1858 – The Lincoln-Douglas debates occur between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, both candidates for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, debating questions of slavery and states rights

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December 20, 1860 – South Carolina is the first state to secede from the Union

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April 12-14, 1861 – Bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, and beginning of Civil War

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May 31, 1862 – Confederate forces clash with Union forces at the Battle of Seven Pines near Richmond with the result that Confederate General Joseph F. Johnson is badly wounded and is replaced by Confederate General Robert E. Lee

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September 17, 1862 – in the bloodiest single day of the Civil War, the Union Army under General George B. McClellan and the Confederate Army under General Robert E. Lee fight to a standstill at the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland. Afterwards, Lincoln visits McClellan at Antietam Battlefield.

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July 1-3, 1863 – After Pickett’s charge fails to break the center of the Union army led by General Meade on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg in the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate army are forced to retreat back across the Potomac River to Virginia

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