In the 1860s, we see one of the most eventful decades in the book. The characters are coming of age and turning into real people rather than the entities that they have been prior — little more than a description and a date.
November 1862 – Jo turns 15 years of age.
December 1862 – Christmas begins and the beginning of the story of "Little Women" starts up.
New Year's Eve 1862 – For the first time, Jo and Laurie have a romantic encounter.
February 1863 – Laurie turns 16 years of age.
April 1863 – Meg leaves home to stay with the Moffats for a while.
Unknown Month 1863 – Jo throws a dinner party.
August 1863 – Meg turns 17 years of age.
October 1863 – Jo's first original story is published in an actual paper.
November 1863 – Mr. March becomes sick in Washington and Beth gets scarlet fever.
December 1863 – Beth becomes even sicker during the second Christmas of the book. End of the first section of the book.
June 1867 – Meg gets married and begins the second book of "Little Women." Jo is now 19 and Amy is now 16.
November 1867 – Meg goes out and spends a large sum of money on violet silk.
June 1868 – Meg has two children with her husband.
Autumn 1868 – Amy goes to Europe to study.
November 1868 – Jo turns 21 and travels to New York where she meets and befriends an older man, a professor named Bhaer.
June 1869 – Jo returns home from New York.
July-August 1869 – Laurie graduates and proposes to Jo, which she refuses. He then leaves for Europe as well.
September 1869 – Jo learns that Beth is dying.
December 1869 – During their separate tours of Europe, Laurie and Amy meet in Nice.
The 1860s is not only the most action packed decade of the book, it is also the basis on which the rest of the book is settled.