Jefferson Davis was chosen as the new president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama.
Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter in the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina, officially beginning the American Civil War. Fort Sumter surrendered after thirty-four hours of bombardment.
General Benjamin Butler at Fort Monroe, Virginia, declared escaped slaves “contraband” of war and refused to return them to their owners.
The United States Sanitary Commission was established to see to the health and comfort of Federal soldiers.
General David Hunter issued his General Orders No. 11, which declared slaves in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina free. Concerned with border states’ loyalty, Lincoln revoked the order ten days later.
Abraham Lincoln signed legislation barring slavery in the US territories, which extend from New Mexico to Washington and Dakota.
Harriet Tubman helped Union troops free 700 slaves at Combahee River, South Carolina.
The Battle of the Wilderness (also known as Combats at Parker’s Store, Craig’s Meeting House, Todd’s Tavern, Brock Road, and the Furnaces), Virginia, ended inconclusively with 29,800 casualties.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified upon Georgia’s ratification.
The Ku Klux Klan was founded at the law offices of Thomas M. Jones in Pulaski, Tennessee.