Social Studies

Civil War Timeline

Are you teaching the Civil War? This timeline in chronological order and summary of events will help you organize your lessons!

Events Leading Up to War

1828- Tariffs- Taxes were placed on imports and the south refused to pay. The north didn’t need as many imports. This was the first major split between north and south.

Mid 1800’s- Industry VS Farming- In the North, farming was getting replaced by industries. In the South, they relied on farming for profit.

Compromise of 1850- Several bills passed concerning free and slave states as Congress tried to keep a balance. California became a free state.

September 18, 1850- Fugitive Slave Act- An act that required all captured slaves to be returned to their masters.

May 30, 1854- Kansas-Nebraska Act- The first fight over slavery. It overturned the Missouri Compromise by letting the people in those territories decide whether to be a free or slave state.

March 6, 1857- Dred Scott Decision- Scott (a slave) would not be freed when his owner died, because he had no rights since African Americans were not citizens of the United States.

October 16, 1859- Harpers Ferry Raid- An abolitionist John Brown took an army in to raid Harpers Ferry, but it was unsuccessful and he got hanged.

States’ Rights- The south wanted each state to make their own decisions

Expansion- A change of power happened between the north and south depending on what side gained the new state.

Slavery- The south needed slaves to run plantations. The north had factories and didn’t need slaves.

Election of 1860- Abraham Lincoln wanted to end slavery

December 20, 1860- Secession- Southern states seceded (broke away) from the Union who wanted a strong federal government. The confederacy was formed.

February 9, 1861- Confederacy- The southern states formed their own country and called it the Confederate States of American.

Events of the Civil War

April 12, 1861- Fort Sumter: Union soldiers were stationed near Charleston, SC. Davis attacked the fort before the Union supplies arrived and the Union surrendered. This marked the beginning of the Civil War.

July 21, 1861- First Battle of Bull Run: Stonewall Jackson under the Confederate Army resisted Union attacks so the Union retreated.

March 8-9, 1862- Battle of the Ironclads- The first combat between ironclad ships. The Merrimack (Confederacy) and Monitor (Union) battled and it ended in a draw.

April 6-7, 1862- Battle of Shiloh: The Union troops were ambushed, which killed and wounded more men than all the previous wars combined.

August 29-30, 1862- Second Battle of Bull Run: The Confederate troops had 20,000 less men, but still defeated the Union.

September 17, 1862- Battle of Antietam: Union stopped the Confederates resulting in the most bloodshed in military history.

December 13, 1862- Battle of Fredericksburg: Union lost 7,000 more men than Confederates.

January 1, 1863- Emancipation Proclamation- A document that states all slaves in Confederate states are free.

May 1-4, 1863- Battle of Chancellorsville: Although both sides suffered great loss, the Union retreated. General Stonewall Jackson from the Confederacy was fatally wounded so Lee lost his general.

July 1-3, 1863- Battle of Gettysburg: This battle was the turning point in the war where the Union defeated the Confederates.

July 4, 1863- Battle of Vicksburg- The North sieged Vicksburg by constant bombing and cutting off the supplies for the South. The were forced to surrender.

September 19-20, 1863- Battle of Chickamauga: Confederate victory

November 19, 1863- Gettysburg Address: President Lincoln delivered a two minute speech at a ceremony dedicating the battlefield as a national cemetery and asked Americans to try even harder to win the struggle for the soldiers who lost their lives.

November 23-25, 1863- Battle of Chattanooga: Union forces stop the rebel siege with a revenge of Chickamauga.

June 3, 1864- Battle of Cold Harbor- Grant’s backup troops were tired, so he delayed the attack. Lee had time to make the line strong and defeat Grant’s troops.

November 15, 1864- Sherman’s March to the Sea: After destroying Atlanta’s warehouses, Sherman leads his men to destroy everything in their path as they march to the coast.

April 9, 1865- Appomattox Courthouse in VA: Lee Surrendered to Grant.

Events After the Civil War Ended

January 31, 1865- Thirteenth Amendment- Congress abolished slavery under the United States Constitution; except as punishment for a crime.

April 14, 1865- Lincoln’s Assassination: Lincoln was shot and killed in a movie theater.

Reconstruction: Rebuilding the United States after the war.

Are you looking for lesson plans, informational text, web links, student printables, study guide and test to go along with all of the events?

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