Friday, June 02, 2006

Civil War Timeline: 1863

January 1 - The Emancipation Proclamation is formally issued.

January 4 - Grant is ordered by Lincoln to repeal his General Order Number 11, which had expelled Jews from his area of operations. He had issued the order because he incorrectly believed that most of the merchants following his army and charging excessive prices were Jewish.

January 25 - Burnside is replaced as head of the Army of the Potomac by General Joseph Hooker.

January 26 - The secretary of war authorizes the governor of Massachusetts to recruit black troops. The 54th Massachusetts Volunteers is the first black regiment recruited in the Union. Eventually, 185,000 black soldiers will be organized into 166 all-black regiments.

March 3 - Lincoln signs the first Conscription Act. Enrollment is demanded of males between 20 and 45 years of age. Substitutes can be hired or payments of $300 can be used for an exemption.

May 2-4 - The Battle of Chancellorsville (Virginia) - Lee's army defeats Hooker's Army of the Potomac. Losses on both sides exceed 10,000. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson leads a rear-end attack, forcing the Union withdrawal, but is shot by a Confederate soldier. He dies of pnemonia on May 10.

May 14 - The Battle of Jackson (Mississippi) - Union General William Tecumseh Sherman defeats Confederates under General J. E. Johnston.

May 22 - Grant, working with Sherman, begins the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the key to control of the Mississippi River.
- The War Department establishes the Bureau of Colored Troops to supervise recruitment and enlistment of blacks.

June 20 - West Virginia, severed from Virginia, is admitted to the Union. The state constitution calls for gradual emancipation.

June 24 - Lee begins an invasion of Pennsylvania.

June 28 - General George Meade replaces Hooker as head of the Army of the Potomac.

July 1-3 - The Battle of Gettysburg (Pennsylvania) - Confederate troops looking for shoes run into Union cavalry. Reinforcements are poured in. The Union army takes a strong defensive position and turns back repeated Confederate assaults. The Confederates lose 28,000 men, a third of the army's effective strength; the Union, 23,000. Lee retreats. Meade fails to press him, allows him to escape back into Virginia.

July 4 - Grant's siege of Vicksburg ends in victory. 29,000 Confederates surrender. The Union now has complete control of the Mississippi River, splitting the Confederacy in two.

July 13-16 - The New York Draft Riots - Resentment over the Conscription Act turns into deadly rioting in New York City. Federal troops sent from the Gettysburg battlefield eventually quell the rioting. The crowd's anger has two sources: the idea of fighting to free the slaves, and the unfairness of allowing the wealthy to avoid service by paying a substitute.

July 18 - In a charge made famous by the film Glory, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers assault Fort Wagner, guarding the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. The 54th loses half of its men in the assault, but their bravery amazes whites and encourages more black regiments.

August 21 - William C. Quantrill raids Lawrence, Kansas, and slaughters more than 150 civilians. Quantrill's raiders include "Bloody Bill" Anderson, Jesse James and Cole Younger. In October, they conduct another raid of terror in Baxter Springs, Kentucky.

Sept. 19-20 - The Battle of Chickamauga (Georgia) - Rosecrans's Union army is routed by Bragg's Confederates. Losses are high: 16,000 Union casualties, 18,000 Confederates. The Union army escapes to Chattanooga.

September-November - Chattanooga - After nearly destroying the Union army at Chickamauga, Bragg's troops occupy the mountains surrounding Chattanooga, putting the city under siege.

October 16 - Grant is given command of Union forces in the west. His first act is to replace Rosecrans in Chattanooga with General George Thomas.

November 19 - Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address to dedicate a military cemetary on the battlefield.

November-December - While Grant is breaking the siege of Chattanooga and increasing his forces there, Bragg depletes his force by sending James Longstreet's corps to drive Ambrose Burnside's army out of eastern Tennessee. Burnside holes up in Knoxville. Longstreet puts the city under siege.

November 23-25 - The Battles of Chattanooga (Tennessee) - Grant, in a series of battles, drives Bragg's Confederate forces away from Chattanooga.

December 3 - Unable to penetrate the Union defenses of Knoxville, Longstreet ends his siege and withdraws.

December 8 - Looking ahead to the end of the war, Lincoln offers a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction that will pardon Confederates who take an oath of loyalty.


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