1865 is a common year starting on Sunday.
1862 1863 1864 - 1865 - 1866 1867 1868
1830s 1840s 1850s - 1860s - 1870s 1880s 1890s
18th century - 19th century - 20th century
- January 31 - American Civil War: Confederate General Robert E. Lee becomes general-in-chief.
- February - The only month in any year that might not have a Full moon.
- February 17 - American Civil War: Columbia, South Carolina burns as Confederate forces flee from advancing Union forces.
- February 22 - Tennessee adopts a new constitution that abolishes slavery.
- March 3 - The U.S. Congress authorizes formation of the Freedmen's Bureau.
- March 13 - American Civil War: The Confederate States of America reluctantly agrees to the use of African American troops.
- March 18 - American Civil War: The Congress of the Confederate States of America adjourns for the last time.
- March 19 - American Civil War: The Battle of Bentonville begins. By the end of the battle on the 21st the Confederate forces had retreated from Greenville, North Carolina.
- March 25 - The "Claywater Meteorite" explodes just before reaching ground level in Vernon County, Wisconsin. Fragments having a combined mass of 1.5 kg were recovered.
- March 25 - American Civil War: In Virginia, Confederate forces capture Fort Steadman from the Union.
- April 1 - American Civil War: Battle of Five Forks - In Petersburg, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee begins his final offensive.
- April 2 - American Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet flee the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia which is taken the next day.
- April 6 - German Chemicals producer, Badische Anilin- und Sodafabrik(BASF) founded in Mannheim.
- April 9 - American Civil War: General Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, effectively ending the American Civil War.
- April 14 - US President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.
- April 21 - German Chemicals producer BASF moves its headquarters and factories from Mannheim to the Hemshof District of Ludwigshafen.
- April 26
- April 27 - The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,300 passengers, explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom were Union survivors of the Andersonville Prison.
- May 1 - Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay against Paraguay is formally signed - War of the Triple Alliance has already begun.
- May 4 - American Civil War: Confederate General Richard Taylor, commanding all Confederate forces in Alabama, Mississippi, and eastern Louisiana, surrenders his forces to Union General E.R.S. Canby at Citronelle, Alabama.
- May 5 - In North Bend, Ohio (a suburb of Cincinnati), the first train robbery in the United States takes place.
- May 10 - American Civil War: Jefferson Davis is captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia.
- May 13 - American Civil War: Battle of Palmito Ranch - In far south Texas, more than a month after Confederate General Lee's surrender, the last land battle of the civil war ends with a Confederate victory.
- May 23 - Parade down Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, DC to celebrate the ending of the American Civil War.
- May 25 - Mobile magazine explosion: 300 are killed in Mobile, Alabama when an ordnance depot explodes.
- June 2 - American Civil War ends - Confederate forces west of the Mississippi under General Edmund Kirby Smith surrender at Galveston, Texas, becoming the last to do so.
- June 11 - Brazilian navy squadron defeats Paraguayan navy at Riachualo.
- June 19 - American Civil War: Union Major General Gordon Granger lands at Galveston, Texas and informs the people of Texas of the Emancipation Proclamation. This event is celebrated each year as Juneteenth.
- June 23 - American Civil War: At Fort Towson in Oklahoma Territory Confederate General Stand Watie, a Cherokee Indian, surrenders the last significant rebel army.
- July 2 - Salvation Army founded in Whitechapel, London
- July 4 - Lewis Carroll publishes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
- July 5
- July 21 - In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots Dave Tutt dead in what is regarded as the first true western showdown.
- July 27 - Welsh settlers arrive in Argentina at Chubut Valley.
- October 11 - Paul Bogle led hundreds of black men and women in a march in Jamaica, starting the Morant Bay rebellion.
- November 10 - Major Henry Wirz, the superintendent of a prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia, is hanged, becoming the only American Civil War soldier executed for war crimes.
- November 26 -Battle of Papudo; Spanish ship Covadonga captured by Chileans and Peruvians.
- December 10 - Léopold II becomes King of Belgium.
- December 11 - U.S. Congress created the Appropriations Committee and the Committee on Banking and Commerce. Reducing the tasks of the Committee on Ways and Means.
- December 18 - Thirteenth Constitutional amendment declared ratified by three-fourths of the States of the United States. It forever abolished slavery.
- December 24 - Several US Civil War Confederate veterans form the Ku Klux Klan.
- Gregor Mendel formulates his theories of Mendelian inheritance- they are mainly ignored for years.
- A forest fire near Silverton, Oregon destroys about one million acres (4,000 km²) of timber.
- Last volume of Annals of Joseon Dynasty published.
- January 5 - Julio Garavito Armero, Colombian astronomer (d. 1920)
- January 28 - Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg, President of Finland (d. 1952)
- February 12 - Kazimierz Tetmajer, Polish writer (d. 1940)
- February 19 - Sven Hedin, Swedish scientist and explorer (d. 1952)
- February 21 - John Haden Badley, author and educator (d. 1967)
- March 15 - Edith Maude Eaton, English-born writer (d. 1914)
- March 19 - William Morton Wheeler, American entomologist (d. 1937)
- April 1 - Richard Adolf Zsigmondy, Austrian-born chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1929)
- April 9 - Erich Ludendorff, German general (d. 1937)
- May 2 - Clyde Fitch, American dramatist (d. 1909)
- May 25 - John Mott, American YMCA leader, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1955)
- May 25 - Pieter Zeeman, Dutch physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1943)
- May 26 - Robert W. Chambers, American artist (d. 1933)
- June 2 - George Lohmann, English cricketer (d. 1901)
- June 3 - King George V of the United Kingdom (d. 1936)
- June 9 - Albéric Magnard, French composer (d. 1914)
- June 13 - William Butler Yeats, Irish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1939)
- July 23 - Max Heindel, Danish-born Christian occultist, astrologer, and mystic (d. 1919)
- July 29 - Alexander Glazunov, Russian composer (d. 1936)
- August 2 - Irving Babbitt, American literary critic (d. 1933)
- August 24 - King Ferdinand of Romania (d. 1927)
- August 27 - James Henry Breasted, American Egyptologist (d. 1935)
- August 27 - Charles G. Dawes, Vice President of the United States, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1951)
- September 11 - Rainis, Latvian poet and playwright (d. 1929)
- October 1 - Paul Dukas, French composer (d. 1935)
- October 12 - Arthur Harden, English chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1940)
- October 17 - James Rudolph Garfield, U.S. politician (d. 1950)
- October 26 - Benjamin Guggenheim, American businessman (d. 1912)
- October 27 - Tinsley Lindley, English footballer (d. 1940)
- November 2 - Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States (d. 1923)
- December 8 - Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer (d. 1957)
- December 30 - Rudyard Kipling, British writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1936)
- April 1 - John Milton, Governor of Florida (b. 1807)
- April 2 - A.P. Hill, American Confederate general (b. 1825)
- April 15 - Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (b. 1809)
- April 26 - John Wilkes Booth, American actor and assassin of Abraham Lincoln (b. 1838)
- August 12 - William Jackson Hooker, English botanist (b. 1785)
- September 2 - William Rowan Hamilton, Irish mathematician (b. 1805)
- October 16 - Andrés Bello, Venezuelan poet, lawmaker, teacher, philosopher and sociologist (b. 1781)
- October 18 - Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1784)
- November 12 - Elizabeth Gaskell, British novelist and biographer (b. 1810)
- November 28 - William Machin Stairs, Canadian businessman and statesman (b. 1789)
- December 10 - Léopold I of Belgium (b. 1790
- James Barry, British military surgeon
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