The Attack on Fort SumterApril 12, 1861
President Abraham Lincoln tried to send supplies down to Fort Sumter, but Confederate authorities demand the immediate evacuation of the fort. When this was refused confederate troops opened fire at 4:30 a.m. on April 12. After 34 hours of fighting, federal troops decided to abandon the fort and they marched out waving the American flag.
The attack was the first battle that ignited the many more that were included in the Civil War.
Civil War Era
The First Battle of Bull RunJuly 22,1861
Union troops hoped to advance on Confederate troops by arriving at Richmond prior the planned meeting day of the Confederate Congress.The Union started out strong with a few thousand more troops than the Confederate, but then reinforcements came for the Confederate’s. These extra troops evened out the difference, and they were able to overtake the Union soldiers and force them to retreat.
This battle could be considered a Confederate victory, but both sided lost a grave of soldiers.
The Battle of Hampton RoadsMarch 9, 1862
This battle was the very first in U.S. History to be fought with ironclad warships. This engagement was part of the Confederate’s effort to break the Union’s blockade on Southern ports. Both sides lacked training, which made firing ineffective.
Although the battle was inconclusive, the use of these ironclad ships marked the end of wooden navies.
The Battle of ShilohApril 6, 1862
Confederate troops performed a surprise attack on the Union troops stationed in southwestern Tennessee. Even though the Confederate started strong they soon lost their positions and were forced to retreat. There was a great number of casualties, more than 23,000 in total.
This can be considered a Union victory, although they both had to spend 3 weeks recovering from the heavy loss of troops on both sides.
The Battle of AntietamGeneral Robert E. Lee had this complex operational plan that divided his outnumbered force, but disaster struck when a lost copy of this plan reached the Union commander. This battle was known as one of the bloodiest days in the American Civil War. Lee retreated over the river first, and there were over 22,000 casualties total.
This win for the Union made it possible for President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Battke of FredericksburgDecember 11, 1862
The Union had the upper hand in this battle with more than 120,000 troops. They started out strong when they we able to break the Confederate lines, but when Union General William B. Franklin failed to send reinforcements they lost their lead. The South was able to perform a counterattack and force the North back.
This major win for the Confederate raised morale and lead too many more successful battles for them.
The Battle of ChancellorsvilleApril 30, 1863
This battle was considered that greatest victory for Robert E. Lee because he had to face an enemy twice his size. Lee daringly split his troops in two, which forced Hooker to retreat across the Rappahannock River. Hooker was then able to get 80,000 troops behind Lee, and forced him fight. Lee was able to found Hooker’s weak spot in his line up, and defeat the Union troops.
This win lead Lee and his troops north to Gettysburg in the next few weeks.
The Battle of GettysburgJuly 1, 1863
Robert E. Lee was confident after his win in Chancellorsville, and decided to attack the Union in the Crossroad town of Gettysburg. The majority of both armies headed towards Gettysburg, and to a gruesome three day battle. They were many lives lost that day, with the Confederate losing more than one third of its army.
The Union victory in Gettysburg turned the tide in the Civil War in favor of the Union.
The Capture of VicksburgMay 2, 1862
Vicksburg was the last fort on the Mississippi River, and remaining point of defense for the Confederates there. The Union attempted to capture the fort multiple times, and with many different types of approaches. They were finally successful when the Confederates ran out of ammunition.
The victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg greatly raised morale in the North, and set the tone for the rest of the war.
The Battle of ChickamaugaSeptember 19, 1863
The Union and Confederate forces were fighting over control of the railroad center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The battle happened 12 miles southwest of Chattanooga at Chickamauga. It resulted with heavy casualties on both sides.
With over 36,000 total deaths, this was considered the bloodiest battle in the western theatre.
The Battle of the WildernessMay 5, 1864
President Lincoln appointed Ulysses S. Grant commander and chief of the Union armies. Wasting no time, Grant planned a major offensive attack toward the Confederate Capital. He sent around 115,000 soldiers to march through the wilderness and try to surprise Lee’s right wing. Lee decided to confront the enemy instead of retreating. This action started the bloody 3 day battle.
The winner of this battle was inconclusive, but Lincoln finally found a commander who wasn’t going to retreat.
The Battle of SpotsylvaniaMay 8, 1864
The day after the battle of the Wilderness ended, a new battle started in the town of Spotsylvania. This battle went on for 12 days and saw some of the bloodiest fighting in the entire Civil War. It finally ended when Ulysses S. Grant ordered his troops to stop fighting and march southwest towards Richmond.
This battle may have eneded, but it began the Petersburg Campaign.
Sherman's MarchSeptember 2, 1864
The capture of Atlanta was an important triumph for the Union, because it was the symbol of pride and strength in the Confederate. Its fall drastically lowered morale. Once the Union had Atlanta they began using total war tactics on their march south to Savannah. Three weeks later, they reached the undefended city, and Sherman presented the city to Lincoln as a Christmas present.
This capture marked the near end of the war.
The Petersburg CampaignJune 9, 1864
The Petersburg Campaign was a series of military operations that happened during to final months of the Civil War. These operations consisted of the siege on the two cities of Petersburg and Richmond, and the capture of Fort Harrison. The Confederates were able to keep a hold on the cities for a few months; they finally lost them when they ran out of food and supplies. General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court house on April 9, 1865
Lincoln's AssassinationApril 14, 1865
President Lincoln attended the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre just days after the end of the war. John Wilkes Booth learned that Lincoln was scheduled to attend this play, and decided that it was time to put his murderous plan into action. Abraham Lincoln was shot in the back of the head and died just a few hours later. People who were just rejoicing over the end of the war are now mourning over the loss of a great hero.