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What Happened Today in the Civil War?

1861

"A People's Contest"

File:MAP In the early months of 1861, every southern state secedes from the Union. Throughout the summer, Union forces enter the border states of Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and the westernmost mountainous portions of Virginia. These incursions are initially successful, but months of confused skirmishing and unexpected Confederate victories force Union troops to a standstill in Virginia and a retreat in the west. Even farther west, Confederates occupy frontier forts in Texas and New Mexico in hopes of extending the south into recently acquired territory from Mexico. By December, the Union regains most of what it had lost over the summer, but the Confederacy remains intact.
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1862

The Conflict Escalates

File:MAP Inconclusive skirmishing breaks out along the borders of the occupied states. The Confederacy sees success in its frontier campaign, taking large portions of modern-day Arizona and northern New Mexico. Union forces press along the entire line, meeting stiff resistance in Tennessee and northern Arkansas, and near-disaster several times in Virginia. Union forces begin landing in Louisiana and moving up the Mississippi River to cut the Confederacy in half. Even as the Union re-occupies the frontier states and ends the Confederacy's hopes of westward expansion, the emboldened Confederacy pushes into Kentucky and Maryland. Though initially successful, these are both beaten back. By December, the Union holds New Mexico, northeastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, southeastern Louisiana, and the easternmost counties of Virginia and North Carolina.
  • The Peninsula(r) Campaign (Day 156/170) - Union Major General George B. McClellan continues the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater with the ultimate goal of seizing the Confederate capital at Richmond. A series of amphibious assaults pushes more and more Confederate troops up the Virginia Peninsula towards the city, but the combined leadership of Generals Joseph E. Johnston and Robert E. Lee proves too costly for the Union to continue. (March 17-September 2, 1862)
  • The Northern Virginia Campaign (Day 4/18) - Confederate General Robert E. Lee seeks to follow up on his successes in the The Seven Days Battles before Richmond, Virginia by initially sending "Stonewall" Jackson north to block Union General John Pope's army. Sensing that Union General George McClellan's freshly blooded troops in the Peninsula Campaign were not yet poised for a new round of assaults, Lee sends the bulk of his forces after Jackson to execute a series of brilliant maneuvers to hold off the Union advance into Virginia from the north (August 16-September 2, 1862)
1863

The Turning Point

File:MAP The Union pushes farther into Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee. A still hopeful Confederacy launches a second invasion into Maryland and Pennsylvania, and is pushed back into Virginia. The Union gains control of the entire Mississippi River, cutting the Confederacy in two halves. Major activity begins to erupt in the northern counties of the deep south states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. By December, the Union controls all of the original border states, as well as a large portion of Arkansas and most of Tennessee. Template:TITCW/August 19, 1863
1864

Total War

File:MAP Chaos erupts in the west as Union forces push further into Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Confederate forces push back. In the east, Union troops fight campaigns through the northern and coastal counties of Virginia, cutting off access to the Atlantic and arriving at the brink of the Confederate capital. In between, a late Union campaign through Georgia cuts the larger half of the Confederacy in half, creating three distinct Confederate zones of control.
The Atlanta Campaign (Day 111/131)
Union Major General William Sherman continues his campaign from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Atlanta, Georgia (May 1-September 8, 1864) Sub-operations:
  • None
Union troops engaged:
Confederate troops engaged:
1865

"A New Birth of Freedom"

File:MAP Another Union campaign in South and North Carolina solidifies Union control along the Atlantic seaboard. The Confederate capital finally succumbs to Union pressure and the armies of Virginia surrender in early April. The Union pushes into Alabama, and within weeks, the Confederate armies in each theater surrender. Action continues in Oklahoma for another month, and unorganized pockets of resistance harass Union garrisons during a long and difficult reunification and reconstruction of the country.
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