The American Civil War

  • Period: to

    Civil War

  • The Election of 1860

    The Election of 1860
    The sectional tension of the mid-1800's culminated in the Election of 1860. Abraham Lincoln of the purely northern Republican Party won by a landslide in the electoral college. South Carolina, feeling Lincoln would threaten the southern way of life, promptly seceded from the Union. The rest of the deep south soon followed suit. The South created the Confederate States of America in an attempt to re-create the South as it had been prior to the rise of the new Republican party.
  • Jefferson Davis

    Jefferson Davis
    Davis, former senator and secretary of war, was the first and only president of the Confederate States of America. Davis, though, was a political moderate who had supported states' rights but not secession during his time in Congress. Davis' war policies proved ineffective, and his attempts at centralization of government were criticized by Southern states.
  • Fort Sumter

    Fort Sumter
    The first shots fired between the Confederacy and the Union occured at Fort Sumter. Lincoln announced he was sending supply ships to the Union fort; Confederate troops soon began to fire on the garrison. The battle at Fort Sumter convinced many Northerners of the necessity of a war to save the Union.
  • Winfield Scott and the Anaconda Plan

    Winfield Scott and the Anaconda Plan
    Winfield Scott was one of the most acclaimed war heroes of the Mexican-American war. The first commander of the Union army, he proposed a plan to blockade Confederate ports and capture the Missippi known as the Anaconda plan. According to Scott's plan, Union forces would gradually surround and squeeze the will to fight out of the Confederacy, ultimately forcing a surrender.
  • Battle of Bull Run

    Battle of Bull Run
    Inexperienced Union troops met Rebel troops at Bull Run Creek near Manassas Junction, Virginia. Just as victory seemed imminent for Union troops, Confederate reinforcements arrived under "Stonewall" Jackson. The Northern forces were routed, and all hopes of a short war were dispelled.
  • Thomas Stonewall Jackson

    Thomas Stonewall Jackson
    Thomas Stonewall Jackson was a renowned Confederate general, graduate of West Point, and Mexican-American War veteran. His military prowress proved crucial in several of the Civil War's early battles, namely First Manassas, Second Manassas, Fredricksburg, and Antietam (despite Confederate loss). He was nicknamed Stonewall after his sucess at Bull Run. Next to Robert E. Lee, he was the Confederacy's greatest war hero.
  • George McClellan

    George McClellan
    Georgce McClellan succeded Winfield Scott as commander of Union forces. He led Northern troops in battles such as Antietam, Second Bull Run, and the failed Peninsula Campaign. He was often criticized for his sluggish response to Confederate threat and his insubordination of many of Lincoln's orders. McClellan went on to run against Lincoln in the election of 1864.
  • Monitor and Merrimac

    Monitor and Merrimac
    In a duel to decide the fate of a Union blockade, the ironclad ships Monitor and Merrimac met in battle off the coast of Virginia. The five hour battle ended in a draw, but it prevented the South from further interfering with Northern blockades. The newly invented ironclad ships would also serve to revolutionize naval warfare.
  • Robert E. Lee

    Robert E. Lee
    Robert E. Lee was the commander of the Confederate. Trained at West Point and a veteran of the Mexican-American War, he was a tactical genius, a feat he displayed in many key battles, including 2nd Bull Run. He surrendered to the Union at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865.
  • Battle of Antietam

    Battle of Antietam
    Lee led the Confederate army into Maryland following a decisive victory at Bull Run. McClellan knew Lee's battle plan after finding a dropped copy and intercepted Lee at Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg, Maryland. Antietam was the single most bloody day of the war, and the battle ended in a Union victory
  • Battle of Fredricksburg

    Battle of Fredricksburg
    Ambrose Burnside replace McClellan as commander of the Union and advocated a more aggresive plan of attack. He recklessly attacked Lee's army at Fredricksburg, Virginia. The battle proved bloody for both sides, but the Union ultimately lost.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln formally enforced the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order that freed any and all slaves living in the Confederate States of America. 50,000 slaves were immediately freed, and the other 3.1 million living in the Confederacy were freed over the course of the war. Though slavery was not prohibited until the Thirteenth Amendment, the Emancipation Proclamation served to weaken the South and make slavery a key issue of the war.
  • Ulysses S. Grant

    Ulysses S. Grant
    Ulysses S. Grant was the last and most sucessful commander of the Union army. He masterminded decisive campaigns such as Vicksburg and the Battle of the Wilderness. Through military prowess and numerous victories, Grant proved himself a competent general and was promoted to commander of the union in 1864. He negotiated surrender of the Confederate army with Robert E. Lee at Appomattox courthouse in 1865.
  • Battle of Gettysburg

    Battle of Gettysburg
    Robert E. Lee led Confederate troops on an attempted invasion of the North. Meade's army of the Potomac met Lee's forces near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, resulting in a three day battle that proved to be the bloodiest of the Civil War. The Southern forces were routed, and all further Southern invasion attempts were precluded. Gettysburg was the turning point of the war.
  • Battle of Vicksburg

    Battle of Vicksburg
    The Battle of VIcksburg was the culmination of Grant's campaign to secure the Mississippi River. Grant's army of the Tennesee crossed the Mississippi and besieged Confederate forces at Vicksburg for more than forty days. Confederate forces finally surrendered, giving the Union control of the Mississippi and splitting the Confederacy in two. The twofold Union success at Vicksburg and Gettysburg is considered the Civil War's turning point.
  • Gettysburg Address

    Gettysburg Address
    At the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetary, Lincoln deliverd an extremely short speech entitled the Gettysburg Address. With his monumental, two minute speech, Lincoln stressed the necessity of the Union's survival, so that "government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth." Lincoln's address motivated Northerners, and urged them to fight for the preservation of representative government.
  • Sherman's March

    Sherman's March
    William Tecumseh Sherman led Union troops on the Savannah Campaign, a march from Atlanta to the Georgian coast, pillaging towns along the way. Grant recommended Sherman attempt to break the Southern spirit through economic and psychological warfare. Though it defied military principles Sherman's March destroyed much of the Georgian infrastructure and proved a decisive victory for the North.
  • Appomattox Court House

    Appomattox Court House
    After the brutal Appomattox Campaign, Confederate forces had no choice but to surrender. Lee's forces were stretched thin in the last few months of the war, and were ultimately surrounded at Appomattox Court House. Lee requested a meeting with Grant to discuss Confederate surrender. Other Confederate commanders followed suit, conceding defeat to Union generals throughout the country, marking the end of the Civil War.
  • Lincoln Assassination

    Lincoln Assassination
    Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theater while watching a play shortly after Confederate surrender. Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in the back of the head in an attempt to rally Confederate troops, despite Lee's surrender. Lincoln's assassination was part of a failed, larger plot to kill or kidnap Lincoln and his cabinet. Lincoln died shortly before the next morning.