1865 in the United States
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|1865 in the United States|
|Years:||1862 1863 1864 – 1865 – 1866 1867 1868|
36 stars (1865–1867)
- President: Abraham Lincoln (Republican/National Union) (until April 15), Andrew Johnson (Democratic/National Union/none) (starting April 15)
- Vice President:
- Chief Justice: Salmon P. Chase
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Schuyler Colfax (R-Indiana)
- Congress: 38th (until March 4), 39th (starting March 4)
- January 13 – American Civil War: The Second Battle of Fort Fisher begins when United States forces launch a major amphibious assault against the Confederate stronghold of Fort Fisher, North Carolina.
- January 15 – American Civil War: United States forces capture Fort Fisher.
- January 31 – American Civil War: Confederate General Robert E. Lee becomes general-in-chief.
- February 17 – American Civil War: Columbia, South Carolina burns as Confederate forces flee from advancing Union forces.
- February 22 – Tennessee adopts a new constitution that abolishes slavery.
- March 3 – The U.S. Congress authorizes formation of the Freedmen's Bureau.
- March 4 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated for a second term; Andrew Johnson becomes Vice President.
- March 13 – American Civil War: The Confederate States of America agrees to the use of African American troops.
- March 18 – American Civil War: The Congress of the Confederate States of America adjourns for the last time.
- March 19 – American Civil War: The Battle of Bentonville begins; by the end of the battle on March 21 the Confederate forces retreat from Four Oaks, North Carolina.
- March 25
- American Civil War: In Virginia, Confederate forces capture Fort Steadman from the Union. Lee's army suffers heavy casualties during the battle of Fort Stedman—about 2,900, including 1,000 captured in the Union counterattack. Confederate positions are weakened. After the battle, Lee's defeat is only a matter of time.
- The "Claywater Meteorite" explodes just before reaching ground level in Vernon County, Wisconsin; fragments having a combined mass of 1.5 kg are recovered.
- April 1 – American Civil War – Battle of Five Forks: In Petersburg, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee begins his final offensive.
- April 2 – American Civil War: "Evacuation Sunday": Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet flee the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, which is taken by Union troops the next day.
- April 9 – American Civil War: General Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the American Civil War.
- April 14 (Good Friday)
- Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: U. S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot while attending an evening performance of the farce Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Doctors attend the President in the theater then move him to a house across the street. He goes into a coma upon being laid diagonally on a bed.
- U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward and his family are attacked in his home by Lewis Powell.
- April 15 – Inauguration of Andrew Johnson: President Lincoln dies of his gunshot wound early this morning and Vice President Andrew Johnson becomes the 17th President of the United States.
- April 18 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his entire cabinet arrive in Charlotte with a contingent of 1,000 soldiers.
- April 26
- April 27
- May 4 – American Civil War: Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, commanding all Confederate forces in Alabama, Mississippi, and eastern Louisiana, surrenders his forces to Union General Edward Canby at Citronelle, Alabama, effectively ending all Confederate resistance east of the Mississippi.
- May 5
- May 10 – American Civil War: Jefferson Davis is captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia.
- May 13 – American Civil War – Battle of Palmito Ranch: In far south Texas, more than a month after Confederate General Lee's surrender, the last land battle of the civil war ends with a Confederate victory.
- May 23 – Grand Review of the Armies: Union Army troops parade down Pennsylvania Avenue (Washington, D.C.) to celebrate the end of the American Civil War.
- May 25 – Mobile magazine explosion: 300 are killed in Mobile, Alabama when an ordnance depot explodes.
- June 2 – American Civil War: Confederate forces west of the Mississippi under General Edmund Kirby Smith surrender at Galveston, Texas, becoming the last to do so.
- June 19 – American Civil War: Union Major General Gordon Granger lands at Galveston, Texas and informs the people of Texas of the Emancipation Proclamation. (an event celebrated in modern times each year as Juneteenth).
- June 23 – American Civil War: At Fort Towson in Oklahoma Territory, Confederate General Stand Watie, a Cherokee Indian, surrenders the last significant Rebel army.
- July 5 – The U.S. Secret Service is founded.
- July 7 – Following Abraham Lincoln's assassination on April 14, the 4 conspirators condemned to death during the trial are hanged, including David Herold, George Atzerodt, Lewis Payne and Mary Surratt. Her son, John Surratt, escapes execution by fleeing to Canada, and ultimately to Egypt.
- July 21 – In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots Dave Tutt dead in what is regarded as the first true western showdown.
- July 30 – The steamer Brother Jonathan sinks off the California coast, killing 225.
- October 25 – The paddlewheel steamer SS Republic sinks off the Georgia coast, with a cargo of $400,000 in coins.
- November 10 – Major Henry Wirz, the superintendent of a prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia, is hanged, becoming the only American Civil War soldier to be executed for war crimes.
- December 11 – The U.S. Congress creates the House Appropriations Committee and the Committee on Banking and Commerce, reducing the tasks of the Committee on Ways and Means.
- December 18 – The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (which forever abolishes slavery) is declared ratified by three-quarters of the states of the United States.
- December 21 – The Kappa Alpha Order is founded at Washington College.
- December 24 – The Ku Klux Klan is formed by six Confederate Army veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee, to resist Reconstruction and intimidate "carpetbaggers" and "scalawags", as well as to repress the freed slaves.
- January 5 – Johnson N. Camden, Jr., United States Senator from Kentucky from 1914 till 1915. (died 1942)
- June 29 – William Borah, United States Senator from Idaho from 1907 till 1940. (died 1940)
- July 14 – Arthur Capper, United States Senator from Kansas from 1919 till 1949. (died 1951)
- November 2 – Warren G. Harding, United States Senator from Ohio from 1915 till 1921 and President of the United States from 1921 until 1923. (died 1923)
- April 15 – Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (born 1809)
- April 26 – John Wilkes Booth, actor and assassin of Abraham Lincoln (born 1838)
- May 20 – William K. Sebastian, United States Senator from Arkansas from 1848 till 1861. (born 1812)
- May 21 – Jeremiah Clemens, United States Senator from Alabama from 1849 till 1853. (born 1814)
- December 16 – Philip Allen, United States Senator from Rhode Island from 1853 till 1859. (born 1785)
- Media related to 1865 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons
- Booknotes interview with Jay Winik on April 1865: The Month That Saved America, July 29, 2001.