Congress passed the Militia Act, an ineffectual attempt at conscription. The President was given power only to draft militia forces in states “with deficient or nonexistent conscription laws.” State militias were called up for no more than nine months. Militia quotas were based on the total population of the state. In August 1862 Secretary of War Stanton ordered a draft of 300,000 militia.
Lincoln proclaimed inhabitants of Confederate states “in a state of insurrection against the United States, and that all commercial intercourse,” with certain exceptions, between loyal and rebellious states was unlawful.
The Seven Days Battles, a series of six major battles, began with the Battle of Oak Grove and ended with the Battle of Malvern Hill. Both sides suffered major casualties (Confederate: 20,000; Union: 16,000). McClellan blamed leadership in Washington for losses: “You have done your best to sacrifice this army.”
Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. By April 1865, Grant’s army had cut off Lee’s supply lines, forcing Confederate forces to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond. Lee and his men retreated westward, but Grant’s troops overtook him about a hundred miles west of Richmond. Recognizing that further resistance would be futile, Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9. The next day, in a final message to his troops, Robert E. Lee acknowledged that he was “compelled to yield to...
The Trent Affair began when US forces boarded a British ship, the HMS Trent, and arrested Confederate envoys James Mason and John Slidell. The action antagonized the British government. Britain threatened to sever diplomatic ties with the United States, and Lincoln and his Cabinet agreed to release the Confederates taken from the Trent in order to maintain diplomatic ties with Britain.