Civil War Timeline


Lincoln Elected

November 6, 1860

Abraham Lincoln was selected to be the president of America.

Lincoln's inauguration

March 4, 1861

Lincoln is sworn into presidency.

Attack on Fort Sumpter

April 12, 1861 - April 13, 1861

The American Civil War officially begins when rebels in Charleston fire on the U.S. Fort Sumter in the harbor. Fire is returned from the Federals. There are no war-casualties. The fort is surrendered on the 13th.

Tennessee seceded from the union

June 8, 1861

Tennessee becomes the final southern State to secede from the Union.

Bull-Run I

July 21, 1861

The first official battle of the civil war begins.


April 6, 1862 - April 7, 1862

The most devastating clash between the North and South (to date) takes places at Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River that would be called the battle of Shiloh.

Battle of Antietam

September 16, 1862 - September 18, 1862

Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia clash with McClellan’s Union forces at Sharpsburg, Maryland, in what will become known as Antietam. The worst single-day – the 17th – of bloodshed took place at Antietam. Lee retreats and fails to win the day, thus failing in drawing in the support of England to the Southern cause.

Battle of the Ironclads

December 8, 1862

The battle was a part of the effort of the Confederacy to break the Union blockade, which had cut off Virginia's largest cities, Norfolk and Richmond, from international trade

New York Riots

July 16, 1863 - July 18, 1863

Riots break out in New York and at least 100 civilians are killed.

54th of Massachusetts attacks Fort Wagner

July 18, 1863

The Union assault upon Fort Wagner, on Morris Island near Charleston, is led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and his 54th Massachusset’s black regiment. Shaw will die with many of his troops in this failed attempt to take take the fort.

Emancipation Proclamation Speech

September 22, 1863

Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation declaring that

“. . . . all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free . . . “

Gettysburg Address

November 19, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln visits Gettysburg to dedicate the cemetery and deliver a few brief comments in a speech known as the Gettysburg Address.

Grant named General in Chief

March 2, 1864

Grant becomes the General-in-chief for the US army

Sherman's march to the sea

November 15, 1864

Sherman burns Atlanta and begins the march to the sea.

Lincoln's second inaugural address

March 4, 1865

Lincoln delivers his second inaugural address to America.

General Davis Flees in a Woman's Dress

April 2, 1865

Confederate Government evacuates Richmond; Davis flees in a woman’s dress.

General Lee surrenders

April 9, 1865

Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia.

Lincoln is Assasinated

April 14, 1865

Lincoln assasinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.

Battle of Gettysburg

July 1, 1865 - July 3, 1865

What starts out as a minor skirmish between A.P. Hill’s Confederates and dismounted cavalry of Union General John Buford on July 1st, becomes a full-blown disaster for the rebels by July 3rd as Lee’s advance into Pennsylvania is turned back and his entire army will retreat within 72 hours, never to invade the North again. Over 158,00 total combined forces will square off at Gettysburg resulting in staggering casualties numbering over 51,000.