Battle of Fort SumterApril 14-16, 1861
Lincoln had supplies sent to Fort Sumter, however the South believed they were sending weapons and troops. The Confederacy wanted the fort to evacuate, but Lincoln refused. After this refusal the Southerners fired the first shots of the American Civil War.
The attack on Fort Sumter further motivated the Southern states to secede and further separated the Union.
First Battle of Bull RunJuly 21, 1861
At the beginning of the battle of Bull Run the Union had a large advantage with their number of soldiers. Both sides called in reinforcements and once there were about 18,000 on each side General Beauregard of the South ordered a charge which broke the Union lines and created the famous “rebel yell.”
Although the Confederates won, they were not able to continue attacking the retreating Union and both sides had to prepare for a long, difficult conflict.
Battle of Hampton RoadsMarch 9, 1862
The battle took place between the Monitor and Merrimack (Virginia) and was the first battle among ironclad ships. The battle was part of the Southern effort to break the North’s blockade of Southern ports. The battle did not result in a win for either side.
Despite the lack of a victory, the battle had a positive boost of morale for both sides. The battle also opened new doors for naval warfare.
Battle of ShilohShiloh
April 6-7, 1862
The battle was also known as the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing. The Confederate generals used a surprised attack on Grant's forces. The South couldn’t hold their power allowing a Union victory. Though, both sides claimed the victory.
Both sides were immobilized for three weeks to regroup due to the heavy number of casualties.
Battle of AntietamSeptember 17-18, 1862
Antietam was the first battle of the Civil War fought on Northern soil. It was also the bloodiest day in all of American history due to over 22,000 casualties in one day. The battle took place along Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg, Maryland.
A Union victory after several losses gave Lincoln an opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which was designed to free slaves.
Battle of FredericksburgDecember 11-December 13, 1862
General Burnside led over 120,000 Union troops into an attack on the Confederates in Fredericksburg. After several days of fighting the Union ended up with about 13,000 casualties and lost the battle. The Union only managed to kill less than 5,000 confederates.
Lincoln was blamed for the defeat even though Burnside took responsibility for it. The South had its moral restored after several losses.
Battle of ChancellorsvilleApril 30- May 6, 1863
This battle was fought in the wilderness of Virginia and was considered Lee’s greatest victory. Lee’s army, only having 60,000 men, divided into 2 for this attacked against 80,000 Union men. This action led the Confederates to victory. The Confederate victory came at a cost, though. Stonewall Jackson died by accidental friendly fire.
The victory inspired Lee to invade the North again and try to bring a quick end to the war.
Battle of GettysburgJuly 1-3, 1863
After General Lee’s defeat of the Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville, he decided to put his army on the offense and to attack the North. This brought on the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle lasted three days and there were approximately 51,000 casualties.
After the loss General Lee offered a resignation to President Davis, but was not accepted. The battle of Gettysburg turned the entire Civil War in the Union’s favor.
Siege of VicksburghMay 18, 1863- July 4, 1863
Initially Grant tried to gain the Confederate city, on May 19 and 22, 1863. The attack later gained some success but what Grant got back was a huge number of deaths. Pemberton, one of the commanders of the Confederate Army evacuated the city and surrendered, resulting in the saving of his army.
The Union now had full control of the Mississippi River.
Battle of ChickamaugaSeptember 19, 1863-September 20, 1863
Union and Confederate forces were struggling over control of the railroad center of Chattanooga. Early morning the Confederate attacked the Union. A reserve division was to help aid the Union, and they were able to make an orderly retreat to Chattanooga that night.
Even though the Confederate won, it did not help them. Because of this battle, the Confederate lost 10 generals and 20,000 mean. The Union is only suffering from 1600 men.
Battle of the WildernessMay 5-7, 1864
General Grant had planned to quickly march his troops through the Wilderness and attack Lee’s right wing. Lee decided to attack the Union inside the Wilderness because of the familiar terrain and to help neutralize the size difference. After several days of fighting, both sides were where they were two days before and the battle did not have a victor.
Although there was no victor, Grant refused to retreat and instead he continued marching his army South towards Spotsylvania.
Battle of SpotsylvaniaMay 8-21, 1864
The Battle of Spotsylvania lasted 12 days and had over 29,000 casualties on both sides. The battle was one of the longest and bloodiest of the Civil War. On May 21, Grant disengaged the Union army and continued their march towards Richmond.
The news of the casualties stunned the Union because the army failed to break the enemy lines. There were a high number of casualties, but it still worked well for the Union because the South was once again forced to defend the capital.
Sherman's March to the SeaSeptember 2-December 21, 1864
After capturing Atlanta, troops traveled through Georgia destroying railroads, food supplies, and anything that would help the South. After defeating a group of Southerners at Griswoldville the Confederates joined in this effort in hopes of destroying everything before the Union could get to it. Savannah, was found unguarded as the troops guarding it had already fled.
This effort destroyed Southern morale and led to the Confederacy's surrender.
Siege of PetersburgSeptember 29, 1864-April 9, 1865
Petersburg was an important railroad center south of Richmond, which made it a key strategy for the South since it was so close to their capital. Although by the end of the year Lee still held Richmond and Petersburg, many of the railroads were worn out or broken. This caused the Southern troops to be unprepared and ill fed.
The Southerners’ lack of preparation allowed the Union to finally capture both Richmond and Petersburg, ending the Civil War.
Lincoln's AssassinationApril 14-15, 1865
Abrahams Lincoln’s killer, John Wilkes Booth, was planning to kidnap the president and take him to Richmond. This plan failed. On April 14, Booth snuck into the president’s box at a play and shot him, however Booth got away even after breaking his leg in a fall. Lincoln was announced dead at 7:22am the next day.
Lincoln’s death impacted America with a new president.