Culture Wikia

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Template:C19 year in topic

1864 (MDCCCLXIV) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1864th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 864th year of the , the 64th year of the , and the 5th year of the decade. As of the start of Template:Year article header/Julian day, which remained in localized use until 1923.

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File:Css hunley on pier.jpg

February 17: Submarine H. L. Hunley

  • January 16Denmark rejects a Prussian–Austrian ultimatum to repeal the Danish Constitution, which says that Schleswig-Holstein is part of Denmark.[1][2]
  • January 21New Zealand Wars: The Tauranga Campaign starts.
  • February – John Wisden publishes The Cricketer's Almanack for the year 1864 in England; it will go on to become the major annual cricket reference publication.
  • February 1 – Danish-Prussian War (Second Schleswig War): 57,000 Austrian and Prussian troops cross the Eider River into Denmark.
  • February 17 – American Civil War: The tiny Confederate hand-propelled submarine H. L. Hunley sinks the Template:Ship using a spar torpedo in Charleston Harbor, becoming the first submarine to sink an enemy ship, although the submarine and her crew of eight are also lost.[3]
  • February 25 – American Civil War: The first Northern prisoners arrive at the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia (the 500 prisoners had left Richmond, Virginia seven days before).
  • March 1Alejandro Mon y Menéndez takes office as Prime Minister of Spain.
  • March 9 – American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln appoints Ulysses S. Grant commander in chief of all Union armies.
  • March 10 – American Civil War: The Red River Campaign begins as Union troops reach Alexandria, Louisiana.
  • March 11Great Sheffield Flood: A reservoir near Sheffield, England bursts; 250 die.


  • April 12 – American Civil War: The Battle of Fort Pillow: Confederate forces kill most of the African American soldiers that surrendered at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.
  • April 15Choe Je-u, founder of the Donghak movement, is executed by beheading for sedition at Daegu in Korea.
  • April 18 – Danish-Prussian War (Second Schleswig War) – Battle of Dybbøl: The Prussian army fielding 10,000 men defeats the Danish defending army of 9,200 at Dybbøl Mill, after an artillery bombardment from April 7 to April 18.
  • April 22 – The United States Congress passes the Coinage Act of 1864 which mandates that the inscription "In God We Trust" be placed on all coins minted as United States currency.
File:SV City Adelaide Dutton Lithograph.jpg

Clipper ship City of Adelaide in 1864

  • May 2 – Under terms of the Treaty of London, the United Kingdom voluntarily cedes control of the United States of the Ionian Islands to the Kingdom of Greece.
  • May 5 – American Civil War: The Battle of the Wilderness begins in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.
  • May 7Clipper ship City of Adelaide launched in Sunderland, England. By the 21st century, she will be the world's oldest surviving clipper of only two survivors (Cutty Sark being the other).
  • May 7 – American Civil War: The Army of the Potomac, under General Ulysses S. Grant, breaks off from the Battle of the Wilderness and moves southwards.
  • May 821 – American Civil War – Battle of Spotsylvania Court House: Some 4,000 die in an inconclusive engagement.
  • May 9
    • Danish-Prussian War (Second Schleswig War) – Battle of Heligoland: the navy of Denmark and the allied navies of Austria and Prussia fight near the island of Heligoland with a tactical victory for Denmark. It is the last significant naval battle fought by squadrons of wooden ships and also the last involving Denmark.
    • American general John Sedgwick is shot dead during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House shortly after uttering the famous last words: "They couldn't hit an elephant from this distance!"
File:Battle of Helgoland 1864.PNG

Battle of Heligoland in 1864 by Josef Carl Barthold Puettner

  • May 11 – American Civil War – Battle of Yellow Tavern: Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart is mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern, Virginia.
  • May 12 – American Civil War – Battle of Spotsylvania Court House: The "Bloody Angle" – thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers die.
  • May 13 – American Civil War – Battle of Resaca: The battle begins with Union General Sherman fighting toward Atlanta.
  • May 15 – American Civil War – Battle of New Market: Cadets from the Virginia Military Institute fight alongside the Confederate Army to force Union General Franz Sigel out of the Shenandoah Valley.
  • May 18Civil War gold hoax: The New York World and the New York Journal of Commerce publish a fake proclamation that President Abraham Lincoln has issued a draft of 400,000 more soldiers.
  • May 20 – Australian bushranger Ben Hall and his gang escape from a shootout with police after attempting to rob the Bang Bang Hotel in Koorawatha, New South Wales.
  • May 20
    • American Civil War – Battle of Ware Bottom Church: In the Virginia Bermuda Hundred Campaign, 10,000 troops fight in this Confederate victory.
    • Death of John Clare, the Northamptonshire peasant poet (b. 1793) in Northampton General Lunatic Asylum, England.
  • May 21 – The Russian Empire begins the Ethnic cleansing of Circassians. More than 1.5 million Circassians are driven from their homeland to the Ottoman Empire, ending the Russo-Circassian War.
  • May 26Montana Territory is organized out of parts of Washington Territory and Dakota Territory, and is signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.
File:Battle of Resaca 1864 c1889.jpg

May 13: Battle of Resaca

  • JuneUnited States Sanitary Commission's Sanitary Fair in Philadelphia takes place.[4]
  • June 5 – American Civil War – Battle of Piedmont: Union forces under General David Hunter defeat a Confederate army at Piedmont, West Virginia, taking nearly 1,000 prisoners.
  • June 9 – American Civil War – Battle of Petersburg: Union forces under General Grant and troops led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee battle for the last time.
  • June 10 – American Civil War
    • Battle of Noonday Creek near Kennesaw, Georgia.
    • Battle of Brice's Crossroads: Confederate troops under Nathan Bedford Forrest defeat a much larger Union force led by General Samuel D. Sturgis in Mississippi.
  • June 12 – American Civil War – Battle of Cold Harbor: General Ulysses S. Grant pulls his troops from their positions at Cold Harbor, Virginia and moves south.
  • June 15Arlington National Cemetery is established in the United States when 200 acres (0.81 km2) of the grounds of Robert E. Lee's home Arlington House are officially set aside as a military cemetery by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
  • June 19 – American Civil War – Battle of Cherbourg: Confederate States Navy CSS Alabama is sunk in a single-ship action with USS Kearsarge in the English Channel off the coast of Cherbourg, France.
  • June 21New Zealand Wars: The Tauranga Campaign ends.
  • June 27 – American Civil War – Battle of Kennesaw Mountain near Kennesaw, Georgia.


  • July 4 – The University of Bucharest is founded.
File:Map of American Civil War in 1864.svg

American Civil War in 1864

  • July 18 – President Lincoln issues a true proclamation of conscription of 500,000 men for the U.S. Civil War.
  • July 19Third Battle of Nanking climaxes when the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom capital of Nanking falls to an assault by Imperial Qing dynasty forces in the last major action of the Taiping Rebellion in China. There are probably more than a million troops in the battle and the Taiping army sustains at least 100,000 dead.
  • July 20American Civil WarBattle of Peachtree Creek: Near Atlanta, Confederate forces led by General John Bell Hood unsuccessfully attack Union troops under General William T. Sherman.
  • July 22American Civil WarBattle of Atlanta: Outside of Atlanta, Confederate General Hood leads an unsuccessful attack on Union troops under General Sherman on Bald Hill.
  • July 24American Civil WarSecond Battle of Kernstown: Confederate General Jubal Early defeats Union troops led by General George Crook in an effort to keep the Yankees out of the Shenandoah Valley.
  • July 28American Civil WarBattle of Ezra Church: Confederate troops led by General Hood make a third unsuccessful attempt to drive Union forces under General Sherman from Atlanta, Georgia.
  • July 29American Civil War: Confederate spy Belle Boyd is arrested by Union troops and detained at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C.
  • July 30American Civil WarBattle of the Crater: Union forces attempt to break Confederate lines by exploding a large bomb under their trenches.
File:Bataille de la baie de Mobile par Louis Prang (1824-1909).jpg

August 5: Battle of Mobile Bay

  • August 1 – The Elgin Watch Company is founded in Elgin, Illinois.
  • August 5American Civil WarBattle of Mobile Bay: At Mobile Bay near Mobile, Alabama, Admiral David Farragut leads a Union flotilla through Confederate defenses and seals one of the last major Southern ports.
  • August 10 – An undeclared Uruguayan War begins when Uruguay refuses an ultimatum from the Empire of Brazil.
  • August 13 – The first fish and chips shop perhaps opens in London.
  • August 18American Civil WarBattle of Globe Tavern: Forces under Union General Ulysses S. Grant try to cut a vital Confederate supply-line into Petersburg, Virginia, by attacking the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, forcing the Confederates to use wagons.
  • August 22First Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field is signed in Geneva by 12 European states under the auspices of the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded (predecessor of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement).
File:Signing of the first geneva convention.jpg

August 22: Signing of the First Geneva Convention

  • August 31American Civil War: Union forces led by General William T. Sherman launch an assault on Atlanta.
  • September 1American Civil War: Confederate General Hood evacuates Atlanta after a 4-month siege mounted by Union General Sherman.
  • September 2American Civil War: Union forces under General Sherman enter Atlanta a day after the Confederate defenders fled the city.
  • September 56Bombardment of Shimonoseki: An American, British, Dutch and French alliance engages the powerful feudal Japanese warlord or daimyo Lord Mori Takachika of the Chōshū clan based in Shimonoseki, Japan.
  • September 7American Civil War: Atlanta, Georgia is evacuated on orders of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.
  • September 8 – Delegates from the Canadian colonies meet at the Charlottetown Conference to discuss the Canadian Confederation.
  • September 16Pope Pius IX established the Diocese of Gozo.
  • September 17American Civil War Second Battle of Cabin Creek is fought in Indian Territory.
  • September 28 – The International Workingmen's Association is founded in London.[5]


  • October 2American Civil WarFirst Battle of Saltville: Union forces attack Saltville, Virginia but are defeated by Confederate troops.
  • October 5 – A cyclone kills 70,000 in Calcutta, India.
  • October 9American Civil WarBattle of Tom's Brook: Union cavalrymen in the Shenandoah Valley defeat Confederate forces at Tom's Brook, Virginia.
  • October 12Uruguayan War: Forces of the Empire of Brazil invade Uruguay in support of Venancio Flores' Colorado Party.
  • October 28American Civil War – Second Battle of Fair Oaks: Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant withdraw from Fair Oaks, Virginia, after failing to breach the Confederate defenses around Richmond, Virginia.
  • October 30
    • The Second Schleswig War is concluded. Denmark renounces all claim to Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg, which come under Prussian and Austrian administration.
    • Helena, Montana, is founded after four prospectors (the so-called Four Georgians) discover gold at Last Chance Gulch; it is their last and agreed final attempt at weeks of trying to find gold in the northern Rockies.
  • October 31Nevada is admitted as the 36th U.S. state.
  • October 10Quebec Conference to discuss plans for the creation of a Dominion of Canada begins.[6]
  • November 4American Civil WarBattle of Johnsonville: At Johnsonville, Tennessee, troops under the command of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest bombard a Union supply base with artillery and destroy millions of dollars worth of material.
  • November 7 – The capital of Idaho Territory is moved from Lewiston to Boise; North Idaho declares the move illegal and proposes secession.
  • November 8U.S. presidential election, 1864: Abraham Lincoln is reelected in an overwhelming victory over George B. McClellan.
  • November 12 – Hostilities in the Paraguayan War open with the Paraguayan ship Tacuarí capturing the Brazilian Marquês de Olinda in the Paraguay River.
  • November 15American Civil WarSherman's March to the Sea begins: Union General Sherman burns Atlanta and starts to move south, causing extensive devastation to crops and mills and living off the land.
  • November 20 – The judicial reform of Alexander II is launched in the Russian Empire.
  • November 22American Civil War – Sherman's March to the Sea: Confederate General John Bell Hood invades Tennessee in an unsuccessful attempt to draw Union General Sherman from Georgia.
  • November 25American Civil War: A group of Confederate operatives calling themselves the Confederate Army of Manhattan starts fires in more than 20 locations in an unsuccessful attempt to burn down New York City.
  • November 29American Indian WarsSand Creek massacre: Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington massacre at least 400 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants at Sand Creek, Colorado (where they had been given permission to camp). Many of the dead are subsequently mutilated.
File:Sherman sea 1868.jpg

Nov.15: Sherman's March to the Sea

  • November 30American Civil WarSecond Battle of Franklin: The Army of Tennessee led by General Hood mounts a dramatically unsuccessful frontal assault on Union positions around Franklin, Tennessee (Hood loses 6 generals and almost a third of his troops).
  • December 1Great Fire of Brisbane
  • December 4American Civil War – Sherman's March to the Sea: At Waynesboro, Georgia, forces under Union General Judson Kilpatrick prevent troops led by Confederate General Joseph Wheeler from interfering with Union General Sherman's campaign of destroying a wide swath of the South on his march to Savannah; Union forces suffer more than 3 times the casualties as the Confederates, however.
  • December 8
    • James Clerk Maxwell presents his paper A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field to the Royal Society in London, treating light as an electromagnetic wave.[7]
    • Syllabus errorum: Pope Pius IX condemns theological liberalism as an error and claims for the supremacy of Roman Catholic Church authority over the civil society. He also condemns rationalism and socialism.
    • The Clifton Suspension Bridge across the River Avon (Bristol) in England, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed as a memorial to him, opens to traffic.[5]
  • December 13Paraguayan War: Paraguay formally declares war on the Empire of Brazil in support of the Uruguayan National Party. The war continues to 1870 with around 300,000 Paraguayan deaths.
  • December 1516American Civil WarBattle of Nashville: Union forces decisively defeat the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Date unknown

  • The Dutch conquer southern Sumatra.
  • Ending of Second Anglo-Ashanti war.
  • Asa Shinn Mercer travels from Seattle to the U.S. East Coast and recruits 11 Mercer Girls, potential wives for men on the West Coast.
  • The first Quanjude Peking Roast Duck restaurant opens on Qianmen Street in Peking, China.



File:Wilhelm Wien 1911.jpg

Wilhelm Wien

File:Max Weber 1894.jpg

Max Weber

File:Max Liebermann Bildnis Richard Strauss.jpg

Richard Strauss, 1918

File:Walther Nernst SI.jpg

Walther Nernst

  • January 1
    • Alfred Stieglitz, American photographer (d. 1946)
    • Qi Baishi, Chinese painter (d. 1957)
  • January 8Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (d. 1892)
  • January 9Alvah Curtis Roebuck, American Businessman (d. 1948)
  • January 10Annie Lowrie Alexander American physician and educator (d. 1929)
  • January 11Henry Marshall Tory, Canadian university founder (d. 1947)
  • January 13Wilhelm Wien, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1928)
  • January 21Israel Zangwill, British novelist and playwright (d. 1926)
  • January 24Marguerite Durand, French actress, journalist, and feminist leader (d. 1936)
  • January 26József Pusztai slovene writer, poet, journalist in Hungary (d. 1934)
  • January 28Herbert Akroyd Stuart, English mechanical engineer and inventor (d. 1927)
  • February 7Arthur Collins, American singer who recorded many early songs (d. 1933)
  • February 20Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson, British general (d. 1925)
  • March 4David W. Taylor, U.S. Navy architect (d. 1940)
  • March 6Richard Rushall, British businessman (d. 1953)
  • March 12W. H. R. Rivers, English psychiatrist (d. 1922)
  • March 13Alexej von Jawlensky, Russian expressionist painter (d. 1941)
  • March 14Casey Jones, American railway engineer (d. 1900)
  • March 15Johan Halvorsen, Norwegian composer (d. 1935)
  • March 17Joseph Baptista, Indian Home Rule Movement founder (d. 1930)
  • March 19
    • Charles Marion Russell, American artist (d. 1926)
    • Mahatma Hansraj, Indian educationist, and Arya Samaj leader ( d. 1938)


File:Alois Alzheimer 003.jpg

Alois Alzheimer

  • April 6William Bate Hardy, English biologist and food scientist (d. 1934)
  • April 11Johanna Elberskirchen, German feminist (d. 1943)
  • April 12Rosslyn Wemyss, 1st Baron Wester Wemyss, British admiral (d. 1933)
  • April 21Max Weber, German sociologist (d. 1920)
  • May 4Marie Booth, the third daughter of William and Catherine Booth (d. 1937)
  • May 5Sir Henry Wilson, 1st Baronet, British field marshal and politician (d. 1922)
  • May 10Léon Gaumont, French film pioneer (d. 1946)
  • May 15Vilhelm Hammershøi, Danish painter (d. 1916)
  • June 2Wilhelm Souchon, German admiral (d. 1946)
  • June 3Ransom E. Olds, automotive pioneer (d. 1950)
  • June 10Ninian Comper, British architect (d. 1960)
  • June 11Richard Strauss, German composer (d. 1949)
  • June 13Dwight B. Waldo, American educator and historian (d. 1939)
  • June 14Alois Alzheimer, German psychiatrist and neuropathologist (d. 1915)
  • June 25Walther Nernst, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1941)
  • June 30Frederick Bligh Bond, English architect (d. 1945)



Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

  • July 11 – Petar Danov, Bulgarian spiritual teacher (d. 1944)
  • July 12George Washington Carver, American botanist (d. 1943)
  • July 13John Jacob Astor IV, American businessman and inventor (d. 1912)
  • July 15Marie Tempest, English stage and film actress (d. 1942)
  • July 20
    • Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Swedish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1931)
    • Ruggero Oddi, Italian physiologist and anatomist (d. 1913)
  • July 21Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston, First Lady of the United States (d. 1947)
  • July 23Apolinario Mabini, Filipino political theoretician and Prime Minister (d. 1903)
  • August 9Roman Dmowski, Polish politician (d. 1939)
  • September 14Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, English politician and diplomat, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1958)




  • January 13Stephen Foster, American composer (b. 1826)
  • January 27Leo von Klenze, German neoclassicist architect, painter and writer (b. 1784)
  • February 7Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, Serbian linguist and major reformer of the Serbian language (b. 1787)
  • February 22James Sewall Reed, US Army officer (in battle) (b.1832)
  • February 25Anna Harrison, First Lady of the United States (b.1775)
  • March 10 – King Maximilian II of Bavaria (b. 1811)
  • March 28Princess Louise Charlotte of Denmark (b. 1789)
  • April 4Joseph Pitty Couthouy, American naval officer (b. 1808)
  • April 14Charles Lot Church, Nova Scotia politician (b. 1777)
  • May 2Giacomo Meyerbeer, German composer (b. 1791)
  • May 5Elizabeth Andrew Warren, Cornish botanist and marine algolologist (b. 1786)
  • May 9John Sedgwick, Union general, American Civil War (b. 1813)
  • May 12J. E. B. Stuart, Confederate cavalry general, American Civil War (b. 1833)
  • May 19Nathaniel Hawthorne, American author (b. 1804)
  • June 1Hong Xiuquan, Chinese rebel (b. 1813)
  • June 13Henryk Dembiński, Polish engineer (b. 1791)
  • June 14Patrick Kelly, US Army officer (in battle) (b. ca. 1822)
  • June 15William E. Jones, Confederate general (in battle) (b. 1824)


  • August 3Jakob Walter, stonemason and common draftee (b. 1788)
  • August 4David Hansemann, Prussian politician (b. 1790)
  • August 19Trương Định, Vietnamese leader (suicide) (b. 1820)
  • September 3Emil Oskar Nobel, younger brother of Alfred Nobel (killed in an explosion) (b. 1843)
  • October 1Juan José Flores, former President of Ecuador (b. 1800)
  • October 12Roger Taney, United States Supreme Court Justice (b. 1777)
  • November 6Tuanku Imam Bonjol, Indonesian religious and military leader (b. 1772)
  • November 20Albert Newsam, American artist (b. 1809)
  • November 30
    • John Adams, Confederate Army officer (killed in action) (b. 1825)
    • Patrick Cleburne, Irish soldier and Confederate general (killed in action) (b. 1828)
  • December 1William L. Dayton – United States Minister to France (b. 1807)
  • December 8George Boole, English mathematician and philosopher (b. 1815)
  • December 21Archduke Louis of Austria (b. 1784)
  • December 23James Bronterre O'Brien, British Chartist (b. 1804)
  • December 24 – Mary Baker (née Willcocks) aka Princess Caraboo (b. 1791)
  • December 25Hank LaValle (b. 1845)
  • December 31George M. Dallas, U.S. Senator and 11th Vice President of the United States (b. 1792)


  1. Bjørn, Claus; Due-Nielsen, Carsten (2006). Dansk Udenrigspolitiks Historie. Vol. III, Fra Helstat til Nationalstat, 1814-1914 (in Danish) (2nd ed.). Copenhagen: Gyldendal. pp. 238–39.
  2. "Deutsch-Dänischer Krieg von 1864". Meyers Konversationslexikon. 4th ed. Template:De icon
  3. Chaffin, Tom (2008). The H. L. Hunley: the Secret Hope of the Confederacy. New York: Hill and Wang. ISBN 978-0-8090-9512-4.
  4. "Great Central Fair Buildings, Philadelphia". World Digital Library. July 1864. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
  6. Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 284–285. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
  7. Maxwell, J. Clerk (1865). "A dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field" (PDF). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 155: 459–512. doi:10.1098/rstl.1865.0008. Retrieved August 30, 2011.