This article is about the year 1861.
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MDCCCLXI) was a
starting on Tuesday (
dominical letter F) of the
Gregorian calendar and a
common year starting on Sunday (
dominical letter A) of the
Julian calendar, the 1861st year of the
Common Era (CE) and
Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 861st year of the
2nd millennium, the 61st year of the
19th century, and the 2nd year of the
1860s decade. As of the start of 1861, the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
January 2 –
Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia dies and is succeeded by
January 3 –
American Civil War:
Delaware votes not to secede from the
January 9 – American Civil War:
Mississippi becomes the second state to secede from the Union.
January 10 – American Civil War:
Florida secedes from the Union.
January 11 – American Civil War:
Alabama secedes from the Union.
January 12 – American Civil War: Major
Robert Anderson sends dispatches to Washington.
January 19 – American Civil War:
Georgia secedes from the Union.
January 21 – American Civil War:
Jefferson Davis resigns from the
United States Senate.
January 26 – American Civil War:
Louisiana secedes from the Union.
January 29 –
Kansas is admitted as the 34th
February 1 – American Civil War:
Texas secedes from the Union.
February 4 – American Civil War: In
Montgomery, Alabama, the
Provisional Confederate States Congress is formed by representatives from the first six break-away
February 8 – American Civil War: The
Confederate States of America are formed, comprising the first six break-away States.
February 9 – American Civil War: Jefferson Davis is elected the Provisional President of the
Confederate States of America by the Weed Convention at Montgomery, Alabama.
- American Civil War: The U.S. House unanimously passes a resolution guaranteeing non-interference with slavery in any state.
- About 850 convicts at
Chatham Dockyard in England take over their prison in a riot.
February 13 –
Italian unification: The
Siege of Gaeta, stronghold of the Neapolitan King
Francis II, is ended by Piedmontese forces. Francis goes into exile.
February 18 – American Civil War: In Montgomery, Alabama, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as the provisional president of the Confederate States of America.
February 20 – In Britain, storms damage the
Crystal Palace and cause the collapse of the steeple of
February 23 – President-elect
Abraham Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington, D.C. after an
assassination attempt in
February 24 –
Battle of Ky Hoa: the French and the Spanish defeat the Vietnamese.
February 27 – Russian troops fire upon a crowd in
Warsaw protesting Russian rule over Poland, killing 5 protesters.
February 28 –
Colorado is organized as a
United States territory.
March 3 (
February 19 O.S.) –
Emancipation reform of 1861:
Serfdom is abolished in the
March 10 –
El Hadj Umar Tall seizes the city of
Ségou, destroying the
Bamana Empire of
March 11 – American Civil War: The
Constitution of the
Confederate States of America is adopted.
March 13 –
Tsushima incident: the Russian corvette Posadnik arrives at
Tsushima Island in the
Korea Strait, Japan, provoking a reaction from the Japanese Shogunate.
March 17 – Italian unification: The
Kingdom of Italy is proclaimed by the new Parliament, with
Victor Emmanuel II of
Piedmont-Sardinia becoming its
March 19 – The
First Taranaki War ends in New Zealand.
March 21 –
Vice President of the Confederacy, gives the infamous
Cornerstone Speech in
Savannah, Georgia, in which he declares that slavery is the natural condition of blacks and the foundation of the
March 28 –
Confederate Arizona: convention in present-day Tucson ratified the ordinance of secession of southern part of
New Mexico Territory.
March 30 –
Discovery of the chemical elements: Sir
William Crookes announces his discovery of
April 7 – A population census is taken in the United Kingdom.
April 12 – The
American Civil War begins with the bombardment of
April 13 – American Civil War:
Fort Sumter surrenders to Southern forces.
April 15 – American Civil War: President Abraham Lincoln issues a Proclamation calling for 75,000 men to confront in the South, "combinations too powerful to be suppressed in the ordinary way".
April 17 – American Civil War: The state of
Virginia secedes from the Union.
April 20 – American Civil War:
Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of the state of
April 24 (N.S.) –
Bezdna in Russia is the scene of a peasant uprising; the military open fire and nearly 5000 are killed.
April 25 – American Civil War: The
Union Army arrives in Washington, D.C.
April 26 –
Giovanni Schiaparelli discovers the
April 27 – American Civil War:
May 6 – American Civil War:
Arkansas secedes from the
May 7 – American Civil War:
Tennessee secedes from the
May 8 – American Civil War:
Richmond, Virginia is named the capital of the
Confederate States of America.
North Star Affair: The British merchant ship North Star leaves Hong Kong for Nagasaki, Japan. Chinese pirates board the vessel, kill an officer, and escape with a large quantity of gold.
- American Civil War:
Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom issues a "proclamation of
neutrality" which recognizes the
breakaway states as having belligerent rights.
C/1861 J1 (the "Great Comet of 1861") is discovered in Australia.
May 14 – The Canellas meteorite, an 859
gram chondrite type
meteorite, strikes Earth near
May 20 – American Civil War:
Kentucky proclaims its
neutrality which lasts until
September 3, when
Confederate forces enter the state.
North Carolina secedes from the
May 21 – Russian sailors clash with a group of Japanese samurai and farmers at
October 9 – American Civil War:
Battle of Santa Rosa Island – Confederate forces are defeated in their effort to take the island.
October 21 – American Civil War:
Battle of Ball's Bluff –
Union forces under Colonel
Edward Baker are defeated by
Confederate troops in the second major battle of the war. Baker, a close friend of
Abraham Lincoln, is killed in the fighting.
October 24 –
HMS Warrior, the world's first ocean-going (all) iron-hulled armored battleship, is completed and commissioned into the British
October 25 –
Toronto Stock Exchange established in Canada.
October 26 – The
Pony Express announces its closure.
October 28 – American Civil War: The
Missouri legislature takes up a bill for Missouri's secession from the Union.
October 30 – American Civil War: The bill for Missouri's secession from the Union is passed.
- The Spanish, French and British governments sign a tripartite agreement to intervene in Mexico, in the hope of recovering unpaid debts.
Missouri secession bill is signed by Governor Jackson.
- American Civil War: Citing failing health, Union General
Winfield Scott resigns as Commander of the
United States Army.
November 1 – American Civil War: U.S. President
Abraham Lincoln appoints
George B. McClellan as commander of the
Union Army, replacing the aged General
November 2 – American Civil War: Western Department Union General
John C. Frémont is relieved of command and replaced by
November 6 – American Civil War:
Jefferson Davis is elected president of the
Confederate States of America.
November 5 – The first
Melbourne Cup horse race is held in
November 7 – American Civil War:
Battle of Belmont – In Belmont, Missouri, Union forces led by General
Ulysses S. Grant overrun a
Confederate camp but are forced to retreat when Confederate reinforcements arrive.
November 8 – American Civil War:
Trent Affair – The
USS San Jacinto stops the United Kingdom mail ship Trent and arrests two
James Mason and
John Slidell, sparking a diplomatic crisis between the U.K. and U.S..
November 10 – Following the death of
Henri Mouhot, his servant Phrai begins shipping his diaries and specimens back to the west; they include accounts of Mouhot's discovery of
November 19 – American Civil War:
Battle of Round Mountain in
Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma.
November 21 – American Civil War:
Confederate President Jefferson Davis appoints
Judah Benjamin Secretary of War.
November 25 – A
tenement collapses in the
Old Town, Edinburgh killing 35 with 15 survivors.
November 28 – Acting on the ordinance passed by the Jackson government, the Confederate Congress admits
Missouri as the 12th Confederate state.