The Civil War


Abraham Lincoln is elected

November 6, 1860

Abraham Lincoln was first elected Republican president, receiving 180 or 303 possible electoral votes and 40 percent of the popular vote.

South Carolina succeeds from the Union

December 20, 1860

South Carolina succeeds from the Union, followed within two months by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. This was the beginning of the Confederate States of America.

The formation of the Confederate States of America

February 9, 1861

Jefferson Davis is elected President of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865. He was a West Point graduate and a former U.S. Army officer

The First Battle of Bull Run

July 21, 1861

A battle in Northern Virginia which ended with the chaotic retreat of Union soldiers, along with sightseers, and politicians, who had come to watch the battle. It resulted in 800 casualities

The Battle of Antietam

September 17, 1862

The Battle of Antietam occurred in Maryland. McClellan and the Army of Potomac repelled Lee’s advances. More Americans died in this battle than any other day in our nation’s history. Lee was forced to retreat and the North claimed Antietam as a victory.

Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

September 22, 1862

Warned that unless the South laid down its arms by the end of 1862, he would decree abolition

Battle of Fredericksburg

December 13, 1862

The Battle of Fredericksburg involved nearly 200,000 combatants, the largest concentration of troops in any Civil War battle. Ambrose Burnside, the newly appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac, ordered his more than 120,000 troops to cross the Rappahannock River. This battle resulted in nearly 13,00 Union soldiers. The morale of the Union plumented and the Confederacy had new much needed energy again.

The Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect

January 1, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation on September 22, 1862, freeing the slaves in areas under Confederate control as of January 1, 1863, which also authorized the enrollment of black soldiers into the Union army

Gettysburg Address

November 1863

In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln summarized his conception of war’s meaning in brief remarks at the dedication of a military cemetery. It is considered as his finest speech. He identified the nation’s mission with the principle that “all men are created equal,” spoke of the war as bringing about a “new birth of freedom,” and defined the essence of democratic government.

Sherman's March to the Sea

November 15, 1864 - December 21, 1864

Union General William T. Sherman led some 60,000 soldiers on a 285-mile march from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia. The purpose of this “March to the Sea” was to frighten Georgia’s civilian population into abandoning the Confederate cause. Sherman’s soldiers stole food and livestock and burned the houses and barns of people who tried to fight back.