Civil war soldiers

The Civil War & Reconstruction 1861-1877

  • The First Battle at Fort Sumter

    When the Fort Sumter was resupplied on April 12th, Confederate troops began shelling it from the mainland. The bombardment lasted for 34 hours straight, until the Union soldiers surrendered. Surprisingly, no soldiers on either side were killed by enemy fire.
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    The First Battle of Fort Sumter

    When the Fort Sumter was resupplied on April 12th, Confederate troops began shelling it from the mainland. The bombardment lasted for 34 hours straight, until the Union soldiers surrendered. Surprisingly, no soldiers on either side were killed by enemy fire.
  • The First Battle of Bull Run

    The First Battle of Bull Run was the first major land battle of the war. It occurred near Manassas, Virginia. Union forces from Washington, DC totaling 28,450, under the command of General Irvin McDowell, attempted to surprise 32,230 Confederate troops. The Union suffered nearly 3,000 casualties. This is the battle that earned "stonewall" Jackson his name.
  • Battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in Tennessee

    Both of these battles happened in the same month 10 miles apart from each other. The Confederate’s Fort Henry fell on Feb 5th, General Ulysses S. Grant‘s troops and 7 gunboats from the Union began shelling the fort. The Confederate troops evacuated Fort Henry and moved to Fort Donelson 10 miles away, and Grant’s troops followed them. Union casualties were 2,331 while the Confederacy suffered more than 15,000. The Union could now head south through Tennessee. This was the Unions first victory
  • Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack

    The Battle of Hampton Roads was the most famous and well-known naval battle of the Civil War. It was also the first battle between two ironclad ships, the Monitor and the Merrimack. In the end neither side was declared the winner. But this battle got nationwide attention and also revolutionized how warships were build.
  • Battle and Capture of New Orleans

    The Capture of New Orleans by Union forces was a major turning point in the war. New Orleans was the Confederacy’s largest city, and, given its location at the mouth of the Mississippi River, a trading location with a powerful and economical port.
  • The Battle of Antietam

    The Battle of Antietam was the first battle of the war to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest day in the American Civil War, with a total of over 23,000 casualties including more than 4,800 killed. (In fact, more Americans were killed on this day than on any other day in American military history)
  • The Emancipation Proclamation

    The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order that Abraham Lincoln signed on January 1, 1863. It proclaimed the freedom of the 3.1 million slaves in the Confederate States of America. This enraged the south and turned this into a total war to destroy the Old South.
  • Battle of Gettysburg

    The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the war, with a total of over 46,000 casualties – nearly 8,000 of which were killed. It lasted 3 days and it was know as the turning point in the war.
  • The Ten Percent Plan

    After major Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction in which he outlined his Ten-Percent Plan. The plan stipulated that each secessionist state had to redraft its constitution and could reenter the Union only after 10 percent of its eligible voters pledged an oath of allegiance to the United States.
  • The Freedmen’s Bureau

    Congress created the Freedmen’s Bureau, which helped distribute food, supplies, and land to the new population of freed slaves.
  • The Wade-Davis Bill

    As an alternative to the Ten-Percent Plan, Radical Republicans and their moderate Republican allies passed the Wade-Davis Bill in 1864. Under the bill, states could be readmitted to the Union only after 50 percent of voters took an oath of allegiance to the Union. Lincoln pocket-vetoed the bill, however, effectively killing it by refusing to sign it before Congress went into recess.
  • Lee Surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse

    After evacuating Richmond, General Lee’s troops were soon surrounded, and on April 7, Grant called Lee to surrender. On April 9, the two commanders met at Appomattox Courthouse, and agreed on the terms of surrender.
  • Abraham Lincoln wins re-election

    Sherman’s victory in Atlanta boosted Lincoln’s popularity and helped him win re-election. This was a very important moment in the war.
  • Presidential Reconstruction

    On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln in Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., and Vice President Andrew Johnson became president. Presidential Reconstruction under Johnson readmitted the southern states using Lincoln’s Ten-Percent Plan and granted all southerners full pardons, including thousands of wealthy planters and former Confederate officials. Johnson also ordered the Freedmen’s Bureau to return all confiscated lands to their original owners. While Congress was
  • Progressive Legislation for Blacks

    Although Johnson vetoed Congress’s attempt to renew the charter of the Freedmen’s Bureau in 1866, Congress was successful in overriding Johnson’s veto on its second try, and the bureau’s charter was renewed. They also passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which granted newly emancipated blacks the right to sue, the right to serve on juries, and several other legal rights. Although Johnson vetoed this bill as well, Congress was able to override it.
  • “Swing Around the Circle”

    Johnson blamed Congress for the violence and went on what he called a “Swing Around the Circle,” touring the country to speak out against Republicans and encourage voters to elect Democrats to Congress. However, many of Johnson’s speeches were so abrasive—and even racist—that he ended up convincing more people to vote against his party in the midterm elections of 1866.
  • Radical Reconstruction

    The First Reconstruction Act in 1867 divided the South into five conquered districts, each of which would be governed by the U.S. military until a new government was established. Republicans also specified that states would have to enfranchise former slaves before readmission to the Union. To enforce this order, Congress passed the Second Reconstruction Act, putting the military in charge of southern voter registration. They also passed the Fifteenth Amendment.
  • Johnson’s Impeachment

    When Johnson ignored the Tenure of Office Act and fired Stanton, Republicans in the House impeached him by a vote of 126–47. After a tense trial, the Senate voted to acquit the president by a margin of only one vote.
  • Grant’s Presidency

    Because Grant had difficulty saying no, many of his cabinet posts and appointments ended up being filled by corrupt, incompetent men who were no more than spoils-seekers.
    As a result, scandal after scandal rocked Grant’s administration and damaged his reputation.he president lost even more credibility during his second term, when his personal secretary helped embezzle millions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury as a member of the Whiskey Ring.
  • Carpetbaggers, Scalawags, and Sharecroppers

    Countless carpetbaggers (northerners who moved to the South after the war) and scalawags (white Unionists and Republicans in the South) flocked to the South during Reconstruction and exerted significant influence there. most former slaves in the South became sharecroppers during the Reconstruction period, leasing plots of land from their former masters in exchange for a percentage of the crop yield. By 1880, more than 80 percent of southern blacks had become sharecroppers.
  • Striking Down Radical Reconstruction

    By the mid-1870s, Democrats had retaken the South, reseating themselves in southern legislatures by driving blacks and white Unionists away from the polls and employing violence and other unethical tactics to win state elections.
    14th Amendment
    KKK act of 1871
  • The Black Codes and Ku Klux Klan

    During Presidential Reconstruction, white supremacist Congressmen passed a series of laws called the black codes, which denied blacks the right to make contracts, testify against whites, marry white women, be unemployed, and even loiter in public places. Violence by the Ku Klux Klan became so common that Congress had to pass the Ku Klux Klan Act in 1871 to authorize military protection for blacks.
  • Liberal Republicans and the Election of 1872

    The discovery of new scandals split the Republican Party in 1872, as reform-minded Liberal Republicans broke from the ranks of moderates and radicals. The Liberal Republicans wanted to institute reform, downsize the federal government, and bring a swift end to Reconstruction. hough already marred by scandal, Grant easily defeated Greeley by more than 200 electoral votes and 700,000 popular votes.
  • The Depression of 1873

    n 1873, the postwar economic bubble in the United States finally burst. Over-speculation in the railroad industry, manufacturing, and a flood of Americans taking out bad bank loans slid the economy into the worst depression in American history. Millions lost their jobs, and unemployment climbed as high as 15 percent. Many blacks, landless whites, and immigrants from both North and South suffered greatly, demanding relief from the federal government (which was never offered).
  • The Disputed Election of 1876

    Tilden campaigned for restoration of the Union and an end to government corruption. The Republican Party, on the other hand, chose the virtually unknown Rutherford B. Hayes. Many Northern voters, tired of Reconstruction and hoping for more federal relief because of the depression, voted Democrat. Ultimately, Tilden received 250,000 more popular votes than Hayes, and 184 of the 185 electoral votes needed to become president.
  • The Compromise of 1877

    the 15-man commission determined by an eight-to-seven vote that Republican Rutherford B. Hayes had carried all three states. Resentment and political deadlock threatened to divide the country, but both parties were able to avoid division and strike a deal with the Compromise of 1877 . Democrats agreed to concede the presidency to the Republicans in exchange for the complete withdrawal of federal troops from the South. Hayes became president, withdrew the troops, and ended Reconstruction.