4,932 firms fail in panic. New York City 1857
The failure of the New York branch of the Ohio Life and Trust Company on August 24, set off a financial panic here that has spread across the nation. Most of the city’s banks were forced to suspend specie payments, and the branch office’s parent company went under with huge liabilities to eastern institutions. Many of the Western railroads have plunged into bankruptcy, as have a number of speculative enterprises. The panic, which was caused by over speculation in railroad securities and real estate, has led to the failure of 4,932 companies
Trans-Atlantic cable service breaks down. London Sept. 2, 1858
The first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable, which went into operation only 28 days ago, ceased to operate today. Its failure is believed to be the result of a break somewhere in its 3,000 mile length, and officials do not know whether the break can be repaired. The cable was largely the work of Cyrus W. Field, the American financier. The 48-year-old field, who made his first fortune in the paper business, founded the New York, Newfoundland and London Telegraph Company in the United States and helped organize a similar company in England, arranging for both American and British ships to lay the cable, which runs from the United States to England via Newfoundland. Filed insists the setback is only temporary.
Pony Express makes 11 day run to West. Sacremento California, Apr. 13, 1860.
A thin cloud of dust rising in the distance inspired a wave of elation here today as hundreds gathered to hail the first Pony Express delivery. Minutes later, young Tom Hamilton received a rousing welcome as he galloped furiously into town bearing a satchel with 49 letters and three newspapers that left St. Joseph, Missouri, just 11 days ago. The relentless run across 1966 miles of desolate prairie, rugged mountains and desert wastes was organised by Russell and majors of the Central Overland California & Pike’s Peak Express Service Company.
Lincoln nominated by Republican Party. Chicago, May 16, 1860.
As a nearby cannon boomed to mark the occasion, Abraham Lincoln was declared the Republican presidential nominee today, defeating New York abolitionist William Seaward on the third ballot at the party’s national convention here. Hannibal Hamlin of Maine was nominated for vice-president. It was a major victory for the towering lawyer from Springfield Illinois, a man who had once served in the house of Representatives but who had tasted defeat when he lost a Senate race two years ago to the Democrat Stephen S. Douglas, after their famous debates.
Lincoln ekes out presidential victory. Washington Nov. 6, 1860.
Despite his own gloomy forecast, Abraham Lincoln of illinois was elected President of the United States today, topping a political career that had known both victory and defeat. While failing to win a majority of the popular vote, the 51-year-old lawyer carried 18 states with 180 of the total 303 electoral  votes. Elected Vice-President is Hannibal Hamlin of Maine. Lincoln, who rarely shows emotion, left the cheering throngs on the streets of Springfield to rush home and excitedly tell his wife: “Mary, Mary, we are elected.”
One by One, states join Confederacy. Tennessee June 8, 1861.
Voters endorsed Tennessee’s secession from the Union today, making it the 11th state to join the Confederacy, though the state remains sharply divided. Sentiment in East Tennessee counties is strongly pro-union. Jefferson Davis, the acting president of the Confederacy, now heads a government of four border states and seven Deep South states. Fiery South Carolina led the way last December 20, shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected President.
Fort Sumter is bombarded, yields to Southerners. Charleston S.C. Apr. 14, 1861.
Following a bombardment lasting more than two days, the 73 man United States garrison, led by Major Robert Anderson, has surrendered to General Pierre Beauregard, commander of the Provisional Forces of the  Confederate States of America. For several months in both North and South, all eyes have been watching the new island fort in Charleston harbour and its beleaguered commander. Carefully avoiding the use of the word WAR President Lincoln today declared a state of “insurrection” as he issued an appeal for 75,000 volunteers.
Grant holds fast at Battle of Shiloh.
Tennessee Apr. 7, 1862.
A Confederate army led by General Albert S Johnston has pounded at Union forces led by General Ulysses S Grant for over 36 hours, but failed to dislodge him from his lines. Johnston, and about 40,000 Confederate troops, attacked Grant, with equal force of men, near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee Rive. Grant’s forces were encamped on an east-west line, running at right angles to the river, which anchored his left.. Both armies remained in place after the battle, the Union having lost approximately 13,000 men; the Confederates 10,000.
Stuart’s ride wreaks havoc on McClellan. White House, Virginia June 15, 1862.
Brigadier General James well Brown “Jeb” Stuart looks like the stuff legends are made of. He wears an ostrich feather in his hat and a grey cape lined with scarlet, and he travels with abanjo player who keeps him entertained. But he is also a competent and aggressive leader of light horse who, with 1,200 of his cavalrymen, rode completely around General George McClellan’s army, which is besieging Richmond. “Stuart’s Ride” behind the Union lines was four days of great military adventure!
Open-Hearth steel furnace is installed. New York 1862
Quality steel will become widely available as the first open-hearth furnace goes into operation. This new method of producing steel was invented in 1856 by a German, Fredrich Siemens. Using an efficient technique of recirculating gasses through the furnace, the hearth can achieve higher temperatures, making use of scrap steel and pig iron, remove impurities and produce steel with a desired carbon content. The amount of carbon in the steel determines the hardness and smoothness of the finished product. Availability of this kind of steel will reap enormous benefits in the production of all kinds of tools.
Dissatisfied Lincoln removes McClellan Nov 1862
President Lincoln has fired General George McClellan from his job as commander of the Army of the Potomac and turned over the job to General Burnside. The main reason for the President’s decision seems to have been McClellan’s unwillingness to do battle. In Addition, McClellan has made many enemies, some of them in Lincoln’s Cabinet. The stalemate at Antietam was probably the last straw for Lincoln.
North orders first Draft. Washington March 3, 1863.
With today’s signing of the Conscription Act, President Lincoln can, by executive order, compel American citizens to report for duty in the Civil War - unless they can buy their way out instead. The law empowers the War Department to draft males of 20 to 46, for the Union army. However, for a fee of $300, one’s military obligation can be waived. This provision is expected to raise needed revenue for the war effort; on the other hand, critics contend that it give unfair advantage to the rich. It is no doubt going to stir angry sentiment among the poor.
Congress initiated the resolution because of the drop in enrolment of volunteers and the high rate of desertion. Last year each side lost about 105 of its ranks to desertion. Worse. There is a new breed of soldier: the bounty jumper. Undesirables enlist, take the army’s cash bounty, desert as soon as possible, change their name and find another regiment and do the same again.
Lee mauls Hooker; Jackson wounded. Chancellorsville, Virginia May 6, 1863.
It is a hallowed military dictum that a general should never divide his forces in the face of the enemy, but Robert E. Lee did it, not once but three times and, routed the Army of the Potomac under its new commander General “Fighting Joe” Hooker. This happened as twilight was falling and as one Union soldier put it “Darkness was upon us and Jackson was on us and fear was on us.”
But at one point Jackson got out in front of his own troops, looking into the darkness for a road that his men could follow. Soldiers from a North Carolina regiment mistakenly fired on him, wounding him severely.
May 10. The best tactical commander that General Lee had, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson died today of his wounds a the age of 39.
Desperate Gettysburg  battle forces Lee’s retreat Pennsylvania July 3, 1863
After three days of the bloodiest fighting of the war, the Army of the Potomac has finally scored a decisive victory against its tormentor, the formidable General Robert E Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia.
Today, the third day saw the worst fighting as General Lee sent 14,000 men under General George Pickett, against the federal centre, where they were repulsed with terrible carnage. Only half of Pickett’s men returned to their lines after the charge. The attack on the Union centre was preceded by the biggest artillery duel of the war.; Lee had concentrated 150 cannons in front of his army and, at 3 p.m. All of them began firing. The Union soldiers responded with all its cannons and for a while, 200 guns were firing at once. Both lines were obscured by vast clouds of gun smoke, shot and shell.
Some 20 minutes after the guns stopped firing, the divisions under Pickett formed a battle line a mile wide. It may have been the most spectacular sight in the history of warfare. The Confederate army began its advance, red battle flags snapping in the wind. The Southerners had nearly a mile of open country to cross to get to the Federals, and the blue coats simply tore them to pieces.
Gettysburg Address. November 20, 1863.
Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated  - can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting place of those who have given their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our power to add or detract. The world will very little note nor long remember what we say here; but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here, to the unfinished work that they thus far have so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us; that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here have the last full measure of devotion; tat we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in van; that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth.
Union troops repulsed. Georgia Sept. 20, 1863.
“A mad irregular battle” I how one Federal officer described it, “very much resembling guerrilla warfare on a vast scale”. It could also have been described as a brawl. The Union got the worst of it, being hammered for two days by General Braxton Bragg’s army in the rock and scrub and sandy hills of northern Georgia. General George H Thomas however refused to run and is being called “the Rock of Chickamuga”
Grant, taking over Federal forces, plans all-out drive to end war. Culpepper, Virginia April 4, 1864.
Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant who may rival President Lincoln in popularity, is planning a consolidated strike against the Confederacy in an all-out effort to win the war. According to Grant, he has carte blanche from Lincoln, who stated that “he never professed to be a military man or to know how campaigns should be conducted.”
Sherman takes Atlanta, burns city, marches to sea. Georgia Nov. 16 1864
Atlanta lay in smouldering ruins today as General William Tecumseh Sherman and his troops evacuated the city and headed eastward toward the Atlantic. After months of shelling and nearby battles, Atlanta became an inferno yesterday. Sherman was determined that this industrial and railroad centre would no longer serve as a major supply centre for the Confederacy.
The massive destruction began when the troops destroyed a railroad roundhouse, piled the railroad depot high with wagons, tents and bedding, and put a torch to them. The blaze at the railroad square spawned a firestorm. A foundry, an oil refinery, the Atlanta Hotel, theatres, stores, the fire stations and the jail all went up in flames..
Nevada becomes 26th state in Union. Washington DC Oct. 31, 1864.
The former Territory of Nevada was no sooner officially accepted as the 36th state in the union today than many political observers were discussing the implications of its quick admission. Because at this point the presidential  election next month still appears to be a toss up, Washington insiders believe it is more thn a co-incidence that Nevada has been admitted at this particular moment.
1857 -1864
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