American Civil War

The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 9, 1865, was fought involving the federal union (“the Union” or “the North”) and southern states that voted to secede and constitute the Confederate States of America (“the Confederacy” or “the South”).

Economic, cultural and political interests along with slavery, especially its expansion into newly acquired lands as soon as the Mexican-American War had caused friction between Northern and Southern states for quite a while.

John Brown

On the eve on the Civil War in 1860, four million in the 32 million Americans (nearly 13%) were black slaves living mostly inside South.

On the evening of October 16, 1859, preceding the American Civil War, abolitionist leader, John Brown (May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859), led a failed uprising against slavery at Harpers Ferry as to what is today, West Virginia.

Brown was captured and in prison for treason through the state of Virginia, and hanged.

The uprising fuelled Southern fears of slave rebellions and increased the strain between Northern and Southern states.

Abraham Lincoln

Secession began after Abraham Lincoln (Honest Abe along with the Great Emancipator – February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) took over as the 16th President with the United States) on November 6th, 1860 because his political platform scaled like:

*Anti-slavery expansion

*His refusal to simply accept Southern secession from your Union

Abraham Lincoln was created into poverty near Hodgenville, Kentucky and grew up on the frontier around Indiana.

He was self-educated and became a lawyer, Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator, U.S. Congressman and leader in the new Republican Party in 1854.

He became President with the United States in 1860 which caused eleven southern states to go out of the Union out in the 34 U.S. states in February 1861 to from the Confederacy.

South Carolina was the 1st state to secede on the Union on December 20th, 1860, as well as Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia (the western section of Virginia remained loyal towards the Union and began the whole process of separation), Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1828 and became a Southern plantation owner, Democratic politician and hero on the Mexican War.

He represented Mississippi inside U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and served as U.S. secretary of war between 1853-57.

Davis had become the first simply president with the Confederate States of America (1861-65) but were never acknowledged as a sovereign nation.

He was captured by Union soldiers near Irwinville, Georgia on May 10, 1865, imprisoned at Fort Monroe, Virginia and released in May 1867.

He died in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 6, 1889.

Key Border States

Key border states that didn’t leave the Union were Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and West Virginia (separated from Virginia in the war).

These border states were vital for achievement because they:

*Had significant mineral resources

*Were major areas producing both livestock and grain

*Contained transportation and communication lines

The war caused divided loyalties inside border states and were scenes of brutal guerrilla warfare, where neighbor conducted neighbor.

Volunteer and conscription armies were raised and fighting began in April 1861 in the Battle of Fort Sumter in South Carolina which led to a Confederate victory.


The American Civil War featured over 10,500 major and minor military engagements between 1861 to 1865.

The Civil War Sites Advisory Commission recognized 384 conflicts as “principal battles” that have been fought in three theaters.

*Eastern Theater

*Western Theater

*Trans-Mississippi Theater

These 384 “principal battles” took place 26 U.S. states with Virginia (123), Tennessee (38), Missouri (29), and Georgia (28).

Significant battles over the Civil War were the First Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Antietam, the Battle of Gettysburg, along with the Vicksburg Campaign.

The First Battle of Bull Run (often known as the Battle of Manassas) would have been a major land battle from the American Civil War that has been fought in earnest on July 21, 1861 where Union and Confederate armies clashed near Manassas Junction, Virginia.

The Battle of Gettysburg, fought near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863 was the most significant battle on the Civil War and was won from the Union stop Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s bold intend to invade the North.