Timeline from 1860 to 1870

Decade By Decade: Timelines of the 1800s


  • February 27, 1860: Abraham Lincoln, a lawyer from Springfield, Illinois, gave a speech at Cooper Union in New York City. Lincoln delivered a forceful and well-reasoned argument against the spread of slavery, and became an overnight star and a leading candidate for the upcoming presidential election.
  • March 11, 1860: Abraham Lincoln visited the Five Points, the most notorious slum in America. He spent time with children at a Sunday school, and an account of his visit later appeared in newspapers during his presidential campaign.
  • Summer 1860: Candidates did not actively participate in campaigning in the mid-1800s, though Lincoln's campaign used posters and other images to inform and win over voters.
  • July 13, 1860: Albert Hicks, a pirate convicted of murder, was hanged on present day Liberty Island in New York Harbor before thousands of spectators.
  • August 13, 1860: Annie Oakley, sharpshooter who became an entertainment phenomenon, was born in Ohio.
  • November 6, 1860: Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States.
  • December 20, 1860: In response to Lincoln's election, the state of South Carolina issued an "Ordinance of Secession" and declared it is leaving the Union. Other states would follow.


  • March 4, 1861: Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the president of the United States.
  • April 12, 1861: In the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina, Fort Sumter was attacked by Confederate guns.
  • May 24, 1861: Death of Col. Elmer Ellsworth, an event which energized the North in the war effort.
  • Summer and Fall, 1861: Thaddeus Lowe began the U.S. Army Balloon Corps, in which "aeronauts" ascended in balloons to view enemy troops.
  • December 13, 1861: Prince Albert, the husband of Britain's Queen Victoria, died at the age of 42.


  • September 17, 1862: The Battle of Antietam was fought in western Maryland. It becomes known as the "America's Bloodiest Day."
  • October, 1862: Photographs taken by Alexander Gardner were put on public display at Mathew Brady's gallery in New York City. The public was shocked by the carnage depicted in the photographic prints.




  • January 16, 1865: General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Orders, No. 15, which was interpreted as a promise to provide "forty acres and a mule" to each family of freed slaves.


  • Summer 1866: The Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, was formed.


  • March 17, 1867: The annual parade for St. Patrick's Day in New York City was marred by violent clashes. In the following years the tone of the parade was changed and it became a symbol of the emerging political power of the New York Irish.


    • March 1868: The Erie Railroad War, a bizarre Wall Street struggle to control shares of a railroad, played out in the newspapers. The protagonists were Jay Gould, Jim Fisk, and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
    • May 30, 1868: The first Decoration Day was observed in the United States. The graves of Civil War veterans were decorated with flowers at Arlington National Cemetery and other cemeteries.
    • February 1868: Novelist and politician Benjamin Disraeli became Prime Minister of Britain for the first time.
    • Summer, 1868: Writer and naturalist John Muir arrived in Yosemite Valley for the first time.


    • March 4, 1869: Ulysses S. Grant was inaugurated as president of the United States of America.
    • September 24, 1869: A scheme by Wall Street operators Jay Gould and Jim Fisk to corner the gold market nearly took down the entire U.S. economy in what became known as Black Friday.
    • October 16, 1869: A weird discovery on an upstate New York farm became a sensation as the Cardiff Giant. The huge stone man turned out to be a hoax, but still fascinated a public which seemed to want a diversion.

    Decade By Decade: 1800-1810 | 1810-1820 | 1820-1830 | 1830-1840 | 1840-1850 | 1850-1860 | 1870-1880 | 1880-1890 | 1890-1900 | The Civil War Year By Year

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    McNamara, Robert. "Timeline from 1860 to 1870." ThoughtCo, Feb. 1, 2018, thoughtco.com/timeline-from-1860-to-1870-1774043. McNamara, Robert. (2018, February 1). Timeline from 1860 to 1870. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/timeline-from-1860-to-1870-1774043 McNamara, Robert. "Timeline from 1860 to 1870." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/timeline-from-1860-to-1870-1774043 (accessed February 18, 2018).