Friday, May 19, 2006

Civil War Timeline: 1860 - 1861

My blogging habit got completely out of hand for a while. I was trying to maintain several blogs, too many even in the best of times when I always had Internet access at my disposal. I have already deleted my sports blog. No one was reading it and almost everything in it was outdated. My next goal is to delete my Civil War / history blog. My goal is to end up with the two sotto voce blogs (one here and its mirror at AOL), my photo blog (which I haven't updated in quite some time), and political writing contributions to the Blue Voice.

Before deleting my Civil War blog, I am going to move almost everything in it here. I'm not going to do it all at once, so don't tune out if the Civil War is not your bag. I started that blog in November of 2004 with a general timeline of the war...

Kenneth C. Davis's book, Don't Know Much About History, is a nifty little U. S. history book, very readable and fairly comprehensive. Chapter 4, Apocalypse Then - to Civil War and Reconstruction, contains a brief timeline of events of the war. His timeline contains a couple of noticeable errors and skims over a whole lot of details, but is a very good way to learn what happened when. I have attempted to minimize the errors and omissions by cross-referencing his timeline with another in Everyday Life in the Civil War by Michael J. Varhola.

Here is a listing of events for 186o and 1861:

November 6, 1860 - Abraham Lincoln is elected president of the United States.

December 20, 1860 - South Carolina's legislature, perceiving a threat to the state's autonomy from Lincoln's election, votes to secede from the Union.

January 9, 1861 - Mississippi secedes.

January 10 - Florida secedes.

January 11 - Alabama secedes.

January 19 - Georgia secedes.

January 26 - Louisiana secedes.

February 1 - Texas secedes.

February 4 - Delegates from the seven seceded states convene in Montgomery, Alabama and begin to draft a constitution for the Confederate States of America. The new constitution is based on the United States Constitution, but places greater emphasis on the autonomy of each state and protection of slavery.

February 8 - The seceded states form the Confederate States of America.

February 9 - Pending elections, the delegates select Jefferson Davis as provisional president of the Confederacy.

February 18 - Davis is inaugurated president of the Confederacy.

February - United States President James Buchanan refuses to surrender Federal forts in the south to the seceding states. Confederate troops respond by seizing them. At Fort Sumter, South Carolina, Southern troops repulse a supply ship trying to reach Union forces stationed in the fort.

March 4 - Lincoln is inaugurated president of the United States.

March 6 - Jefferson Davis, with the authorization of the C. S. Congress, calls for 100,000 one-year volunteers for the Confederate military.

April - Lincoln informs South Carolina that he intends to send supplies to Fort Sumter. South Carolina demands the immediate surrender of the fort.

April 12 - South Carolina militia under Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard bombard Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The fort commander surrenders. The only fatality occurs during the surrender ceremony when a cannon explodes.

April 15 - Lincoln declares a state of "insurrection," and calls for 75,000 men for three month's service.

April 17 - Virginia secedes.

April 19 - Crowds in Baltimore stone troops marching to reinforce Washington, killing four soldiers and 20 civilians. Lincoln orders a blockade of southern ports. Lincoln asks Robert E. Lee to take field command of Union forces.

April 20 - Lee resigns his U. S. army commission and assumes a commission in the Confederate army.

May 6 - Arkansas secedes. The Confederacy recognizes a state of war with the United States.

May - Forces under General George B. McClellan drive rebel forces out of western Virginia, bringing this antisecessionist section under Union control.

May 13 - British Queen Victoria announces Great Britian's neutrality. The Confederacy is given "belligerent status," meaning British merchants can trade with Confederate states.

May 20 - North Carolina secedes.

May 24 - Union troops move into Alexandria, Virginia. Elmer Ellsworth becomes the first combat casualty of the war, shot while removing a Confederate flag from a hotel roof. Both he and the hotel keeper who shot him, James T. Jackson, become martyrs to their sides.

June 8 - Tennessee votes to secede, the eleventh and final state to do so.

July 2 - Lincoln authorizes suspension of the constitutional right of habeas corpus.

July 21 - The First Battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas) -- Confederate armies under Beauregard and Gen Joseph E. Johnston rout the Union troops. This is where General Thomas J. Jackson becomes known as 'Stonewall.'

August 5 - Congress passes the first income tax law to pay for the war. Enlistment periods are increased from three months to two years.

August 10 - Union forces are defeated at Wilson's Creek, Missouri. General Fremont withdraws surrendering much of the state. To reverse his losses, he declares martial law and announces that the slaves of secessionists are free. Lincoln requests that he withdraw the order. When he refuses, Lincoln removes him from command.

October 21 - The Battle of Ball's Bluff (Virginia), another rout of Union forces.

November 1 - Lincoln forces General Winfield Scott to retire. General George B. McClellan becomes the new general-in-chief.

November 7 - A naval bombardment by warships under Union Captain Samuel F. Dupont drives defenders from Forts Walker and Beauregard in South Carolina, allowing General Thomas W. Sherman to occupy Port Royal, Beaufort and all the Sea Islands of South Carolina.

November 8 - The Trent Affair - The USS San Jacinto stops the British ship Trent in international waters and seizes two Confederate commissioners, J. M. Mason and John Slidell. The two are transported to Boston and imprisoned. Britian reacts strongly, and Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward disavow the action and release the commissioners.


At 8:29 PM, Blogger Carly said...

In that I am a history buff, I appreciate being able to see a timeline for the Civil war. It is good to have as a reference. i am glad you are keeping these entries. :)

At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a great source of information and I wish everyone could read it! Thank you so much!


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