Basics of Biology

Biology and Life

What is biology?



Sept. 1850

The Compromise of 1850 is forged and enacted through a series of separate pieces of Congressional legislation. Mood in the nation is upbeat; many people believe that the questions of slavery and Union have been settled.


Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale,” tours the United States

Nov. 1852

Franklin Pierce, Democrat, defeats General Winfield Scott, Whig, for the presidency

March 1853

Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life among the Lowly is published in Boston

May 24, 1853

Anthony Burns apprehended in Boston; he is eventually returned to Maryland

Summer 1853

Anthony Burns’ freedom is purchased

March 20, 1854

Republican Party formed

May 30, 1854

Kansas–Nebraska Act passed by Congress

May 21, 1856

Sack of Lawrence, Kansas, carried out by Border Ruffians

May 22, 1856

Senator Charles Sumner attacked and nearly killed in Senate chamber

May 24, 1856

John Brown and sons carry out Pottawatomie Massacre

Nov. 4, 1856

James C. Buchanan, Democrat, defeats John C. Frémont, Republican, in presidential election

March 4, 1857

James C. Buchanan inaugurated

March 5, 1857

Dred Scott decision announced

Autumn 1857

Economic recession begins


Lincoln declares for U.S. Senate seat from Illinois


Lincoln–Douglas debates in summer and fall


Douglas is selected by Illinois legislature

Oct. 16–17, 1859

John Brown and accomplices attack federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry

Oct. 17–18, 1859

Robert E. Lee and U.S. marines capture Harpers Ferry

Nov. 1859

Trial of John Brown

Dec. 2, 1859

John Brown is executed

Jan. 1860

Lincoln declares candidacy for Republican nomination

Feb. 22, 1860

Lincoln delivers speech at Cooper Union in Manhattan

Feb. 23, 1860

Famous Matthew Brady photograph of Lincoln is published

Feb. 1860

Lincoln tours New England

April 1860

Democratic Party splits into Northern and Southern sections

Summer 1860

Constitutional Union Party is formed

Nov. 6, 1860

Lincoln wins general election with plurality of 41 percent

Nov. 7, 1860

South Carolina calls special convention

Dec. 20, 1860

Special convention votes unanimously to secede from the Union

Dec. 26, 1860

Garrison at Fort Moultrie moves, on initiative of its commander, to Fort Sumter

Jan. 9, 1861

Mississippi secedes

Jan. 10, 1861

Florida secedes

Jan. 11, 1861

Alabama secedes

Jan. 19, 1861

Georgia secedes

Jan. 26, 1861

Louisiana seceded

Feb. 1, 1861

Texas secedes

Feb. 4, 1861

Provisional government of Confederate States of America established

Feb. 11, 1861

Lincoln departs Springfield, Illinois

Feb. 11, 1861

Jefferson Davis departs Brierfield, Mississippi

Feb. 18, 1861

Jefferson Davis inaugurated in Montgomery, Alabama

March 4, 1861

Lincoln inaugurated in Washington, D.C.

March 1861

Confederate preparations against Fort Sumter

April 12, 1861

War begins with bombardment of Fort Sumter

April 13, 1861

Fort Sumter surrenders

April 15, 1861

Lincoln calls for 75,000 volunteers

April 17, 1861

Virginia secedes

April 20, 1861

Massive pro-Union rally in lower Manhattan

April 24, 1861

Elmer Ellsworth killed as federal troops occupy Alexandria, Virginia

April 1861

Virginia military forces seize numerous installations


General Benjamin Butler utters his famous words regarding black contrabands

May 6, 1861

Arkansas and Tennessee secede

July 4, 1861

Lincoln delivers memorable Fourth of July message to the nation

Summer 1861

First use of aerial balloons

July 21, 1861

Battle of Bull Run, also called Manassas

August 10, 1861

Battle of Wilson Creek, Missouri

Sept.–Nov. 1861

Preparation for Federal naval offensive against South Carolina

Oct. 24, 1861

Transcontinental Telegraph complete; messages transmitted between San Francisco and New York City

Nov. 8, 1861

USS San Jacinto stops British mail steamer Trent; takes commissioners into custody

Nov.–Dec. 1861

The Trent Affair threatens to bring about a war between the North and Great Britain

Dec. 26, 1861

Trent Affair blows over when Lincoln orders release of the commissioners

New Year’s 1862

Celebration at White House; Lincoln shakes hands with thousands

Jan. 10, 1862

Bad news from Western theatre; Washington, D.C., in gloom

Feb. 1862

Brigadier-General Grant captures Fort Henry (Feb. 6) and then Fort Donelson (Feb. 16)

Feb. 20, 1862

Willie (William Wallace) Lincoln dies at the White House

Spring 1862

Union forces succeed in taking more than half the Confederate positions along the Mississippi River

March 1862

Confederate forces gather at Corinth, Mississippi

April 6, 1862

Battle of Shiloh

April 24, 1862

Farragut passes the Confederate forts south of New Orleans


Farragut captures (April 25) and Butler’s men occupy (May 1) city of New Orleans

April 1862

General McClellan brings most of the Army of the Potomac to Fort Monroe at bottom of the James Peninsula

May 5, 1862

Mexicans defeat French invaders at Battle of Puebla, leading to national holiday of Cinquo de Mayo

May 5, 1862

Battle of Williamsburg fought on James Peninsula

May 1862

General Joseph Johnston conducts an elegant defense of the James Peninsula

June 10, 1862

Federal forces come within seven miles of Richmond, Virginia

June 25–July 1, 1862

Seven Days’ Battle rages east and southeast of Richmond

July 1862

McClellan withdraws the Army of the Potomac

August 1862

Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and James Longstreet move north

August 29, 1862

Confederates win the Second Battle of Bull Run, also known as Second Manassas

Sept. 4, 1862

Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia cross into Maryland

Sept. 5–12, 1862

Great anxiety at the White House and the War Department

Sept. 13, 1862

One of Lee’s dispatches is found by two Federal soldiers

Sept. 13–14, 1862

Armed with the dispatch, McClellan concentrates the Army of the Potomac

Sept. 15, 1862

McClellan forces make it through the passes of South Mountain in Maryland; Stonewall Jackson takes Harpers Ferry

Sept. 17, 1862

Battle of Antietam

Oct. 1862

Clara Barton, who later founds the American Red Cross, is first noticed by the press

Sept. 22, 1862

Lincoln issues first Emancipation Proclamation

Nov. 7, 1862

Ambrose Burnside replaces McClellan as leader of the Army of the Potomac

Dec. 11, 1862

Army of the Potomac crosses the Rapidan River at Fredericksburg

Dec. 13, 1862

Battle of Fredericksburg

Dec. 29, 1862

Sherman repulsed in attack at Chickasaw Bayou near Vicksburg

Jan. 1–2, 1863

Battle of Murfreesboro, also known as Stones’ River, in Tennessee


Lincoln signs Emancipation Proclamation

Feb. 1863

Grant and Sherman’s men begin digging canals to cut off Vicksburg

April 1863

Grant abandons canal effort; resolves to cross Mississippi below Vicksburg


Colonel Arthur Fremantle of Queen Victoria’s Coldstream Guards arrives in Texas

April 16, 1863

Rear-Admiral David Porter’s squadron passes Vicksburg at night

April 18–27, 1863

Grant and Sherman’s men march down west side of Mississippi River

April 29, 1863

General Joseph Hooker brings Army of the Potomac to south side of Rapidan River

April 30, 1863

Grant’s army crosses to Bruinsburg, Mississippi; Battle of Port Hudson

May 1, 1863

Army of the Potomac reaches Chancellorsville and halts

May 2, 1863

Stonewall Jackson leads brilliant flanking maneuver; is shot by his own men at the height of victory

May 2–5, 1863

Battle of Chancellorsville ends in debacle for Federals

May 10, 1863

Stonewall Jackson dies

May 14, 1863

Grant enters and wrecks Jackson, Mississippi

May 16, 1863

Grant wins Battle of Champion Hill

May 1863

Lee decides to invade the North

May 18, 1863

Grant bottles Pemberton up at Vicksburg

June 9, 1863

Daring Federal raid throws J. E. B. Stuart off balance

June 16, 1863

Lee crosses the Potomac, enters Maryland

June 22, 1863

Advance units of Army of Northern Virginia enter Pennsylvania

June 27, 1863

General Joe Hooker replaced by General Gordon Meade

July 1, 1863

Climax of the Siege of Vicksburg approaches


Lee’s men approach Gettysburg from the north; Meade’s men from the south


First Day of Battle of Gettysburg; heroism of John Burns

July 2, 1863

Second Day of Battle of Gettysburg; tremendous fight for Little Round Top

July 3, 1863

Third Day of Battle of Gettysburg: Pickett’s Charge fails

July 3, 1863

Pemberton asks Grant for terms

July 4, 1863

Confederate garrison at Vicksburg surrenders

July–August 1863

General William Rosecrans advances through southern Tennessee

Sept. 1863

Jefferson Davis sends Longstreet’s corps to Western theatre

Sept. 9, 1863

General Braxton Bragg retreats, yielding town of Chattanooga

Sept. 19–20, 1863

Battle of Chickamauga near border between Tennessee and Georgia

Sept. 23, 1863

Confederates occupy Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge

Oct. 16, 1863

Ulysses Grant chosen to lead all Federal forces west of Appalachian Mountains

Oct. 23. 1863

Grant arrived in Chattanooga

Oct. 25, 1863

The “cracker line” is opened

Oct. 29, 1863

Jefferson Davis arrives in Marietta, Georgia; confers with Bragg and his generals

Nov. 18, 1863

Lincoln travels to Gettysburg to help dedicate a new cemetery

Nov. 19, 1863

Edward Everett delivers two-hour speech; Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address in five minutes

Nov. 24, 1863

Union forces capture Lookout Mountain and Orchard Knob

Nov. 25, 1863

Army of the Cumberland captures Missionary Ridge; puts Confederates to flight

Nov. 26, 1863

Thanksgiving celebrated as national holiday for first time

Dec. 14, 1863

Longstreet attacks, but fails to capture Knoxville

Jan. 1864

Lincoln holds New Year’s Day reception at White House


Major cold front develops over Midwest, keeping Midwest and East Coast very cold for two weeks


Confederates fight with snowballs in their winter camp

Feb. 1864

Hunger plagues Confederate winter camps

March 8–9, 1864

Ulysses Grant arrives in Washington, is made nation’s first lieutenant-general since George Washington

March 1864

Grant and Sherman confer in Cincinnati

May 1864

Richmond threatened by surprise attacks by Union cavalry

May 4, 1864

Grant crosses the Rapidan

May 5–6, 1864

Battle of the Wilderness

May 1864

Grant moves on the North Anna River; Lee’s men go into fortifications

May 8–21, 1864

Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

May 10, 1864

Death of J. E. B. Stuart at Battle of Yellow Tavern

May 12, 1864

Sherman captures Dalton; Johnston retreats

June 1–3, 1864

Battle of Cold Harbor

June 19, 1864

CSS Alabama is defeated and sunk by USS Kearsarge off coast of France

June 27, 1864

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

June 1864

Grant brings his men over the James River and threatens Petersburg, Virginia

June 1864

Petersburg saved by heroic actions of P. T. Beauregard

June 1864

Siege of Richmond and Petersburg begins

July 30, 1864

Battle of the Crater near Petersburg

July–August, 1864

Sherman defeats Hood in three separate engagements

Sept. 1, 1864

Hood evacuates Atlanta; Sherman occupies it

Sept. 1864

Lincoln’s re-election campaign begins in earnest

Oct. 1864

Sherman asks permission to march to the sea

Nov. 1864

Grant gives permission to Sherman, who departs Atlanta with 70,000 men on Nov. 16

Nov. 24, 1864

Second national Thanksgiving is celebrated

Dec. 10–20, 1864

Sherman besieges Savannah

Dec. 21, 1864

Sherman enters Savannah

Jan. 15, 1865

Federal forces besiege and capture Fort Fisher and then move on Wilmington, Delaware

Jan. 31, 1865

Thirteenth Amendment passed by House of Representatives

Feb. 1865

Robert Todd Lincoln becomes a captain on Grant’s staff

Feb. 17, 1865

Sherman takes and nearly destroys Columbia, South Carolina

Feb.–March 1865

Confederate Congress contemplates arming Negro slaves

March 1865

Deprivation in Richmond

March 13, 1865

Confederate Congress approves arming of black slaves

March 19–21, 1865

Battle of Bentonville

March 29, 1865

Lee attempts to capture Fort Stedman, but is repulsed

April 2, 1865

Confederate forces abandon Richmond and Petersburg

April 3, 1865

Richmond suffers from a tremendous fire

April 4, 1865

Lincoln visits Richmond, accompanied by twelve sailors, Admiral Porter, and his son Tad

April 5, 1865

Army of the Potomac in full pursuit of Army of Northern Virginia

April 6, 1865

Battle of Sayler’s Creek, Virginia, ends in Northern victory

April 9, 1865

Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House

April 10, 1865

Lincoln receives news of Lee’s surrender

April 11, 1865

Lincoln delivers speech on Reconstruction from White House portico

April 14, 1865

General Robert Anderson raises U.S. flag over Fort Sumter


Lincoln holds three-hour meeting of his cabinet


Lincoln is shot at Ford’s Theatre, around 9:30 P.M.

April 15, 1865

Lincoln dies at 7:22 A.M.


Andrew Johnson sworn in as seventeenth president


Lee arrives at his house on Franklin Street in Richmond

April 17, 1865

Rumors of Lincoln’s death spread

April 18, 1865

Lincoln’s funeral in East Room of the White House

April 20, 1865

Photographer Matthew Brady meets and takes pictures of Robert E. Lee

May 1, 1865

Lincoln buried in Springfield, Illinois

May 21, 1865

Review of Army of the Potomac in Washington, D.C.

May 22, 1865

Review of Sherman’s army in Washington, D.C.

Biology is often called the science of life in studies that include everything from an organism’s conception to its death. It is mainly concerned with the study of living systems—from animal to plant and everything in between—and includes the study of various organisms’ cells, metabolism, reproduction, growth, activity of systems, and response to the stimuli in their environment.


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