- 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: President Abraham Lincoln reluctantly restores Union General George McClellan to full command after General John Pope's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Second 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 17 - Union forces defeat Confederate troops at the Battle of Antietam, in the bloodiest day in the American Civil War (with over 20,000 casualties).
- September 22 - Otto von Bismarck becomes prime minister of Prussia.
- September 22 – Emancipation Proclamation
- September 29 - Bismarck's "Blood and Iron" speech
- 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 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.
- January 15 - Loie Fuller, dancer (d. 1928)
- January 24 - Edith Wharton, writer
- January 29 - Frederick Delius, composer (d. 1934)
- February 4 - George Ernest Morrison, Australian adventurer/journalist (d. 1920)
- March 8 - George Frederick Phillips, military hero (d. 1904)
- March 12 - Jane Delano, founder, American Red Cross Nursing Service (d. 1919)
- March 17 - Silvio Gesell, economist (d. 1930)
- March 28 - Aristide Briand, politician, winner of the 1926 Nobel Prize in peace (d. 1932)
- May 15 - Arthur Schnitzler, dramatist and narrator (d. 1931)
- June 21 - Damrong Rajanubhab, Thai prince, administrator and historian (d. 1943)
- June 27 – May Irwin, actress, singer (d. 1938)
- August 22 - Claude Debussy, French composer
- August 29 - Andrew Fisher, fifth Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1928)
- September 25 - Billy Hughes, seventh Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1952)
- November 14 – George Washington Vanderbilt, businessman (d. 1914)
- December 8 - Georges Feydeau, French playwright (d. 1921)
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