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Civil War Timeline- Siegwarth

  • Period: to

    Civil War Timespan

    Events that led to and happened during the Civil War.
  • Cooper Union Speech

    Cooper Union Speech
    Lincoln commented on his views on slavery in the address, stating that he did not want it to be pushed into western regions and arguing that the Founding Fathers would agree. With almost 7,000 words, Lincoln's Cooper Union speech was one of his longest. It's also not one of his talks with frequently referenced passages.
  • Pony Express Begins

    Pony Express Begins
    The Pony Express was an American express postal service that relied on horseback messengers relaying messages. It ran between Missouri and California from April 3, 1860, through October 26, 1861. Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company ran it.
  • John Bell Nominated

    John Bell Nominated
    In May 1860, the 1860 Constitutional Union Convention gathered and nominated Tennessee's John Bell for president and Massachusetts' Edward Everett for vice president. By denying any single candidate a majority in the Electoral College, party leaders planned to compel a contingent election in the House of Representatives.
  • Abraham Lincoln Nominated

    Abraham Lincoln Nominated
    The 1860 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention held in Chicago, Illinois from May 16 to 18. It was held to nominate Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the 1860 election. The Republican Party chose Abraham Lincoln as their presidential candidate.
  • Census is Taken

    Census is Taken
    According to the 1860 United States Census, there were 3,954,174 slaves in the United States. The census also finds that the total U.S. population has increased by 35.4 percent since the 1850 Census, from 23,191,875 to 31,443,321; 26 percent of all Northerners but only 10 percent of Southerners live in towns or cities, and agriculture employs 80 percent of the Southern workforce but only 40% of the Northern workforce.
  • Stone's Prairie Riot

    Stone's Prairie Riot
    On Aug. 25, 1860, an estimated 10,000 people gathered on Stone's Prairie for a daylong political gathering that went badly. Local locals were expected to speak in support of two opposing Illinois presidential candidates, Republican Abraham Lincoln, and Democrat Stephen Douglas, at the Republican-organized rally. However, while the rally was initially described as open to both parties, the Democrats' invitation was revoked four days before the event.
  • Abraham Lincoln Elected as President

    Abraham Lincoln Elected as President
    Abraham Lincoln, age 52 in 1860, was elected as the 16th President of the United States of America. He was a part of the Republican Party. Lincoln ran against John Belle, JC Breckenridge, and Steven Douglass.
  • Crittenden Compromise

    Crittenden Compromise
    The Crittenden Compromise was an unsuccessful attempt to permanently entrench slavery in the United States Constitution, making any future attempts to abolish slavery unlawful. On December 18, 1860, it was introduced by the United States Senator John J. Crittenden (Constitutional Unionist of Kentucky).
  • South Carolina Secedes

    South Carolina Secedes
    South Carolina is the first to secede in 1860. South Carolina Secedes before Lincoln even takes office.
  • Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

    Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union
    A proclamation issued by the government of South Carolina to explain its reasons for seceding from the United States. The proclamation was produced by a committee led by Christopher Memminger at a convention called by the state government. The main cause for South Carolina's secession from the United States was "increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery," according to the statement.
  • State Secession in January

    State Secession in January
    Mississippi is the first to leave after South Carolina. Then Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana.
  • Texas Secedes

    Texas Secedes
    The secession of Texas during the American Civil War, as well as the activities of current organizations supporting such efforts to separate from the United States and form an independent sovereign state, are referred to as Texas secession movements.
  • Lincoln's Inauguration

    Lincoln's Inauguration
    The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, is sworn in. He warns the South in his inaugural address that secession will not be tolerated.
  • Fort Sumter

    Fort Sumter
    The bombardment of Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina by the South Carolina militia was known as the Battle of Fort Sumter. It came to an end when the United States Army surrendered, signaling the start of the American Civil War.
  • Civil War Officially Begins

    Civil War Officially Begins
    General P.G.T. Beauregard's Confederate forces attack Major Robert Anderson and his Union men at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The American Civil War begins.
  • Union Surrender at Ft. Sumter

    Union Surrender at Ft. Sumter
    The Confederate States of America bombarded the United States military garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861. The fort surrendered less than two days later. There were no fatalities. However, the fight ushered in the Civil War, America's bloodiest struggle.
  • Virginia Secedes

    Virginia Secedes
    Virginia politicians decided to secede from the Union on April 17, 1861. The decision was made just days after the Civil War broke out at Fort Sumter and President Abraham Lincoln appealed for 75,000 men.
  • States Secession in May

    States Secession in May
    Arkansas is the first to secede in May 1861. Then Tennessee and North Carolina secede after. North Carolina was the last state to secede from the Union.
  • Lincoln Requests Army

    Lincoln Requests Army
    Lincoln writes to Congress, requesting that a Union army be formed. A call for 500,000 men is authorized by Congress. It seems evident that the battle will last a long time.
  • 1st Battle of Bull Run

    1st Battle of Bull Run
    The Battle of First Manassas, also known as the First Battle of Bull Run, was the American Civil War's first significant battle. On July 21, 1861, the battle took place in Prince William County, Virginia, about north of Manassas and about 25 miles from Washington, D.C.
  • Moniter vs. Merrimack

    Moniter vs. Merrimack
    In Chesapeake Bay, the Confederate ironclad USS Merrimack engages the Union ironclad USS Monitor. Although the battle is a draw, it renders wooden ships obsolete and ushers in a new era of steel warships, forever altering naval combat.
  • Shiloh

    Shiloh
    The Battle of Shiloh was fought in southwestern Tennessee on April 6–7, 1862, as part of the American Civil War's Western Theater. The conflict is called after Shiloh, a small church in the area that paradoxically means "place of peace" or "heavenly peace."
  • Robert E. Lee Assumes Command

    Robert E. Lee Assumes Command
    During the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia, the most effective of the Southern troops, and eventually commanded all Confederate armies. Lee became an icon of the American South as the military leader of the vanquished Confederacy.
  • The Seven Days

    The Seven Days
    General Robert E. Lee attacks George McClellan's Union Army of the Potomac in Richmond, Virginia, over the course of seven days of warfare. McClellan retreats north towards Washington because of heavy casualties.
  • A New Commander of the Union Army

    A New Commander of the Union Army
    The Union army's general-in-chief title was given to Major-General Henry Halleck.
  • Second Battle of Bull Run

    Second Battle of Bull Run
    Confederate General Stonewall Jackson wins the Second Battle of Bull Run with a decisive victory. After the battle, Union General John Pope is blamed for the loss and removed of his duty.
  • Antietam

    Antietam
    The Union won the Battle of Antietam. The Union lost about 12,400 troops to the Confederates' 10,700, but the Union had pushed the Confederates off the field and put a stop to the invasion. During the American Civil War, Ohioan George McClellan's biggest victory occurred in this battle.
  • Harper's Ferry

    Harper's Ferry
    In September, Union General McClellan beat Confederate General Lee at South Mountain and Crampton's Gap, but he was unable to save Harper's Ferry, which fell to Confederate General Jackson on September 15, along with a significant body of men and supplies.
  • Preliminary Emancipation

    Preliminary Emancipation
    Lincoln releases a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring his intention to free any slaves captured by the Union Army.
  • Battle of Fredericksburg

    Battle of Fredericksburg
    At the Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia, the Union Army, led by General Ambrose E. Burnside, suffers a crushing loss. The Union suffered 13,000 casualties as a result of fourteen individual assaults on a fortified Confederate position.
  • Emacipation Proclamation

    Emacipation Proclamation
    On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation as the country entered its third year of civil war. "All persons kept as slaves" within the insurgent states "are, and henceforth shall be free," the declaration said.
  • Meade in Virginia

    Meade in Virginia
    General Meade conducted some cautious and inconclusive operations after the Battle of Gettysburg, but the photographers' heavy activity was limited to the periods between them—at Bealeton, southwest of Warrenton, in August, and at Culpeper, before the Mine Run Campaign.
  • The First Conscription Act

    The First Conscription Act
    Because of the difficulty in recruiting individuals between the ages of 20 and 45, an act was passed requiring all men between the ages of 20 and 45 to serve in the military. Paying a price or finding a substitute could be used to avoid service. The measure was perceived as being unfair to the poor, and protests erupted in working-class areas of New York City. In the South, a similar conscription act sparked a similar backlash.
  • The Battle of Chancellorsville

    The Battle of Chancellorsville
    On April 27, Union General Hooker attacked General Lee's soldiers across the Rappahannock River. Lee divided his troops and attacked the Union army in three locations, nearly completely defeating them. The South won after Hooker withdrew across the Rappahannock River, although it was the Confederates' most costly victory in terms of deaths.
  • Siege of Vicksburg

    Siege of Vicksburg
    In the American Civil War, the Union gained control of the Mississippi River after a victory at the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863. General Ulysses S. Grant's Union force proceeded south after the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. Grant hoped to gain Union control of the Mississippi River.
  • Battle of Gettysburg

    Battle of Gettysburg
    The Battle of Gettysburg, which took place on July 1–3, 1863, was a watershed moment in the Civil War because Robert E. Lee's plan to invade the North and bring the war to a close quickly failed.
  • The Battle of Chickamauga

    The Battle of Chickamauga
    On September 19, Union and Confederate forces clashed near Chickamauga Creek on the Tennessee-Georgia boundary. Union soldiers fled to Chattanooga after the engagement, and the Confederacy retained control of the battlefield.
  • The Siege of Knoxville

    The Siege of Knoxville
    Confederate General James Longstreet lays Knoxville, Tennessee, under siege on November 17, 1863. He abandoned the siege after two weeks and one fruitless attack, rejoining General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
  • Gettysburg Address

    Gettysburg Address
    The Gettysburg Address is a speech given by United States President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 at the dedication of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of one of the most pivotal battles of the American Civil War.
  • The Battle of Chattanooga

    The Battle of Chattanooga
    Union forces pushed Confederate troops out of Chattanooga on November 23-25. General Sherman's Atlanta Campaign was launched as a result of the win.
  • Atlanta Campaign

    Atlanta Campaign
    During the summer of 1864, the Atlanta campaign was a series of actions conducted in the Western Theater of the American Civil War in northwest Georgia and the area around Atlanta.
  • Grant's Wilderness Campaign

    Grant's Wilderness Campaign
    General Grant, who had been promoted to command of the Union armies, intended to fight Lee's soldiers in Virginia until they were defeated. In the Wilderness, the North and South met and fought in an indecisive three-day fight. Lee killed more Union troops than his own army, but unlike Grant, he had no replacements.
  • The Battle of Spotsylvania

    The Battle of Spotsylvania
    General Grant persisted in his assault on Lee. He fought for five days at Spotsylvania Court House, vowing to fight all summer if necessary.
  • The Battle of Cold Harbor

    The Battle of Cold Harbor
    At Cold Harbor, Grant engaged Confederate forces once more, losing almost 7,000 men in just twenty minutes. Despite having fewer casualties, Lee's army was never able to recover from Grant's relentless onslaught. Lee's last decisive victory of the conflict.
  • The Siege of Petersburg

    The Siege of Petersburg
    The Petersburg Campaign provided the photographers with the chance to create a wonderful corpus of material, which they were able to accomplish in the first days of April when they were allowed to infiltrate the town and its defenses. Grant triumphed by progressively pushing his lines westward, although the photographers appear to have stayed close to City Point.
  • Confederate Troops Approach Washington, D.C.

    Confederate Troops Approach Washington, D.C.
    To ease the pressure on Lee's army, Confederate General Jubal Early moved his soldiers into Maryland. Early reached within five miles of Washington, D.C., but was returned to Virginia on July 13.
  • Sherman in Atlanta—September-November, 1864

    Sherman in Atlanta—September-November, 1864
    Sherman compelled Hood to abandon Atlanta, the Confederacy's munitions center, after three and a half months of constant maneuvering and hard combat. Sherman stayed there for nearly two and a half months, resting his war-weary troops and stockpiling supplies.
  • Abraham Lincoln Is Re-Elected

    Abraham Lincoln Is Re-Elected
    Lincoln's re-election insured that the Civil War would be brought to a successful finish. With his victory, Lincoln became the first president since Andrew Jackson in 1832 to win re-election, as well as the first Northern president to do so.
  • General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea

    General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea
    General Sherman resumed his march to the sea through Georgia. During the march, he cut himself off from his supply of supplies, preparing to live off the land with his people. As they moved across Georgia, his forces carved a 300-mile-long and 60-mile-wide route, demolishing factories, bridges, railways, and government facilities.
  • Sherman at the Sea—December 1864

    Sherman at the Sea—December 1864
    Sherman assaulted Fort McAllister on December 13, 1864, and seized Savannah eight days later, after marching through Georgia for a month. The previous bastion and its dismantling are seen in these seven pictures, which were taken before Sherman continued his northward push. The mission was completed by General William B. Hazen [2d Division, 15th Corps] and Major Thomas W. Osborn, chief of artillery, on December 29, and the guns were stored in Fort Pulaski.
  • The Fall of the Confederacy

    The Fall of the Confederacy
    In the South, transportation issues and successful blockades resulted in significant food and supply shortages. Starving soldiers deserted Lee's forces, and although President Jefferson Davis approved the arming of slaves as a method of bolstering the army's diminishing numbers, the plan was never implemented.
  • The Defenses of Washington

    The Defenses of Washington
    The Lincoln government was adamant about securing the capital by surrounding it with a chain of forts staffed by large garrisons of artillerists and other troops. The photographs begin with forts on the Virginia coast (in alphabetical order, because few people today are familiar with their locations, which are mostly long since submerged by cities or suburbs), then move on to defenses north of the Potomac (in the same order), and finally, a number of garrisons or local military units.
  • Fort Fisher, North Carolina

    Fort Fisher, North Carolina
    General Alfred H. Terry's troops stormed Fort Fisher on January 15, after Admiral David D. Porter's squadron of warships had bombarded it mercilessly. Wilmington, North Carolina, the blockade-runners' last refuge, was cut off. Timothy H. O'Sullivan took quick notes on the works' strength and the consequences of the bombardment.
  • A Chance for Reconciliation Is Lost

    A Chance for Reconciliation Is Lost
    President Davis of the Confederacy agreed to send delegates to a peace conference with President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward, but only if Lincoln recognized the South's independence. Lincoln declined, and the meeting never took place. General Lee assaulted General Grant's soldiers at Petersburg on March 25, but was defeated, and then attacked and lost again on April 1. Lee left Richmond, the Confederate capital, on April 2 and traveled west to join up with other armies.
  • Sherman Marches through North and South Carolina

    Sherman Marches through North and South Carolina
    General Sherman of the Union Army marched from Georgia to South Carolina, destroying nearly everything in his way.
  • Fallen Richmond

    Fallen Richmond
    After a nine-month siege, Confederate positions near Petersburg were broken on April 2, 1865. The army's departure left Richmond, the Confederate capital, vulnerable, 25 miles to the north.
  • Lee Surrenders

    Lee Surrenders
    Part of Lee's decision to surrender his troops was to spare the South from avoidable damage. When the Confederates realized they were stretched too thin to burst through the Union lines, Lee said, "There is nothing left for me to do but go and visit Gen.
  • The Assassination of President Lincoln

    The Assassination of President Lincoln
    On April 14, at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a Maryland actor concerned with avenging the Confederate defeat. The following morning, Lincoln passed away. Booth made his way to Virginia. Booth was fatally shot by a Union soldier eleven days later, surrounded in a blazing barn. The assassination was carried out by nine other people, four of whom were hung, four of whom were imprisoned, and one of whom was acquitted.
  • Final Surrenders among Remaining Confederate Troops

    Final Surrenders among Remaining Confederate Troops
    Between the end of April and the end of May, the remaining Confederate troops were defeated. On May 10, Jefferson Davis was apprehended in Georgia.
  • The Execution of Captain Henry Wirz

    The Execution of Captain Henry Wirz
    From August 23 to October 24, 1865, a military commission presided over by General Lew Wallace tried the notorious superintendent of the Confederate jail at Andersonville, Georgia, and he was executed in the yard of the Old Capitol Prison on November 10.
  • Radical Reconstruction

    Radical Reconstruction
    After northern voters rejected Johnson's policies in congressional elections in late 1866, Reconstruction in the South was firmly established by Radical Republicans in Congress.
  • Freedman's Bureau

    Freedman's Bureau
    On January 5, 1866, Illinois senator Lyman Trumbull filed legislation to prolong the provisions of the Freedmen's Bureau Act by removing an expiration date and extending them to all freedmen and refugees in the United States, not only those in the former Confederate states.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1866

    Civil Rights Act of 1866
    Gave African Americans citizenship and ensured equal rights.
  • Memphis Race Riot

    Memphis Race Riot
    In Memphis, Tennessee, white residents and police kill 46 African Americans and demolish 90 homes, schools, and four churches.
  • 14th Amendment Passed

    14th Amendment Passed
    The 14th Amendment, passed by Congress on June 13, 1866, and ratified on July 9, 1868, expanded the Bill of Privileges' liberties and rights to formerly enslaved persons.
  • A State Returns

    A State Returns
    Following the American Civil War, Tennessee becomes the first state to be readmitted to the Union.
  • General of the Army

    General of the Army
    The United States Congress authorizes the rank of General of the Army (modern-day "5-star general"); Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant is the first to hold it.
  • New Orleans Race Riot

    New Orleans Race Riot
    More than 40 black and white Republicans have been killed by police, with more than 150 more injured.
  • Civil War Officially Ends

    Civil War Officially Ends
    The Civil War was officially proclaimed over by President Andrew Johnson. Despite the fact that the killing had ended over a year ago, the country had never had a formal declaration of peace and unity until this day.
  • Ku Klux Klan

    Ku Klux Klan
    In Pulaski, Tennessee, a hidden organization is formed to scare African Americans and reestablish white rule.
  • Congressional Reconstruction Acts Not Readmitted

    Congressional Reconstruction Acts Not Readmitted
    The Reconstruction Acts of Congress impose military administration over former Confederate states that have not yet been readmitted to the union.
  • Grange Movement

    Grange Movement
    The Patrons of Husbandry, popularly known as the Grange, was founded in 1867 to help farmers with machinery purchases, grain elevator construction, pushing for government regulation of railroad transportation costs, and providing a social network for farm families.
  • National Union for Cigar Makers

    National Union for Cigar Makers
    The National Union of Cigar Makers was the first union to admit women and African-Americans.
  • Habeas Corpus Act of 1867

    Habeas Corpus Act of 1867
    Congress expanded the right of habeas corpus to state prisoners in 1867, claiming that their detention would infringe on a federal right. Federal courts were also given the power to grant post-conviction habeas corpus to convicts. Previously, it only applied to individuals who were in custody awaiting trial.
  • Right to Vote in District of Columbia

    Right to Vote in District of Columbia
    In the District of Columbia, African-American men are given the right to vote.
  • Nebraska Becomes a State

    Nebraska Becomes a State
    President Andrew Johnson grudgingly signed the proclamation proclaiming Nebraska's statehood on March 1, 1867. The signing put a stop to the existence of a region that had been established thirteen years earlier amid controversy.
  • Reconstruction Act of 1867

    Reconstruction Act of 1867
    The Reconstruction Act of 1867, which temporarily separated the South into five military districts and described how governments based on universal (male) suffrage would be constituted, was approved over Johnson's veto. The 14th Amendment was also required to be ratified by southern states.
  • Howard University

    Howard University
    In Washington, D.C., Howard University is formed, named after the head of the Freedmen's Bureau.
  • Tenure of Office Act

    Tenure of Office Act
    The Tenure of Office Act was a federal statute in the United States that was in effect from 1867 to 1887 and was meant to limit the president's ability to dismiss certain officeholders without Senate consent. The measure was passed over President Andrew Johnson's veto on March 2, 1867.
  • Purchase of Alaska

    Purchase of Alaska
    In 1867, Secretary of State William Seward arranged the United States' purchase of Alaska from Russia. For $7.2 million, the United States gained 586,412 square miles or one-fifth of its current size. The purchase was initially dubbed "Seward's Folly," but the area turned out to be rich in natural resources.
  • Chinese Rail Workers Strike

    Chinese Rail Workers Strike
    Chinese Railroad Workers Staged the Era's Largest Labor Strike 150 Years Ago. Thousands of Chinese railroad workers went on strike on June 25, 1867, demanding equal pay for white laborers, shorter workdays, and improved working conditions