Saturday, May 20, 2006

Civil War Timeline: 1862

January 11 - Edwin Stanton replaces Simon Cameron as secretary of the War Department.

January 27 - Lincoln issues General War Order Number 1, calling for an immediate Union offensive. McClellan ignores the order.

January 30 - The Union ironclad ship Monitor is launched.

February 6 - General Ulysses S. Grant captures Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.

February 16 - Grant captures Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. His call for "an unconditional and immediate surrender" give his initials new meaning.

February 25 - Nashville, Tennessee, becomes the first Confederate state capital to fall to Union troops.

March 7-8 - The Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern, Arkansas) - A dug-in force of 10,250 Union soldiers repel 16,000 Confederates.

March 9 - The first battle ever between two ironclad ships, the Union Monitor and the Confederate Virginia (formerly the Merrimack) takes place off Hampton Roads, Virginia. The battle is inconclusive, but the Virginia is scuttled to prevent her capture.

April 4 - The Union Army of the Potomac begins the Peninsular Campaign.

April 6-7 - The Battle of Shiloh (or Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee) - Confederate forces under General Albert Sidney Johnston attack Grant's army. The Union forces are nearly defeated, but reinforcements arrive and drive off the Confederates. Over 20,000 men on both sides are killed or wounded, more than the total American casualties in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War combined. General Johnston is one of the casualties, killed by a bullet that cuts his femoral artery.

April 10-11 - Union General Quincy A. Gillmore batters Fort Pulaski, which guards entry to the Savannah River, into submission.

April 16 - Jefferson Davis signs the Confederate Conscription Act, the first military draft in American history.

April 25 - New Orleans, Louisiana, surrenders to Union Flag Officer David Farragut. He pushes north on the Mississippi River, capturing Natchez, Mississippi, on May 12.

May 4-14 - McClellan's army takes Yorktown, Williamburg, and the White House in Virginia. He halts twenty miles from Richmond to await reinforcements.

May 25 - The Battle of Winchester (Virginia) - Stonewall Jackson's 16,000 Confederate troops defeat Union General Nathaniel Banks's 8000 men, forcing them to withdraw toward Harper's Ferry.

May 31-June 1 - The Battle of Fair Oaks (Seven Pines, Virginia) - Confederate forces attack Union troops and nearly defeat them, but reinforcements arrive at the last minute and prevent the victory from bing complete. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, commander of the Confederate army, is severely wounded and is replaced by General Robert E. Lee.

June 6 - Memphis, Tennessee, falls to Union forces.

June 25-July 2 - The Seven Days' Battles (Virginia) - In a week, Union and Confederate forces fight a series of savage battles -- June 26-27, Mechanicsville; June 27, Gaines Mill; June 29, Savage's Station; June 30, Frayser's Farm; and July 1, Malvern Hill -- that drives the Union army back, ending the Peninsular Campaign. The two sides suffer 36,000 casualties.

July 11 - Annoyed by McClellan's failure in Virginia and his plodding pace, Lincoln relieves him as general-in-chief, replacing him with Major General Henry Halleck. General John Pope is named commander of all the armies north and west of Virginia. McClellan is given command of a single army, the Army of the Potomac.

August 9 - The Battle of Cedar Mountain (Virginia) - Jackson's Confederate forces defeat Union troops.

August 30 - The Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas, Virginia) - Confederate Generals Lee, Jackson and James Longstreet defeat General John Pope's Union army, forcing them all the way back to Washington. Pope is sacked and sent to Minnesota to quell an Indian uprising. McClellan is reinstated.

September 15 - Stonewall Jackson captures Harper's Ferry, Virginia, along with thousands of Union prisoners and a great quantity of supplies. Despite his proximity to Harper's Ferry, McClellan does not move quickly enough to prevent its capture.

September 17 - The Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg, Maryland) - Lee takes the offensive, driving into Maryland, but a copy of his orders falls into Union hands, allowing McClellan to anticipate his moves. This is the single bloodiest day of the war with casualties exceeding 10,000 on both sides. Lee retreats back into Virginia, but McClellan fails to pursue.

September 22 - After the Union victory at Antietam, Lincoln has the victory he feels he needs to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. It is published in Northern newspapers the following day. The Proclamation doesn't free a single slave, but changes the character and course of the war. It ends any chance of European recognition of the Confederacy, and makes the war considerably less popular in the North. The decline in enlistments forces passage of the Conscription Act in March 1863.

October 8 - The Battle of Perryville (Kentucky) - Union General Don Carlos Buell's army defeats Confederate General Braxton Bragg's forces, ending Bragg's Kentucky invasion. Confederate casualties number 16,000 vs. about 4000 Union casualties, but Lincoln relieves Buell for allowing the Confederate army to escape back into Tennessee.

November 7 - Lincoln relieves McClellan, replacing him with General Ambrose Burnside. McClellan returns to New Jersey and doesn't command again, but runs against Lincoln in 1864.

December 13 - The Battle of Fredericksburg (Virginia) - Union General Ambrose Burnside's forces are defeated in a series of attacks against entrenched Confederate forces. Union casualties are more than double Confederate casualties.

December 31-January 2, 1863 - The Battle of Stones River (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) - This sporadic, bloody battle fought for control of Tennessee results in more than 20,000 casualties. After three days of fighting, Confederate General Braxton Bragg inexplicably withdraws, leaving Murfreesboro in control of Union forces under General William S. Rosecrans.

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