|Centuries:||18th century – 19th century – 20th century|
|Decades:||1830s 1840s 1850s – 1860s – 1870s 1880s 1890s|
|Years:||1859 1860 1861 – 1862 – 1863 1864 1865|
|1862 in topic:|
|Archaeology – Architecture – Art – Literature – Music|
|Australia – Canada – France – Germany – Mexico – Philippines – South Africa – US – UK|
|Rail Transport – Science – Sports|
|Lists of leaders|
|Colonial Governors – State leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Births – Deaths|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Establishments – Disestablishments|
|Ab urbe condita||2615|
|British Regnal year||25 Vict. 1 – 26 Vict. 1|
— to —壬戌年十一月十一日
|- Vikram Samvat||1918–1919|
|- Shaka Samvat||1784–1785|
|- Kali Yuga||4963–4964|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||862–863|
|Japanese calendar||Bunkyū 2
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 12 days|
|Minguo calendar||50 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2405|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 1862|
Year 1862 was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day later Julian calendar. This year was named by Mitchell Stephens as the greatest year to read newspapers.
- January 1 – Britain annexes Lagos Island in modern-day Nigeria.
- January 6 – French, Spanish, and British forces arrive in Veracruz, Mexico, beginning the French intervention in Mexico.
- January 10 – John Gately Downey, 7th Governor of California, is succeeded by Amasa Leland Stanford.
- January 30 – American Civil War: The first US ironclad warship, the USS Monitor, is launched.
- January 31 – Alvan Graham Clark makes the first observation of Sirius B, a white dwarf star, through an eighteen inch telescope at Northwestern University.
- February 1 – American Civil War: Julia Ward Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic is published for the first time in the Atlantic Monthly.
- February 2 – First railway opens in New Zealand, by Dun Mountain Copper Mining Company.
- February 6 – American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant gives the United States its first victory of the war, by capturing Fort Henry, Tennessee.
- February 11–16 – American Civil War: Battle of Fort Donelson: General Ulysses S. Grant attacks Fort Donelson, Tennessee, capturing it on the last day.
- February 20 – Ángel de Saavedra, Duke of Rivas, named director of Spain's La Real Academia Española de la Lengua ( Royal Academy of Spanish Language ).
- February 21 – American Civil War: Battle of Valverde fought near Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory.
- February 22 – American Civil War: Jefferson Davis is officially inaugurated in Richmond, Virginia, to a 6-year term as president of the Confederate States of America.
- March 7 – American Civil War: The Battle of Pea Ridge: The Confederates are shut out of Missouri.
- March 8 – American Civil War: The iron-clad CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) is launched at Hampton Roads, Virginia; the Battle of Hampton Roads starts the same day.
- March 9 – American Civil War: First battle between two ironclad warships, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, begins.
- March 13 – American Civil War: The U.S. federal government forbids all Union army officers from returning fugitive slaves, thus effectively annulling the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and setting the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation.
- March 28 – American Civil War – Battle of Glorieta Pass: In New Mexico, Union forces succeed in stopping the Confederate invasion of New Mexico territory (the battle began on March 26).
- April 1 – The Spanish and the British end their alliance with France in the French intervention in Mexico..
- April 5 – American Civil War – Battle of Yorktown: The battle begins when Union forces under General George B. McClellan close in on the Confederate capital Richmond, Virginia.
- April 6 – American Civil War: In Tennessee, the Battle of Shiloh begins.
- April 7 – American Civil War – Battle of Shiloh: The Union Army under General Ulysses S. Grant defeats the Confederates near Shiloh, Tennessee.
- April 12 – American Civil War – Andrew's Raid - Union volunteers steal a Confederate locomotive, setting off The Great Locomotive Chase, famously involving the use of The General steam locomotive, which still exists in the 21st century.
- April 13 – Government of Vietnam is forced to cede the territories of Biên Hòa, Gia Định and Dinh Tuong to France.
- April 25 – American Civil War – Capture of New Orleans: Forces under Union Admiral David Farragut capture the Confederate city of New Orleans, Louisiana.
- April 26 – American Civil War: The besieged Confederate garrison at Fort Macon, North Carolina surrenders.
- May 2 – The California State Normal School (later San Jose State University) is created by an Act of the California Legislature.
- May 5 – French intervention in Mexico – Battle of Puebla: Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza defeats the French Army; commemorated each year as "Cinco de Mayo" (Spanish "Fifth of May").
- May 11 – American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia is scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.
- May 15 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill into law creating the U.S. Bureau of Agriculture (later renamed U.S. Department of Agriculture).
- May 20 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law.
- May 24 – Westminster Bridge is opened in England. This new bridge designed by Thomas Page had replaced the old bridge.
- June 1 – American Civil War – Battle of Fair Oaks. Both sides claim victory.
- June 4 – American Civil War: Confederate troops evacuate Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for U.S. Army troops to capture Memphis, Tennessee.
- June 6 – American Civil War – Battle of Memphis: U.S. Army troops capture Memphis, Tennessee from the Confederate States
- June 8 – American Civil War – Battle of Cross Keys: Confederate troops under General Stonewall Jackson save the Army of Northern Virginia from a U.S. Army attack on the James Peninsula that was led by General George McClellan.
- June 12 – John Winter Robinson, the Secretary of State of Kansas, is convicted and removed from office as the result of a bond scandal, becoming the first state executive official to be impeached and removed from office in American history.
- June 26 – American Civil War – Battle of Mechanicsville: Confederate General Robert E. Lee defeats the troops of General George McClellan in the first of the Seven Days' Battles.
- July 1
- The Bureau of Internal Revenue, the forerunner of the Internal Revenue Service, is established in the United States.
- Princess Alice, the second daughter of Queen Victoria, marries Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine.
- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs into law the Pacific Railway Acts, authorizing construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad.
- The Russian State Library is founded.
- July 2 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Land Grant Act into law, creating a system of land grant colleges to teach agricultural and mechanical sciences across the United States.
- July 4 – Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll) extemporises the story that becomes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for the 10-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters on a rowboat trip on The Isis from Oxford to Godstow.
- July 16 – American Civil War: David G. Farragut becomes the first rear admiral in the U.S. Navy
- July 18 – First ascent of Dent Blanche, one of the highest summits in the Alps.
- July 23 – American Civil War: Henry W. Halleck takes command of the Union Army.
- August 5 – American Civil War – Battle of Baton Rouge: Along the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Confederate troops drive Union forces back into the city.
- August 6 – American Civil War: The Confederate ironclad CSS Arkansas is scuttled on the Mississippi River after suffering damage in a battle with the USS Essex near Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- August 9 – American Civil War – Battle of Cedar Mountain: At Cedar Mountain, Virginia, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson narrowly defeats Union forces under General John Pope.
- August 14 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln meets with a group of prominent African-Americans – the first time an American President had done so. He suggests that Black people should migrate to Africa or to Central America, but this advice is rejected.
- August 17 – Dakota War of 1862 begins in Minnesota as Lakota Sioux attack white settlements along the Minnesota River. They are overwhelmed by the U.S. Army six weeks later.
- August 19 – Dakota War of 1862: During an uprising in Minnesota, Lakota warriors decide not to attack heavily defended Fort Ridgely and instead turn to the settlement of New Ulm, killing white settlers along the way.
- August 21 – The Vienna Stadtpark opens its gates.
- August 28–August 30 – American Civil War – Second Battle of Bull Run: Confederate forces inflict a crushing defeat on Union General John Pope.
- September 1 – American Civil War – Battle of Chantilly: Confederate General Robert E. Lee leads his forces in an attack on retreating Union troops in Chantilly, Virginia, driving them away.
- September 2 – American Civil War: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln reluctantly restores Union General George B. McClellan to full command after General John Pope's disastrous defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run.
- September 5 – American Civil War: In the Confederacy's first invasion of the North, General Robert E. Lee leads 55,000 men of the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River at White's Ford near Leesburg, Virginia, into Maryland.
- September 17 – American Civil War –
- September 19 – American Civil War – Battle of Iuka: Union troops under Major General William Rosecrans defeat a Confederate force commanded by Major General Sterling Price at Iuka, Mississippi.
- September 22
- September 29 – Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck delivers his Blood and Iron speech to the Prussian Landtag.
- October 8 – American Civil War – Battle of Perryville: Union forces under General Don Carlos Buell halt the Confederate invasion of Kentucky by defeating troops led by General Braxton Bragg at Perryville, Kentucky.
- October 11 – American Civil War: In the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart and his men loot Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, during a raid into the North.
- October 23 – Otto is deposed as King of Greece.
- October 25 – In the Granadine Confederation, rebel troops of the southern states defeat government forces.
- November 5
- November 14 – American Civil War: President Abraham Lincoln approves the plan by General Ambrose Burnside to capture the Confederate capital city of Richmond, Virginia. This plan leads to a disastrous Union defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13).
- November 28 – American Civil War – Battle of Cane Hill: Union Army troops led by General John Blunt push back Confederate troops commanded by General John Marmaduke into northwestern the Boston Mountains of Arkansas.
- December – Peruvian slave raiders land on Easter Island, beginning a decade of the destruction of society and population on the island.
- December 1 – In his State of the Union Address, President Abraham Lincoln reaffirms the necessity of ending slavery as he ordered ten weeks earlier in his Emancipation Proclamation.
- December 2 – The first United States Navy hospital ships enter service.
- December 13 – Battle of Fredericksburg: The Union Army suffers massive casualties and abandons its attempts to capture the Confederate capital city of Richmond, Virginia.
- December 17 – General Order No. 11, which expels all Jews from his military district, is issued by General Ulysses S. Grant. This order is rescinded just a few weeks later.
- December 26 – William D. Duly hangs 38 Dakota Sioux Indians in Minnesota.
- December 26–29 – American Civil War – Battle of Chickasaw Bayou: Another victory for the Confederate Army, outnumbered two to one, results in six times as many Union casualties, defeating several assaults commanded by the Union general, William T. Sherman.
- December 30 – The USS Monitor sinks in storm in the Atlantic off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
- December 31 – American Civil War: President Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia into two. Meanwhile, the Battle of Stones River is fought near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Date unknown 
- Richard Jordan Gatling patents the Gatling gun.
- A smallpox epidemic breaks out in California.
- Francisco Solano López becomes the dictator of Paraguay.
- Donald McIntyre builds a settlement in northwest Queensland. This later becomes the town of Julia Creek, Queensland.
- The Notts County Football Club is founded.
- The Prussian Assembly rejects the military budget.
- Ramón Castilla loses power second time in Peru.
- Anna Leonowens accepts an offer made by the Siamese consul in Singapore, Tan Kim Ching, to teach the wives and children of Mongkut, the Kking of Siam.
- January 9 – Carrie Clark Ward, character actress (d. 1926)
- January 15 – Loie Fuller, American dancer (d. 1928)
- January 23 – David Hilbert, German mathematician (d. 1943)
- January 24 – Edith Wharton, American writer (d. 1937)
- January 29 – Frederick Delius, English composer (d. 1934)
- February 2 – George Arthur Boeckling, German businessman and the president of Cedar Point Pleasure Company (d. 1931)
- February 4 – George Ernest Morrison, Australian adventurer and journalist (d. 1920)
- February 7 – Bernard Ralph Maybeck, American architect (d. 1957)
- February 8 – Ferdinand Ferber, a French Army captain and aviation pioneer (d. 1909)
- February 25 – Stanisław Głąbiński, Polish politician, academic, lawyer and writer (d. 1941)
- March 4 – Jacob Robert Emden, Swiss astrophysicist and meteorologist (d. 1940)
- March 8 – George Frederick Phillips, Canadian-born military hero (d. 1904)
- March 13 – Jane Delano, American founder of the American Red Cross Nursing Service (d. 1919)
- March 17 – Silvio Gesell, economist (d. 1930)
- March 25 – William E. Johnson, American leader of the Anti-Saloon League (d. 1950)
- March 28 – Aristide Briand, French politician, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1932)
- March 29 – Adolfo Müller-Ury, artist (d. 1947)
- April 2 – Nicholas M. Butler, president of Columbia University and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1947)
- April 6 – Georges Darien, French writer (d. 1921)
- April 11 – Charles Evans Hughes, American jurist and statesman (d. 1948)
- April 26 – Edmund Charles Tarbell, American artist (d. 1938)
- April 27 – Rudolph Schildkraut, Istanbul born American actor (d. 1930)
- May 15 – Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian dramatist and narrator (d. 1931)
- May 27 – John Kendrick Bangs, American author and satirist (d. 1922)
- June 5 – Allvar Gullstrand, Swedish ophthalmologist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1930)
- June 7 – Philipp Lenard, Hungarian–German physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics (d. 1947)
- June 10 – Caroline Louise Dudley aka (Mrs. Leslie Carter), stage & screen actress (d. 1937)
- June 21 – Damrong Rajanubhab, Thai prince and historian (d. 1943)
- June 27 – May Irwin, Canadian actress and singer (d. 1938)
- July 2
- July 14 – Gustav Klimt, Austrian artist (d. 1918)
- July 16 – Ida B. Wells, American journalist, suffragist, and anti-lynching crusader (d. 1931)
- August 5 – Joseph Carey Merrick, English oddity (d. 1890)
- August 16 – Amos Alonzo Stagg, American football player and coach (d. 1965)
- August 21 – Emilio Salgari, Italian writer (d. 1911)
- August 22 – Claude Debussy, French composer (died 1918)
- August 26 – Herbert Booth, the third son of William and Catherine Booth (d. 1926)
- August 29
- September 11 – O. Henry, American writer (d. 1910)
- September 12 – Carl Eytel, German-American artist working in Palm Springs, California (d. 1925)
- September 19 – Arvid Lindman, Swedish admiral, industrialist, and politician (d. 1936)
- September 25 – Billy Hughes, seventh Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1952)
- October 3 – Johnny Briggs, English cricketer (d. 1902)
- October 18 – Mehmet Esat Bülkat, Ottoman general (d. 1952)
- October 19 – Auguste Lumière, French inventor (d. 1954)
- October 26 – Thomas J. Preston, Jr., Professor of Archeology at Princeton University, second husband of Frances Cleveland, widow of President Grover Cleveland (d. 1955)
- November 3 – Henry George, Jr., American politician (d. 1916)
- November 14 – George Washington Vanderbilt II, American businessman (d. 1914)
- November 15 – Gerhart Hauptmann, German writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1946)
- November 16 – Charles Turner, Australian cricketer (d. 1944)
- November 19 – Billy Sunday, American baseball player, evangelist, prohibitionist (d. 1935)
- December 8 – Georges Feydeau, French playwright (d. 1921)
- December 12 – J. Bruce Ismay, Shipping line magnate, White Star Line, (d. 1937)
- January 10 – Samuel Colt, American firearms inventor (b. 1814)z
- January 18 – John Tyler, 10th President of the United States (b. 1790)
- February 7 – Prosper Ménière, French scientist (b. 1799)
- February 20
- February 24 – Bernhard Severin Ingemann, Danish novelist and poet (b. 1789)
- March 22 – Manuel Robles Pezuela, former President of Mexico (executed) (b. 1817)
- April 6 – Albert Sidney Johnston, Confederate general (b. 1803)
- April 10 – W.H.L. Wallace, American Civil War general (b. 1821)
- April 19 – Louis P. Harvey, Governor of Wisconsin (b. 1820)
- May 6 – Henry David Thoreau, American author and philosopher (b. 1817)
- May 16 – Edward Gibbon Wakefield, theorist of colonization.
- May 21 – John Drew Sr., stage actor & manager, (b. 1827)
- May 21 – John Smith (idiot), fool, (b. 1827)
- July 24 – Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States (b. 1782)
- August 10 – Shusaku Honinbo, Japanese Go player (b. 1829)
- August 18 – Simon Fraser, Canadian explorer (b. 1776)
- August 20 – Javiera Carrera, Chilean independence fighter (b. 1771)
- September 6 – John Bird Sumner, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1780)
- September 14 – Charles Lennox Richardson, Englishman murdered in Japan (b. 1834)
- October 15 – Hans Daniel Ludwig Friedrich Hassenpflug, German statesman (b. 1794)
- November 13 – Ludwig Uhland, German poet (b. 1787)
- December 18 – Barbara Fritchie, U.S. patriot in Civil War (b. 1766)