Chronology

1860

December 20 South Carolina secedes from the United States.

1861

February 4 Confederacy formed; joined initially by North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

April 12 Fort Sumter fired upon by Confederate forces.

April 15 President Lincoln declares a state of insurrection and sends out a call for volunteers.

May 26 Gen Benjamin Butler refuses to return three runaway slaves to their Virginian owners, claiming they are "contraband of war."

August 6 First Confiscation Act passed.

1862

July 17 Militia Act first authorizes Army to enlist African American laborers at a rate of one ration a day and $7/month, plus $3/month in clothing.

August Kansas Senator Jim Lane begins recruiting the 1st Regiment of Kansas

Volunteers (Colored).

September 2 Black Brigade of Cincinnati organized as unarmed labor force.

September 22 Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation to take effect January 1, 1863.

Emancipation Proclamation Take Effect

In one of the first encounters between the 1st South Carolina (Colored) and the enemy, Confederate troops released bloodhounds used to track and control runaway slaves against them. Instead of running from the dogs as their former masters expected, the Union soldiers used bayoneted rifles to settle the score. (Author's collection)

In one of the first encounters between the 1st South Carolina (Colored) and the enemy, Confederate troops released bloodhounds used to track and control runaway slaves against them. Instead of running from the dogs as their former masters expected, the Union soldiers used bayoneted rifles to settle the score. (Author's collection)

September 27 Benjamin Butler swears the 1st Regiment of the Louisiana Native Guard into service.

1863

January 1 Emancipation Proclamation takes effect.

May 22 Bureau for Colored Troops established by General Order No 143.

May 27 1st and 3rd Louisiana Native Guard regiments (Corps d'Afrique) lead assault on Port Hudson, LA. June 7 Battle of Milliken's Bend.

July 4 Union wins Gettysburg and Vicksburg surrenders.

July 17 Battle of Honey Springs.

July 18 54th Massachusetts attacks Fort Wagner, Charleston, South Carolina.

1864

February 20 Battle of Olustee. April 12 Fort Pillow Massacre.

June Congress authorizes "all persons of color who were free" in April 1861

to be paid same wage as white soldiers. June 15 Siege of Petersburg begins. Twenty-two USCT regiments participate. July 30 Battle of the Crater.

August 22 Atlanta falls.

September 29 Chapin's Farm, Virginia. Thirteen USCT soldiers win Medal of Honor. November 8 Lincoln reelected.

December 3 25th Army Corps Organized - only corps almost exclusively comprised of USCT units.

1865

March 3

April 2 April 3 April 9 May 15

Enrollment Act authorizes Army to pay all African American soldiers the same wage as whites, retroactive to January 1, 1864.

Siege of Petersburg ends.

Richmond falls to the Union.

Lee surrenders at Appomattox.

63rd USCT regiment fights at Palmetto Ranch, Texas, the last major action of the Civil War.

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