The American Civil War Timeline was very well defined by the American newspapers. This was the primary source of information in the mid 1800’s along with diaries that were written by the soldiers.
The photos we have from back then are few but there are many drawings, mostly from soldiers that were actually in the battles they drew. The stories were written and relayed to the newspaper office by either courier or telegraph. The pictures and drawings were always later than the stories because they had to be hand carried.
The actual time line started with the election of Abraham Lincoln who declared that “government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free.” This election on November 6, 1860 started a cascading set of event into motion.
Most people forgot that even though Lincoln had won the Electoral College by receiving 180 out of a possible 303 votes, he only won 40% of the popular vote. 14 days after Lincoln’s election South Carolina seceded for the union. Within two weeks Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas followed South Carolina and seceded from the Union.
On February 9, 1861 the Confederate States of America was founded and Jefferson Davis was appointed its president. All of this happened before Lincoln was inaugurated as president which happened on March, 4 1861.
Just over a month later General Pierre Beauregard of the Confederate Army attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina and the war was officially on. Fort Sumter fell just two days later.
President Lincoln then offered the command of the Union army to General Robert E. Lee, which he declined. On April 17, 1861 Virginia seceded from the Union followed by Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina five weeks later. Three days later Robert E. Lee resigns his commission as a U.S. Army officer stating, “I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children.” He then goes back to Virginia and is offered the command of all Confederate forces which he accepts.
This is just the beginning of the American Civil War Timeline. The rest is well known history and can be read in old newspaper articles.
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