Civil War Timeline

  • Abolition

    Abolition is the movement to abolish slavery. It became the most important of a series of reform movements in America. By the 1820s, abolition has stopped. in 1817, the American Colonization Society had been founded to encourage black immigration. But other abolitionists demanded that African Americans should stay in America as free citizens.
  • The Liberator

    The Liberator
    William Lloyd Garrison was the most radical white abolitionist. He was the editor of an antislavery paper in 1828 and three years later, he established his own paper called the Liberator. It was meant to deliver and uncompromising demand of immediate emancipation. In 1835, a Boston mod paraded him through town at the end of a rope. Nevertheless, Garrison enjoyed widespread black support and three of four supporters were African Americans.
  • Nat Turner's Rebellion

    Nat Turner's Rebellion
    Many slaves rebelled against their condition of bondage. Nat turner was a Virginia slave and led a large rebellion in August of 1831. Turner and more than 50 followers attacked four plantations and killed about 60 whites. The Whites eventually captured and executed many members of the rebellion, including turner.
  • The North Star

    The North Star
    Frederick Douglass was one of Garrisons eager readers and escaped from bondage to become an eloquent and outspoken critic of slavery. In 1847, Douglass started his own antislavery newspaper and called it The North Star. He named it after the star that led runaway slaves to freedom.
  • Harriet Tubman

    Harriet Tubman
    Harriet Tubman was one of the most famous conductors, who was born into Maryland slavery in about 1820. In 1849, Harriet's owner passed away, she heard that she would be taken away and sold. In fear, she decided to take her chances and go for freedom and succeeded by reaching Philadelphia. She helped become one of the conductors in the Underground Railroad and in all made 19 trips back to the south and helping over 300 slaves, including her parents.
  • Compromise of 1850

    Compromise of 1850
    Henry Clay offered a compromise to the North and South to end the concern of states and whether or not they would be free. Clay's compromise included parts to please the North and South. The North would be provided for California to be admitted to the Union as a free state. And the South would get a new and more effective fugitive slave law. The compromise also included a popular sovereignty, the right to vote against slavery, for New Mexico and Utah citizens.
  • Fugitive Slave Law

    Fugitive Slave Law
    The fugitive slave law includes the slaves running away and fleeing from their owners. If the slaves were caught, the owners have the right to take them back, even if they entered a free territory/state. Under this law, alleged fugitive slaves were entitled to a trial by jury and anyone convicted with helping a fugitive is responsible of a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment of up to 6 months.
  • Underground Railroad

    Underground Railroad
    The Underground railroads was a system of escape routes for slaves to hide fugitives, be provided with food and shelter made from the free African Americans and white abolitionists. The "conductors" would hide the fugitives in secret tunnels and false cupboards and direct them to the next station for safety. These conductors would risk themselves greatly for the possible cost when caught. Once reached the north, fugitives either choose to stay or continue to Canada to be completely out of reach.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Uncle Tom's Cabin
    In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, which stressed that slavery was not just a political contest, but also a great moral struggle. As a young lady, Stowe had watched boats filled with people on their way to being sold at slave markets. The book expressed her hatred on slavery and cause Northern abolitionists to increase their protests against the Fugitive Slave Act. But the Southerners did not agree and continued to attack and criticize the book.
  • Kansas Nebraska Act

    Kansas Nebraska Act
    The Kansas and Nebraska territory lays above the 36°30' and was legally closed from slavery. Douglas introduced a bill in Congress on January 23, 1854 to divide the land. Nebraska in the north and Kansas in the south.Some Northerners saw the bill as a part of a plot to turn the territories into slave states, while southerners defended the proposed legislation. It was officially passed as a law in 1854.
  • Dread Scott vs. Sandford

    Dread Scott vs. Sandford
    Dread Scott was a slave who's owner took him from the slave state of missouri to a free territory in illinois and Wisconsin and back to MIssouri. Scott argued saying that his time living in Illinois and Wisconsin made him a free man. This case was put on court for multiple years, and was finally voted against him. He was said he could not be legal standing in federal court and was considered property, which would be protected from the owner due to the Fifth amendment.
  • Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas Debates

    Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas Debates
    Stephen Douglas was a senate between Democratic and Abraham Lincoln challenged as a Republican Congressman. It seemed to be an unfair match because Douglas was a well known two term senator with a great standing record and a large campaign chest. But Lincoln was self educated and became elected in 1846. They both didn't want slavery but had different aspects to take it out. Douglas believed in popular sovereignty and Lincoln wanted an amendment to abolish slavery. Douglas won the Senate seat.
  • John Brown's raid/Harpers Ferry

    John Brown's raid/Harpers Ferry
    John Brown secretly obtained financial backing from several prominent Northern abolitionists. He was very against slavery and was willing to kill and die himself in order to stop slavery.on October 16, 1859 he led a band of 21 men, black and white into Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). His goal was to seize the federal arsenal and take all defense equipment. Soon both the North and the South heard of the rebellion and tried to put him to his death.
  • President Abraham Lincoln

    President Abraham Lincoln
    In 1860, the Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln with less than half the votes. Although he he pledged to put a pause on spreading slavery, he also reassured Southerners that the Republican administration would not interfere with their slaves, which caused many Southerners to see him as an enemy. The Democratic Party split over slavery. Northern Democrats rallied behind Douglas and his Doctrine of popular sovereignty. Southerners supported Dred Scott, lined up behind Vice president John C.
  • Formation of the Confederacy

    Formation of the Confederacy
    Mississippi followed South Carolina's lead with Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Delegates from the secessionist states met in Montgomery, Alabama where they formed the Confederate States of America. They drew a constitution that was similar to the United States. With a few differences, a major one was that it protected and recognized slavery in new territories. Jefferson Davis from Mississippi was elected as president.
  • Attack on Fort Sumter

    Attack on Fort Sumter
    By Lincoln's inauguration, only four Southern forts remained in Union hands. The most important was Fort Sumter, on an island in Charleston harbor. Lincoln did not abandon or reinforce it, he just sent food for the men. Confederate batteries began thundering away to the cheers of Charleston's citizens.
  • Battle of Bull Run

    Battle of Bull Run
    The first bloodshed on the battlefield occured about three months after Fort Sumter near the creek of Bull Run, 25 miles away from Washington D.C. The battle was continuously seesawed. The Union army gained the upper hand inspired by Thomas J Jackson, also known as Stonewall Jackson. The Southerners won and the Union was too exhausted to follow their victory with an attack on Washington.
  • Battle of Antietam

    Battle of Antietam
    McClellan ordered his men to pursue Lee and the two sides fought near a creek called Antietam. The clash proved to be the bloodiest single day battle in American history with over 26,000 casualties. Instead of pursuing the battered Confederate army into Virginia and possibly ending the war, but didn't do anything. This resulted in Lincoln removing him from command.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which did not free slaves immediately because it only applied behind Confederate lines, outside of the Union control. The proclamation gave the war a moral purpose by turning the struggle into a fight to free the slaves.
  • Conscription

    The heavy casualties and widespread desertions led each side to impose conscription, which is a draft that forced men to serve in the army. In the North, it led to draft riots, the most violent of which took place in New York City.Sweeping changes occurred in the wartime economies of both sides as well as the African Americans and women.
  • Income Tax

    Income Tax
    Income tax is a tax that takes a specified percentage of an individual's income. This was created as the northern economy grew and Congress decided to help pay for war wages.
  • Gettysburg Address

    Gettysburg Address
    A ceremony was held to dedicate a cemetery in Gettysburg. There, President Lincoln spoke for a little more than two minutes. According to some contemporary historians, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address "remade America." Lincoln's speech made people realize the country is not just a collection of individual states, it was a unified nation.
  • Battle at Vicksburg

    Battle at Vicksburg
    Union general Ulysses Grant tried to reach Vicksburg and take the Confederates, which didn't work until spring of 1863. He destroyed rail lines distracting the Confederates. He sent his troops on April 30 and sent his men to Mississippi. In 18 days, Union forces sacked Jackson, the capital. In May 1863, he set a barrage of artillery, shelling the city from the river and land, forcing residents into caves they dug out. They surrendered due to low food supply. The Confederacy was cut in two.
  • Battle at Gettysburg

    Battle at Gettysburg
    The battle began when Confederate soldiers led by A.P. Hill encountered attacks from the Union led by John Buford. By the first day, 90,000 Union troops lead by George Meade against 75,000 Confederates by general Lee. On the second day, Northern troops took over but had to give up some land. On the third day, the gave more land. It was 23,000 Union and 28,000 Confederate killed or wounded. Over 30% of casualties. Northerners were enthusiastic about breaking the charm of Lee's invincibility.
  • Sherman's March

    Sherman's March
    Sherman began his march southeast through Georgia to the sea, creating a wide path of destruction. He burned almost every house in it's path and destroyed livestock and railroads. Sherman was determined to make southerners "so sick of war that generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it." By mid November, he had burned almost all of Atlanta. After reaching the ocean, Sherman's forces, followed by 25,000 former slaves, turned north to help Grant "wipe out Lee."
  • Thirteenth Amendment

    Thirteenth Amendment
    After some political maneuvering, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified at the end of 1865. The U.S. Constitution now stated, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States."
  • Surrender at Appomattox

    Surrender at Appomattox
    Union troops conquered Richmond, the Confederate capital. The Southerners abandoned the city the day before, setting it on fire to keep the Northerners from taking it. Lee and Grant met at a private home to arrange a confederate surrender. Grant paroled Lee's soldiers and sent them home with their items and three day's worth of rations. Officers were permitted to keep their side arm. within a month all confederate resistance collapsed. The civil war was over in four years.
  • Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

    Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
    Lincoln and his wife went to Ford's Theater in Washington to see a Our American Cousin. A man behind Lincoln shot the president in the back of his head. He never regained consciousness, died on April 15. It was the first time a president of the United States had been assassinated. John Wilkes Booth-a 26-year-old actor and Southern sympathizer leaped down from the presidential box to the stage and escaped. Twelve days later, Union cavalry trapped him in a Virginia tobacco shed and shot him dead.