Civil war soldiers

Civil War Timeline

By hallkm4
  • Abraham Lincoln Elected President

    Abraham Lincoln Elected President
    Election of 1860 Abraham Lincoln, who had declared "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free..." is elected president, the first Republican, receiving 180 of 303 possible electoral votes and 40 percent of the popular vote.
  • South Carolina Secedes

    South Carolina Secedes
  • Lincoln Sworn In as President

    Lincoln Sworn In as President
    Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as 16th President of the United States of America.
  • Fort Sumter Attacked

    Fort Sumter Attacked
    At 4:30 a.m. Confederates under Gen. Pierre Beauregard open fire with 50 cannons upon Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The Civil War begins.
  • Lincoln calls for soldiers

    Lincoln calls for soldiers
    President Lincoln issues a Proclamation calling for 75,000 militiamen, and summoning a special session of Congress for July 4. Robert E. Lee, son of a Revolutionary War hero, and a 25 year distinguished veteran of the United States Army and former Superintendent of West Point, is offered command of the Union Army. Lee declines.
  • Virginia Secedes... More States Soon Follow

    Virginia Secedes... More States Soon Follow
    Virginia secedes from the Union, followed within five weeks by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, thus forming an eleven state Confederacy with a population of 9 million, including nearly 4 million slaves. The Union will soon have 21 states and a population of over 20 million.
  • Lincoln Issues Blockade

    Lincoln Issues Blockade
    President Lincoln issues a Proclamation of Blockade against Southern ports. For the duration of the war the blockade limits the ability of the rural South to stay well supplied in its war against the industrialized North.
  • Robert E Lee Resigns from US Army

    Robert E Lee Resigns from US Army
    Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army. "I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children." Lee then goes to Richmond, Virginia, is offered command of the military and naval forces of Virginia, and accepts.
  • Congress authorizes call for 500,00 men

    Congress authorizes call for 500,00 men
  • First Battle of Bull Run

    First Battle of Bull Run
    The Union Army under Gen. Irvin McDowell suffers a defeat at Bull Run 25 miles southwest of Washington. Confederate Gen. Thomas J. Jackson earns the nickname "Stonewall," as his brigade resists Union attacks. Union troops fall back to Washington. President Lincoln realizes the war will be long. "It's damned bad," he comments. Ruins of the Stone Bridge over which Northern forces retreated until it was blown up by a Rebel shell adding to the panic of the retreat, with the Federals returning to W
  • McClellan Appointed to Commander of the Department of the Potomac

    McClellan Appointed to Commander of the Department of the Potomac
    McClellan tells his wife, "I find myself in a new and strange position here: President, cabinet, Gen. Scott, and all deferring to me. By some strange operation of magic I seem to have become the power of the land."
  • McClellan appointed general in chief

    McClellan appointed general in chief
    President Lincoln appoints McClellan as general-in-chief of all Union forces after the resignation of the aged Winfield Scott. Lincoln tells McClellan, "...the supreme command of the Army will entail a vast labor upon you." McClellan responds, "I can do it all."
  • International Diplomatic Crisis

    International Diplomatic Crisis
    The beginning of an international diplomatic crisis for President Lincoln as two Confederate officials sailing toward England are seized by the U.S. Navy. England, the leading world power, demands their release, threatening war. Lincoln eventually gives in and orders their release in December. "One war at a time," Lincoln remarks.
  • General War Order Number 1

    General War Order Number 1
    President Lincoln issues General War Order No. 1 calling for all United States naval and land forces to begin a general advance by February 22, George Washington's birthday.
  • Grant Captures Fort Henry

    Grant Captures Fort Henry
    Victory for Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Tennessee, capturing Fort Henry, and ten days later Fort Donelson. Grant earns the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.
  • Lincoln's 12 year old son dies

    Lincoln's 12 year old son dies
    President Lincoln is struck with grief as his beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, dies from fever, probably caused by polluted drinking water in the White House.
  • Merrimac Sinks

    Merrimac Sinks
    The Confederate Ironclad 'Merrimac' sinks two wooden Union ships then battles the Union Ironclad 'Monitor' to a draw. Naval warfare is thus changed forever, making wooden ships obsolete
  • Battle of Shiloh

    Battle of Shiloh
    Confederate surprise attack on Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's unprepared troops at Shiloh on the Tennessee River results in a bitter struggle with 13,000 Union killed and wounded and 10,000 Confederates, more men than in all previous American wars combined. The president is then pressured to relieve Grant but resists. "I can't spare this man; he fights," Lincoln says.
  • New Orleans Falls

    New Orleans Falls
    17 Union ships under the command of Flag Officer David Farragut move up the Mississippi River then take New Orleans, the South's greatest seaport. Later in the war, sailing through a Rebel mine field Farragut utters the famous phrase "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"
  • Battle of Seven Pines

    Battle of Seven Pines
    The Battle of Seven Pines as Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's Army attacks McClellan's troops in front of Richmond and nearly defeats them. But Johnston is badly wounded.
  • Robert E. Lee Assumes Command

    Robert E. Lee Assumes Command
    Gen. Robert E. Lee assumes command, replacing the wounded Johnston. Lee then renames his force the Army of Northern Virginia. McClellan is not impressed, saying Lee is "likely to be timid and irresolute in action."
  • Second Battle of Bull Run

    Second Battle of Bull Run
    75,000 Federals under Gen. John Pope are defeated by 55,000 Confederates under Gen. Stonewall Jackson and Gen. James Longstreet at the second battle of Bull Run in northern Virginia. Once again the Union Army retreats to Washington. The president then relieves Pope.
  • Lee Invades North

    Lee Invades North
    Lee invades the North with 50,000 Confederates and heads for Harpers Ferry, located 50 miles northwest of Washington. The Union Army, 90,000 strong, under the command of McClellan, pursues Lee
  • Antietam

    Antietam
    The bloodiest day in U.S. military history as Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Armies are stopped at Antietam in Maryland by McClellan and numerically superior Union forces. By nightfall 26,000 men are dead, wounded, or missing. Lee then withdraws to Virginia.
  • Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

    Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
    Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves issued by President Lincoln.
  • McClellan Replaced

    McClellan Replaced
    The president replaces McClellan with Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside as the new Commander of the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln had grown impatient with McClellan's slowness to follow up on the success at Antietam, even telling him, "If you don't want to use the army, I should like to borrow it for a while."
  • Fredericksburg

    Fredericksburg
    Army of the Potomac under Gen. Burnside suffers a costly defeat at Fredericksburg in Virginia with a loss of 12,653 men after 14 frontal assaults on well entrenched Rebels on Marye's Heights. "We might as well have tried to take hell," a Union soldier remarks. Confederate losses are 5,309 "It is well that war is so terrible - we should grow too fond of it," states Lee during the fighting.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    President Lincoln issues the final Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in territories held by Confederates and emphasizes the enlisting of black soldiers in the Union Army. The war to preserve the Union now becomes a revolutionary struggle for the abolition of slavery.
  • Burnside Replaced

    Burnside Replaced
    The president appoints Gen. Joseph (Fighting Joe) Hooker as Commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Burnside.
  • Grant commands Army of West

    Grant commands Army of West
    Gen. Grant is placed in command of the Army of the West, with orders to capture Vicksburg.
  • Draft

    Draft
    The U.S. Congress enacts a draft, affecting male citizens aged 20 to 45, but also exempts those who pay $300 or provide a substitute. "The blood of a poor man is as precious as that of the wealthy," poor Northerners complain.
  • Chancellorsville

    Chancellorsville
    The Union Army under Gen. Hooker is decisively defeated by Lee's much smaller forces at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia as a result of Lee's brilliant and daring tactics. Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson is mortally wounded by his own soldiers. Hooker retreats. Union losses are 17,000 killed, wounded and missing out of 130,000. The Confederates, 13, 000 out of 60,000. "I just lost confidence in Joe Hooker," said Hooker later about his own lack of nerve during the battle
  • Stonewall Dies

    Stonewall Dies
    The South suffers a huge blow as Stonewall Jackson dies from his wounds, his last words, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees." "I have lost my right arm," Lee laments.
  • Lee Invades North Again

    Lee Invades North Again
    Gen. Lee with 75,000 Confederates launches his second invasion of the North, heading into Pennsylvania in a campaign that will soon lead to Gettysburg.
  • Meade Replaces Hooker

    Meade Replaces Hooker
    President Lincoln appoints Gen. George G. Meade as commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Hooker. Meade is the 5th man to command the Army in less than a year.
  • Gettysburg

    Gettysburg
    July 1-3, 1863 - The tide of war turns against the South as the Confederates are defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.
  • Vicksburg

    Vicksburg
    Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, surrenders to Gen. Grant and the Army of the West after a six week siege. With the Union now in control of the Mississippi, the Confederacy is effectively split in two, cut off from its western allies
  • Anti-Draft Riots

    Anti-Draft Riots
    July 13-16, 1863 - Anti-draft riots in New York City include arson and the murder of blacks by poor immigrant whites. At least 120 persons, including children, are killed and $2 million in damage caused, until Union soldiers returning from Gettysburg restore order.
  • 54th Massachusetts Infantry at Fort Wagner

    54th Massachusetts Infantry at Fort Wagner
    July 18, 1863 - 'Negro troops' of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment under Col. Robert G. Shaw assault fortified Rebels at Fort Wagner, South Carolina. Col. Shaw and half of the 600 men in the regiment are killed.
  • President meets with Frederick Douglass

    President meets with Frederick Douglass
    August 10, 1863 - The president meets with abolitionist Frederick Douglass who pushes for full equality for Union 'Negro troops.'
  • Lawrence Kansas

    Lawrence Kansas
    August 21, 1863 - At Lawrence, Kansas, pro-Confederate William C. Quantrill and 450 pro-slavery followers raid the town and butcher 182 boys and men.
  • Chickamauga

    Chickamauga
    September 19/20, 1863 - A decisive Confederate victory by Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee at Chickamauga leaves Gen. William S. Rosecrans' Union Army of the Cumberland trapped in Chattanooga, Tennessee under Confederate siege.
  • Grant appointed to command western theater

    Grant appointed to command western theater
    October 16, 1863 - The president appoints Gen. Grant to command all operations in the western theater.
  • Gettysburg Address

    Gettysburg Address
    November 19, 1863 - President Lincoln delivers a two minute Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a National Cemetery.
  • Chattanooga

    Chattanooga
    November 23-25, 1863 - The Rebel siege of Chattanooga ends as Union forces under Grant defeat the siege army of Gen. Braxton Bragg. During the battle, one of the most dramatic moments of the war occurs. Yelling "Chickamauga! Chickamauga!" Union troops avenge their previous defeat at Chickamauga by storming up the face of Missionary Ridge without orders and sweep the Rebels from what had been though to be an impregnable position. "My God, come and see 'em run!" a Union soldier cries.
  • Grant takes control of entire Union army

    Grant takes control of entire Union army
    March 9, 1864 - President Lincoln appoints Gen. Grant to command all of the armies of the United States. Gen. William T. Sherman succeeds Grant as commander in the west.
  • Massive Campaign using all Union Armies

    Massive Campaign using all Union Armies
    May 4, 1864 - The beginning of a massive, coordinated campaign involving all the Union Armies. In Virginia, Grant with an Army of 120,000 begins advancing toward Richmond to engage Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, now numbering 64,000, beginning a war of attrition that will include major battles at the Wilderness (May 5-6), Spotsylvania (May 8-12), and Cold Harbor (June 1-3). In the west, Sherman, with 100,000 men begins an advance toward Atlanta to engage Joseph E. Johnston's 60,000 strong Arm
  • Cold Harbor

    Cold Harbor
    June 3, 1864 - A costly mistake by Grant results in 7,000 Union casualties in twenty minutes during an offensive against fortified Rebels at Cold Harbor in Virginia. Many of the Union soldiers in the failed assault had predicted the outcome, including a dead soldier from Massachusetts whose last entry in his diary was, "June 3, 1864, Cold Harbor, Virginia. I was killed."
  • McClellan to run against Lincoln for President

    McClellan to run against Lincoln for President
    August 29, 1864 - Democrats nominate George B. McClellan for president to run against Republican incumbent Abraham Lincoln.
  • Atlanta Captured by Sherman

    Atlanta Captured by Sherman
    September 2, 1864 - Atlanta is captured by Sherman's Army. "Atlanta is ours, and fairly won," Sherman telegraphs Lincoln. The victory greatly helps President Lincoln's bid for re-election.
  • Lincoln Elected Agian

    Lincoln Elected Agian
    November 8, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is re-elected president, defeating Democrat George B. McClellan. Lincoln carries all but three states with 55 percent of the popular vote and 212 of 233 electoral votes. "I earnestly believe that the consequences of this day's work will be to the lasting advantage, if not the very salvation, of the country," Lincoln tells supporters.
  • March to the Sea Begins

    March to the Sea Begins
    November 15, 1864 - After destroying Atlanta's warehouses and railroad facilities, Sherman, with 62,000 men begins a March to the Sea. President Lincoln on advice from Grant approved the idea. "I can make Georgia howl!" Sherman boasts.
  • 13th Amendment approved

    13th Amendment approved
    January 31, 1865 - The U.S. Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, to abolish slavery. The amendment is then submitted to the states for ratification.
  • Lincoln Inagurated Again

    Lincoln Inagurated Again
    March 4, 1865 - Inauguration ceremonies for President Lincoln in Washington. "With malice toward none; with charity for all...let us strive on to finish the work we are in...to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations," Lincoln says.
  • Richmond Captured

    Richmond Captured
    April 2, 1865 - Grant's forces begin a general advance and break through Lee's lines at Petersburg. Confederate Gen. Ambrose P. Hill is killed. Lee evacuates Petersburg. The Confederate Capital, Richmond, is evacuated. Fires and looting break out. The next day, Union troops enter and raise the Stars and Stripes.
  • Lee Surrenders

    Lee Surrenders
    April 9, 1865 - Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders his Confederate Army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the village of Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Grant allows Rebel officers to keep their sidearms and permits soldiers to keep horses and mules. "After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources," Lee tells his troops.
  • Washington Celebrates

    Washington Celebrates
    April 10, 1865 - Celebrations break out in Washington.
  • Lincoln Shot

    Lincoln Shot
    April 14, 1865 - The Stars and Stripes is ceremoniously raised over Fort Sumter. That night, Lincoln and his wife Mary see the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater. At 10:13 p.m., during the third act of the play, John Wilkes Booth shoots the president in the head. Doctors attend to the president in the theater then move him to a house across the street. He never regains consciousness.
  • Lincoln Dies

    Lincoln Dies
    April 15, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln dies at 7:22 in the morning. Vice President Andrew Johnson assumes the presidency.
  • John Wilkes Booth Killed

    John Wilkes Booth Killed
    April 26, 1865 - John Wilkes Booth is shot and killed in a tobacco barn in Virginia.
  • Rest of South Surrenders

    Rest of South Surrenders
    In May - Remaining Confederate forces surrender. The Nation is reunited as the Civil War ends. Over 620,000 Americans died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. 50,000 survivors return home as amputees.
  • 13th Amendment Ratified

    13th Amendment Ratified
    December 6, 1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, is finally ratified. Slavery is abolished.