Civil War

The American Civil War pitted Americans against Americans. The war between the Union and the Confederate States of America resulted in the death of more than 620,000 Americans and left millions more injured. The two sides fought over issues of slavery and states’ rights. It was a bloody conflict with heavy destruction throughout the nation. The northern victory preserved the United States as a nation and ended the practice of slavery.

Timeline (1788-1865)


United States Constitution Ratified
June 21, 1788

The Constitution maintained the right to own slaves, conferring one-fifth person status on slaves and offering no rights of citizenship to them. It set up the war to come.


Eli Whitney Invents Cotton Gin


Fifty-Five Whites Killed in Virginia Slave Revolt


Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin

Harriet Beecher Stowe's international best seller, Uncle Tom's Cabin, exposes the evils of slavery.


Anti-Slavery Northerners Found Republican Party


Dred Scott vs. Sanford

The Supreme Court decides the Dred Scott case in a decision stating that as a slave Scott has no rights which white man were bound to respect.


John Brown Attacks Harper's Ferry
October 16-18, 1858

John Brown tries to amass arms to lead a slave insurrection by attacking the federal armory in Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia).


John Brown Hanged
December 2, 1859

Brown is hanged for murder and treason at Charles Town, Virginia.


Abraham Lincoln Elected President
November 6, 1960


South Carolina Secedes from Union
December 20, 1860

South Carolina legislature decides to secede from the Union following Lincoln's election.


Mass Secessions
January 9, 1861 - February 1, 1861

Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas follow South Carolina's lead and secede from the Union.

Jefferson Davis Elected President of Confederate States
February 1861

Delegates from six seceded states meet in Montgomery, Alabama where they form the Confederate States of America and elect Jefferson Davis president.

Abraham Lincoln Inaugurated
March 4, 1861
Ulysses S. Grant Rejoins Army
April 1861
Battle of Fort Sumter
April 12-13, 1861

South Carolina troops bombard Fort Sumter until it surrenders. This is the official beginning of the Civil War.

Lincoln Declares State of Insurrection
April 14, 1861

Lincoln calls for 75,000 volunteers to enlist for three months of service.

VA, AK, TN and NC Secede
April 17, 1861 - May 20, 1861

Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina secede from the Union.

Lee Rejects Lincoln's Request to Command
April 18, 1861

Virginia's Robert E. Lee rejects Lincoln's request to command the Union Army.

Lincoln Orders Blockade of Confederate Ports
April 19, 1861
Colonel Robert E. Lee Resigns Commission in US Army
April 20, 1861
Union Troops Capture Alexandria, VA
May 24, 1861

Following Virginia's secession, Union troops cross the Potomac River and capture Alexandria. Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth, a Lincoln family friend, is killed by a local innkeeper after Ellsworth removed his Confederate flag from the roof of the Marshall Hotel. The flag was so large it could be seen from the White House. Ellsworth was the first officer to die in the war and became a martyr for the North.

Richmond Becomes Capital of Confederacy
May 29, 1861
Battle of Philippi
June 3, 1861

3,000 Union troops engage 600 Confederate soldiers in the first land battle of the war. It was a short skirmish that left no dead, but it was important for George B. McClellan's role in becoming commander of the Army of the Potomac.

Battle of Big Bethel
June 10, 1861

Major General Benjamin F. Butler assumed command of the Department of Virginia at Fort Monroe. It was a key location on the Chesapeake Bay that would allow Union troops to resupply easily. When three slaves escaped and took refuge at Fort Monroe, Butler ignored Lincoln's order to follow the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and return them to their owners. Instead he declared them "Contraband of War" and kept them within the Fort. This redefinition of escaped slaves as "Contraband" became known as a euphemism for runaway slave. It was the first step toward Emancipation.

Battle of Rich Mountain
June 11, 1861

McClellan's forces meet General Robert S. Garnett's forces at Rich Mountain. The Union troops won despite being outnumbered 300 to 46.

First Battle of Bull Run
July 21, 1861

Union and Confederate forces battle near Manassas Junction in Virginia. A Union force of 35,000 met a Confederate force of 20,000 at Bull Run. After a long day of fighting, the Rebel Army was able to break through the line and flank the Union soldiers, causing them to retreat toward Washington. It was a Confederate victory that rallied the South and scared the North. It was a clear sign the war would not be quickly decided. It also earned Thomas J. Jackson the nickname "Stonewall Jackson" and saw the rise of the Rebel Yell.

McClellan Named General-in-Chief of Union Army
November 1, 1861
Battle of Belmont
November 7, 1861

General Grant leads Union forces into a Confederate camp at Belmont. Grant gained no ground and lost 120 with another 487 wounded (Rebel losses were 105 and 536 wounded), but declared Union victory anyway.

Battle of Port Royal
November 7-8, 1861

The Union Navy seizes Confederate commissioners on their way to Britain and France while on a British steamer called Trent. This act caused diplomatic issues between the US and Britain.

Julia Ward Howe Composes "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"
November 1861


Grant Captures Fort Henry
February 6, 1862

The Union wanted to secure control of the rivers and supply lines west of the Appalachians. Brigadier General Grant and Commodore Andrew Foote attack Fort Henry in Tennessee. After a brief bombardment, Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman surrendered, not letting the Union know he had already snuck his troops to Fort Donelson. Ten days later, Union forces took Fort Donelson, allowing the Union to move into Tennessee.

Mississippi River Campaign
February 6, 1862 - July 9, 1863

The Union knew the Mississippi River was a major artery for the South and launched a campaign to take control of the river from Tennessee to Louisiana. They launched a series of attacks at various points on the river and on its tributaries, such as the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. These included the battles at Fort McHenry, Fort Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, Shiloh and more. It was one of the major fronts of the war.

Battle of Hampton Roads
March 8-9, 1862

Ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia clash at Hampton Roads. The battle was a draw, but highlighted the strength of steel in shipbuilding.

Peninsula Campaign
March 17, 1862 - August 3, 1862

The campaign was a Union offensive to take the Confederate capital of Richmond. The campaign began when Major General George B. McClellan moved his troops by boat to Fort Monroe on the Atlantic coast. But McClellan waited until May to move on Richmond because he had overestimated the size of the enemy's army and was hesitant to approach. The campaign lasted until the Union suffered several defeats, including the Battle of Seven Pines.

The Valley Campaign
March 23, 1862 - June 11, 1862

McClellan ordered Union troops to secure the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley. The Valley provided too much cover for invasions into the North and served as a large source of food for the Confederacy, which is why the region saw many engagements during the war. The Confederacy sent "Stonewall" Jackson in with 17,000 troops to meet the threat and he prevailed.

Battle of Yorktown
April 5, 1862 - May 4, 1862

The only Confederate force in McClellan's way on his Peninsula Campaign was Major General John B. Magruder's two small divisions at Yorktown who used deception to keep the Union troops at bay. Magruder knew McClellan was a cautious general, so he paraded his troops and staged theatrical movements to make his army of 11,000 appear much larger. McClellan ordered a siege that lasted two weeks until he launched a bombardment on May 4th, but by then the Confederate Army had snuck off to Williamsburg.

Battle of Shiloh
April 6-7, 1862

A surprise attack by the Confederate Army on Grant's army didn't go as planned. Although initially successful, the Confederates were not able to hold their line and Grant's troops forced them into retreat. Both sides had heavy losses that totaled more than 23,000 casualties. The carnage shocked the nation.

Confederacy Adopts Conscription
April 16, 1862

With heavy losses and hopes of a quick resolution gone, the South resorts to a draft to maintain their troops.

Lincoln Signs Law Prohibiting Slaves in DC
April 16, 1862
Union Fleet Captures New Orleans
April 24-25, 1862

Union Admiral David G. Farragut sailed his fleet of 24 gunboats, 19 mortar boats and 15,000 soldiers past Forts Jackson and St. Phillip in a daring maneuver. The South did not expect an attack from the Gulf of Mexico and had not prepared for it. Farragut took the city, which was a huge blow to the Confederacy.

Siege of Corinth
May 25-30, 1862

After the defeat at Shiloh, the Confederate Army retreated to Corinth and called for reinforcements. They managed to pull together a force of 70,000 to face off with Union General Henry W. Halleck's 100,000 troops. Unfortunately of those 70,000, nearly 20,000 were wounded or ill. Halleck set up siege conditions around Corinth that lasted a month. Union forces only moved to attack after hearing increased train activity around Corinth and fearing Confederate reinforcements, but it was another Confederate deception. General Beauregard had been moving his troops out of Corinth, but had his troops cheer loudly every time a train arrived as if welcoming reinforcements. Halleck moved in and took Corinth, but the Confederate Army was gone.

Battle of Seven Pines
May 31, 1862 - June 1, 1862

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnson tried to overwhelm two Union units south of the Chickahominy River, but the strategy was flawed and they sustained heavy losses. Reinforcements arrived and the Union force took control. Johnston was critically wounded. The Confederate troops regrouped and attacked again. Both sides declared victory.

Robert E. Lee Takes Command of Confederate Army
June 1, 1862

At the end of the Battle of Seven Pines, Robert E. Lee took command of the Confederate Army from the wounded Joseph E. Johnston.

Seven Days' Campaign
June 25, 1862 - July 1, 1862

This was a series of battles during which General Robert E. Lee proved he deserved command by driving General McClellan into retreat and saving Richmond. He was joined in his campaign by "Stonewall" Jackson, which increased the troops to 90,000. It was the largest Confederate force in the war at the time. The Seven Days' Campaign included the battles at Mechanicsville, Gaine's Mill, Glendale, and Malvern Hill. Lee sustained 20,000 casualties, including those killed, wounded and missing. Grant had 15,000.

Prayer for Twenty Millions
August 20, 1862

Horace Greeley publishes "The Prayer of Twenty Millions" in the New York Tribune. The article was a call to Lincoln to free slaves in the Union.

Second Battle of Bull Run
August 29-30, 1862

General Lee sends half his army to Virginia to attack the federal supply base in Manassas. Lee's army arrived the following day forcing General Pope's army to withdraw. The South prevailed again.

Battle of Harpers Ferry
September 12-15, 1862

Lee's invasion of the North began in hopes of regaining the Shenandoah Valley. Lee divided his army into three columns or approximately 23,000 troops each. They were to march on Harpers Ferry and capture or destroy the Union garrison, then reassemble at Boonsboro, Maryland. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson led the charge. He aimed cannons at the town leaving little room to hide. Some of the Union Army retreated over a pontoon bridge toward Sharpsburg, an area the Confederates had not covered. The rest surrendered. Jackson captured 12,700 troops that day, but accidentally killed the Garrison commander with a stray shell that exploded minutes after the white flags had been raised.

Battle of South Mountain
September 14, 1862

While Jackson captured Harpers Ferry, Lee moved on western Maryland. Unfortunately Lee's plan was leaked to McClellan, who moved his troops to South Mountain to intercept. The Union Army secured control of all three passes on the mountain, changing Lee's direction and setting the stage for Antietam.

Battle of Antietam
September 17, 1862

The bloodiest day in American history. After 12 hours of battle, an estimated 3,650 were dead and another 19,300 wounded or missing. Despite having an advantage, McClellan allowed Lee's army to retreat without further action. This battle ended the Confederate Army's advance into the North and shaped America's history. Having secured a victory, President Lincoln finally felt it was time to issue a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln Issues Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
September 22, 1862
Lincoln Suspends Writ of Habeas Corpus
September 24, 1862

Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus for any individual deemed guilty of aiding or abetting the Confederacy, resisting military draft or discouraging volunteer enlistments. Five years later, the Supreme Court deemed this action unconstitutional saying only Congress can suspend the writ.

Confederate Congress Exempts Slave Owners from Service
October 11, 1862

The Confederate Congress passes a bill exempting any individual who owned 20 or more slaves from serving in the Confederate Army.

McClellan Relieved of Command
November 7, 1862

Lincoln was displeased McClellan did not pursue Lee following the Battle of Antietam, thinking he could have ended the war with more aggressive tactics. Lincoln relieves McClellan of command of the Army of the Potomac.

Battle of Fredericksburg
December 13, 1862

Major General Ambrose E. Burnside takes command of the Army of the Potomac and plans to move the army toward Richmond, hoping to beat Lee's army to the Rappahannock River and block him. Lee entrenched his army at Fredericksburg. After building bridges across the river, Burnside attacks Prospect Hill and Marye's Heights, taking on immense casualties. On December 15th, Burnside called off the attacks and retreated. He was relieved of command by the end of January.

Battle of Stones River
December 31, 1862 - January 3, 1863

Confederate General Braxton Bragg and 35,000 troops attack Union forces of 42,000. The Union Army retreats to a defensive position where they held the Confederate Army and forced a Southern retreat with artillery fire. This battle (also called the Battle of Murfreesboro) ended with approximately 23,000 casualties for both sides and a Union victory.


Emancipation Proclamation
January 1, 1863

Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation that frees all slaves, even those in seceded states.

Federal Draft Act
March 3, 1863

Congress passes the Conscription Act that states all able-bodied men between the ages of 20 and 45 years must serve three enlistment terms in US military service.

Lincoln Issues General Amnesty for Deserters
March 10, 1863

The Union Army had an estimated 125,000 deserters. Lincoln tried to lure them back by issuing a general amnesty on the charge of desertion for those who reported back to duty.

DuPont's Fleet Fails to Take Charleston
April 7, 1863

When Union Admiral Samuel F. DuPont tried to take Charleston with an ironclad vessel, he failed to penetrate the harbor's land defenses. It was a clear victory of land defense over naval warfare.

Battle of Chancellorsville
April 30, 1863 - May 6, 1863

When Major General Joseph Hooker crossed the Rappahannock River following the battle of Fredericksburg, he ended up flanking Lee's army where they were weakest. Lee engaged anyway, thinking he had better cover. Hooker surrendered the assault. Late that night, Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson flanked the Union Army. The Confederate Army was victorious, but Jackson was mortally wounded. Defeating Hooker with a quarter of the troops was considered one of Lee's greatest military feats though the cost was high. There were more than 30,000 casualties, including approximately 3,400 dead.

Grant's Army on the Move
Late April 1863 - Early May 1863

Three weeks prior to the Battle of Vicksburg, Grant's army marches 180 miles through Mississippi and were victorious in five battles. They surround Vicksburg, but when his attack fails, he lays a siege upon the town.

Battle of Vicksburg
May 18, 1863 - July 4, 1863

Vicksburg was a gateway to the Mississippi River. Union forces waged a campaign from June 1862 to July 1863 to gain control of the city, strategically situated halfway between Memphis and New Orleans. Grant's victory was a blow to the South.

Battle at Brandy Station, VA
June 9, 1863

Jeb Stuart leads the Confederate cavalry in a clash with Union mounts in an all day battle at Brandy Station. With nearly 9,000 mounted soldiers on each side, this was the largest cavalry engagement on American soil. While Stuart wins the battle, this marks the turning point in Union cavalry prowess in the eastern theater.

Battle of Gettysburg
July 1-3, 1863

Deemed the most important battle of the war. Following victory in Chancellorsville, Lee marched his army into Pennsylvania. They met the Union Army of the Potomac, led by General George G. Meade, at Gettysburg. Lee ordered a small group of 15,000 troops to attack Cemetery Ridge in what became known as "Pickett's Charge." While initially successful, the Union Army rallied and the Confederate Army took heavy losses. Lee was forced to withdraw. Meade allows him to retreat across the Potomac. There were 51,000 casualties in Gettysburg.

Surrender of Vicksburg
July 4, 1863

The siege at Vicksburg ends as Confederates surrender to Grant. The North finally had control of the Mississippi River.

Riots in New York
July 13-15, 1863

Protesting the draft and Conscription Act, nearly 50,000 riot in New York. Most rioters were of Irish descent. They set fires to government buildings and fought battles in the streets against Union troops. The biggest cause of the riot was the provision that allowed people to buy their way out of conscription. Many took their grievances out on black workers.

54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry Attacks Charleston Harbor
July 18, 1863
Jefferson Davis Offers Amnesty to Deserters
August 1, 1863

Following Lincoln's lead, Jefferson Davis offers amnesty to all Confederate deserters.

Battle of Chickamuaga, GA
September 18-20, 1863

After the Battle of Chattanooga, Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee called for reinforcements so they could counterattack Union forces on the banks of the Chickamauga Creek. There were heavy losses on both sides, but Bragg's army prevailed and the attack was considered a great tactical victory. Although the Union Army retreated and safely reached Chattanooga where they were met by Grant's army.

Quantrill's Raid/Lawrence Massacre
August 21, 1863

Confederate William C. Quantrill leads a guerrilla raid on the Union town of Lawrence, Kansas. In nearly four hours, the second largest town (population approximately 3,000) in Kansas was destroyed. At least 150 men and boys were killed, although some bodies were burned so the count could have been higher.

Lincoln Delivers Gettysburg Address
November 19, 1863

Lincoln dedicates the battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg in his most famous address, reiterating the ideal the nation was built on: that all men are created equal.

Battles for Chattanooga
November 23-25, 1863

For three days, Union troops battled the Confederates at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge in Tennessee in what was known as the Battles for Chattanooga. Generals Hooker and Sherman pushed the Confederacy back to Georgia, ending the railway siege of Chattanooga. This allowed Sherman to march on Atlanta and Savannah.


Grant Takes Command
March 10, 1864

Lincoln bestows the commission of lieutenant general on Ulysses S. Grant and gives him command over the Union armies. That rank had not been used since General George Washington's death in 1799.

Massacre at Fort Pillow
April 21, 1864

Fort Pillow was built by the Confederates in 1861 and named after General Gideon Johnson Pillow. It was part of the Mississippi River defense that fell to Union forces in 1862. In 1864, Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest's calvary took aim at Fort Pillow, now a garrison of 600 men, nearly half of whom were black. The Union garrison surrendered and expected to be taken as prisoners of war, but Forrest's men refused to treat the black soldiers as prisoners and killed them and others present. The North was outraged by the 431 deaths and refused to participate in prisoner exchanges after that.

Battle of the Wilderness
May 5-6, 1864

This is the first battle in Grant's ongoing offensive against Lee's armies in Northern Virginia. It was known as the Overland Campaign and fought in a wooded area known as the Wilderness. The battle was a draw, but Grant did not retreat, continuing to engage Lee for another month before moving on to Spotsylvania.

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
May 8-21, 1864

The Confederate and Union Armies clash in a two-week battle following a long and indecisive Wilderness campaign. Lee's army was trying to halt Grant's southern advance. The battle included 20-hours of hand-to-hand combat that became known as the "Bloody Angle." By the end of the 12 days, the Union forces had 18,000 casualties and the Confederates had 12,000. On May 21, Grant pulled his troops and ordered them to march on Richmond.

Second Battle of Cold Harbor
May 31, 1864 - June 12, 1864

In the Second Battles of Cold Harbor Grant and Lee again engage and Grant is victorious. The idea of destroying Lee so close to Richmond, Grant prepared for an attack, but his reinforcements didn't arrive on time so the attack was postponed a day, which allowed Lee's army to entrench. Grant attacked anyway and suffered heavy losses.

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
June 14, 1864

General William T. Sherman launched an attack on Confederate General Joseph Johnston's army at Kennesaw Mountain. This was part of Sherman's 100-mile advance to Atlanta. Johnston's army was losing ground but was trying to buy time for reinforcements to arrive. Sherman's advance was stalled for the battle.

USS Kearsarge Sinks CSS Alabama
June 19, 1864

The USS Kearsarge engages the CSS Alabama off the coast of France and sinks it. The Alabama was an impressive ship that raided Union vessels for three years during the war, capturing 66 ships in all.

Fugitive Slave Law Repealed
June 28, 1864
Early's Raid on Washington DC
July 2-14, 1864

In June, Lee charged Jubal Early with an independent campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Early's troops, known as the Army of the Valley, drove the Union Army out of the Valley following the Battle of Lynchburg and into Maryland. Just outside Washington DC, Early considered attacking the city, but Union forces pushed him back into Virginia. Early settled for firing on the northern defenses of the city, scaring the North.

Atlanta Campaign
July 18, 1864 - September 2, 1864

General Sherman faces the Confederate Army under the commands of General Johnston and Hood in northern Georgia. Sherman's goal was to take Atlanta to cut Confederate supply lines. He ordered Atlanta's military resources, munitions, clothings mills and railway yards be burned. Atlanta surrendered on September 2, 1864, giving Lincoln a much-needed victory before re-election.

Naval Battle of Mobile Bay
August 5, 1864

Union Admiral David G. Farragut sailed his flotilla to capture one of the last major Confederate ports.

Second Shenandoah Campaign
September 22, 1864 - October 19, 1864

General Grant sent General Philip H. Sheridan to definitively take the Shenandoah Valley. Sheridan's aggressive campaign earned him a reputation. In the campaign, Sherman won three major battles–the 3rd Battle of Winchester, the Battle of Fishers Hill and the Battle of Cedar Creek.

Battle of Cedar Creek
October 19, 1864

Sherman's victory at Cedar Creek negated the Confederate threat in the Shenandoah Valley.

Lincoln Reelected
November 8, 1864

Lincoln is reelected as President, with Andrew Johnson as his Vice President.

Sherman Begins "March to the Sea"
November 16, 1864

Sherman leaves Atlanta and begins his "march to the sea," moving his 60,000 troops toward Savannah 285 miles away. The march was designed to frighten and demoralize the South to bring about an end to the war.

Franklin-Nashville Campaign
November 17, 1864 - December 16, 1864

Also known as Hood's Campaign, this was a Confederate offensive that covered northern Georgia, Alabama and middle Tennessee. It was conducted by General John Bell Hood who had replaced General Johnston as commander of the Army of Tennessee. It was a failed campaign that destroyed the Tennessee Army.

Battles of Fort Fisher
December 7-27, 1864

Confederate naval artillery bombard the Union fleet at Fort Fisher. The Union Army tries a land assault, but through miscommunication and arguments fails. The Union forces retreat instead.

Savannah Falls
December 21, 1864

Savannah was fortified and defended by 10,000 Confederate troops who flood the surrounding fields, cutting off most paths into the city. But after ten days waiting for an attack by Sherman, General William Hardee abandons the city to Sherman, who in turn offers it to Lincoln as a Christmas present.


Battles for Fort Fisher End
January 13-15, 1864

Following a defeat in Winchester, General Jubal Early took up a strong defensive position at Fisher's Hill. The Union forces led by General Crook flanked Early, pushing him south to Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro. This left the Valley open to Crook who began an operation that focused on burning barns and mills from Staunton to Strasburg. It became known as "the Burning."

Congress Passes Thirteenth Amendment
January 31, 1865

Congress abolishes slavery throughout the United States.

Lincoln Meets with Confederate Peace Commission
February 3, 1865
Columbia, SC Burns
February 17, 1865

Sherman's army ransacks Columbia and burns it as they leave.

Confederates Abandon Charleston
February 19, 1865

An accident at the train depot on February 18th sets off an explosion that kills a few hundred residents and destroyed nearby homes. The next day Union forces arrive and Alderman George Williams hands them a note from Mayor Charles MacBeth stating the Confederates had left and that Williams was charged with handing over the city to the Union.

Lincoln Inaugurated for Second Term
March 4, 1865
Confederacy Authorizes Arming of Slaves
March 13, 1865

In the aftermath of significant losses, the Confederate Congress passed a bill that allowed slaves to serve as soldiers and be armed. Several thousand slaves were enlisted in the cause, a small fraction of the black Union troops.

Appomattox Campaign
March 29, 1865

This the start of the final campaign in the war. It lasts six weeks.

Battle of Petersburg
April 2, 1865

Grant and Lee face off for the last time at Petersburg, an important rail center just south of Richmond. The battle lasts until April 9 when Lee surrenders and goes home.

Union Troops Occupy Richmond
April 3, 1865

With the fall of Petersburg, the Confederates evacuate Richmond. Union troops take over the capital of the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis flees and Abraham Lincoln arrives.

Lee Surrenders to Grant at Appomattox
April 9, 1865

Robert E. Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox, bringing four years of war to an end. Lee asked for the terms of surrender and Grant wrote them out. All officers and men were pardoned and would be sent home. All property would go with them, including their horses and side arms for officers. The Union Army also fed the starving Confederate troops.

Lincoln Assassinated
April 14, 1865

John Wilkes Booth shoots and kills President Lincoln at Ford's Theater. On the same night, Secretary of State William H. Seward is stabbed in his home.

Lincoln Dies
April 15, 1865

Andrew Johnson is inaugurated as President.

Johnston Surrenders to Sherman
April 26, 1865

General Joseph E. Johnston surrenders to William T. Sherman at Bennett Place in North Carolina.

Booth Fatally Shot
April 26, 1865

John Wilkes Booth is fatally shot in a barn in Virginia.

Jefferson Davis Captured
May 10, 1865

Jefferson Davis is captured near Irwinville, Georgia and taken prisoner.

End of Confederate Resistance
May 26, 1865

The final terms of surrender were presented to General E. Kirby Smith of New Orleans. He accepted on June 2, formally ending the Civil War.

Conspirators in Lincoln's Assassination Are Sentenced
June 30, 1865

All eight conspirators are convicted of the crime, with four sentenced to death.