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Civil War Timeline

Summary Of Events and Dates Of The American Civil War

The Civil War was fought from April 1861 to April 1865.

Civil War 1861

January: The South Secedes. Immediately after Abraham Lincoln is elected President, South Carolina calls a state convention to remove itself from the United States of America. South Carolina is quickly followed by Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. Later, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina also secedes, forming the Confederate States of America.

April 12, Battle of Fort Sumter Charleston Harbor, South Carolina

The bombardment/siege and ultimate surrender of Fort Sumter by Brig. General P.G.T. Beauregard was the official start of the Civil War.

June 3, Battle of Philippi, (West) Virginia

A skirmish involving over 3,000 soldiers, Philippi was the first battle of the civil war.

June 10, Battle of Big Bethel, Virginia
July 11, Battle of Rich Mountain, (West) Virginia
July 21, First Battle of Bull Run Manassas, Virginia

Also known as First Manassas, the first major engagement of the civil war.

November 7–8, Battle of Port Royal Sound, South Carolina

The battle of Port Royal was one of the earliest amphibious operations of the American Civil War.

November 7, Battle of Belmont, Missouri

General Ulysses S. Grant took command and began his Civil War career.
 

Civil War 1862

February 8, Roanoke Island, North Carolina
March 8–9, Battle Of Hampton Roads, Virginia

First battle between the ironclad warships, Monitor & Merrimack.

April 5–May 4 Siege of Yorktown, Virginia
June 26, Beaver Dam Creek, Virginia*
June 27, Gaines Mill, Virginia*
June 27–28, Garnett’s Farm and Golding’s Farm, Virginia*
June 29, Savage Station and Allen’s Farm, Virginia*
June 30, White Oak Swamp, Virginia*
June 30, Glendale, Virginia*
July 1, Malvern Hill, Virginia*
(*Collectively known as the Seven Days Campaign or Seven Days Battles.)
August 9, Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia
August 28–30, Second Battle of Bull Run Manassas, Virginia
September 12–15, Harpers Ferry, (West) Virginia
September 14, Battle of South Mountain, Maryland
September 17, Battle of Antietam / Sharpsburg
September 19–20, Shepherdstown, (West) Virginia

Union General George McClellan pursued Robert E. Lee through three mountain passes during the Maryland Campaign.

December 11–15, Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia
February 6, Fort Henry, Tennessee
February 11–16, Siege of Fort Donelson, Tennessee
March 3–April 8, Siege of New Madrid and Island No. 10, Missouri (Mississippi River)
April 6–7, Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee
May 25–30, Siege of Corinth, Corinth, Mississippi

Henry Halleck took Corinth after a month-long siege.

June 28, Battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi
August 29, Battle of Richmond, Kentucky
October 3–4, Battle of Corinth, Mississippi

Two years after the Siege of Corinth, Maj. General William S. Rosecrans defeated the Confederate Army.

October 5, Hatchie’s Bridge, Tennessee
October 8, Battle of Perryville, Kentucky.

Account of the 21st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment’s harrowing fight.

December 31–January 2, Battle of Stones River / Murfreesboro, Tennessee

The culmination of the Stones River Campaign, the battle of Stones River had the highest casualty rates on both sides.

March 8, Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas
October 4, Battle of Galveston, Texas

Civil War 1863

April 30–May 6, Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia
May 3, Fredericksburg, Virginia
July 1–3, Battle of Gettyburg, Pennsylvania
April 10, Battle of Franklin, Tennessee.

Account of the bloody confederate slaughter in Franklin, Tennessee.

May 18–July 4, Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi
September 18, Battle Of Chickamauga, Georgia
November 23-25, Battle Of Chattanooga, Tennessee November 24, Lookout Mountain (Chattanooga), TennesseeCivil War 1864

Civil War 1864

May 5–7, Battle Of The Wilderness, Virginia
May 6–7, Port Walthall Junction, Virginia
May 8–21, Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia

May 15, Battle of New Market, Shenandoah County, Virginia

The Confederates, along with cadets from VMI, drove Union General Franz Sigel out of the Shenandoah Valley.

May 31-June 12, Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia
June 15–18, Battle of Petersburg, Virginia
July 30, Battle of the Crater, Siege of Petersburg, Virginia
September 21–24, Battle of Fisher’s Hill, Virginia

Union Major General Philip H. Sheridan attacked the seemingly impregnable heights of Fisher’s Hill, grandly known as the ‘Gibraltar of the Shenandoah Valley.’

April 12, Battle of Fort Pillow, Tennessee

Nathan Bedford Forrest led a massacre in Tennessee.

May 7–13. Rocky Face, Georgia
May 13–15, Battle of Resaca, Georgia

Major General William T. Sherman took on Joseph E. Johnston during the Atlanta campaign.

July 22, Battle of Atlanta, Georgia
December 15–16, Battle of Nashville  Nashville, Tennessee

The battle of Nashville was the last major battle in the Western Theater and a major victory for the Union.

December 24–27, Fort Fisher, North Carolina

August 5, Battle of Mobile Bay

Civil War 1865

April 5, Amelia Springs, Virginia*
April 6, Rice’s Station, Virginia*
April 6, Saylor’s Creek, Virginia*
April 6–7, High Bridge, Virginia*
April 7, Cumberland Church, Virginia*
April 8, Appomattox Courthouse at Appomattox Station, Virginia*
April 9, General Robert E. Lee surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia (*Collectively known as the Appomattox Campaign.)

Civil War Timeline Articles From History Net Magazines

Civil War 1861

The Lightning Brigade Saves the Day – July ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureThe Lightning Brigade Saves the Day Armed with their new, lethal seven-shot Spencer rifles, Wilder’sLightning Brigade was all that stood between the Union Army and the looming disaster at Chickamauga Creek. By Hubert M. Jordan Historically, the Battle of Chickamauga is recorded as a two-day battle starting on September 19, 1863. For the men of …
Return To The Killing Ground – November ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureReturn To The Killing Ground By Jeffry D. Wert Brash, bombastic John Pope tempted fate by returning to the old battleground at Manassas. He thought he had caught Robert E. Lee napping. He was wrong. A heavy, soaking rain fell across northern Virginia on the night of August 30-31, 1862. Despite the storm’s intensity, it …
Battle of Gettysburg: Union General George Stannard and the 2nd Vermont BrigadeThe first Vermonter to enlist in the war, Union General George Stannard helped turn the tide at Gettysburg.

Civil War 1862

Picture of the Day: September 17On September 17, 1862, a small, stone-arch bridge that spans Antietam Creek outside Sharpsburg, Maryland, became one of the most hotly contested structures in American history. During the Battle of Antietam, an entire Union corps spent most of the bloodiest single day of the Civil War waiting to cross the creek over that bridge, opposed …
Horsepower Moves the Guns – March ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureWorking side by side with soldiers, horses labored to pull artillery pieces into battle.Without them, field artillery could not have been used to such deadly effect.By James R. Cotner The field artillery of the Civil War was designed to be mobile. When Union or Confederate troops marched across country, the guns moved with them. During …
‘Home, Sweet Home’, Soldier’s Favorite Song – May ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureORDNANCE John Howard Payne’s haunting ‘Home, Sweet Home’was the Civil War soldier’s favorite song. By Ernest L. Abel A few weeks after the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 13, 1862), about 100,000 Federal soldiers and 70,000 Confederates were camped on opposite sides of the Rap-pahannock River in Virginia. The battle had been one of the bloodiest …
Day One at Chancellorsville – March ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureNew Union commander ‘Fighting Joe’ Hooker planned to encircle Robert E. Lee at the Virginia crossroads hamlet of Chancellorsville. The plan seemed to be working perfectly, until….By Al Hemingway Early in the evening on April 29, 1863, Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart rode up to the Chancellor farmhouse, a well-known inn 11 miles west …
Taking of Burnside Bridge – September ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureTaking of Burnside Bridge By John M. Priest While Union commander George McClellan fumed and the Battle of Antietam hung in the balance, a handful of Rebels held off Federal troops at “Burnside Bridge.” The day–September 17, 1862–promised to be long and hot, and the regimental commanders in Brigadier General Samuel Sturgis’ division of the …
George Smalley’s Vivid Account of the Battle of AntietamNew York Tribune reporter George Smalley scooped the world with his vivid account of the Battle of Antietam.
Hancock’s ‘Well-Conducted Fizzle’ – Jan. ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureHancock's 'Well-Conducted Fizzle' With Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia stubbornly clinging to Petersburg,Ulysses S. Grant decided to cut its vital rail lines. To perform the surgery, he selected one of the North’s proven heroes– ‘Hancock the Superb.’ By Bruce A. Trinque General UIysses S. Grant had hammered and probed the defenses of Petersburg, …
Ewell Seizes the Day at Winchester – Mar. ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureEwell Seizes the Day atWINCHESTERBy Dean M. Wells One month after Stonewall Jackson’s death at Chancellorsville, Robert E. Lee turned to Stonewall’s trusted lieutenant, Richard Ewell, to cover his invasion of the North. Was ‘Old Bald Head’ up to the challenge? June 14, 1863, was a hot, cloudy day in northern Virginia. A light breeze …
Return To The Killing Ground – November ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureReturn To The Killing Ground By Jeffry D. Wert Brash, bombastic John Pope tempted fate by returning to the old battleground at Manassas. He thought he had caught Robert E. Lee napping. He was wrong. A heavy, soaking rain fell across northern Virginia on the night of August 30-31, 1862. Despite the storm’s intensity, it …
Last-Ditch Rebel Stand at Petersburg – Cover Page: May ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureLast-Ditch Rebel Stand at PetersburgBy Ronald E. Bullock After nearly 10 months of trench warfare, Confederate resistance at Petersburg, Va., suddenly collapsed. Desperate to save his army, Robert E. Lee called on his soldiers for one last miracle. After more than nine months of squalid trench warfare around the beleaguered Southern city of Petersburg, Virginia, …
Battle for the Bluegrass – Mar. ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureIt had been almost one month since Confederate General Braxton Bragg had pulled off an organizational masterpiece–four weeks since the first troop trains had rumbled into Chattanooga, Tennessee, completing an improbable 800-mile odyssey. Bragg had engineered one of the most innovative strategic strokes of the Civil War. An entire Confederate Army had been lifted from …
A Town Embattled- February ’96 Civil War Times FeatureWinchester, Virginia, saw more of the war than any other place North or Southa town EMBATTLEDCHRIS FORDNEY Ten thousand Confederate troops filled the small town of Winchester, Virginia, early in the summer of 1861. Soldiers were quartered in almost every building. Then, in mid-July, a call came to stop a Federal advance on Manassas, and …
Battle of Gettysburg: Union General George Stannard and the 2nd Vermont BrigadeThe first Vermonter to enlist in the war, Union General George Stannard helped turn the tide at Gettysburg.

Civil War 1863

Is It MosbyIs this a previously unknown portrait of the Gray Ghost?
Picture of the Day: November 19Gettysburg Address President Abraham Lincoln was asked to deliver a few ‘appropriate remarks’ to the crowd at the dedication of the Civil War cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. Lincoln’s address was almost ignored in the wake of the lengthy oration by main speaker Edwin Everett. In fact, Lincoln’s speech was over before …
Valley of the Shadow – Sept. ’90 America’s Civil War FeatureVALLEY OFTHE SHADOW Overconfident and overextended, the Union Army of the Cumberland advanced into the deep woods of northwest Georgia. Waiting Confederates did notintend for them to leave. At Chickamauga Creek, the two sides collided. By Mike Haskew In the dimly lit log cabin of the Widow Glenn, the military map wasspread. Worried Union officers …
Day One at Chancellorsville – March ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureNew Union commander ‘Fighting Joe’ Hooker planned to encircle Robert E. Lee at the Virginia crossroads hamlet of Chancellorsville. The plan seemed to be working perfectly, until….By Al Hemingway Early in the evening on April 29, 1863, Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart rode up to the Chancellor farmhouse, a well-known inn 11 miles west …
The Lightning Brigade Saves the Day – July ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureThe Lightning Brigade Saves the Day Armed with their new, lethal seven-shot Spencer rifles, Wilder’sLightning Brigade was all that stood between the Union Army and the looming disaster at Chickamauga Creek. By Hubert M. Jordan Historically, the Battle of Chickamauga is recorded as a two-day battle starting on September 19, 1863. For the men of …
Eyewitness to War: Stonewall Jackson’s Final Days – November ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureDr. Hunter McGuire, Stonewall Jackson’s 27-year-old medical director, chronicled the general’s last days. By Joe D. Haines, Jr. The circumstances surrounding the death of Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson are well known. Following perhaps his greatest performance, leading a brilliant flanking maneuver against Union Major General Joseph Hooker at Chancellorsville, he was mistakenly shot …
A Town Embattled- February ’96 Civil War Times FeatureWinchester, Virginia, saw more of the war than any other place North or Southa town EMBATTLEDCHRIS FORDNEY Ten thousand Confederate troops filled the small town of Winchester, Virginia, early in the summer of 1861. Soldiers were quartered in almost every building. Then, in mid-July, a call came to stop a Federal advance on Manassas, and …

Civil War 1864

Hancock’s ‘Well-Conducted Fizzle’ – Jan. ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureHancock's 'Well-Conducted Fizzle' With Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia stubbornly clinging to Petersburg,Ulysses S. Grant decided to cut its vital rail lines. To perform the surgery, he selected one of the North’s proven heroes– ‘Hancock the Superb.’ By Bruce A. Trinque General UIysses S. Grant had hammered and probed the defenses of Petersburg, …
The Proving Ground – April ’96 Civil War Times FeaturethePROVINGground The Mexican War gave future civil war generals their first taste of combatJOHN C. WAUGH Chatham Roberdeau Wheat would one day lead a famous Louisiana battalion called “Wheat’s Tigers” into battle for the Confederacy. He would fight and die in the Battle of Gaines’ Mill, Virginia, in 1862. But that was still some 15 …
Drones in the Great Hive – December ’95 Civil War Times FeatureDRONES IN THE GREAT HIVEBy Christian A. Fleetwood An African-American Medal of Honor-winner writes bitterly of the way the Union army treats its black soldiers. Christian A. Fleetwood was one of 13 African-American soldiers who won theMedal of Honor at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, Virginia, on September 29and 30, 1864. At one time he …
A Town Embattled- February ’96 Civil War Times FeatureWinchester, Virginia, saw more of the war than any other place North or Southa town EMBATTLEDCHRIS FORDNEY Ten thousand Confederate troops filled the small town of Winchester, Virginia, early in the summer of 1861. Soldiers were quartered in almost every building. Then, in mid-July, a call came to stop a Federal advance on Manassas, and …
Mexican War: The Proving Ground for Future American Civil War GeneralsFor young American army officers of the time, the Mexican War was not only the road to glory, it was the road to promotion--a proving ground for future Civil War generals.

Civil War 1865

Last-Ditch Rebel Stand at Petersburg – Cover Page: May ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureLast-Ditch Rebel Stand at PetersburgBy Ronald E. Bullock After nearly 10 months of trench warfare, Confederate resistance at Petersburg, Va., suddenly collapsed. Desperate to save his army, Robert E. Lee called on his soldiers for one last miracle. After more than nine months of squalid trench warfare around the beleaguered Southern city of Petersburg, Virginia, …
Father John B. Tabb Aboard Confederate Blockade Runners: Jan ’96: America’s Civil War FeaturePERSONALITYFather John B. Tabb, an unreconstructed Rebel to the end, had served the Confederacy aboard blockade runners. By Charles A. Earp The Tabbs of Amelia County were one of the oldest and wealthiest families in Vir-ginia, owning vast acreage and many slaves. When the Civil War came, 16-year-old Johnny Tabb wanted to join his brothers …
Battle of Gettysburg: Union General George Stannard and the 2nd Vermont BrigadeThe first Vermonter to enlist in the war, Union General George Stannard helped turn the tide at Gettysburg.

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