Fight for slavery


Lincoln wins the election of 1860

November 6, 1860

Lincoln wins a "four-way race" for president.

Southern states secede

December 20, 1860 - May 20, 1861

southern states secede beginning with South Carolina, ending with North Carolina. (11 in total)

Lincoln's Inauguration

March 4, 1861

Lincoln Inaugurated as 16th president of the U.S.

Confederate Constitution signed

March 11, 1861

Signed in Montgomery, Alabama

civil war begins

April 12, 1861 - April 13, 1861

Confederate forces under General P.G.T. Beauregard bombard Major Robert Anderson and his Union soldiers at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. After two days of bombardment, Anderson surrendered Ft. Sumter to Confederates. The Civil War officially begins.

Lincoln Requests an army

July 4, 1861

Lincoln adresses congress and requests enlistment call for 500,000 men

First Battle of Bull Run

July 12, 1861

Union General McDowell is defeated by Confederate army, causing him to retreat to Washington, D.C.

Moniter vs. Merrimack

March 9, 1862

The Confederate ironclad USS Merrimack battles the Union ironclad USS Monitor in the Chesapeake Bay. The battle is a draw but it makes wooden ships obsolete and ushers in the era of steel warships, changing naval warfare forever.

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.

The Seven Days

June 25, 1862 - July 1, 1862

Over the course of seven days of fighting, General Robert E. Lee attacks George McClellan's Union Army of the Potomac near Richmond, Virginia. Huge casualties cause McClellan to withdraw north towards Washington.

Second Battle of Bull Run

August 30, 1862

The Second Battle of Bull Run is a victory for Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Union General John Pope is blamed for the loss and is relieved of his duties after the battle.

Battle of Antietam

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.

Preliminary Emancipation

September 22, 1862

Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring his intention to free all slaves in any new territory captured by the Union Army.

Battle of Fredricksburg

December 13, 1862

The Union Army under General Ambrose E. Burnside suffers a horrible defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia. Fourteen individual assaults on an entrenched Confederate position cost the Union 13,000 casualties.

Emancipation Proclamation

January 1, 1863

Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation. It frees all slaves in territory captured by the Union Army, and orders the enlistment of black soldiers. From this point forward, the Civil War becomes a war over slavery.

Military Draft

March 3, 1863

Congress enacts the first draft in American history, requiring every man to serve in the army unless he can find 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 1,1863 - May 4, 1863

Over the course of three days, General Robert E. Lee divides his army in against a larger enemy, and manages to defeat the Union Army led by "Fighting" Joe Hooker. The North suffers 17,000 casualties, the South 13,000.

Stonewall Jackson Dies

May 10, 1863

Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson dies from wounds sustained when he was mistakenly shot by his own troops at Chancellorsville.

Battle of Vicksburg

May 22, 1863 - July 4, 1863

Far to the West on the Mississippi River, General Ulysses S. Grant takes Vicksburg after a long siege. At this point, the Union controls the entire river, cutting the Confederacy in two.


July 1, 1863 - July 3, 1863

the Union Army under General Meade defeats Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. One of the bloodiest battles of the war, Gettysburg is a turning point, and marks the farthest advance of the Confederate Army into northern territory.

Pickett's Charge

July 3, 1863

On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee orders General George Pickett to assault entrenched Union positions. In what would become known as "Pickett's Charge," More than half of the 12,000 Confederate soldiers who participate in the charge are slaughtered as they walk slowly across a 3/4-mile field into a hail of gunfire.

Battle of Chickamauga

September 18, 1863 - September 20, 1863

Union General William Rosecrans is defeated by Confederate General Braxton Bragg

Gettysburg Address

November 19, 1863

President Lincoln delivers the two-minute Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the National Cemetery at the battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Grant Takes Command

March 9, 1864

Lincoln appoints Ulysses S. Grant commander of all Union armies, ending his long search for a decent general to command northern forces. General William T. Sherman takes over as commander in the West.

Grant’s Overland Campaign-The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor

May 5, 1864 - June 3, 1864

General Grant leads some 100,000 men south-ward, attacking the confederates at The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor

Siege of Petersburg

June 15, 1864 - April 2, 1865

Grant attempts to cut supply lines to Richmond, The Confederate capital. Grant breaks through confederate lines and marches toward Richmond

Sherman Burns Atlanta

September 2, 1864

Union General Sherman captures Atlanta and burns it to the ground.

Sherman’s March to the Sea

November 15, 1864

Union General Sherman begins his famous March to the Sea, burning and destroying 300 miles long and 60 miles wide through Georgia.

Battle of Nashville

December 15, 1864

The Confederate Army of the Tennessee is crushed by the Union Army of the Cumberland in Nashville. The war in the West is nearly over.

Savannah Captured

December 21, 1864

Savannah is captured, ending the March to the Sea. Union General Sherman offers the city to Lincoln as a Christmas present.

Thirteenth Amendment Ends Slavery

January 31, 1865

The United States Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which will abolish slavery.

Second Lincoln Inauguration

March 4, 1865

Lincoln is sworn in for his second term as President of the United States.

Fall of Richmond

April 2, 1865

The Union Army captures Richmond, Virginia, which is nearly leveled by shelling and fire.

Lee Surrenders

April 9, 1865

General Robert E. Lee surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant in a farmhouse in the town of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The war is over.

Lincoln was assassinated

April 14, 1865

LIncoln was assassinated by boote at Ford's Theater. This was the first presidential assassination in U.S. history

Johnston Surrenders

April 18, 1865

General Joe Johnston, leading the largest Confederate Army still in existence, surrenders in North Carolina.

Slavery Abolished

December 6, 1865

The Thirteenth Amendment is ratified by the States. Slavery is abolished.