November 6, 1860 Abraham Lincoln, who had declared "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free...“ is elected president, the first Republican, receiving 180 of 303 possible electoral votes and 40 percent of the popular vote.
December 20, 1860 South Carolina secedes from the Union.
January 1861- The South Secedes When Abraham Lincoln, a known opponent of slavery, was elected president, the South Carolina legislature perceived a threat. Calling a state convention, the delegates voted to remove the state of South Carolina from the union known as the United States of America. The Secession of South Carolina was followed by the secession of six more states -- Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas -- and the threat of Secession by four more -- Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. These eleven states eventually formed the Confederate States of America.
January 9, 1861 Mississippi seceded from the Union
January 10, 1861 Florida seceded from the Union
January 11, 1861 Alabama seceded from the Union
January 19, 1861 Georgia seceded from the Union
January 26, 1861 Louisiana seceded from the Union
January 29, 1861 Kansas seceded from the Union
February 1, 1861 Texas seceded from the Union
February 1861 The South creates a Government
February 1861 • At a convention in Montgomery, Alabama, the seven seceding states created the Confederate Constitution, a document similar to the United States Constitution, but with greater stress on the autonomy of each state. • Jefferson Davis was named provisional president of the Confederacy until elections could be held.
February 1861 The South seizes Federal Forts • When President Buchanan (Lincoln's predecessor) refused to surrender southern federal forts to the seceding states, southern state troops seized them. At Fort Sumter, South Carolina troops repulsed a supply ship trying to reach federal forces based in the fort. The ship was forced to return to New York, its supplies undelivered.
March 4, 1861 Lincoln is inaugurated At Lincoln's inauguration the new president said he had no plans to end slavery in those states where it already existed, but he also said he would not accept secession. He hoped to resolve the national crisis without warfare.
March 11, 1861 Confederate Constitution “We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity~invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God~do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America…”
April 12-14, 1861 Attack on Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter Attack When President Lincoln planned to send supplies to Fort Sumter, he alerted the state in advance, in an attempt to avoid hostilities. South Carolina, however, feared a trick. On April 10, 1861, Brig. Gen. Beauregard, in command of provisional Confederate forces at Charleston, South Carolina, demanded the surrender of the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbour. The Garrison commander Anderson refused. On April 12, Confederate batteries opened fire on the fort, which was unable to reply effectively. At 2:30 p.m., April 13, Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter, evacuating on the garrison the following day. The bombardment of Fort Sumter was the opening engagement of the American Civil War. Although there were no casualties during the bombardment, one Union artillerist was killed and three wounded (one mortally) when a cannon exploded prematurely when firing a salute during the evacuation. From 1863 to 1865, the Confederates at Fort Sumter withstood a 22 month siege by Union forces. During this time, most of the fort was reduced to brick rubble. Fort Sumter became a national monument in 1948.
April 17, 1861 Virginia seceded from the Union
May 6, 1861 Arkansas seceded from the Union
May 20, 1861 North Carolina seceded from the Union
June 1861 West Virginia is born • Residents of the western counties of Virginia did not wish to secede along with the rest of the state. This section of Virginia was admitted into the Union as the state of West Virginia on June 20, 1863.
July 18, 1861 First Battle of Bull Run Public demand pushed General-in-Chief Winfield Scott to advance on the South before adequately training his untried troops. Scott ordered General Irvin McDowell to advance on Confederate troops stationed at Manassas Junction, Virginia. McDowell attacked on July 21, and was initially successful, but the introduction of Confederate reinforcements resulted in a Southern victory and a chaotic retreat toward Washington by federal troops.
Battle of Bull Run • On 16 July, 1861, the untried Union army under Brigadier General Irvin McDowell, 35,000 strong, marched out of the Washington defenses to give battle to the Confederate army, which was concentrated around the vital railroad junction at Manassas • The Confederate army, about 22,000 men, under the command of Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard, guarded the fords of Bull Run. • On July 18, McDowell reached Centreville and pushed southwest, attempting to cross at Blackburn's Ford. He was repulsed. • This action was a reconnaissance-in-force prior to the main event at Manassas / Bull Run. • Because of this action, Union commander McDowell decided on the flanking maneuver he employed at First Manassas. • Result (s): Confederate victory • Location: Prince William County and Fairfax County • Date (s): July 18, 1861 • Principal Commanders: Brigadier General Irvin McDowell [US]; Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard [CS] • Forces Engaged: Brigades • Estimated Casualties: 151 total (US 83; CS 68)
July 21, 1861 • The Union Army under Gen. Irvin McDowellsuffers a defeat at Bull Run 25 miles southwest of Washington. Confederate Gen. 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 damned bad," he comments.
July 27, 1861 • President Lincoln appoints George B. McClellan as Commander of the Department of the Potomac, replacing McDowell
July-November 1861 A Blockade of the South. • To blockade the coast of the Confederacy effectively, the federal navy had to be improved. By July, the effort at improvement had made a difference and an effective blockade had begun. The South responded by building small, fast ships that could outmaneuver Union vessels. On November 7, 1861, Captain Samuel F. Dupont's warships silenced Confederate guns in Fort Walker and Fort Beauregard. This victory enabled General Thomas W. Sherman's troops to occupy first Port Royal and then all the famous Sea Islands of South Carolina.
January 31, 1862 • President Lincoln issues General War Order No. 1 calling for all United States naval and land forces to begin a general advance by Feb 22, George Washington's birthday.
March 1862 • The Peninsular Campaign begins as McClellan's Army of the Potomac advances from Washington down the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay to the peninsular south of the Confederate Capital of Richmond, Virginia then begins an advance toward Richmond.
March 8, 1862 McClellan Loses Command. • On March 8, President Lincoln -- impatient with General McClellan's inactivity -- issued an order reorganizing the Army of Virginia and relieving McClellan of supreme command.
April 6-7, 1862 • Confederate surprise attack on Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's unprepared troops at Shiloh on the Tennessee River results in a bitter struggle with 13,000 Union killed and wounded and 10,000 Confederates, more men than in all previous American wars combined. The president is then pressured to relieve Grant but resists. "I can't spare this man; he fights," Lincoln says.
April 24, 1862 • 17 Union ships under the command of Flag Officer David Farragut move up the Mississippi River then take New Orleans, the South's greatest seaport. Later in the war, sailing through a Rebel mine field Farragut utters the famous phrase "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"
May 31, 1862 • The Battle of Seven Pines as Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army attacks McClellan's troops in front of Richmond and nearly defeats them. But Johnston is badly wounded.
July 11, 1862 • After four months as his own general-in-chief, President Lincoln hands over the task to Gen. Henry W. (Old Brains) Halleck
August 29-30, 1862 • 75,000 Federals under Gen. John Popeare defeated by 55,000 Confederates under Gen. Stonewall Jackson and Gen. James Longstreet at the second battle of Bull Run in northern Virginia. Once again the Union Army retreats to Washington. The president then relieves Pope.
September 4-9, 1862 • Lee invades the North with 50,000 Confederates and heads for Harpers Ferry, located 50 miles northwest of Washington
September 17, 1862 • The bloodiest day in U.S. military history as Gen. 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 withdraws to Virginia.
Antietam • On September 17, Confederate forces under General Lee were caught by General McClellan near Sharpsburg, Maryland. This battle proved to be the bloodiest day of the war • 2,108 Union soldiers were killed and 9,549 wounded • 2,700 Confederates were killed and 9,029 wounded. • The battle had no clear winner, but because General Lee withdrew to Virginia, McClellan was considered the victor. • The battle convinced the British and French -- who were contemplating official recognition of the Confederacy -- to reserve action, and gave Lincoln the opportunity to announce his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (September 22), which would free all slaves in areas rebelling against the United States, effective January 1, 1863.
September 22, 1862 • Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves issued by President Lincoln
November 7, 1862 • The president replaces McClellan with Gen. 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."
January 1, 1863 • President Lincoln issues the final Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in territories held by Confederates and emphasizes the enlisting of black soldiers in the Union Army. The war to preserve the Union now becomes a revolutionary struggle for the abolition of slavery.
Emancipation Proclamation • In an effort to placate the slave-holding border states, Lincoln resisted the demands of radical Republicans for complete abolition. Yet some Union generals, such as General B. F. Butler, declared slaves escaping to their lines "contraband of war," not to be returned to their masters. • Other generals decreed that the slaves of men rebelling against the Union were to be considered free. Congress, too, had been moving toward abolition. • In 1861, Congress had passed an act stating that all slaves employed against the Union were to be considered free. • In 1862, another act stated that all slaves of men who supported the Confederacy were to be considered free. • Lincoln, aware of the public's growing support of abolition, issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declaring that all slaves in areas still in rebellion were, in the eyes of the federal government, free.
January 25, 1863 • The president appoints Gen. Joseph (Fighting Joe) Hooker as Commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Burnside.
March 3, 1863 • Because of recruiting difficulties, the U.S. Congress enacts an act was passed making all men between the ages of 20 and 45 liable to be called for military serviceThe U.S. Congress enacts a draft, affecting male citizens aged 20 to 45, but also exempts those who pay $300 or provide a substitute. "The blood of a poor man is as precious as that of the wealthy," poor Northerners complain.