Civil War Slavery Events From 1861 to 1865


Slavery played a major role in the American Civil War - the North promoted freedom while the Southern economy was built around slave labor.

There are a total of (47) Civil War Slavery 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


January 3, 1861

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
January 29, 1861

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   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 16, 1861

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

Flag signifying Union 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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
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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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 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.

Flag signifying Union 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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
March 6, 1862

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date


April 10, 1862

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
May 13, 1862

Event person portrait
Robert Smalls, a slave of Charleston, South Carolina, frees himself and his crew by capturing CSS Planter. The ship is delivered to the Union blockade. This action assists in persuading President Lincoln to include blacks into the ranks of the U.S. Army and Navy services.

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June 19, 1862

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
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.

Flag signifying Union 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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   Flag signifying Confederate involvement on this date
September 23, 1862

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

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September 27, 1862

The First Regiment Louisiana Native Guards is formed. It marks the first Union Army regiment made up entirely of free blacks.

Flag signifying Union 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 28, 1862

The 79th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment from Kansas is the first black regiment to see combat for Union forces. It is involved in clashes at Island Mounds, Missouri.

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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.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   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.

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


March 6, 1863

Detroit, Michigan is the scene of anti-black rioting.

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
June 2, 1863

Former slave Harriet Tubman guides Union forces to raid Confederate plantations in the South Carolina Lowcountry. About 750 slaves are freed in the operation and these men strengthen Union numbers by joining their ranks. The raid is recognized as the Raid at Combahee Ferry.

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
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.

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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
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 7, 1864

Jacksonville, Florida is the target of a Union force led by General Truman Seymour. Half of the attacking force is made up of black soldiers. The city is taken.

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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 12, 1864

Fort Pillow, Tennessee, is the site of a Confederate victory by General Nathan Bedford. Black soldiers fighting for the Union are executed.

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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 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.

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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
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 31, 1865

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

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date
February 18, 1865

Castle Pinckney in Charleston Harbor (South Carolina) falls to the South Carolina 21st Colored Infantry of the Union army.

Flag signifying Union involvement on this date   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 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 13, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis approves a bill that will allow slaves to 'earn' their freedom through enlistment in the Confederate ranks.

  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 6, 1865

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

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  Civil War by Battle / Engagement  

Battle of Fort Sumter (1861)
1st Bull Run / 1st Manassas (1861)
Battle of Wilson's Creek (1861)
Battle of Belmont (1861)
Henry-Donelson Campaign (1862)
Battle of Hampton Roads (1862)
Battle of Pea Ridge (1862)
Shenandoah Valley (1862)
Mississippi River Campaign (1862-1863)
Peninsular Campaign (1862)
Shiloh (1862)
Seven Days Battles (1862)
Chattanooga Campaign (1862)
2nd Bull Run / 2nd Manassas (1862)
Battle of Chantilly / Ox Hill (1862)
Battle of Harpers Ferry (1862)
Antietam / Sharpsburg (1862)
Battle of Fredricksburg (1862)
Battle of Murfreesboro (1862-1863)
Battle of Chancellorsville (1863)
Battle of Gettysburg (1863)
Vicksburg (1863)
Battle of Chickamauga (1863)
Atlanta (1864)
Battle of Spotsylvania (1864)
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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