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When was the Civil War?

Discussion in 'Articles, Guides, Interviews, and Reports' started by civilwartalk, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. civilwartalk

    civilwartalk Lieutenant General Owner & Webmaster

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    The American Civil War was fought between the years of 1861 and 1865. This four year long struggle began with a series of events at Fort Sumter in South Carolina, and ended in April 1865 beginning with Robert E. Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.

    Asking "When was the Civil War?" is a very broad question. For complete clarity I've compiled a two part timeline, so you can see each step of the start and end of the Civil War.

    Start of the American Civil War

    Sumter.jpg

    1859 - October 16-18, John Brown attacks a Federal Armory in Harpers Ferry in an attempt to collect arms for a slave insurrection.​

    1859 - December 2, John Brown hanged for Murder and Treason.​

    1860 - November 6, Abraham Lincoln elected president of the United States.​

    1860 - December 20, South Carolina votes to secede from the Union.​

    1861 - January 9, The Star of the West, an unarmed merchant vessel is fired upon while attempting to resupply the Federally held Fort Sumter at Charleston harbor in South Carolina.​

    1861 - January 9 , Mississippi secedes from the Union.​

    1861 - January 10, Florida secedes from the Union.​

    1861 - January 11, Alabama secedes from the Union.​

    1861 - January 13, Mississippi Militia near Vicksburg fired on the river steamer A. O. Tyler, believing it was carrying Union troops and munitions down the Mississippi River.​

    1861 - January 19, Georgia secedes from the Union.​

    1861 - January 26, Louisiana secedes from the Union.​

    1861 - January 29, Kansas is admitted to the Union as a state prohibiting slavery.​

    1861 - February 1, Texas secedes from the Union.​

    1861 - February 4, Delegates of the seceding states meet in Montgomery, Alabama, and form the Confederate States of America.​

    1861 - February 11, Jefferson Davis chosen as President of the Confederate States of America by delegates of the seceding states.​

    1861 - February 18, Jefferson Davis inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America.​

    1861 - March 4, Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the sixteenth President of the United States.​

    1861 - April 12, Beginning at 4:30am, Fort Sumter is bombarded by South Carolina troops under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard.

    1861 - April 13, After 34 hours of bombardment, Fort Sumter surrenders to South Carolina troops.

    1861 - April 15, Lincoln calls for 75,000 volunteers to enlist for 3 months of service to put down the insurrection.​

    1861 - April 17, Virginia secedes from the Union.​

    1861 - May 6, Arkansas secedes from the Union.​

    1861 - May 20, North Carolina secedes from the Union.​

    1861 - June 8, Tennessee secedes from the Union.​

    1861 - July 21, Battle of Bull Run, the first major battle of the American Civil War.​

    End of the American Civil War

    appomattox.jpg

    1865 - April 2, The Confederate government evacuates its capital, Richmond.​

    1865 - April 3, Union troops occupy Richmond.​

    1865 - April 9, Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant at Appomattox.

    1865 - April 14, John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater.​

    1865 - April 15, Lincoln dies, and Andrew Johnson is inaugurated as President.​

    1865 - April 26, Joseph E. Johnston surrenders to William T. Sherman in North Carolina.​

    1865 - May 10, Jefferson Davis is captured and taken prisoner near Irwinville, Georgia.​

    1865 - May 12-13, Final Battle of the Civil War at Palmetto Ranch, Texas​

    1865 - May 26, In New Orleans, terms of surrender are offered to General E. Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department.​

    1865 - June 2, General E. Kirby Smith accepts New Orleans' terms of surrender, formally ending Confederate resistance.​

    1865 - June 23, Last significant Confederate active force to surrender was the Confederate allied Cherokee Brig. Gen. Stand Watie and his Indian soldiers.​

    1865 - June 25, Last shot of the American Civil War fired by the CSS Shenandoah at a Union whaler near the Aleutian Islands.​

    1865 - November 6, the last Confederate surrender, the Confederate Commerce Raider CSS Shenandoah was turned in.​

    1866 - August 20, President Andrew Johnson formally declares the end of the war.​
     
    pattyjo and Mark F. Jenkins like this.

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  3. civilwartalk

    civilwartalk Lieutenant General Owner & Webmaster

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  4. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

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    Good list! I concur that history is continuous, not discrete, and thus it's hard to delineate specific start & stop points. Your timeline demonstrates that difficulty. However, even though I don't consider myself a traditionalist, there's something satisfying about pinning the start/stop dates on the firing on Fort Sumter and Lee's surrender at Appomattox as a kind of shorthand for the war's dates. Your timeline is like Paul Harvey's "... and now for the rest of the story," the in-depth stuff that fills out the initial story and makes it more complex and interesting.

    Current US military doctrine divides campaigns (or wars) into six phases, starting at Phase 0--Shape, in which the state works to prevent or prepare for hostilities, moving through the next four phases--Deter, Seize Initiative, Dominate, and Stabilize, and finishes up with Phase V--Enable Civil Authority, in which the military provides support to the legitimate civilian authority and then redeploys when able. Did you consider adding Reconstruction to the end-of-war timeline? I interpret the Civil War's Phase V as being roughly synonymous with Reconstruction. As we've seen demonstrated so clearly in Iraq, the war doesn't end with the end of military action or hostilities; as war is at heart a political action, it ends when all the political issues are sorted out.

    And while you're at it, I guess the Phase 0--Shape portion could extend back to the Compromise of 1850 and perhaps beyond.

    Meanwhile, your list (as-is) is a great tool for clarifying the complexity of the Civil War.
     
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  5. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    Of course, to me, these are the important dates. :D



    Another "end" date could be July 25, 1865, when the North and South Atlantic Blockading Squadrons ceased to exist and merged into the Atlantic Squadron.
     
  6. civilwartalk

    civilwartalk Lieutenant General Owner & Webmaster

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    This article now updated with a video!
     
  7. civilwartalk

    civilwartalk Lieutenant General Owner & Webmaster

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    Various updates including some new dates, expansion of some old items, and corrections have been made to this article. Please review and comment! your opinion counts!
     
  8. KeyserSoze

    KeyserSoze Captain

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    April 1861 to present.
     
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  9. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    December 20, 1860 SC seceded.
    February 4, 1861 Formation of the CSA.
    August 20, 1866, formal end of the War declared by Johnson.
     
  10. reading48

    reading48 Captain

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    Nice article
     
  11. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    I agree that the formal conventional fighting ended by 1865. Of course there was plenty of small scale fighting left until 1876 when Garfield sacrificed the civil rights of Afro-Americans to agree to withdraw federal occupation forces from the South in exchange for Florida's disputed electoral votes. In the 1950's and 1960's federal forces on occasion had to return to the South to restore law and order for brief intervals i.e. Central High School Little Rock Ark, 1956 and Old Miss University 1963. Today the South is largely peaceful in that regard but who knows the future?
    Leftyhunter
     
  12. Dugger

    Dugger Banned

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    Do believe it was Rutherford B Hayes that cut that deal to withdraw occuption troops from the South in 1877 in exchange for disputed votes. Garfield continued what had been agreed on.

    Ike....not generaly identified with Civil Rights, sent in the troops to Little Rock to enforce the de-segregation laws. Few liberals will even ever mention that....and possibly few of them even know that. But it was a big step and Ike did his duty under the Constitution and supported the decision of the Supreme Court. JFK was drug into the Civil Rights fray by brave blacks and whites led by Dr. Martin Luther King. Had it not been for King and his non-violent insurrection I doubt if Kennedy would have done anything. I do give him credit for coming on TV and saying to the American prople that the times they are a-changing. I remember that TV speech to America well. I trying to be fair and balanced here.
     
  13. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Major

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    I stand corrected on Hayes abandoning Southern blacks to Jim Crow although Garfield was not their friend either. I will go one step further and state the govt does not initiate civil rights of any type only concerned citizens such has MLK do. Many would argue that John Brown was such a man but that is an old and hot debate right there:hot:. No president is eager to send federal troops to do the job the locals should do including old Abe but sometimes there is just no other way.
    Leftyhunter
     
  14. wouldbescholar

    wouldbescholar Cadet

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    Hello Friends!

    It's impossible to argue the 1862 US Supreme Court decision on when the US Civil War, indeed became a "war". The Court clearly states that no civil war existed until recognized by the Act of Congress 13th July, 1861. Stating that the commonly used date is when Fort Sumter was attacked is inaccurate based on case law and the US Constitution. I might add that Union ships were fired upon before the attack on Fort Sumter. So in common terms, firing upon a Union vessel or vessels carrying food supplies, might be considered an act of war. All that is negated by the Court. Taking quotations about prisoners or laymen opinions about when the war began cannot "hold water" as it is sometimes said, because the Supreme Court knew all the factors commonly presented for an earlier date. Since this decision was never overturned, how can there be any other valid opinions.
    Sincerely, wouldbescholar
     
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