Civil War

  • Lincoln Elected

    Though winning in the electoral college, Lincoln's lack of a popular majority (1.9 million out of 4.7 million votes cast) is an indication of the problems he would face with a divided nation.
  • South Carolina Secedes

    On news of Lincoln's election, South Carolina (site of nullification fight in 1830s) secedes.
  • Confederacy Formed

    Seven states form Confederacy, write their own constitution, and plan for an independent nation.
  • Lincoln Inagurated

    Lincoln enters Washington D.C. in disguise because of unrest. Southerners begin seizing federal posts.
  • Ft. Sumter Attacked

    Lincoln decides to supply Ft. Sumter, but wants the South to fire the first shot.
  • First Bull Run

    Gen. McDowell leads 30,000 men against Gen. Johnston's 22,000 Southern troops in an attempt to crush the rebels and go "On to Richmond." South scores victory as Union troops flee back to Washington in disarray. McDowell replaced by Gen. McClellan.
  • Ft. Henry & Ft. Donelson

    Gen. Grant captures two forts on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Confederates forced out of Kentucky and yield much of Tennessee.
  • Monitor vs. Merrimac

    First ironclad battle in history ends in a draw as the Merrimac withdraws after daylong exchange of fire. Union blockade of South is maintained.
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    Peninsular Campaign (Yorktown, Seven Days' Battle, Fair Oaks)

    After continual prodding by Lincoln, McClellan decides to attack Richmond via the South. He moves his large army down the Potomac, marches on Richmond, and then assumes a defensive position rather than pushing for victory. Gen. Lee takes command of Southern troops.
  • Shiloh

    Grant overcomes Southern forces with heavy losses for each side: 13,000 Union casualties, 11,000 for South.
  • New Orleans

    Farragut seizes New Orleans for Union after boldly attacking Southern position. 11 Southern ships sunk.
  • Second Bull Run

    McClellan replaced by Gen. Pope. Lee and Gen. Stonewall Jackson defeat Union troops again at Manassas and Pope is replaced by McClellan.
  • Antietam

    Heavily outnumbered, Lee's troops face McClellan in bloody fighting. Over 23,000 casualties (more than all previous American wars combined). Lee retreats to Virginia
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    With victory at Antietam, Lincoln announces that on 1/1/63, all slaves in the rebelling states would be free. Does not affect border states. Forces European nations to recognize that choosing sides in the Civil War is to take a stand on slavery.
  • Fredericksburg

    Gen. Burnside attacks Lee's fortified position and suffers 10,000 casualties (to Lee's 5000).
  • Chancellorsville

    Gen. Hooker defeated by Lee, but Jackson is mistakenly shot by his own men and killed.
  • Vicksburg

    After a long siege, Vicksburg surrenders to Grant. All of Mississippi River is now in Union control.
  • Gettysburg

    Over 165,000 soldiers participate in the largest battle in the Western Hemisphere. After three days of fighting, Lee retreats, leaving 4,000 dead Confederates. Total casualties: 23,000 Union, 28,000 Confederates.
  • Chatanooga

    Reinforced with troops from the East, Grant is able to push Southern troops back and prepare for assault on Atlanta and the heart of the Confederacy.
  • Grant promoted to Lt. General and given command of all Union troops

    Grant prepares for assault on Richmond. When Lincoln's Cabinet complains that Grant is a drunk and seeks to interfere with his command, Lincoln gives him unconditional support and asks not to be notified of his plans.
  • Wilderness & Spotsylvania

    Lee stops Union troops at the Wilderness, but Grant resumes march to RichmondThough suffering huge losses (55,000 men to South's 31,000), Grant states "I propose to fight on this line if it takes all summer"
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    Grant focuses on important railroad junction and communication outside Richmond. Long siege of Petersburg begins with troops living in trenches which stretched for 50 miles.
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    Atlanta to Savannah

    Gen. Sherman destroys Atlanta and then sends troops on 300 mile destructive march to the sea. Railroads torn up, buildings destroyed, crops burned in an attempt to break the will of the South.
  • Lee Surrenders

    Lee, refusing to see his troops suffer any further, surrenders to Grant. Southern troops given generous terms of surrender.