One of the facts of the American Civil War is 620,000 Americans were killed in the battle and 50,000 survivors returned home as amputees. Read this Historyplex article to know the facts and timeline of American Civil War.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”
― Abraham Lincoln
The American Civil War is an important event in the history of America. The Civil War started on 1861 and ended in 1865. The war was between the Northern and the Southern slave states of the United States. Abraham Lincoln was the President of the United States at this time. Jefferson Davis led the Civil War against the US Federal Government. Here we look at the facts and timeline of American Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln becomes the President-elect of the United States on November 6. He won the election with 40% popular votes and 180 out of the 303 electoral votes.
One of the Southern states South Carolina secedes from the American Union on December 20th. In a couple of months, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas follow suit.
The Southern states form a government under the leadership of Jefferson Davis. The states frame the Confederate Constitution on lines similar to the Constitution of the United States of America. The southern federal forts are seized by the troops of the Southern states.
Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as the sixteenth president of America on March 4th.
On April 12th, the Civil War begins when Gen. Pierre Beauregard opens fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. On April 15th, President Lincoln issues a Proclamation calling for 75,000 militiamen. Virginia secedes from the Union on April 17,1861, followed by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Now, the total number of the Southern states is eleven and the population rises to nine million, inclusive of four million slaves. Proclamation of blockade is issued against the Southern states on April 19th. Robert E. Lee, son of an American Revolution hero, resigns his commission in the army of the US and joins the army of the Confederation on April 20th.
President Lincoln addresses the Congress and reviews the war on July 4. He along with the Congress take the decision to call for another half-lakh militiamen. On July 21, the Union Army under the leadership of Gen. Irvin McDowell suffers a defeat at Bull Run and the Confederate Gen Thomas J. Jackson is named as “Stonewall”. George B. McClellan replaces Gen. Irvin McDowell as the commander of Potomac.
The unauthorized Proclamation of Emancipation in Missouri by Gen. John C. Frémont is revoked by President Lincoln on September 11. He, later, replaces Gen. Frémont with Gen. David Hunter.
George McClellan is appointed as the General-in-Chief of the Union Armed Forces by the President on November 1. On November 8, the navy of the United States captures two officials of the Confederate sailing towards England. England threatens war, if they are not released. Eventually, Abraham Lincoln releases them in December, with the remark, “One war at a time”.
Facts and Timeline of Year 1862
General War Order No. 1 is issued by President Lincoln. According to this order, the armed forces of the Union are to launch an aggressive attack in February against the Confederacy.
In Tennessee, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (Union Army) captures Fort Henry on February 6, and on February 15, he captures Fort Donelson. This victory earns him the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.
The ironclad warship of the Confederate sinks two wooden ships of the Union on March 8. At the same time, President Lincoln takes over the direct command of the armed forces from McClellan.
On April 6, the army of Confederate attacks the unprepared Union Army in Tennessee. The struggle kills and wounds over 13,000 Union soldiers and 10,000 Confederate soldiers. On April 24, Union Navy under the command of David Farragut captures New Orleans, one of the seaports of the Southern states.
On May 3, Gen. Johnston of the Confederate almost defeats the Union Army in the Battle of Seven Pines and he is badly hurt.
On June 1, Gen. Robert E. Lee takes over the command of the Confederate Army and renames the force as the “Army of Northern Virginia”. Between June 25 and July 1, Lee attacks the Union Army near Richmond. This results in heavy losses and the US Army under the command of McClellan withdraws to Washington. On July 11, President Lincoln entrusts the Union Armed Forces to General Henry W. Halleck.
The Union Army with the strength of 75,000 soldiers under the leadership of General John Pope is defeated by the Confederate Army on August 29 at the second battle of Bull Run. The commanders of Confederate Army are Gen. Stonewall Jackson and Gen. James Longstreet.
Robert Lee, Commander of the Confederate Army invades the northern states and heads for Harpers Ferry between September 4 and September 9. The Union Army under the leadership of McClellan pursues Lee. The strength of the Union Army is around 90,000, while that of the Confederate Army is around 50,000. September 17,1862 is considered as the bloodiest single-day in the “military” history of the USA. The Union Army in Maryland attacks the Confederate army of Robert Lee. Around 26,000 men (combined) die. Finally, Lee withdraws to Virginia. On September 22, President Lincoln issues the “Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation” to free the slaves of the Southern states.
On November 7, McClellan is replaced with Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside as the new commander of the army of the Potomac. On December 13, under the generalship of Lt. Burnside, Union Army suffers a defeat at Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Union Army loses around 12,000 soldiers, while the loses of the Confederate is only 5,000 men.
Facts and Timeline of Year 1863
On January 1, President Abraham Lincoln issues the final “Proclamation of Emancipation”. According to this proclamation, all the slaves belonging to the states held by the Confederates are free and not bonded to any master. He also emphasizes on enlisting the black soldiers in the Union Army. Henceforth, the Civil War becomes a revolutionary struggle for the abolition of slavery. On January 25, Gen. Joseph Hooker takes charge of the army of the Potomac. He is known as the “Fighting Joe”. He replaces Gen. Burnside. On January 29, Gen. Grant takes charge of the Army of the West and is given orders to capture Vicksburg.
On March 3, the Congress of United States passes a draft asking all male citizens between age group of 20 to 45 years, living in the states under the Union to enroll in the army. According to the draft, the men who are able to pay $300 or provide a substitute are exempted from enrolling in the army.
Between May 1 and May 4, there is a fierce battle between the Union Army under Gen. Hooker and Confederate Army under Robert Lee. This battle is known as the Battle of Chancellorsville. The Union Army is badly defeated. They lose around 20,000 men, while the Confederates lose only 13,000 men. In this battle, Gen. Stonewall Jackson of the Confederate Army is badly wounded and succumbs to his wounds on May 10. It is a major blow to the Confederate army.
On June 3, under the commandership of Gen. Lee, the Confederate Army consisting of 75,000 men march towards Pennsylvania. On June 28, Gen. George G. Meade replaces Hooker as the head of the army of the Potomac. Gen. Meade is the fifth man to be appointed by the President of America, in less than a year.
Between July 1 and July 3, the Battle of Gettysburg is fought in Pennsylvania. The army of the Confederates is defeated badly. On July 4, the army of the Confederates in Vicksburg surrenders to the Union Army, after being under siege for six weeks. Because of this siege, Mississippi comes under the control of the Union and the Confederate Army is cut off from its western allies.
On July 13, riots break out in New York City that kills around 120 people including women and children. The Union soldiers returning from Gettysburg restore peace on July 16. On July 18, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment (the first official army unit of the Union Army which consisted of black soldiers) under the leadership of Col. Robert G. Shaw attacks the Fort Wagner, South Carolina. Col. Shaw, and half the soldiers of the Union Army are killed.
The President meets Frederick Douglass, who is fighting for equality of the blacks in the Union Army on August 10. William C. Quantrill, a pro-Confederate and his followers raid the town of Lawrence, Kansas and murder young men and boys on August 21.
There is heavy fighting on September 19 and 20 in Chickamauga, Tennessee. Finally, the Confederate Army under the leadership of Gen. Braxton Bragg defeats the Union Army. On October 16, the President appoints Gen. Grant as the Commander-in-Charge of the operations of Western Theater.
In a battle that lasts for three days from November 23-25, the Union Army headed by Gen. Grant defeats the army of Gen. Braxton Bragg at Chickamauga. The Union troops avenge their previous defeat at Chickamauga.
Facts and Timeline of Year 1864
On March 9, Gen. Grant is appointed as the Commander of Armed Forces of the United States by President Lincoln. Gen. William T. Sherman supports Gen. Grant in the West.
On May 4, the Union Army with a strength of 120,000 men begins advancing towards Richmond to fight the army of Confederates, under the leadership of Lee. Grant is the Commander of the Union Army. At the same time, the Union Army under Sherman marches towards Atlanta, to fight the army of General Joseph E. Johnston.
On June 3, as many as 7,000 Union soldiers are killed in twenty minutes, while attacking the rebels at Cold Harbor, in Virginia. This is a very costly mistake made by General Grant. On June 15, the Union Army misses an opportunity to capture Petersburg and also cut off the rail lines of Confederates. As a result, the Union Army under Gen. Grant surrounds Petersburg and begins a nine-month siege.
On July 20, the Union Army of Sherman fights the Confederate Army of John B. Hood (replaces Johnston). On August 29, Democrats nominate George McClellan as their representative to run against the Republican contestant Abraham Lincoln. On September 2, Sherman captures Atlanta. He sends a telegraph to the President “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won…”. On October 19, the Union Army under Gen. Philip H. Sheridan defeats the army of Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley.
On November 8, Abraham Lincoln is re-elected for the second time as the President of the United States. He wins by 55 percent of the popular vote and 212 of the 233 electoral votes. Lincoln addresses his supporters and tells them: “I earnestly believe that the consequences of this day’s work will be to the lasting advantage, if not the very salvation, of the country…”. On November 15, with the support of Lincoln and Gen. Grant, Sherman marches towards Atlanta. He destroys the warehouses and the railroad facilities of Atlanta.
Gen. George H. Thomas crushes the army of the Confederates at Nashville in a battle fought on December 15 and 16. On December 21, Sherman captures Georgia and gifts it to Lincoln as a Christmas present.
Facts and Timeline of Year 1865
On January 31, the U.S. Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to abolish slavery and it is submitted to the states for ratification. On February 3, President Lincoln meets with Alexander Stephens, Vice-President Confederate States, for a peace conference at Hampton Roads, Virginia. However, the meeting fails and the war continues.
On March 4, Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as the President of the United States, for the second time. On March 25, the army of the Confederates under the command of Robert Lee attacks Grant’s forces in Petersburg. However, the Confederates lose the battle.
The Union Army under Grant conquers Petersburg, Gen. Ambrose P. Hill of the Confederate Army is killed and Lee evacuates Petersburg on April 2. On April 3, the Union Army enters Richmond, the Confederate capital and hoists the Union flag. On April 4, President Lincoln visits Richmond and the Confederate White House. On April 9, in Virginia, Gen. Robert Lee surrenders his Confederate Army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. On April 10, the American Union celebrates the victory over the rebels in Washington, D.C.
On April 14, the Union flag is raised over Fort Sumter. On the same day, John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln, while he is watching a play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater. Lincoln dies at 7.22 a.m. on April 15. Andrew Johnson, the vice-president, assumes the presidential office. On April 18, in Durham, North Carolina, Joseph E. Johnston surrenders to General Sherman of the Union Army. John Wilkes Booth is shot in a tobacco barn in Virginia, on April 26.
On May 4, Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Illinois. Towards the end of May, the remaining Confederate forces surrender and the Civil War ends. The nation is reunited.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified and slavery is abolished forever.