American Civil War Timeline

Timeline created by awesomeman343
In History
  • The Missouri Compromise

    Act passed by the U.S. Congress admitting Missouri to the Union as the 24th state. After the territory requested statehood without slavery restrictions, Northern congressmen tried unsuccessfully to attach amendments restricting further slaveholding. When Maine requested statehood, a compromise led by Henry Clay allowed Missouri admission as a slave state and Maine as a free state, with slavery prohibited from then on in territories north of Missouri's southern border.
  • The Compromise of 1850

    Henry Clay, U.S. senator from Kentucky, was determined to find a solution. In 1820 he had resolved a fiery debate over the spread of slavery with his Missouri Compromise. Now, thirty years later, the matter surfaced again within the walls of the Capitol. But this time the stakes were higher -- nothing less than keeping the Union together.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 mandated that states to which escaped slaves fled were obligated to return them to their masters upon their discovery and subjected persons who helped runaway slaves to criminal sanctions.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin published

    an antislavery novel written by Harriet Beecher Stowe and published in book form in 1852. In 1862, Abraham Lincoln apocryphally referred to Harriet Beecher Stowe as "the little woman who started this big war," underscoring the enormous influence of Uncle Tom's Cabin; Or, Life Among the Lowly to antebellum audiences.
  • Republican Party is formed

    On this day in 1854, Alvan E. Bovay (1818-1903) called an anti-slavery meeting at the Congregational Church in Ripon, the Wisconsin town where he practiced law. The group voiced outrage at the Kansas-Nebraska Act, soon to clear Congress, which provided that settlers could decide for themselves whether to allow slavery in the new territories. The legislation repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which had banned slavery in that region.
  • Dred Scott Decision

    On March 6, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the Supreme Court's decision against Dred Scott, a slave who maintained he had been emancipated as a result of having lived with his master in the free state of Illinois and in federal territory where slavery was forbidden by the Missouri Compromise. The decision did much more than resolve the fate of an elderly black man and his family: Dred Scott v. Sanford was the first instance in which the Supreme Court invalidated a major piece of fe
  • John Brown's raid of Haper's Ferry

    Just after sundown on the evening of Sunday October 16, 1859 John Brown led a group of 21 men (16 white and 5 black) across the Potomac River from Maryland to Virginia. Their immediate objective was the capture of the cache of weapons stored at the U.S. Arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Brown's ultimate goal was to destroy the slave system of the South.
  • Election of Abraham Lincoln as president

    Abraham Lincoln's victory in presidental election of 1860 was the immediate cause of Southern secession, Lincoln was a Republican, and one plank of his party's platform declared that "the normal condition of all the terrirtory of the United States is that of freedom."
  • Civil War begins

    The four years that followed the breakup of the United States were among the most traumatic in the nation's history. The violence and political differences of the 1850's paled before the tragedy of the Civil War, as Americans paid the price forthe political failure to resolve the question of slavery. Thousands of soldiers died in battle or from disease, much of the South was left in ruins, and shortly after the war ended Northerners lost the president who had led them through it.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation

    On the early January 1863 a young woman ran through the streets of London, England shouting: " Lincoln's been gone and done it." What the American president had done, after months of deliberation, was to tackle the fundamental cause of the Civil War: the existence of slavery.
  • The Battle of Gettysburg

    In July of 1863, General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia of 75,000 men and the 97,000 man Union Army of the Potomac, under George G. Meade, concentrated together at Gettysburg and fought the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox

    With his army surrounded, his men weak and exhausted, Robert E. Lee realized there was little choice but to consider the surrender of his Army to General Grant. After a series of notes between the two leaders, they agreed to meet on April 9, 1865, at the house of Wilmer McLean in the village of Appomattox Courthouse. The meeting lasted approximately two and one-half hours and at its conclusion the bloodliest conflict in the nation's history neared its end.
  • Assassination of President Lincoln

    Shortly after 10 p.m. on April 14, 1865, actor John Wilkes Booth entered the presidential box at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C., and fatally shot President Abraham Lincoln. As Lincoln slumped forward in his seat, Booth leapt onto the stage and escaped through the back door. A doctor in the audience rushed over to examine the paralyzed president. Lincoln was then carried across the street to Petersen's Boarding House, where he died early the next morning.