Free And Slave States Map – State, Territory, And City Populations

Which states were free and which states had slavery?

How many slaves were there? How many black people were free? Which states did they live in?

How were the states and cities populated when the Civil War began?

Sometimes when learning about the Civil War it’s good to know the geography of the free and slave states, and how the free and slave states were populated. Provided here for reference is a map that shows the free and slave states, listings of the free, slave, and border states, tables of state and territory populations, a table of the total populations of the states and territories, and a table of the 10 largest cities in the United States in 1860.

In the times before and during the Civil War much of the United States was made up of farmland, unsettled territories, and lightly populated areas. Most people lived on farms or in small towns, but in contrast, there were cities like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and New Orleans which were bustling with people, business, factories, and activity. The South had fewer people than the North, and the North had more enterprise than the South. The South was more rural with farms and plantations, and while the North had its farmers and rural places too, it had more cities. The division of slavery, the “peculiar institution,” would split the union of the states and bring on a Civil War that would end the lives of hundreds of thousands. A Civil War that would forever change the lives of the people and the landscape of the North and the South.

General Map Of The United States Showing Free States, Slave States, And Territories

1857 United States Map

Click/right click on map for larger image.

General map of the United States showing free and slave states, and the territories of the Union.

General map of the United States showing free and slave states, and the territories of the Union.

Map Color Key

  • Free states and territories colored green.
  • Dark green shows the free states.
  • Light gree shows the territories.
  • Slave-holding states colored red.
  • Slave importing states colored dark red.
  • Slave exporting states colored light red.
  • Boundary of the seceding states colored light gray.


Free States

  • California
  • Connecticit
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin


Slave States

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia


Border States

These are salve states that remained in the Union.

  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Missouri


State Populations From 1860 Census

StateTotalWhiteFree BlacksSlavesIndians (a)
California379,994358,110 (b)4,086---17,798
New Hampshire326,073325,579494------
New Jersey672,035646,69925,31818 (c)---
New York3,880,7353,831,59049,005---140
North Carolina992,622629,94230,463331,0591,158
Rhode Island174,620170,6493,952---19
South Carolina703,708291,3009,914402,40688

(a) – does not include 294,500 Indians who kept their tribal character
(b) – 34,933 Asians included
(c) – Indentured servants
Data source: The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference


Territory Populations From 1860 Census

TerritoryTotalWhiteFree BlacksSlavesIndians (a)
New Mexico93,51682,92485---10,507
District of
Columbia (b)

(a) – does not include 294,500 Indians who kept their tribal character
(b) – Populations included: Georgetown (8,733), Washington City (61,122), rest of the District (5,225).
Data source: The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference


Population Totals States And Territories Combined

Total PopulationWhiteFree BlacksSlavesIndians (a)

(a) – does not include 294,500 Indians who kept their tribal character
Data source: The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference


The 10 Largest Cities Of The United States In 1860

New York, NY813,669
Philadelphia, PA565,529
Brooklyn, NY266,661
Baltimore, MA212,418
Boston, MA177,840
New Orleans, LA168,675
Cincinnati, OH161,044
St, Louis, MO160,773
Chicago, IL112,172
Buffalo, NY81,129

Data source: The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference


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Civil War 1861 Timeline

What Happened In The Civil War During 1861?

The Civil War began in 1861 when the Rebels fired upon Fort Sumter. Some other major events of 1861 are: Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th president of the United States, the Southern states secede from the Union, the Confederate States of America’s government is formed with Jefferson Davis as its president, Robert E. Lee resigns from the United States Army and decides to fight for the South, both North and South begin to fill their armies by calling for volunteers, United States General-In-Chief Winfield Scott proposes his Anaconda Plan, the Border States are established, the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) is fought, George B. McClellan becomes commander of the Army of the Potomac, Ulysses S. Grant has command of Federal troops in southeastern Missouri and southeastern Illinois, William Tecumseh Sherman has a short time of command in the eastern and central parts of Kentucky, Ball’s Bluff is a Union disaster, Winfield Scott is replaced by George B. McClellan as general-in-chief, and the Trent Affair causes diplomatic problems for the Union.


“I cannot comprehend the madness of the times. Southern men are theoretically crazy. Extreme northern men are practical fools, the latter are really quite as bad as the former. Treason is in the air around us every where & goes by the name of Patriotism.”
… Words of Thomas Corwin to Abraham Lincoln on January 16, 1861.

1–6 – During this stretch of dates Southern state militias are busy. Fort Pulaski in Savannah, Georgia, two forts and an arsenal in Alabama, and a United States Arsenal in Apalachicola, Florida, are all occupied by state militias.

5 – A caucus is held by United States senators from six gulf states and Arkansas. Their conclusion is that reconciliation is only a waste of time, and that the slave states should secede and form a confederacy.

Star of the West

Star of the West

5 – The Star of the West is loaded with 200 troops and provisions as it leaves New York. The ship is sailing to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina to provide relief for the troops on duty there.

8 – Jacob Thompson resigns his position as the Mississippi Secretary of the Interior.

9 – The Star of the West has made its way to the South Carolina coast, but rebel fire prevents the ship from entering Charleston Harbor, it returns to New York.

“The first gun of the new struggle for independence [if struggle there is to be] has been fired, and Federal power has received its first repulse.”
… An excerpt from an editorial by the Charleston Mercury on January 10, 1861.

9 – Mississippi secedes from the Union.

10 – Florida secedes from the Union.

11 – Alabama secedes from the Union.

19 – Georgia secedes from the Union.

“The day that Georgia was declared out of the Union was a day of the wildest excitement in Rome [Rome, Georgia]. There was no order or prearrangement about it all, but the people met each other and shook hands and exchanged congratulations over it and manifested the utmost enthusiasm. Of course, a great many of the older and wiser heads looked on with a great deal of foreboding at these rejoicings and evidence of delight, but the general feeling was one of excitement and joy.”
… Georgian Mary A. Ward speaking before Congress after the war.

19 – In an attempt to stave off secession, the state of Virginia proposes a national peace conference.

21 – The United States Senate loses five more members from the South (others had resigned in December, 1860) as they resign. Notable among these resigning senators is Jefferson Davis of Mississippi.

26 – Louisiana secedes from the Union.

29 – After losing five states to secession, the new state of Kansas is admitted as the thirty-fourth state of the Union. The Kansas state constitution prohibits slavery.


“Upon my weary heart was showered smiles, plaudits, and flowers, but beyond them, I saw troubles and thorns innumerable. We are without machinery, without means, and threatened by a powerful opposition; but I do not despond and will not shrink from the task imposed on me.”
… Jefferson Davis, the provisional president of the Confederate States of America, writes to his wife, Varina, in February, 1861.

1 – Texas secedes from the Union.

“I am for the Union without any ‘if.’”
… Unlike others in his state, Texas Governor Sam Houston was not in favor of secession.

4 – Virginia’s national Peace Convention opens in Washington, D.C. with former President John Tyler presiding. There are 131 delegates from 21 states in attendance, but there are no delegates present from the seceded states. The convention is boycotted by states of the Deep South.

4 – The six seceded states begin to organize as they meet at a convention in Montgomery, Alabama to create their new government. The seceded states at this time are: South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

8 – At the Montgomery convention, the seceded states adopt a Constitution for their provisional government.

9 – The provisional Confederate Congress at Montgomery elects Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as the provisional Confederate President, and Alexander Stephens of Georgia as the Confederate provisional Vice-President.

“Mr. Davis is a man of slight sinewy figure, rather over the middle height, and of erect, soldierlike bearing. He is about fifty-five years of age; his features are regular and well-defined, but the face is thin and marked on cheek and brow with many wrinkles, and is rather careworn and haggard. One eye is apparently blind, the other is dark, piercing, intelligent.”
… A description of Jefferson Davis by William Russell of the London Times.

“You cannot transform the negro into anything one-tenth as useful or as good as what slavery enables them to be.”
… Words of Jefferson Davis, the provisional president of the Confederate States of America. February, 1861.

9 – A secession convention up for vote in Tennessee is rejected by nearly ten thousand votes.

10 – In Springfield, Illinois, a tall man named Abraham Lincoln leaves on his journey to Washington, D.C., and his place in history.

13 – The Electoral College confirms Abraham Lincoln’s election as President of the United States.

15 – Now that it has provisional President Jefferson Davis and provisional Vice-President Alexander Stephens, the Montgomery, Alabama Confederate convention acts as a provisional Congress and passes a resolution to take Union-held Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina and Fort Pickens in Pensacola Beach, Florida. The resolution says that if necessary, force can be used to take these forts.

18 – Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as the provisional President of the Confederacy.

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis

“The man and the hour have met. Prosperity, honor and victory await his administration.”
… Fire-eater William Lowndes Yancy introducing Jefferson Davis to an enthusiastic crowd. Yancy was one of the South’s most vocal proponents for secession.

23 – Abraham Lincoln completes his journey from Springfield, Illinois when he arrives in Washington, D.C., he has many challenges awaiting him.

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