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Table Of Contents

Civil War

The War Of The Rebellion


February 9- The Confederate States of America is formed with Jefferson Davis as President.

April 12- At 4:30 AM Confederates under General Pierre Beauregard open fire with 50 cannons on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The War Between The States begins.

April 17- Virginia secedes from the Union, followed within 5 weeks by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, thus forming an eleven state Confederacy.

April 19- President Lincoln issues a Proclamation of Blockade against Southern ports. For the duration of the war the blockade limits the ability of the rural South to stay well supplied in its war against the industrialized North.

July 4- Lincoln, in a speech to Congress, states the war is …”a peoples’ contest… a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men…” The Congress authorized a call for 500,000 men.

July 21-The Union army under General Irvin McDowell suffers a defeat at Bull Run 25 miles southwest of Washington. Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson earns the nickname “Stonewall”, as his brigade resists Union attacks. Union troops fall back to Washington. President Lincoln realizes the war will be long. “It’s very bad,” he comments.

July 27-President Lincoln appoints George B. McClellan as Commander of the Department of the Potomac, replacing McDowell.

September 11- President Lincoln revokes General John C. Fremont’s unauthorized military Proclamation of Emancipation in Missouri. Later, the president relieves General Fremont of his command and replaces him with General David Hunter.

November 1-President Lincoln appoints McClellan as general-in-chief of all Union forces after the resignation of the aged Winfield Scott. Lincoln tells McClellan, “…the supreme command of the army will entail a vast labor upon you.” McCellan responds, “I can do it.”


January 31-President Lincoln issues General War No. 1 calling for all United States naval and land forces to begin a general advance by February 22, George Washington’s birthday.

February 6- Victory for General Ulysses S. Grant in Tennessee, capturing Fort Henry, and 10 days later Fort Donaldson. Grant earned the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.

February 20-President Lincoln is struck with the grief of his 11 year old son, Willie, dying from fever caused by polluted water from the White House.

March 8/9-The Confederate Ironclad ‘Merrimac’ sinks two wooden Union ships then battles the Union clad ‘Monitor’ to a draw. Naval warfare is thus changed forever, making wooden ships obsolete. Engraving of the battle iv March- The Peninsular Campaign begins as McClellan’s Army of the Potomac advances form Washington down the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay to the peninsular south of the Confederate capital Richmond, Virginia. President Lincoln temporarily relieves McClellan as General-in-Chief and takes direct command of the Union Armies.

April 6/7-Confederate soldiers surprise General Ulysses S. Grant and his soldiers at Shiloh on the Tennessee River resulting in a bitter struggle with 13,000 Union killed and wounded and 10,000 Confederates, more men than all the previous wars combined. The president is pressured to relieve Grant but resists. “I can’t spare this man;he fights,” Lincoln says.

April 24-17 Union ships under the command of Flag Officer Farragut move up the Mississippi River and take New Orleans, the South’s biggest seaport. Later in the war, sailing through a Rebel minefield Farragut utters the famous quote “Dang the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

May 31-The Battle of Seven Pines as General Jackson’s army attacks McClellan’s troop in the front of Richmond and nearly defeats them. General Jackson is badly wounded during the battle.

June 1-General Robert E. Lee assumes command, replacing the wounded Johnson. Lee then renames his army The Army of Northern Virginia. McClellan is not impressed with Lee saying, “he is likely to be timid and irresolute in action.”

June 25- July 1-The Seven Days Battle as Lee attacks McClellan near Richmond, resulting in very heavy losses for both the Union and the Confederacy. McClellan then begins to withdraw back towards Washington.

July 11-After four months of his own General-in-chief, President Lincoln hands over the task to General Henry “Old Brains” Halleck.

August 29-30-75,000 Federals under General John Pope are defeated by 55,000 Confederates under the command of Generals’ Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet at the second battle of Bull Run in northern Virginia. Again the Union Army retreats to Washington where Lincoln relieves Pope of his duties.

September 4-9-Lee invades the North with 50,000 Confederates and heads for Harpers’ Ferry, located 50 miles northwest of Washington. The Union Army 90,000 strong, under the command of McClellan, pursues Lee.

September 17-The bloodiest day in U.S. military history as General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Armies are stopped at Antietam in Maryland by McClellan and numerically superior Union forces. By nightfall 26,000 men are dead, wounded, or missing. Lee then retreats to Virginia.

September 22-Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves issued by President Lincoln.

November 7-The president replaces McClellan with General Ambrose E. Burnside as the new Commander of the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln had grown impatient with McClellan’s slowness to follow up on the success at Antietam, even telling him, “If you don’t want to use the army, I should like to borrow it for a while.”

December 13-Army of the Potomac under General Burnside suffers a costly loss at Fredericksburg in Virginia with a loss of 12,653 after 14 frontal assaults on well entrenched Rebels on Mary’s Heights. “We might as well have tried to take hell,” a Union solider said. Confederate loses are 5,309. “It is well that the war is so terrible-we should grow too fond of it,” states Lee during the fight.


January 1-President Lincoln issues the final Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in territories held by Confederates and emphasizes the enlisting of black soldiers for the Union Army. The war to preserve the Union now becomes a revolutionary struggle for the abolition of slavery.

January 25-The president appoints General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker as Commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Burnside.

January 29-General Ulysses S. Grant is placed in command of the Army of the West, with orders to capture Vicksburg.

March 3-The U.S. Congress enacts a draft, affecting male citizens from ages 20-45, but also exempts those who pay $300 or provide a substitute. “The blood of a poor man is just as precious as that of a wealthy man’s,” poor Northerners complain.

May 1-4-The Union Army under General Hooker is defeated by a much smaller group of Rebels at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia as a result of Lee’s brilliant and daring tactics. Confederate General Stonewall Jackson is mortally wounded by one of his own men. Hooker retreats. The Union loses 17,000 killed wounded or missing out of 130,000. The Confederates 13,000 out of 60,000. “I just lost confidence in Joe Hooker,” said Hooker later about losing his own nerve during the battle.

May 10-The South suffers a huge blow as Stonewall Jackson dies from his wounds, his last words, “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.” “I have lost my right arm,” Lee said sadly.

June 3-General Lee with 75,000 Confederate troops launches a second invasion of the North, heading for Pennsylvania in a campaign that will soon lead to Gettysburg.

June 28-President Lincoln appoints General George G. Meade as the commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Hooker. Meade is the 5th man to command the Army in less than a year.

July 1-3-The tide of the war turns against the South as the Confederates are defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

July 4-Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold of the Mississippi River, surrenders to General Grant and the Army of the West after a six week siege. With the Union now in control of the Mississippi, the Confederacy is split in two, cut off from the western allies.

July 13-16-Antidraft riots in New York include arson and the murder of blacks by poor immigrant whites. At least 120 people, including children, are killed and $2 million in damage caused, until Union soldiers returning from Gettysburg restore order.

July 18-‘Negro troops’ of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry under Col. Robert G. Shaw assault fortified Rebels at Fort Wagner, South Carolina. Shaw and half of his men die in battle.

August 10-The president meets with abolitionist Fredrick Douglass who pushes for full equality for Union ‘Negro troops.’

August 21-At Lawrence, Kansas, pro-Confederate William C. Quantrill and 450 proslave followers raid the town and butcher 182 boys and men.

September 19-20-A decisive Confederate victory by General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee at Chickamauga leaves General William S. Rosecran’s Union Army of the Cumberland trapped in Chattanooga, Tennessee under Confederate siege.

October 16- The president appoints General Ulysses S. Grant to command all operations in the western theater.

November 19-President Lincoln delivers a two minute Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a National Cemetary.

November 23-25-The Rebel siege at Chattanooga ends as Union forces under General Grant defeat the siege army of General Braxton Bragg. During the battle, one of the most dramatic moments of the war occurs. Yelling “Chickamauga! Chickamauga!” Union troops avenge their previous defeat at Chickamauga by storming up the face of Missionary Ridge without orders and sweep the Rebels from what had been thought to be an impregnable position. “My God, come and see ’em run!” a Union solider cries.


May 5-6-Battle of Wilderness, Virginia.
May 8-21-Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia.
May 9-24-Sheridan’s Richmond Raid.
May 15-Battle of New Market, Virginia.
May 16-Battle of Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia.
May 23-26-Battle of North Anna River, Virginia.
May 31-June 12-Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia.
June 5-Battle of Piedmont, Virginia.
June 11-12-Battle of Trevilian Station, Virginia.
June 15-18-Battle of Petersburg, Virginia.
June 18-December 31-Siege of Petersburg, Virginia.
July 30-Battle of Crater.
August 18-25-Battle of Weldon Railroad and Ream’s Station.
September 29-Engagement at New Market Heights.
September 29-30-Battle of Fort Harrison (Chaffin’s Farm).
September 29-October 2-Battle of Pebbles Farm.
October 27-28-Battle of Burgess’ Mill (Boydton Plank Road).
June 23- July 25-Early’s Washington Raid.
July 9-Battle of Monocary, Maryland.
July 12-Battle of Fort Stevens, near Washington D.C.
July 24-Second Battle of Kenstown, Virginia.
August 7- October 19-Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley, Campaign, Virginia.
September 19-Third Battle of Winchester (Opequon Creek).
September 22-Battle of Fisher’s Hill.
October 19-Battle of Cedar Creek.
November 8-President Lincoln is re-elected as President of the United States.


January 31-The U.S. Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, to abolish slavery. The amendment is then submitted to the states for ratification.

February 3-A peace conference is held as President Lincoln meets with the Confederate Vice President at Hampton Roads in Virginia. The meeting ends in failure. The War continues. General Lee’s army is the only army left to fight for the Confederacy.

March 25-The last offensive strike for Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia begins with an attack on the center of Grant’s Forces. Four hours later the attack is broken up.

April 2-Grant’s forces begin a general advance and break through Lee’s line at Petersburg. Lee evacuates Petersburg. The Confederate capital, Richmond, is evacuated. Fire and looting break out. The next day, Union troops enter and raise the Stars and Stripes.

April 9-General Robert E. Lee surrenders his Confederate Army to Ulysses S. Grant at the village of Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. Grant allows Rebel officers to keep their sidearms and permits soldiers to keep their horses and mules. “After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassing courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming forces,” Lee told his troops.

In May-Remaining Confederate forces surrender. The Nation is reunited as the Civil War ends. Over 620,000 Americans died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. 50,000 survivors return home as amputees.