Lincoln wins a "four-way race" for president.
southern states secede beginning with South Carolina, ending with North Carolina. (11 in total)
Lincoln Inaugurated as 16th president of the U.S.
Signed in Montgomery, Alabama
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 adresses congress and requests enlistment call for 500,000 men
Union General McDowell is defeated by Confederate army, causing him to retreat to Washington, D.C.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring his intention to free all slaves in any new territory captured by the Union Army.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson dies from wounds sustained when he was mistakenly shot by his own troops at Chancellorsville.
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.
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.
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.
Union General William Rosecrans is defeated by Confederate General Braxton Bragg
President Lincoln delivers the two-minute Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the National Cemetery at the battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
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.
General Grant leads some 100,000 men south-ward, attacking the confederates at The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor
Grant attempts to cut supply lines to Richmond, The Confederate capital. Grant breaks through confederate lines and marches toward Richmond
Union General Sherman captures Atlanta and burns it to the ground.
Union General Sherman begins his famous March to the Sea, burning and destroying 300 miles long and 60 miles wide through Georgia.
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 is captured, ending the March to the Sea. Union General Sherman offers the city to Lincoln as a Christmas present.
The United States Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which will abolish slavery.
Lincoln is sworn in for his second term as President of the United States.
The Union Army captures Richmond, Virginia, which is nearly leveled by shelling and fire.
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 by boote at Ford's Theater. This was the first presidential assassination in U.S. history
General Joe Johnston, leading the largest Confederate Army still in existence, surrenders in North Carolina.
The Thirteenth Amendment is ratified by the States. Slavery is abolished.