The American Civil War

The American Civil War

The American Civil War Trust Past

  • The American Civil War began in 1861 after decades of escalating tensions between the northern and southern states over issues of slavery, state rights, and expansion toward the West. The election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860 led to the withdrawal of seven Southern states and their formation of the Confederate States of America, and later four more joined them. The interstate war, known as the Civil War, ended in 1865, and this conflict was one of the most costly and bloody wars that broke out on American soil, as 620,000 American soldiers died out of two million and 400,000 soldiers, in addition to millions of injuries and destruction of most of the American South.

Causes of the American Civil War

Causes Of The American Civil War Trust Past

  • In the mid-nineteenth century, when the United States was experiencing an era of explosive growth, a fundamental economic difference emerged between the northern and southern states.

  • In the North, production and industry were well established, agriculture was limited to small-scale plantations, while the South's economy was based on a large-scale agricultural system that relied on black slave labor to grow crops, especially cotton and tobacco.

  • The growing anti-slavery sentiment of the North after 1830, and its opposition to the expansion of slavery towards the new Western Provinces, raised Southern fears for slavery in America, as the mainstay of their economy was in jeopardy.
Slavery in America Trust Pasta

  • In 1854, the U.S. Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened the door entirely to all new counties of slave use, affirming the rule of popular sovereignty, not the decree of Congress. Pro- and anti-slavery forces battled fiercely in the Kansas Bleeding incident, while opposition to the resolution in the North resulted in the formation of the Republican Party, a political entity newly founded on principles opposing the expansion of slavery into the Western Provinces, and after the Supreme Court's confirmation in the Dred Scott case in 1857 (a decade-long struggle to claim the freedom of a black man named Dred Scott).

  • The case lasted several hearings and reached the Supreme Court, whose decision angered the emancipation supporters and enriched the anti-slavery movement, and was a prelude to the Civil War) the legality and legality of slavery in the provinces, John Brown's anti-slavery campaign on Harper's ferry convinced more Southerners that their northern neighbors were inclined to destroy the institutions of the South. Lincoln's election in November 1860 was the straw that broke the camel's back, as it withdrew from the United States in three months seven states: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas.

Outbreak of the American Civil War 1861

Outbreak of the American Civil War 1861 Trust Past

  • As Lincoln began work in March 1861, Confederate forces threatened the Union-supervised Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. On April 12, Lincoln ordered a fleet to resupply the fort, and Confederate artillery fired the first fire of the Civil War. Major Robert Anderson, the commander of the fort, surrendered less than two days after the bombardment, leaving the fort to be held by Confederate forces under Pierre J.T. Borregaard. Four other states joined the Confederation after Fort Sumter: Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee, while slave border states such as Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland did not withdraw, but their citizens showed great sympathy for the Confederates.

  • At first glance, the American Civil War appears to be an unbalanced conflict, with 23 states of the Union having huge advantages in population, industrialization (including weapons production), and railroad construction. But the Confederates, on the other hand, have a strong military tradition, as well as some of the best soldiers and commanders nationwide. They also have a cause to believe in which to preserve their long-standing traditions and institutions, including slavery.

  • At the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas I) on July 11, 1861, 35,000 Confederate troops led by Thomas Johansson (Stone Wall) Jackson forced large Union forces to withdraw to Washington, D.C., dashing any Federalist hopes of a quick victory, and forcing Lincoln to call for an additional 500,000 troops. In fact, it was the decision of both sides to mobilize more forces after it became clear that this conflict would not be short or limited.

Civil War in Virginia 1862

Civil War in Virginia 1862 Trust Past

  • It was George. Me. McClellan, who replaced the aging General Windville Scott to be commander-in-chief of the Union Army after the first months of the war, was loved by his soldiers, but his reluctance to advance infuriated Lincoln. In the spring of 1862, McClellan led his army from Potomac (Maryland) to the north of the peninsula between York and the James River, capturing York Town on May Fourth.
  • Robert E. Lee and Jackson faced McClellan's armies in the seven-day battles, which ran from June 25 to July 1, but McClellan asked for more reinforcements to move against Richmond (the capital of the Confederates).

  • Lincoln refused his request, and McClellan withdrew to Washington. In mid-1862 he replaced Henry W. Hallick Bmclellan commanded the Union Army, but remained commander of the Potomac Army.

  • Lee then moved his armies north, dividing his forces in two, sending Jackson to meet Bob's forces near Manassas, while personally commanding the other half of the army. On August 29, the Union armies led by John Pope attacked Jackson's forces in the Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas II), and the next day Lee attacked the Federal Army's left wing violently forcing Pope's men to withdraw toward Washington. On the cusp of his victory in Manassas, Lee began the first invasion of the Confederates north. McClellan was able to reorganize his army and attack Lee on 14 September despite conflicting orders, forcing the Confederates to withdraw to a defensive position along the Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg.

  • On September 17, the Potomac army attacked Lee's forces, backed by Jackson's, in the bloodiest battle in a single day. The total losses at the Battle of Antietam, known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, were 12,410 soldiers from 69,000 Union soldiers and 13,734 soldiers from 52,000 Confederate troops. The Federalist victory in Antietam was decisive as it halted the Confederate advance in Maryland and forced Lee to withdraw to Virginia. However, McClellan's failure to seize this advantage infuriated Lincoln and Halleck and removed him from driving for Ambrose E. Burnside.

  • Burnside's attack on Lee's forces near Fredericksburg on 13 December ended in heavy losses for the Union and a victory for the Confederates, promptly replacing Joseph (Fighting Joe) Hooker, and both armies settled over the winter on both banks of the Rappahanok River.

After the Emancipation Proclamation 1863-1864

Emancipation Proclamation 1863-1864 Trust Past

  • Lincoln took advantage of the victory of the Union in Antietam to issue the preliminary Emancipation Decree, which freed all enslaved people in the rebellious states in January 1863. Lincoln justified his decision as a wartime measure that did not extend to the emancipation of slaves in the pro-Union border states. However, the Emancipation Proclamation deprived the Confederates of most of their manpower and drew international public opinion strongly in favour of the Union. By the end of the American Civil War in 1865, some 186,000 soldiers would join the Union Army and 38,000 would lose their lives.
  • In the spring of 1863 a surprise attack by Lee, using most of his troops, thwarted Hooker's plan in a Union campaign.

  • The Confederates won a costly victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville, losing 13,000 troops, or about 22 percent of their troops, and losing 17,000 men (15 percent of its troops). Lee launched another invasion northward in June and attacked Union forces led by General George Mead on July 1 near Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania. Over three days of fierce fighting, the Confederates were unable to penetrate the Union and suffered losses of about 60 percent of their troops.

  • Mead failed to counterattack, and Lee's remaining forces managed to escape to Virginia, ending the final Confederate invasion of the North. In July 1863 Union forces led by Ulysses S. Grant on Vicksburg, Mississippi, at the Siege of Vicksburg, a turning point for the war on the Western Front. After the Confederate victory at Chickamauga Creek, Georgia, south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in September, Lincoln expanded Grant's powers and led a federal army (including two corps from the Potomac Army) to win the Battle of Chattanooga in late November.

Towards the victory of the Union 1864-1865

The Victory Of The Union Trust Past

  • In March 1864, Lincoln Grant was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Union armies in place of Hallick. Grant headed for Washington, leaving William Tekmish Sherman to dominate the West, and led the Army of the Potomac toward Lee's armies in northern Virginia. With significant Union losses at the Battle of the Wilderness, Sputsylvania (May 1864), the Battle of Cold Harbor, and the Battle of Pittsburgh's Main Railroad Center (June), Grant continued his strategy of attrition, besieging Pittsburgh for the next nine months.

  • Sherman defeated Confederate forces to capture Atlanta by September, after which he led 60,000 Union Army troops in the famous "walk to sea," devastating Georgia en route to capture the city of Savannah on December 21.
  • Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, fell to Sherman in mid-February, and Jefferson Davis handed supreme command to Lee in the final phase of the Confederate War. Sherman continued his pressure through North Carolina and captured Fayetteville, Bentoville, Goldsborough and Rally in mid-April.
  • Meanwhile, Lee's forces, exhausted by the Union siege of Pittsburgh and Richmond, tried to resist one last time, attacking and occupying Fort Stedman on March 25, but a direct counterattack reversed victory in favor of the Union, and on the night of April 2 and 3 Lee's forces evacuated the capital of the south, Richmond.

  • The following week, Grant and Mead tracked down the Confederates along the Appomattox River, finally exhausting their escape possibilities. Grant agreed to surrender to Lee Ve Court House Appomattox on the ninth of April. On the eve of victory, the Union lost its great leader, assassinated by Confederate sympathetic actor John Wilkes Booth at the Ford Theatre in Washington on April 14. Sherman accepted Johnston's surrender at Durham Station in North Carolina on April 26, effectively ending the Civil War.

Page navigation


Font Size
lines height