The Confederacy scored its most remarkable military victory, but lost one of its best commanders. Vicksburg and Port Hudson came under Federal siege. The Confederate Congress enacted several new laws, and the U.S. War Department authorized the recruitment of black troops. A prominent northern Democrat was arrested for opposing the war, while Lee embarked on a bold new strategy.
1 May – General Robert E. Lee rushed to trap the Federal Army of the Potomac in the Wilderness, while portions of the two armies clashed outside Fredericksburg to the east.
1 May – Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s Federals tried pushing inland from the Mississippi River to gain a foothold on the ground south of Vicksburg. Confederates blocked their advance at Port Gibson.
2 May – Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s Confederates attacked the unsuspecting Federal right flank, but Jackson was seriously wounded in the aftermath.
3 May – General Robert E. Lee’s Confederates resumed their attacks in hopes of cutting off the Army of the Potomac before it could reach the Rapidan River.
3 May – Federals attacked the Confederate defenders on Marye’s Heights in a fight reminiscent of the Federal disaster at Fredericksburg last December.
4 May – Confederates regained Marye’s Heights outside Fredericksburg, as Federals retreated across the Rappahannock River.
4 May – Major General John S. Bowen’s Confederates evacuated Grand Gulf, as Federals under Major General Ulysses S. Grant continued their eastward advance from Port Gibson.
5 May – The Federal Army of the Potomac retreated across the Rappahannock River to regroup in their original camps at Falmouth, Virginia.
7 May – President Abraham Lincoln and General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck arrived at Aquia Creek to meet with Major General Joseph Hooker regarding the Army of the Potomac’s latest defeat.
10 May – Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, commanding the Second Corps in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, died after being shot on May 2.
12 May – A lone Confederate brigade offered stiff resistance against one of Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s Federal corps near the town of Raymond, Mississippi.
14 May – Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s Federals seized the Mississippi capital as part of their roundabout offensive against Vicksburg.
15 May – Confederate General Robert E. Lee attended a strategy conference with President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet at Richmond, where Lee unveiled a daring plan to invade the North once more.
16 May – Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s Federals headed west from Jackson and took on Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton’s Confederates near the halfway point to Vicksburg.
17 May – Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s Federals routed Confederates under Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton and sent them fleeing into the defenses outside Vicksburg.
18 May – Major General Ulysses S. Grant followed up his overwhelming Federal victory on the Big Black River by driving toward Vicksburg, the ultimate goal of his campaign.
19 May – President Abraham Lincoln directed Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton to banish former Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham to the South for voicing anti-war views that the administration considered dangerous.
20 May – General Robert E. Lee submitted a request to the Davis administration to reorganize his Confederate army before launching his second northern invasion.
21 May – Major General Nathaniel P. Banks’s Federal Army of the Gulf finally began advancing on Port Hudson, Louisiana, after conducting a series of ancillary operations.
22 May – Major General Ulysses S. Grant resolved to send his Federals against the Confederate defenses outside Vicksburg once more.
25 May – Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton offered Major General Ulysses S. Grant a truce, while President Jefferson Davis tried hurrying Confederate reinforcements and Federal army-navy forces began a siege.
27 May – Major General Nathaniel P. Banks directed his Federal Army of the Gulf to attack the strong Confederate defenses at Port Hudson, Louisiana.
31 May – Major General Joseph Hooker replaced his cavalry commander, Confederates raided his depot, and General Robert E. Lee sought to hurry his planned northern invasion.
Last Updated: 9/30/2018