Abraham Lincoln wins a four-way race for President of the United States by earning enough electoral votes to beat all other opponents.
January 9, 1861 - May 20, 1861
South Carolina, Missisipi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Lousiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennesse, and North Carolina secede from the union.
Civil War Begins
Apr 12, 1861
Confederate forces under General P.G.T. Beauregard bombard Major Robert Anderson and his Union soldiers at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The Civil War officially begins.
Lincoln Requests Army
July 4, 1861
Lincoln addresses Congress and requests the enlistment of a Union Army. Congress authorizes a call for 500,000 men. It is clear now that the war will not be short.
Battle of Shiloh
April 8, 1862 - April 9, 1862
Union General Ulysses S. Grant's forces are surprised at the town of Shiloh in Tennessee. The ensuing battle results in 13,000 Union and 10,000 Confederate casualties, more than in all previous American wars combined.
September 17, 1862
The Battle of Antietam is the bloodiest day in United States history. Over 26,000 men are killed, wounded or missing in action on both sides. Though officially a draw, the battle stops General Robert E. Lee's invasion of Maryland and he retreats back to Virginia.
September 22, 1862
Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which declares his intention to free all slaves in any new territory captured by the Union Army.
March 3, 1863
Congress enacts the first draft in American history, requiring every man to serve in the army unless he can furnish a substitute or pay the government $300. These escape provisions are wildly unpopular with workers and recent immigrants, and lead to draft riots in New York and other northern cities.
May 4, 1864
Beginning a drive aimed at ending the war, Ulysses S. Grant and 120,000 troops march south toward Richmond, the Confederate capital. Over the course of the next six weeks, a brutal war of attrition results in the deaths of nearly 50,000 Union soldiers.
13th Amendment Ends Slavery
January 31, 1865
The United States Congress approves the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which will abolish slavery.