Civil War Timeline

  • The Louisiana State Seminary

    The Louisiana State Seminary
    The Louisiana State Seminary of Higher Learning is established at Pineville. William Tecumseh Sherman is Superintendent. It later becomes LSU
  • The Democratic National Convention

    The Democratic National Convention
    The Democratic National Convention, meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, cannot agree on a nominee. The only thing they can agree on is to continue the debate in Baltimore the next month.
  • The Democrats reconvene in Baltimore

    The Democrats reconvene in Baltimore
    The Democrats reconvene in Baltimore to select a nominee, but Douglas can't make the necessary 2/3 majority until the anti-Douglas delegates leave on June 22 and the floor rules are changed to require 2/3 vote of the members present. On June 23rd the Convention nominates Stephen Douglas and Herschal V. Johnson
  • Abraham Lincoln wins the Presidential election

    Abraham Lincoln wins the Presidential election
    Republican Abraham Lincoln wins the Presidential election with 39.9% of the vote, defeating Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge and John Bell.
  • John Floyd tenders his resignation as Secretary of War.

    John Floyd tenders his resignation as Secretary of War.
    As requested, John Floyd tenders his resignation as Secretary of War. Charges come out later in the day that he had misdirected funds to contractors and guns to the South. Neither charge will be fully investigated and his guilt (or innocence) is still a hotly debated subject.
  • The South Secedes

    The South Secedes
    When Lincoln was elected president, South Carolina legislature precieved a threat. Calling a state convention delegates voted to remove the state of South Carolina from the union known as the United States of America. The secession of South Carolina was followed by the secession of six more states Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas
  • Lincolns Innaguration

    Lincolns Innaguration
    Lincoln was innagurated. New president say he had no plans to end slavery in the states where it already exsists. Said he would not accept seccesion. He hoped to resolve the national crisis without warefare.
  • Four More States Join the Confederacy.

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

    Fort Sumter
    In April of 1861, Fort sumter was attacked by the confederacy,
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • McClellan Loses Command.

    McClellan Loses Command.
    On March 8, President Lincoln impatient with General McClellan's inactivity isued an order reorganizing the Army of Virginia and relieving McClellan of supreme command. McClellan was given command of the Army of the Potomac, and ordered to attack Richmond. This marked the beginning of the Peninsular Campaign.
  • The Battle of Shiloh.

    The Battle of Shiloh.
    On April 6, Confederate forces attacked Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh, Tennessee. By the end of the day, the federal troops were almost defeated. Yet, during the night, reinforcements arrived, and by the next morning the Union commanded the field. When Confederate forces retreated, the exhausted federal forces did not follow. Casualties were heavy.13,000 out of 63,000 Union soldiers died, and 11,000 of 40,000 Confederate troops were killed.
  • "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. As a result, Union troops were rushed to protect Washington, D.C.
  • 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
    In an effort to placate the slave-holding border states, Lincoln resisted the demands of radical Republicans for complete abolition. Yet some Union generals, such as General B. F. Butler, declared slaves escaping to their lines "contraband of war," not to be returned to their masters. Other generals decreed that the slaves of men rebelling against the Union were to be considered free. Congress, too, had been moving toward abolition. In 1861, Congress had passed an act stating that all slaves emp
  • 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 act was seen as unfair to the poor, and riots in working-class sections of New York City broke out in protest. A similar conscription act in the South provoked a similar reaction.
  • 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. After six weeks, Confederate General John Pemberton surrendered, giving up the city and 30,000 men. The capture of Port Hudson, Louisiana, shortly thereafter placed the entire Mississippi River in Union hands. The Confederacy was split in two.
  • The Battle of Chancellorsville

    The Battle of Chancellorsville
    On April 27, Union General Hooker crossed the Rappahannock River to attack General Lee's forces. Lee split his army, attacking a surprised Union army in three places and almost completely defeating them. Hooker withdrew across the Rappahannock River, giving the South a victory, but it was the Confederates' most costly victory in terms of casualties.
  • West Virginia Is Born.

    West Virginia Is Born.
    Residents of the western counties of Virginia did not wish 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Fort Fisher, North Carolina

     Fort Fisher, North Carolina
    After Admiral David D. Porter's squadron of warships had subjected Fort Fisher to a terrific bombardment, General Alfred H. Terry's troops took it by storm on January 15, and Wilmington, North Carolina, the last resort of the blockade-runners, was sealed off. Timothy H. O'Sullivan promptly recorded the strength of the works and the effects of the bombardment.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • first formal observation of lincolns birthday

    first formal observation of lincolns birthday
    The first formal observation of President Lincoln's birthday is held in Washington, D. C. President Andrew Johnson attends
  • New Freedman's Bureau bill passed by Congress

    New Freedman's Bureau bill passed by Congress
    President Andrew Johnson vetoes the bill that authorized military trial for those accused of "depriving Negroes of the Civil Rights" on the same day
  • The United States declares that a state of peace

    The United States declares that a state of peace
    The United States declares that a state of peace exists with Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia
  • Congress appropriates $100,000 to buy Ford's Theater

    Congress appropriates $100,000 to buy Ford's Theater
    Congress appropriates $100,000 to buy Ford's Theater. It will house the Army Medical Museum, the Office of the Surgeon General and War Department records until 1893
  • Tennessee ratifies the 14th Amendment

    Tennessee ratifies the 14th Amendment
    Tennessee ratifies the 14th Amendment. This quick ratification meant Tennessee would not suffer under 2nd Reconstruction
  • african americans get the right to vote.

    african americans get the right to vote.
    Blacks in Washington D. C. gain the right to vote in a bill passed over President Andrew Johnson's veto
  • Congress passes the Tenure of Office Act

    Congress passes the Tenure of Office Act
    Congress passes the Tenure of Office Act, denying the right of the President to remove officials who had been appointed with the consent of Congress
  • Alexandria, Virginia rejects thousand of votes

    Alexandria, Virginia rejects thousand of votes
    Alexandria, Virginia rejects thousand of votes cast by Negroes, who were granted universal suffrage under the Reconstruction Act.
  • General Philip Sheridan assumes command of the 5th Military district

    General Philip Sheridan assumes command of the 5th Military district
    General Philip Sheridan assumes command of the 5th Military district encompassing Louisiana and Texas. He designates New Orleans as his headquarters.
  • William P. Seward signs a treaty

    William P. Seward signs a treaty
    William P. Seward signs a treaty with Russia buying Alaska for 2 cents an acre. Democrats called it "Seward's Folly
  • Ohio rescinds its ratification of the 14th Amendment

    Ohio rescinds its ratification of the 14th Amendment
    Ohio rescinds its ratification of the 14th Amendment when the Peace Democrats gain control of the legislature. The Federal government refuses to recognize the action and counts Ohio as for ratification
  • 4th Reconstruction Act passed by Congress

    4th Reconstruction Act passed by Congress
    4th Reconstruction Act passed by Congress. This changed the defination of majority from majority of all voters to majority of voters casting ballots in the election to approve or reject a state constitution. The bill also tried to counter the intimidation of the Ku Klux Klan.
  • New Jersey legislature voted through a resolution of rescission

    New Jersey legislature voted through a resolution of rescission
    Following the ratification of the 14th Amendment, the New Jersey legislature voted through a resolution of rescission. Governor Marcus L. Ward then vetoed the recission. On this date, New Jersey readopted the recission over the governor's veto
  • The Senate votes 35 guilty, 19 not guilty

    The Senate votes 35 guilty, 19 not guilty
    The Senate votes 35 guilty, 19 not guilty in the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. It is one vote shy of the necessary 2/3rds majority.
  • Congress passes congressional representation

    Congress passes congressional representation
    Congress passes congressional representation for North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Louisiana over President Andrew Johnson's veto