Strictly speaking, there never was an American Civil War. On the 21st, they met a Confederate army near Manassas and were defeated. Alexander Gardner's famous photo of Confederate dead before the Dunker Church on the Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., 1862. Divisions between the free North and the slaveholding South erupted into a full-scale conflict after the election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860. Alexander Gardner / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain. The American Civil War was the largest and most destructive conflict in the Western world between the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the onset of World War I in 1914. Kennedy Hickman is a historian, museum director, and curator who specializes in military and naval history. Northern victory in the war preserved the United States as one nation and ended the institution of slavery that had divided the country from its beginning. Beginning in 1861, these battles made a permanent mark upon the landscape and elevated to prominence small towns that had previously been peaceful villages. Despite heavy casualties, Grant pressed south, fighting at Spotsylvania C.H. Complete summary of Alvin M. Josephy Jr.'s The Civil War in the American West. The following May, Lee engaged and defeated Hooker at Chancellorsville, VA. On April 10, 1861, knowing that fresh supplies were on their way from the North to the federal garrison at Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, provisional Confederate forces in the city demanded the fort’s surrender. The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence or the Revolutionary War, was initiated by delegates from the thirteen American colonies in Congress against Great Britain over their objection to Parliament's taxation policies and lack of colonial representation. Unhappy with McClellan's slow pursuit of Lee, Lincoln gave command to Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside. After beating a Union army at Manassas, Lee began to move north into Maryland. The Civil War is a nine-part series that explores the most important conflict in our nation’s history. In response to the attack, President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion. American Civil War Summary A bit more context, however, is necessary. Combined these victories were the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. The following spring Grant departed and gave command to Maj. Gen. William Sherman. Save 40 Acres of the American Revolution Southern Theater, Kentuckians: Support Battlefield Preservation Legislation, Virginians: Support Battlefield Preservation Legislation. The battle started off as states rights but as the battle went on and advanced the battle was fighting to end slavery. Fought 1861-1865, the American Civil War was the result of decades of sectional tensions between the North and South. Key Facts & Summary. Gen. P.G.T. The southern states didn't want to be part of the United States any more and decided to make their own country. In early 1862, he shifted south to attack Richmond via the Peninsula. Diagnosed with cancer and nearing the end of his life, the narrator is determined to tell the story of his aunt, Sarat Chestnut, who grew up during the war and entrusted him with a burdensome secret. The Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, a federal outpost in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, marks the first military engagement of the American Civil War. Divisions of the American Battlefield Trust: The American Battlefield Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Journal of American History 90.1 (2003): 76–105. The Journal of the Civil War Era 2.2 (2012): 145–50. After a false start, his troops swept through Mississippi and laid siege to the town on May 18, 1863. When Abraham Lincoln won election in 1860 as the first Republican president on a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South seceded and formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America. The Cyncial Historian - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN5mhhJYPcNUKBMZkR5Nfzg Unable to get through Lee's army to Richmond, Grant attempted to cut the city off by taking Petersburg. Kurz & Allison / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain. The Civil War is the central event in America's historical consciousness. 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