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American Civil War

American Civil War

Overview
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 fought in the United States of America. In response to the election
United States presidential election, 1860
The United States presidential election of 1860 was a quadrennial election, held on November 6, 1860, for the office of President of the United States and the immediate impetus for the outbreak of the American Civil War. The nation had been divided throughout the 1850s on questions surrounding the...

 of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 as President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, 11 southern
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 slave state
Slave state
In the United States of America prior to the American Civil War, a slave state was a U.S. state in which slavery was legal, whereas a free state was one in which slavery was either prohibited from its entry into the Union or eliminated over time...

s declared their secession
Secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

 from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 ("the Confederacy"); the other 25 states supported the federal government ("the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

"). After four years of warfare, mostly within the Southern states, the Confederacy surrendered and slavery was outlawed everywhere in the nation.
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Timeline

1861   American Civil War: The "Star of the West" incident occurs near Charleston, South Carolina. It is considered by some historians to be the "First Shots of the American Civil War".

1861   American Civil War: The "Star of the West" incident occurs near Charleston, South Carolina. It is considered by some historians to be the "First Shots of the American Civil War".

1861   American Civil War: Florida secedes from the Union.

1861   American Civil War: Georgia joins South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama in seceding from the United States.

1861   American Civil War: Jefferson Davis resigns from the United States Senate.

1861   American Civil War: The state of Louisiana secedes from the Union.

1861   American Civil War: Texas secedes from the United States.

1861   American Civil War: In Montgomery, Alabama, delegates from six break-away U.S. states meet and form the Confederate States of America.

1861   American Civil War: Jefferson Davis is elected the Provisional President of the Confederate States of America by the Confederate convention at Montgomery, Alabama.

1861   American Civil War: United States House of Representatives unanimously passes a resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state.

 
Encyclopedia
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 fought in the United States of America. In response to the election
United States presidential election, 1860
The United States presidential election of 1860 was a quadrennial election, held on November 6, 1860, for the office of President of the United States and the immediate impetus for the outbreak of the American Civil War. The nation had been divided throughout the 1850s on questions surrounding the...

 of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 as President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, 11 southern
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 slave state
Slave state
In the United States of America prior to the American Civil War, a slave state was a U.S. state in which slavery was legal, whereas a free state was one in which slavery was either prohibited from its entry into the Union or eliminated over time...

s declared their secession
Secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

 from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 ("the Confederacy"); the other 25 states supported the federal government ("the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

"). After four years of warfare, mostly within the Southern states, the Confederacy surrendered and slavery was outlawed everywhere in the nation. Issues that led to war were partially resolved in the Reconstruction Era that followed, though others remained unresolved.

In the presidential election of 1860
United States presidential election, 1860
The United States presidential election of 1860 was a quadrennial election, held on November 6, 1860, for the office of President of the United States and the immediate impetus for the outbreak of the American Civil War. The nation had been divided throughout the 1850s on questions surrounding the...

, the Republican Party, led by Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

, had campaigned against expanding slavery beyond the states in which it already existed. The Republicans strongly advocated nationalism, and in their 1860 platform they denounced threats of disunion as avowals of treason. After a Republican victory, but before the new administration took office on March 4, 1861, seven cotton states declared their secession
Secession in the United States
Secession in the United States can refer to secession of a state from the United States, secession of part of a state from that state to form a new state, or secession of an area from a city or county....

 and joined to form the Confederate States of America. Both the outgoing administration of President James Buchanan
James Buchanan
James Buchanan, Jr. was the 15th President of the United States . He is the only president from Pennsylvania, the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor and the last to be born in the 18th century....

 and the incoming administration rejected the legality of secession, considering it rebellion. The other eight slave states rejected calls for secession at this point. No country in the world recognized the Confederacy.

Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces attacked a U.S. military installation
Battle of Fort Sumter
The Battle of Fort Sumter was the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina, that started the American Civil War. Following declarations of secession by seven Southern states, South Carolina demanded that the U.S. Army abandon its facilities in Charleston Harbor. On...

 at Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter is a Third System masonry coastal fortification located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. The fort is best known as the site upon which the shots initiating the American Civil War were fired, at the Battle of Fort Sumter.- Construction :...

 in South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

. Lincoln responded by calling for a volunteer army from each state to recapture federal property, which led to declarations of secession by four more slave states. Both sides raised armies as the Union seized control of the border states early in the war and established a naval blockade
Union blockade
The Union Blockade, or the Blockade of the South, took place between 1861 and 1865, during the American Civil War, when the Union Navy maintained a strenuous effort on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast of the Confederate States of America designed to prevent the passage of trade goods, supplies, and arms...

. Land warfare in the East was inconclusive in 1861–62, as the Confederacy beat back Union efforts to capture its capital, Richmond, Virginia, notably during the Peninsular Campaign. In September 1862, the confederate campaign in Maryland ended in defeat at the Battle of Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam , fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000...

, which dissuaded the British from intervening. Days after that battle, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with nearly...

, which made ending slavery a war goal.

In 1863, confederate general Robert E. Lee's
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 northward advance ended in defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

. To the west, the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 gained control of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 after the Battle of Shiloh
Battle of Shiloh
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and...

 and Siege of Vicksburg, splitting the Confederacy in two and destroying much of their western army. Due to his western successes, Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 was given command of the eastern army in 1864, and organized the armies of William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War , for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched...

, Philip Sheridan
Philip Sheridan
Philip Henry Sheridan was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general and his close association with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S...

 and others to attack the Confederacy from all directions, increasing the North's advantage in manpower. Grant restructured the union army, and put other generals in command of divisions of the army that were to support his push into Virginia. He led the Overland Campaign
Overland Campaign
The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the...

 to seize Richmond, though in the face of fierce resistance he altered his plans and led the Siege of Petersburg
Siege of Petersburg
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War...

 which nearly finished off the rest of Lee's army. Meanwhile, Sherman captured Atlanta and marched to the sea
Sherman's March to the Sea
Sherman's March to the Sea is the name commonly given to the Savannah Campaign conducted around Georgia from November 15, 1864 to December 21, 1864 by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army in the American Civil War...

, destroying Confederate infrastructure along the way. When the Confederate attempt to defend Petersburg failed, the Confederate army retreated but was pursued and defeated, which resulted in Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House
Battle of Appomattox Courthouse
The Battle of Appomattox Court House, fought on the morning of April 9, 1865, was the final engagement of Confederate States Army General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia before it surrendered to the Union Army under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and one of the last battles of the American...

 on April 9, 1865.

The American Civil War was one of the earliest true industrial wars
Industrial warfare
Industrial warfare is a period in the history of warfare ranging roughly from the early nineteenth century and the start of the Industrial Revolution to the beginning of the Atomic Age, which saw the rise of nation-states, capable of creating and equipping large armies and navies through the...

. Railroads, the telegraph, steamships, and mass-produced weapons were employed extensively. The practices of total war
Total war
Total war is a war in which a belligerent engages in the complete mobilization of fully available resources and population.In the mid-19th century, "total war" was identified by scholars as a separate class of warfare...

, developed by Sherman in Georgia, and of trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 around Petersburg foreshadowed World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 in Europe. It remains the deadliest war in American history
History of the United States
The history of the United States traditionally starts with the Declaration of Independence in the year 1776, although its territory was inhabited by Native Americans since prehistoric times and then by European colonists who followed the voyages of Christopher Columbus starting in 1492. The...

, resulting in the deaths of 620,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. Historian John Huddleston
John Huddleston
Father John Huddleston was a monk of the Order of St. Benedict who helped Charles II during his escape and was present when Charles converted to the Catholic faith on his deathbed.- Early life and education :...

 estimates the death toll at ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40.
Victory for the North meant the end of the Confederacy and of slavery in the United States, and strengthened the role of the federal government. The social, political, economic and racial issues
Issues of the American Civil War
Issues of the American Civil War include questions about the name of the war, the tariff, states' rights and the nature of Lincoln's war goals. The name of the war is a result of popular use, even though the term "United States Civil War" would be more precise. Nevertheless, the phrase "American...

 of the war decisively shaped the reconstruction era that lasted to 1877.

Causes of secession


The causes of the Civil War were complex, and have been controversial since the war began. The issue has been further complicated by historical revisionists
Historical revisionism
In historiography, historical revisionism is the reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations, and decision-making processes surrounding a historical event...

, who have tried to improve the image of the South by lessening the role of slavery. Slavery was the central source of escalating political tension in the 1850s. The Republican Party was determined to prevent any spread of slavery, and many Southern leaders had threatened secession if the Republican candidate, Lincoln, won the 1860 election. Following Lincoln's victory, many Southern whites felt that disunion had become their only option.

While not all Southerners saw themselves as fighting to preserve slavery, most of the officers and over a third of the rank and file in Lee's army had close family ties to slavery. To Northerners, in contrast, the motivation was primarily to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery.
Abraham Lincoln consistently made preserving the Union the central goal of the war, though he increasingly saw slavery as a crucial issue and made ending it an additional goal. Lincoln's decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation angered both Peace Democrats ("Copperheads") and War Democrats, but energized most Republicans. By warning that free blacks would flood the North, Democrats made gains in the 1862 elections, but they did not gain control of Congress. The Republicans' counterargument that slavery was the mainstay of the enemy steadily gained support, with the Democrats crushed at the 1863 elections in Ohio when they tried to resurrect anti-black sentiment.

Slavery



The slavery issue addressed not only the well-being of the slaves (although abolitionists raised the issue) but also the question of whether slavery was an anachronistic evil that was incompatible with American values or a profitable economic system protected by the Constitution. All sides agreed slavery exhausted the land and had to find new lands to survive. The strategy of the anti-slavery forces was to stop the expansion and thus put slavery on a path to gradual extinction.

To the South this strategy made Southerners second-class citizens and trampled their Constitutional rights. The anti-slavery movement in the United States had roots in the Declaration of Independence. Slavery was banned in the Northwest Territory
Northwest Territory
The Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Northwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 13, 1787, until March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio...

 with the Northwest Ordinance
Northwest Ordinance
The Northwest Ordinance was an act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States, passed July 13, 1787...

 of 1787.

By 1804 all the Northern states (states north of the Mason-Dixon line
Mason-Dixon line
The Mason–Dixon Line was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute between British colonies in Colonial America. It forms a demarcation line among four U.S. states, forming part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and...

) had passed laws to abolish slavery gradually. Congress in 1807 banned the international slave trade. Slavery faded in the border states and urban areas but expanded in highly profitable cotton states of the Deep South.

Despite compromises in 1820 and 1850, the slavery issues exploded in the 1850s. The new Republican Party angered slavery interests by demanding the end to its expansion. The Republican idea was that without expansion slavery would eventually die out (as it did in other nations). Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

, for example, in his 1858 House Divided Speech
Lincoln's House Divided Speech
The House Divided Speech was an address given by Abraham Lincoln on June 16, 1858, in Springfield, Illinois, upon accepting the Illinois Republican Party's nomination as that state's United States senator. The speech became the launching point for his unsuccessful campaign for the Senate seat...

, called for America to "arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction." Much of the political battle in the 1850s focused on the expansion of slavery into the newly created territories. Both North and South assumed that if slavery could not expand, it would wither and die.

Southern fears of losing control of the federal government to antislavery forces, and Northern resentment of the influence that the Slave Power already wielded in government, brought the crisis to a head in the late 1850s. Disagreements between Abolitionists and others over the morality of slavery, the scope of democracy and the economic merits of free labor
Free Soil Party
The Free Soil Party was a short-lived political party in the United States active in the 1848 and 1852 presidential elections, and in some state elections. It was a third party and a single-issue party that largely appealed to and drew its greatest strength from New York State. The party leadership...

 versus slave plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

s caused the Whig
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

 and "Know-Nothing
Know Nothing
The Know Nothing was a movement by the nativist American political faction of the 1840s and 1850s. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to Anglo-Saxon Protestant values and controlled by...

" parties to collapse, and new ones to arise (the Free Soil Party
Free Soil Party
The Free Soil Party was a short-lived political party in the United States active in the 1848 and 1852 presidential elections, and in some state elections. It was a third party and a single-issue party that largely appealed to and drew its greatest strength from New York State. The party leadership...

 in 1848, the Republicans
History of the United States Republican Party
The United States Republican Party is the second oldest currently existing political party in the United States after its great rival, the Democratic Party. It emerged in 1854 to combat the Kansas Nebraska Act which threatened to extend slavery into the territories, and to promote more vigorous...

 in 1854, the Constitutional Union
Constitutional Union Party (United States)
The Constitutional Union Party was a political party in the United States created in 1860. It was made up of conservative former Whigs who wanted to avoid disunion over the slavery issue...

 in 1860). In 1860, the last national political party, the Democratic Party
History of the United States Democratic Party
The history of the Democratic Party of the United States is an account of the oldest political party in the United States and arguably the oldest democratic party in the world....

, split along sectional lines.

Northerners ranging from the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he promoted "immediate emancipation" of slaves in the United...

 to the moderate Republican leader Lincoln stressed Jefferson's declaration that all men are created equal
All men are created equal
The quotation "All men are created equal" has been called an "immortal declaration", and "perhaps" the single phrase of the United States Revolutionary period with the greatest "continuing importance". Thomas Jefferson first used the phrase in the Declaration of Independence as a rebuttal to the...

. Lincoln mentioned this proposition many times, including his 1863 Gettysburg Address
Gettysburg Address
The Gettysburg Address is a speech by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and is one of the most well-known speeches in United States history. It was delivered by Lincoln during the American Civil War, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery...

.

Almost all the inter-regional crises involved slavery, starting with debates on the three-fifths clause
Three-fifths compromise
The Three-Fifths Compromise was a compromise between Southern and Northern states reached during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 in which three-fifths of the enumerated population of slaves would be counted for representation purposes regarding both the distribution of taxes and the...

 and a twenty-year extension of the African slave trade
African slave trade
Systems of servitude and slavery were common in many parts of Africa, as they were in much of the ancient world. In some African societies, the enslaved people were also indentured servants and fully integrated; in others, they were treated much worse...

 in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The 1793 invention of the cotton gin
Cotton gin
A cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, a job formerly performed painstakingly by hand...

 by Eli Whitney
Eli Whitney
Eli Whitney was an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin. This was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South...

 increased by fiftyfold the quantity of cotton that could be processed in a day and greatly increased the demand for slave labor in the South. There was controversy over adding the slave state of Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 to the Union that led to the Missouri Compromise
Missouri Compromise
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30'...

 of 1820. A gag rule prevented discussion in Congress of petitions for ending slavery from 1835–1844, while Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny was the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent. It was used by Democrat-Republicans in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid-19th century.Advocates of...

 became an argument for gaining new territories, where slavery could expand. The acquisition of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 as a slave state
Slave state
In the United States of America prior to the American Civil War, a slave state was a U.S. state in which slavery was legal, whereas a free state was one in which slavery was either prohibited from its entry into the Union or eliminated over time...

 in 1845 along with territories won as a result of the Mexican–American War
Mexican–American War
The Mexican–American War, also known as the First American Intervention, the Mexican War, or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S...

 (1846–1848) resulted in the Compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

. The Wilmot Proviso
Wilmot Proviso
The Wilmot Proviso, one of the major events leading to the Civil War, would have banned slavery in any territory to be acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War or in the future, including the area later known as the Mexican Cession, but which some proponents construed to also include the disputed...

 was an attempt by Northern politicians to exclude slavery from the territories conquered from Mexico. The extremely popular anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War", according to Will Kaufman....

 (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom...

 greatly increased Northern opposition to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.


The 1854 Ostend Manifesto
Ostend Manifesto
The Ostend Manifesto was a document written in 1854 that described the rationale for the United States to purchase Cuba from Spain and implied the U.S. should declare war if Spain refused. Cuba's annexation had long been a goal of U.S. expansionists, particularly as the U.S. set its sights...

 was an unsuccessful Southern attempt to annex Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 as a slave state. The Second Party System
Second Party System
The Second Party System is a term of periodization used by historians and political scientists to name the political party system existing in the United States from about 1828 to 1854...

 broke down after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Kansas-Nebraska Act
The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opening new lands for settlement, and had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820 by allowing settlers in those territories to determine through Popular Sovereignty if they would allow slavery within...

 in 1854, which replaced the Missouri Compromise ban on slavery with popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people is the political principle that the legitimacy of the state is created and sustained by the will or consent of its people, who are the source of all political power. It is closely associated with Republicanism and the social contract...

, allowing the people of a territory to vote for or against slavery. The Bleeding Kansas
Bleeding Kansas
Bleeding Kansas, Bloody Kansas or the Border War, was a series of violent events, involving anti-slavery Free-Staters and pro-slavery "Border Ruffian" elements, that took place in the Kansas Territory and the western frontier towns of the U.S. state of Missouri roughly between 1854 and 1858...

 controversy over the status of slavery in the Kansas Territory
Kansas Territory
The Territory of Kansas was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 30, 1854, until January 29, 1861, when the eastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Kansas....

 included massive vote fraud perpetrated by Missouri pro-slavery Border Ruffian
Border Ruffian
In the decade leading up to the American Civil War, pro-slavery activists infiltrated Kansas Territory from the neighboring slave state of Missouri. To abolitionists and other Free-Staters, who desired Kansas to be admitted to the Union as a free state, they were collectively known as Border...

s. Vote fraud led pro-South Presidents Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States and is the only President from New Hampshire. Pierce was a Democrat and a "doughface" who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. Pierce took part in the Mexican-American War and became a brigadier general in the Army...

 and James Buchanan
James Buchanan
James Buchanan, Jr. was the 15th President of the United States . He is the only president from Pennsylvania, the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor and the last to be born in the 18th century....

 to attempt to admit Kansas as a slave state. Buchanan supported the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution
Lecompton Constitution
The Lecompton Constitution was the second of four proposed constitutions for the state of Kansas . The document was written in response to the anti-slavery position of the 1855 Topeka Constitution of James H. Lane and other free-state advocates...

.

Violence over the status of slavery in Kansas erupted with the Wakarusa War
Wakarusa War
The Wakarusa War was a skirmish that took place in Kansas Territory during November and December 1855 as part of the Bleeding Kansas violence. It centered around Lawrence, Kansas, and the Wakarusa River Valley.- Background :...

, the Sacking of Lawrence
Sacking of Lawrence
In the northern spring of 1856, the Sacking of Lawrence helped ratchet up the guerrilla war in Kansas Territory that became known as Bleeding Kansas.-Background:...

, the caning of Republican Charles Sumner by the Southerner Preston Brooks, the Pottawatomie Massacre
Pottawatomie Massacre
The Pottawatomie Massacre occurred during the night of May 24 and the morning of May 25, 1856. In reaction to the sacking of Lawrence by pro-slavery forces, John Brown and a band of abolitionist settlers killed five settlers north of Pottawatomie Creek in Franklin County, Kansas...

, the Battle of Black Jack
Battle of Black Jack
The Battle of Black Jack took place on June 2, 1856, when anti-slavery forces, led by the noted abolitionist John Brown, attacked the encampment of Henry C. Pate near Baldwin City, Kansas. The battle is cited as one incident of “Bleeding Kansas” and a contributing factor leading up to the American...

, the Battle of Osawatomie
Battle of Osawatomie
The Battle of Osawatomie took place on August 30, 1856 when 250-300 Border Ruffians led by John W. Reid and Rev. Marvin White attacked the city of Osawatomie. John W. Reid was intent on destroying free state settlements and then moving on to Topeka and Lawrence to do more of the same. John Brown...

 and the Marais des Cygnes massacre
Marais des Cygnes massacre
The Marais des Cygnes Massacre is considered the last significant act of violence in Bleeding Kansas prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War. On May 19, 1858, approximately 30 men led by Charles Hamilton, a Georgia native and proslavery leader, crossed into the Kansas Territory from...

. The 1857 Supreme Court Dred Scott decision
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford, , also known as the Dred Scott Decision, was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S...

 allowed slavery in the territories even where the majority opposed slavery, including Kansas.
The Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858
Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858
The Lincoln–Douglas Debates of 1858 were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois, and the incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate. At the time, U.S. senators were elected by state legislatures; thus Lincoln and...

 included Northern Democratic leader Stephen A. Douglas
Stephen A. Douglas
Stephen Arnold Douglas was an American politician from the western state of Illinois, and was the Northern Democratic Party nominee for President in 1860. He lost to the Republican Party's candidate, Abraham Lincoln, whom he had defeated two years earlier in a Senate contest following a famed...

' Freeport Doctrine
Freeport Doctrine
The Freeport Doctrine was articulated by Stephen A. Douglas at the second of the Lincoln-Douglas debates on August 27, 1858, in Freeport, Illinois. Lincoln tried to force Douglas to choose between the principle of popular sovereignty proposed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the majority decision of...

. This doctrine was an argument for thwarting the Dred Scott decision that, along with Douglas' defeat of the Lecompton Constitution, divided the Democratic Party between North and South. Northern abolitionist John Brown
John Brown (abolitionist)
John Brown was an American revolutionary abolitionist, who in the 1850s advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish slavery in the United States. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre during which five men were killed, in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas, and made his name in the...

's raid at Harpers Ferry Armory
Harpers Ferry Armory
Harpers Ferry Armory, more formally known as the United States Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, was the second federal armory commissioned by the United States government located in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia , the first federal armory being the Springfield Armory located in Springfield,...

 was an attempt to incite slave insurrections in 1859. The North-South split in the Democratic Party
History of the United States Democratic Party
The history of the Democratic Party of the United States is an account of the oldest political party in the United States and arguably the oldest democratic party in the world....

 in 1860 due to the Southern demand for a slave code for the territories completed polarization of the nation between North and South.
Support for secession was strongly correlated to the number of plantations in the region. States of the Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

, which had the greatest concentration of plantations, were the first to secede. The upper South slave states of Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

, Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, and Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 had fewer plantations and rejected secession until the Fort Sumter
Battle of Fort Sumter
The Battle of Fort Sumter was the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina, that started the American Civil War. Following declarations of secession by seven Southern states, South Carolina demanded that the U.S. Army abandon its facilities in Charleston Harbor. On...

 crisis forced them to choose sides. Border states had fewer plantations still and never seceded.

As of 1860 the percentage of Southern families that owned slaves has been estimated to be 43 percent in the lower South, 36 percent in the upper South and 22 percent in the border states that fought mostly for the Union. Half the owners had one to four slaves. A total of 8000 planters owned 50 or more slaves in 1850 and only 1800 planters owned 100 or more; of the latter, 85% lived in the lower South, as opposed to one percent in the border states. According to the 1860 U.S. census, 393,975 individuals, representing 8 percent of all US families, owned 3,950,528 slaves.

Ninety-five percent of African-Americans lived in the South, comprising one third of the population there as opposed to one percent of the population of the North, chiefly in larger cities like New York and Philadelphia. Consequently, fears of eventual emancipation were much greater in the South than in the North.

The Supreme Court decision of 1857 in Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford, , also known as the Dred Scott Decision, was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S...

escalated the controversy. Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 Roger B. Taney's
Roger B. Taney
Roger Brooke Taney was the fifth Chief Justice of the United States, holding that office from 1836 until his death in 1864. He was the first Roman Catholic to hold that office or sit on the Supreme Court of the United States. He was also the eleventh United States Attorney General. He is most...

 decision said that slaves were "so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect". Taney then overturned the Missouri Compromise
Missouri Compromise
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30'...

, which banned slavery in territory north of the 36°30' parallel. He stated, "[T]he Act of Congress which prohibited a citizen from holding and owning [enslaved persons] in the territory of the United States north of the line therein is not warranted by the Constitution and is therefore void."

Southern Democrats praised the Dred Scott decision, but Republicans branded it a "willful perversion" of the Constitution. They argued that if Scott could not legally file suit, the Supreme Court had no right to consider the Missouri Compromise's constitutionality. Lincoln warned that "the next Dred Scott decision" could threaten Northern states with slavery.

Lincoln said, "This question of Slavery was more important than any other; indeed, so much more important has it become that no other national question can even get a hearing just at present." The slavery issue was related to sectional competition for control of the territories, and the Southern demand for a slave code
Slave codes
Slave codes were laws each US state, which defined the status of slaves and the rights of masters. These codes gave slave-owners absolute power over the African slaves.-Definition of "slaves":Virginia, 1650:“Act XI...

 for the territories was the issue used by Southern politicians to split the Democratic Party in two, which all but guaranteed the election of Lincoln and secession. When secession was an issue, South Carolina planter and state Senator John Townsend said that, "our enemies are about to take possession of the Government, that they intend to rule us according to the caprices of their fanatical theories, and according to the declared purposes of abolishing slavery." Similar opinions were expressed throughout the South in editorials, political speeches and declarations of reasons for secession. Even though Lincoln had no plans to outlaw slavery where it existed, whites throughout the South expressed fears for the future of slavery.

Southern concerns included not only economic loss but also fears of racial equality. The Texas Declaration of Causes for Secession said that the non-slave-holding states were "proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color", and that the African race "were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race". Alabama secessionist E. S. Dargan
Edmund Strother Dargan
Edmund Strother Dargan was a U.S. Representative from Alabama, and then a representative to the Confederate States Congress during the American Civil War....

 warned that whites and free blacks could not live together; if slaves were emancipated and remained in the South, "we ourselves would become the executioners of our own slaves. To this extent would the policy of our Northern enemies drive us; and thus would we not only be reduced to poverty, but what is still worse, we should be driven to crime, to the commission of sin."

Beginning in the 1830s, the US Postmaster General
United States Postmaster General
The United States Postmaster General is the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service. The office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence...

 refused to allow mail which carried abolition pamphlets to the South. Northern teachers suspected of any tinge of abolitionism
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 were expelled from the South, and abolitionist literature was banned. Southerners rejected the denials of Republicans that they were abolitionists.
The North felt threatened as well, for as Eric Foner
Eric Foner
Eric Foner is an American historian. On the faculty of the Department of History at Columbia University since 1982, he writes extensively on political history, the history of freedom, the early history of the Republican Party, African American biography, Reconstruction, and historiography...

 concludes, "Northerners came to view slavery as the very antithesis of the good society, as well as a threat to their own fundamental values and interests."

During the 1850s, slaves left the border states
Border states (Civil War)
In the context of the American Civil War, the border states were slave states that did not declare their secession from the United States before April 1861...

 through sale, manumission
Manumission
Manumission is the act of a slave owner freeing his or her slaves. In the United States before the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished most slavery, this often happened upon the death of the owner, under conditions in his will.-Motivations:The...

 and escape, and border states also had more free African-Americans and European immigrants than the lower South, which increased Southern fears that slavery was threatened with rapid extinction in this area. Such fears greatly increased Southern efforts to make Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

 a slave state. By 1860, the number of white border state families owning slaves plunged to only 16 percent of the total. Slaves sold to lower South states were owned by a smaller number of wealthy slave owners as the price of slaves increased.

Even though Lincoln agreed to the Corwin Amendment
Corwin amendment
The Corwin Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the 36th Congress, 2nd Session, on March 2, 1861, in the form of House Resolution No. 80...

, which would have protected slavery in existing states, secessionists claimed that such guarantees were meaningless. Besides the loss of Kansas to free soil Northerners, secessionists feared that the loss of slaves in the border states would lead to emancipation, and that upper South slave states might be the next dominoes to fall. They feared that Republicans would use patronage to incite slaves and antislavery Southern whites such as Hinton Rowan Helper
Hinton Rowan Helper
Hinton Rowan Helper was a Southern US critic of slavery during the 1850s. In 1857, he published a book which he dedicated to the "nonslaveholding whites" of the South...

. Then slavery in the lower South, like a "scorpion encircled by fire, would sting itself to death."

According to historian Chandra Manning, both Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 and Confederate soldiers who did the actual fighting believed slavery to be the cause of the Civil War. He argues that a majority of Confederate soldiers fought to protect slavery, which they viewed as an integral part of southern economy, culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

, and manhood. Further, he argues that Union soldiers believed the primary reason for the war was to bring emancipation
Emancipation
Emancipation means the act of setting an individual or social group free or making equal to citizens in a political society.Emancipation may also refer to:* Emancipation , a champion Australian thoroughbred racehorse foaled in 1979...

 to the slaves. However, many Union soldiers did not fully endorse the idea of shedding their own blood for African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 slaves, whom they viewed as inferior. Manning's research involved reading military camp newspapers and personal correspondence between soldiers and families during the Civil War. Manning stated that the primary debate in Confederate states over secession was not over state rights, but rather "the power of the federal government to affect the institution of slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

, specifically limiting it in newly added territories." Other historians, such as Eric Foner
Eric Foner
Eric Foner is an American historian. On the faculty of the Department of History at Columbia University since 1982, he writes extensively on political history, the history of freedom, the early history of the Republican Party, African American biography, Reconstruction, and historiography...

, argue that no two people held the same motivations. He argues that while some were motivated mainly by slavery, most were motivated by some mixture of politics, culture, nationalism, honor, or any other number of motivations.http://books.google.com/books?id=rQSYk-LWTxcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Politics+and+Ideology+in+the+Age+of+the+Civil+War&hl=en&ei=TmNkTvHZGoqQsALcu4G0Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Sectionalism



Sectionalism
Sectionalism
-Defined:Sectionalism is loyalty to the interests of one's own region or section of the country, rather than to the country as a whole.-United States:...

 refers to the different economies, social structure, customs and political values of the North and South. It increased steadily between 1800 and 1860 as the North, which phased slavery out of existence, industrialized, urbanized and built prosperous farms, while the deep South concentrated on plantation agriculture based on slave labor, together with subsistence farming for the poor whites. The South expanded into rich new lands in the Southwest (from Alabama to Texas).

However, slavery declined in the border states and could barely survive in cities and industrial areas (it was fading out in cities such as Baltimore, Louisville and St. Louis), so a South based on slavery was rural and non-industrial. On the other hand, as the demand for cotton grew the price of slaves soared. Historians have debated whether economic differences between the industrial Northeast and the agricultural South helped cause the war. Most historians now disagree with the economic determinism
Economic determinism
Economic determinism is the theory which attributes primacy to the economic structure over politics in the development of human history. It is usually associated with the theories of Karl Marx, although many Marxist thinkers have dismissed plain and unilateral economic determinism as a form of...

 of historian Charles Beard
Charles A. Beard
Charles Austin Beard was, with Frederick Jackson Turner, one of the most influential American historians of the first half of the 20th century. He published hundreds of monographs, textbooks and interpretive studies in both history and political science...

 in the 1920s and emphasize that Northern and Southern economies were largely complementary.

Fears of slave revolts and abolitionist propaganda made the South militantly hostile to abolitionism. Southerners complained that it was the North that was changing, and was prone to new "isms", while the South remained true to historic republican values
Republicanism in the United States
Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

 of the Founding Fathers (many of whom owned slaves, including Washington, Jefferson and Madison). Lincoln said that Republicans were following the tradition of the framers of the Constitution (including the Northwest Ordinance
Northwest Ordinance
The Northwest Ordinance was an act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States, passed July 13, 1787...

 and the Missouri Compromise
Missouri Compromise
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30'...

) by preventing expansion of slavery.

The issue of accepting slavery (in the guise of rejecting slave-owning bishops and missionaries) split the largest religious denominations (the Methodist
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

, Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 and Presbyterian
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 churches) into separate Northern and Southern denominations. Industrialization meant that seven European immigrants out of eight settled in the North. The movement of twice as many whites leaving the South for the North as vice versa contributed to the South's defensive-aggressive political behavior.

Nationalism and honor


Nationalism was a powerful force in the early 19th century, with famous spokesmen like Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

 and Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster was a leading American statesman and senator from Massachusetts during the period leading up to the Civil War. He first rose to regional prominence through his defense of New England shipping interests...

. While practically all Northerners supported the Union, Southerners were split between those loyal to the entire United States (called "unionists") and those loyal primarily to the southern region and then the Confederacy. C. Vann Woodward
C. Vann Woodward
Comer Vann Woodward was a preeminent American historian focusing primarily on the American South and race relations. He was considered, along with Richard Hofstadter and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., to be one of the most influential historians of the postwar era, 1940s-1970s, both by scholars and by...

 said of the latter group, "A great slave society...had grown up and miraculously flourished in the heart of a thoroughly bourgeois and partly puritanical republic. It had renounced its bourgeois origins and elaborated and painfully rationalized its institutional, legal, metaphysical, and religious defenses....When the crisis came it chose to fight. It proved to be the death struggle of a society, which went down in ruins." Insults to Southern national honor included Uncle Tom's Cabin
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War", according to Will Kaufman....

(1854) and John Brown
John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry
John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry was an attempt by white abolitionist John Brown to start an armed slave revolt by seizing a United States Arsenal at Harpers Ferry in Virginia in 1859...

 in 1859.

While the South moved toward a Southern nationalism, leaders in the North were also becoming more nationally minded, and rejected any notion of splitting the Union. The Republican national platform of 1860 warned that disunion was treason and would not be tolerated:
we denounce those threats of disunion...as denying the vital principles of a free government, and as an avowal of contemplated treason, which it is the imperative duty of an indignant people sternly to rebuke and forever silence. The South ignored the warnings and did not realize how ardently the North would fight to hold the Union together.

States' rights



Everyone agreed that states had certain rights—but did those rights carry over when a citizen left that state? The Southern position was that citizens of every state had the right to take their property anywhere in the U.S. and not have it taken away—specifically they could bring their slaves anywhere and they would remain slaves. Northerners rejected this "right" because it would violate the right of a free state to outlaw slavery within its borders. Republicans committed to ending the expansion of slavery were among those opposed to any such right to bring slaves and slavery into the free states and territories. The Dred Scott
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford, , also known as the Dred Scott Decision, was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S...

 Supreme Court decision of 1857 bolstered the Southern case within territories, and angered the North.

Secondly the South argued that each state had the right to secede—leave the Union—at any time, that the Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 was a "compact
Compact theory
Compact theory is a theory relating to the development of some federal constitutions.-Compact theory in the United States:Regarding the Constitution of the United States, the compact theory holds that the nation was formed through a compact agreed upon by all the states, and that the federal...

" or agreement among the states. Northerners (including President Buchanan) rejected that notion as opposed to the will of the Founding Fathers who said they were setting up a "perpetual union". Historian James McPherson writes concerning states' rights and other non-slavery explanations:

Slave power and free soil issues



Antislavery forces in the North identified the "Slave Power" as a direct threat to republican values
Republicanism in the United States
Republicanism is the political value system that has been a major part of American civic thought since the American Revolution. It stresses liberty and inalienable rights as central values, makes the people as a whole sovereign, supports activist government to promote the common good, rejects...

. They argued that rich slave owners were using political power to take control of the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court, thus threatening the rights of the citizens of the North.

"Free soil" was a Northern demand that the new lands opening up in the west be available to independent yeoman
Yeoman
Yeoman refers chiefly to a free man owning his own farm, especially from the Elizabethan era to the 17th century. Work requiring a great deal of effort or labor, such as would be done by a yeoman farmer, came to be described as "yeoman's work"...

 farmers and not be bought out by rich slave owners who would buy up the best land and work it with slaves, forcing the white farmers onto marginal lands. This was the basis of the Free Soil Party
Free Soil Party
The Free Soil Party was a short-lived political party in the United States active in the 1848 and 1852 presidential elections, and in some state elections. It was a third party and a single-issue party that largely appealed to and drew its greatest strength from New York State. The party leadership...

 of 1848, and a main theme of the Republican Party. Free Soilers and Republicans demanded a homestead law
Homestead Act
A homestead act is one of three United States federal laws that gave an applicant freehold title to an area called a "homestead" – typically 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River....

 that would give government land to settlers; it was defeated by Southerners who feared it would attract to the west European immigrants and poor Southern whites.

Tariffs


The Democrats in Congress, controlled by Southerners, wrote the tariff laws in the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s, and kept reducing rates, so that the 1857 rates were the lowest since 1816. The South had no complaints but the low rates angered Northern industrialists and factory workers, especially in Pennsylvania, who demanded protection for their growing iron industry.
The Whigs and Republicans complained because they favored high tariffs to stimulate industrial growth, and Republicans called for an increase in tariffs in the 1860 election. The increases were finally enacted in 1861 after Southerners resigned their seats in Congress.

Historians in recent decades have minimized the tariff issue, noting that few Southerners in 1860–61 said it was of central importance to them. Some secessionist documents do mention the tariff issue, though not nearly as often as the preservation of slavery.

Election of Lincoln




The election of Lincoln in November 1860 was the final trigger for secession. Efforts at compromise, including the "Corwin Amendment
Corwin amendment
The Corwin Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the 36th Congress, 2nd Session, on March 2, 1861, in the form of House Resolution No. 80...

" and the "Crittenden Compromise
Crittenden Compromise
The Crittenden Compromise was an unsuccessful proposal introduced by Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden on December 18, 1860. It aimed to resolve the U.S...

", failed.
Southern leaders feared that Lincoln would stop the expansion of slavery and put it on a course toward extinction. The slave states, which had already become a minority in the House of Representatives, were now facing a future as a perpetual minority in the Senate and Electoral College against an increasingly powerful North. Before Lincoln took office in March 1861, seven slave states had declared their secession and joined to form the Confederacy.

Battle of Fort Sumter



The Lincoln Administration, just as the outgoing Buchanan administration before it, refused to turn over Ft. Sumter—located in the middle of the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

. Jefferson Davis ordered the surrender of the fort. Union Maj. Anderson gave a conditional reply which the Confederate government rejected, and Davis ordered Beauregard to attack the fort before a relief expedition could arrive. After a heavy bombardment on April 12–13, 1861 (with no intentional casualties), the fort surrendered. On April 15, Lincoln then called for 75,000 troops from the states to recapture the fort and other federal property.

Rather than furnish troops and access for an attack on their fellow southern states, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas elected to join them in secession. North and South the response to Ft. Sumter was an overwhelming demand for war to uphold national honor. Only Kentucky tried to remain neutral. Hundreds of thousands of young men across the land rushed to enlist.

Secession begins




Secession of South Carolina



South Carolina did more to advance nullification and secession than any other Southern state. South Carolina adopted the "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union" on December 24, 1860. It argued for states' rights for slave owners in the South, but contained a complaint about states' rights in the North in the form of opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act
Fugitive Slave Law of 1850
The Fugitive Slave Law or Fugitive Slave Act was passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slave holding interests and Northern Free-Soilers. This was one of the most controversial acts of the 1850 compromise and heightened...

, claiming that Northern states were not fulfilling their federal obligations under the Constitution. All the alleged violations of the rights of Southern states were related to slavery.

Secession winter


Before Lincoln took office, seven states had declared their secession from the Union. They established a Southern government, the Confederate States of America on February 4, 1861. They took control of federal forts and other properties within their boundaries with little resistance from outgoing President James Buchanan
James Buchanan
James Buchanan, Jr. was the 15th President of the United States . He is the only president from Pennsylvania, the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor and the last to be born in the 18th century....

, whose term ended on March 4, 1861. Buchanan said that the Dred Scott decision was proof that the South had no reason for secession, and that the Union "was intended to be perpetual", but that "the power by force of arms to compel a State to remain in the Union" was not among the "enumerated powers granted to Congress". One quarter of the U.S. Army—the entire garrison in Texas—was surrendered in February 1861 to state forces by its commanding general, David E. Twiggs
David E. Twiggs
David Emanuel Twiggs was a United States soldier during the War of 1812 and Mexican-American War and a general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

, who then joined the Confederacy.

As Southerners resigned their seats in the Senate and the House, Republicans were able to pass bills for projects that had been blocked by Southern Senators before the war, including the Morrill Tariff
Morrill Tariff
The Morrill Tariff of 1861 was a protective tariff in the United States, adopted on March 2, 1861 during the administration of President James Buchanan....

, land grant colleges (the Morill Act
Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act
The Morrill Land-Grant Acts are United States statutes that allowed for the creation of land-grant colleges, including the Morrill Act of 1862 and the Morrill Act of 1890 -Passage of original bill:...

), a Homestead Act
Homestead Act
A homestead act is one of three United States federal laws that gave an applicant freehold title to an area called a "homestead" – typically 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River....

, a transcontinental railroad (the Pacific Railway Acts
Pacific Railway Acts
The Pacific Railroad Acts were a series of acts of Congress that promoted the construction of the transcontinental railroad in the United States through authorizing the issuance of government bonds and the grants of land to railroad companies. The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 was the original act...

), the National Banking Act
National Banking Act
The National Banking Acts of 1863 and 1864 were two United States federal laws that established a system of national charters for banks, and created the United States National Banking System. They encouraged development of a national currency backed by bank holdings of U.S...

 and the authorization of United States Note
United States Note
A United States Note, also known as a Legal Tender Note, is a type of paper money that was issued from 1862 to 1971 in the U.S. Having been current for over 100 years, they were issued for longer than any other form of U.S. paper money. They were known popularly as "greenbacks" in their heyday, a...

s by the Legal Tender Act of 1862. The Revenue Act of 1861
Revenue Act of 1861
The Revenue Act of 1861, formally cited as , included the first U.S. Federal income tax statute . The Act, motivated by the need to fund the Civil War , imposed an income tax to be "levied, collected, and paid, upon the annual income of every person residing in the United States, whether such...

 introduced the income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

 to help finance the war.

The Confederacy


Seven Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

 cotton states seceded by February 1861, starting with South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, and Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. These seven states formed the Confederate States of America (February 4, 1861), with Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

 as president, and a governmental structure
Confederate States Constitution
The Constitution of the Confederate States of America was the supreme law of the Confederate States of America, as adopted on March 11, 1861 and in effect through the conclusion of the American Civil War. The Confederacy also operated under a Provisional Constitution from February 8, 1861 to March...

 closely modeled on the U.S. Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

.

Following the attack on Fort Sumter
Battle of Fort Sumter
The Battle of Fort Sumter was the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina, that started the American Civil War. Following declarations of secession by seven Southern states, South Carolina demanded that the U.S. Army abandon its facilities in Charleston Harbor. On...

, President Lincoln called for a volunteer army from each state. Within two months, an additional four Southern slave states declared their secession and joined the Confederacy: Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 and Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

. The northwestern portion of Virginia subsequently seceded from Virginia, joining the Union as the new state of West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

 on June 20, 1863. By the end of 1861, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 and Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 were effectively under Union control, with Confederate state governments in exile.

The Union states



Twenty-three states remained loyal to the Union: California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

, Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

, and Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

. During the war, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

 and West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

 joined as new states of the Union. Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 and Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 were returned to Union military control early in the war.

The territories of Colorado
Colorado Territory
The Territory of Colorado was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 28, 1861, until August 1, 1876, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Colorado....

, Dakota
Dakota Territory
The Territory of Dakota was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1861, until November 2, 1889, when the final extent of the reduced territory was split and admitted to the Union as the states of North and South Dakota.The Dakota Territory consisted of...

, Nebraska
Nebraska Territory
The Territory of Nebraska was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 30, 1854, until March 1, 1867, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Nebraska. The Nebraska Territory was created by the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854...

, Nevada
Nevada Territory
The Territory of Nevada was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1861, until October 31, 1864, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Nevada....

, New Mexico
New Mexico Territory
thumb|right|240px|Proposed boundaries for State of New Mexico, 1850The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of...

, Utah
Utah Territory
The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Utah....

, and Washington
Washington Territory
The Territory of Washington was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 8, 1853, until November 11, 1889, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Washington....

 fought on the Union side. Several slave-holding Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 tribes supported the Confederacy, giving the Indian Territory
Indian Territory
The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

 (now Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

) a small, bloody civil war.

Border states



The border states in the Union were West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

 (which separated from Virginia and became a new state), and four of the five northernmost slave states (Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, and Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

).

Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 had numerous pro-Confederate officials who tolerated anti-Union rioting in Baltimore
Baltimore riot of 1861
The Baltimore riot of 1861 was an incident that took place on April 19, 1861, in Baltimore, Maryland between Confederate sympathizers and members of the Massachusetts militia en route to Washington for Federal service...

 and the burning of bridges. Lincoln responded with martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 and sent in militia units from the North. Before the Confederate government realized what was happening, Lincoln had seized firm control of Maryland and the District of Columbia, by arresting all the prominent secessionists and holding them without trial (they were later released).

In Missouri, an elected convention
Missouri Constitutional Convention (1861-63)
The Missouri Constitutional Convention was a constitutional convention held in the state of Missouri during the American Civil War. The convention was elected in early 1861, and voted against secession...

 on secession voted decisively to remain within the Union. When pro-Confederate Governor Claiborne F. Jackson
Claiborne Fox Jackson
Claiborne Fox Jackson was a lawyer, soldier, and Democratic politician from Missouri. He was the 15th Governor of Missouri in 1861, then governor-in-exile for the Confederacy during the American Civil War.-Early life:...

 called out the state militia, it was attacked by federal forces under General Nathaniel Lyon
Nathaniel Lyon
Nathaniel Lyon was the first Union general to be killed in the American Civil War and is noted for his actions in the state of Missouri at the beginning of the conflict....

, who chased the governor and the rest of the State Guard to the southwestern corner of the state. (See also: Missouri secession
Missouri secession
During the American Civil War, the secession of Missouri was controversial because of the disputed status of the state of Missouri . During the war, Missouri was claimed by both the Union and the Confederacy, had two competing state governments, and sent representatives to both the United States...

). In the resulting vacuum, the convention on secession reconvened and took power as the Unionist provisional government of Missouri.
Kentucky did not secede; for a time, it declared itself neutral. When Confederate forces entered the state in September 1861, neutrality ended and the state reaffirmed its Union status, while trying to maintain slavery. During a brief invasion by Confederate forces, Confederate sympathizers organized a secession convention, inaugurated a governor, and gained recognition from the Confederacy. The rebel government soon went into exile and never controlled Kentucky.

After Virginia's secession, a Unionist government in Wheeling
Wheeling, West Virginia
Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia; it is the county seat of Ohio County. Wheeling is the principal city of the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area...

 asked 48 counties to vote on an ordinance to create a new state on October 24, 1861. A voter turnout of 34% approved the statehood bill (96% approving). The inclusion of 24 secessionist counties in the state and the ensuing guerrilla war engaged about 40,000 Federal troops for much of the war. Congress admitted West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

 to the Union on June 20, 1863. West Virginia provided about 20,000-22,000 soldiers to both the Confederacy and the Union.

A Unionist secession attempt occurred in East Tennessee
East Tennessee
East Tennessee is a name given to approximately the eastern third of the U.S. state of Tennessee, one of the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee defined in state law. East Tennessee consists of 33 counties, 30 located within the Eastern Time Zone and three counties in the Central Time Zone, namely...

, but was suppressed by the Confederacy, which arrested over 3000 men suspected of being loyal to the Union. They were held without trial.

Overview


Over 10,000 military engagements took place during the war, 40% of them in Virginia and Tennessee. Since separate articles deal with every major battle and many minor ones, this article only gives the broadest outline. For more information see List of American Civil War battles and Military leadership in the American Civil War
Military leadership in the American Civil War
Military leadership in the American Civil War was influenced by professional military education and the hard-earned pragmatism of command experience...

.

The beginning of the war, 1861



Lincoln's victory in the presidential election of 1860
United States presidential election, 1860
The United States presidential election of 1860 was a quadrennial election, held on November 6, 1860, for the office of President of the United States and the immediate impetus for the outbreak of the American Civil War. The nation had been divided throughout the 1850s on questions surrounding the...

 triggered South Carolina's declaration of secession from the Union. By February 1861, an additional six Southern states made similar declarations. On February 7, the seven states adopted a provisional constitution for the Confederate States of America and established their temporary capital at Montgomery
Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery is the capital of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is the county seat of Montgomery County. It is located on the Alabama River southeast of the center of the state, in the Gulf Coastal Plain. As of the 2010 census, Montgomery had a population of 205,764 making it the second-largest city...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

. A pre-war February Peace Conference of 1861
Peace conference of 1861
The Peace Conference of 1861 was a meeting of more than 100 of the leading politicians of the antebellum United States held in Washington, D.C., in February 1861 that was meant to prevent what ultimately became the Civil War. The success of President Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party in the...

 met in Washington in a failed attempt at resolving the crisis. The remaining eight slave states rejected pleas to join the Confederacy. Confederate forces seized most of the federal forts within their boundaries. President Buchanan protested but made no military response apart from a failed attempt to resupply Fort Sumter using the ship Star of the West
Star of the West
The Star of the West was a civilian steamship hired by the United States government to transport military supplies and reinforcements to the garrison of Fort Sumter, but was fired on by Confederates in its effort to do so at the dawning of the American Civil War...

, which was fired upon by South Carolina forces and turned back before it reached the fort.
However, governors in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania quietly began buying weapons and training militia units.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President. In his inaugural address
Inauguration
An inauguration is a formal ceremony to mark the beginning of a leader's term of office. An example is the ceremony in which the President of the United States officially takes the oath of office....

, he argued that the Constitution was a more perfect union
Preamble to the United States Constitution
The Preamble to the United States Constitution is a brief introductory statement of the Constitution's fundamental purposes and guiding principles...

 than the earlier Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution...

, that it was a binding contract, and called any secession "legally void".
He stated he had no intent to invade Southern states, nor did he intend to end slavery where it existed, but that he would use force to maintain possession of federal property. His speech closed with a plea for restoration of the bonds of union.

The South sent delegations to Washington and offered to pay for the federal properties and enter into a peace treaty with the United States. Lincoln rejected any negotiations with Confederate agents because he claimed the Confederacy was not a legitimate government, and that making any treaty with it would be tantamount to recognition of it as a sovereign government.
However, Secretary of State William Seward
William H. Seward
William Henry Seward, Sr. was the 12th Governor of New York, United States Senator and the United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson...

 engaged in unauthorized and indirect negotiations that failed.

Fort Monroe
Fort Monroe
Fort Monroe was a military installation in Hampton, Virginia—at Old Point Comfort, the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula...

 in Virginia, Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter is a Third System masonry coastal fortification located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. The fort is best known as the site upon which the shots initiating the American Civil War were fired, at the Battle of Fort Sumter.- Construction :...

 in Charleston, South Carolina, and Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens is a pentagonal historic United States military fort on Santa Rosa Island in the Pensacola, Florida, area. It is named after American Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens. The fort was completed in 1834 and remained in use until 1947...

, Fort Jefferson, and Fort Taylor
Fort Zachary Taylor
The Fort Zachary Taylor State Historic Site, better known simply as Fort Taylor, , is a Florida State Park and National Historic Landmark centered on a Civil War-era fort located near the southern tip of Key West, Florida....

, all in Florida, were the remaining Union-held forts in the Confederacy, and Lincoln was determined to hold them all. Under orders from Confederate President Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

, troops controlled by the Confederate government under P. G. T. Beauregard
P. G. T. Beauregard
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was a Louisiana-born American military officer, politician, inventor, writer, civil servant, and the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Today he is commonly referred to as P. G. T. Beauregard, but he rarely used...

 bombarded Fort Sumter on April 12, forcing its capitulation. Northerners rallied behind Lincoln's call for all the states to send troops to recapture the forts and to preserve the Union,
citing presidential powers given by the Militia Acts of 1792. With the scale of the rebellion apparently small so far, Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers for 90 days.
For months before that, several Northern governors had discreetly readied their state militias; they began to move forces the next day.
Confederate sympathizers seized Liberty Arsenal
Liberty Arsenal
The Liberty Arsenal was an United States Army arsenal at Liberty, Missouri in Clay County, Missouri, that was seized by Confederate sympathizers on April 20, 1861, being an early occurrence in a sequence of skirmishes and battles that was to define Missouri in the American Civil War...

 in Liberty, Missouri
Liberty, Missouri
Liberty is a city in Clay County, Missouri and is a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. At the 2007 population estimate, the city population was 29,993...

 on April 20, eight days after Fort Sumter.
On May 3, 1861, Lincoln called for an additional 42,034 volunteers for a period of three years.
Four states in the upper South (Tennessee, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Virginia), which had repeatedly rejected Confederate overtures, now refused to send forces against their neighbors, declared their secession, and joined the Confederacy. To reward Virginia, the Confederate capital was moved to Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

.
The city was the symbol of the Confederacy. Richmond was in a highly vulnerable location at the end of a tortuous Confederate supply line. Although Richmond was heavily fortified, supplies for the city would be reduced by Sherman's capture of Atlanta and cut off almost entirely when Grant besieged Petersburg
Petersburg, Virginia
Petersburg is an independent city in Virginia, United States located on the Appomattox River and south of the state capital city of Richmond. The city's population was 32,420 as of 2010, predominantly of African-American ethnicity...

 and its railroads that supplied the Southern capital.

Anaconda Plan and blockade, 1861


Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

, the commanding general of the U.S. Army, devised the Anaconda Plan
Anaconda Plan
The Anaconda Plan or Scott's Great Snake is the name widely applied to an outline strategy for subduing the seceding states in the American Civil War. Proposed by General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, the plan emphasized the blockade of the Southern ports, and called for an advance down the Mississippi...

 to win the war with as little bloodshed as possible. His idea was that a Union blockade
Union blockade
The Union Blockade, or the Blockade of the South, took place between 1861 and 1865, during the American Civil War, when the Union Navy maintained a strenuous effort on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast of the Confederate States of America designed to prevent the passage of trade goods, supplies, and arms...

 of the main ports would weaken the Confederate economy; then the capture of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 would split the South. Lincoln adopted the plan in terms of a blockade to squeeze to death the Confederate economy, but overruled Scott's warnings that his new army was not ready for an offensive operation because public opinion demanded an immediate attack.

In April 1861, Lincoln announced the Union blockade of all Southern ports; commercial ships could not get insurance and regular traffic ended. The South blundered in embargoing cotton exports in 1861 before the blockade was effective; by the time they realized the mistake it was too late. "King Cotton" was dead, as the South could export less than 10% of its cotton. British investors built small, fast blockade runner
Blockade runner
A blockade runner is usually a lighter weight ship used for evading a naval blockade of a port or strait, as opposed to confronting the blockaders to break the blockade. Very often blockade running is done in order to transport cargo, for example to bring food or arms to a blockaded city...

s that traded arms and luxuries brought in from Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 and the Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

 in return for high-priced cotton and tobacco. When the Union Navy seized a blockade runner, the ship and cargo were sold and the proceeds given to the Navy sailors; the captured crewmen were mostly British and they were simply released. The Southern economy nearly collapsed during the war. Shortages of food and supplies were caused by the blockade, the failure of Southern railroads, the loss of control of the main rivers, foraging by Northern armies, and the impressment of crops by Confederate armies. The standard of living fell even as large-scale printing of paper money caused inflation and distrust of the currency. By 1864 the internal food distribution had broken down, leaving cities without enough food and causing bread riots across the Confederacy.

On March 8, 1862, the Confederate Navy
Confederate States Navy
The Confederate States Navy was the naval branch of the Confederate States armed forces established by an act of the Confederate Congress on February 21, 1861. It was responsible for Confederate naval operations during the American Civil War...

 waged a fight against the Union Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 when the ironclad
Ironclad warship
An ironclad was a steam-propelled warship in the early part of the second half of the 19th century, protected by iron or steel armor plates. The ironclad was developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells. The first ironclad battleship, La Gloire,...

 CSS Virginia
CSS Virginia
CSS Virginia was the first steam-powered ironclad warship of the Confederate States Navy, built during the first year of the American Civil War; she was constructed as a casemate ironclad using the raised and cut down original lower hull and steam engines of the scuttled . Virginia was one of the...

 attacked the blockade. Against wooden ships, she seemed unstoppable. The next day, however, she had to fight the new Union warship USS Monitor
USS Monitor
USS Monitor was the first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy during the American Civil War. She is most famous for her participation in the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862, the first-ever battle fought between two ironclads...

 in the Battle of the Ironclads
Battle of Hampton Roads
The Battle of Hampton Roads, often referred to as either the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack or the Battle of Ironclads, was the most noted and arguably most important naval battle of the American Civil War from the standpoint of the development of navies...

. Their battle ended in a draw. The Confederacy lost the Virginia when the ship was scuttled to prevent capture, and the Union built many copies of Monitor. Lacking the technology to build effective warships, the Confederacy attempted to obtain warships from Britain.

Northern technology achieved another breakthrough on April 10–11, 1862, when a joint Army-Navy expedition reduced a major masonry fortification at Fort Pulaski
Battle of Fort Pulaski
The Battle of Fort Pulaski was fought April 10–11, 1862, during the American Civil War. Union forces on Tybee Island and naval operations conducted a 112-day siege, then captured the Confederate-held Fort Pulaski after a 30-hour bombardment. The battle is important for innovative use of rifled guns...

 guarding Savannah, Georgia. Employing the Parrott rifle
Parrott rifle
The Parrott rifle was a type of muzzle loading rifled artillery weapon used extensively in the American Civil War.-Parrott Rifle:The gun was invented by Robert Parker Parrott, a West Point graduate. He resigned from the service in 1836 and became the superintendent of the West Point Foundry in Cold...

 cannon made masonry coastal defenses obsolete overnight. The Federals left a small garrison, releasing troops and ships for other blockading operations. The Union victory at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher
Second Battle of Fort Fisher
The Second Battle of Fort Fisher was a joint assault by Union Army and naval forces against Fort Fisher, outside Wilmington, North Carolina, near the end of the American Civil War...

 in January 1865 closed the last useful Southern port and virtually ended blockade running.

Conscription and desertion



In the first year of the war, both sides had far more volunteers than they could effectively train and equip. After the initial enthusiasm faded, reliance on the cohort of young men who came of age every year and wanted to join was not enough. Both sides used a draft law—conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

—as a device to encourage or force volunteering; relatively few were actually drafted and served. The Confederacy passed a draft law in April 1862 for young men aged 18 to 35; overseers of slaves, government officials, and clergymen were exempt. The U.S. Congress followed in July, authorizing a militia draft within a state when it could not meet its quota with volunteers.

When the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in January 1863, ex-slaves were energetically recruited by the states, and used to meet the state quotas. States and local communities offered higher and higher cash bonuses for white volunteers. Congress tightened the law in March 1863. Men selected in the draft could provide substitutes or, until mid-1864, pay commutation money. Many eligibles pooled their money to cover the cost of anyone drafted. Families used the substitute provision to select which man should go into the army and which should stay home. There was much evasion and overt resistance to the draft, especially in Catholic areas. The great draft riot in New York City in July 1863
New York Draft Riots
The New York City draft riots were violent disturbances in New York City that were the culmination of discontent with new laws passed by Congress to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War. The riots were the largest civil insurrection in American history apart from the Civil War itself...

 involved Irish immigrants who had been signed up as citizens to swell the machine vote, not realizing it made them liable for the draft. Of the 168,649 men procured for the Union through the draft, 117,986 were substitutes, leaving only 50,663 who had their personal services conscripted.

North and South, the draft laws were highly unpopular. An estimated 120,000 men evaded conscription in the North, many of them fleeing to Canada, and another 280,000 Northern soldiers deserted during the war, along with at least 100,000 Southerners, or about 10% all together. However, desertion was a very common event in the 19th century; in the peacetime Army about 15% of the soldiers deserted every year. In the South, many men deserted temporarily to take care of their families, then returned to their units. In the North, "bounty jumpers" enlisted to get the generous bonus, deserted, then went back to a second recruiting station under a different name to sign up again for a second bonus; 141 were caught and executed.

Eastern theater 1861–1863


Because of the fierce resistance of a few initial Confederate forces at Manassas
Manassas, Virginia
The City of Manassas is an independent city surrounded by Prince William County and the independent city of Manassas Park in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Its population was 37,821 as of 2010. Manassas also surrounds the county seat for Prince William County but that county...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, in July 1861, a march by Union troops under the command of Maj. Gen.
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 Irvin McDowell
Irvin McDowell
Irvin McDowell was a career American army officer. He is best known for his defeat in the First Battle of Bull Run, the first large-scale battle of the American Civil War.-Early life:...

 on the Confederate forces there was halted in the First Battle of Bull Run
First Battle of Bull Run
First Battle of Bull Run, also known as First Manassas , was fought on July 21, 1861, in Prince William County, Virginia, near the City of Manassas...

, or First Manassas, McDowell's troops were forced back to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, by the Confederates under the command of Generals Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a career U.S. Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars, and was also one of the most senior general officers in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

 and P. G. T. Beauregard
P. G. T. Beauregard
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was a Louisiana-born American military officer, politician, inventor, writer, civil servant, and the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Today he is commonly referred to as P. G. T. Beauregard, but he rarely used...

. It was in this battle that Confederate General Thomas Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
ຄຽשת״ׇׂׂׂׂ֣|birth_place= Clarksburg, Virginia |death_place=Guinea Station, Virginia|placeofburial=Stonewall Jackson Memorial CemeteryLexington, Virginia|placeofburial_label= Place of burial|image=...

 received the nickname
Nickname
A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name....

 of "Stonewall" because he stood like a stone wall against Union troops.

Alarmed at the loss, and in an attempt to prevent more slave states from leaving the Union, the U.S. Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution
Crittenden-Johnson Resolution
The Crittenden-Johnson Resolution was passed by the United States Congress on July 25, 1861 after the start of the American Civil War, which began on April 12, 1861....

 on July 25 of that year, which stated that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.

Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan
George B. McClellan
George Brinton McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union...

 took command of the Union Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 on July 26 (he was briefly general-in-chief of all the Union armies, but was subsequently relieved of that post in favor of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck
Henry Wager Halleck
Henry Wager Halleck was a United States Army officer, scholar, and lawyer. A noted expert in military studies, he was known by a nickname that became derogatory, "Old Brains." He was an important participant in the admission of California as a state and became a successful lawyer and land developer...

), and the war began in earnest in 1862. Upon the strong urging of President Lincoln to begin offensive operations, McClellan attacked Virginia in the spring of 1862 by way of the peninsula
Virginia Peninsula
The Virginia Peninsula is a peninsula in southeast Virginia, USA, bounded by the York River, James River, Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay.Hampton Roads is the common name for the metropolitan area that surrounds the body of water of the same name...

 between the York River
York River (Virginia)
The York River is a navigable estuary, approximately long, in eastern Virginia in the United States. It ranges in width from at its head to near its mouth on the west side of Chesapeake Bay. Its watershed drains an area including portions of 17 counties of the coastal plain of Virginia north...

 and James River
James River (Virginia)
The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is long, extending to if one includes the Jackson River, the longer of its two source tributaries. The James River drains a catchment comprising . The watershed includes about 4% open water and an area with a population of 2.5 million...

, southeast of Richmond. Although McClellan's army reached the gates of Richmond in the Peninsula Campaign
Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B...

, Johnston
Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a career U.S. Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars, and was also one of the most senior general officers in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

 halted his advance at the Battle of Seven Pines
Battle of Seven Pines
The Battle of Seven Pines, also known as the Battle of Fair Oaks or Fair Oaks Station, took place on May 31 and June 1, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, as part of the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War. It was the culmination of an offensive up the Virginia Peninsula by Union Maj. Gen....

, then General Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 and top subordinates James Longstreet
James Longstreet
James Longstreet was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his "Old War Horse." He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the...

 and Stonewall Jackson defeated McClellan in the Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles
The Seven Days Battles was a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from...

 and forced his retreat. The Northern Virginia Campaign
Northern Virginia Campaign
The Northern Virginia Campaign, also known as the Second Bull Run Campaign or Second Manassas Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during August and September 1862 in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E...

, which included the Second Battle of Bull Run
Second Battle of Bull Run
The Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas was fought August 28–30, 1862, as part of the American Civil War. It was the culmination of an offensive campaign waged by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia against Union Maj. Gen...

, ended in yet another victory for the South. McClellan resisted General-in-Chief Halleck's orders to send reinforcements to John Pope's
John Pope (military officer)
John Pope was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He had a brief but successful career in the Western Theater, but he is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the East.Pope was a graduate of the United States Military Academy in...

 Union Army of Virginia
Army of Virginia
The Army of Virginia was organized as a major unit of the Union Army and operated briefly and unsuccessfully in 1862 in the American Civil War. It should not be confused with its principal opponent, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Robert E...

, which made it easier for Lee's Confederates to defeat twice the number of combined enemy troops.
Emboldened by Second Bull Run, the Confederacy made its first invasion of the North. General Lee led 45,000 men of the Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

 across the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

 into Maryland on September 5. Lincoln then restored Pope's troops to McClellan. McClellan and Lee fought at the Battle of Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam , fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000...

 near Sharpsburg
Sharpsburg, Maryland
Sharpsburg is a town in Washington County, Maryland, United States, approximately south of Hagerstown. The population was 691 at the 2000 census....

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, on September 17, 1862, the bloodiest single day in United States military history. Lee's army, checked at last, returned to Virginia before McClellan could destroy it. Antietam is considered a Union victory because it halted Lee's invasion of the North and provided an opportunity for Lincoln to announce his Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with nearly...

.

When the cautious McClellan failed to follow up on Antietam, he was replaced by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Everett Burnside was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a U.S. Senator...

. Burnside was soon defeated at the Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside...

 on December 13, 1862, when over 12,000 Union soldiers were killed or wounded during repeated futile frontal assaults against Marye's Heights. After the battle, Burnside was replaced by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker was a career United States Army officer, achieving the rank of major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although he served throughout the war, usually with distinction, Hooker is best remembered for his stunning defeat by Confederate General Robert E...

.
Hooker, too, proved unable to defeat Lee's army; despite outnumbering the Confederates by more than two to one, he was humiliated in the Battle of Chancellorsville
Battle of Chancellorsville
The Battle of Chancellorsville was a major battle of the American Civil War, and the principal engagement of the Chancellorsville Campaign. It was fought from April 30 to May 6, 1863, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, near the village of Chancellorsville. Two related battles were fought nearby on...

 in May 1863. Gen. Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by his own men during the battle and subsequently died of complications. Gen. Hooker was replaced by Maj. Gen. George Meade
George Meade
George Gordon Meade was a career United States Army officer and civil engineer involved in coastal construction, including several lighthouses. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War and Mexican-American War. During the American Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from...

 during Lee's second invasion of the North, in June. Meade defeated Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

 (July 1 to July 3, 1863). This was the bloodiest battle of the war, and has been called the war's turning point
Turning point of the American Civil War
There is widespread disagreement over the turning point of the American Civil War. The idea of a turning point is an event after which most observers would agree that the eventual outcome was inevitable. While the Battle of Gettysburg is the most widely cited , there are several other arguable...

. Pickett's Charge
Pickett's Charge
Pickett's Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Union positions on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863, the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Its futility was predicted by the charge's commander,...

 on July 3 is often considered the high-water mark of the Confederacy because it signaled the collapse of serious Confederate threats of victory. Lee's army suffered 28,000 casualties (versus Meade's 23,000). However, Lincoln was angry that Meade failed to intercept Lee's retreat, and after Meade's inconclusive fall campaign, Lincoln turned to the Western Theater for new leadership. At the same time the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg surrendered, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River, permanently isolating the western Confederacy, and producing the new leader Lincoln needed, Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

.

Western theater 1861–1863


While the Confederate forces had numerous successes in the Eastern Theater, they were defeated many times in the West. They were driven from Missouri early in the war as a result of the Battle of Pea Ridge
Battle of Pea Ridge
The Battle of Pea Ridge was a land battle of the American Civil War, fought on March 6–8, 1862, at Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas, near Garfield. In the battle, Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis defeated Confederate troops under Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn. The outcome of the...

. Leonidas Polk
Leonidas Polk
Leonidas Polk was a Confederate general in the American Civil War who was once a planter in Maury County, Tennessee, and a second cousin of President James K. Polk...

's invasion of Columbus
Columbus, Kentucky
Columbus is a city in Hickman County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 229 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Columbus is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land....

, Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 ended Kentucky's policy of neutrality and turned that state against the Confederacy. Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

 and central Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 fell to the Union early in 1862, leading to attrition of local food supplies and livestock and a breakdown in social organization.

The Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 was opened to Union traffic to the southern border of Tennessee with the taking of Island No. 10
Battle of Island Number Ten
The Battle of Island Number Ten was an engagement at the New Madrid or Kentucky Bend on the Mississippi River during the American Civil War, lasting from February 28 to April 8, 1862. The position, an island at the base of a tight double turn in the course of the river, was held by the Confederates...

 and New Madrid
New Madrid, Missouri
New Madrid is a city in New Madrid County, Missouri, 42 miles south by west of Cairo, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. New Madrid was founded in 1788 by American frontiersmen. In 1900, 1,489 people lived in New Madrid, Missouri; in 1910, the population was 1,882. The population was 3,334 at...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

, and then Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

. In April 1862, the Union Navy
Union Navy
The Union Navy is the label applied to the United States Navy during the American Civil War, to contrast it from its direct opponent, the Confederate States Navy...

 captured New Orleans without a major fight, which allowed Union forces to begin moving up the Mississippi. Only the fortress city of Vicksburg
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Vicksburg is a city in Warren County, Mississippi, United States. It is the only city in Warren County. It is located northwest of New Orleans on the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers, and due west of Jackson, the state capital. In 1900, 14,834 people lived in Vicksburg; in 1910, 20,814; in 1920,...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, prevented Union control of the entire river.

General Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg was a career United States Army officer, and then a general in the Confederate States Army—a principal commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and later the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.Bragg, a native of North Carolina, was...

's second Confederate invasion of Kentucky ended with a meaningless victory over Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell
Don Carlos Buell
Don Carlos Buell was a career United States Army officer who fought in the Seminole War, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War. Buell led Union armies in two great Civil War battles—Shiloh and Perryville. The nation was angry at his failure to defeat the outnumbered...

 at the Battle of Perryville
Battle of Perryville
The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky, as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive during the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi won a...

, although Bragg was forced to end his attempt at invading Kentucky and retreat due to lack of support for the Confederacy in that state. Bragg was narrowly defeated by Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans
William Rosecrans
William Starke Rosecrans was an inventor, coal-oil company executive, diplomat, politician, and United States Army officer. He gained fame for his role as a Union general during the American Civil War...

 at the Battle of Stones River
Battle of Stones River
The Battle of Stones River or Second Battle of Murfreesboro , was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War...

 in Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

.

The one clear Confederate victory in the West was the Battle of Chickamauga
Battle of Chickamauga
The Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 19–20, 1863, marked the end of a Union offensive in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia called the Chickamauga Campaign...

. Bragg, reinforced by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet
James Longstreet
James Longstreet was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his "Old War Horse." He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the...

's corps (from Lee's army in the east), defeated Rosecrans, despite the heroic defensive stand of Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas
George Henry Thomas
George Henry Thomas was a career United States Army officer and a Union General during the American Civil War, one of the principal commanders in the Western Theater....

. Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is the fourth-largest city in the US state of Tennessee , with a population of 169,887. It is the seat of Hamilton County...

, which Bragg then besieged.

The Union's key strategist and tactician in the West was Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, who won victories at Forts Henry
Battle of Fort Henry
The Battle of Fort Henry was fought on February 6, 1862, in western Tennessee, during the American Civil War. It was the first important victory for the Union and Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the Western Theater....

 and Donelson
Battle of Fort Donelson
The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to February 16, 1862, in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River as an avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S...

 (by which the Union seized control of the Tennessee
Tennessee River
The Tennessee River is the largest tributary of the Ohio River. It is approximately 652 miles long and is located in the southeastern United States in the Tennessee Valley. The river was once popularly known as the Cherokee River, among other names...

 and Cumberland
Cumberland River
The Cumberland River is a waterway in the Southern United States. It is long. It starts in Harlan County in far southeastern Kentucky between Pine and Cumberland mountains, flows through southern Kentucky, crosses into northern Tennessee, and then curves back up into western Kentucky before...

 Rivers); the Battle of Shiloh
Battle of Shiloh
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and...

; and the Battle of Vicksburg, which cemented Union control of the Mississippi River and is considered one of the turning points
Turning point of the American Civil War
There is widespread disagreement over the turning point of the American Civil War. The idea of a turning point is an event after which most observers would agree that the eventual outcome was inevitable. While the Battle of Gettysburg is the most widely cited , there are several other arguable...

 of the war. Grant marched to the relief of Rosecrans and defeated Bragg at the Third Battle of Chattanooga
Chattanooga Campaign
The Chattanooga Campaign was a series of maneuvers and battles in October and November 1863, during the American Civil War. Following the defeat of Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans's Union Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Chickamauga in September, the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen...

, driving Confederate forces out of Tennessee and opening a route to Atlanta and the heart of the Confederacy.

Trans-Mississippi theater 1861–1865



Guerrilla
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 activity turned much of Missouri into a battleground. Missouri had, in total, the third-most battles of any state during the war. The other states of the west, though geographically isolated from the battles to the east, saw numerous small-scale military actions. Battles in the region served to secure Missouri, Indian Territory
Indian Territory in the American Civil War
During the American Civil War, Indian Territory occupied most of what is now the U.S. state of Oklahoma and served as an unorganized region set aside for Native American tribes of the Southeastern United States; they had been removed from their lands...

, and New Mexico Territory
New Mexico Territory in the American Civil War
The New Mexico Territory, which included the areas which became the modern U.S. states of New Mexico and Arizona as well as the southern part of Nevada, played a role in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War. Both Confederate and Union governments claimed ownership and territorial...

 for the Union. Confederate incursions into New Mexico territory
New Mexico Territory
thumb|right|240px|Proposed boundaries for State of New Mexico, 1850The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of...

 were repulsed in 1862 and a Union campaign to secure Indian Territory
Indian Territory
The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

 succeeded in 1863. Late in the war, the Union's Red River Campaign
Red River Campaign
The Red River Campaign or Red River Expedition consisted of a series of battles fought along the Red River in Louisiana during the American Civil War from March 10 to May 22, 1864. The campaign was a Union initiative, fought between approximately 30,000 Union troops under the command of Maj. Gen....

 was a failure. Texas remained in Confederate hands throughout the war, but was cut off from the rest of the Confederacy after the capture of Vicksburg in 1863 gave the Union control of the Mississippi River.

Conquest of Virginia and end of war: 1864–1865



At the beginning of 1864, Lincoln made Grant commander of all Union armies. Grant made his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac, and put Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War , for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched...

 in command of most of the western armies. Grant understood the concept of total war
Total war
Total war is a war in which a belligerent engages in the complete mobilization of fully available resources and population.In the mid-19th century, "total war" was identified by scholars as a separate class of warfare...

 and believed, along with Lincoln and Sherman, that only the utter defeat of Confederate forces and their economic base would end the war. This was total war not in terms of killing civilians but rather in terms of destroying homes, farms, and railroads. Grant devised a coordinated strategy that would strike at the entire Confederacy from multiple directions. Generals George Meade and Benjamin Butler
Benjamin Franklin Butler (politician)
Benjamin Franklin Butler was an American lawyer and politician who represented Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives and later served as the 33rd Governor of Massachusetts....

 were ordered to move against Lee near Richmond, General Franz Sigel
Franz Sigel
Franz Sigel was a German military officer, revolutionist and immigrant to the United States who was a teacher, newspaperman, politician, and served as a Union major general in the American Civil War.-Early life:...

 (and later Philip Sheridan
Philip Sheridan
Philip Henry Sheridan was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general and his close association with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S...

) were to attack the Shenandoah Valley
Valley Campaigns of 1864
The Valley Campaigns of 1864 were American Civil War operations and battles that took place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from May to October 1864. Military historians divide this period into three separate campaigns, but it is useful to consider the three together and how they...

, General Sherman was to capture Atlanta and march to the sea (the Atlantic Ocean), Generals George Crook
George Crook
George R. Crook was a career United States Army officer, most noted for his distinguished service during the American Civil War and the Indian Wars.-Early life:...

 and William W. Averell
William W. Averell
William Woods Averell was a career United States Army officer and a cavalry general in the American Civil War. After the war he was a diplomat and became wealthy by inventing American asphalt pavement.-Early years:...

 were to operate against railroad supply lines in West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

, and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks
Nathaniel Prentice Banks
Nathaniel Prentice Banks was an American politician and soldier, served as the 24th Governor of Massachusetts, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and as a Union general during the American Civil War....

 was to capture Mobile
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

.

Union forces in the East attempted to maneuver past Lee and fought several battles during that phase ("Grant's Overland Campaign
Overland Campaign
The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the...

") of the Eastern campaign. Grant's battles of attrition
Attrition warfare
Attrition warfare is a military strategy in which a belligerent side attempts to win a war by wearing down its enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and matériel....

 at the Wilderness
Battle of the Wilderness
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought May 5–7, 1864, was the first battle of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Both armies suffered heavy casualties, a harbinger of a bloody war of attrition by...

, Spotsylvania
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, sometimes simply referred to as the Battle of Spotsylvania , was the second major battle in Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. Following the bloody but inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness, Grant's army disengaged...

, and Cold Harbor
Battle of Cold Harbor
The Battle of Cold Harbor was fought from May 31 to June 12, 1864 . It was one of the final battles of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign during the American Civil War, and is remembered as one of American history's bloodiest, most lopsided battles...

 resulted in heavy Union losses, but forced Lee's Confederates to fall back repeatedly. An attempt to outflank Lee from the south failed under Butler, who was trapped inside the Bermuda Hundred
Bermuda Hundred Campaign
The Bermuda Hundred Campaign was a series of battles fought at the town of Bermuda Hundred, outside Richmond, Virginia, during May 1864 in the American Civil War. Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler, commanding the Army of the James, threatened Richmond from the east but was stopped by forces under ...

 river bend. Grant was tenacious and, despite astonishing losses (over 65,000 casualties in seven weeks), kept pressing Lee's Army of Northern Virginia back to Richmond. He pinned down the Confederate army in the Siege of Petersburg
Siege of Petersburg
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War...

, where the two armies engaged in trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 for over nine months.

Grant finally found a commander, General Philip Sheridan
Philip Sheridan
Philip Henry Sheridan was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general and his close association with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S...

, aggressive enough to prevail in the Valley Campaigns of 1864
Valley Campaigns of 1864
The Valley Campaigns of 1864 were American Civil War operations and battles that took place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from May to October 1864. Military historians divide this period into three separate campaigns, but it is useful to consider the three together and how they...

. Sheridan was initially repelled at the Battle of New Market
Battle of New Market
The Battle of New Market was a battle fought on May 15, 1864, in Virginia during Valley Campaigns of 1864 in the American Civil War. Cadets from the Virginia Military Institute fought alongside the Confederate Army and forced Union General Franz Sigel and his army out of the Shenandoah...

 by former U.S. Vice President and Confederate Gen. John C. Breckinridge
John C. Breckinridge
John Cabell Breckinridge was an American lawyer and politician. He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Kentucky and was the 14th Vice President of the United States , to date the youngest vice president in U.S...

. The Battle of New Market would prove to be the Confederacy's last major victory of the war. After redoubling his efforts, Sheridan defeated Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early
Jubal Anderson Early
Jubal Anderson Early was a lawyer and Confederate general in the American Civil War. He served under Stonewall Jackson and then Robert E. Lee for almost the entire war, rising from regimental command to lieutenant general and the command of an infantry corps in the Army of Northern Virginia...

 in a series of battles, including a final decisive defeat at the Battle of Cedar Creek
Battle of Cedar Creek
The Battle of Cedar Creek, or Battle of Belle Grove, October 19, 1864, was one of the final, and most decisive, battles in the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. The final Confederate invasion of the North, led by Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early, was effectively ended...

. Sheridan then proceeded to destroy the agricultural base of the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

, a strategy similar to the tactics Sherman later employed in Georgia.
Meanwhile, Sherman maneuvered from Chattanooga to Atlanta, defeating Confederate Generals Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a career U.S. Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars, and was also one of the most senior general officers in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

 and John Bell Hood
John Bell Hood
John Bell Hood was a Confederate general during the American Civil War. Hood had a reputation for bravery and aggressiveness that sometimes bordered on recklessness...

 along the way. The fall of Atlanta
Battle of Atlanta
The Battle of Atlanta was a battle of the Atlanta Campaign fought during the American Civil War on July 22, 1864, just southeast of Atlanta, Georgia. Continuing their summer campaign to seize the important rail and supply center of Atlanta, Union forces commanded by William T. Sherman overwhelmed...

 on September 2, 1864, guaranteed the reelection of Lincoln as president. Hood left the Atlanta area to swing around and menace Sherman's supply lines and invade Tennessee in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign
Franklin-Nashville Campaign
The Franklin-Nashville Campaign, also known as Hood's Tennessee Campaign, was a series of battles in the Western Theater, conducted from September 18 to December 27, 1864, in Alabama, Tennessee, and northwestern Georgia during the American Civil War. The Confederate Army of Tennessee under Lt....

. Union Maj. Gen. John Schofield
John Schofield
John McAllister Schofield was an American soldier who held major commands during the American Civil War. He later served as U.S. Secretary of War and Commanding General of the United States Army.-Early life:...

 defeated Hood at the Battle of Franklin, and George H. Thomas
George Henry Thomas
George Henry Thomas was a career United States Army officer and a Union General during the American Civil War, one of the principal commanders in the Western Theater....

 dealt Hood a massive defeat at the Battle of Nashville
Battle of Nashville
The Battle of Nashville was a two-day battle in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign that represented the end of large-scale fighting in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. It was fought at Nashville, Tennessee, on December 15–16, 1864, between the Confederate Army of Tennessee under...

, effectively destroying Hood's army.

Leaving Atlanta, and his base of supplies, Sherman's army marched with an unknown destination, laying waste to about 20% of the farms in Georgia in his "March to the Sea
Sherman's March to the Sea
Sherman's March to the Sea is the name commonly given to the Savannah Campaign conducted around Georgia from November 15, 1864 to December 21, 1864 by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army in the American Civil War...

". He reached the Atlantic Ocean at Savannah
Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is the largest city and the county seat of Chatham County, in the U.S. state of Georgia. Established in 1733, the city of Savannah was the colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. Today Savannah is an industrial center and an important...

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 in December 1864. Sherman's army was followed by thousands of freed slaves; there were no major battles along the March. Sherman turned north through South Carolina and North Carolina to approach the Confederate Virginia lines from the south, increasing the pressure on Lee's army.

Lee's army, thinned by desertion and casualties, was now much smaller than Grant's. Union forces won a decisive victory at the Battle of Five Forks
Battle of Five Forks
The Battle of Five Forks was fought on April 1, 1865, southwest of Petersburg, Virginia, in Dinwiddie County, during the Appomattox Campaign of the American Civil War. The battle, sometimes referred to as the "Waterloo of the Confederacy," pitted Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan against...

 on April 1, forcing Lee to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond. The Confederate capital fell to the Union XXV Corps, composed of black troops. The remaining Confederate units fled west and after a defeat at Sayler's Creek
Battle of Sayler's Creek
-External links:* * : Maps, histories, photos, and preservation news...

, it became clear to Robert E. Lee that continued fighting against the United States was both tactically and logistically impossible.

Confederacy surrenders


Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, at the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is a National Historical Park of original and reconstructed nineteenth century buildings. It was signed into law August 3, 1935. The village was made a national monument in 1940 and a national historical park in 1954...

.
In an untraditional gesture and as a sign of Grant's respect and anticipation of peacefully restoring Confederate states to the Union, Lee was permitted to keep his sword and his horse, Traveller
Traveller (horse)
Traveller was Confederate General Robert E. Lee's most famous horse during the American Civil War.-Birth and war service:...

. On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot
Abraham Lincoln assassination
The assassination of United States President Abraham Lincoln took place on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close. The assassination occurred five days after the commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, and his battered Army of...

 by John Wilkes Booth
John Wilkes Booth
John Wilkes Booth was an American stage actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. Booth was a member of the prominent 19th century Booth theatrical family from Maryland and, by the 1860s, was a well-known actor...

, a Southern sympathizer. Lincoln died early the next morning, and Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

 became president. Meanwhile, Confederate forces across the South surrendered as news of Lee's surrender reached them.

Emancipation during the war



At the beginning of the war, some Union commanders thought they were supposed to return escaped slaves to their masters. By 1862, when it became clear that this would be a long war, the question of what to do about slavery became more general. The Southern economy and military effort depended on slave labor. It began to seem unreasonable to protect slavery while blockading Southern commerce and destroying Southern production. As one Congressman put it, the slaves "...cannot be neutral. As laborers, if not as soldiers, they will be allies of the rebels, or of the Union."

The same Congressman—and his fellow Radical Republicans—put pressure on Lincoln to rapidly emancipate the slaves, whereas moderate Republicans came to accept gradual, compensated emancipation and colonization. Copperheads
Copperheads (politics)
The Copperheads were a vocal group of Democrats in the Northern United States who opposed the American Civil War, wanting an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates. Republicans started calling anti-war Democrats "Copperheads," likening them to the venomous snake...

 and some War Democrats
War Democrats
War Democrats in American politics of the 1860s were adherents of the Democratic Party who rejected the Copperheads/Peace Democrats who controlled the party...

 opposed emancipation, although the latter eventually accepted it as part of total war
Total war
Total war is a war in which a belligerent engages in the complete mobilization of fully available resources and population.In the mid-19th century, "total war" was identified by scholars as a separate class of warfare...

 needed to save the Union. The Irish Catholics
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

 generally opposed emancipation, and when the draft began in the summer of 1863 they launched a major riot in New York City
New York Draft Riots
The New York City draft riots were violent disturbances in New York City that were the culmination of discontent with new laws passed by Congress to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War. The riots were the largest civil insurrection in American history apart from the Civil War itself...

 that was suppressed by the military, as well as much smaller protests in other cities.

Many of the recent immigrants viewed freed slaves as competition for scarce jobs, and as the reason why the Civil War was being fought. Many Catholics in the North had volunteered to fight in 1861, sending thousands of soldiers to the front and taking high casualties, especially at Fredericksburg
Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside...

; their volunteering fell off after 1862. Sentiment among German American
German American
German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

s was largely anti-slavery, especially among Forty-Eighters
Forty-Eighters
The Forty-Eighters were Europeans who participated in or supported the revolutions of 1848 that swept Europe. In Germany, the Forty-Eighters favored unification of the German people, a more democratic government, and guarantees of human rights...

. Hundreds of thousands of German Americans volunteered to fight for the Union.

In 1861, Lincoln worried that premature attempts at emancipation would mean the loss of the border states, and that "to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game." At first, Lincoln reversed attempts at emancipation by Secretary of War Simon Cameron
Simon Cameron
Simon Cameron was an American politician who served as United States Secretary of War for Abraham Lincoln at the start of the American Civil War. After making his fortune in railways and banking, he turned to a life of politics. He became a U.S. senator in 1845 for the state of Pennsylvania,...

 and Generals John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
John Charles Frémont , was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, that era's penny press accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder...

 (in Missouri) and David Hunter
David Hunter
David Hunter was a Union general in the American Civil War. He achieved fame by his unauthorized 1862 order emancipating slaves in three Southern states and as the president of the military commission trying the conspirators involved with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.-Early...

 (in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida) to keep the loyalty of the border states and the War Democrats.

Lincoln warned the border states that a more radical type of emancipation would happen if his gradual plan based on compensated emancipation and voluntary colonization was rejected. Only the District of Columbia accepted Lincoln's gradual plan, which was enacted by Congress. When Lincoln told his cabinet about his proposed emancipation proclamation, Seward advised Lincoln to wait for a victory before issuing it, as to do otherwise would seem like "our last shriek on the retreat".

In September 1862 the Battle of Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam , fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000...

 provided this opportunity, and the subsequent War Governors' Conference
War Governors' Conference
The Loyal War Governors' Conference was an important political event of the American Civil War. It was held at the Logan House Hotel in Altoona, Pennsylvania on September 24 and 25, 1862. Thirteen governors of Union states came together to discuss the war effort, state troop quotas, and the...

 added support for the proclamation. Lincoln had already published a letter encouraging the border states especially to accept emancipation as necessary to save the Union. Lincoln later said that slavery was "somehow the cause of the war".

Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with nearly...

 on September 22, 1862, and his final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. In his letter to Hodges, Lincoln explained his belief that "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong ... And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling ... I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me."

Since the Emancipation Proclamation was based on the President's war powers, it only included territory held by Confederates at the time. However, the Proclamation became a symbol of the Union's growing commitment to add emancipation to the Union's definition of liberty. Lincoln also played a leading role in getting Congress to vote for the Thirteenth Amendment
Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On...

, which made emancipation universal and permanent.

Enslaved African Americans did not wait for Lincoln's action before escaping and seeking freedom behind Union lines. From early years of the war, hundreds of thousands of African Americans escaped to Union lines, especially in occupied areas like Nashville, Norfolk and the Hampton Roads region in 1862, Tennessee from 1862 on, the line of Sherman's march, etc. So many African Americans fled to Union lines that commanders created camps and schools for them, where both adults and children learned to read and write.

The American Missionary Association entered the war effort by sending teachers south to such contraband camps, for instance establishing schools in Norfolk and on nearby plantations. In addition, approximately 180,000 or more African-American men served as soldiers and sailors with Union troops. Most of those were escaped slaves. Probably the most prominent of these African-American soldiers is the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
The 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that saw extensive service in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The regiment was one of the first official black units in the United States during the Civil War...

.
Confederates enslaved captured black Union soldiers, and black soldiers especially were shot when trying to surrender at the Fort Pillow Massacre
Battle of Fort Pillow
The Battle of Fort Pillow, also known as the Fort Pillow Massacre, was fought on April 12, 1864, at Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River in Henning, Tennessee, during the American Civil War. The battle ended with a massacre of surrendered Federal black troops by soldiers under the command of...

. This led to a breakdown of the prisoner and mail exchange program  and the growth of prison camps such as Andersonville prison in Georgia, where almost 13,000 Union prisoners of war died of starvation and disease.

In spite of the South's shortage of soldiers, most Southern leaders — until 1865 — opposed enlisting slaves. They used them as laborers to support the war effort. As Howell Cobb
Howell Cobb
Howell Cobb was an American political figure. A Southern Democrat, Cobb was a five-term member of the United States House of Representatives and Speaker of the House from 1849 to 1851...

 said, "If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong." Confederate generals Patrick Cleburne
Patrick Cleburne
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was an Irish American soldier, best known for his service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, where he rose to the rank of major general....

 and Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 argued in favor of arming blacks late in the war, and Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

 was eventually persuaded to support plans for arming slaves to avoid military defeat. The Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox
Appomattox, Virginia
Appomattox is a town in Appomattox County, Virginia, United States. The population was 1,761 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Appomattox County.Appomattox is part of the Lynchburg Metropolitan Statistical Area.-History:...

 before this plan could be implemented.

Historian John D. Winters
John D. Winters
John David Winters was a historian at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, best known for his definitive and award-winning study, The Civil War in Louisiana, still in print, published in 1963 and released in paperback in 1991.-Background:Winters was born to John David Winters, Sr...

, in The Civil War in Louisiana (1963), referred to the exhilaration of the slaves when the Union Army came through Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

: "As the troops moved up to Alexandria
Alexandria, Louisiana
Alexandria is a city in and the parish seat of Rapides Parish, Louisiana, United States. It lies on the south bank of the Red River in almost the exact geographic center of the state. It is the principal city of the Alexandria metropolitan area which encompasses all of Rapides and Grant parishes....

, the Negroes crowded the roadsides to watch the passing army. They were 'all frantic with joy, some weeping, some blessing, and some dancing in the exuberance of their emotions.' All of the Negroes were attracted by the pageantry and excitement of the army. Others cheered because they anticipated the freedom to plunder and to do as they pleased now that the Federal troops were there."

The Emancipation Proclamation greatly reduced the Confederacy's hope of getting aid from Britain or France. Lincoln's moderate approach succeeded in getting border states, War Democrats and emancipated slaves fighting on the same side for the Union. The Union-controlled border states (Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia) were not covered by the Emancipation Proclamation. All abolished slavery on their own, except Kentucky and Delaware.

The great majority of the 4 million slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, as Union armies moved south. The 13th amendment
Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On...

, ratified December 6, 1865, finally made slavery illegal everywhere in the United States, thus freeing the remaining slaves—65,000 in Kentucky (as of 1865), 1,800 in Delaware, and 18 in New Jersey as of 1860.

Historian Stephen Oates said that many myths surround Lincoln: "man of the people", "true Christian", "arch villain" and racist. The belief that Lincoln was racist was caused by an incomplete picture of Lincoln, such as focusing on only selective quoting of statements Lincoln made to gain the support of the border states and Northern Democrats, and ignoring the many things he said against slavery, and the military and political context within which such statements were made. Oates said that Lincoln's letter to Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley was an American newspaper editor, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party, a reformer, a politician, and an outspoken opponent of slavery...

 has been "persistently misunderstood and misrepresented" for such reasons.

Blocking international intervention



Europe in the 1860s was more fragmented than it had been since before the American Revolution. France was in a weakened state while Britain was still shocked by their poor performance in the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

. France was unable or unwilling to support either side without Britain, where popular support remained with the Union though elite opinion was more varied. They were further distracted by Germany and Italy, who were experiencing unification troubles, and by Russia, who was almost unflinching in their support for the Union.

Though the Confederacy hoped that Britain and France would join them against the Union, this was never likely, and so they instead tried to bring Britain and France in as mediators. The Union, under Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward
William H. Seward
William Henry Seward, Sr. was the 12th Governor of New York, United States Senator and the United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson...

 worked to block this, and threatened war if any country officially recognized the existence of the Confederate States of America. In 1861, Southerners voluntarily embargoed cotton shipments, hoping to start an economic depression in Europe that would force Britain to enter the war in order to get cotton.

Cotton diplomacy
Cotton diplomacy
During the 1850s and the American Civil War, cotton diplomacy was the idea that Britain and France required cotton from the South...

 proved a failure as Europe had a surplus of cotton, while the 1860–62 crop failures in Europe made the North's grain exports of critical importance. It also helped to turn European opinion further way from the Confederacy. It was said that "King Corn was more powerful than King Cotton", as U.S. grain went from a quarter of the British import trade to almost half. When Britain did face a cotton shortage, it was temporary, being replaced by increased cultivation in Egypt and India. Meanwhile, the war created employment for arms makers, ironworkers, and British ships to transport weapons.

Charles Francis Adams
Charles Francis Adams, Sr.
Charles Francis Adams, Sr. was an American lawyer, politician, diplomat and writer. He was the grandson of President John Adams and Abigail Adams and the son of President John Quincy Adams and Louisa Adams....

 proved particularly adept as minister
Ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 to Britain for the U.S. and Britain was reluctant to boldly challenge the blockade. The Confederacy purchased several warships from commercial ship builders in Britain. The most famous, the CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of-war built for the Confederate States Navy at Birkenhead, United Kingdom, in 1862 by John Laird Sons and Company. Alabama served as a commerce raider, attacking Union merchant and naval ships over the course of her two-year career, during which she never anchored in...

, did considerable damage and led to serious postwar disputes
Alabama Claims
The Alabama Claims were a series of claims for damages by the United States government against the government of Great Britain for the assistance given to the Confederate cause during the American Civil War. After international arbitration endorsed the American position in 1872, Britain settled...

. However, public opinion against slavery created a political liability for European politicians, especially in Britain (who had herself abolished slavery in her own colonies in 1834).

War loomed in late 1861 between the U.S. and Britain over the Trent Affair
Trent affair
The Trent Affair, also known as the Mason and Slidell Affair, was an international diplomatic incident that occurred during the American Civil War...

, involving the U.S. Navy's boarding of a British mail steamer to seize two Confederate diplomats. However, London and Washington were able to smooth over the problem after Lincoln released the two. In 1862, the British considered mediation—though even such an offer would have risked war with the U.S. Lord Palmerston reportedly read Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War", according to Will Kaufman....

three times when deciding on this.

The Union victory in the Battle of Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam , fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000...

 caused them to delay this decision. The Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with nearly...

 over time would reinforce the political liability of supporting the Confederacy. Despite sympathy for the Confederacy, France's own seizure of Mexico
French intervention in Mexico
The French intervention in Mexico , also known as The Maximilian Affair, War of the French Intervention, and The Franco-Mexican War, was an invasion of Mexico by an expeditionary force sent by the Second French Empire, supported in the beginning by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain...

 ultimately deterred them from war with the Union. Confederate offers late in the war to end slavery in return for diplomatic recognition were not seriously considered by London or Paris. After 1863, the Polish revolt against Russia further distracted the European powers, and ensured that they would continue to remain neutral.

Victory and aftermath

Comparison of Union and CSA
Union CSA
Total population 22,100,000 (71%) 9,100,000 (29%)
Free population 21,700,000 5,600,000
Slave population, 1860 400,000 3,500,000
Soldiers 2,100,000 (67%) 1,064,000 (33%)
Railroad length 21788 miles (35,064 km) (71%) 8838 miles (14,223 km) (29%)
Manufactured items 90% 10%
Firearm production 97% 3%
Bales of cotton in 1860 Negligible 4,500,000
Bales of cotton in 1864 Negligible 300,000
Pre-war U.S. exports 30% 70%

Historians have debated whether the Confederacy could have won the war. Most scholars, such as James McPherson
James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, his most famous book...

, argue that Confederate victory was at least possible. McPherson argues that the North’s advantage in population and resources made Northern victory likely but not guaranteed. He also argues that if the Confederacy had fought using unconventional tactics, they would have more easily been able to hold out long enough to exhaust the Union.

Confederates did not need to invade and hold enemy territory to win, but only needed to fight a defensive war to convince the North that the cost of winning was too high. The North needed to conquer and hold vast stretches of enemy territory and defeat Confederate armies to win.

Some scholars, such as those of the Lost Cause tradition, argue that the Union held an insurmountable long-term advantage over the Confederacy in terms of industrial strength and population. Confederate actions, they argue, only delayed defeat. Civil War historian Shelby Foote
Shelby Foote
Shelby Dade Foote, Jr. was an American historian and novelist who wrote The Civil War: A Narrative, a massive, three-volume history of the war. With geographic and cultural roots in the Mississippi Delta, Foote's life and writing paralleled the radical shift from the agrarian planter system of the...

 expressed this view succinctly: "I think that the North fought that war with one hand behind its back...If there had been more Southern victories, and a lot more, the North simply would have brought that other hand out from behind its back. I don't think the South ever had a chance to win that War."

The Confederacy sought to win independence by out-lasting Lincoln; however, after Atlanta fell and Lincoln defeated McClellan in the election of 1864, all hope for a political victory for the South ended. At that point, Lincoln had succeeded in getting the support of the border states, War Democrats, emancipated slaves, Britain, and France. By defeating the Democrats and McClellan, he also defeated the Copperheads
Copperheads (politics)
The Copperheads were a vocal group of Democrats in the Northern United States who opposed the American Civil War, wanting an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates. Republicans started calling anti-war Democrats "Copperheads," likening them to the venomous snake...

 and their peace platform.

Also important were Lincoln's eloquence in rationalizing the national purpose and his skill in keeping the border states committed to the Union cause. Although Lincoln's approach to emancipation was slow, the Emancipation Proclamation was an effective use of the President's war powers. The Confederate government failed in its attempt to get Europe involved in the war militarily, particularly the United Kingdom and France. Southern leaders needed to get European powers to help break up the blockade the Union had created around the Southern ports and cities.

Lincoln's naval blockade was 95% effective at stopping trade goods; as a result, imports and exports to the South declined significantly. The abundance of European cotton and the United Kingdom's hostility to the institution of slavery, along with Lincoln's Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico naval blockades, severely decreased any chance that either the United Kingdom or France would enter the war.

The more industrialized economy of the North aided in the production of arms, munitions and supplies, as well as finances and transportation. The table shows the relative advantage of the Union over the Confederate States of America (CSA) at the start of the war. The advantages widened rapidly during the war, as the Northern economy grew, and Confederate territory shrank and its economy weakened. The Union population was 22 million and the South 9 million in 1861. The Southern population included more than 3.5 million slaves and about 5.5 million whites, thus leaving the South's white population outnumbered by a ratio of more than four to one.

The disparity grew as the Union controlled an increasing amount of southern territory with garrisons, and cut off the trans-Mississippi part of the Confederacy. The Union at the start controlled over 80% of the shipyards, steamships, riverboats, and the Navy. It augmented these by a massive shipbuilding program. This enabled the Union to control the river systems and to blockade the entire southern coastline.

Excellent railroad links between Union cities allowed for the quick and cheap movement of troops and supplies. Transportation was much slower and more difficult in the South, which was unable to augment its much smaller rail system, repair damage, or even perform routine maintenance. The failure of Davis to maintain positive and productive relationships with state governors (especially Governor Joseph E. Brown
Joseph E. Brown
Joseph Emerson Brown , often referred to as Joe Brown, was the 42nd Governor of Georgia from 1857 to 1865, and a U.S. Senator from 1880 to 1891...

 of Georgia and Governor Zebulon Baird Vance
Zebulon Baird Vance
Zebulon Baird Vance was a Confederate military officer in the American Civil War, the 37th and 43rd Governor of North Carolina, and U.S. Senator...

 of North Carolina) damaged his ability to draw on regional resources. The Confederacy's "King Cotton
King Cotton
King Cotton was a slogan used by southerners to support secession from the United States by arguing cotton exports would make an independent Confederacy economically prosperous, and—more important—would force Great Britain and France to support the Confederacy because their industrial economy...

" misperception of the world economy led to bad diplomacy, such as the refusal to ship cotton before the blockade started.

The Emancipation Proclamation enabled African-Americans, both free blacks and escaped slaves, to join the Union Army. About 190,000 volunteered, further enhancing the numerical advantage the Union armies enjoyed over the Confederates, who did not dare emulate the equivalent manpower source for fear of fundamentally undermining the legitimacy of slavery. Emancipated slaves mostly handled garrison duties, and fought numerous battles in 1864–65. European immigrants joined the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 in large numbers, including 177,000 born in Germany and 144,000 born in Ireland. The railroad industry became the nation's largest employer outside of agriculture. The American Civil War was followed by a boom in railroad construction, which contributed to the Panic of 1873
Panic of 1873
The Panic of 1873 triggered a severe international economic depression in both Europe and the United States that lasted until 1879, and even longer in some countries. The depression was known as the Great Depression until the 1930s, but is now known as the Long Depression...

.

Results


Slavery for the Confederacy's 3.5 million blacks effectively ended when Union armies arrived; they were nearly all freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Slaves in the border states and those located in some former Confederate territory occupied prior to the Emancipation Proclamation were freed by state action or (on December 18, 1865) by the Thirteenth Amendment
Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished and continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, passed by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865. On...

. The full restoration of the Union was the work of a highly contentious postwar era known as Reconstruction.

The war produced about 1,030,000 casualties (3% of the population), including about 620,000 soldier deaths—two-thirds by disease. Binghamton University historian J. David Hacker believes the number of soldier deaths was approximately 750,000, 20% higher than traditionally estimated, and possibly as high as 850,000. The war accounted for roughly as many American deaths as all American deaths in other U.S. wars combined.

The causes of the war
Origins of the American Civil War
The main explanation for the origins of the American Civil War is slavery, especially Southern anger at the attempts by Northern antislavery political forces to block the expansion of slavery into the western territories...

, the reasons for its outcome, and even the name of the war itself
Naming the American Civil War
The American Civil War has been known by a number of different names since it began in 1861. These names reflect the historical, political, and cultural sensitivities of different groups and regions....

 are subjects of lingering contention today. Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white
White people
White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

 males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6% in the North and 18% in the South. About 56,000 soldiers died in prisons during the Civil War.

One reason for the high number of battle deaths during the war was the use of Napoleonic
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 tactics, such as charging
Charge (warfare)
A charge is a maneuver in battle in which soldiers advance towards their enemy at their best speed in an attempt to engage in close combat. The charge is the dominant shock attack and has been the key tactic and decisive moment of most battles in history...

. With the advent of more accurate rifled barrels, Minié ball
Minié ball
The Minié ball is a type of muzzle-loading spin-stabilising rifle bullet named after its co-developer, Claude-Étienne Minié, inventor of the Minié rifle...

s and (near the end of the war for the Union army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

) repeating firearms such as the Spencer repeating rifle
Spencer repeating rifle
The Spencer repeating rifle was a manually operated lever-action, repeating rifle fed from a tube magazine with cartridges. It was adopted by the Union Army, especially by the cavalry, during the American Civil War, but did not replace the standard issue muzzle-loading rifled muskets in use at the...

, soldiers were mowed down when standing in lines in the open. This led to the adoption of trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

, a style of fighting that defined the better part of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

The war destroyed much of the wealth that had existed in the South. Income per person in the South dropped to less than 40% than that of the North, a condition which lasted until well into the 20th century. Southern influence in the US federal government, previously considerable, was greatly diminished until the latter half of the 20th century.

Reconstruction



Reconstruction began during the war (and continued to 1877) in an effort to solve the issues caused by reunion, specifically the legal status of the 11 breakaway states, the Confederate leadership, and the freedmen. Northern leaders during the war agreed that victory would require more than the end of fighting. It had to encompass the two war goals: secession had to be repudiated and all forms of slavery had to be eliminated.

Lincoln and the Radical Republicans disagreed sharply on the criteria for these goals. They also disagreed on the degree of federal control that should be imposed on the South, and the process by which Southern states should be reintegrated into the Union. These disputes became central to the political debates after the Confederacy collapsed.

Memory and historiography


The Civil War is one of the central events in America's collective memory. There are innumerable statues, commemorations, books and archival collections. The memory includes the home front, military affairs, the treatment of soldiers, both living and dead, in the war's aftermath, depictions of the war in literature and art, evaluations of heroes and villains, and considerations of the moral and political lessons of the war. The last theme includes moral evaluations of racism and slavery, heroism in combat and behind the lines, and the issues of democracy and minority rights, as well as the notion of an "Empire of Liberty
Empire of Liberty
The Empire of Liberty is a theme developed first by Thomas Jefferson to identify America's world responsibility to spread freedom across the globe. Jefferson saw America's mission in terms of setting an example, expansion into the west, and by intervention abroad...

" influencing the world. Memory of the war in the white South crystallized in the myth of the "Lost Cause"
Lost Cause of the Confederacy
The Lost Cause is the name commonly given to an American literary and intellectual movement that sought to reconcile the traditional white society of the U.S. South to the defeat of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War of 1861–1865...

, which shaped regional identity and race relations for generations.

150th anniversary


The year 2011 will include the American Civil War's 150th anniversary. Many in the South are attempting to incorporate both Black history and white perspectives. A Harris Poll given in March 2011 suggested that Americans were still uniquely divided over the results and appropriate memorials to acknowledge the occasion. While traditionally American films of the Civil War feature "brother versus brother" themes film treatments of the war are evolving to include African American characters. Benard Simelton, president of the Alabama NAACP
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, usually abbreviated as NAACP, is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909. Its mission is "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to...

, said celebrating the Civil War is like celebrating the "Holocaust". In reference to slavery Simelton said that black "rights were taken away" and that blacks "were treated as less than human beings." National Park historian Bob Sutton said that slavery was the "principal cause" of the war. Sutton also claimed that the issue of state rights was incorporated by the Confederacy as a justification for the war in order to get recognition from Britain. Sutton went on to mention that during the 100th anniversary of the Civil War white southerners focused on the genius of southern generals, rather than slavery. In Virginia during the fall of 2010, a conference took place that addressed the slavery issue. During November 2010, black Civil War reenactors from around the country participated in a parade at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 49,528, making it the ninth largest city in Pennsylvania...

.

Hollywood


Hollywood's take on the war has been especially influential in shaping public memory, as seen in such films as "Birth of a Nation," "Gone with the Wind" and "Glory".

Filmography


  • Andersonville
    Andersonville (film)
    Andersonville is a film directed by John Frankenheimer about a group of Union soldiers during the American Civil War who are captured by the Confederates and sent to an infamous Confederate prison camp....

    (1996)
  • An Occurence at Owl Bridge (1962)
  • The Battle of Gettysburg
    The Battle of Gettysburg (1913 film)
    The Battle of Gettysburg is a 1913 silent drama film directed by Charles Giblyn and Thomas H. Ince. The film is now considered to be lost, although some battlefield footage was used by Mack Sennett in his comedy Cohen Saves the Flag, which was shot on location alongside this production. However...

    (1913)
  • The Birth of a Nation
    The Birth of a Nation
    The Birth of a Nation is a 1915 American silent film directed by D. W. Griffith and based on the novel and play The Clansman, both by Thomas Dixon, Jr. Griffith also co-wrote the screenplay , and co-produced the film . It was released on February 8, 1915...

    (1915)
  • The Blue and the Gray (1982 TV series)
  • The Civil War (1990)
  • Civil War Minutes: Confederate (2007)
  • Civil War Minutes: Union (2001)
  • Cold Mountain
    Cold Mountain (film)
    Cold Mountain is a 2003 war drama film written and directed by Anthony Minghella. The film is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Charles Frazier...

    (2003)
  • The Colt
    The Colt (film)
    The Colt is a 2005 television movie made for Hallmark Channel. The film is set during the American Civil War, and is based on the short story by Nobel Prize winner Mikhail Sholokhov.-Plot:...

    (2005)
  • Dances with Wolves
    Dances with Wolves
    Dances with Wolves is a 1990 epic western film directed by and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells the story of a Union Army Lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and his dealings with a...

    (1990)
  • Dog Jack
    Dog Jack
    Dog Jack is a 2010 film based on the book of the same name by Florence W. Biros.The story revolves around an escaped slave boy named Jed who joins the 102nd Pennsylvania Regiment during the American Civil War...

    (2010)
  • Drums in the Deep South
    Drums in the Deep South
    Drums in the Deep South is an American Civil War war film designed and directed by William Cameron Menzies, produced by independent company King Brothers Productions, filmed in SuperCineColor and released by RKO Pictures in September 1951.-Plot:...

    (1951)
  • The General (1926)
  • Gettysburg (1993)
  • Glory (1989)
  • Gods and Generals
    Gods and Generals (film)
    Gods and Generals is a 2003 American film based on the novel Gods and Generals by Jeffrey Shaara. It depicts events that take place prior to those shown in the 1993 film Gettysburg, which was based on The Killer Angels, a novel by Shaara's father, Michael...

    (2003)
  • Gone with the Wind
    Gone with the Wind (film)
    Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard...

    (1939)
  • The Good The Bad and The Ugly (1967)
  • The Horse Soldiers
    The Horse Soldiers
    The Horse Soldiers is a 1959 DeLuxe Color war film, set in the American Civil War, directed by John Ford, starring John Wayne, William Holden and Constance Towers...

    (1959)
  • The Hunley
    The Hunley
    The Hunley is a 1999 television movie directed by John Gray and starring Armand Assante, Donald Sutherland, Alex Jennings, Michael Dolan and Christopher Bauer. The film is based on the true story of the H. L. Hunley submarine and the Action of 17 February 1864....

    (1999)
  • The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adams
    The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adams
    The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adams is a 2007 film, starring Julian Adams, Amy Redford, Mickey Rooney, Tippi Hedren about the life of Confederate Captain Robert Adams II. It was released in 2007 by ThinkFilm, and garnered 10 awards on the film festival circuit.-External links:**** *...

    (2007)
  • Major Dundee
    Major Dundee
    Major Dundee is a 1965 Western film written by Harry Julian Fink and directed by Sam Peckinpah. It starred Charlton Heston and Richard Harris as officers from opposing sides in the American Civil War who band together to hunt down a band of Apaches....

    (1965)
  • North and South (TV miniseries)
    North and South (TV miniseries)
    North and South is the title of three American television miniseries broadcast on the ABC network in 1985, 1986, and 1994. Set before, during, and immediately after the American Civil War, they are based on the 1980s trilogy of novels North and South by John Jakes. The 1985 first installment, North...

     Trilogy
    (1985, 1986, 1994)
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales
    The Outlaw Josey Wales
    The Outlaw Josey Wales is a 1976 American revisionist Western film set during and after the end of the American Civil War. It was directed by and starred Clint Eastwood , with Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Sam Bottoms, and Geraldine Keams.The film was adapted by Sonia Chernus and Philip Kaufman...

    (1976)
  • Pharaoh's Army (1995)
  • Raintree County
    Raintree County (film)
    Raintree County is a 1957 Technicolor film drama about the American Civil War. It was directed by Edward Dmytryk. The film stars Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint, and Lee Marvin....

    (1957)
  • The Red Badge of Courage
    The Red Badge of Courage (film)
    The Red Badge of Courage is a 1951 war film made by MGM. It was directed by John Huston and produced by Gottfried Reinhardt with Dore Schary as executive producer. The screenplay is by John Huston, adapted by Albert Band from the Stephen Crane novel of the same name. The cinematography is by...

    (1951)
  • Ride with the Devil (1999)
  • The Shadow Riders
    The Shadow Riders (film)
    The Shadow Riders is a 1982 television film western that first aired in the United States on September 28, 1982. It is based on the novel of the same name by Louis L'Amour, and is directed by Andrew V. McLaglen. The movie reunites actors Tom Selleck, Sam Elliot, and Jeff Osterhage, who also starred...

    (1982)
  • Shenandoah
    Shenandoah (film)
    Shenandoah is a 1965 American Civil War film starring James Stewart, Doug McClure, Glenn Corbett, Patrick Wayne, and Katharine Ross. The picture was directed by Andrew V. McLaglen. Though set during the American Civil War, the film's strong antiwar and humanitarian themes resonated with audiences...

    (1965)
  • Sommersby
    Sommersby
    Sommersby is a 1993 romantic drama film directed by Jon Amiel and starring Richard Gere, Jodie Foster, Bill Pullman and James Earl Jones.Set in the Reconstruction period following the U.S...

    (1993)


Overviews


  • Beringer, Richard E., Archer Jones, and Herman Hattaway, Why the South Lost the Civil War (1986) influential analysis of factors; The Elements of Confederate Defeat: Nationalism, War Aims, and Religion (1988), abridged version
  • Catton, Bruce
    Bruce Catton
    Charles Bruce Catton was an American historian and journalist, best known for his books on the American Civil War. Known as a narrative historian, Catton specialized in popular histories that emphasized colorful characters and historical vignettes, in addition to the basic facts, dates, and analyses...

    , The Civil War, American Heritage, 1960, ISBN 978-0-8281-0305-3, illustrated narrative
  • Davis, William C. The Imperiled Union, 1861–1865 3v (1983)
  • Donald, David et al. The Civil War and Reconstruction (latest edition 2001); 700 page survey
  • Eicher, David J., The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War, (2001), ISBN 978-0-684-84944-7.
  • Fellman, Michael et al. This Terrible War: The Civil War and its Aftermath (2nd ed. 2007), 544 page survey
  • Foote, Shelby
    Shelby Foote
    Shelby Dade Foote, Jr. was an American historian and novelist who wrote The Civil War: A Narrative, a massive, three-volume history of the war. With geographic and cultural roots in the Mississippi Delta, Foote's life and writing paralleled the radical shift from the agrarian planter system of the...

    . The Civil War: A Narrative
    The Civil War: A Narrative
    The Civil War: A Narrative is a three volume, 2,968-page, 1.2 million-word history of the American Civil War by Shelby Foote. Although previously known as a novelist, Foote is most famous for this non-fictional narrative history. While it touches on political and social themes, the main thrust of...

    (3 volumes), (1974), ISBN 978-0-394-74913-6. Highly detailed military narrative covering all fronts
  • Katcher, Philip. The History of the American Civil War 1861–5, (2000), ISBN 978-0-600-60778-6. Detailed analysis of each battle with introduction and background
  • McPherson, James M.
    James M. McPherson
    James M. McPherson is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, his most famous book...

     Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1988), 900 page survey of all aspects of the war; Pulitzer prize
  • McPherson, James M. Ordeal By Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction (2nd ed 1992), textbook
  • Nevins, Allan
    Allan Nevins
    Allan Nevins was an American historian and journalist, renowned for his extensive work on the history of the Civil War and his biographies of such figures as President Grover Cleveland, Hamilton Fish, Henry Ford, and John D. Rockefeller.-Life:Born in Camp Point, Illinois, Nevins was educated at...

    . Ordeal of the Union
    Ordeal of the Union
    Ordeal of the Union, an eight-volume set on the American Civil War by Allan Nevins, is one of the author's greatest works, ending only with his death...

    , an 8-volume set (1947–1971). the most detailed political, economic and military narrative; by Pulitzer Prize winner
    • 1. Fruits of Manifest Destiny, 1847–1852; 2. A House Dividing, 1852–1857; 3. Douglas, Buchanan, and Party Chaos, 1857–1859; 4. Prologue to Civil War, 1859–1861; vol. 5–8 have the series title "War for the Union"; 5. The Improvised War, 1861–1862; 6. War Becomes Revolution, 1862–1863; 7. The Organized War, 1863–1864; 8. The Organized War to Victory, 1864–1865
  • Rhodes, James Ford
    James Ford Rhodes
    James Ford Rhodes , was an American industrialist and historian born in Cleveland, Ohio.He attended New York University beginning in 1865. He also attended the Collège de France. During his studies in Europe he visited ironworks and steelworks...

    . A History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 (1918), Pulitzer Prize; a short version of his 5-volume history
  • Ward, Geoffrey C. The Civil War (1990), based on PBS series by Ken Burns
    Ken Burns
    Kenneth Lauren "Ken" Burns is an American director and producer of documentary films, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs...

    ; visual emphasis
  • Weigley, Russell Frank. A Great Civil War: A Military and Political History, 1861–1865 (2004); primarily military


Biographies


  • American National Biography 24 vol (1999), essays by scholars on all major figures; online and hardcover editions at many libraries
  • McHenry, Robert ed. Webster's American Military Biographies (1978)
  • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, (1964), ISBN 978-0-8071-0822-2
  • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders, (1959), ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9

Soldiers
  • Berlin, Ira, et al., eds. Freedom's Soldiers: The Black Military Experience in the Civil War (1998)
  • Glatthaar, Joseph T. General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse (2009)
  • Hess, Earl J. The Union Soldier in Battle: Enduring the Ordeal of Combat (1997)
  • McPherson, James. For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (1998)
  • Power, J. Tracy. Lee's Miserables: Life in the Army of Northern Virginia from the Wilderness to Appomattox (2002)
  • Wiley, Bell Irvin. The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy (1962) (ISBN 978-0-8071-0475-0)
  • Wiley, Bell Irvin. Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union (1952) (ISBN 978-0-8071-0476-7)


Reference books and bibliographies


  • Blair, Jayne E. The Essential Civil War: A Handbook to the Battles, Armies, Navies And Commanders (2006)
  • Carter, Alice E. and Richard Jensen. The Civil War on the Web: A Guide to the Very Best Sites- 2nd ed. (2003)
  • Current, Richard N., et al. eds. Encyclopedia of the Confederacy (1993) (4 Volume set; also 1 vol abridged version) (ISBN 978-0-13-275991-5)
  • Faust, Patricia L. (ed.) Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (1986) (ISBN 978-0-06-181261-3) 2000 short entries
  • Esposito, Vincent J., West Point Atlas of American Wars online edition 1995
  • Heidler, David Stephen, ed. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History (2002), 1600 entries in 2700 pages in 5 vol or 1-vol editions
  • North & South - The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society deals with book reviews, battles, discussion & analysis, and other issues of the American Civil War.
  • Resch, John P. et al., Americans at War: Society, Culture and the Homefront vol 2: 1816–1900 (2005)
  • Savage, Kirk, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997. (The definitive book on Civil War monuments.)
  • Tulloch, Hugh. The Debate on the American Civil War Era (1999), historiography
  • Wagner, Margaret E. Gary W. Gallagher, and Paul Finkelman, eds. The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference (2002)
  • Woodworth, Steven E. ed. American Civil War: A Handbook of Literature and Research (1996) (ISBN 978-0-313-29019-0), 750 pages of historiography and bibliography online edition


Primary sources


  • Commager, Henry Steele (ed.). The Blue and the Gray. The Story of the Civil War as Told by Participants. (1950), excerpts from primary sources
  • Hesseltine, William B. ed.; The Tragic Conflict: The Civil War and Reconstruction (1962), excerpts from primary sources
  • Simpson, Brooks D. et al. eds. The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It (Library of America 2011) 840pp, with 120 documents from 1861 online reviews


External links


  • Civil War photos at the National Archives
    National Archives and Records Administration
    The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents, which comprise the National Archives...

  • View images from the Civil War Photographs Collection at the Library of Congress
  • Civil War Trust
  • Civil War Era Digital Collection at Gettysburg College This collection contains digital images of political cartoons, personal papers, pamphlets, maps, paintings and photographs from the Civil War Era held in Special Collections at Gettysburg College.
  • Civil War 150 Washington Post interactive website on 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War.
  • Civil War in the American South – An Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) portal with links to almost 9,000 digitized Civil War-era items--books, pamphlets, broadsides, letters, maps, personal papers, and manuscripts--held at ASERL member libraries
  • The Civil War – site with 7,000 pages, including the complete run of Harper's Weekly newspapers from the Civil War