Title sm

Civil War Timeline

  • Abolition

    Abolition, the movement to abolish
    slavery, became the most important of a series of reform movements in America.
  • Missouri Compromise 1820-1821

    Missouri Compromise 1820-1821
    Behind the leadership of Henry Clay, Congress passed a series of agreements
    in 1820–1821 known as the Missouri Compromise. Under these agreements,
    Maine was admitted as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. The rest of the
    Louisiana Territory was split into two parts. The dividing line was set at 36°30´
    north latitude. South of the line, slavery was legal. North of the line—except in
    Missouri—slavery was banned.
  • Sante Fe Trail

    Sante Fe Trail
    The settlers and traders who made the trek
    west used a series of old Native American trails as well as new
    routes. One of the busiest routes was the Santa Fe Trail,
    which stretched 780 miles from Independence, Missouri, to
    Santa Fe in the Mexican province of New Mexico.
  • San Felipe de Austin

    San Felipe de Austin
    The main settlement of the colony in Texas that was established in 1821 by Stephen F. Austin due to a land grant passed down from his father to him.
  • Mexico abolishes slavery

    Mexico abolishes slavery
    Despite peaceful cooperation between Anglos and
    Tejanos, differences over cultural issues intensified between Anglos and the
    Mexican government. The overwhelmingly Protestant Anglo settlers spoke
    English instead of Spanish. Furthermore, many of the settlers were Southerners,
    who had brought slaves with them to Texas. Mexico, which had abolished slavery
    in 1829, insisted in vain that the Texans free their slaves.
    Meanwhile, Mexican politics had become increasingly unstable.
  • The Liberator

    The Liberator
    The most radical white abolitionist was a young editor named William Lloyd Garrison. Active in religious reform movements in Massachusetts, Garrison became the editor of an antislavery paper in 1828. Three years later he established his own paper, The Liberator, to deliver an uncom- promising demand: immediate emancipation.
    William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator was published from 1831 to 1865. Its circulation never grew beyond 3,000.
  • Nat Turner's Rebellion

    Nat Turner's Rebellion
    One of the most prominent rebellions was led by Virginia slave Nat Turner. In August 1831, Turner and more than 50 followers attacked four plantations and killed about 60 whites. Whites eventually captured and executed many members of the group, including Turner.
  • Stephen F. Austin goes to jail

    Stephen F. Austin goes to jail
    Austin had traveled to Mexico City late in 1833 to present petitions to Mexican president Antonio López de Santa Anna for greater self-government for Texas. While Austin was on his way home, Santa Anna had Austin imprisoned for inciting revolution.
  • Texas Revolution

    Texas Revolution
    After Santa Anna suspended local powers in Texas and other Mexican states, several rebellions broke out, including one that would be
    known as the Texas Revolution nown as the Texas Revolution.
    When Austin returned to Texas in 1835, he was convinced that war was its
    “only resource.” Determined to force Texas to obey Mexican law, Santa Anna
    marched his army toward San Antonio. At the same time, Austin and his followers
    issued a call for Texans to arm themselves.
  • Oregon Trail

    Oregon Trail
    The Oregon Trail stretched from Independence,
    Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon. It was blazed in 1836 by
    two Methodist missionaries named Marcus and Narcissa
    Whitman. By driving their wagon as far as Fort Boise (near
    present-day Boise, Idaho), they proved that wagons could
    travel on the Oregon Trail.
  • Manifest Destiny

    Manifest Destiny
    The belief that the United States was ordained to expand to the Pacific Ocean and into Mexican and Native American territory.
  • Texas enters the United States

    Texas enters the United States
    In March 1845, angered by U.S.-Texas negotiation on annexation, the Mexican government recalled its ambassador from Washington. On December 29, 1845, Texas entered the Union.
  • Mexican-American War

    Mexican-American War
    The Mexican-American War was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the United Mexican States (Mexico) from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 American annexation of the independent Republic of Texas, which Mexico still considered its northeastern province and a part of its territory after its de facto secession in the 1836 Texas Revolution a decade earlier.
  • The North Star

    The North Star
    In 1847, Douglass began his own antislavery newspaper. He named it The North Star, after the star that guided runaway slaves to freedom.
  • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

    Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
    On February 2, 1848, the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico agreed to the Rio Grande as the border between Texas and Mexico and ceded the New Mexico and California territories to the United States.
  • Underground Railroad

    Underground Railroad
    Underground Railroad. “Conductors” on the routes hid fugitives in secret tunnels and false cupboards, provided them with food and clothing, and escorted or directed them to the next “station.” Once fugitives reached the North, many chose to remain there. Others journeyed to Canada to be completely out of reach of their “owners.”
  • Harriet Tubman

    Harriet Tubman
    One of the most famous conductors was Harriet Tubman, born a slave in Maryland in 1820 or 1821. In 1849, after Tubman’s owner died, she heard rumors that she was about to be sold. Fearing this possibility, Tubman decided to make a break for freedom and suc- ceeded in reaching Philadelphia.
  • Compromise of 1850

    Compromise of 1850
    As the 31st Congress opened in December 1849, the question of statehood for California topped the agenda. Of equal concern was the border dispute in which the slave state of Texas claimed the eastern half of the New Mexico Territory, where the issue of slavery had not yet been settled. As pas- sions mounted, threats of Southern secession, the formal withdrawal of a state from the Union, became more frequent.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    Fugitive Slave Act
    The harsh terms of the Fugitive Slave Act surprised many people. Under the law, alleged fugitive slaves were not entitled to a trial by jury. In addition, anyone con- victed of helping a fugitive was liable for a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment for up to six months.
  • 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 strug- gle. As a young girl, Stowe had watched boats filled with people on their way to be sold at slave markets. Uncle Tom’s Cabin expressed her lifetime hatred of slavery.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    Kansas-Nebraska Act
    The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and was drafted by Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and President Franklin Pierce.
  • Dread Scott v. Sandford

    Dread Scott v. Sandford
    Dred Scott, a slave whose owner took him from the slave state of Missouri to free territory in Illinois and Wisconsin and back to Missouri. Scott appealed to the Supreme Court for his freedom on the grounds that living in a free state—Illinois—and
    a free territory—Wisconsin—had made him a free man.
  • John Brown's Raid/Harper's Ferry

    John Brown's Raid/Harper's Ferry
    While politicians debated the slavery issue, the abolitionist John Brown was studying the slave uprisings that had occurred in ancient Rome and, more recently, on the French island of Haiti. Brown secretly obtained financial backing from several prominent Northern abolitionists. On the night of October 16, 1859, he led a band of 21 men, black and white, into Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia).
  • Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas Debates

    Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas Debates
    The debates consisted on the issue of the slave territories. Neither wanted slavery in their territories but the didn't agree on how. Lincoln won.
  • Conscription

    The war led to social upheaval and political unrest in both the North and the
    South. As the fighting intensified, heavy casualties and widespread desertions led
    each side to impose conscription, a draft that forced men to serve in the army.
    In the North, conscription 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 in the roles played by African Americans and women.
  • Abraham Lincoln becomes President

    Abraham Lincoln becomes President
    Lincoln appeared to be moderate in his views. Although he pledged to halt the further spread of slavery, he also tried to reassure Southerners that a Republican administration would not “inter- fere with their slaves, or with them, about their slaves.” Nonetheless, many Southerners viewed him as an enemy.
  • Formation of the Confederacy

    Formation of the Confederacy
    In February 1861, delegates from the secessionist states met in Montgomery, Alabama, where they formed the Confederate States of America, or Confederacy. They also drew up a constitution that closely resembled that of the United States, but with a few notable differences.
  • Attack on Fort Sumter

    Attack on Fort Sumter
    Months earlier, as soon as the Confederacy was formed, Confederate soldiers in each secessionist state began seizing federal installations—especially forts. By the time of Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4, 1861, only four Southern forts remained in Union hands. The most important was Fort Sumter, on an island in Charleston harbor.
  • Battle of Bull Run

    Battle of Bull Run
    The first bloodshed on the battlefield occurred about three months
    after Fort Sumter fell, near the little creek of Bull Run, just 25 miles from
    Washington, D.C. The battle was a seesaw affair. In the morning the Union army
    gained the upper hand, but the Confederates held firm, inspired by General
    Thomas J. Jackson. “There stands Jackson like a stone wall!” another general shouted,
    coining the nickname Stonewall Jackson.
  • Battle at Antietam

    Battle at Antietam
    McClellan ordered his men to pursue Lee, and the two sides fought on September 17 near a creek called the Antietam. The clash proved to be the bloodi- est single-day battle in American history, with casualties totaling more than 26,000.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation did not free any slaves immediately because it applied only
    to areas behind Confederate lines, outside Union control. Nevertheless, for many,
    the proclamation gave the war a moral purpose by turning the struggle into a fight
    to free the slaves. It also ensured that compromise was no longer possible.
  • Income Tax

    Income Tax
    As the Northern economy grew,
    Congress decided to help pay for the war by collecting the nation’s first income
    tax, a tax that takes a specified percentage of an individual’s income.
  • Battle at Gettysburg

    Battle at Gettysburg
    Near the sleepy town of Gettysburg, in
    southern Pennsylvania, the most decisive battle of the war was fought. The Battle
    of Gettysburg began on July 1. The three-day battle produced staggering losses: 23,000 Union men and 28,000
    Confederates were killed or wounded. Total casualties were more than 30 percent.
    Despite the devastation, Northerners were enthusiastic about breaking “the
    charm of Robert Lee’s invincibility.”
  • Gettysburg Address

    Gettysburg Address
    In November 1863, 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.”
  • Battle at Vicksburg

    Battle at Vicksburg
    While Meade’s Army of the Potomac was
    destroying Confederate hopes in Gettysburg, Union general Ulysses S. Grant
    fought to take Vicksburg, one of the two remaining Confederate strongholds on
    the Mississippi River.
    The city fell on July 4. Five days later Port Hudson, Louisiana, the last
    Confederate holdout on the Mississippi, also fell. The Union had achieved another
    of its major military objectives, and the Confederacy was cut in two.
  • Sherman's March

    Sherman's March
    In the
    spring of 1864, Sherman began
    his march southeast through
    Georgia to the sea, creating a
    wide path of destruction. His
    army burned almost every house
    in its 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 most of Atlanta.
  • Surrender at Appomattox Court House

    Surrender at Appomattox Court House
    On April 9, 1865,
    in a Virginia town called Appomattox. Lee and
    Grant met at a private home to arrange a Confederate surrender. At Lincoln’s
    request, the terms were generous. Grant paroled Lee’s soldiers and sent them
    home with their possessions and three days’ worth of rations. Officers were
    permitted to keep their side arms. Within a month all remaining Confederate
    resistance collapsed. After four long years, the Civil War was over.
  • 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
    whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,
    shall exist within the United States.”
  • Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

    Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
    On April 14, 1865, five days after
    Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox,
    Lincoln and his wife went to Ford’s Theatre
    in Washington to see a British comedy, Our
    American Cousin. During its third act, a man
    crept up behind Lincoln and shot the president
    in the back of his head.