Reconstruction Period Research Forum
• South Carolina is the first state to secede from the Union. Federal forces seize the merchant ship Erie with a cargo of 890 slaves. Her captain, Nathaniel Gordon, is hanged in 1862.
• According to the census, 4,441,830 black people live in the U.S., which represents 14.1 percent of the total U.S. population. Of this number, 488,070 are free and 3,953,760 are held in slavery.
• The Confederates attack Fort Sumter; the Civil War begins.
• Thousands of slaves flee to Union lines and join the Union cause.
• Union forces take possession of Port Royal Sound, South Carolina. The federal occupation means freedom for several thousand slaves.
• Freedmen's aid and relief organizations form in major cities all over the North to assist newly freed slaves.
• Congress admits Kansas into the Union under its state constitution prohibiting slavery.
• Slavery is banned in the Nebraska Territory.
• The Confiscation Act emancipates slaves within Union Army lines in Confederate territory.