American Civil War Timeline 1861


6 November

Election of Abraham Lincoln as President of United States

20 December

South Carolina secedes from the Union

26 December

Garrison of Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, moves to the more modern Fort Sumter


12-13 April 1861: Siege of Fort Sumter, South Carolina

The battle that started the war. The Federal fort in Charleston Harbour was bombarded into surrender by the Confederates.

3 June 1861: Battle of Philippi (Philippi Races), Virginia

The first land battle of the Civil War, which gained its name for the speed of the Confederate retreat. There were only 17 casualties on either side!

10 June 1861: Battle of Big Bethal, Virginia

Defeat of a Federal attack on the fort at Big Bethal in Virginia.

12 July 1861: Battle of Rich Mountain, Virginia

Federal victory in West Virginia.

13 July: Skirmish at Corrick's Ford:

Action during the pursuit of the army defeated at Rich Mountain, in which the Confederate commander General Garnett becomes the first civil war general to be killed in action.

21 July 1861: First Battle of Bull Run/ Manassas, Virginia

Confederate victory over a Union army invading Virginia. Bull Run ensured that the Confederacy would survive past its first few months but also increased determination to fight on in the North.

22 July 1861

General McClellan appointed to command the army of the Potomac.

10 August 1861: Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri

Battle in Missouri that saw the death of the key Federal commander in the area.

28-29 August 1861, Battle of Hatteras, North Carolina

The first of a series of battles that saw the Confederates loose control of most of the North Carolina coastline.

10 September 1861: Battle of Carnifex Ferry, West Virginia

Confederate forces in the south of West Virginia defeated by General Rosecrans

10-15 September 1861: Battle of Cheat Mountain, Virginia

A Confederate defeat in West Virginia, notable as the first battle commanded by General Lee.

21 October 1861: Battle of Ball’s Bluff, Virginia

Defeat of a Union attempt to capture Leesbury (Virginia), forty miles up-river from Washington.

7 November 1861: Battle of Belmont, Missouri

An early battle in the career of U.S. Grant. An attempt to create a diversion in the Mississippi campaign, most significant for the battlefield experience it gave Grant.

7 November 1861: Battle of Port Royal, South Carolina

Important Union naval victory against the land fortifications of Port Royal. The victory gave the Union control of the coastal islands of South Carolina.

1861 | 1862 | 1863 | 1864 | 1865

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 May 2006), American Civil War Timeline 1861 ,

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