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American History at Your Fingertips 

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Civil War Chronicles

Breaking News & Real-time Coverage
From the Editors of
American Heritage

  • March 12, 1862

    JACKSONVILLE, FL—Union forces from the USS Ottawa, led by Lieutenant Thomas Stevens, land and seize Jacksonville unopposed. 

  • March 9, 1862

    HAMPTON ROADS, VA—The USS Monitor and CSS Virginia clash for nearly four hours in the first naval battle between ironclads. Neither ship could claim victory, but the battle revolutionized naval warfare. 

  • March 8, 1862

    BENTON COUNTY, AR—Union Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis leads an outnumbered Union army to victory at the Battle of Pea Ridge. This victory ended the Confederate threat to Missouri and Federal soldiers secured northern Arkansas. 

  • March 6, 1862

    NEW YORK, NY—The USS Monitor leaves New York Harbor, accompanied by the USS Currituck and USS Sachem, headed for Hampton Roads, Virginia. 

  • March 2, 1862

    COLUMBUS, KY—Confederate General Leonidas Polk leaves Columbus, ending the Confederate defensive line of Kentucky. Polk initially violated Kentucky's neutrality by occupying Kentucky in September 1861. 

  • February 24, 1862

    NASHVILLE, TN—Following the Confederate defeat at Fort Donelson, Union forces under General Don Carlos Buell arrive in Nashville. Nashville was the first Confederate state capital to be captured, and would remain in Union hands for the remainder of the Civil War. 

  • February 18, 1862

    RICHMOND, VA—The Confederate Congress meets for the first time, where it hears about the surrender of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. 

  • February 12, 1862

    FORT DONELSON, TN—General Ulyssess S. Grant moves his Union forces overland from Fort Henry on the Tennessee River to the outer defenses of Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River. Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote would move his flotilla downstream to support Grant's advance. 

  • February 6, 1862

    FT HENRY, TN—A joint Union Army and Navy expedition captures Fort Henry along the Tennessee River, as Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman surrenders to Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote. The rising waters of the Tennessee condemned several of the defensive batteries, leaving it vulnerable to enemy fire. 

  • February 5, 1862

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM—Queen Victoria ends all export restrictions on munitions from Great Britain, opening up the market for both sides to import British gunpowder and firearms. 

Today
In History 

  • 1793

    President George Washington lays the cornerstone for the new U.S. Capitol building in Washington. On November 17, 1800, Congress held its first session in the partially completed Capitol. 

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  • 1947

    The National Security Act of 1947, signed two months prior by President Truman, goes into effect, establishing the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency. The act initiated the largest restructuring of the American armed forces. 

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