Centuries: 18th century - 19th century - 20th century
Decades: 1810s 1820s 1830s 1840s 1850s - 1860s - 1870s 1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s
Years: 1857 1858 1859 1860 1861 - 1862 - 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867
- January 30 - The first American ironclad[?] warship, the USS Monitor is launched.
- February 1 - Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic[?]" is published for the first time (Atlantic Monthly).
- February 6 - American Civil War: Ulysses S. Grant gives the United States its first victory of the war, by capturing Fort Henry, Tennessee[?]
- February 15 - American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant attacks Fort Donelson, Tennessee and captures it the next day.
- March 8 - American Civil War: The iron-clad CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) is launched at Hampton Roads, Virginia.
- March 9 - American Civil War: First battle between two ironclad warships USS Monitor v CSS Virginia
- March 28 - American Civil War: Battle of Glorieta Pass - In New Mexico Union forces succeed in stoping the Confederate invasion of New Mexico territory. The battle began on March 26.
- April 5 - American Civil War: Battle of Yorktown - The battle begins when Union forces under General George 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 - Union Army under General Ulysses S. Grant defeat the Confederates near Shiloh, Tennessee[?].
- May 5 - Battle of Puebla, Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza defeats the French Army; commemorated as the Cinco de Mayo.
- May 11 - American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia is scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.
- May 15 - President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill into law creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture (later renamed USDA).
- May 20 - President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law.
- July 1 - Marriage of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom[?], second daughter of Queen Victoria to Prince Louis of Hesse and the Rhine[?]
- August 28 through August 30 - Battle of Second Manassas
- September 17 - Union[?] forces defeat Confederate troops at the battle of Antietam, in the bloodiest day in the American Civil War (with over 20,000 casualties).
- December 30 - The USS Monitor sinks off Cape Hatteras[?], North Carolina
- December 31 - American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union (thus dividing Virginia in two).
1862 in literature: