Certainly, with the initial progression of the Civil War, 1862 was not faring well for the Lincoln- led Union Army. 1862 was a pivotal year for Lincoln because of this. Given how much had been weighed on the Civil War, Lincoln staked his own reputation and political career on a successful resolution to the conflict. 1862 was a year in which the Confederate Army found some of their greatest success. Victories in battles such as Shiloh, Memphis, and Manassas did much to bolster the Southern cause. 1862 was a pivotal year for Lincoln because the North was losing, and Lincoln was unable to find a commanding officer for the army that matched his own perception as to how the war should be fought.
Another reason why 1862 was such a pivotal year was because of Lincoln's issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln recognized that given how much he needed a Union victory, small steps were not going to be sufficient. Rather, he took a large step in his invocation of the issue that was in everyone's mind, while not being spoken. The inclusion of the African- American voice, in a however small manner it was, helped to establish that Lincoln was going to be defined by the success or failure of bold and large moves. 1862 was a pivotal year for Lincoln because of such moves.