Civil War Events by State - Washington, D.C.


Listing of all day-by-day events of the American Civil War related to the state of Washington, D.C..

The American Civil War crossed borders throughout many states as the nation was plunged into turmoil. Key battles were fought throughout the land with the most being recorded in the state of Virginia followed by the state of Tennessee. The war stretched into loosely established territories in the West as well and involved actions in international waters and support from foreign powers. In the end, the fractured country required decades of healing and its scars can still be seen today.

There are a total of (42) Civil War Events by State - Washington, D.C. events in the CivilWarTimeline.net database. Entries are listed below by date-of-occurrence ascending (first-to-last). Other leading and trailing events are also included for perspective.


Day-by-Day Timeline of Events


February 4, 1861

In an effort to settle the issue of slavery, representatives of some twenty-one states meet in Washington, D.C. to form the Washington Peace Conference. The conference runs until February 27th.

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February 22, 1861

Abraham Lincoln, the President-elect of the United States, arrives safely in Washington, D.C.

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April 15, 1861

President Lincoln calls for a special session of Congress to discuss the growing rebellion in the south.

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April 16, 1861

With the stroke of a pen, President Lincoln abolishes the practice of slavery in Washington, D.C.

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April 19, 1861

During unrest in Washington, D.C., four soldiers and twelve civilians are killed.

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April 19, 1861

The New York 7th Regiment begins their march to Washington, D.C. to help bolster defenses there.

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June 27, 1861

Union numbers defending the Union capital of Washington, D.C. now number close to 40,000 men.

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July 16, 1861

Forces under the command of Union General Irvin McDowell are on the march from Washington, D.C. towards Manassas, Virginia.

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July 22, 1861

After heavy losses incurred by both sides, the Battle of Bull Run is over. Federal forces retreat hastily back towards the safety of Washington, D.C.

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July 27, 1861

Having assumed his new post near Washington, D.C., Union General George McClellan arranges the Army of the Potomac.

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August 23, 1861

Event person portrait
House arrest is the verdict handed to Rose O'Neal Greenhow. She was accused of spying for Confederate forces.

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September 13, 1861

President Lincoln turns down a request by Chicago-area group to issue an emancipation proclamation. The president is convinced the action would sway border states to the Confederate cause.

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November 18, 1861

Author and poet Julia Ward Howe witnesses a review of Union troops outside of Washington, D.C. inspiring her to produce a new work.

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February 23, 1862

General Benjamin Butler vows to President Lincoln that New Orleans will be taken.

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April 10, 1862

Washington, D.C. officially abolishes the practice of slavery.

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April 16, 1862

Following the abolition of slavery in Washington, D.C., Congress pushes through a measure to compensate former slave owners in the D.C. area.

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June 2, 1862

Rose Greenhow, the Confederate spy known as "Rebel Rose", is banished to the South.

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June 6, 1862

The Army of Virginia (formerly the Army of the Potomac) is now handed to General John Pope per President Lincoln's order.

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July 11, 1862

General Henry W. Halleck is appointed General-in-Chief over Washington, D.C. by President Lincoln.

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August 26, 1862

Stonewall Jackson and his forces are able to pass between Washington, D.C. and the army of General Pope.

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September 2, 1862

Union General Pope orders his forces to retreat to the outskirts of Washington, D.C.

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September 2, 1862

Union General John Pope is relieved of command of the Army of Virginia by order of President Lincoln.

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September 7, 1862

General George McClellan begins a slow advance away from Washington, D.C. to meet the Confederate threat emerging from Virginia.

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September 22, 1862

President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation is set to take effect on January 1st, 1863. The proclamation covers only those slaves in Confederate-governed states but excludes those border states supporting the Union.

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May 31, 1864

The "Radical Democracy Party", a divisional group of the Republican Party, nominates former Union General John Fremont to run against incumbent Abraham Lincoln in the 1864 election.

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July 2, 1864

The Wade-Davis Bill of 1864, covering a proposal for reconstruction of the South following a conclusion to the war, is passed by both houses of Congress. However, much to the dismay of Radial Republicans, Lincoln does not sign the bill. Instead it is vetoed as Lincoln looks for a less severe plan. Authors of the Wade-Davis Bill are Senator Benjamin Wade (Ohio) and Representative Henry Winter Davis (Maryland).

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July 2, 1864

With Washinton, D.C. as the primary target, cavalry forces led by General Jubal Early raid into Maryland. The operation would span into July 13th.

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July 9, 1864

The Battle of Monocacy in Frederick County, Maryland, sees a Union force (commanded by Lew Wallace) of 5,800 strong go up against a much larger Confederate army of 14,000. The successful delay of General Jubal Early's troops, en route to Washington, D.C., makes it a Union strategic victory. Washington, D.C. is reinforced in the mean time.

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July 11, 1864

Fort Stevens in Washington, D.C. is fired upon by elements of Confederate General General Early (the Battle of Fort Stevens). This occurs during a visit by President Lincoln.

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July 12, 1864

General Early removes his forces form the vicinity of Washington, D.C.

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December 26, 1864

President Lincoln, by letter, personally thanks General William Sherman for his successful campaign - his 'March to the Sea' - which began on November 15th that finally delivered Savannah, Georgia in time for Christmas.

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March 17, 1865

Event person portrait
Actor John Wilkes Booth abandons his plans to kidnap the President of the United States when it is learned that Lincoln will not be visiting Campbell Hospital (Washington, D.C.) as originally planned. Booth was present at Lincoln's Second Inauguration.

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April 10, 1865

Washington, D.C. celebrates the Union victory at Appomattox Court House.

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April 11, 1865

Lincoln gives his last public address to the American people.

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April 13, 1865

Washington, D.C. celebrates the surrender of General Robert E. Lee.

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April 14, 1865

On this date (Good Friday), President Lincoln is shot by actor John Wilkes Booth during the play "Our American Cousin" at the Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. Other targets of the attack are Andrew Johnson and William H. Seward.

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April 19, 1865

Lincoln's funeral procession takes place down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

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April 21, 1865

The Lincoln Funeral Train departs Washington, D.C. en route to Springfield, Illinois.

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April 27, 1865

USS Montauk delivers the body of assassin John Wilkes Booth to Washington, D.C.

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May 2, 1865

Acting President Andrew Johnson places a bounty of $100,000 on the head of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

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July 7, 1865

Mary Surratt, George Atzerodt, Lewis Powell and David Herold are executed for their part in the plot to assassinate President Lincoln. The executions by hanging take place at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.

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November 10, 1865

The commanding officer and overseer - Major Henry Wirz - of the infamous Andersonville prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia is hanged. He is the only enemy authority to be hanged a war criminal. The event takes place in Washington.

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  Civil War by Battle / Engagement  

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Overland Campaign (1864)
Battle of Petersburg (1864-1865)
Shenandoah Valley (1864)
Battle of Franklin (1864)
Battle of Nashville (1864)
Appomattox Courthouse (1865)


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