Midterm Timeline




1857 - 1861


1861 - April 14, 1865


April 14, 1865 - 1869


1869 - 1877


1877 - 1881


1881 - September 19, 1881


September 19, 1881 - 1885


1885 - 1889


1889 - 1893


1893 - 1897


1897 - 1901


Fort Sumter

April 12, 1861 - April 13, 1861

First action between United States and Confederate forces, this artillery duel resulted in the surrender of the bastion of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor but no casualties. It served as an indication that the South was willing to fight for federal property it considered to be its own following secession.

Bull Run (Mannasas)

July 21, 1861

The first battle of the war than took place in Virginia at Bull Run/ Manasas on July 25, 1861. Inexperienced northern troops faced 25,000 Confederate soldiers led by Beauregard. The Union soldiers led by McDowell got whipped, but Southern forces were disorganized so they didn’t pursue the Union troops. This combined with more Union defeat showed that the war wouldn’t be short.


April 6, 1862 - April 7, 1862

At the time, Shiloh was both the bloodiest single day and bloodiest two-day battle in American history. It served as America's introduction to the "total warfare" of the rest of the Civil War. Until Ulysses S. Grant's advance down the Tennessee River, engagements in the Civil War had been relatively small. The engagement also saw the death of Sidney Albert Johnston, on whom Jefferson Davis had pinned his hopes in the West.


September 17, 1862

Bloodiest day of the Civil War, this battle gave Abraham Lincoln the perceived victory he desired to release the Emancipation Proclamation. The costly battle also ended Robert E. Lee's advance into Maryland. McLellan led the north.


November 1862 - July 4, 1863

This battle represented the completion of the Union campaign to gain control of the Mississippi and slit the South. This victory brought Grant to Lincoln’s notice, and he eventually promoted Grant to Commander-in-Chief of the Union army.


July 1, 1863 - July 3, 1863

Lee vs. Meade, Pennsylvania, Picket's Charge- a fatal final effort to break northern lines, north had advantage of high ground, last major battle of the war (South forces exhausted), approx 23,000 casualties on each side


November 23, 1863 - November 25, 1863

Following the worst defeat of any United States army at Chickamauga Lincoln dispatched three of his best generals (Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Joseph Hooker) to Chattanooga. Six weeks later Grant broke out of the city, drove the Confederate Army into Georgia, and began preparing for the Spring campaigns.

Atlanta Campaign

May 1864 - September 2, 1864

William T Sherman used the "scorched earth" (kill it all, burn it all) policy on his track from Tennessee to Georgia


April 9, 1865

Grant accepted Lee’s surrender at the Appomattox courthouse in Virginia. Lee was “proud in his humiliation” and acknowledged defeat with the grace of a king.

Northern Generals

Winfield Scott

July 5, 1841 - November 1, 1861

General at the start of the war, proposed the Anaconda Plan


May 14, 1861

George B. McClellan

November 1, 1861 - March 11, 1862

Henry Wager Halleck

July 23, 1862 - March 9, 1864

Ulysses S. Grant

March 9, 1864 - March 4, 1869

William T. Sherman

March 8, 1869 - November 1, 1883

Philip Sheriden

November 1, 1883 - 1888