Civil War Leaders


Abraham Lincoln

{ February 12, 1809 - April 15, 1865 } February 12, 1809
Abraham Lincoln is born in a one room log cabin on Nolin Creek in Kentucky. His parents were Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln.

Young Abraham attends a log schoolhouse.

In February, Abraham, age 7, shoots a wild turkey but suffers great remorse and never hunts game again.

Young Abraham is kicked in the head by a horse and for a brief time is thought to be dead. Oct. 5, Nancy Hanks Lincoln (his mother) dies of "milk sickness."

On December 2, Abraham's father, Thomas, marries a widow, Sarah Bush Johnston, and becomes stepfather to her three children. Abraham develops much affection for his stepmother.

In March, Abe and his family begin a 200 mile journey to move to Illinois where they settle on uncleared land along the Sangamon River, near Decatur. Abe makes his first political speech in favor of improving navigation on the Sangamon River.

Abe makes a second flatboat trip to New Orleans. His father moves again, but Abe doesn't go and instead settles in New Salem, Illinois, where he works as a clerk in the village store and sleeps in the back. Wrestles a man named Jack Armstrong to a draw. Learns basic math, reads Shakespeare and Robert Burns and participates in a local debating society.

In March, becomes a candidate for Illinois General Assembly. The Black Hawk War breaks out. In April, Abe enlists and is elected Captain of his rifle company. Re-enlists as a private after company is disbanded. He serves a total of three months but does not fight in a battle. August 6, loses the election. The village store he worked in goes out of business. Lincoln and partner, William Berry, purchase another village store in New Salem.

On August 4, Lincoln, age 24, is elected to the Illinois General Assembly as a member of the Whig party. Begins to study law. In December, meets Stephen A. Douglas, 21, a Democrat.

Travels through nine counties in central and eastern Illinois as a lawyer on the 8th Judicial Circuit. December 3, admitted to practice in United States Circuit Court. Meets Mary Todd, 21, at a dance.

January 1, breaks off engagement with Mary Todd. Has episode of depression. March 1, forms new law partnership with Stephen T. Logan.

Does not seek re-election to the legislature. In Summer, resumes courtship with Mary Todd. In September, accepts a challenge to a duel by Democratic state auditor James Shields over published letters making fun of Shields. September 22, duel with swords is averted by an explanation of letters. November 4, marries Mary Todd in Springfield.

Lincoln is unsuccessful in try for the Whig nomination for U.S. Congress. August 1, first child, Robert Todd Lincoln, is born.

March 7 and 8, makes an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Illinois statute of limitations, but is unsuccessful. March 31, returns to Springfield and leaves politics to practice law. On May 22, Abraham Lincoln is granted U.S. Patent No. 6,469 (the only president ever granted a patent).

February 1, his son Edward dies after a two month illness. Lincoln resumes his travels in the 8th Judicial Circuit covering over 400 miles in 14 counties in Illinois. 'Honest Abe' gains a reputation as an outstanding lawyer. December 21, his third son, William Wallace Lincoln (Willie) is born.

May 18, 1860
Nominated to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States. Opposes Northern Democrat Stephen A. Douglas and Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge

November 6, 1860
Abraham Lincoln is elected as 16th U.S. president and the first Republican. Receives 180 of 303 possible electoral votes and 40 percent of the popular vote.

Dec 20, 1860
South Carolina secedes from the Union. Followed within two months by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.

March 4, 1861
Inauguration ceremonies in Washington. President Lincoln delivers his First Inaugural Address.

April 12, 1861
At 4:30 a.m. Confederates open fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston. The Civil War begins.

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April 19, 1861
The president issues a Proclamation of Blockade against Southern ports.

July 27, 1861
Appoints George B. McClellan as commander of the Department of the Potomac.

Jan 27, 1862
Issues General War Order No. 1 calling for a Union advance to begin Feb 22.

March 11, 1862
President Lincoln relieves McClellan as general-in-chief and takes direct command of the Union armies.

April 16, 1862
Signs an Act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia.

Sept 22, 1862
The president issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves.

Nov 5, 1862
The president names Ambrose E. Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing McClellan.

Dec 31, 1862
The president signs a bill admitting West Virginia to the Union.

Jan 29, 1863
Gen. Grant is placed in command of the Army of the West, with orders to capture Vicksburg.

March 3, 1863
Signs an Act introducing military conscription.

July 14, 1863
Writes an undelivered letter to Meade complaining about his failure to capture Lee.

Aug 10, 1863
The president meets with abolitionist Frederick Douglass who pushes for full equality for Union 'Negro troops.'

Nov 19, 1863
President Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a national cemetery.

March 12, 1864
President Lincoln appoints Grant as general-in-chief of all the Federal armies. William T. Sherman succeeds Grant as commander in the West

Nov 8, 1864
Abraham Lincoln is re-elected president, defeating Democrat George B. McClellan. Lincoln gets 212 of 233 electoral votes and 55 percent of the popular vote.

March 17, 1865
A kidnap plot by John Wilkes Booth fails when Lincoln fails to arrive as expected at the Soldiers' Home.

April 11, 1865
President Lincoln makes his last public speech, which focuses on the problems of reconstruction. The United States flag 'Stars and Stripes' is raised over Fort Sumter.

April 14, 1865
Lincoln and his wife Mary see the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater. About 10:13 p.m., during the third act of the play, John Wilkes Booth shoots the president in the head. Doctors attend to the president in the theater then move him to a house across the street. He never regains consciousness.

April 15, 1865
President Abraham Lincoln dies at 7:22 in the morning.

April 26, 1865
John Wilkes Booth is shot and killed in a tobacco barn in Virginia.

May 4, 1865
Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery, outside Springfield, Illinois.

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