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January 1, 1808 Importation of slaves into the United States becomes illegal
January 1, 1836 James Birney begins publishing The Philanthropist, an abolition newspaper named for an earlier abolition newspaper for which Birney had written. The paper was published in Cincinnati, across the Ohio River from Kentucky, a slave state Ohio
  James Birney
January 1, 1853 Wheeling, Virginia celebrates the completion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in November, 1852. Between Christmas and New Year's almost 500 citizens of Baltimore traveled west on the railroad for the celebration
  Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
January 1, 1861 On New Year's Day Georgians go to the polls to elect either a pro-Union or pro-Seccession slate of delegates to a state convention to be held in Milledgeville. According to Gov. Brown the results are overwhelmingly pro-secession, however, later research by the Georgia Historical Society indicates that the returns were overstated in favor of the secessionists. Georgia
January 1, 1861 A pro-Union meeting in Parkersburg (now West Virginia) resolves that "secession is revolution." West Virginia
  First Wheeling Convention
January 1, 1862 Minister to Great Britain John Slidell and Minister to France, James Mason are released from Fort Warren, Boston, Massachusetts and allowed to continue their journey, effectively ending the Trent Affair Massachusetts
  Trent Affair
January 1, 1862 Stonewall Jackson begins the Romney Campaign from Winchester, Virginia
  Romney Campaign
  Stonewall Jackson
January 1, 1863 The Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect
  Emancipation Proclamation
  The Emancipation of Slaves
  Emancipation Proclamation (Full Text)
January 1, 1863 Battle of Galveston

General John B. Magruder [CS] captures the city after a 4 hour battle. Confederate troops seize a federal ship and blow up another, but most of the ships escape.
Texas
  John Magruder

Ongoing on this day:
June 15, 1864
April 2, 1865
Siege of Petersburg Virginia
  Robert E. Lee
  P. G. T. Beauregard
  Army of Northern Virginia
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Siege of Petersburg
April 12, 1861
May 10, 1865
The American Civil War
  The Civil War
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