Civil War

  • The South Secedes

    The South Secedes
    South Carolina called a convention to secede from the Union. State by state, conventions were held, and the Confederacy was formed.
  • The South Creates a Government

    The South Creates a Government
    At a convention in Montgomery, Alabama, the seven seceding states created the Confederate Constitution. With greater stress on the autonomy of each state.
  • Lincoln's Inauguration

    Lincoln's Inauguration
    Lincoln's inauguration was on March 4. He said he had no plans to end slavery in the states where it already existed, but also said he would not accept secession. He hoped to resolve the national crisis without war.
  • Attack on Fort Sumter

    Attack on Fort Sumter
    "When President Lincoln planned to send supplies to Fort Sumter, he alerted the state in advance, in an attempt to avoid hostilities. South Carolina, however, feared a trick; the commander of the fort, Robert Anderson, was asked to surrender immediately. Anderson offered to surrender, but only after he had exhausted his supplies. His offer was rejected, and on April 12, the Civil War began with shots fired on the fort. Fort Sumter eventually was surrendered to South Carolina."
  • Four More States Join the Confederacy

    Four More States Join the Confederacy
    The attack on Fort Sumter caused four more states to join the Confederacy. With Virginia's secession, Richmond was named the Confederate capitol.
  • West Virginia is Born

    West Virginia is Born
    Residents of the western counties of Virginia didn't want to secede along with the rest of the state. This section of Virginia was admitted into the Union as the state of West Virginia on June 20, 1863.
  • Four Slave States Stay in the Union

    Four Slave States Stay in the Union
    "Despite their acceptance of slavery, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri did not join the Confederacy. Although divided in their loyalties, a combination of political maneuvering and Union military pressure kept these states from seceding."
  • A Blockade of the South

    A Blockade of the South
    To blockade the coast of the Confederacy effectively, the federal navy had to be improved. By July, the effort at improvement had made a difference and an effective blockade had begun.
  • Abraham Lincoln Takes Action

    Abraham Lincoln Takes Action
    On January 27, President Lincoln issued a war order authorizing the Union to launch a unified aggressive action against the Confederacy. General McClellan ignored the order.
  • The Peninsular Campaign

    The Peninsular Campaign
    "In April, General McClellan's troops left northern Virginia to begin the Peninsular Campaign. By May 4, they occupied Yorktown, Virginia. At Williamsburg, Confederate forces prevented McClellan from meeting the main part of the Confederate army, and McClellan halted his troops, awaiting reinforcements."
  • New Orleans

    New Orleans
    Flag Officer David Farragut led an assault up the Mississippi River. By April 25, he was in command of New Orleans.
  • "Stonewall" Jackson Defeats Union Forces

    "Stonewall" Jackson Defeats Union Forces
    Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, commanding forces in the Shenandoah Valley, attacked Union forces in late March, forcing them to retreat across the Potomac.
  • The Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks)

    The Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks)
    On May 31, the Confederate army attacked federal forces at Seven Pines. Confederate commander Joseph E. Johnston was severely wounded, and command of the Army of Northern Virginia fell to Robert E. Lee.
  • The Seven Days' Battles

    The Seven Days' Battles
    "Between June 26 and July 2, Union and Confederate forces fought a series of battles: Mechanicsville (June 26-27), Gaines's Mill (June 27), Savage's Station (June 29), Frayser's Farm (June 30), and Malvern Hill (July 1). On July 2, the Confederates withdrew to Richmond, ending the Peninsular Campaign."
  • Antietam

    Antietam
    Confederate forces under General Lee were caught by General McClellan near Sharpsburg, Maryland. This battle proved to be the bloodiest day of the war. The battle had no clear winner, but because General Lee withdrew to Virginia, McClellan was considered the victor.
  • The Battle of Fredericksburg

    The Battle of Fredericksburg
    "General McClellan's slow movements, combined with General Lee's escape, and continued raiding by Confederate cavalry, dismayed many in the North. On November 7, Lincoln replaced McClellan with Major-General Ambrose E. Burnside. Burnside's forces were defeated in a series of attacks against entrenched Confederate forces at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Burnside was replaced with General Joseph Hooker."
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    The announcement made by President Lincoln during the Civil War on September 22, 1862, emancipating all black slaves in states still engaged in rebellion against the Union.
  • The First Conscription Act

    The First Conscription Act
    Because of recruiting difficulties, an act was passed making all men between the ages of 20 and 45 liable to be called for military service. Service could be avoided by paying a fee or finding a substitute.
  • The Vicksburg Campaign

    The Vicksburg Campaign
    Union General Grant won several victories around Vicksburg, Mississippi, the fortified city considered essential to the Union's plans to regain control of the Mississippi River. On May 22, Grant began a siege of the city.
  • The Gettysburg Campaign

    The Gettysburg Campaign
    "Confederate General Lee decided to take the war to the enemy. On June 13, he defeated Union forces at Winchester, Virginia, and continued north to Pennsylvania. General Hooker, who had been planning to attack Richmond, was instead forced to follow Lee. Hooker, never comfortable with his commander, General Halleck, resigned on June 28, and General George Meade replaced him as commander of the Army of the Potomac."
  • The Battle of Chickamauga

    The Battle of Chickamauga
    On September 19, Union and Confederate forces met on the Tennessee-Georgia border, near Chickamauga Creek. After the battle, Union forces retreated to Chattanooga, and the Confederacy maintained control of the battlefield.
  • Winter Quarters at Brandy Station

     Winter Quarters at Brandy Station
    All was quiet beyond the Rappahannock, but there was a rich harvest for the photographers. Some photographs date from December 1863.
  • Grant's Wilderness Campaign

    Grant's Wilderness Campaign
    "General Grant, promoted to commander of the Union armies, planned to engage Lee's forces in Virginia until they were destroyed. North and South met and fought in an inconclusive three-day battle in the Wilderness. Lee inflicted more casualties on the Union forces than his own army incurred, but unlike Grant, he had no replacements."
  • The Battle of Spotsylvania

    The Battle of Spotsylvania
    General Grant continued to attack Lee. At Spotsylvania Court House, he fought for five days, vowing to fight all summer if necessary.
  • The Battle of Cold Harbor

    The Battle of Cold Harbor
    Grant again attacked Confederate forces at Cold Harbor, losing over 7,000 men in twenty minutes. Although Lee suffered fewer casualties, his army never recovered from Grant's continual attacks. This was Lee's last clear victory of the war.
  • The Siege of Petersburg

    The Siege of Petersburg
    Grant hoped to take Petersburg, below Richmond, and then approach the Confederate capital from the south. The attempt failed, resulting in a ten month siege and the loss of thousands of lives on both sides.
  • Confederate Troops Approach Washington, D.C.

    Confederate Troops Approach Washington, D.C.
    Confederate General Jubal Early led his forces into Maryland to relieve the pressure on Lee's army. Early got within five miles of Washington, D.C., but on July 13, he was driven back to Virginia.
  • Abraham Lincoln Is Re-Elected

    Abraham Lincoln Is Re-Elected
    The Republican party nominated President Abraham Lincoln as its presidential candidate, and Andrew Johnson for vice-president. The Democratic party chose General George B. McClellan for president, and George Pendleton for vice-president.
  • The Fall of the Confederacy

    The Fall of the Confederacy
    "Transportation problems and successful blockades caused severe shortages of food and supplies in the South. Starving soldiers began to desert Lee's forces, and although President Jefferson Davis approved the arming of slaves as a means of augmenting the shrinking army, the measure was never put into effect."
  • Sherman Marches through North and South Carolina

    Sherman Marches through North and South Carolina
    Union General Sherman moved from Georgia through South Carolina, destroying almost everything in his path.
  • A Chance for Reconciliation Is Lost

    A Chance for Reconciliation Is Lost
    "Confederate President Jefferson Davis agreed to send delegates to a peace conference with President Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward, but insisted on Lincoln's recognition of the South's independence as a prerequisite. Lincoln refused, and the conference never occurred."
  • Fallen Richmond

    Fallen Richmond
    On March 25, General Lee attacked General Grant's forces near Petersburg, but was defeated -- attacking and losing again on April 1. On April 2, Lee evacuated Richmond, the Confederate capital, and headed west to join with other forces.
  • The Defenses of Washington

    The Defenses of Washington
    The Lincoln administration was determined to make the capital safe from attack by ringing the city with a chain of forts manned by substantial garrisons of artillerists and other troops.
  • Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse

    Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse
    General Lee's troops were soon surrounded, and on April 7, Grant called upon Lee to surrender. On April 9, the two commanders met at Appomattox Courthouse, and agreed on the terms of surrender. Lee's men were sent home on parole -- soldiers with their horses, and officers with their side arms. All other equipment was surrendered.
  • The Assassination of President Lincoln

    The Assassination of President Lincoln
    "On April 14, as President Lincoln was watching a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., he was shot by John Wilkes Booth, an actor from Maryland obsessed with avenging the Confederate defeat. Lincoln died the next morning. Booth escaped to Virginia. Eleven days later, cornered in a burning barn, Booth was fatally shot by a Union soldier. Nine other people were involved in the assassination; four were hanged, four imprisoned, and one acquitted."
  • The end of the Civil War

    Finally, on April 18, 1865, the Civil War ended with the surrender of the Confederate army. 617,000 Americans had died in the war, approximately the same number as in all of America's other wars combined. Thousands had been injured. The southern landscape was devastated.
  • Final Surrenders among Remaining Confederate Troops

    Remaining Confederate troops were defeated between the end of April and the end of May. Jefferson Davis was captured in Georgia on May 10.
  • The Grand Review of the Army

    The Grand Review of the Army
    The Army of the Potomac paraded on May 23, and the Army of Georgia on May 24. Unfortunately most of the photographs, thought to have been taken by Brady himself, fail to distinguish either the unit or the day.