Annotated Timeline

  • Harper's Ferry

    John Brown led a small group on a raid against a federal army. This was an attempt to start an armed slave revolt and destroy the institution of slavery.
  • South Secedes

    South Carolina was the first state to seceded from the Union. Soon after South Carolina seceded, six more states decided to leave the Union and join the Confederacy
  • Lincoln's First Election

    Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th president of the United States over a deeply divided Democratic party. Lincoln becomes the first Republican to win the presidency.
  • Confederate States of America established

    Delegates from South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana convene to establish the Confederate States of America. The ongoing conflict between the North and the South regarding the issue of slavery led to the discussion of a unified seperation.
  • Wrti of Habeas Corpus suspended

    Chief Justice Roger Taney issued a ruling that President Lincoln didn't have the authority to suspend habeas corpus. Lincoln didn't respond or appeal, instead he was defiant insisting that he needed to suspend the rules in order to put down the rebellion in the South.
  • 1st Battle of Bull Run

    This was the first major land battle of the Civil War. A large Union force was led under General McDowell, they were routed by a Confederate army under General Beauregard
  • 1st Confiscation Act

    Congress passed the first Confiscation Act, which declared that all slaves used for 'insurrectionary' purposes would be considered freed. This happened despite Lincoln's cautious views regarding emancipation.
  • Trent Affair

    Two Confederate diplomats boarded and English steamer. They were stopped by a British vessel and arrested. This led to a stall in negotiations between America and England.
  • First Income Tex

  • Monitor v. Merrimac

    One of the most famous naval battle of American history. Between two ironclads, the North Monitor and the South's Merrimac.
  • Shiloh

    General Grant (Union) and General Johnston (Confederacy) clash at Shiloh. This battle became one of the bloodiest engagements of the war with a level of violence that shocked the North and South alike.
  • Capture of New Orleans

    Union troops officially take possesion of New Orleans. The capture of New Orleans, which was a vital city, was a huge blow to the Confederacy
  • Homestead/Morrill Land Grant Acts

    These were programs designed to grant public land to small farmers for low cost. Southern congressman feared these acts because they thought that the western farming economy would create an agricultural alternative to the Southern slave economy.
  • 2nd Confiscation Act

    This second Confiscation Act again declared free the slaves of persons aiding and supporting the insurrection and which also authorized the president to employ African Americans, including freed slaves, as soldiers. As the war progressed, much of the North seemed slowly to accept emancipation as a major war aim.
  • Antietam

    Confederate and Union troops crash in the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. Marked the culmination of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the Northern states.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Declared forever free slaves in all areas of the Confederacy except those already Union control. The proclamation did not apply to tthe border slave states, which had neer seceded from the Union and therefore were not subject to the president's war powers.
  • National Draft Law instated

    The act passed by Congress called for the registration all males between the ages of 20 and 45 by April 1. This was the first wartime draft in American history.
  • Capture of Richmond

    The rebel Capitol falls to the Union, the most significant sign that the Confederacy is reaching its final days. General Grant had been trying to infiltrate the capitol for ten months before this capture.
  • Vicksburg

    The Confederacy is torn into two when General Pemberton surrenders to General Grant at Vicksburg. The victory at Vicksburg is one of the Union's most successful during the war.
  • Capture of Atlanta

    The Battle of Jonesboro leads to the fall of Atlanta. General Sherman of the Union launches an attack the finally secures Atlanta forcing the Conderacty to evacuate the area.
  • Lincoln's Re-election

    Northern voters overwhelming endorse the leadership and policiies of President Abraham Lincoln when they elect him for a secon term. With his re-election, any hope for a negotiated settlement with the Confederacy vanished.
  • Sherman's March to the Sea

    General Sherman begins his expedition across Georgia by torching the industrial section of Atlanta and pulling away from his supply lines. For the next six weeks, Sherman's army destroyed most of the state before capturing the Confederate seaport of Savannah, Georgia.
  • Surrender at Appomattox

    Robert E. Lee surrenders his 28,000 troops to Union General Grant, effectivily ending the American Civil War. Lee had no other choice because he was forced to leave the capitol, blocked from joining the surviving Confederate forces in North Carolina, and harrassed by Union cavalry.
  • Lincoln's Assassination

    Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln at a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC. The war was almost over with Robert E. Lee surrendering his army to General Grant at Appomattax
  • 13th Amendment

    The 13th Amendment is ratified, officially ending slavery. The amendment came eight months after the end of the Civil War.