The Smithsonian

February 6, 1862
General Ulysses S. Grant captures Fort Henry, Tennessee. Ten days later he accepts the “unconditional and immediate surrender” of Fort Donelson. These victories open up the state of Tennessee for Union advancement.

March 9, 1862
The ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly the sunken USS Merrimack, which the Confederates had raised from the Norfolk Navy Yard and rebuilt as an ironclad) battle to a draw at Hampton Roads, Virginia, demonstrating the superior potential of vessels made of steel.

April 4
On the peninsula southeast of Richmond, McClellan leads the Army of the Potomac toward Yorktown, Virginia, beginning the Peninsular Campaign.

April 6–7
Union General Ulysses S. Grant prevails at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, but not without enormous losses.

April 16
Conscription is adopted in the Confederacy.

April 25
Federal fleet commander David G. Farragut captures New Orleans.

May 8
Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley campaign begins successfully with a victory at the Battle of McDowell in Virginia.

May 31–June 1
During the Battle of Seven Pines in Virginia, Robert E. Lee takes over command of the Confederate army from the wounded Joseph E. Johnston.

June 25–July 1
Lee forces McClellan’s army to retreat, ending the threat to Richmond in the Seven Days’ campaign.

August 20
Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune publishes The Prayer of Twenty Millions, a plea for Lincoln to liberate slaves in the Union.

August 29–30
The South is again victorious at the Second Battle of Manassas.

September 17
The Battle of Antietam, Maryland, exacts heavy losses on both sides.

September 22
President Lincoln issues the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

November 7
General McClellan receives Lincoln’s order relieving him of command of the Army of the Potomac.

December 13
Lee wins the Battle of Fredericksburg decisively.

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