The American Civil War started on April 12th in the year 1861 and last until April 9th in the year 1865, although the last shot of anger actually occurred in June of 1865.
You could say the American Civil War was a war of north versus south and a war born out of abolition of slavery and money. While many outside the United States know of the American Civil War, they don’t truly appreciate the causes of this war and the consequences it had on the people of America.
Today you are going to find out everything you need to know about the American Civil War from the background that led up to the war, to the actual war itself.
Leading up to the American Civil War
There are eight different reasons that all accumulated to the outcome of the war, these are shown below:
In the southern states slavery was accepted and indeed a main driver for economic power. Many in the south ran large cotton plantations using slaves as cheap labour to make money. The issue was that with the north being for abolition of slavery and not having a large slavery population the south resented the movement and the north because there were over three million slaves working for families and on plantations there.
The north and south were divided by every means possible. From politics and economies to social structure and even local customs, they were very different. The north stopped slavery and moved towards a more industrialised form of economy while the south continued with slavery and plantations as their main economy driver.
These differences started to build resentment between the south and north over time.
There were two forms of union in America, the Unionists who wished for all states to form a strong nation called the United States and the Confederates who wished for a southern state only. The north was driven by United States values while the southern states were generally split between the United States union and that of the Confederacy.
Those of southern states believed in states’ rights, this means if someone from southern states moved to a northern state their property could not be taken from them. While you may wonder what this means, it literally lends back to the slave trade with slaves being taken from southerners moving north as the slaves would be free men in states with abolition in place.
Northerners were not happy with southern plantation owners who had lots of slaves using their wealth generated off the back of slavery to control political power across America. To mitigate this the northern states wanted government land to be given in small plots to normal folk and not sold to the big land owners of the south, something the southern states defeated.
The southern states had control of the states tariffs making them extremely low, the northern states were not happy about this as while it supported the large plantations of the south it did not support the industrial nations of the north.
Abraham Lincoln as President
Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860 and this was seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back. The reason for this was that Lincoln was very big on abolition of slavery and the southern states were worried he would effectively end slavery forever, this many southern states seceded from the United States.
Battle of Fort Sumter
The final impact to start Civil War was the Battle of Fort Sumter whereby the Confederate south requested Fort Sumter back from the north after seceding from the Union, the Union declined and the Confederates started bombarding the fort.
Only two died in the exchange with the fort surrendering but it made Lincoln call on 75,000 troops from northern states to descend on Charleston, South Carolina to regain the fort and take back all federal property thus starting the war.
The American Civil War
States of the Confederacy: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee
States of the Union: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, Nevada and West Virginia
The Civil War started with the north using military might to block all ports rendering the Confederate economy weakened, unfortunately for the north this didn’t actually impact as much as they would have liked.
On July 21st 1961 the Union soldiers of the north suffer their first defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run and Union soldiers retreat back.
The Union nearly end up in war of the leading super power of the time, Great Britain. This happens as two Confederate Generals are making their way by sea to the UK and are cut off and captured by the United States Navy. The response from Great Britain was for their release or the United States to face war with Britain, the Confederate Generals are released.
By January 1862 Lincoln calls for all forces of the Union to start advancing as he realises the war will end up being longer than first thought.
In early March 1862 a sea battle commences between an ironclad Confederate ship and three Union ships (1 ironclad and 2 wooden). The Confederate ironclad sinks the two wooden Union ships and the Union ironclad is untouched.
April 1862 saw the Battle of Shiloh where a massive surprise attack by the Unions defeated the Confederates to win the battle even though the Union Army lost 13,000 men to the Confederates 10,000. This battle was followed by the Battle of Seven Pines on the 31st May 1862 where the battle finished as stalemate with roughly five to six thousand killed on each side.
The seven days battle occurred between late June and early July 1862 and finished with a Confederate strategic victory, thirty five thousand men perish in the battle.
At the end of August 1862 the Second Battle of Bull Run occurs with the Confederates winning a decisive victory even though their numbers were 20,000 less than the Union soldiers.
September the 17th 1862 resulted in the Battle of Antietam where over 20,000 men lose their life in a day resulting in a strategic Union victory.
Between December the 11th and 15th of 1862 the Battle of Fredericksburg rages with a huge Union loss and 18,000 men dead (over 12,000 of which are Union soldiers).
July 1863 sees one of the most famous Civil War battles at the Battle of Gettysburg where the Confederates lose badly and the tide of the war changes. Only a day later the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg surrenders to the Union Army.
Chickamauga in September 1863 sees a big Confederate victory and Union soldiers cut off from the Union held lands.
As early as November 1863 Lincoln addresses the nation and calls Gettysburg Battlefield a National Cemetery.
Late November 1863 sees the Chattanooga Battle where the Union soldiers soundly defeat the Confederate forces.
1864 starts with the three battles of Wilderness (May 5-6), Spotsylvania (May 8-12), and Cold Harbor (June 1-3) that result in a war of attrition with over 75,000 men dying over the three battles and finishing overall as a Confederate victory.
October 1864 sees the Shenandoah Valley battle where the Union cavalry rout the Confederates.
December 1864 sees the Union “Federals” demolish a force half the size in Nashville and ends Tennessee having any fighting capabilities in the war.
The 31st January 1865 sees the abolition of slavery as the 13th amendment of the constitution.
The last battle of the war comes in the form Petersburg where the Union soldiers win a decisive victory, this is March 1865.
April 9th 1865 sees the Confederates surrender and the war end with 620,000 losing their life in the battle. There was one more casualty of the war on April 14th 1865 when Abraham Lincoln is shot in the head and dies early in the morning the following day.
American Civil War Maps, Photographs & Lesson Plans for Teachers, Homeschoolers & Students