Civil War Policital Events From 1861 to 1865


The politics of the American Civil wWar were just as deep and complicated as the military side of the conflict.

There are a total of (292) Civil War Policital Events From 1861 to 1865 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


December 20, 1860

South Carolina adopts an ordinance of secession, becoming the first slave state of the south to declare its intent to leave the Union.

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January 3, 1861

Delaware votes to remain in the Union despite its position as a slave state.

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January 5, 1861

Event person portrait
Jefferson Davis, a United States Senator, is just one voice calling for southern states to secede from the Union.

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January 6, 1861

Event person portrait
New York mayor, Fernando Wood, calls for New York city to secede from the Union in an effort to remain neutral for the upcoming conflict.

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January 9, 1861

The state of Mississippi moves to secede from the Union, strengthening the growing Confederacy in the south.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 10, 1861

Florida follows Mississippi and moves to secede from the Union.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 10, 1861

Event person portrait
Stephen Mallory, a Florida senator, resigns his position to join the ranks of the growing Confederacy government.

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January 11, 1861

Alabama moves to secede from the Union, following Mississippi and Florida just days ago.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 19, 1861

The state of Georgia officially secedes from the Union, joining its southern sister states in the new Confederacy.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 21, 1861

United States Senator Jefferson Davis officially resigns from his position.

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January 26, 1861

The state of Louisiana formally secedes from the Union.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 29, 1861

Kansas is officially brought into the Union holding non-slave state status.

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January 29, 1861

Event person portrait
John Dix, the acting United States Secretary of the Treasury, orders authorities in New Orleans to shoot anyone attempting to bring down the American flag.

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February 1, 1861

Texas declares it has seceded from the Union, joining a chorus of southern states in defiance of the north.

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February 4, 1861

A provisional government arranged to head the affairs of the new south meet in Montgomery, Alabama.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 4, 1861

Event person portrait
United States Senator Judah Benjamin of Louisiana resigns his position to join the Confederacy.

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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 8, 1861

Confederate government leaders announce the name of "Confederate States of America" to mark their new union.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 9, 1861

Event person portrait
Jefferson Davis and Alexander H. Stephens are elected as provisional president and vice president of the Confederate States of America by the new government.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 11, 1861

Event person portrait
President-elect Abraham Lincoln departs Springfield, Illinois.

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February 18, 1861

The Confederate States of America reveal their national anthem, "Dixie".

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 18, 1861

Confederate leaders in Montgomery inaugurate officers to head up various positions in the new government.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 21, 1861

Event person portrait
Leroy Walker is named Secretary of War for the Confederate States of America.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 21, 1861

Stephen Mallory is appointed Secretary of the Navy for the Confederate States of America.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date


February 21, 1861

President-elect Abraham Lincoln makes a stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is made aware of an assassination plot against his life. In response a special train journey is arranged for him to Washington, D.C.

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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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February 23, 1861

Texans go to the polls and overwhelmingly reaffirm their intent to secede from the Union.

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February 23, 1861

Abraham Lincoln, President-elect of the United States, has his inaugural photograph taken at Matthew Brady's studio.

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February 25, 1861

The Confederate government names Judah Benjamin, a former U.S. senator, as its first Attorney General.

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March 2, 1861

Event person portrait
Tennessee state senator Andrew Johnson makes the declaration that any who opposed the Union would be hanged if he were President. Johnson will one day lead the nation as its 17th President.

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March 4, 1861

Abraham Lincoln is officially inaugurated as the next President of the United States, succeeding James Buchanan.

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March 4, 1861

Event person portrait
The "Stars and Bars" is named as the first official flag of the Confederate States of America by the Confederate Congress.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
March 5, 1861

Event person portrait
Three Confederate representatives arrive in Washington, D.C. but their status is not acknowledged by Secretary of State William Seward.

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March 6, 1861

The Provisional Army of the Confederate States is established by the Confederate government.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
March 11, 1861

The Constitution of the Confederate States of America is adopted by the south.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
March 16, 1861

The Confederate States Marine Corps is founded by the Confederate Congress.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date


March 21, 1861

In a speech given during a stop in Savannah, Georgia, Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens reaffirms the southern stance on slavery.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 6, 1861

President Lincoln notifies the government of South Carolina that general supplies will be sent to Fort Sumter at Charleston Harbor - he gives his assurances that any strengthening of the position will only be made if the Fort is in danger of attack.

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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 15, 1861

President Lincoln pushes for 75,000 soldiers who will each serve three-month tenures.

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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 16, 1861

President Lincoln calls on all states in the Union to cease doing business with those southern states that have moved to secede.

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April 17, 1861

The state of Virginia officially secedes from the Union.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 17, 1861

Confederate President Jefferson Davis calls on any and all privately-own vessels allied to the southern cause to openly attack Union merchants.

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April 18, 1861

Event person portrait
Robert E. Lee declines an offer by President Lincoln to command the United States Army.

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April 19, 1861

President Lincoln calls on all southern ports to be blockaded, the territories in question being the lower East Coast all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

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April 20, 1861

To avoid further clashes with troops, Baltimore formally asks President Lincoln to refrain from having military forces pass through the city.

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April 20, 1861

Telegraphs are confiscated by the United States government to help identify those that would cause harm to the Union.

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April 20, 1861

American citizens are arrested throughout Baltimore, Boston and New York without due process - brought about by warrants issued under the name of the United States Secretary of State.

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April 21, 1861

Event person portrait
General Benjamin Butler, a Union officer, arrives at Annapolis, Maryland with his forces. However Governor Thomas Hicks takes offense to northern elements present in the state.

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April 22, 1861

The United States government moves in to take over the now-vacated estate of Robert E. Lee, known as "Arlington House". The estate sat on the Potomac River.

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April 23, 1861

Event person portrait
Robert E. Lee is given command of the forces of the state of Virginia (as a Major General).

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 24, 1861

Virginia formally aligns its state military capabilities with that of the Confederate Army.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 29, 1861

Confederate President Jefferson Davis calls a special session of congress to address recent developments - including the capture of Fort Sumter by South Carolinian forces.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 29, 1861

The state of Maryland votes to remain in the Union.

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April 29, 1861

The Confederate Congress convenes in Montgomery (Alabama) to tackle several issues. The group will gather until May 21st.

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May 3, 1861

President Lincoln asks Congress for additional troops for three-year terms - hoping to bolster the ranks of the Army and Navy services. Some 42,000 volunteer forces are required.

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May 6, 1861

Arkansas becomes the latest state to secede from the Union.

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May 7, 1861

The state of Tennessee formally aligns its military capabilities with that of the Confederacy.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 10, 1861

State authorities of Maryland pass a resolution decrying the war against the south. It decides to take a neutral stance in the growing conflict.

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May 13, 1861

Britain declares herself neutral in the American conflict and fails to officially recognize the Confederate States of America.

May 16, 1861

In an effort to strengthen its forces, the government of the Confederacy offers $10 enlistment bonuses.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 20, 1861

North Carolina officially secedes from the Union.

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May 21, 1861

Richmond, Virginia becomes the official national capital of the Confederacy of the United States.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
June 8, 1861

The state of Tennessee formally secedes from the Union.

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June 8, 1861

The Kentucky government keeps its military forces neutral in the ongoing - and growing - conflict between the north and south.

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June 11, 1861

Union loyalists in Western Virginia arrange their own local government. The work lasts through June 19th.

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June 14, 1861

Acting governor of Virginia, John Letcher, calls on West Virginians to join the Confederate cause.

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July 2, 1861

President Lincoln suspends "writ of habeas corpus" in unique circumstances - the writ allowing a person the right to report an unlawful detention or imprisonment before a court.

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July 4, 1861

President Lincoln, in a special session of Congress, asks for 500,000 men for the Union war effort. Current Union strength numbers 260,000 men with 165,000 of these being volunteers.

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July 19, 1861

Robert Toombs, the acting Secretary of State for the Confederacy, resigns his post to lead forces in Georgia as a brigadier general.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
July 19, 1861

Robert Hunter succeeds Robert Toombs in the post of Secretary of State for the Confederacy.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date


July 20, 1861

The Confederate Congress meets once more, this time in the new capital of Richmond, Virginia. The group will convene until August 31st.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
July 22, 1861

The United States Congress pushes through a resolution that declares the raging war to be about the preservation of the Union and not the ending of slavery.

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July 30, 1861

Event person portrait
Union General Benjamin Butler pens a letter to Simon Cameron, the United States Secretary of War, explaining his refusal to return any fleeing slaves - considering them materials to be claimed by the conquerors.

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August 5, 1861

The federal government issues the first-ever income tax to help finance the Union war effort.

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August 6, 1861

The Second Confiscation Act is passed by the United States Congress. Details include forfeiting of slaves should one be caught aiding the Confederate war effort.

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August 6, 1861

Having completed much-needed work, the United States Congress ends its special session.

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August 12, 1861

The Confederates announce an alliance with Indian tribes located within southern territories.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
August 21, 1861

Cherokee Indians meet at Tahlegue and announce their alliance with the Confederate States of America. Their numbers total 4,000.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
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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August 30, 1861

Event person portrait
Missouri slaves of owners supporting the Confederacy are freed by Union General John C. Fremont after he announces martial law in the state.

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August 31, 1861

Event person portrait
Confederate President Jefferson Davis appoints Colonel George Washington Custis Lee as a personal assistant. The Colonel is none other than General Robert E. Lee's oldest son.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
September 2, 1861

The emancipation of Missouri slaves by Union General John C. Fremont is put down by President Lincoln. He is then reassigned.

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September 5, 1861

In an effort to elevate care for the Union wounded in the Western Theater, the Western Sanitary Commission is established in St. Louis, Missouri.

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September 11, 1861

The state government of Kentucky calls for the removal of Confederate troops from its soil. The demand falls on deaf ears.

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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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September 17, 1861

Event person portrait
Leroy Walker is succeeded by Judah Benjamin as the Confederate Secretary of War.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
October 1, 1861

Confederate generals request 20,000 additional troops to take Maryland. Their request is denied by President Jefferson Davis.

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October 2, 1861

To avoid arrest as a traitor, United States Senator John C. Breckinridge escapes Kentucky to join the Confederate cause.

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October 17, 1861

To this point, notes issued by the Confederate Treasury have raised $100 million in support of the war.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
October 21, 1861

U.S. Army Colonel Edward Baker, a longtime and close friend of President Lincoln, is killed at Ball's Bluff, Virginia. He becomes the only sitting senator to be killed in action during the war.

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October 24, 1861

Tennessean William Brownlow releases the final edition of the newspaper "Knoxville Whig" which has stood in support of anti-secession.

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October 31, 1861

The "Rebel Legislature" of Missouri votes to secede from the Union.

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November 1, 1861

General McClellan is named General-in-Chief of all United States military forces by President Abraham Lincoln.

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November 18, 1861

At Russellville, Kentucky, some authorities gather to vote for independence. George Johnson is named its new governor.

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November 18, 1861

The Confederate Provisional Congress meets once more in Richmond, Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
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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November 19, 1861

To better meet the need for resupply and reinforcements, Confederate President Jefferson Davis implores the Congress to fund the construction of an East-West railway system.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
November 22, 1861

Indian territories of the south are now under Confederate rule.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
November 25, 1861

Judah Benjamin, the Confederate Secretary of War, calls on all East Tenessee traitors to be executed where they stand.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
December 2, 1861

In the next meeting of the United States Congress, President Lincoln calls for a new railroad to be constructed to help in the Union war effort.

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December 20, 1861

Viewing Lincoln as too much a pacifist, the "Radical Republicans" of the United States Congress arrange the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.

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December 21, 1861

The Navy Medal of Honor is signed into law by President Lincoln (Public Resolution 82).

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December 26, 1861

To avoid war with Britain, Confederate-aligned commissioners captured two months earlier on the British ship "Trent" are released.

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January 1, 1862

The Confederate commissioners captured on the British steamer Trent continue their voyage to Europe - ending the "Trent Affair".

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January 11, 1862

Edwin M. Stanton is named the new Secretary of War by President Lincoln.

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January 14, 1862

"Battle Hymn of the Republic" is published for the first time, this in the New York Herald Tribune.

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January 22, 1862

In an effort to raise enlistment numbers, the Confederate government announces an increase to the enlistment bonus to $50 (from $10).

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 27, 1862

In an effort to stir General McClellan to action, President Lincoln announces a deadline of February 22 for an all-out advance of Union forces against confederate positions.

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January 1, 1862

A disagreement between Secretary of War Judah Benjamin and General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson nearly leads to the resignation of the talented general. Jackson ultimately wins the showdown.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 31, 1862

The United States government forms the United States Military Railroads system.

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February 4, 1862

The price of saltpeter, compounds needed for the manufacture of gunpowder, is raised to 0.40 cents per pound by Confederate Secretary of War Judah Benjamin.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 13, 1862

West Virginia authorities pass a law that restricts slaves and people of color from being given permanent residency.

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January 17, 1862

To award wartime service going above-and-beyond the norm, a motion to create the nation's first "Medal of Honor" passes a hurdle in Senate voting.

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February 17, 1862

The Confederate Provisional Congress completes its meeting in Richmond, Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 18, 1862

The Confederate Congress gathers in the nation's capital of Richmond in Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 20, 1862

Willie Lincoln, son of the President of the United States, succumbs to fever at the age of eleven.

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February 22, 1862

The Confederate government officially swears in permanent authorities in the capital of Richmond, Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 22, 1862

Andrew Johnson is announced as military governor by President Lincoln over Union-held territories of Tennessee.

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March 6, 1862

To assuage Union border states, President Lincoln pushes for compensation to slave owners who end up losing their slaves.

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March 11, 1862

Having grown tired of General McClellan's inaction to this point in the war, President Lincoln moves to take the General's title of General-in-Chief away. McClellan continues to lead as commander of the Army of the Potomac.

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March 13, 1862

General Robet E. Lee begins his term as a military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 1, 1862

Confederate military authorities revoke all leave permissions due to the growing war commitment - with particular attention being paid to manpower availability.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 10, 1862

Once again President Abraham Lincoln is forced to plead for General McClellan to move to action in Virginia - comparing the current offensive with what was witnessed at Manassas some time earlier.

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April 10, 1862

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

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April 16, 1862

Running short of new recruits, the Confederate government installs conscription for white males aged 18 to 35. A three-year commitment is required.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
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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April 21, 1862

The Confederate Congress completes its round of latest meetings at Richmond, Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 21, 1862

With Union forces making headway towards Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate Congress gathers in an emergency session.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 20, 1862

The Homestead Act is signed into law by President Lincoln. This is arranged to encourage western migration for settlers and offered to those who have not gone against the Union.

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May 25, 1862

President Lincoln, by telegraph, demands an attack on Richmond by General McClellan.

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June 1, 1862

Robert E. Lee concludes his term as military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
June 2, 1862

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

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June 19, 1862

Per the United States Congress, slavery is now banned in Federal territories.

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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 2, 1862

The United States Congress passes a law forcing oaths to the Union cause to be given by governmental and military officials.

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July 7, 1862

Under the direction of Union General Benjamin Butler, William Mumford is hanged in New Orleans for his April removal of an American flag.

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July 9, 1862

President Lincoln pays General McClellan a visit at Harrison's Landing in Virginia.

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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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July 14, 1862

The Medal of Honor award is approved by President Lincoln.

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July 17, 1862

The Second Confiscation Act is passed by the United States Congress. The act frees those slaves owned by southern supporters.

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July 22, 1862

The first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation is completed by President Lincoln.

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July 22, 1862

A prisoner exchange between Union and Confederate authorities is agreed upon.

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August 15, 1862

The Confederate Congress meets in Richmond, Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
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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September 23, 1862

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation is published across newspapers in the North.

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September 26, 1862

In an effort to boost the Confederate economy and broaden its base of allies, the Committee on Foreign Affairs calls on President Jefferson Davis to open Southern markets and waterways to Northwest states.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
September 27, 1862

Confederate conscription is extended and now includes men from the ages of 35 to 45.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
October 11, 1862

The Confederate Conscription Act is amended to exclude those managing twenty or more slaves.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
October 13, 1862

The Confederate Congress ends its latest round of meetings in the capital of Richmond, Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
November 1, 1862

Across the Atlantic, Napoleon III of France calls on European allies to help end the bloody war in America.

November 17, 1862

The British ambassador to Washington, D.C. delivers a message to British leaders indicating that Democrats are interested in ending the war despite any potential state losses to the Union.

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November 29, 1862

Following Union General Philip Kearny's death at the Battle of Chantilly in September of 1862, the Kearny Medal for Officers is established.

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December 1, 1862

Abraham Lincoln addresses the U.S. Congress. In his speech, he declares openness to allowing freed slaves the option to resettle in other countries.

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December 17, 1862

General Grant forces out all merchant Jews under his district control due to Treasury violations (black market dealings involving cotton). This is known as General order No.11 and includes Jews in Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky.

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December 23, 1862

To dissuade further involvement of free blacks in Union ranks, the government of the South decrees that any captured freed slaves fighting under the Union banner face prosecution under local laws. This includes both punishment and execution for fighting the South.

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December 23, 1862

Confederate President Davis makes a call to label Union General Benjamin Butler an "outlaw" in response to Butler's earlier message regarding New Orleans' women.

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December 26, 1862

In a speech to Mississippi lawmakers, President Davis details Northern aggression and violations of southern women and property.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 1, 1863

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect. The proclamation does not cover those slaves residing in states within the Union itself.

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January 4, 1863

President Lincoln is at odds with General Grant on the topic of expelling Jewish merchants operating within Grant's military district. He calls on Grant to repeal the earlier expulsion order.

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January 12, 1863

The Confederate Congress begins another round of meetings in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 24, 1863

The Territory of Arizona is established by the American government. Fort Whipple is named its capital and John Goodwin its governor.

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March 3, 1863

To help strengthen Union numbers, the Enrollment Act (Civil War Military Draft Act), the first of its kind in U.S. history, is enacted. It covers those aged 20 to 45.

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March 3, 1863

The U.S. government passes a resolution opposing foreign intervention in the bloody American conflict.

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March 3, 1863

An honorary brevet rank award is established by the U.S. Congress.

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March 3, 1863

The U.S. Congress declares the Medal of Honor award now open to officer-level persons.

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March 13, 1863

The late Philip Kearny is honored by the establishment of the Kearny Cross award arranged for privates and non-commissioned officers.

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March 17, 1863

The New Jersey government calls for the U.S. to seek a peace with the Confederacy.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
March 17, 1863

The Provost Marshall Department if created by the U.S. government. The department will head the military police and drafting of new personnel into the armed services.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
March 25, 1863

The first Medal of Honor awards are handed out by the U.S. government.

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March 26, 1863

The Confederate government moves to take civilian goods by force.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 5, 1863

It is revealed that thousands of Confederate prisoners have died in captivity at Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois.

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April 30, 1863

President Lincoln calls for a day of "Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer" amidst the growing, bloody years-long conflict between the North and South.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 30, 1863

The Great Seal of the Confederate States of America is adopted by the South. It pictures George Washington on a white horse. Above him are the words "Confederate States of America: 22 February 1862. Below is the motto "Deo vindice" ("God as Our Champion").

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 1, 1863

The Confederate congress adjourns their series of meetings in Richmond, Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 1, 1863

A new Confederate National Flag design is adopted by the government of the South.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 1, 1863

Confederate General John Hunt Morgan's raiding actions are formally recognized by the Confederate Congress.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 5, 1863

With vocal and public opposition to to Lincoln's war, Congressman Clement Vallandigham (Ohio) is arrested.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
May 14, 1863

The Women's Loyal National League is formed, organized by Elizabeth Stanton. Its president is Susan B. Anthony. It is recognized as the first national women's political organization and seeks an amendment for the U.S. Constitution that officially abolishes slavery.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date


May 19, 1863

Vocal war critic (and now disgraced U.S. Congressman) Clement Vallandigham is banished to the South by President Lincoln.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
June 20, 1863

West Virginia is formally adopted as the 35th state of the United States.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
June 22, 1863

West Virginia, a breakaway territory of Virginia proper, becomes the 35th state in the Union.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
June 30, 1863

West Virginia officially becomes a supporter of the Union cause in the Civil War and commits its resources to the conflict

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
July 4, 1863

Former U.S. President Franklin Pierce delivers a speech in Concord, New Hampshire reminding listeners of the value of liberty in the ongoing conflict which has seen the American military grow in strength and influence.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
July 13, 1863

The North and South will no longer adhere to the prisoner exchange agreement from earlier in the war.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
July 13, 1863

Over a dozen civilians are killed during rioting in New York after the release of names from the first Union military draft. The rioting spans July 13th until July 16th and involves some 50,000 New Yorkers.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
July 30, 1863

The Order of Retaliation is handed down by President Lincoln. The measure calls for the execution of one Confederate soldier for every one Union soldier killed in violation of the rules of war.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
August 10, 1863

Abolitionist Frederick Douglas, a former slave, meets with President Lincoln.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
October 3, 1863

"Thanksgiving Day" is formally announced by the United States government. It will be celebrated annually from then on.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
October 16, 1863

Command of the armies of the West are handed to General Ulysses S. Grant by order of President Lincoln.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
October 28, 1863

A copy of the Emancipation Proclamation is auctioned off for $3,000 for charity.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date


November 2, 1863

Henry Allen, a General in the Confederate Army, is named governor of Louisiana.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
November 13, 1863

Pope Pius IX receives Confederate representative Colonel A. Dudley Mann at the Vatican. The visitor brings with him a letter penned by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
November 19, 1863

The Gettysburg Address is delivered by President Lincoln on the battlefield itself. It becomes one of the most revered and iconic speeches in American history despite its rather short length. The speech serves to dedicate the Soldier's National Cemetery in Gettysburg proper.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
December 4, 1863

Robert E. Lee's former estate at Arlington, Virginia, is dedicated as Freedman's Village to serve as home to some 1,100 former slaves.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
December 7, 1863

Confederate President Jefferson Davis addresses his congress as the Southern cause reaches a low point following the loss of Chattanooga.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
December 7, 1863

President Lincoln calls on church-goers to thank God for the Union victory at Chattanooga.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
December 7, 1863

The Proclamation of Amenesty and Reconstruction is issued by President Lincoln. The measure is part of Lincoln's plan for reunification and provides pardons to Confederates willing to take an oath of loyalty to the United States of America.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
December 8, 1863

In an address to Congress, President Lincoln reveals that around 100,000 former slaves have joined the Union ranks in the fight against the South.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
December 11, 1863

Pope Pius IX acknowledges Jefferson Davis as the "President of the Confederate States of America" in a return letter.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
December 17, 1863

General Grant, for his services (and successes) in the ongoing war is recognized by the U.S. Congress by way of an official thanks and a gold medal.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
January 1, 1864

General William Smith is named governor of Confederate Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 2, 1864

Confederate General Patrick Cleburne suggests that some slaves be made free to help fight in the Southern Cause.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date


January 19, 1864

The state of Arkansas accepts a new constitution doing away with slavery.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 19, 1864

Like General Grant, General Sherman receives an official thanks for his services in the ongoing war - namely his direction of the Chattanooga victory.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
March 2, 1864

Confederates find plans to burn Richmond and kill Confederate President Davis. The information is found on the deceased body of Ulric Dahlgren following his unsuccessful raid into Richmond.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
March 9, 1864

General Ulysses S. Grant is promoted to the newly-created rank of Lieutenant General.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
March 18, 1864

The Veteran Reserve Corps is formed from the Invalid Corps.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 8, 1864

A move towards abolishing slavery in the United States is made when the 13th Amendment is passed by the U.S. Senate. The measure passes by a vote of 38 to 6.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 17, 1864

Prisoner exchanges with the South are stopped under the order of General Grant.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 18, 1864

In a speech given at the Sanitary Fair at Baltimore, President Lincoln cautions against retaliation.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 22, 1864

"In God We Trust" is added to U.S. coins. The phrase is pushed through by the United States Congress.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
May 1, 1864

After a fall from the balcony of the Confederate White House, President Jefferson Davis' son Joe dies of his injuries. he was five years old.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
June 7, 1864

Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson are elected by the Republican Party to run for a second term in office. The party convention is held in Baltimore, Maryland with the war still ongoing.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date


June 15, 1864

The 13th Amendment of the Constitution, intended to abolish slavery, is defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 95 to 66.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
June 16, 1864

During a speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, President Lincoln calls for more troops to finish the fight.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
June 28, 1864

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is repealed. The measure is officially signed by President Lincoln. The law called for recaptured runaway slaves in Northern territories to be returned to their masters in the South.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
June 30, 1864

To help finance the ongoing war, the United States government passes the Internal Revenue Act. This allows the government to increase income tax rates.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
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).

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
July 4, 1864

A bill proposing that the U.S. Congress be placed in charge of the reconstruction of the South following the war is vetoed by Presidetn Lincoln.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
July 4, 1864

A new provision signed into law by President Lincoln now guarantees a $100 yearly bonus to Union troops.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
July 5, 1864

The New York Times is the recipient of a initial peace plan authored by the Confederacy.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
July 17, 1864

The Army of Tennessee sees a new commanding officer named - General John Hood succeeds General Joseph Johnston. The appointment is made by President Davis himself.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
July 18, 1864

The Confederate government sees a new Secretary of the Treasury appointed in George Trenholm. He succeeds outgoing secretary Christopher Memminger.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
Aigust 29, 1864

Union General George McClellan is nominated by the Democratic Party in Chicago, Illinois. He will square-off in the Presidential Election of 1864 against incumbent Abraham Lincoln.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date


August 31, 1864

President Lincoln delivers a speech to the men of the 148th Ohio Regiment.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
September 8, 1864

Union General George McClellan accepts the Democratic candidacy for President of the United States.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
October 10, 1864

The state of Maryland adopts a new constitution aimed at officially ending the practice of slavery within its borders.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
November 8, 1864

Incumbent President Abraham Lincoln (a Republican) wins a second term in the unprecedented election held during the American Civil War. He handily defeats Union General George McClellan (a Democrat) 212 to 21 Electoral Votes. Though Louisiana and Tennessee are firmly under Union control, their electoral votes are not counted officially. Lincoln's running mate is Andrew Johnson. Lincoln carries Illinois but does not win Kentucky.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
November 8, 1864

Despite the ongoing war, the President Election is held on this date. Incumbent Abraham Lincoln decisively wins over challenger General George McClellan. Andrew John remains as Vice President.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
December 6, 1864

Salmon Chase, the former Secretary of the Treasury, is appointed to the Supreme Court by President Lincoln.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
January 10, 1865

Congress formally congratulates General Sherman on his exploits across Georgia resulting in the capture of Savannah.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
January 11, 1865

Missouri, a Union state, adopts a resolution abolishing the practice of slavery within its borders.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
January 11, 1865

General Robert E. Lee, realizing the fortunes of the Confederacy are growing limited, announces his support for a gradual freedom for slaves.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 16, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis discusses peace with Francis Blair, Sr, advisor to President Lincoln. The talks are held in secret.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
January 31, 1865

Congress passes the 13th Amendment which abolishes the practice of slavery.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date


February 3, 1865

Alexander Stephens, representing the Confederacy as its Vice President, offers a peace to President Lincoln during a meeting taking place at Hampton Roads in Virginia. The peace overture is rejected by the President.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 4, 1865

John C. Breckinridge is appointed the new Secretary of War for the Confederacy. The appointment is managed by Confederate President Davis himself.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 5, 1865

In an effort to help end the bloodshed of the Civil War, President Lincoln offers monetary compensation to the South pending their acceptance of the 13th Amendment and a cessation of fighting. However, Lincoln's own people do not support the plan so it is dropped.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
February 9, 1865

The U.S. Congress officially congratulates General Philip Sheridan on his exploits centering on the Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
February 9, 1865

Andrew Stephens, acting Vice President of the Confederacy, departs from the capital of Richmond, Virginia to Georgia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
February 23, 1865

The Confederate Senate rejects a proposal that would see as many as 200,000 blacks infused into the Confederate ranks.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
March 2, 1865

Confederate General Robert E. Lee offers peace negotiations to President Lincoln. The overture is rejected.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
March 3, 1865

The Freedmen's Bureau is established by the United States government to aid newly-freed slaves. The organizations formal name is 'Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands' as is part of the Reconstruction initiative the Union plans for the South following the end of the war.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
March 4, 1865

The second inauguration of President Lincoln is had on this date. In the audience is future assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
March 4, 1865

A new national flag is approved by the Confederate Congress - the Confederate National Flag, Third Pattern. The pattern is the third of three seen during the conflict with the First Pattern showcasing a ring of stars and three stripes (red-white-red). The Second Pattern showcases the traditional Confederate flag in the upper left corner but the broad use of white space is deemed too close to a flag of surrender. Thus a new flag is commissioned as the Third Pattern.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
March 24, 1865

President Lincoln begins a three-week visit to General Grant at his headquarters in City Point, Virginia. Among those in attendance is General Sherman.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date


March 28, 1865

In a meeting with top officers, President Lincoln pushes for surrender of the Confederacy under softer terms.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 2, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis is advised by General Lee to leave Richmond, Virginia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 3, 1865

Important government documents and gold reserves from the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, are relocated for safety.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 5, 1865

President Lincoln tours the former Confederate capital of Richmond following its capture by Union forces.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
Aptil 5, 1865

Confederate President Davis attempts to rally the people of the south after the fall of Richmond.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 10, 1865

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 11, 1865

Lincoln gives his last public address to the American people.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 13, 1865

Confederate President Davis and his subordinates meet to discuss peace.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 13, 1865

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 14, 1865

President Lincoln meets with his subordinates to discuss a peace with the South.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 14, 1865

In the same attack that would claim the life of President Lincoln, Secretary of State William Seward is stabbed but survives.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date


April 15, 1865

President Lincoln dies from his wound at 7:22AM at the Petersen house across the street from Ford's Theater.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 15, 1865

Vice President Andrew Johnson succeeds President Lincoln in the role.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 19, 1865

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 19, 1865

Confederate President Davis, now in Charlotte (North Carolina) is informed of President Lincoln's assassination and death.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 21, 1865

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
April 23, 1865

Confederate President Davis attempts to negotiate a favorable peace calling for southern states to be allowed entrance into the Union without changes. The North rejects this request.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 26, 1865

After a lengthy manhunt for President Lincoln's killer, John Wilkes Booth is surrounded in a barn on rural Virginia farm (Port Royal). The barn is set ablaze and Booth is fatally shot.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 26, 1865

Charlotte, North Carolina is the site of the final meeting of the Confederate congress.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 27, 1865

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
April 29, 1865

President Davis and several of his cabinet meet in Yorkville (York) in South Carolina and plan to relocate the Confederate government headquarters to Texas.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 2, 1865

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 5, 1865

Captain Micajah Clark is announced as the Confederate's treasurer. This is President Jefferson Davis' final act as President of the Confederacy in the war. The act takes place in Washington, Georgia.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date


May 4, 1865

Slain President Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest at Oak Ridge Cemetery (Springfield, Illinois).

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
May 4, 1865

While attempting to escape, Confederate President Jefferson Davis is taken prisoner by Northern forces near Irwinsville, Georgia.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 10, 1865

Co-conspirators involved in the assassination of President Lincoln on put on trial.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 10, 1865

President Andrew Johnson formally proclaims the end to the years-long war.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 11, 1865

Alexander Stevens, former Vice President of the Confederate States, is arrested in Georgia.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
May 23, 1865

The Grand Review is held in Washington, D.C. by the Union Army covering a two-day span.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
May 29, 1865

President Andrew Davis offers an official pardon to Southerners.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
June 6, 1865

Amnesty is offered by the federal government to those Confederate prisoners-of-war who agree to not have fought against the Union by choice.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
August 17, 1865

Nurse Clara Barton raises the American flag over the Andersonville National Cemetery in Andersonville, Georgia. The site is near the Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
August 30, 1865

Judah Benjamin, former Confederate Secretary of State, safely reaches English shores.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
August 31, 1865

Washington College of Lexington, Virginia names former Confederate General Robert E. Lee as its president. The college will one day be renamed to Washington and Lee University.

  Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date


November 24, 1865

'Black Codes' are enacted by Mississippi to limit the rights of freed slaves.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
December 1, 1865

The Writ of Habeas Corpus, suspended by now-slain U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, is reestablished by President Andrew Johnson.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
December 6, 1865

The 13th Amendment is ratified by the U.S. government, legally ending slavery in the United States of America.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
December 13, 1865

Attention is now put towards reconstruction of the south and its reentry into the Union. A committee is formed to head the process.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
  Civil War by Battle / Engagement  

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