The American Civil War

  • Period: to

    American Civil War

  • Election of 1860

    Election of 1860
    The civil war was ultimately caused by the sectional differences arising from major issues such as slavery and states rights. After decades of precarious compromise over states rights and the expansion of slavery, the North and South found that their differences, in part due to their disparate economies, were too extreme to be resolved peacefully, with the tipping point occuring after Lincoln's election and the subsequent secession of much of the South.
  • Fort Sumter

    Fort Sumter
    Lincoln had determined that the North would not resort to violence or offensive actions unless the South made the first move. When Lincoln decided to send supplies to the troops defending the fort, the South, under the impression that this was a threatening action, fired for 40 straight hours on the Fort, effectively beginning the war. Any Northerners that were previously hesitant about the cause of the Union now knew what they were fighting for, and fervently supported the fight to save it.
  • Battle Of Bull Run

    Battle Of Bull Run
    This was the first major battle of the Civil War, and disillusioned soldiers and political leaders of the concept of a short, decisive war. A huge Union army marched to Bull Run Creek in Virginia to attack Confederate forces, and seemed close to victory when Stonewall Jackson led reinforcements in for a counterattack that left the inexperienced Union troops into disorder for a definite Confederate victory.
  • Thomas Stonewall Jackson

    Thomas Stonewall Jackson
    Stonewall Jackson was well known for his strict, effective military leadership in the Confederate army. He earned his nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run, where he was said to stand like a "stone wall" in the face of the Union enemy, leading the Confederacy to victory with his unexpected reinforcement troops. Ultimately, Jackson was the most celebrated soldier of the confederacy, aside from Robert E. Lee, and succeeded in raising the morale of the South, and becoming a symbol of victory.
  • Jefferson Davis

    Jefferson Davis
    Jefferson Davis was the first and only president of the Confederate States of America, elected because of his moderate political tendencies, which were hoped to induce the secession of the hesitant slave states of the Upper South that were wary of extremist actions. He was a much less effective military leader than Lincoln because of his reluctance to assert the executive power given to him by Congress especially for wartime. He also severely neglected the withering Southern economy.
  • Winfield Scott And The Anaconda Plan

    Winfield Scott And The Anaconda Plan
    General Winfield Scott offered a more feasible strategy than the initial "On To Richmond" plan for Union victory in the Civil War called the Anaconda Plan. Essentially, the plan proposed that the Union fight on 2 different fronts to overwhelm and isolate the South. The Union navy would cut off southern ports and take control of the Mississippi to cut of supplies, while troops would be raised simultaneously to capture Richmond. This plan eventually led to Union victory.
  • George McClellan

    George McClellan
    George McClellan organized the Union's Army of the Potomac and led well trained and disciplined troops into Virginia during the Peninsula Campaign. The Confederacy was victorious, however, because of McClellan's reluctance to use the majority of his troops at once and Robert E. Lee's exceptional tactics, which forced McClellan to retreat after five months. This failure led the South to perceive the North as having poor tactics, and to McClellan's replacement by John Pope.
  • Robert E. Lee

    Robert E. Lee
    Robert E. Lee was a Confederate General who proved himself in Virginia with a brilliant victory during McClellan's Peninsula campaign, and subsequently became the commander of the South's eastern forces. Though he started the Confederacy out strong, he was badly beaten at antietam and Gettysburg, and eventually was forced to surrender at Appomatox Courthouse to the Union general Grant. He became an postwar icon of the South's lost cause.
  • Monitor and Merrimac

    Monitor and Merrimac
    The Union knew that their success in the war was largely dependent on their ability to isolate the South from their supply sources abroad and within the Confederacy through the blockading of ports and of the Mississippi River. During Peninsula Campaign, the South attacked the Union navy with a superior ironclad ship, the Merrimac, but the North countered with their own ship, the Monitor, preventing the new Southern technology from defeating the North, not to mention transforming future war.
  • Ulysses S. Grant

    Ulysses S. Grant
    Ulysses S. Grant pioneered the campaign for control of the Mississippi by opening up the state of Mississippi through a bloody but victorious (for the Union) battle in Western Tennessee. He was later surprised at Shiloh by Confederate troops, but eventually forced the South to retreat. Grant was made commander of the entire Union army in 1864, and waged a war of wills, trying only to outlast the South and sabotage their supply lines, beginning the 'total war' strategy.
  • Battle of Antietam

    Battle of Antietam
    Confederate general Lee sent his troops to invade Maryland, but McClellan knew their battle plan and intercepted the troops at Antietam; subsequently, the bloodiest single day of the Civil War ensued, and the Confederates retreated. When McClellan didn't pursue Lee, he was permanently removed by Lincoln. Though it was technically a draw, it ultimately prevented the South from getting foreign aid, so Licnoln declared it a Union victory, and used the triumph to announce the Emmancipation plan.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Emancipation Proclamation
    The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln in response to the bloody battle of Antietam, freeing only the slaves in the Confederate states, thereby not immediately freeing any, because the South was in rebellion. However, it officially committed the Union to abolition in the South, and turned the war into, among other things, a war on slavery. Furthermore, it induced more slaves to flee to Union – confiscated lines and join the Union army to fight for their own freedom.
  • Battle of Fredericksburg

    Battle of Fredericksburg
    General McClellan was replaced by the more aggressive General Ambrose Burnside for the Union, but his reckless attacks were even worse than McClellan's hesitance for the Union. Burnside's army attacked the Confederates in Virginia and lost significantly more men than the Confederacy, partially due to the lack of comprehension of the effect of the improvenment in weaponry on battle tactics. This battle led both sides to despair for a victory for either side any time soon.
  • Battle Of Gettysburg

    Battle Of Gettysburg
    General Lee took the offensive and invaded Maryland and Pennsylvania, hoping to force the North to make peace, or at least prove to other countries that the South deserved aid, by destroying the Union army or capturing a major city. This led to the Battle of Gettysburg, the most crucial and bloody battle of the war. Even though the Union was caught off guard, the Confederate army was decimated and forced to retreat to Virginia. This was the end of offensive actions by the South.
  • Battle Of Vicksburg

    Battle Of Vicksburg
    By the time of the Battle Of VIcksburg, the Union had nearly achieved their goal of occupying and controlling the Mississippi thanks to General Grant. Though Vicksburg was thoroughly defended and fortified, the Union's persistence, firing on the Mississippi city for 7 weeks, eventually forced the Confederates to surrender, cutting off the western regions of the South. Combined with the Union victory at Gettysburg, this battle marked a turning point in the war in the favor of the Union.
  • Gettysburg Address

    Gettysburg Address
    The Gettysburg Address was given by Union president Abraham Lincoln following the debilitating Battle of Gettysburg, as a sort of memorial and rally for support. Facing pressures from the Peace Democrats and the Copperheads to end the war, Lincoln knew he needed to garner support; so, he called for the preservation of not only the Union, but democracy, equality, and freedom, inspiring slaves to fight for the Union and ultimately asked that the soldiers wouldn't die in vain.
  • Sherman's March

    Sherman's March
    Sherman's march initiated the policy of total war on the side of the Union. General WIlliam Tecumseh Sherman began his march from Tennessee with 100, 000 men, beginning his campaign of deliberate destruction in Atlanta, Georgia (to help Lincoln gain votes for reelection) and going North into South Carolina to burn Columbia, the heart of the secessionist sentiment. Sherman and his men burnt everything in their paths indiscriminately, intending to and succeeding in breaking the will of the South.
  • Appomattox Court House

    Appomattox Court House
    The Union blockade of Southern ports and occupation of the vital Mississippi, combined with the relentless sabotage of Sherman's march, left the South with increasingly weak and unenthusiastic troops. Though the South attempted to negotiate for peace, neither side would offer any compromise on their original demands, so Lee retreated from Virginia. After failing to escape to the mountains, he was forced to surrender to Grant , who was very respectful toward his beaten enemy, at Appomattox.
  • Lincoln's Assassination

    Lincoln's Assassination
    Five days after Lee's surrender, a bitter Confederate supporter shot and killed Lincoln at the Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., while an accomplice attacked the Secretary of State William Seward. This deprived the South of the sympathy they needed at the time of surrender to an enemy who could or could not be merciful by infuriating the North. Though Lincoln was mourned, the country did not realize how necessary his extensive leadership skills were until the painstaking reconstruction began.