American Civil War Timeline 1862


19 January 1862: Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky

Union victory in Eastern Kentucky but one that failed to allow for the liberation of that pro-Union district.

6 February 1862: Capture of Fort Henry, Tennessee

Union capture of a key fort on the Tennessee River by U.S. Grant. Much of the Confederate garrison retreated to Fort Donelson.

7-8 February 1862: Battle of Roanoke Island, North Carolina

Federal seizure of Roanoke Island gave them control over Albemarle Sound, North Carolina.

10 February 1862: Battle of Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Naval battle that saw the destruction of a small Confederate fleet on the North Carolina coast.

12-16 February 1862: Siege of Fort Donelson, Tennessee

The Confederate command decided to make a stand at Donelson, but only sent 12,000 men, who were soon faced by Grant’s army of 25,000. The fort surrendered, but only after several Confederate commanders escaped, including Nathan Bedford Forest, later a famous cavalry commander. The Union victory soon led to the capture of Nashville.

23 February 1862

Confederates evacuate Nashville, making it the first Confederate state capital to fall to the Union.

March 1862

McClellan moves his army to the tip of the peninsular between the James and York rivers, intending to bypass the Confederate lines and attack Richmond from the east.

7-8 March 1862: Battle of Pea Ridge (or Elk Horn), Arkansas

Battle that ended a confederate attack from Arkansas that was hoped to cut Grant off from the north.

8-9 March 1862: Battle of Hampton Roads, Virginia

Two days of fighting that changed naval warfare. 8 March saw the confederates launch the first ironclad battleship, which threatened to destroy the Union army, but on the next day the Federal ironclad appeared, and held off the Confederates.

13 March 1862: Battle of New Madrid, Missouri

Union forces drive Confederate garrison out of New Madrid.

14 March 1862: Battle of New Berne, North Carolina

Second Union success during the Burnside expedition on the North Carolina coast. New Berne remained in Union hands for the rest of the war

23 March 1862: Battle of Kernstown (I), Virginia

Stonewall Jackson attacked a much larger Union army at Kernstown (Shenandoah valley), thinking he was only facing a rearguard. Although he was defeated, Lincoln assumed that Jackson must have a large army to take such risks, and withheld some troops from McClellan on the Peninsular.

29 March-26 April 1862: Siege of Fort Macon, North Carolina

Union capture of Fort Macon closses Beaufort, one of the last ports open to the Confederates on the North Carolina coastline.

4 April-3 May: McClellan at Yorktown, Virginia

A small Confederate army behind weak fortifications held off McClellan, before withdrawing as he finally prepared a bombardment.

6-7 April 1862: Battle of Shiloh (or Pittsburgh Landing), Tennessee

Confederate attempt to defeat Grant’s army of 40,000 before a second force of 25,000 under Buell could join it. The first day of the battle saw Grant nearly defeated, but on the second day Buell arrived and Grant was able to counterattack, forcing the Confederates from the field. General A.S. Johnson, the Confederate commander, was killed during the battle. Shiloh was the first of the really big battles of the Civil War.

7 April 1862: Union capture of Island No. 10, Tennessee

Confederate forces on the important Mississippi fort surrender almost without fighting.

10-11 April 1862: Siege of Fort Pulaski

The Union capture of Fort Pulaski virtually closses the port of Savannah to Confederate blockade runners.

16 April: Battle of Lee's Mill

The only Union assault on the Confederate lines at Yorktown.

16-29 April 1862: Battle of New Orleans, Louisiana

Union naval force under Farragut ran the defence of New Orleans and forced the surrender of the Confederacy’s largest city.

19 April 1862: Battle of South Mills


5 May 1862: Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia

Confederate rearguard action that delayed McClellan even more.

8 May 1862: Battle of McDowell (Shenandoah Valley), Virginia

First battle of ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s campaign in the Valley. The battle disrupted General Fremont’s plan to attack south into Eastern Tennessee.

10 May 1862: Battle of Fort Pillow

Minor Confederate victory on the Mississippi when their gunboat fleet surprises the Union fleet attacking Fort Pillow.

15 May 1862: Battle of Drewy’s Bluff, Virginia

Confederate gun batteries repulse a Union fleet attempting to reach Richmond.

23 May 1862: Battle of Front Royal (Shenandoah Valley), Virginia

Jackson’s army destroys the much smaller Union garrison of Front Royal after receiving information from a spy in community.

26 May 1862: First Battle of Winchester (Shenandoah Valley), Virginia

Jackson’s Confederates defeat a smaller Union army at Winchester, forcing it to pull back to the Potomac.

31 May 1862: Battle of Fair Oaks/ Seven Pines, Virginia

Confederate attack on the Union army outside Richmond, notable mainly for the wounding of the Confederate commander Joe Johnston, allowing Robert E. Lee to be promoted to command the armies around Richmond.

6 June 1862: Battle of Memphis, Tennessee

Naval battle that saw the defeat of the Confederate fleet guarding Memphis and the Union capture of the city.

8-9 June 1862: Battle of Crosskeys (Shenandoah Valley), Virginia

Part of Jackson’s army holds off a larger Union force.

9 June 1862: Battle of Port Republic (Shenandoah Valley), Virginia

Jackson marches the rest of his army to join the force at Cross Keys, defeating part of a larger Union force.

25 June-1 July 1862: The Seven Days’ Battles, Virginia

Having finally reached the vicinity of Richmond, McClellan found himself the one under attack, as Lee attempted to destroy the Union army, or at least force it away from Richmond. He achieved the second objective.

25 June 1862: Battle of Oak Grove, Virginia

First fighting of the Seven Days, triggered by McClellan’s only offensive move, a probing reconnaissance.

26 June 1862: Battle of Mechanicsville, Virginia

Part of the Seven Days’ Battles. A Confederate attack launched despite the absence of a large part of the force allocated for it. A clear Union victory.

27 June 1862: Battle of Gaines’s Mill, Virginia

Seven Days’ Battles. Another Confederate attack that achieved its main aim, but at a high cost.

29 June 1862: Battle of Savage’s Station, Virginia

Failed Confederate attack on the Union army withdrawing from Richmond towards the James River.

30 June 1862: Battle of Glendale/ Frayser’s Farm/ White Oak Swamp, Virginia

Another unsuccessful confederate attack during the Seven Days’ Battle.

1 July 1862: Battle of Malvern Hill, Virginia

Final Confederate attack of the Seven Days’ Battle, and another Confederate defeat. Despite this, McClellan continued to retreat.

Late June- 26 July 1862:

First Union attack on Vicksburg, the last major obstacle on the Mississippi. Naval forces from New Orleans and Memphis fail to take the city.


Henry Halleck appointed General in Chief of the Union armies.

5 August 1862: Battle of Baton Rouge

Failed Confederate attempt to recapture Baton Rouge, defeated in part by Union gunboats on the river.

9 August 1862: Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia

A rare Confederate victory from a position of strength. Stonewall Jackson commanded twice the troops of his Union opponent, who still launched an attack which was initially successful but eventually defeated. Cedar Mountain confirmed that the main battle front had moved away from McClellan  in the peninsular and back into the area between Richmond and Washington.

28 August 1862: Battle of Groveton, Virginia

An unimpressive Confederate attack launched by Stonewall Jackson that still achieved its main aim of making sure that the Union army was in place for the upcoming Second battle of Bull Run.

29-30 August: Second Battle of Bull Run/ Manassas, Virginia

Another Confederate victory on the same ground, against a much larger, but very badly handled Union army.  The Confederate victory moved the scene of the fighting from the vicinity of Richmond to that of Washington and was a massive boost to the Confederate cause.

30 August: Battle of Richmond, Kentucky

Confederate victory over a small Union army, most of which was captured.

1 September 1862: Battle of Chantilly, Virginia

Aftermath of Second Bull Run. Lee drove the Union army back to Washington.

13-17 September 1862: Confederate capture of Munfordville, Kentucky

Confederate capture of a Union garrison during their invasion of Kentucky

14 September 1862: Battle of Crampton’s Gap, Maryland

Sluggish Union victory in the campaign that led to Antietam.

14-15 September 1862: Battle of South Mountain, Maryland

A second Federal victory in the build up to Antietam.

16 September 1862: Battle of Harper’s Ferry, Virginia

Jackson captures Harper’s Ferry, but the expedition had already derailed Lee’s great offensive.

17 September 1862: Battle of Antietam, Maryland

A much needed Union victory that turned back Lee’s invasion of Maryland, leading indirectly to the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation and dramatically reduced any chance that Britain would recognise the Confederacy.

19 September 1862: Battle of Iuka, Mississippi

Battle in which a Union army under Rosecrans repulsed a Confederate attack.

3-4 October 1862: Battle of Corinth, Mississippi

Defeat of a Confederate attack intended to help General Bragg’s invasion of Kentucky.

5 October 1862 1862, Skirmish at Hatchie Bridge, Mississippi

Skirmish during the retreat of the Confederate army defeated at Corinth that briefly threatened to result in the capture of that army.

8 October 1862: Battle of Perryville, Kentucky

Botched battle in which half of a Union army fought a Confederate army that thought most of the Union army was elsewhere. The Confederates withdrew when it became clear that they were outnumbered three to one.

26 October 1862

Army of the Potomac finally crossed the Potomac in pursuit of the Confederates beaten at Antietam, although McClellan still moves slowly.

7 November 1862

Lincoln finally replaces McClellan with General Burnside, much to Burnside’s distress.

7 December 1862: Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas

Defeat of a Confederate army that had been threatening Arkansas for most of 1862.

13 December 1862: Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia

Burnside’s first offensive ends in a crushing defeat when he foolishly attacked the main Confederate army in their fortified position at Fredericksburg.

29 December 1862: Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs, Mississippi

Heavy defeat for Sherman in an assault made as part of Grant’s already aborted first campaign against Vicksburg.

31 December 1862-2 January 1863: Battle of Stones River/ Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Battle between Rosecrans’ army from Nashville and Bragg’s Confederate Army of Tennessee. Both sides suffered heavy casualties (over 30%). Bragg claimed a victory but was then forced to withdraw when Rosecrans did not retreat.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 May 2006), American Civil War Timeline 1862 ,

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