This was a disastrous month for the Confederacy, which sustained decisive defeats at two key points that permanently turned the tide of the war. The largest battle ever fought in North America took place, and relentless Federal operations continued in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Charleston Harbor. Meanwhile, the North was torn by dissent over the new military draft.
1 Jul – Advance elements of the Federal and Confederate armies clashed in southern Pennsylvania, beginning what would grow into the most terrible battle in American history.
2 Jul – The Federal and Confederate armies gathered south of Gettysburg, where General Robert E. Lee launched ferocious attacks on both Federal flanks.
2 Jul – Major General William S. Rosecrans’s Federal Army of the Cumberland captured Tullahoma, but Rosecrans still faced criticism for not moving against Chattanooga fast enough.
3 Jul – General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia launched a massive, desperate charge to destroy the Federal Army of the Potomac once and for all.
3 Jul – The Confederate soldiers and residents under siege in Vicksburg were on the verge of being starved into submission.
4 Jul – Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton’s Confederates formally surrendered on Independence Day, transferring the mighty stronghold of Vicksburg to Federal hands.
4 Jul – General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia began retreating from Gettysburg, but the swelling Potomac River threatened to trap Lee in hostile territory.
4 Jul – Confederate officials arrived off Hampton Roads, Virginia, to negotiate prisoner exchange terms with the Federals. They were also unofficially authorized to negotiate a possible end to the war.
6 Jul – Federal army-navy forces stepped up efforts to capture the vital port of Charleston, South Carolina, by focusing on the Confederate batteries on the islands south of the harbor.
7 Jul – General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia reached the Potomac River, but Major General George G. Meade was reluctant to pursue.
8 Jul – General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia prepared for a battle while still stranded on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.
8 Jul – Letter from 2nd Lieutenant John Townsend Ketchum, Company M, 4th New York Cavalry
9 Jul – Major General Nathaniel P. Banks’s Federal Army of the Gulf captured the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, opening the waterway to Federal commerce and cutting the Confederacy in two.
10 Jul – Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals approached the Mississippi capital of Jackson to confront General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederates.
10 Jul – Letter from Florence McCarthy, a chaplain for the 7th Virginia Volunteer Infantry
10 Jul – Letter from Sergeant Edwin Fay of the Minden Rangers
11 Jul – Federal forces unsuccessfully attacked Battery Wagner near Charleston Harbor, and then prepared to try again.
12 Jul – Major General George G. Meade prepared his Federal Army of the Potomac to attack, but General Robert E. Lee prepared his Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to withdraw.
13 Jul – Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan embarked on another Kentucky raid, but this time he crossed the Ohio River and invaded the North.
14 Jul – General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia tried escaping to Virginia, while Major General George G. Meade’s Federal Army of the Potomac finally advanced.
15 Jul – Rioting over Federal conscription entered its third day, leaving New York City in the hands of a violent, angry mob.
16 Jul – General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederates abandoned Jackson and central Mississippi as superior Federal numbers closed in on them.
18 Jul – Federal forces suffered a severe repulse in a second attack on Morris Island south of Charleston, despite a heroic effort by the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry.
19 Jul – General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia hurried to get through the Blue Ridge, and Major General George G. Meade’s Federal Army of the Potomac hurried to cut them off.
23 Jul – Major General George G. Meade’s Federal Army of the Potomac missed another opportunity to destroy General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.
25 Jul – Major General William S. Rosecrans prepared his Federal Army of the Cumberland to advance on Chattanooga, while his superiors continued pressing him to move faster.
26 Jul – Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan and his cavalry troopers surrendered to Federal officials after a month-long raid through Indiana and Ohio.
28 Jul – Both the Federal Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia settled into position, as Major General George G. Meade was dissuaded from attacking and General Robert E. Lee submitted his official report on the Battle of Gettysburg.
Last Updated: 9/30/2018