November 6, 1860 Lincoln is elected president.
December 10, 1860 South Carolina is first state to secede.
February 9, 1861 Confederate States unite under Jefferson Davis.
March 2, 1861 Congress adopts and sends to the states a "Joint Resolution to amend the Constitution of the United States" as a signal that the federal government has no intention of eliminating slavery.
March 4, 1861 Lincoln is sworn in as president. In his first inaugural, Lincoln states: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
July 22, 1861 Congress issues a "Joint Resolution on the War" declaring that the war is being fought to preserve the union rather than to destroy slavery.
August 6, 1861 Congress passes the "Confiscation Acts." This forgives slaves who had fought or worked for confederate army. It also releases them of further obligations to their masters. Authorized union forces to seize “rebel property,” meaning slaves.
August 30, 1861 General Fremont extends freedom to all slaves owned by Confederates in Missouri. Lincoln later overturns this decision and removes Freemont from command.
December 1, 1861 Secretary of the Treasury, Simon Cameron issues a revised version of his annual report after Lincoln requires the deletion of passages calling for emancipation and arming of the slaves.
March 13, 1862 Congress adopts an additional act of war, declaring: "All officers or persons in the military or naval service of the United States are prohibited from employing any of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of returning fugitives from service or labor, who may have escaped from any persons to whom such service or labor is claimed to be due, and any officer who shall be found guilty by a court-martial of violating this article shall be dismissed from the service."
March 6, 1862 Lincoln sends A Message to Congress Requesting a Joint Resolution on Compensated Emancipation.
April, 1862 On April 10 Congress passes a joint resolution declaring it will "cooperate" with "any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system. On April 16 "Lincoln signs the the "Compensated Emancipation Act,"guaranteeing $300 dollars for each slave liberated by loyal union masters in the District of Columbia to release their slaves. Slaves who agreed to emigrate outside the country are paid up to $100 each. This is the only program of compensated emancipation put into practice in the U.S.
May 9, 1862 General Hunter issues "General Order No. 11" declaring martial law in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina and freeing slaves in those states. In the same month, Hunter begins recruiting African-American soldiers for his "1st South Carolina" regiment.
May 19, 1862 Lincoln revokes General Hunter's May 9 proclamation.
July 17, 1862 Congress adopts the Second Confiscation Act. It includes a section stating: "That no slave escaping into any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty, except for crime, or some offence against the laws, unless the person claiming said fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom the labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has not borne arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto...." The same act establishes that slaves of traitors "shall be declared and made free." On the same day, Congress also passes the Militia Act of 1862. This authorizes the president "to receive into the service of the United States, for the purpose of constructing entrenchments, or performing camp service, or any other labor, or any military or naval service for which they may be found competent, persons of African descent, and such persons shall be enrolled and organized under such regulations, not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws, as the President may prescribe."
July, 1862 General John W. Phelps begins equipping "three regiments of Africans" in Louisiana but resigns after meeting with objections from his superior, General Butler. August 22, 1862 General Butler, needing reinforcements, authorizes the recruiting of black soldiers in New Orleans
August 22, 1862 Horace Greeley publishes "A Prayer for Twenty Thousand" in the New York Tribune, taking Lincoln to task for his rejection of Hunter's emancipation attempts.
August 25, 1862 Abraham Lincoln responds to Greeley with an open letter in the New York Times entitled, "Emancipation or Preservation of the Union?" He asserts: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery."
September 23, 1862 The Emancipation Proclamation is published.
September 27, 1862 The 1st Regiment, Louisiana Native Guards, becomes the first black regiment to be officially mustered into the Union Army.
January 1, 1863 The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared, "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."
March 3, 1863 Lincoln signs the Conscription Act of 1863 instituting a draft for males between the ages of twenty and forty-five. Exemptions from the draft could be bought for $300 or by finding a substitute draftee. This clause led to bloody draft riots in New York City, where protesters were outraged that exemptions were effectively granted only to the wealthiest citizens.
March 21, 1863 Frederick Douglass writes “Men of Color, To Arms!” urging African-Americans to enlist. “…The case is before you. This is our golden opportunity. Let us accept it, and forever wipe out the dark reproaches unsparingly hurled against us by our enemies. Let us win for ourselves the gratitude of our country, and the best blessings of our posterity through all time…”
May 22, 1863 General Order 143 creates the Bureau of Colored Troops is created to recruit and organize black regiments. “Three or more field officers will be detailed as Inspectors to supervise the organization of colored troops at such points as may be indicated by the War Department in the Northern and Western States.”
May 27, 1863 Black troops participate in the successful attack on Port Hudson, opening the Mississippi to Union shipping from the source of the river all the way to New Orleans. Included in the fighting were the First and Third Louisiana Native Guards; The First Louisiana Engineers, Corps d'Afrique; and, the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Infantry, Corps d'Afrique.
June 7, 1863 African-American soldiers fight in the Battle of Milliken’s Bend. A fort garrisoned by only three black regiments successfully defends against an attack which includes intense hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets and clubs. Charles Dana, assistant secretary of war, comments: "The bravery of the blacks completely revolutionized the sentiment of the army with regard to the employment of Negro troops."
July 13, 1863 The New York Draft Riots begin. Rioters joined together and destroyed the office of the Provost Marshal responsible for conscription. They then turned their violence upon others including many free blacks who lived in the city. More than 100 were killed and property damage was about $1 million.
July 18, 1863 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry leads the attack on Fort Wagner, South Carolina and loses two-thirds of their officers and half their troops.
April 12, 1864 Confederate General Nathan Forrest captures Fort Pillow in Tennessee. There were 262 African American and 295 white soldiers. Only 62 of the black soldiers survive. An inquiry after the war concludes that, "the Confederates were guilty of atrocities which included murdering most of the garrison after it surrendered, burying Negro soldiers alive, and setting fire to tents containing Federal wounded." Forest goes on to become the first imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Clan.
April 18, 1864 At Poison Spring, Arkansas, members of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers who are wounded or wish to surrender are shot by the Confederates. "Remember Poison Spring" became a rallying cry for black troops.
June 15, 1864 Congress raises the pay of black soldiers to make it equal to that of whites.
March 3, 1865 Congress passes “Resolution to encourage Enlistments and to promote the Efficiency of the military Forces of the United States,” emancipating the wives and children of African- American soldiers. A slave family in South Carolina, 1862. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.
March 13, 1865 The Confederacy approves arming slaves as soldiers, as long as their masters approve.
April 2, 1865 Richmond falls. After the Confederate troops leave, much of the city destroyed by fires set by retreating soldiers and rioting and looting by remaining population.
April 9, 1865 Civil War ends. Over 186,000 African- Americans had served in the Union army More than 38,000 had died.
More Information http://mac110.assumption.edu/aas/Intros/soldiers.html Or http://www.emints.org/ethemes/resources/S00001303.shtml