|January 1, 1863 - Daniel Freeman filed one of the first
homestead applications at the Brownsville Land Office in Nebraska,
cementing the Homestead Act of 1862 on its first day of
implementation. The Emancipation Proclamation goes into
July 1-3, 1863 - After three days of battle surrounding the tiny town of Gettysburg, including over 150,000 troops, Union defenders of Cemetery Ridge turn back General Pickett and Pettigrew during Pickett's Charge. With over 51,000 dead, wounded, or missing, the Battle of Gettysburg, on the farm fields of central Pennsylvania, proved to be the "high water mark of the Confederacy" and the last major push of Confederate forces into Union territory. Gettyburg remains a tribute of remarkable proportion to the men who fought and died on its fields, containing a reverence to the battle that played a major part in retaining the character of the United States of America.
July 4, 1863 - The city of Vicksburg surrenders to General Grant after a two month siege. The Vicksburg campaign included major battles from May 19, including the sinking of gunboats on the Mississippi River by Confederate defenders. This major accomplishment in the western theatre, plus the actions of Meade at Gettysburg one day earlier with the repulse of Pickett's Charge, prove to be the two most important victories of the Civil War. Even though it would take nearly two more years for the Confederate States of America to be defeated, these nearly simultaneous Union victories turned out to be the apex of the separatists.
July 13-16, 1863 - The New York draft riots kill about 1,000 people. Rioters protested the draft provision that allowed for money to be paid to get out of service. These payments would cease in 1864.
November 19, 1863 - "Four score and seven years ago," began what many percieve as the best speech in American history, delivered by President Abraham Lincoln in the town cemetery overlooking the fields of Gettysburg. The Gettysburg Address, only 272 words long and taking about two minutes to speak, captured the essence of the Civil War as both sacrifice and inspiration.
November 24, 1863 - Union General George Thomas scaled the heights of Chattanooga during one of the most arduous military charges in history. This charge caused Confederate forces to abandon the area, leaving Chattanooga and the majority of Tennessee under Union control.
|May 5-12, 1864 - At the Battles of the Wilderness and
Spotsylvania, General Grant, now the first three star lieutenant
general since George Washington and in charge of the U.S. Army, marched
against the forces of General Lee in a remarkable series of clashes
within the dense forests of Virginia. Union casualties alone
numbered nearly 3,000 dead, 21,000 wounded, and 4,000 missing.
July 14, 1864 - In an attempt to cut the railroad supply route and stop General William T. Sherman's march on Atlanta, Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest engaged Union forces in the Battle of Tupelo, Mississippi. By the end of September 1st, Sherman had taken Atlanta and by December 22, Savannah was subdued.
September 29, 1864 - Union forces, including black Union soldiers, capture the Confederate Fort Harrison, south of Richmond. This caused a Confederate realignment of their southern defenses.
November 8, 1864 - President Lincoln defeats former Union General George B. McClellan to remain president of the United States, a repudiation of the tactics of delay favored by his former commander, and a signal of support for the President as he continued to prosecute the rebellion by the southern Confederate states. Lincoln receives 2.2 million votes and 212 in the electoral college compared to 1.8 million votes and 21 in the electoral college for McClellan.
November 29, 1864 - While awaiting terms of surrender, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians are raided by 900 cavalymen at Sand Creek. Between 150-500 men, women, and children from the tribes died.
|April 1, 1865 - Major General Philip H. Sheridan,
leading his forces of cavalry and infantry, battle to victory at Five
Forks against Major General George E. Pickett. This battle
southwest of Petersburg, Virginia, cuts the railroad supply line to
Confederate troops. One day later, General Grant holds his
assault on Petersburg, forcing the evacuation of General Robert E. Lee.
April 9, 1865 - General Robert E. Lee, as commander in chief of Confederate forces, surrenders his 27,000 man army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, effectively ending the four years of Civil War conflict. Additional troops under southern command would continue the surrender until the final rebel forces would surrender on May 26. (Photo above) McLean House, the Civil War surrender site at Appomattox Courthouse.
April 14, 1865 - Abraham Lincoln is assassinated in Ford's Theatre, Washington, D.C.. five days after the signing at Appomattox of the Confederate surrender. The shot, fired by actor John Wilkes Booth, during the play "Our American Cousin," ends the life of the president who presided over the War of Rebellion and the end of slavery. Lincoln would die one day later.
June 28, 1865 - In the final desperate offensive act of the Civil War, two and one-half months after Lee's official surrender at Appomattox, the Confederate ship Shenandoah seized eleven American whaling ships in the Bering Strait, Alaska.
December 18, 1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, took effect.
|April 6, 1866 - The first post of the Grand Army of the
Republic was formed in Decatur, Illinois, and subsequently became a
major political force. The G.A.R. began the celebration of
Memorial Day in the north.
The Klu Klux Klan formed secretly to discourage blacks from voting, issuing in a brutal and shameful era of terror and crime amid southern states as civil rights for freed slaves emerged from the Civil War Era and made hesitant progress throughout the majority of the 20th Century.
Southern reconstruction was taken over by the federal government and freedman's rights were backed.
|March 30, 1867 - Secretary of State William H. Seward
consumates the sale of Alaska
to the United States from Russia for $7.2
million dollars, approximately two cents per acre, by signing the
Treaty of Cession of Russian America to the United States.
June 19, 1867 - The first running of the Belmont Stakes occurs at Jerome Park race track. The race was won by filly Ruthless at 1 5/8 mile with a winning purse of $1,850. The Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the three American Triple Crown races.
Horatio Alger published his first book, Ragged Dick, in the "rags to riches" theme.
December 4, 1867 - The Grange was organized to protect the interest of the American farmer.
Christopher Sholes, Carlos Glidden, and S.W. Soule' invent the first practical typewriter. One year later, it was patented, then placed on the market in 1874 by E. Remington and Sons.
|George Westinghouse invents the air brake for railroad
trains and organizes a company to produce them. Westinghouse
would go on to patent four hundred inventions and found sixty
companies, including Westinghouse Electric Company.
March 13, 1868 - The impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson begins in the Senate. Johnson was charged with violating the Tenure of Office Act by trying to remove the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton. The President is acquitted by one vote.
November - Republican Ulysses S. Grant, with Shuyler Colfax as his running mate, proves victorious in his quest to become the 18th President of the United States after defeating Horatio Seymour, 214 to 80 in the Electoral College. Grant would be swon in on March 4, 1869.
November 27, 1868 - The Battle of the WIchita ends with Lt. Colonel George Custor's defeat of Black Kettle's Cheyenne. This ended the organized campaign of Indian forces against white settlers.
|May 10, 1869 - At Promontory, Utah, the final golden
spike of the transcontinental railroad is driven into the ground,
marking the junction of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific
Railroads. This act, as much as any other, would signal the
marked increase in the settlement of the west. (Picture,
Promotory, Utah as the transcontinental railroad is completed.
August 15, 1869 - The first scientific expedition of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is conducted by Major John Wesley Powell.
September 24, 1869 - Prompted by an attempt to corner the gold market, the financial Black Friday occurs in New York City.
December 10, 1869 - In one of the first acts of success in the women's suffrage movement, a Women's Suffrage law passes in the Territory of Wyoming.
John W. Hyatt, a New York printer, invents celluloid, the first synthetic plastic used widely for commercial applications, including combs, dentures, curtains, and photographic film, as well as the billiard balls he was seeking to find a substitute for the ivory commonly used.
Historic Travel Tip
History Historic Travel Tip
National Park Service sites are made available
for your enjoyment of the history and recreation
Please take time to keep your parks clean and
respect the historic treasures there.