Civil War Chronological History
Prepared by James L. Walker
Note: [B] denotes event is a battle
Nov 6 Lincoln elected President
Dec 3 Message from Buchanan, President of US arguing against the right of secession, but expressing doubt of the constitutional power of Congress to make war upon a state.
Dec 20 South Carolina first state to secede from the Union
Jan 9 First overt act of war committed by Confederates by firing on and preventing the ship "Star of the West" from bringing reinforcements to Fort Sumter. Soldiers and supplies were concealed in the merchant steam vessel.
Feb 19 Jefferson Davis inaugurated Provisional President of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Ala.
4 Mar Lincoln inaugurated.
12 Apr [B] Bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor by the Confederates. Surrendered by the Union forces.
18 Apr [B] Union garrison abandons Harpers Ferry, VA.
21 Jul [B] First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) in VA ends in rout of McDowell's Union forces.
10 Aug [B] Confederates defeat Union forces at Wilson's Creek, Missouri (near Springfield).
20 Aug [B] Confederates capture Union Garrison at Lexington, Missouri (near Kansas City).
21 Oct [B] Union troops defeated at Ball's Bluff, VA
07 Nov [B] Grant suffers defeat at Belmont, Missouri
07 Nov [B] Federal forces take Port Royal, South Carolina
19 Jan [B] Confederates lose at Mill Springs, Kentucky
06 Feb [B] Union forces capture Fort Henry on the Tennessee River
08 Feb [B] Federals take Roanoke Island, North Carolina
16 Feb [B] Fort Donelson, Tennessee captured with 15,000 Confederates.
25 Feb [B] Confederates abandon Nashville, Tennessee.
7-8 Mar [B] Union forces win Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, which resulted in control of Missouri.
8 Mar [B] CSS Virginia (Merrimack) enters Hampton Roads destroying U.S. warships.
9 Mar [B] CSS Virginia (Merrimack) and the USS Monitor meet at Hampton Roads, but this battle is indecisive.
14 Mar [B] Confederates abandon New Madrid, Missouri.
23 Mar [B] Stonewall Jackson defeated at Kernstown, Virginia in the first battle of the Shenandoah Valley.
6-7 Apr [B] Grant repulses surprise attack at Shiloh, Tennessee.
8 Apr [B] Island #10 captured by the Union with 5,000 Confederates. (Island is in the Mississippi River close to New Madrid Missouri)
11 Apr [B] Fort Pulaski, near Savannah, Georgia captured by Federal troops.
16 Apr Confederate Congress votes draft of men between 18 and 35 and later exempts owners of at least 20 slaves, or by the hiring of a substitute or by payment of $500.
4 May [B] McClellan occupies Yorktown, Virginia, after Confederate withdrawal the previous day.
5 May [B] Union army captures Williamsburg, Virginia.
8 May [B] Stonewall Jackson defeats Federals at McDowell, Virginia
9 May [B] Union forces advancing on Richmond compel Confederates to abandon Norfolk.
12 May [B] Federal troops occupy Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
23 May [B] Jackson routs the Union forces at Front Royal, Virginia.
25 May [B] Jackson routs the Union forces at Winchester, Virginia.
1 Jun [B] Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks), Virginia.
4 Jun [B] Confederates abandon Fort Pillow, Tennessee.
6 Jun [B] Federals capture Memphis, Tennessee after a naval battle there.
8-9 Jun [B] Jackson defeats Federals at Battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic, Virginia.
1 Jul [B] Seven Days Battle with Federal retreat at Oak Grove, Mechanicsville, Gaines Mill, Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Virginia.
9 Aug [B] Jackson defeats Federals at Cedar Mountain, Virginia.
29-30 Aug [B] Confederates rout John Pope at Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas).
5 Sep Lee's first invasion of the North, crossing the Potomac into Maryland.
14 Sep [B] Battle of South Mountain, Maryland.
15 Sep [B] Jackson wins at Harpers Ferry, Virginia capturing 12,000 Union troops.
17 Sep [B] Federals attack Lee at Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland; indecisive. Bloodiest single day of the war.
19 Sep [B] Confederates defeated at Iuka, Mississippi. (near Corinth)
4 Oct [B] Battle at Corinth, Mississippi.
8 Oct [B] Battle of Perryville, Kentucky.
13 Dec [B] Union forces defeated with heavy loss at Fredricksburg, Virginia.
31 Dec [B] Battle of Murfreesboro (Stones River), Tennessee begins.
1 Jan Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.
2 Jan [B] Second day of Battle of Murfreesboro (Stones River); William Rosecrans forces Confederate withdrawal next day.
3 Mar U.S. Congress drafts men between between 20 and 45 with exemptions by hiring a substitute or by payment of $300.
7 Apr [B] Federal ironclads' attack on Fort Sumter repulsed.
2 May Federal calvary raids in Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi.
1 May [B] Grant defeats Confederates at Port Gibson, Mississippi.
1-4 May [B] Lee defeats Joseph Hooker at Chancellorsville, Virginia. Stonewall Jackson accidentally shot by his own men and dies May 10th.
12 May [B] Grant defeats Confederates at Raymond, Mississippi.
18 May [B] Grant begins siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
3 Jun Lee starts a second invasion of the North from Fredericksburg.
28 Jun [B] Confederates seize York, Pennsylvania.
1-3 Jul [B] Battle of Gettysburg, followed by retreat of Confederates.
4 Jul [B] Vicksburg surrenders with 30,000 Confederate troops.
9 Jul [B] Port Hudson, Louisiana surrenders to Federals.
13 Jul Four day draft riots by mob of 50,000 in New York City.
26 Jul Confederate raids in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio during July.
9 Sep [B] Federals enter Chattanooga, Tennessee.
19-20 Sep [B] Braxton Bragg wins Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia.
19 Nov Lincoln delivers his Gettysburg Address.
24 Nov [B] Battle of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
25 Nov [B] Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee
17 Feb Confederate submarine sinks Union warship off Charleston.
20 Feb [B] Union forces defeated in Olustee, Florida.
13 Mar [B] Red River Campaign in Louisiana started by Federal forces, and continued into May.
10 Apr Archduke Maximilian of Austria, puppet of Napoleon III, is crowned Emperor of Mexico in violation of the Monroe Doctrine.
12 Apr Confederates recapture Fort Pillow, Tennessee.
17 Apr Grant stops prisoner exchange, increasing the Confederate manpower shortage.
30 Apr [B] Confederates defeat Federals at Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas, and force them then to withdraw to Little Rock.
5-6 May [B] Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia
8-21 May [B] Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia.
13 May [B] Battle at Resaca, Georgia as Sherman heads toward Atlanta.
15 May [B] Battle at New Market, Virginia.
25 May [B] Four day battle at New Hope Church, Georgia.
1-3 Jun [B] Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia. Grant severely repulsed.
3 Jun United States Congress passes a National Banking Act which provides for a national currency.
10 Jun [B] Federals lose at Brice's Crossroads, Mississippi.
18 Jun Grant begins siege of Petersburg, Virginia.
19 Jun Confederate raider Alabama sunk by United States warship off Cherbourg, France.
27 Jun [B] Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia.
12 Jul [B] Confederate forces reach outskirts of Washington, D.C. but forced to withdraw.
15 Jul [B] Battle of Tupelo, Mississippi.
20 Jul [B] Battle of Peachtree Creek, Georgia
22 Jul [B] Battle of Atlanta, Georgia.
30 Jul [B] Battle of the Crater (Virginia), Confederates halt breakthrough.
1 Aug Admiral Farragut wins Battle of Mobile Bay for Union forces.
1 Sep [B] Confederates evacuate Atlanta.
2 Sep Sherman occupies Atlanta.
4 Sep Sherman orders civilians out of Atlanta.
19 Sep [B] Battle of Winchester, Virginia
19 Oct [B] Sheridan wins at Cedar Creek, Virginia, driving Confederates from the Shenandoah Valley.
19 Oct Confederate raiders from Canada make suprise attack on St. Albans, Vermont.
15 Nov [B] After partially burning Atlanta, Sherman starts his March to the Sea to Savannah, Georgia.
25 Nov Confederate plot to burn New York fails.
30 Nov [B] Battle of Franklin, Tennessee. Five Confederate generals were killed.
13 Dec [B] Sherman captures Fort McAllister, guarding Savannah, Georgia.
21 Dec [B] Sherman occupies Savannah, Georgia.
15 Jan [B] Union forces capture Fort Fisher, closing Wilmington, North Carolina, the last major Confederate port.
31 Jan United States Congress submits to the states the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery.
17 Feb [B] Sherman captures Columbia, South Carolina, which is destroyed by fire the same night. Sherman marches toward North Carolina.
18 Feb [B] Fort Sumter abandoned. Federals seize Charleston.
4 Mar Lincoln inaugurated for a second term.
13 Mar Confederate Congress authorizes the use of slaves as combat soldiers.
19 Mar [B] Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina.
1 Apr [B] Battle of Five Forks, Virginia.
2 Apr [B] Grant captures Petersburg, Virginia, after a ten month siege; Confederate government evacuates Richmond.
6 Apr [B] Battle at Sayler's Creek, Virginia.
9 Apr [B] Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
14 Apr President Lincoln shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in Washington. Lincoln dies the following day.
26 Apr Johnston's army surrenders to Sherman at Durham, North Carolina.
26 Apr Booth killed by Federal cavalry near Bowling Green, Virginia
26 Apr Confederate cabinet meets for last time in Charlotte, North Carolina.
4 May Richard Taylor's forces surrender; last Confederate army east of the Mississippi.
13 May Last Battle of the war at Palmito Ranch, near Brownsville, Texas.
26 May E. Kirby Smith surrenders Confederate Trans-Mississippi army.
Return to the main page