1864 September 19—Battle of Opequon in Virginia, Union victory
1864 October 19—Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia, Union victory
1864 November 8—Lincoln re-elected as president of United States
1864 November 30—Battle of Franklin in Tennessee, Union victory
1864 December 16—Battle of Nashville in Tennessee, Union victory
1865 January 13-15—Second Battle of Fort Fisher in North Carolina, Union victory
1865 March 3—Union Congress creates the Freedmen’s Bureau
1865 March 13—Confederacy authorizes the arming of slaves as soldiers
1865 March 19-20—Battle of Bentonville in North Carolina, Union victory
1865 March 25—Battle of Fort Stedman in Virginia, Union victory
1865 April 1—Battle of Five Forks in Virginia, Union victory
1865 April 2—Third Battle of Petersburg in Virginia, Union victory
1865 April 2-9—Battle of Fort Blakely in Alabama, Union victory
1865 April 3-4—Jefferson Davis flees Richmond, Lincoln arrives in Richmond
1865 April 9—Battle of Appomattox Court House in Virginia, Lee’s forces are surrounded and he surrenders to Grant under generous terms of surrender; this doesn't end the war but the loss of the Confederacy's largest army helps bring the war to a close
1865 April 14—Abraham Lincoln is assassinated
1865 April 26—Confederate forces in Tennessee and miscellaneous southern troops surrender
1865 May 4—Confederate forces in the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana surrender
1865 May 10—Jefferson Davis is captured in Georgia
1865 May 12—Battle of Palmito Ranch in Texas, final battle of the Civil war, Confederate victory
1865 May 26—terms for final surrender of Confederate forces
1865 June 2—Civil war officially ends