APRIL 1. In Virginia, McClellan begins shipping the Army of the Potomac from Washington to Fort Monroe on the Peninsula, between the York and James rivers. From there he plans to advance and capture the Confederate capital, Richmond. In western Tennessee, a Union army commanded by Gen. Grant holds an advanced position at Pittsburg Landing after its successful offensive against Forts Henry and Donelson. Another Union force, under Gen. Buell, is marching down from Nashville to join Grant.

APRIL 2. Gen. A. S. Johnston, commanding Confederate forces in northern Mississippi, concentrates his forces for a surprise attack on Grant.

APRIL 3. President Lincoln is upset by the discovery that McClellan has left fewer than twenty thousand troops to defend Washington. He refuses to allow McDowell’s Corps to leave for the Peninsula, which upsets McClellan. The Senate abolishes slavery in the District of Columbia, a sign that pressure for antislavery action is rising.

APRIL 4. On the Peninsula, McClellan advances slowly against Rebel lines at Yorktown. In Tennessee, Johnston’s Rebel army is moving to attack Grant.

APRIL 5. McClellan decides he can only take Yorktown by a regular siege, although he heavily outnumbers the defenders.

APRIL 6. Siege of Yorktown continues. The main Rebel army in Virginia, led by Gen. Joseph Johnston, begins to move south to reinforce Richmond and Yorktown. In Tennessee, Gen. A. S. Johnston’s army attacks Grant’s camps around the little Shiloh Church. The Rebels drive the Federals into the river, but Grant rallies his men and they hold on.

APRIL 7. Siege of Yorktown continues. In Tennessee, Buell joins forces with Grant and they drive the Rebel army from the field. The Battle of Shiloh is the bloodiest so far: 13,000 Federal and 10,900 Southern casualties.

APRIL 9. Siege of Yorktown continues. At President Davis’s request, Confederate Senate orders the conscription of White males, which troubles states’ rights fundamentalists.

APRIL 10. Siege of Yorktown continues. President Lincoln approves a joint congressional resolution calling for the gradual and compensated emancipation of slaves.

APRIL 11. Siege of Yorktown continues. Gen. Halleck arrives at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, to take command of the armies of Grant and Buell.

APRIL 12–28. Siege of Yorktown continues. Halleck takes his time getting organized before moving against the Confederate army now concentrated in Corinth, Mississippi, thirty miles from the Shiloh battlefield.

APRIL 29. Siege of Yorktown continues. Halleck begins his slow advance to Corinth, making not much more than a mile a day.

APRIL 30–MAY 2. Siege of Yorktown continues. Halleck’s advance plods on.

MAY 3. Confederate troops evacuate Yorktown, before McClellan can attack and overwhelm them. But they have delayed the Federal advance for a month.

MAY 4. McClellan’s troops enter Yorktown and pursue retreating Confederates.

MAY 5. McClellan’s troops defeat an outnumbered Confederate rear guard at Williamsburg. In the west, Halleck’s army plods on.

MAY 6. McClellan occupies Williamsburg. Away to the north and west, in the Shenandoah Valley, Stonewall Jackson is about to begin his ­Valley campaign, which will seem to threaten Washington—and thereby drive a wedge between McClellan, who wanted McDowell’s Corps on the Peninsula, and Lincoln, who wanted it to fend off Jackson.

MAY 8. Jackson wins a skirmish at the town of McDowell, Virginia. Halleck’s army is almost at Corinth.

MAY 9–22. On the Peninsula, the Confederate army retreats and forms a defensive position behind the Chickahominy River, fewer than ten miles from Richmond. McClellan follows up the retreat without much aggression. In the Valley, Jackson outmaneuvers Federal forces under Banks and sets them up for the kill. Halleck lays “siege” to Corinth.

MAY 23–24. Jackson captures Front Royal, Virginia, cutting Banks’s supply line and forcing him into hasty retreat. Lincoln and Stanton order their scattered forces in northern Virginia to close on Jackson, who moves with greater speed and cunning.

MAY 25–29. Jackson routs Banks’s force at Winchester and advances toward Harpers Ferry. Until his threat is eliminated, McClellan will get no more reinforcements. Since he outnumbers the Confederate force at Richmond by almost two to one, he doesn’t need ­reinforcement—but McClellan refuses to believe it.

MAY 30. In the west, the Confederate army—outnumbered more than two to one by Halleck’s force—abandons Corinth. In Virginia, most of McClellan’s army crosses the Chickahominy River and advances toward Richmond.

MAY 31–JUNE 1. The Confederate army led by Gen. Joseph Johns­ton attacks McClellan’s advance units. In the Battle of Seven Pines the Confederates are defeated. Johnston is wounded and replaced by Gen. Robert E. Lee. McClellan does not follow up his success. He postpones an attack on Richmond pending the arrival of reinforcements and leaves his army in a vulnerable position, with only V Corps north of the Chickahominy to protect his supply line.

JUNE 2–7. In the Valley, Jackson’s Rebel force escapes from Union forces converging from three different directions.

JUNE 8. Jackson defeats two separate Union forces on the same day, in battles at Cross Keys and Port Republic, Virginia.

JUNE 10. The army commanded by Gen. Buell begins its eastward trek from Corinth, Mississippi—its objective is Chattanooga, Tennessee, some three hundred miles east.

JUNE 12–15. At Richmond, Rebel cavalry leader J. E. B. Stuart begins a reconnaissance/raid that will completely circle McClellan’s army.

JUNE 17. Gen. Lee plans to concentrate Confederate forces for a daring attack on McClellan. He orders Jackson’s force to leave the Valley and join him at Richmond. In the west, Gen. Braxton Bragg assumes command of the army opposing Halleck in northern Mississippi.

JUNE 19. Lincoln signs into law a bill prohibiting slavery in the western territories administered by the Federal government.

JUNE 21. Confederate President Davis outlines his strategic thinking in a letter to his wife: Lee must defeat McClellan in Virginia, and there must be a counteroffensive in the west to recover Tennessee.

JUNE 23. Lee confers with his generals and lays out the plan for his attack on McClellan. With a third of his force, he will hold the lines south of the Chickahominy against the bulk of McClellan’s troops. Two-thirds of his army, including Jackson’s force, will concentrate against and destroy the single Union corps north of the Chickahominy, breaking McClellan’s supply line and forcing him to retreat.

JUNE 24. McClellan remains passive while Lee’s troops move into attacking position.

JUNE 25. The Seven Days Battles begin with a halfhearted Federal attack at Oak Hill south of the Chickahominy.

JUNE 26. Lee’s offensive begins with an attack on the Union V Corps at Mechanicsville, north of the Chickahominy. But the attack is poorly coordinated, and the Union troops withdraw in good order. In Washington, Lincoln appoints Gen. John Pope to command the Union forces in northern Virginia.

JUNE 27. Lee’s offensive continues with an all-out attack on V Corps at Gaines’ Mill. The Union lines are broken after hard fighting, but poor coordination again allows the Federals to escape destruction. But V Corps has to retreat south of the Chickahominy; McClellan’s supply line is cut, and he decides that the army will have to retreat through the swamps to a new base of operations on the James River. In northern Virginia, Pope took up his new command.

JUNE 28. McClellan’s army begins its retreat. McClellan sends a distraught telegram to Washington, accusing Lincoln and Stanton of having “done your best to sacrifice this army.” Lincoln is unruffled by the crisis and the accusation. He tells McClellan to save the army and assures him of support. He also prepares to issue a call for three hundred thousand new volunteers—the first step in a drastic revision of Union strategy.

JUNE 29. Lee shifts forces south of the Chickahominy to pursue McClellan and try to cut into and destroy his retreating columns. At Savage’s Station, Union rear guards repel the Southern attack.

JUNE 30. Lee mounts a heavy assault against Federal troops at Glendale. McClellan leaves his army before the battle, ostensibly to look for a final defensive position, and he fails to appoint anyone to command in his stead. The Union army repels the attack, despite the absence of a commanding general.

JULY 1. Union troops take up a strong position on Malvern Hill. Lee makes a last attempt to destroy McClellan’s army but suffers a bloody defeat. Although his field commanders urge McClellan to counterattack, McClellan orders the retreat to continue. The Seven Days Battles have cost the Union more than fifteen thousand casualties and huge amounts of equipment. The Confederates have lost about twenty thousand.

JULY 2. McClellan’s army fortifies its new base, at Harrison’s Landing on the James River. News of his defeat begins to appear in the north, creating public alarm. Republican papers blame McClellan for the defeat; Democratic papers blame Lincoln and Stanton.

JULY 6. Buell’s army is at Decatur, Alabama, a little more than halfway to Chattanooga.

JULY 8. Lincoln arrives at Harrison’s Landing to confer with McClellan. Instead of responding to the president’s request for a renewal of the offensive, McClellan hands him the “Harrison’s Landing letter”: a political manifesto urging Lincoln to abjure all thoughts of emancipation, adopt a “conservative” approach to policy in general, and put control of military affairs in McClellan’s hands. Lincoln says nothing, but McClellan’s power play seems to crystallize his thinking about a new strategic direction.

JULY 10. Lincoln returns to Washington. In northern Virginia, Pope issues his controversial orders threatening punishment to civilians who cooperate with Rebel forces.

JULY 11. Lincoln’s first step toward a new strategy: he orders Gen. Halleck to Washington to assume the post of general in chief, which McClellan had coveted.

JULY 12. In a private conversation with Secretaries Seward and Welles, Lincoln reveals his intention to issue an emancipation proclamation. He thereby rejected McClellan’s core demand and prepared to commit the nation to a new strategy: one that abandoned hope of a compromise peace and resolved on total war.

JULY 13. In Richmond, Lee faces a double threat: from McClellan’s eighty-five thousand at Harrison’s Landing and from Pope’s Army of Virginia (forty-five thousand) moving down from northern Virginia. He sends Jackson, with twenty-five thousand men, to check Pope. Generals Bragg and Kirby Smith, commanding the two main armies in the Confederate west, propose a plan for a two-pronged invasion of Tennessee and Kentucky, which will force Buell’s army to retreat and perhaps recover both states for the Confederacy. Davis approves the plan. It is the first step in developing a grand counteroffensive, involving Lee’s army in Virginia, Bragg’s and Smith’s in Tennessee/­Kentucky, and an army led by Gen. Van Dorn in northern Mississippi.

JULY 14. Pope issues a bombastic order, implicitly critical of McClellan. The latter now regards Pope as a tool of the Radical Republicans, and a personal enemy. In Washington, Lincoln asks Congress to approve compensation for any state deciding to emancipate the slaves within its borders.

JULY 17. Congress passes the Second Confiscation Act, which allows seizure of Rebel property, including slaves—who would be emancipated. It also authorizes the president to colonize freed Blacks outside the United States. Lincoln signs the bill, after forcing Congress to soften some of its terms.

JULY 22. Lincoln surprises his cabinet by presenting a preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. He accepts Seward’s advice to delay issuance until the Union has won a battlefield victory.

JULY 23. In Washington, Gen. Halleck assumes the post of general in chief. His first task is to visit McClellan and induce him to take the offensive. If McClellan refuses, Halleck is empowered to relieve him. In the west, Bragg’s army begins movement, by road, train, and steamboat, from Tupelo to Chattanooga—the jump-off point for its invasion of Tennessee. Meanwhile Kirby Smith assembles a force of about nineteen thousand for his part of the invasion plan. But action on the Virginia front is suspended: Lee cannot take the offensive against Pope as long as McClellan remains at Harrison’s Landing, threatening Richmond.

JULY 25–27. Halleck visits Harrison’s Landing, accompanied by Gen. Burnside, and confers with McClellan. Halleck offers McClellan a choice: advance against Richmond, or withdraw his forces from the Peninsula and ship them north to join with Pope. McClellan’s opposition to the Lincoln government intensifies. He is gratified to receive “letters from the North urging me to march on Washington & assume the Govt!!” Burnside reports antigovernment sentiments among McClellan’s officers that seem downright treasonous.

JULY 31. Confederate President Davis responds to Pope’s “infamous” confiscation orders by proposing to treat Pope’s officers as “felons.”

AUGUST 2. Pope’s army advances against Jackson’s command near Orange Court House, some eighty miles northwest of Richmond.

AUGUST 3. McClellan has refused to resume the offensive. Halleck therefore orders him to begin shipping his troops north. McClellan protests.

AUGUST 9. In northern Virginia, Jackson’s Confederates attack part of Pope’s army at Cedar Mountain. Although Jackson wins, the threat of an advance by Pope puts the defense of Richmond in peril.

AUGUST 13. Lee decides to risk the safety of Richmond by shifting most of his army north to strike Pope. Unknown to Lee, McClellan has issued orders to begin the withdrawal from the Peninsula.

AUGUST 14. Clear signs that McClellan is withdrawing allow Lee to turn against Pope with his whole force. Lincoln meets with a delegation of free Negroes. In one of his least creditable performances, he urges them to support colonization and does not mention his plan to issue an emancipation proclamation. In eastern Tennessee, Kirby Smith’s Rebel army strikes through Cumberland Gap to begin its invasion of Kentucky. The Confederate grand offensive has begun.

AUGUST 17–19. Menaced by Lee’s army, Pope retreats behind the Rappahannock River. Horace Greeley publishes an editorial, “The Prayer of Twenty Millions,” demanding emancipation. McClellan and his partisans in the press conduct a campaign against both Secretary of War Stanton and Gen. Pope—McClellan gleefully anticipates the latter’s defeat.

AUGUST 21. Bragg’s army reaches Chattanooga and prepares to join the offensive already begun by Kirby Smith.

AUGUST 22. Lincoln answers Greeley’s appeal, saying that his primary object is to save the Union, and whatever he does or does not do about slavery must serve that goal. Lee’s troops skirmish with Pope’s along the Rappahannock, while McClellan comes north with the last of his troops, the VI and II Corps.

AUGUST 24. Lee adopts a bold plan to destroy Pope’s army. Jackson, with half Lee’s infantry and the cavalry, swings wide to the west behind the screen of Bull Run Mountain. He is to go around Pope’s flank, come in behind the Union army, and seize Pope’s supply base at Manassas Junction. The plan is for Longstreet and Lee to follow Jackson and strike Pope as he retreats.

AUGUST 25. Jackson marches north while Lee holds Pope in place along the Rappahannock.

AUGUST 26. Confederate cavalry strike through Bull Run Gap and capture the rail junction at Manassas, cutting communication between Pope and his base, Alexandria, Virginia. The Federal VI Corps, from McClellan’s army, lands at Alexandria; II Corps is boarding ships at Fort Monroe.

AUGUST 27. Jackson’s entire corps, twenty-five thousand strong, storm into Manassas and capture Pope’s supply depot. Pope sees both peril and opportunity: Jackson has cut his communication with Washington; but Jackson is also isolated. Pope orders his troops back to Manassas to overwhelm Jackson before Lee can come to his aid. Meanwhile Lee, with Longstreet’s Corps, begins to march north following Jackson’s route. In Washington, Halleck admits he is overwhelmed by his tasks and begs McClellan to order Franklin to go to Pope’s aid. McClellan demurs: the “great object” was not to aid Pope but to protect Washington. Franklin stays put.

AUGUST 28. In Tennessee, Bragg’s army begins its offensive against Buell’s army. In Virginia, Jackson withdraws from Manassas and takes a defensive position in the hills west of the town to await Lee. Pope’s scouts search for Jackson in vain. Jackson has to draw attention to himself by attacking a small Union force at Groveton—he wants to distract Pope and keep him from blocking Lee’s advance through the mountain gaps. In Washington, McClellan informs Halleck that Franklin can’t move until he has more artillery. When Halleck becomes testy, McClellan promises that Franklin will march at 6:00 AM.

AUGUST 29. Second Battle of Bull Run begins with Pope’s troops attacking Jackson to no avail. Meanwhile Lee and Longstreet evade Federal notice and take position threatening Pope’s left flank. In Washington, McClellan orders Franklin to advance: “Let it not be said that any part of the Army of the Potomac failed in its duty to General Pope.” Franklin goes seven miles, then halts.

AUGUST 30. Second Battle of Bull Run ends in Confederate victory, as Longstreet’s flank attack routs Pope’s army. As promised, Franklin marches for Manassas in the morning, but gets no farther than Centreville, some seven miles from the fighting. Out west in Kentucky, Kirby Smith defeats a hastily assembled Federal force at Richmond.

AUGUST 31. Pope’s disorganized army rests at Centerville on the Washington side of Bull Run Creek and is reinforced by VI Corps. Lee plans to complete their destruction by sending Jackson and Stuart to cross the creek upstream and strike the Federal flank.

SEPT. 1. Jackson’s flank attack is repelled in the Battle of Chantilly. Pope’s army begins retreating to Washington.

SEPT. 2. Lincoln reappoints McClellan to command the Federal forces around Washington, over the strenuous objections of his cabinet. Despite his own belief that McClellan deliberately allowed Pope to be defeated, and his mistrust of McClellan’s willingness to fight, he believes McClellan is the only man who can reorganize the Army of the Potomac.

SEPT. 3. Lee decides to continue his offensive by invading Maryland. He moves his army to Leesburg, Virginia, and reorganizes it for the offensive.

SEPT. 4. Lee’s cavalry begins fording the Potomac River to screen the main army’s advance on Frederick, Maryland.

SEPT. 5. McClellan assumes command of the field army to oppose Lee’s invasion. In the west, Gov. Morton of Indiana and other civilian leaders called up militia to counter Kirby-Smith’s invading force. Bragg’s army reaches Sparta, Tennessee. The invading column has outflanked Buell’s army, which will have to abandon its drive on Chattanooga and march north to confront Bragg.

SEPT. 6. Stonewall Jackson’s infantry corps occupies Frederick. Longstreet’s Corps crosses the Potomac to join them.

SEPT. 7. Confederate forces are concentrated in and around Frederick, hoping to lure the Federal army into combat before it has fully recovered from Second Bull Run. McClellan tentatively advances toward Frederick, but positions his troops for the defense of Washington. In Tennessee, Bragg bypasses the Federal forces in Nashville and heads for Kentucky. Davis sends Bragg and Lee the text of a proclamation to the people of Kentucky and Maryland, appealing to them to join the Confederacy.

SEPT. 8. Lee is disappointed with Marylanders’ response to his invasion. He also learns that the Federal garrison is holding on to Har­pers Ferry, at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, blocking the route by which Lee expects to draw supplies.

SEPT. 9. Lee decides to withdraw westward from Frederick, and to divide his army into three detachments: one led by Gen. Jackson and Gen. McLaws to envelop Harpers Ferry from the west and north, another led by Gen. Walker to attack the town from the southeast, and the third under Longstreet to seize Boonsboro and Hagerstown as a base of future operations. A copy of his order is dropped and lost in a field near Frederick.

SEPT. 10. The three Confederate columns begin their long marches, abandoning Frederick. McClellan learns of their retreat and cautiously advances.

SEPT. 11. Lee and Longstreet’s column seizes Hagerstown. Jackson, McLaws, and Walker continue their march, but Jackson has to march farther upstream before he can cross the Potomac. Lee’s timetable for seizing Harpers Ferry is badly behind schedule. Col. Thomas Key tells a Tribune reporter that members of McClellan’s staff have been contemplating a seizure of the government. This leak is part of an intensified campaign to force Lincoln to fire Stanton and give McClellan control of war policy. In England, the British government makes plans to intervene in the American war, if Lee’s invasion succeeds.

SEPT. 12. McClellan’s advance elements reoccupy Frederick. The detachments of Walker and McLaws are just approaching their objectives, the heights overlooking Harpers Ferry from northeast and southeast; Jackson is slowly closing in from the north and west.

SEPT. 13. Federal troops concentrate in and around Frederick. Two infantrymen find a copy of Lee’s “lost order,” and McClellan learns that the elements of Lee’s army are widely separated. If he moves fast he can defeat each element in detail or at least compel Lee to retreat. He orders Gen. Franklin with VI Corps to march at dawn, cross the mountains at Crampton’s Gap, and relieve Harpers Ferry. With the rest of the army, McClellan will cross the mountains at Turner’s Gap to attack the detachment under Lee and Longstreet at Boonsboro. Lee learns of McClellan’s discovery that night and plans to resist the Federal advance. But he is out of touch with the forces sent against Harpers Ferry—which are finally in position to attack the Federal garrison.

SEPT. 14. Action on three fronts in Maryland: the forces under Jackson, McLaws, and Walker begin the attack on Harpers Ferry, and by nightfall the garrison commander (Col. Miles) is convinced he will have to surrender. Meanwhile, Franklin’s relief column, after a slow approach march, fights its way through Crampton’s Gap—then halts. To the north, McClellan’s column inflicts a severe defeat on the Confederate forces holding Turner’s Gap. As the Rebel troops withdraw, Lee makes plans to abandon the invasion and retreat to Virginia. In Kentucky, Kirby Smith’s column threatens Cincinnati, while Bragg’s army threatens the Federal post of Munfordville, Kentucky.

SEPT. 15. Harpers Ferry surrenders. Lee now decides to stand and fight in a strong position around the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland, west of Antietam Creek. He orders Jackson to complete his work at Harpers Ferry and send his units to Sharpsburg posthaste. McClellan’s troops file down through the mountains and begin to take positions east of Antietam Creek.

SEPT. 16. Lee and McClellan slowly assemble their forces. McClellan is unaware that he substantially outnumbers Lee, so he postpones an attack until the rest of his army comes up. In Kentucky, Bragg’s advance guard attacks the Federal garrison at Munfordville and is repulsed.

SEPT. 17. The Battle of Antietam is fought. McClellan stages a series of separate, uncoordinated assaults. Lee’s army, outnumbered two to one, is able to shift reserves to barely check each assault. Disaster is only averted late in the day, when A. P. Hill’s Light Division—the last units to arrive from Harpers Ferry—routs the IX Corps with a flank attack. In the bloodiest single day of Civil War combat, McClellan loses 12,500 men and Lee 13,700—nearly a third of his force. In Kentucky, Bragg’s army surrounds Munfordville and forces its surrender.

SEPT. 18. Lee holds his ground despite his heavy losses, and McClellan refuses to renew the attack despite receiving reinforcements. But the invasion of Maryland has failed, and that night Lee’s army begins its retreat to Virginia. In Kentucky, Bragg’s army holds Munfordville and prepares to fight Buell’s army, which is approaching from the south.

SEPT. 19. McClellan’s troops follow up Lee’s retreat, and some units cross the Potomac at Shepherdstown to harass the Confederate rear guard. In northern Mississippi, a Confederate force under Gen. Price attacks Federal troops at Iuka to prevent the sending of reinforcements to Buell.

SEPT. 20. McClellan sends two divisions across the Potomac, but they are driven back by A. P. Hill’s Division. He makes no further attempt to pursue the defeated Rebels. In Washington, Lincoln drafts the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

SEPT. 21. In Kentucky, Bragg inexplicably abandons Munfordville and marches northeast to join forces with Kirby Smith at Bardstown, Kentucky. Buell’s army is able to march to Louisville, where reinforcements await.

SEPT. 22. Lincoln issues the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, committing the nation to a new policy linking restoration of the Union to the destruction of slavery. The act marks his final repudiation of McClellan’s policies and requires a new strategy of total war, which McClellan is unwilling and unable to execute.

SEPT. 24. To give effect to his new “hard war” policy, Lincoln suspends the privilege of habeas corpus and orders military trials for those who aid the Rebels by discouraging enlistments and other acts of disloyalty. McClellan receives news of the two decrees and considers how to oppose or resist them.

SEPT. 25. In Kentucky, Buell’s army arrives in Louisville, bypassing Bragg’s force at Bardstown.

SEPT. 26. McClellan writes to one of his political mentors, expressing his wish to oppose Lincoln’s “despotic” decrees and asking the advice and support of Democratic Party leaders.

SEPT. 27. In Richmond, the Confederate Congress passes the Second Conscription Act, drafting men thirty-five to forty-five years old—a sign of the South’s depleted manpower. In Washington, Lincoln confronts Maj. John Key for asserting that McClellan’s officers are conspiring to prolong Confederate resistance in order to make peace on Southern terms. Key is cashiered as an example to deter “the McClellan conspiracy.”

OCT. 1–2. Lincoln visits McClellan at his encampment near Sharpsburg to urge him to take the offensive and assess the state of the army. His suspicions are reflected in the remark that the Army of the Potomac is merely “McClellan’s bodyguard.”

OCT. 3. In Mississippi, the Confederate army commanded by Gen. Van Dorn attacks the Union force at Corinth—the westernmost prong of the Confederate grand offensive.

OCT. 4. The Battle of Corinth ends in Confederate defeat, with 2,500 casualties against a Union loss of 1,700. In Kentucky, Bragg’s troops occupy the state capital of Frankfort. Lincoln concludes his visit to the army and returns to Washington.

OCT. 6. Lincoln demands that McClellan cross the Potomac and take the offensive against Lee. McClellan refuses. In Kentucky, Bragg retreats to Harrodsburg and Buell advances to Bardstown.

OCT. 8. Part of Buell’s army fights part of Bragg’s at Perryville, Kentucky. The Confederates are defeated and Bragg retreats.

OCT. 9. In Virginia, J. E. B. Stuart’s Rebel cavalry begin an extended raid behind McClellan’s lines.

OCT. 10. Bragg and Kirby Smith retreat toward East Tennessee, effectively ending the Confederate grand offensive.

OCT. 11. Stuart’s cavalry raids Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

OCT. 12. Stuart recrosses the Potomac and rejoins Lee.

OCT. 13. Lincoln chides McClellan for being too cautious and assuming his army cannot do “what the enemy is constantly doing.”

OCT. 14. Early elections in Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania suggest Democrats will do well in the midterm canvass.

OCT. 22. Bragg and Kirby Smith retreat safely into east Tennessee after a lethargic pursuit by Buell.

OCT. 24. Lincoln relieves Buell of his command and replaces him with Gen. Rosecrans, the victor in the Battle of Corinth.

OCT. 25. Lincoln testily rebukes McClellan for his lack of action.

OCT. 26. The Army of the Potomac finally crosses the river; Lee’s army pulls back into the Shenandoah Valley.

OCT. 28. McClellan begins a slow-developing offensive southward from Harpers Ferry.

NOV. 4. In the midterm elections, Democrats make substantial gains in Congress and win key governorships.

NOV. 5. With the election over, Lincoln is free to remove McClellan from command. He writes the orders for his relief.

NOV. 6. Lee reorganizes his army into two corps, commanded by Jackson and Longstreet, who are both promoted to lieutenant general.

NOV. 7. McClellan is relieved of his command. Though some officers urge him to resist the order, he turns the army over to his replacement, Gen. Burnside.

NOV. 10. In an emotional scene, McClellan says farewell to his army and takes the train for Washington.

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