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The Civil War in Georgia, An Illustrated Travelers Guide

By Richard J. Lenz

Design by Lenz, Inc. Decatur, Georgia.


Sherpa Guides > Civil War > Sidebars > Chronology
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Chronology

1860

Nov. 6

Abraham Lincoln is elected president of the United States.

1861

Jan. 3

Georgia troops seize Fort Pulaski in Savannah.

Jan. 19

Delegates at Georgia’s Secession Convention in Milledgeville vote 208 to 89 to secede from the Union.

Jan. 24

Augusta Arsenal is surrendered to Georgia troops.

Feb. 8

At the convention of seceded states in Montgomery, Alabama, the Confederate Constitution is adopted.

Feb. 9

In Montgomery, Jefferson Davis is elected president of the Confederacy and Alexander Stephens, of Georgia, is elected vice president. Davis appoints Robert Toombs, of Georgia, secretary of state.

Mar. 4

President Lincoln is inaugurated.

Apr. 12

Confederates fire on Fort Sumter, committing the first act of war.

Apr. 13

Fort Sumter surrenders to the Confederates.

July 21

Confederates defeat the Federals in the first great battle of the war, the Battle of First Bull Run or Manassas, Virginia.

Oct. 19

Augustus McLaughlin negotiates a contract with David S. Johnston’s Southern Confederate States Navy Yard at Saffold, for the building of the gunboat C.S.S. Chattahoochee.

1862

Feb. 6 – 16

In Tennessee, Confederates surrender Forts Henry and Donelson.

Mar. 9

Off the coast of Virginia, the first battle between ironclad vessels, the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia, is a draw. Strategically, the advantage goes to the Federals.

Mar. 23 – June 9

Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s Confederate forces are successful in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign in Virginia.

Apr. 6 – 7

The Federals are victorious in the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, but they do not succeed in gaining new positions.

Apr. 10 – 11

Fort Pulaski, a brick fort guarding the mouth of the Savannah River, falls to Federal forces using rifled cannon.

Apr. 12

In the "Great Locomotive Chase," James R. Andrews and his Union volunteers attempt to head north from Big Shanty in the Confederate locomotive, the General. Fuller and the Confederate crew of the Texas chase the General in reverse and capture it north of Ringgold.

June 7

Andrews, leader of the Union raiders in the "Great Locomotive Chase," is hanged in Atlanta.

Sept. 17

Confederates hold their position in the Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg, one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

Dec. 11 – 13

Federals fail to take Fredericksburg, Virginia in the Battle of Fredericksburg.

1863

Jan. 1

President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in the Confederate states.

Mar. 29 – July 4

On Independence Day, Confederates surrender Vicksburg, Mississippi to Federals under Gen. U.S. Grant.

Apr. 11 – May 3

With his men riding mules, U.S. Col. Abel Streight conducts a cavalry raid aimed to reach deep into Georgia. Confederate forces under Nathan B. Forrest stop Streight in eastern Alabama, saving Rome, Georgia and Southern railroads from being destroyed.

May 10

After being wounded at Chancellorsville and having his arm amputated, Gen. Stonewall Jackson dies of pneumonia south of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

May 27

The C.S.S. Chattahoochee suffers an accidental boiler explosion on the Chattahoochee River, and 18 men are killed. The gunboat is taken to Columbus for repairs where, at the end of the war, it is destroyed to prevent Federal capture.

June 11

Darien is burned by Union troops, including the 2nd South Carolina and one company of the Massachusetts 54th.

June 16

The Atlanta, an ironclad built in Savannah, launches a diversionary attack in an attempt to save Charleston, South Carolina. After taking several severe hits, the Confederate ship surrenders.

July 1 – 3

Confederates under Gen. Robert E. Lee are defeated in the Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. Total casualties number 43,000.

Sept. 19 – 20

Confederate forces under Gen. Braxton Bragg are victorious in the Battle of Chickamauga, the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War with 34,000 total casualties. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’ Federals retreat into Chattanooga, and Confederates lay siege by positioning troops on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.

Oct. 16

Grant takes command of the Western armies, including the army at Chattanooga.

Nov. 24

In a fight known as the "Battle Above the Clouds," Federal troops under Grant climb and take Lookout Mountain.

Nov. 25

Union forces take Chattanooga by pushing the Confederates back into Georgia in the Battle of Missionary Ridge. Confederates retreat into Ringgold, Georgia.

Nov. 27

Confederate forces conclude the campaign for Chattanooga with rear guard fighting at Ringgold Gap and retreat into Dalton for the winter.

Dec. 2

In Dalton, Bragg turns over command of the Army of Tennessee. Lt. Gen. William Hardee assumes temporary command.

Dec. 27

In Dalton, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston assumes command of the Army of Tennessee.

1864

Mar. 10

Grant is commissioned General-in-Chief of the U.S. Armies.

Mar. 11

Gen. William T. Sherman is appointed commander of the Western Theater.

Feb. 27

Federal prisoners begin arriving at the Confederacy’s largest prison, Camp Sumter, at Andersonville, near Americus.

May 7

Sherman’s Federals advance through Ringgold Gap to begin the Atlanta Campaign.

May 7 – 12

Rocky Face Ridge Phase of the Atlanta Campaign.

May 8

In the Battle of Dug Gap, Union forces unsuccessfully attempt to flank Confederates in Dalton.

May 9

Gen. James B. McPherson leads the Federal Army of the Tennessee through Snake Creek Gap, pushing toward Resaca to get at Johnston’s rear. When faced with Confederate resistance at Resaca, he pulls back, wasting an opportunity to destroy Johnston.

May 12 – 13

Johnston’s Confederate forces evacuate Dalton.

May 13 – 15

In the Battle of Resaca, Johnston’s Confederates repulse Sherman’s direct attack, but because of the danger of being flanked with the river at his back, Johnston withdraws during the night. Confederates move toward Calhoun and Adairsville.

May 15 – 18

Despite heavy fortifications, Rome falls into Union hands in the Battle of Rome. Federals cross the Oostanaula River and occupy the city until May 24.

May 18

Sherman assumes all Johnston’s Confederate forces marched from Adairsville to Kingston. When Sherman’s men arrive in Kingston, they realize Johnston’s men are 5.5 miles east at Cassville.

May 18 – 19

At Cassville, Johnston commands Gen. John Bell Hood to attack separated units of Sherman’s army, but Hood fails to attack. Johnston’s generals counsel retreat, and the Confederates retire through Cartersville and across the Etowah River to Allatoona.

May 25

Confederates repulse Gen. Joseph Hooker’s Federals in the Battle of New Hope Church.

May 27

Union forces are pushed back at Pickett’s Mill.

May 28

Johnston attacks near Dallas, but the Confederates are thrown back.

June 1 – 4

Sherman captures Allatoona Pass and moves his three armies northeastward, closer to this important supply line. Johnston shifts his army to three high points (Lost, Pine, and Brush Mountains) north of Marietta.

June 14

Confederate Gen. Leonidas Polk is killed while observing Union troop movements from atop Pine Mountain.

June 15 – 17

Battle of Gilgal Church.

June 15 – 18

Federals fail to take Petersburg, Virginia by assault, so they put the city under siege.

June 22

Hood leads a strong attack against Federals at Kolb’s Farm. The Confederates lose greatly.

June 24

In the Battle of LaFayette, Watkins’ Federal forces occupying the town are attacked by Gen. Gideon Pillow’s Confederate cavalry. When Union reinforcements arrive, Confederate forces withdraw.

June 27

Sherman attacks Kennesaw Mountain and is defeated, suffering heavy losses.

July 4

Union forces succeed in the Battle of Ruff’s Mill. This attack, combined with one on Johnston’s right at Smyrna, pushes the Confederate line back to the Chattahoochee River.

July 8

At the mouth of Soap Creek, Federal forces cross the Chattahoochee River for the first time, leaving Johnston no choice but to fall back across the river closer to Atlanta.

July 18

Hood replaces Johnston as commander of the Army of Tennessee. Kenner Garrard’s Federal cavalry division and one of McPherson’s infantry brigades reach Stone Mountain Depot, drive off Confederate guards, seize the depot, and destroy railroad track.

July 20

Confederate assaults under Hood fail in the Battle of Peachtree Creek. Sherman’s armies control almost half the perimeter of Atlanta.

July 21 – 24

Garrard’s Federal cavalrymen leave a path of destruction through Covington, Conyers, and Social Circle that cuts off the Confederate Army of Tennessee from supplies and reinforcements from the Eastern Confederacy.

July 22

Gen. Joseph Wheeler’s Confederate cavalrymen strike the Army of the Tennessee’s wagon train at Decatur. Federals save their wagons, and Confederates withdraw to reinforce the fight in Atlanta.

July 22

Confederate forces are beaten in the Battle of Atlanta, the bloodiest battle of the campaign with over 10,000 casualties. Union Gen. McPherson is killed by skirmishers when he refuses to surrender and tries to escape. While directing his troops toward the battlefield, Confederate Gen. William H.T. Walker is shot from his horse and killed.

July 28

Confederate forces are defeated in the Battle of Ezra Church.

July 30

While attempting to cut railways south of Atlanta, Union Gen. Edward McCook meets Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry three miles south of Newnan. Wheeler saves Newnan in the Battle of Brown’s Mill.

July 30

On a mission to cut railways south of Atlanta and free prisoners at Andersonville, Gen. George Stoneman’s Federal cavalry wreck railway facilities at Griswoldville, Gordon, McIntyre, and Toomsboro and burn trains, trestles, and the railway bridge over the Oconee River. They shell Macon briefly and attempt to retreat while being pursued by Confederate cavalry.

July 31

At Sunshine Church, Stoneman surrenders to Confederate cavalrymen under Georgia Gen. Alfred Iverson, Jr. Before surrendering, Stoneman covers the escape of Lt. Col. Silas Adams’ and Col. Horace Capron’s brigades, which march toward Eatonton. At Murder Creek, the two brigades separate.

Aug. 1

After looting food and grain in Eatonton, Adams’ brigade burns supplies and valuable industrial property in Madison. That night, Adams’ and Capron’s brigades camp near Athens. The Federals intend to head to Athens next, but they are turned back at the bridge over the Middle Oconee River by Home Guard units with artillery. Adams turns west and by avoiding towns, reaches Union lines near Marietta on Aug. 4.

Aug. 1

After the failure of the Union cavalry raids, the siege of Atlanta begins. Although Union forces had fired shells into the city previously, Sherman officially begins siege operations when he instructs generals John Schofield, George Thomas, and Oliver O. Howard’s men to fire into Atlanta simultaneously.

Aug. 2

Capron stops briefly at Jug Tavern (now Winder) and again at King’s Tanyard, where he is attacked before dawn on Aug. 3. In the Battle of King’s Tanyard, 430 of Capron’s men are captured. Only Capron and six of his men finally reach the Union lines four days later.

Aug. 6

Sherman fails to cut Confederate railroads south of Atlanta in the Battle of Utoy Creek.

Aug. 7 – Oct. 19

Gen. Philip Sheridan’s Union forces sweep through the Shenandoah Valley in a wave of destruction comparable to Sherman’s forthcoming "March to the Sea." Federals take control of the Valley, demolishing railroad lines, burning crops and barns, and killing livestock.

Aug. 18-22

Gen. Judson Kilpatrick’s Federal cavalry raid Lovejoy’s Station, but their efforts to destroy the Macon and Western Railroad are blocked.

Aug. 25

The guns of Sherman’s forces shelling Atlanta fall silent. Sherman orders Hooker’s old 20th Corps to hold its position on the Chattahoochee River, and on the 26th, he sends all of his remaining forces in a bold flanking move to the west and south to cut the railway lines near Jonesboro.

Aug. 31

Confederate attacks are repulsed by the Army of the Tennessee in the first day of the Battle of Jonesboro, south of Atlanta. Federals cut the Macon and Western Railroad below Rough and Ready, between Jonesboro and Atlanta.

Sept. 1

Confederates evacuate Atlanta. The Battle of Jonesboro reopens when Confederate corps meet Union forces at Rough and Ready. Confederate forces are almost destroyed.

Sept. 2

Atlanta surrenders to Sherman, and the Confederate army gathers around Lovejoy’s Station. Lincoln receives a telegraph from Sherman which reads, "Atlanta is ours and fairly won." Lincoln declares a national day of thanksgiving.

Sept. 7

Sherman orders the evacuation of civilians from Atlanta.

Oct. 5

Hood assaults Sherman’s supply lines north of Atlanta but does not take the important railroad pass at Allatoona.

Oct. 9

Gen. John Winder leaves Andersonville to run Camp Lawton in Millen.

Oct. 12 – 17

Hood continues his offensive to the north with skirmishes at Resaca, Coosaville Road near Rome, and Dalton. The Army of Tennessee gives up trying to cut Sherman’s supply line and moves toward Alabama.

Nov. 5

Cassville is burned by Federal troops, never to be rebuilt.

Nov. 8

Lincoln reelected President of the United States.

Nov. 9 – 10

Sherman organizes his army into a right and left wing, planning to march deeper into Georgia toward the sea. He departs from Kingston, leaving behind a path of destruction.

Nov. 11

As Federals leave Rome to join Sherman in Atlanta, they destroy the railroad and burn property including bridges, foundries, mills, shops, and warehouses.

Nov. 12 – 15

Federals burn the city of Atlanta and cut their own lines of communication with the North. Sherman’s "March to the Sea" begins.

Nov. 18

At Rutledge, Union forces destroy the depot, water tank, warehouses and other railroad facilities. The Georgia state capitol is moved to Macon, its home until March 11, 1865.

Nov. 19

Federal forces burn Madison for a second time, destroying the depot, water tank, warehouses, railroad facilities, and quantities of corn and supplies.

Nov. 20

Confederates withdraw from Gordon to defend Ball’s Ferry, a crossing on the Oconee River.

Nov. 22

Federal infantry defeat Georgia troops in the Battle of Griswoldville.

Nov. 22

Sherman’s forces press toward Millen, so in the course of three days, Camp Lawton is emptied. Thousands of sick prisoners are dropped in Savannah, and the rest head to a prison camp near Blackshear.

Nov. 22 – 25

Sherman’s Federals occupy Milledgeville, the capital of Georgia, after the legislature flees in panic. Union forces plunder private and public buildings, including the State House where soldiers conduct a mock session of the legislature.

Nov. 24 – 25

Skirmishes at Ball’s Ferry delay Union forces trying to cross the Oconee River. Confederate forces withdraw, and three days later, on Nov. 26, the Federals finally cross.

Nov. 25 – 26

Sherman’s troops skirmish with Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry at Sandersville. Sherman burns Sandersville.

Nov. 28

Wheeler’s Confederate cavalrymen skirmish with Kilpatrick’s Federals around Buckhead Church. When Kilpatrick crosses Buckhead Creek east of the church, Wheeler crosses upstream and attacks. Kilpatrick retreats.

Dec. 3

Sherman’s Seventeenth Corps arrive at Millen.

Dec. 4

After nine days of action in the Waynesboro area, Kilpatrick’s Federals drive Wheeler’s Confederate cavalrymen from their position.

Dec. 5

As a result of Sherman’s progress toward the sea, 5,000 prisoners in Blackshear are transported southwest to a temporary prison camp at Thomasville.

Dec. 8

Federals file across Ebenezer Creek and destroy their pontoon bridge behind them, leaving over 600 slaves in the hands of Confederate forces.

Dec. 10 – 21

Sherman arrives in front of Savannah. He decides to besiege the city rather than assault it.

Dec. 13

Sherman captures Fort McAllister on the Ogeechee River below Savannah.

Dec. 13

Col. Eli Murray’s brigade of Kilpatrick’s Federal cavalry advance to Midway Church. On the 14th, Kilpatrick establishes his headquarters there, and on the 17th, Gen. Joseph Mower’s division, en route to destroy railroad from McIntosh to the Altamaha River, halts at Midway Church for the night.

Dec. 17

Lee can spare no troops from Virginia to help relieve Savannah. Sherman demands surrender from Gen. William J. Hardee, and Hardee rejects.

Dec. 19

Atkins’ division of Kilpatrick’s Federal cavalry destroys trestle work past Morgan’s Lake but cannot capture the Savannah and Gulf Railroad bridge over the Altamaha River at Doctortown nor cross the bridge and attack the Doctortown battery. Atkins finally withdraws, marches through Hinesville, and rejoins Kilpatrick at the Ogeechee River.

Dec. 20

Surviving prisoners at Thomasville are ordered to begin traveling by foot back to Andersonville. The majority of them complete the journey by Dec. 24.

Dec. 20

Hardee sneaks out of Savannah under the cover of night. Confederate forces sink the ironclad ships Savannah and Georgia, burn steamers and gunboats, spike heavy guns, and destroy powder and ammunition. After crossing the Savannah River, the evacuating troops burn Fort Jackson’s barracks.

Dec. 21

Federal troops occupy Savannah.

1865

Mar. 22 – July 2

Union Gen. James H. Wilson leads the Civil War’s largest cavalry force, Wilson’s Raiders, in a raid against the heart of Georgia and Alabama.

Apr. 2

The siege of Petersburg ends. As Federals drive into Petersburg, the Confederate government, including President Davis, evacuates Richmond, Virginia.

Apr. 3

Union troops occupy Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia.

Apr. 6

Confederates are defeated at Sayler’s Creek, Virginia, the last major engagement between the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac.

Apr. 9

Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Apr. 14

President Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Apr. 16

A brigade of Wilson’s Raiders capture Fort Tyler, the last Confederate fort to fall during the Civil War. The Federals secure passage over the bridge there to the extensive railroad yard at West Point.

Apr. 16

In the last significant land battle of the Civil War east of the Mississippi River, Wilson’s main cavalry force is victorious in the fight for Columbus.

Apr. 17

Federals burn Columbus’ cotton warehouses and industries and destroy the ironclad gunboat, C.S.S. Muscogee or Jackson.

Apr. 17

Outside LaGrange, the Nancy Harts, a company of women soldiers, stand up to Union cavalry forces. No fighting takes place, but the Nancy Harts protect the town from destruction.

Apr. 18 – 19

Wilson marches from Columbus to Macon and crosses the Flint River at Double Bridges. The Raiders fan out in a wave of destruction through Thomaston and Griffin, burning railroad facilities and warehouses.

Apr. 19

Confederate forces, calling themselves the "Worrill Grays," yield to Wilson’s Raiders near Culloden.

Apr. 20

Wilson’s subordinates move into Macon, refusing to accept word of Generals Sherman and Johnston’s settlement. Realizing the futility of resistance, Confederate forces surrender.

Apr. 26

Federal troopers burn the barn where John Wilkes Booth, charged with the assassination of President Lincoln, is hiding. Booth is killed.

Apr. 26

Near Durham Station, North Carolina, Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign ends with Johnston’s Confederate surrender.

May 4

President Davis crosses the Savannah River and arrives in Washington. Capturing Davis remains the principal duty of Wilson’s Raiders.

May 5

In Washington, President Davis meets with his Confederate Cabinet for the last time.

May 10

Wilson’s Raiders follow Jefferson Davis to Irwinville, and a skirmish breaks out between confused Federals, killing two. President Davis attempts to escape but is forced to surrender to Federal cavalrymen.

May 12

In Kingston, the last Confederate forces in Georgia surrender.

July 7

At the Washington Arsenal, the Booth conspirators are executed for their role in the assassination of President Lincoln.

Nov. 10

On the same platform where the Lincoln conspirators were hanged, Captain Henry Wirz, Commandant of the Andersonville Prison is executed for cruelty to Federal prisoners of war.

Oct. 30

Georgia repeals the Act of Secession and adopts a new constitution which ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery. In 1868, the State is readmitted into the Union after agreeing to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, protecting the rights of citizenship and the Fifteenth Amendment, protecting voting rights for all races.

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