Jump to: Lincoln becomes President
- Emancipation Proclamation - Battle
of Gettysburg - Kansas-Nebraska Act - Dred
1637 - Samuel Lincoln from Hingham,
England, settles in Hingham, Massachusetts.
1778 - Thomas Lincoln (Abraham's
father), descendant of Samuel, is born in Virginia.
1782 - Thomas and family move to
1786 - Thomas' father is killed
by Native Americans.
1806 - Thomas marries Nancy Hanks.
A daughter, Sarah, is born eight months later.
1808 - Thomas buys a farm called
"Sinking Spring" near Hodgenville, Kentucky.
February 12, 1809 - Abraham Lincoln
is born in a one-room log cabin on Nolin Creek in Kentucky.
1811 - In spring, the Lincoln family
moves to a 230-acre farm on Knob Creek ten miles from Sinking Spring.
1812 - A brother, Thomas, is born
but dies in infancy.
1815 - Young Abraham attends a log
1816 - Abraham briefly attends school. In
December, the Lincoln family crosses the Ohio River and settles in the
backwoods of Indiana.
1817 - In February, Abraham, age
7, shoots a wild turkey but suffers great remorse and never hunts game
1818 - Young Abraham is kicked in
the head by a horse and for a brief time is thought to be dead. On October 5th,
Nancy Hanks Lincoln (his mother) dies of "milk sickness."
1819 - On December 2nd, Abraham's father,
Thomas, marries a widow, Sarah Bush Johnston, and becomes stepfather to
her three children. Abraham develops much affection for his stepmother.
1820 - Abraham, now 11, briefly attends school.
1822 - Abraham attends school for a few
1824 - Abraham, now 15, and called 'Abe' by his friends, does plowing and planting
and work-for-hire for neighbors. He attends school in the fall and winter, also borrows books and reads whenever possible.
1828 - On January 20th, his married sister,
Sarah, dies while giving birth. In April, Abe, now 19, and Allen Gentry
take a flatboat containing a cargo of farm produce to New Orleans. During the trip
they fight off a robbery attack by seven black men. At New Orleans, Abe
observes a slave auction.
1830 - In March, Abe and his family
begin a 200-mile journey to Illinois where they settle on uncleared
land along the Sangamon River, near Decatur. Abe makes his first-ever political
speech in favor of improving navigation on the Sangamon River.
1831 - Abe makes a second flatboat
trip to New Orleans. His father moves again, but Abe doesn't go and instead
settles in New Salem, Illinois, where he works as a clerk in the village
store and sleeps in the back. During this year, he wrestles a man named Jack Armstrong to a
draw. He learns basic math, reads Shakespeare and Robert Burns and also participates
in a local debating society.
1832 - In March, Abraham Lincoln becomes a candidate
for the Illinois General Assembly. The Black Hawk War breaks out. In April,
Abe enlists and is elected captain of his rifle company. He re-enlists as
a private after his company is disbanded. He serves a total of three months
but does not fight in a battle. On August 6th, he loses the election for General Assembly. The village
store he worked in goes out of business. Lincoln and partner, William Berry,
purchase another village store in New Salem.
1833 - The new store fails, leaving
Abe badly in debt. Lincoln is then appointed Postmaster of New Salem. In autumn,
Lincoln is appointed Deputy County Surveyor.
1834 - On August 4th, Abraham Lincoln, age
24, is elected to the Illinois General Assembly as a member of the Whig
Party. He begins to study law. In December, he first meets Stephen A. Douglas, 21,
1835 - In January, former store
partner William Berry dies, increasing Lincoln's debt to $1,000. On August
25th, Ann Rutledge, Lincoln's love interest, dies from fever at age 22.
1836 - On August 1st, Lincoln is re-elected to the
Illinois General Assembly and by now is a leader of the Whig Party. September
9th, Lincoln receives his license to practice Law. He begins a courtship of Mary Owens, 28.
He suffers an episode of severe depression in December.
1837 - Lincoln helps to get the Illinois
state capital moved from Vandalia to Springfield. On April 15th, he leaves New
Salem and settles in Springfield, then becomes a law partner of John T. Stuart.
In the summer, Abe proposes marriage to Mary Owens, but is turned down and the courtship
1838 - Lincoln helps to successfully defend
Henry Truett in a famous murder case. On August 6th, he is re-elected to the Illinois
General Assembly, becoming Whig Floor Leader.
1839 - Abe travels through nine counties
in central and eastern Illinois as a lawyer on the 8th Judicial Circuit.
On December 3rd, he is admitted to practice in the United States Circuit Court. He meets
Mary Todd, 21, at a dance.
1840 - In June, Lincoln argues his
first case before the Illinois Supreme Court. On August 3rd, he is re-elected to the
Illinois General Assembly. In autumn, he becomes engaged to Mary Todd.
1841 - January 1st, Abe breaks off the engagement
with Mary Todd. He has another episode of depression. On March 1st, he forms a new law partnership
with Stephen T. Logan. In August, Abe makes a trip by steamboat to Kentucky
and observes twelve slaves chained together.
1842 - Lincoln does not seek re-election
to the legislature. In the summer, he resumes his courtship with Mary Todd. In September,
Abe accepts a challenge to a duel by Democratic state auditor James Shields
over published letters making fun of Shields. On September 22nd, the duel with swords
is averted by an explanation of letters. On November 4th, Abraham Lincoln marries Mary Todd
1843 - Lincoln is unsuccessful in
his try for the Whig nomination for U.S. Congress. On August 1st, his first child, Robert
Todd Lincoln, is born.
1844 - In May, the Lincoln family moves
into a house in Springfield, Illinois, bought for $1,500. Abe campaigns for Henry Clay
in the presidential election. In December, he dissolves his law partnership with
Logan, then sets up his own practice.
1846 - March 10th, a son, Edward Baker
Lincoln is born. On May 1st, Abe is nominated to be the Whig candidate for U.S. Congress.
On August 3rd, Abraham Lincoln is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
known photograph of Lincoln, about 1846
1847 - U.S. Representative Lincoln moves into a boarding house
in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two sons. On December 6th, he takes his seat
when the Thirtieth Congress convenes. December 22nd, Rep. Lincoln presents resolutions questioning
President Polk about U.S. hostilities with Mexico.
1848 - On January 22nd, Rep. Lincoln gives a speech
on floor of the House against President Polk's war policy regarding Mexico.
In June, he attends the national Whig convention, supporting General Zachary
Taylor as the nominee for president. He campaigns for Taylor in Maryland and
in Boston, Massachusetts, then in Illinois.
1849 - March
7th and 8th, Lincoln makes an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Illinois
statute of limitations, but is unsuccessful. On March 31st, he returns to Springfield
and leaves politics to practice law. On May 22nd, Abraham Lincoln is granted
U.S. Patent No. 6,469 (the only President ever
granted a patent).
1850 - February 1st, his three-year-old son Edward
dies after a two-month illness. Lincoln resumes his travels in the 8th
Judicial Circuit covering over 400 miles in 14 counties in Illinois. "Honest
Abe," as he is called, earns a reputation as an outstanding lawyer. On December 21st, another
son, William Wallace Lincoln (Willie) is born.
1851 - January 17th, Lincoln's father
1853 - On April 4th, his fourth son,
Thomas (Tad) Lincoln is born.
1854 - Lincoln re-enters
politics, opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He is elected
to the Illinois legislature but declines the seat, hoping instead to become
a U.S. Senator (appointed by the legislature).
1855 - Lincoln does not get chosen by the
Illinois legislature to be U.S. Senator.
1856 - May 29th, Lincoln helps organize the
new Republican Party of Illinois. At the first Republican convention, Lincoln
gets 110 votes for the vice-presidential nomination, thereby gaining national
attention. He campaigns in Illinois for the Republican presidential candidate,
John C. Frémont.
1857 - On June 26th,
in Springfield, Lincoln speaks against the Dred Scott
1858 - In
May, Lincoln wins acquittal in a murder trial by using an almanac regarding the
height of the moon to discredit a key witness. On June 16th, he is nominated to be the
Republican Senator from Illinois, opposing Democrat Stephen
A. Douglas. He gives his "House Divided" speech
at the state convention in Springfield. He also engages Douglas in seven separate debates, attracting big audiences at each one.
1859 - The Illinois legislature chooses
Douglas for the U.S. Senate over Lincoln by a vote of 54 to 46. In autumn, Lincoln makes his last trip through the 8th Judicial Circuit. On December
20th, writes a short autobiography.
1860 - March 6th, Lincoln delivers an impassioned
speech on slavery in New Haven, Connecticut.
Also in March, the "Lincoln-Douglas Debates" are published.
for president - 1860
May 18, 1860
- Abraham Lincoln is nominated to be the Republican candidate for President of the United
States. He opposes Northern Democrat, Stephen A. Douglas, and Southern Democrat,
John C. Breckinridge. In June, he writes a longer autobiography.
first portrait by Mathew Brady - February, 1860
November 6, 1860
- Abraham Lincoln is elected as 16th President of the United States, and is the
first Republican. He receives 180 of 303 possible electoral votes and 40 percent
of the popular vote.
December 20, 1860 - South Carolina secedes
from the Union – followed within two months by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama,
Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.
February 11, 1861
- President-elect Lincoln gives a brief farewell to friends
and supporters at Springfield and leaves by train for Washington, D.C. During the train trip, he is warned about a possible assassination attempt.
Lincoln - February 23, 1861
March 4, 1861
- Inauguration ceremonies are held in Washington, D.C. President Lincoln delivers his
First Inaugural Address.
April 12, 1861 - At 4:30 a.m., Confederate
artillery opens fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The Civil War begins.
See also: The History Place - A Nation Divided: U.S.
Civil War Timeline and Photos
April 15, 1861 - President Lincoln
issues a Proclamation Calling Militia and Convening
April 17, 1861 - Virginia secedes
from the Union – followed within five weeks by North Carolina, Tennessee
and Arkansas, thus forming an eleven-state Confederacy.
April 19, 1861
- The President issues a Proclamation of Blockade
against Southern ports.
April 27, 1861 - The President authorizes
the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.
June 3, 1861 - Political rival Stephen
A. Douglas dies unexpectedly of acute rheumatism.
July 21, 1861 - The Union suffers
a defeat at Bull Run in northern Virginia.
Union troops fall back to Washington. The President now realizes the war will
July 27, 1861 - Lincoln appoints George
B. McClellan as Commander of the Department
of the Potomac.
August 6, 1861 - Signs a law freeing
slaves being used by the Confederates in their war effort.
August 12, 1861
- The President issues a Proclamation of a National
Day of Fasting.
September 11, 1861 - Revokes General John
C. Frémont's unauthorized military proclamation of emancipation
October 24, 1861 - Relieves General Frémont
of his command and replaces him with General David Hunter.
November 1, 1861 - Appoints General McClellan
as Commander of the Union Army after the resignation of Winfield Scott.
January 27, 1862
- Issues General War Order No. 1 calling for
a Union advance to begin February 22nd.
February 3, 1862 - Writes a message
to McClellan on a difference of opinion regarding military plans.
February 20, 1862 - The President's son Willie
dies at age 11. The President's wife is
emotionally devastated and never fully recovers.
March 11, 1862 - President Lincoln
relieves McClellan as General-in-Chief and takes direct command of the
April 6, 1862 - A Confederate surprise
attack on General Ulysses S. Grant's troops
at Shiloh on the Tennessee River results in a bitter struggle with 13,000
Union men killed and wounded and 10,000 Confederates. The President is then
pressured to relieve Grant but resists.
April 9, 1862
- Writes a message to McClellan urging him to
April 16, 1862 - Signs an Act abolishing
slavery in the District of Columbia.
May 20, 1862 - Approves the Federal
Homestead Law giving 160 acres of publicly owned land to anyone who will
claim and then work the property for 5 years. Thousands then cross the
Mississippi to tame the 'Wild West.'
June 19, 1862 - Approves a Law prohibiting
slavery in the Territories.
August 29/30, 1862 - The Union suffers a defeat at
the second Battle of Bull Run in northern Virginia. The Union Army retreats
to Washington, D.C. The President then relieves Union Commander, General John Pope.
September 17, 1862 - General Robert E.
Lee and the Confederate armies are stopped
at Antietam in Maryland by McClellan
and his numerically superior Union forces. By nightfall, 26,000 men are dead,
wounded or missing - the bloodiest day in U.S. military history.
September 22, 1862 - The President issues
a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves.
General George McClellan, Antietam, Maryland - 1862
General McClellan's tent - October 3, 1862
Allan Pinkerton and Major General McClernand - October 1862
November 5, 1862 - The President names
Ambrose E. Burnside as Commander of
the Army of the Potomac, replacing McClellan.
December 13, 1862 - The Army of the Potomac
suffers a costly defeat at Fredericksburg in Virginia with a loss of 12,653
men. Confederate losses are 5,309.
December 22, 1862
- The President writes a brief message to the
Army of the Potomac.
December 31, 1862 - The President signs
a bill admitting West Virginia to the Union.
January 1, 1863
- President Lincoln issues the final Emancipation Proclamation
freeing all slaves in territories held by Confederates.
January 25, 1863 - The President appoints
Joseph (Fighting Joe) Hooker as Commander
of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Burnside.
January 26, 1863 - Writes a message
January 29, 1863 - General Ulysses S. Grant is placed
in command of the Army of the West, with orders to capture Vicksburg.
February 25, 1863 - Signs a Bill creating
a National banking system.
March 3, 1863 - Signs an Act introducing
May 1-4, 1863 - The Union suffers a defeat in
the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia. Famed Confederate General Stonewall
Jackson is mortally wounded. Hooker
retreats. Union losses are 17,000 killed, wounded and missing. Confederate
losses are 13,000.
June 28, 1863 - The President appoints
George G. Meade as Commander of the Army
of the Potomac, replacing Hooker.
July 3, 1863
- Confederate defeat in the Battle of Gettysburg marks the turning point of the war.
See photographs taken just after the Battle
July 4, 1863 - Vicksburg, the last
Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi, is captured by the General Grant
and the Army of the West.
July 13, 1863 - The President writes a message
July 14, 1863 - Writes an undelivered
letter to Meade complaining about his failure
to capture Lee.
July 30, 1863 - Issues an Order
portrait by Brady
August 8, 1863 -
Writes a letter to his wife regarding their son Tad's lost
August 10, 1863 - The President meets
with abolitionist Frederick Douglass
who pushes for full equality for Union 'Negro troops.'
September 19/20, 1863 - A Union defeat
at Chickamauga in Georgia leaves Chattanooga in Tennessee under Confederate
siege. The President appoints General Grant to command all operations in the
October 3, 1863
- Issues a Proclamation of Thanksgiving.
November 19, 1863 - President Lincoln
delivers the Gettysburg Address at a ceremony
dedicating the Battlefield as a National Cemetery.
among the crowd at Gettysburg - November 19, 1863
Page one of the Gettysburg
Address in Lincoln's Handwriting
Page two of the Gettysburg
Address in Lincoln's Handwriting
December 8, 1863 - The President issues
a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction for
restoration of the Union.
Brady portrait - January 1864
1864 - Portrait later used as the basis for the Five Dollar Bill
President and son Thomas (Tad) - February 1864
March 12, 1864 - President Lincoln
appoints Grant as General-in-Chief of all the Federal armies. William T.
Sherman succeeds Grant as Commander
in the West.
June 3, 1864 - A costly mistake
by Grant results in 7,000 Union casualties
in twenty minutes during an offensive against entrenched Confederates at Cold
June 8, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is
nominated for a second term as president by a coalition of Republicans and War Democrats.
July 18, 1864 - The President issues a call for
500,000 volunteers for military service.
August 31, 1864 -
Makes a speech to the 148th Ohio Regiment.
September 2, 1864 - Atlanta is captured
by Sherman's army. Later, the President
on advice from Grant, approves Sherman's 'March to the Sea.'
October 19, 1864 - A decisive Union
victory by General Philip H. Sheridan in
the Shenandoah Valley.
November 8, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is
re-elected as President, defeating Democrat George B. McClellan. Lincoln gets
212 of 233 electoral votes and 55 percent of the popular vote.
December 20, 1864 - Sherman reaches Savannah
in Georgia leaving behind a path of destruction 60 miles wide all the way
March 4, 1865
- Inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C. with President Lincoln delivering his
Second Inaugural Address.
speaking at his Second Inauguration - March 4, 1865
March 17, 1865 - A kidnap plot by
John Wilkes Booth fails when Lincoln doesn't arrive for a visit to the
April 9, 1865 - The Civil War concludes as General Robert E. Lee
surrenders his Confederate Army to General Ulysses S. Grant at the village
of Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
soldiers pose outside the court house - April 9, 1865
April 10, 1865 - Celebrations break
out in Washington.
President's son Tad poses - April 10, 1865
by Gardner - The last portrait - April 10, 1865
April 11, 1865
- President Lincoln makes his last public speech
which focuses on the problems of reconstruction. The United States flag
'Stars and Stripes' is raised over Fort Sumter.
April 14, 1865 - Lincoln and his
wife Mary see the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater.
About 10:13 p.m., during the third act of the play, John Wilkes Booth shoots
the President in the head. Doctors attend to the President in the theater
then move him to a house across the street. He never regains consciousness.
April 15, 1865 - President Abraham
Lincoln dies at 7:22 in the morning.
house in which President Lincoln died
Theater draped in black with guards posted - 1865
President's box at Ford's Theater - 1865
procession on Pennsylvania Avenue - April 19, 1865
April 26, 1865 - John Wilkes Booth
is shot and killed in a tobacco barn in Virginia.
May 4, 1865 - Abraham Lincoln is
laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery, outside Springfield, Illinois.
victory parade is held in Washington along Pennsylvania Ave. to help boost
the Nation's morale - May 23-24, 1865.
December 6, 1865
- The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed by
Congress on January 31, 1865, is finally ratified. Slavery is abolished.
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