1862 (MDCCCLXII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1862nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 862nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 62nd year of the 19th century, and the 3rd year of the 1860s decade. As of the start of 1862, the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923. This year was named by Mitchell Stephens as the greatest year to read newspapers.
|Ab urbe condita||2615|
|Balinese saka calendar||1783–1784|
|British Regnal year||25 Vict. 1 – 26 Vict. 1|
|Chinese calendar||辛酉年 (Metal Rooster)|
4558 or 4498
— to —
壬戌年 (Water Dog)
4559 or 4499
|- Vikram Samvat||1918–1919|
|- Shaka Samvat||1783–1784|
|- Kali Yuga||4962–4963|
|Japanese calendar||Bunkyū 2|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 12 days|
|Minguo calendar||50 before ROC|
|Thai solar calendar||2404–2405|
1988 or 1607 or 835
— to —
1989 or 1608 or 836
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1862.|
- January 1 – The United Kingdom annexes Lagos Island, in modern-day Nigeria.
- January 6 – French intervention in Mexico: French, Spanish, and British forces arrive in Veracruz, Mexico.
- January 10 – John Gately Downey, 7th Governor of California, is succeeded by Amasa Leland Stanford.
- January 16 – Hartley Colliery disaster: 204 men are trapped and die underground, when the only shaft becomes blocked.
- January 30 – American Civil War: The first U.S. ironclad warship, USS Monitor, is launched.
- January 31 – Alvan Graham Clark makes the first observation of Sirius B, a white dwarf star, through an eighteen-inch telescope at Northwestern University.
- February 1 – American Civil War: Julia Ward Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic is published for the first time in the Atlantic Monthly.
- February 2 – The first railway opens in New Zealand, by the Dun Mountain Copper Mining Company.
- February 6 – American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant gives the United States its first victory of the war, by capturing Fort Henry, Tennessee.
- February 11–16 – American Civil War – Battle of Fort Donelson: General Ulysses S. Grant attacks Fort Donelson, Tennessee, capturing it on the last day.
- February 20 – Ángel de Saavedra, 3rd Duke of Rivas, is named director of Spain's Real Academia Española.
- February 21 – American Civil War – Battle of Valverde: Confederate forces defeat Union troops near Fort Craig, in New Mexico Territory:
- February 22 – American Civil War: Jefferson Davis is officially inaugurated in Richmond, Virginia, to a 6-year term as president of the Confederate States of America.
- March 7 – American Civil War – Battle of Pea Ridge: The Confederates are shut out of Missouri.
- March 8 – American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) is launched at Hampton Roads, Virginia; the Battle of Hampton Roads starts the same day.
- March 9 – American Civil War: The first battle between two ironclad warships, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, begins.
- March 13
- March 26–28 – American Civil War – Battle of Glorieta Pass: In New Mexico, Union forces succeed in stopping the Confederate invasion of New Mexico Territory.
- March 31 – Victor Hugo's epic French historical novel Les Misérables is published.
- April 1 – Second French intervention in Mexico: The Spanish and the British end their alliance with France.
- April 5 – American Civil War – Battle of Yorktown: The battle begins when Union forces under General George B. McClellan close in on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.
- April 6–7– American Civil War – Battle of Shiloh: The Union Army, under General Ulysses S. Grant, defeats the Confederates near Shiloh, Tennessee.
- April 12 – American Civil War – Andrew's Raid: Union volunteers steal a Confederate locomotive, setting off the Great Locomotive Chase, famously involving the use of The General steam locomotive, which still exists in the 21st century.
- April 13 – The government of Vietnam is forced to cede the territories of Biên Hòa, Gia Định and Định Tường to France.
- April 25 – American Civil War – Capture of New Orleans: Forces under Union Admiral David Farragut occupy the Confederate city of New Orleans, securing access to the Mississippi River.
- April 26 – American Civil War – Siege of Fort Macon: The besieged Confederate garrison at Fort Macon, North Carolina surrenders.
- May 1–November 1 – The 1862 International Exhibition is held at South Kensington in London; it is particularly noteworthy for an exhibit from Japan, influential in the development of Anglo-Japanese style.
- May 2 – The California State Normal School (later San Jose State University) is created by an Act of the California Legislature.
- May 5 – Second French intervention in Mexico – Battle of Puebla: Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza defeats the French Army; commemorated each year as Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for Fifth of May).
- May 11 – American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia is scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.
- May 15 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill into law creating the U.S. Bureau of Agriculture (later renamed U.S. Department of Agriculture).
- May 20 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law.
- May 24 – Westminster Bridge is opened in England. This new bridge, designed by Thomas Page, replaces the old bridge.
- June 1 – American Civil War – Battle of Fair Oaks: Both sides claim victory.
- June 4 – American Civil War: Confederate troops evacuate Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for U.S. Army troops to capture Memphis, Tennessee.
- June 5 – Treaty of Saigon: Emperor Tự Đức of the Nguyễn dynasty in Vietnam cedes Saigon, Côn Sơn Island and three southern provinces of what is to become known as Cochinchina (Biên Hòa, Gia Định, and Định Tường), to become part of the French colonial empire. Guerilla leader Trương Định refuses to recognise the treaty.
- June 6 – American Civil War – First Battle of Memphis: U.S. Army troops capture Memphis, Tennessee from the Confederate States.
- June 8 – American Civil War – Battle of Cross Keys: Confederate troops under General Stonewall Jackson save the Army of Northern Virginia from a U.S. Army attack on the James Peninsula, that is led by General George B. McClellan.
- June 12 – John Winter Robinson, the Secretary of State of Kansas, is convicted and removed from office as the result of a bond scandal, becoming the first state executive official to be impeached and removed from office in American history.
- June 26 – American Civil War – Battle of Mechanicsville: Confederate General Robert E. Lee defeats the troops of General George B. McClellan, in the first of the Seven Days Battles.
- July 1
- The Bureau of Internal Revenue, the forerunner of the Internal Revenue Service, is established in the United States.
- Princess Alice, the second daughter of Queen Victoria, marries Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine.
- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs into law the Pacific Railroad Acts, authorizing construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad.
- The Russian State Library is founded, as The Library of the Moscow Public Museum.
- July 2 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Land-Grant Act into law, creating a system of land-grant colleges, to teach agricultural and mechanical sciences across the United States.
- July 4 – Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll) extemporises the story that becomes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, for ten-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters, on a rowboat trip on The Isis from Oxford to Godstow.
- July 16 – American Civil War: David G. Farragut becomes the first rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.
- July 18 – Dent Blanche, one of the highest summits in the Alps, is first ascended.
- July 23 – American Civil War: Henry W. Halleck takes command of the Union Army.
- August 5 – American Civil War – Battle of Baton Rouge: Along the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Confederate troops drive Union forces back into the city.
- August 6 – American Civil War: The Confederate ironclad CSS Arkansas is scuttled on the Mississippi River, after suffering damage in a battle with USS Essex, near Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- August 9 – American Civil War – Battle of Cedar Mountain: At Cedar Mountain, Virginia, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson narrowly defeats Union forces under General John Pope.
- August 14 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln meets with a group of prominent African-Americans, the first time an American President has done so. He suggests that Black people should migrate to Africa or to Central America, but this advice is rejected.
- August 17 – The Dakota War of 1862 begins in Minnesota, as Dakota Sioux attack white settlements along the Minnesota River. They are overwhelmed by the U.S. Army six weeks later.
- August 19 – Dakota War of 1862: During an uprising in Minnesota, Dakota warriors decide not to attack heavily defended Fort Ridgely, and instead turn to the settlement of New Ulm, killing white settlers along the way.
- August 21 – The Vienna Stadtpark opens its gates.
- August 28–30 – American Civil War – Second Battle of Bull Run: Confederate forces inflict a crushing defeat on Union General John Pope.
- August 29–30 – American Civil War – Battle of Richmond, Kentucky: Confederate forces, led by General Edmund Kirby Smith, inflict a crushing defeat on Union General William "Bull" Nelson.
- September 1 – American Civil War – Battle of Chantilly: Confederate General Robert E. Lee leads his forces in an attack on retreating Union troops in Chantilly, Virginia, driving them away.
- September 2 – American Civil War: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln reluctantly restores Union General George B. McClellan to full command, after General John Pope's disastrous defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run.
- September 5 – American Civil War: In the Confederacy's first invasion of the North, General Robert E. Lee leads 55,000 men of the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River at White's Ford near Leesburg, Virginia, into Maryland.
- September 10 – Francisco Solano López is appointed second President of Paraguay.
- September 17 – American Civil War –
- September 19 – American Civil War – Battle of Iuka: Union troops under Major General William Rosecrans defeat a Confederate force commanded by Major General Sterling Price at Iuka, Mississippi.
- September 22
- September 29 – Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck delivers his Blood and Iron speech to the Prussian Landtag.
- October 8 – American Civil War – Battle of Perryville: Union forces under General Don Carlos Buell halt the Confederate invasion of Kentucky, by defeating troops led by General Braxton Bragg at Perryville, Kentucky.
- October 9 – The Transvaal Civil War breaks out, following Stephanus Schoeman’s unconstitutional ousting of the acting President of the Executive Council of the South African Republic.
- October 11 – American Civil War: In the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam, Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart and his men loot Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, during a raid into the North.
- October 23 – Otto is deposed as King of Greece.
- October 24 – Ramón Castilla loses the Presidency of Peru for a second time.
- October 25 – In the Granadine Confederation (present-day Colombia), rebel troops of the southern states defeat government forces.
- November 4 – Richard Jordan Gatling patents the Gatling gun in the United States.
- November 5
- November 14 – American Civil War: President Abraham Lincoln approves the plan by General Ambrose Burnside to capture the Confederate capital city of Richmond, Virginia. This plan leads to a disastrous Union defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13).
- November 28
- American Civil War – Battle of Cane Hill: Union Army troops, led by General John Blunt, push back Confederate troops, commanded by General John Marmaduke, into the northwestern Boston Mountains of Arkansas.
- Notts County F.C. is founded in Nottingham, England, making it (by the 21st century) the world's oldest professional Association football team.
- December – Peruvian slave raiders land on Easter Island, beginning a decade of the destruction of the society and population on the island.
- December 1 – In his State of the Union address, President Abraham Lincoln reaffirms the necessity of ending slavery, as he ordered ten weeks earlier in his Emancipation Proclamation.
- December 2 – The first United States Navy hospital ships enter service.
- December 12 – American Civil War – Yazoo Pass Expedition: Union ironclad gunboat USS Cairo is sunk by a remotely-detonated "torpedo" (naval mine) while clearing mines from the Yazoo River, the first armored ship sunk by mine.
- December 13 – American Civil War – Battle of Fredericksburg: The Union Army suffers massive casualties, and abandons its attempts to capture the Confederate capital city of Richmond, Virginia.
- December 17 – American Civil War: General Order No. 11, which expels all Jews from his military district, is issued by General Ulysses S. Grant. This order is rescinded just a few weeks later.
- December 26 – William D. Duly hangs 38 Dakota Sioux Indians in Minnesota.
- December 26–29 – American Civil War – Battle of Chickasaw Bayou: Another victory for the Confederate Army, outnumbered two to one, results in six times as many Union casualties, defeating several assaults commanded by Union general William T. Sherman.
- December 30 – USS Monitor sinks in a storm in the Atlantic, off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
- December 31 – American Civil War: President Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia into two. Meanwhile, the Battle of Stones River opens near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
- January 9 – Carrie Clark Ward, American silent film actress (d. 1926)
- January 10 – Harriet Mabel Spalding, American litterateur and poet (d. 1935)
- January 14 – Carrie Derick, Canadian botanist and geneticist (d. 1941)
- January 15 – Loie Fuller, American dancer (d. 1928)
- January 23 – David Hilbert, German mathematician (d. 1943)
- January 24 – Edith Wharton, American fiction writer (d. 1937)
- January 29 – Frederick Delius, English composer (d. 1934)
- January 30 – Walter Damrosch, German-born American orchestral conductor (d. 1950)
- February 2 – George Arthur Boeckling, German-American businessman, president of Cedar Point Pleasure Company (d. 1931)
- February 3 – James Clark McReynolds, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (d. 1946)
- February 4
- February 7 – Bernard Maybeck, American Arts and Crafts architect (d. 1957)
- February 8 – Ferdinand Ferber, French Army captain, aviation pioneer (d. 1909)
- February 17 – Edward German, English composer (d. 1936)
- February 25 – Stanisław Głąbiński, Polish politician, academic, lawyer and writer (d. 1941)
- March 4 – Jacob Robert Emden, Swiss astrophysicist, meteorologist (d. 1940)
- March 8 – George Frederick Phillips, Canadian-born military hero (d. 1904)
- March 13 – Jane Delano, American founder of the American Red Cross Nursing Service (d. 1919)
- March 14 – Vilhelm Bjerknes, Norwegian physicist, meteorologist (d. 1951)
- March 17 – Silvio Gesell, German economist (d. 1930)
- March 25
- March 28 – Aristide Briand, French politician, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1932)
- March 29 – Adolfo Müller-Ury, Swiss-born American painter (d. 1947)
- April 2 – Nicholas Murray Butler, American president of Columbia University, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1947)
- April 6 – Georges Darien, French writer (d. 1921)
- April 11
- April 26 – Edmund C. Tarbell, American Impressionist painter (d. 1938)
- April 27 – Rudolph Schildkraut, Ottoman-born Austrian actor (d. 1930)
- May 8 – Emilie Rathou, Swedish Social Democrat, temperance and women's rights activist (d. 1948)
- May 15 – Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian dramatist, narrator (d. 1931)
- May 27 – John Kendrick Bangs, American author, satirist (d. 1922)
- June 5 – Allvar Gullstrand, Swedish ophthalmologist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1930)
- June 7 – Philipp Lenard, Hungarian–German physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics (d. 1947)
- June 10 – John de Robeck, British admiral (d. 1928)
- June 21 – Damrong Rajanubhab, Thai prince, historian (d. 1943)
- June 27 – May Irwin, Canadian actress, singer (d. 1938)
- June 29 – William Johnston Tupper, Canadian politician (d. 1947)
- July 2
- July 8 – Josephine White Bates, Canadian-born American author (d. 1934)
- July 14
- July 15 – Ernest Troubridge, British admiral (d. 1926)
- July 16 – Ida B. Wells, American journalist, suffragist, and anti-lynching crusader (d. 1931)
- July 24 – Percy FitzPatrick, South African author, politician and mining financier (d. 1931)
- July 27 – Arthur Starr Eakle, American mineralogist (d. 1931)
- July 30 – Božena Viková-Kunětická, Czech politician (d. 1934)
- August 5 – Joseph Merrick (the Elephant Man), English sufferer from deformities (d. 1890)
- August 16 – Amos Alonzo Stagg, American football player, coach (d. 1965)
- August 21 – Emilio Salgari, Italian writer (d. 1911)
- August 22 – Claude Debussy, French composer (d. 1918)
- August 24 – Zonia Baber, American geographer and geologist (d. 1956)
- August 26 – Herbert Booth, English-born Salvationist, third son of William and Catherine Booth (d. 1926)
- August 29
- September 11
- September 12 – Carl Eytel, German-American artist working in Palm Springs, California (d. 1925)
- September 19 – Arvid Lindman, Swedish admiral, industrialist, and politician (d. 1936)
- September 22 – Anastasios Charalambis, Prime Minister of Greece (d. 1949)
- September 23 – Denis Auguste Duchêne, French general (d. 1950)
- September 25 – Billy Hughes, 7th Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1952)
- September 27 – Louis Botha, Boer general, first Prime Minister of South Africa (d. 1919)
- October 3 – Johnny Briggs, English cricketer (d. 1902)
- October 12 – Theodor Boveri, German biologist (d. 1915)
- October 18 – Mehmet Esat Bülkat, Ottoman general (d. 1952)
- October 19 – Auguste Lumière, French inventor (d. 1954)
- October 26
- October 27 – Hugh Evan-Thomas, British admiral (d. 1928)
- November 3 – Henry George, Jr., American politician (d. 1916)
- November 5 – Annie Laurie Wilson James, American journalist focused on horses (unknown year of death)
- November 14 – George Washington Vanderbilt II, American businessman (d. 1914)
- November 15 – Gerhart Hauptmann, German writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1946)
- November 16 – Charles Turner, Australian cricketer (d. 1944)
- November 19 – Billy Sunday, American baseball player, evangelist and prohibitionist (d. 1935)
- November 23 – Ernest Guglielminetti, Swiss physician (d. 1943)
- November 24 – Konrad Krafft von Dellmensingen, Bavarian general (d. 1953)
- December 5
- December 8 – Georges Feydeau, French playwright (d. 1921)
- December 12 – J. Bruce Ismay, English shipping magnate, White Star Line (d. 1937)
- December 15 – Adrien Loir, French biologist, bacteriologist (d. 1941)
- December 17 – Moriz Rosenthal, Polish pianist (d. 1946)
- December 25 – Wilhelm Weinberg, German physician (d. 1937)
- January 10 – Samuel Colt, American firearms inventor (b. 1814)
- January 18 – John Tyler, 10th President of the United States (b. 1790)
- January 20 – Harriet Auber, English poet (b. 1773)
- February 3 – Jean-Baptiste Biot, French physicist, astronomer and mathematician (b. 1774)
- February 7
- February 20
- February 21 – Justinus Kerner, German physician (b. 1786)
- February 24 – Bernhard Severin Ingemann, Danish novelist, poet (b. 1789)
- March 22 – Manuel Robles Pezuela, former President of Mexico (executed) (b. 1817)
- April 6 – Albert Sidney Johnston, American Confederate general (b. 1803)
- April 10 – W. H. L. Wallace, American Civil War Union general (b. 1821)
- April 19 – Louis P. Harvey, Governor of Wisconsin (b. 1820)
- May 6 – Henry David Thoreau, American author, philosopher (b. 1817)
- May 16 – Edward Gibbon Wakefield, English theorist of colonization (b. 1796)
- May 21 – John Drew Sr., Irish-American actor, manager (b. 1827)
- May 25 – Juana Azurduy de Padilla, South American guerrilla military leader (b. c. 1781)
- May 29 – Franciszek Mirecki, Polish composer, music conductor, and music teacher (b. 1791)
- June 17 – Charles Canning, 1st Earl Canning, English Viceroy of India (b. 1812)
- June 20 – Barbu Catargiu, 1st Prime Minister of Romania (b. 1807)
- July 23 – José María Bocanegra, 3rd President of Mexico (b. 1787)
- July 24 – Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States (b. 1782)
- August 18 – Simon Fraser, Canadian explorer (b. 1776)
- August 20 – Javiera Carrera, Chilean independence fighter (b. 1771)
- September 3 – Shusaku Honinbo, Japanese Go player (b. 1829)
- September 6 – John Sumner, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1780)
- September 10 – Carlos Antonio López, president of Paraguay (b. 1792)
- September 14 – Charles Lennox Richardson, English merchant murdered in Japan (b. 1834)
- September 24 – Judith Montefiore, British linguist (b. 1784)
- October 8 – James Walker, Scottish engineer (b. 1781)
- October 15 – Hans Daniel Ludwig Friedrich Hassenpflug, German statesman (b. 1794)
- November 7 – Bahadur Shah II, 19th and Last mughal emperor (b. 1775)
- November 13 – Ludwig Uhland, German poet (b. 1787)
- November 17 – Mary Whitwell Hale, American school founder (b. 1810)
- December 13 – Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb, American Confederate general (killed during the battle of Fredericksburg) (b. 1823)
- December 18 – Barbara Fritchie, American Civil War patriot (b. 1766)
- "The Spirit of Pestilence". University of Victoria. March 30, 2002. Archived from the original on October 2, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
- Halen, Widar (1990). Christopher Dresser. Phaidon. p. 34. ISBN 0-7148-2952-8.
- "An Act to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri river to the Pacific ocean, and to secure to the government the use of the same for postal, military, and other purposes Archived May 27, 2016, at the Wayback Machine 12 Stat. 489, July 1, 1862
- Stormvoël van die Noorde by O JO Ferreira; Jan Viljoen – ‘n Transvaalse Wesgrenspionier (unpublished MA dissertation); documents and notes from the Jack Seale collection.