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1860 to 1869 Important News, Key Events, Significant Technology

1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868 and 1869 History

List of Major News Events From 1860 to 1869

  1. 1860 South Carolina Secedes from the Union
  2. 1861 The Beginning of the Civil War
  3. 1862 May 20th President Abraham Lincoln signs into law the original Homestead Act
  4. 1863 January 1stThe Emancipation Proclamation was made by Abraham Lincoln on January 1st
  5. 1864 A Confederate submarine, the Hunley, is the first submarine to torpedo an enemy vessel
  6. 1865 April 9th Robert E. Lee's surrender of the Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant ends of the war
  7. 1866 Alfred Nobel a Swedish chemist, engineer and armaments manufacturer discovers Dynamite.
  8. 1867 March 30th Alaska Purchased From Russia
  9. 1868 The Fourteenth Amendment To The Constitution
  10. 1869 Wyoming Gives Women The Vote

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Abraham Lincoln is Nominated President , Lincoln's election for President was followed by South Carolina's succession from the Union. Its senators had resigned from Congress and several of the Southern states were looking to leaving it as well. With Lincoln not inaugurated there was little he could do, and it was only a matter of time before the Confederate States united.

Henry Repeating Rifle , Benjamin Henry perfects the Henry rifle which was manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company, and used in considerable numbers by certain Union army units in the American Civil War. Confederates called the Henry "that damned Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week!"

The Pony Express , The 'Pony Express' mail service used horseback riders in 157 Pony Express relay stations across the prairies, plains, deserts, and mountains of the Western United States to deliver messages between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts in about ten days. After only 1 year, in March 1861 after suffering large losses and not gaining the mail contract The Pony Express Company ceased trading.

South Carolina Secedes from the Union , South Carolina was the first state to vote to secede from the Union and was the founding state of the Confederate States of America.


The Beginning of the Civil War , The Confederate States of America were formed by South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Texas, and joined by Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina, and it was the Confederacy's attack on Fort Sumter (on April 12th) that starts the Civil War. The Kansas Free-Staters had prevailed, and Kansas had joined the Union on January 9th. The C.S.S's capital was in Montgomery, Alabama before being replaced by Richmond, Virginia. Its flag was the Stars and Bars. South Carolina had ceded from the Union on December 20th, 1860. A sceptic of how well the northern States would treat freed slaves was George Fitzhugh, who had negated the North's ability to treat the slaves well 'because the master allows the slave to retain a larger share of the results of his own labor, than do the employers of free labor.'

First United States Income Tax , The first United States income tax was imposed in July 1861, at 3% of all incomes over 800 dollars in order to help pay for the war effort in the American Civil War.

Union Blockades Confederate Ports , The Union Navy maintained blockades on Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports of the Confederate States of America designed to prevent the passage of trade goods, supplies, and arms to and from the Confederacy.

Stonewall Jackson , During the First Battle Of Bull Run during the Civil War, a Confederate General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson gained his nickname Stonewall because his brigade under his leadership refused to relinquish ground even though the "Stonewall Brigade" suffered more casualties than any other Southern brigade that day.


Signs of War in Europe , Otto von Bismarck returns to Berlin as Wilhelm I's prime minister. His aim is to unite the German states into a single state under Prussia. Austria and Prussia's rivalry was ongoing, but it was Prussia's growing industry that enabled it to lead the path to German unity. It was Bismarck, in his position as 'Iron Chancellor' that led to the annexation of Schleswig-Holstein, and incorporation of Westphalia and Alsace-Lorraine.

Virginia is Divided Into Two , With Western Virginia going to the Union and driving out its Confederate soldiers, the state of Virginia becomes two separate states. General McClellan tells Abraham Lincoln that the West Virginians were not in support of the Ordinance of Secession.

Civil War/Battle of Shiloh , There are a large number of casualties on both sides of the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee. Both the Confederacy (commanded by Generals Johnston and Beauregard) and the Union (commanded by Ulysses S. Grant) claim victory despite the losses.

Gatling Gun , Richard Gatling's Gatling Gun appears this year, and initially uses a single barrel and a paper cartridge.

Union Takes Control Of New Orleans , Captain David G. Farragut takes control of the port of New Orleans during the Civil War.

The Homestead Act , President Abraham Lincoln signs into law the original Homestead Act on May 20th . The Homestead Act gave an applicant freehold title to up to 160 acres (1/4 section, 65 hectares) of undeveloped federal land outside the original 13 colonies. The law required three steps: file an application, improve the land, and file for deed of title. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government, including freed slaves, could file an application and evidence of improvements to a federal land office. Homesteading laws and rules changed over the years but was discontinued (Except In Alaska) more than 100 years after the first act in 1976.

The Second Battle Of Bull Run Manassas, Virginia , The Second Battle of Bull Run resulted in a resounding victory for Confederate Forces led by Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee forcing Union Forces under Gen. John Pope to retreat to Washington DC.

The Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland , The Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, resulted in a win for the Union but the battle is the bloodiest single day in the civil war with the Union suffering 12,401 casualties with 2,108 dead and Confederate casualties 10,318 with 1,546 dead. More Americans died on September 17, 1862, than on any other day in the nation's military history.

Dakota War Mass Execution The largest mass execution in United States history takes place on this day in Mankato, Minnesota when 38 Dakota prisoners were executed by hanging. 392 Native Americans of the Dakota tribe were taken prisoner and put on trial at the end of the US-Dakota War. 303 of them were convicted and sentenced to death and 16 were given prison sentences in rushed trials where the defendants were not represented. President Lincoln reviewed the trial transcripts and commuted most of the sentences.


The Emancipation Proclamation , The Emancipation Proclamation was made by Abraham Lincoln on January 1st. It freed all Confederate slaves, and had followed from the statements he made after 1862's Battle of Antietam. He was not able to declare from within the boundaries of Confederate states, but from the battle lines of the conflicting armies as the commander-in-chief. It allowed the Union to recruit black soldiers (and succeeded in over 180,000 of them joining).

The Battle of Gettysburg , The Battle of Gettysburg was an important battle in the war, with Lee's invasion of a northern state (from Maryland to Pennsylvania). Some 23,000 Union soldiers and over 20,000 Confederate soldiers were killed by the end of the third day. This was where Lincoln made his Gettysburg Address (on November 19th).

The Union Uses African-American Troops , The United States War Department issued General Order Number 143 on May 22, 1863, establishing a "Bureau of Colored Troops" to facilitate the recruitment of African-American soldiers to fight for the Union Army. By the end of the civil war, about 178,000 free blacks and freed slaves served in the army.

Congress Passes First Conscription Act , The act stated that men aged between 20 and 45 were required to register for service, but the law favored the rich because for $300.00 you could hire a substitute to fight in your place therefore avoiding going to war.

New York Riots Due To Conscription Act , Resistance to the draft touched off the New York Draft Riots in July 1863 by poor immigrant laborers.

First Underground Railway , The First underground railway between Paddington Station and Farringdon Street via King's Cross "The Metropolitan Railway" is completed in London, England, now part of The London Underground.

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First Use Of Submarine In Warfare , A Confederate submarine, the Hunley, is the first submarine to torpedo an enemy vessel. It sank three times (which included the death of its inventor, Horace Hunley) before deployment against a Union blockade of Charleston, South Carolina. It sank (with all nine crew) shortly after its attack on the sloop Housatonic.

Ulysses S. Grant , This was the year that Ulysses S. Grant was made commander of all Union Forces (a position in which he served until 1865).

Battle Of Cold Harbor, Virginia , Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee defeats Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in one of American history's bloodiest battles.


The End of the Civil War , The Appomattox campaign of 1865 took place in March to April, and was made up of numerous engagements in Virginia. The number of dead was never particularly high in any particular encounter, but resulted in a war of attrition, and the surrounding of the Confederate forces (in which Lee said that it was 'a mere question of time' in resolution). Robert E. Lee's surrender of the Confederate army at Appomattox courthouse to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9th was the end of the war.

Abraham Lincoln Assassinated , It was on April 14th that President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth while attending the comedy "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. He died the next day.

Stetson Hats , John B. Stetson set up a new factory in the outskirts of Philadelphia to handle manufacturing his Cowboy "Boss of the Plains” hats. A Stetson hat was "flat-brimmed, had a straight sided crown, with rounded corners", Cowboy hats have not changed much in more than 100 years. By 1886 , Stetson's hat company was the largest in the world, and had mechanized the hat-making industry.

The Thirteenth Amendment Ratified , The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.

Ku Klux Klan Formed , A group of Confederate veterans convenes to form the secret society the "Ku Klux Klan." The KKK wished to ensure the local African American population did not gain civil and legal rights.

New York Stock Exchange , The New York Stock Exchange opens its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad near Wall Street in New York, Currently the exchange is located at 11 Wall Street, Lower Manhattan, New York


The Austro-Prussian War , This war was fought between Prussia and Austria, Hanover, Bavaria and Saxony. Its conclusive battle was at Königggratz in Bohemia on July 3rd, when the Prussian army beat the Austrian and Saxon ones. Even the Italians were involved in an attack on Austria's southern flank. The campaign was planned by Otto von Bismarck, with the intent of unifying Germany. It was also seen as the means of negating the Habsburg's influence on the German states. The war concluded with the Treaty of Prague (on August 23rd), which had assigned Schleswig to Prussia and created Schleswig-Holstein.

Reconstruction Following Civil War , Congress removed the civilian governments in the South in 1867 and put the former Confederacy under the rule of the U.S. Army. The army then conducted new elections in which the freed slaves could vote while those who held leading positions under the Confederacy were denied the vote and could not run for office.

Jesse James , Jesse and his brother Frank James, who were Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War, turn to crime when they create the James-Younger Gang. Their first robbery is the first daylight armed bank robbery in the United States in peacetime of the Clay County Savings Association in the town of Liberty, Missouri, on February 13, 1866.

Indian Wars Continue , Red Cloud (Sioux Tribe) leads his tribe into battle against white settlers in Montana and Wyoming on the Bozeman Trail. The Snake (Northern Paiute Tribe) attack settlers and miners in Oregon and Idaho. These attacks continued for two years until the Army forced the tribes back to reservations.

Dynamite , Alfred Nobel a Swedish chemist, engineer and armaments manufacturer discovers that when when nitroglycerin was mixed with kieselguhr powder it became safer and more convenient to handle, he called his invention Dynamite. Some years later a French newspaper published his obituary stating "The Merchant of Death Is Dead", the first line said "Dr Alfred Nobel who became rich by finding ways of killing more people faster than ever before has died". Nobel was shocked when he read the obituary and decided he did not want to be remembered that way following his death, When he died in 1896 he set aside $9 million dollars to set up the Nobel Prizes awarded in recognition of cultural and scientific advances.


Alaska Purchased From Russia , The northwestern tip of the North American continent is purchased from Russia by America. Its 586,412 square miles were negotiated for by Andrew Johnson's Secretary of State, William Seward, and was unpopular with the press: who had called it 'Seward's Icebox' among other things. The purchase was to have difficult passage through both the Senate and House of Representatives. The purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million meant the US was paying roughly two cents per acre of land.


The Fourteenth Amendment To The Constitution , Section 1 of the Amendment was able to overrule 1857's Dred Scott Decision (in the Supreme Court) to deny citizenship to slaves. It states that all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State in which they reside. Section 4 had gone on to prevent claims for the loss or emancipation of slaves.

Ulysses S. Grant . Ulysses S. Grant was elected as the 18th President of the United States.


Ulysses S. Grant as President , At the age of 46, Ulysses S. Grant was the youngest man to have served as President. His lack of political experience did not make him an unpopular President, and he won reelection by a large margin, but his second term was plagued by scandal and intrigue. His allowance of an amnesty for Confederate officers was not as approbatory as his support of black civil rights. His appointment of a Native American as the commissioner for Indian Affairs was also looked at favorably (and the appointee had also been one of his staff officers).

Wyoming Gives Women The Vote , Wyoming becomes the first state to enfranchise women, and goes on to put the right into its 1889 constitution.

First Pro Baseball Team , Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first professional baseball team. Each player was paid a salary, with the highest paid player, shortstop George Wright, earning $1,400 per season – a value equal to almost $23,000 a year now.