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