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July 21, 1788 New Hampshire ratifies the Constitution of the United States. Since it is the ninth state, the process of selecting Senators and Representatives begins New Hampshire
July 21, 1823 Lieutenant David Farragut and a landing party destroy a pirate stronghold following an attack in Cuba
July 21, 1861 (First) Manassas (Confederate)
(First) Bull Run (Union)

About 25 miles southwest of Washington the first major battle of the Civil War pits Irvin McDowell [US] against P. G. T. Beauregard [CS] and Joe Johnston [CS].
Virginia
  William Tecumseh Sherman
  First Manassas - First Bull Run
  P. G. T. Beauregard
  Irvin McDowell
  Joseph E. Johnston
  Army of Northern Virginia
  James Longstreet
  John B. Gordon
  Stonewall Jackson
  Richard Ewell
  Samuel Garland
  Ambrose Burnside
  Samuel Heintzelman
July 21, 1862 In a tersely worded telegram, Braxton Bragg informs Jefferson Davis that he will move his army in force from Tupelo, Mississippi to Chattanooga, Tennessee Mississippi
Tennessee
  Confederate Invasion of Kentucky
  Braxton Bragg
  Jefferson Davis
July 21, 1868 Georgia ratifies the 14th Amendment Georgia
  14th Amendment

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
July 5, 1859
July 29, 1859
The 4th Constitutional Convention, Wyandotte, Kansas Kansas
  Bleeding Kansas
  Kansas becomes a state
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