Civil War Timeline
May 19 - The Tariff of 1828 was a
tariff on imported goods. passed
by the Congress. The goal of the tariff was to protect industry in the
northern states, which were being driven out of business by low-priced
European manufactured goods. It was labeled the Tariff of Abominations
by its southern detractors because of the effects it had on the
Southern economy. The South was harmed by having to pay higher prices on
goods the region did not produce. By reducing the importation of British
goods, it also made it difficult for the British to pay for the cotton they
imported from the South.
of 1833 (Compromise Tariff of 1833) was proposed by Henry Clay and John C.
Calhoun as a resolution to the Nullification Crisis. It gradually reduce the
rates on imported goods and was passed in response to southern objections to
the protectionism found in the Tariff of 1832 and the 1828 Tariff of
Abominations, which had prompted South Carolina to threaten secession. This
Act stipulated that import taxes would gradually be cut over the next decade
until, by 1842, they matched the levels set in the Tariff of 1816 (20%). The
compromise reductions lasted only two months into their final stage before
protectionism was reinstated by the Black Tariff of 1842.
March 20 - Uncle Tom's
Cabin is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe.
The novel had a profound effect on attitudes toward African Americans and
slavery. Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th
century. It is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in
the 1850s. When Abraham Lincoln met Stowe he was quoted as having declared,
"So this is the little lady who made this big war."
- Pro-slavery activists or "Border Ruffians" entered the
Free-State stronghold of Lawrence, where they burned the Free State Hotel,
destroyed two printing presses, and ransacked homes and stores.
May 22 - Charles Sumner, a Senator from Massachusetts, is beaten by
Preston Brooks, a congressman from South Carolina, in the Senate after
Sumner denounced the Kansas-Nebraska Act in his "Crime against Kansas"
August 30 - Border Ruffians looted and burned the city of Osawatomie.
March 6 - Chief Justice Roger Taney announced the Supreme Court's
decision in the Dred Scott Case that ruled that people of African
descent, whether or not they were slaves, could never be citizens of the
United States, and that Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in
federal territories. It was also ruled that slaves could not sue in court,
and that slaves were private property, and, being private property, can't be
taken away from their owners without due process.
November 6 - Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th president of the
United States with only 40% of the vote.
December 20 - South Carolina secedes from the Union
December 26 - US troops at Fort Moultrie are moved to Fort Sumter in
the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina
January 9 -
Mississippi secedes from the Union
- Florida secedes from the Union
- Alabama secedes from the Union
- Georgia secedes from the Union
- Louisiana secedes from the Union
- Kansas joins the Union as a free state
- Texas secedes from the Union
- Confederate States of America are formed at Montgomery, Alabama
- Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of
April 12 -
The Civil War begins when Confederate forces open fire on
- Virginia secedes from the Union
May 6 -
Arkansas secedes from the Union
- North Carolina secedes from the Union
- The first land battle in Virginia took place at
Big Bethel between forces led by Brig. Gen.
Ebenezer Pierce and Col. John B.
Col. D. H. Hill
resulted in a Confederate victory.
July 21 - Confederate forces
P. G. T. Beauregard
defeat Union forces under Irvin
McDowell at the
First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), VA.
August 10 - The
Battle of Wilson's Creek in Missouri
is the first major battle in the Western Theater. Confederate troops
General Sterling Price
defeat Union troops lead by
General Nathaniel Lyon, who becomes the first
general killed in the war.
- George McClellan
assumes command of the Army of the Potomac
November 1 -
is appointed general-in-chief of the Union forces by Abraham Lincoln.
February 16 -
on the Cumberland River is captured by
Ulysses S. Grant
under terms of "Unconditional
February 28-April 8, 1862
- Brig. Gen. John
Pope's Union forces take
New Madrid/Island No. 10, MO opening
the Mississippi to Fort Pillow, TN.
March 7-8 -
Battle of Pea Ridge
preserves Missouri for the Union.
March 8-9 - At the
Battle of Hampton Roads,
the CSS Virginia battles the USS Monitor to a draw in the first ironclad
March 26-28 - The Union victory at
Glorieta Pass, NM was the turning point of
the war in the New Mexico Territory.
April 6-7 - At least 24,000
casualties in the two-day battle at
April 10-11 - Union troops overwhelm the defenses of
Fort Pulaski, GA.
April 12 - James Andrews leads a band of
volunteers from three Ohio regiments in a daring attack on the Western &
Atlantic Railroad in what becomes "The
Great Train Chase."
April 16-28 -
Flag-Officer David G. Farragut
sent his ships north pass
Forts Jackson & St. Phillip, LA
and head for
Confederate attempts to stop the Union ships were unsuccessful and most of the
force reached New Orleans where
accepted the city’s surrender.
April 26 - Federal rifled cannons force the
Fort Macon, NC
and signal the obsolescence of masonry fortifications.
May 25 -
Maj. Gen. T. J. Jackson’s
Confederate division defeats Union forces led by
Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P.
Banks at Winchester, VA I
in a decisive battle in Jackson’s Valley Campaign
- Robert E. Lee assumes command of
the Army of Northern Virginia.
June 25 - July 1 - In the Seven
Days battles (Gaines'
Mill, VA - June 27,
Beaver Dam Creek, VA - June 26,
Glendale, VA - June 30,
VA - July 1),
General Robert E. Lee displays his
military brilliance as Confederate forces defeat
General George B. McClellan's Union
troops and save Richmond.
July 17 -
Ulysses S. Grant assumes command of the Union
army in the West.
July 23 - Henry Halleck becomes
General-in-Chief of U.S. Army
August 28-30 - Outnumbered
Confederate troops defeat Union forces at the
Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), VA.
September 12-15 -
Gen. Stonewall Jackson's
Confederate troops take
Harpers Ferry, WV and capture more than 12,500
September 17 - The bloodiest day in U.S. military history occurs at
when Gen. Robert E. Lee's advancing
Confederates are stopped by
Gen. George McClellan's Union forces at a
cost of over 25,000 casualties.
Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s
Confederate Army of the West and
Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn’s Army
of West Tennessee are defeated by Union forces entrenched at
ending the threat to Middle Tennessee.
October 8 - The Union victory at
Perryville, KY ends the Confederacy's invasion of Kentucky.
November 7 -
Ambrose Burnside assumes command of
the Army of the Potomac
December 13 - Union forces under
General Ambrose Burnside are defeated at
Fredericksburg, VA by
Lee's Confederate troops.
forces inflict 10,000 casualties from defensive positions on Marye's Heights
but lose 5,000 men.
January 1 -
President Lincoln issues the Emancipation
January 2- After three days of fighting, the
Battle of Stones River, TN ends in a draw.
January 26 -
assumes command of the Army of the Potomac
March 3 - The U.S. Congress
passes the first military draft and exempts those who can pay $300 or
provide a stand-in.
May 4 - General
Robert E. Lee
defeats Union forces under
Major General Joseph Hooker
Hooker to retreat
to the north bank of the Rappahannock. The Confederacy's joy turns to
sorrow when Stonewall Jackson
is mortally wounded.
May 10 -
General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
May 16 - Union forces defeat
Lt. Gen. John C.
Champion Hill, MS
forcing the Confederates to
retreat to Vicksburg, MS.
June 9 - The largest cavalry battle takes place at
Brandy Station, VA
with the Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Pleasonton
Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's
June 20 - West Virginia becomes 35th state in the Union
June 28 - George Meade assumes
command of the Army of the Potomac
July 1-3 - The Confederate forces are
defeated by George Meade's Army of the
Gettysburg, PA as
Lee's army is repulsed in its second invasion of the North.
July 4 - The six week siege of
Vicksburg, MS ends with the surrender of the Confederate
garrison to U. S. Grant.
July 9 - With the surrender of
Port Hudson, LA, the entire length of the Mississippi is now under Federal
Robert G. Shaw's 54th Massachusetts Colored Troops leads the
Fort Wagner, Morris Is, SC. More than half of regiment is killed in
August 21 -
Raiders killed 200 men and looted and burned the pro-union town
of Lawrence, Kansas.
September 18-20 - The
Battle of Chickamauga, GA ends with the
Union troops under siege in Chattanooga, TN.
October 16 - President Lincoln
Ulysses S. Grant commander of the Military Division of the
Mississippi with authority of all operations in the West.
November 19 - Lincoln gives the
Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg.
November 23-25 - The
ends in a Union victory.
March 12 -
Ulysses S. Grant becomes commander of all
United States armies and William T. Sherman
becomes commander in the West.
April 8 -
was the decisive battle of the Red River Campaign, influencing
Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Bank’s to
retreat back toward Alexandria.
April 12 -
Maj. Gen. Nathan
Fort Pillow, TN
and high casualties led to accusations of massacre of the black troops.
The “Fort Pillow Massacre” became a Union rallying cry and cemented
resolve to see the war through to its conclusion.
May 4 - The Overland Campaign begins.
May 5-7 - Although the
Battle of the Wilderness, VA was a tactical draw,
Ulysses S. Grant
continued his pursuit of Lee.
May 8-21 -
Meade’s advance on Richmond was stalled by
Spotsylvania Court House, VA
in a ferocious two-week battle.
- A Confederate
force of 5,000 including VMI cadets defeats
General Franz Sigel's 5,000 Union troops at
New Market, VA.
June 3-12 -At
Cold Harbor, VA the Union army losses 7,000 men in the first hour.
June 10 - On his way to destroy
Gen. William T. Sherman's
supply train in Tennessee, Gen.
Nathan Bedford Forest defeats
Samuel Sturgis' larger Union force at
Brice's Cross Roads, MS.
June 15-18 -
Army of the Potomac
Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard's
troops from their first line of entrenchments at
Petersburg, VA II
but fail to press the attack and are defeated by reinforced
June 27-July 1 -
50,000 Confederates defeat William T. Sherman's
100,000 Federal troops in a failed frontal assault at
July 9 - Union troops lose the
Battle of Monocacy, MD but buy time for the Union to reinforce
Washington's defenses and ruin
attempt to capture the capital.
July 30 -
Crater, VA Federal troops exploded a mine in
Salient, creating a gap in the Confederate defenses of Petersburg. Union
troops who charged into the crater were trapped and were defeated by
Confederate counterattacks led by
Maj. Gen. William Mahone.
August 2-23 - A
combined Union force led by
Adm. David G. Farragut
and Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger
defeated Confederate troops at Fort Morgan, Fort Gaines
Garrison, and Fort Powell and closed
Mobile Bay, AL to blockade running.
August 31–September 1
supply lines in a battle at
Jonesborough, GA which forces the Confederates
to abandon Atlanta.
September 2 -
General William T. Sherman.
September 19 -
Philip Sheridan won a decisive battle
over Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early at
marked by 8,630 casualties including the deaths of several generals on both
October 19 -
Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan's
Cedar Creek, VA broke the back of the
Confederate army in the Shenandoah Valley.
October 21-23 - The Union wins the
Battle of Westport, MO
ending organized Confederate operations in Missouri.
November 8 - Republican Abraham Lincoln decisively defeats Democrat
George McClellan for the U.S. presidency.
- General William T. Sherman begins the
"March to the Sea" with 62,000 troops.
November 30 -
Gen. John B. Hood's
Confederate troops are defeated at
by entrenched Union forces under
Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield.
December 13 - A land assault takes
McAllister II, GA
in less than
half an hour.
December 15-16 - John Bell Hood's
Army of Tennessee is defeated by Union forces under
George H. Thomas at
January 13-15 -
Robert E. Lee's
last supply route from Europe is closed when
Fort Fisher, NC
falls to Union forces.
January 31 - The U.S. Congress
passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in the
United States. The Amendment is ratified by the states during the year
and takes effect on December 6, 1865.
February 6 -
Robert E. Lee takes command
of all of the Confederate armies.
March 2 -
The Shenandoah Valley campaign is concluded when
Philip Sheridan's Union forces defeat
General Jubal Early's
March 19-21 -
William T. Sherman's
defeat the entrenched Confederates of
Gen. Joseph E. Johnston at
March 25 - Gen.
Robert E. Lee
amassed nearly half of his army in a failed
attempt to break through Grant’s Petersburg defenses by overpowering
the garrison of
Fort Stedman, VA.
General Pickett's infantry division
and Confederate cavalry at Five
Forks, VA forcing
Lee to abandon
April 2 -
The Confederate line is broken at
General Lee's troops are
forced to abandon
The siege and capture of
Fort Blakely, AL was the last
combined-force battle of the war. African-American forces played a major role
in the successful Union assault.
April 9 -
Robert E. Lee
agrees to an unconditional surrender to
Court House, VA.
April 14 - John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln at Ford's
Theater. The President dies the next morning.
April 18 - Confederate
Joseph Johnston surrenders to
General William T. Sherman in at the Bennett House in North
May 10 - President Andrew Johnson declares that all armed resistance
to the U.S. government has ended.
May 12-13 - Confederate forces under
Col. John S. “Rip” Ford
Col. Theodore H.
Barrett's combined troops at
Palmito Ranch, TX in the last battle of the Civil War.
June 23 -
Stand Watie, the only Indian
who was a general in the Civil War, is the last Confederate general to
November 10 -
Captain Henry Wirz,
the superintendent of Andersonville Prison is hanged for war crimes.
December 18 - The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution officially
abolished slavery and was ratified by the legislatures of twenty-seven of
the thirty-six states.
July 9 - The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
secures rights for former slaves. It includes the Due Process and Equal
Protection Clauses among others. The amendment provides a broad definition
of United States citizenship, overturning the Dred Scott case, which
excluded African Americans. It requires the states to provide equal
protection under the law to all persons (not only to citizens) within their
jurisdictions, and was used in the mid-20th century to dismantle legal
February 3 - The Fifteenth Amendment of the United States
Constitution provides that governments in the United States may not
prevent a citizen from voting based on that citizen's race, color, or
previous condition of servitude (i.e. slavery).
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