Largely as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861, when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, shortly after United States President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states’ rights to uphold slavery.
Among the 34 U.S. states in February 1861, seven Southern slave states individually declared their secession from the country to form the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy grew to include eleven states, all of them slaveholding. The Confederacy was never diplomatically recognized by the United States government, nor was it recognized by any foreign country. The states that remained loyal to the U.S. were known as the Union.
The Union and Confederacy quickly raised volunteer and conscription armies that fought mostly in the South over the course of four years. Intense combat left 620,000 to 750,000 people dead, more than the number of U.S. military deaths in all other wars combined.
The Union finally won the war when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Appomattox Court House, followed with a series of surrenders by Confederate generals throughout the southern states. Much of the South’s infrastructure was destroyed, especially the transportation systems. The Confederacy collapsed, slavery was abolished, and 4 million black slaves were freed.
The Reconstruction Era overlapped and followed the war, with the process of restoring national unity, strengthening the national government, and granting civil rights to freed black slaves throughout the country.
In the 1860 presidential election, Republicans, led by Abraham Lincoln, supported banning slavery in all the U.S. territories. The Southern states viewed this as a violation of their constitutional rights and as the first step in a grander Republican plan to eventually abolish slavery. The three pro-Union candidates together received an overwhelming 82% majority of the votes cast nationally: Republican Lincoln’s votes centered in the north, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas’ votes were distributed nationally and Constitutional Unionist John Bell’s votes centered in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. The Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured a plurality of the popular votes and a majority of the electoral votes nationally, thus Lincoln was constitutionally elected president. He was the first Republican Party candidate to win the presidency. However, before his inauguration, seven slave states with cotton-based economies declared secession and formed the Confederacy. The first six to declare secession had the highest proportions of slaves in their populations, a total of 49 percent. Of those states whose legislatures resolved for secession, the first seven voted with split majorities for unionist candidates Douglas and Bell, or with sizable minorities for those unionists, Oregon and Kansas . In the southern states the question of the territorial expansion of slavery westward again became explosive. Both the South and the North drew the same conclusion: “The power to decide the question of slavery for the territories was the power to determine the future of slavery itself.”
By 1860, four doctrines had emerged to answer the question of federal control in the territories, and they all claimed they were sanctioned by the Constitution, implicitly or explicitly. The first of these “conservative” theories, represented by the Constitutional Union Party, argued that the Missouri Compromise apportionment of territory north for free soil and south for slavery should become a Constitutional mandate. The Crittenden Compromise of 1860 was an expression of this view.
The second doctrine of Congressional preeminence, championed by Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party, insisted that the Constitution did not bind legislators to a policy of balance—that slavery could be excluded in a territory as it was done in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 at the discretion of Congress, thus Congress could restrict human bondage, but never establish it. The Wilmot Proviso announced this position in 1846.
Senator Stephen A. Douglas proclaimed the doctrine of territorial or “popular” sovereignty—which asserted that the settlers in a territory had the same rights as states in the Union to establish or disestablish slavery as a purely local matter. The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 legislated this doctrine. In Kansas Territory, years of pro and anti-slavery violence and political conflict erupted; the congressional House of Representatives voted to admit Kansas as a free state in early 1860, but its admission in the Senate was delayed until January 1861, after the 1860 elections when southern senators began to leave.
The fourth theory was advocated by Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis, one of state sovereignty, also known as the “Calhoun doctrine”, named after the South Carolinian political theorist and statesman John C. Calhoun. Rejecting the arguments for federal authority or self-government, state sovereignty would empower states to promote the expansion of slavery as part of the federal union under the U.S. Constitution. “States’ rights” was an ideology formulated and applied as a means of advancing slave state interests through federal authority. As historian Thomas L. Krannawitter points out, the “Southern demand for federal slave protection represented a demand for an unprecedented expansion of federal power.” These four doctrines comprised the major ideologies presented to the American public on the matters of slavery, the territories and the U.S. Constitution prior to the 1860 presidential election.
The South argued that each state had the right to secede—leave the Union—at any time, that the Constitution was a “compact” or agreement among the states. Northerners rejected that notion as opposed to the will of the Founding Fathers who said they were setting up a perpetual union. Pamphleteers North and South rarely mentioned the tariff.
Nationalism and honor
Nationalism was a powerful force in the early 19th century, with famous spokesmen such as Andrew Jackson and Daniel Webster. While practically all Northerners supported the Union, Southerners were split between those loyal to the entire United States and those loyal primarily to the southern region and then the Confederacy. C. Vann Woodward said of the latter group,
Perceived insults to Southern collective honor included the enormous popularity of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Outbreak of the war
The election of Lincoln caused the legislature of South Carolina to call a state convention to consider secession. Prior to the war, South Carolina did more than any other Southern state to advance the notion that a state had the right to nullify federal laws, and even to secede from the United States. The convention summoned unanimously voted to secede on December 20, 1860, and adopted the “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union”. 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, claiming that Northern states were not fulfilling their federal obligations under the Constitution. The “cotton states” of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed suit, seceding in January and February 1861.
Among the ordinances of secession passed by the individual states, those of three—Texas, Alabama, and Virginia—specifically mentioned the plight of the “slaveholding states” at the hands of northern abolitionists. The rest make no mention of the slavery issue, and are often brief announcements of the dissolution of ties by the legislatures. However, at least four states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas—also passed lengthy and detailed explanations of their causes for secession, all of which laid the blame squarely on the movement to abolish slavery and that movement’s influence over the politics of the northern states. The southern states believed slaveholding was a constitutional right because of the Fugitive slave clause of the Constitution.
These states agreed to form a new federal 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, 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”. the National Banking Act and the authorization of United States Notes by the Legal Tender Act of 1862. The Revenue Act of 1861 introduced the income tax to help finance the war.
On December 18, 1860, the Crittenden Compromise was proposed to re-establish the Missouri Compromise line by constitutionally banning slavery in territories to the north of the line while guaranteeing it to the south. The adoption of this compromise likely would have prevented the secession of every southern state apart from South Carolina, but Lincoln and the Republicans rejected it. It was then proposed to hold a national referendum on the compromise. The Republicans again rejected the idea, although a majority of both Northerners and Southerners would have voted in favor of it. A pre-war February Peace Conference of 1861 met in Washington, proposing a solution similar to that of the Crittenden compromise, it was rejected by Congress. The Republicans proposed an alternative compromise to not interfere with slavery where it existed but the South regarded it as insufficient. Nonetheless, the remaining eight slave states rejected pleas to join the Confederacy following a two-to-one no-vote in Virginia’s First Secessionist Convention on April 4, 1861.
On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President. In his inaugural address, he argued that the Constitution was a more perfect union than the earlier Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, that it was a binding contract, and called any secession “legally void”.
Union leaders incorrectly assumed that only a minority of Southerners were in favor of secession and that there were large numbers of southern Unionists that could be counted on. Had Northerners realized that most Southerners really did favor secession, they might have hesitated at attempting the enormous task of conquering a united South.
Lincoln called on all the states to send forces to recapture the fort and other federal properties. With the scale of the rebellion apparently small so far, Lincoln called for only 75,000 volunteers for 90 days. The governor of Massachusetts had state regiments on trains headed south the next day. In western Missouri, local secessionists seized Liberty Arsenal. On May 3, 1861, Lincoln called for an additional 42,000 volunteers for a period of three years. It had numerous anti-Lincoln officials who tolerated anti-army rioting in Baltimore and the burning of bridges, both aimed at hindering the passage of troops to the South. Maryland’s legislature voted overwhelmingly to stay in the Union, but also rejected hostilities with its southern neighbors, voting to close Maryland’s rail lines to prevent them from being used for war. Lincoln responded by establishing martial law and unilaterally suspending habeas corpus in Maryland, along with sending in militia units from the North. Lincoln rapidly took control of Maryland and the District of Columbia by seizing many prominent figures, including arresting 1/3 of the members of the Maryland General Assembly on the day it reconvened. All were held without trial, ignoring a ruling by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Roger Taney, a Maryland native, that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus . Indeed, federal troops imprisoned a prominent Baltimore newspaper editor, Frank Key Howard, Francis Scott Key’s grandson, after he criticized Lincoln in an editorial for ignoring the Supreme Court Chief Justice’s ruling.
In Missouri, an elected convention on secession voted decisively to remain within the Union. When pro-Confederate Governor Claiborne F. Jackson called out the state militia, it was attacked by federal forces under General Nathaniel Lyon, who chased the governor and the rest of the State Guard to the southwestern corner of the state . In the resulting vacuum, the convention on secession reconvened and took power as the Unionist provisional government of Missouri. The inclusion of 24 secessionist counties
As the first seven states began organizing a Confederacy in Montgomery, the entire U.S. army numbered 16,000. However, Northern governors had begun to mobilize their militias. The Confederate Congress authorized the new nation up to 100,000 troops sent by governors as early as February. By May, Jefferson Davis was pushing for 100,000 men under arms for one year or the duration, and that was answered in kind by the U.S. Congress.
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—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.
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 involved Irish immigrants who had been signed up as citizens to swell the vote of the city’s Democratic political machine, not realizing it made them liable for the draft. At least 100,000 Southerners deserted, or about 10 percent. In the South, many men deserted temporarily to take care of their distressed 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. The system of exchanges collapsed in 1863 when the Confederacy refused to exchange black prisoners. After that, about 56,000 of the 409,000 POWs died in prisons during the war, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the conflict’s fatalities.
The small U.S. Navy of 1861 was rapidly enlarged to 6,000 officers and 45,000 men in 1865, with 671 vessels, having a tonnage of 510,396. Its mission was to blockade Confederate ports, take control of the river system, defend against Confederate raiders on the high seas, and be ready for a possible war with the British Royal Navy. Meanwhile, the main riverine war was fought in the West, where a series of major rivers gave access to the Confederate heartland. The U.S. Navy eventually gained control of the Red, Tennessee, Cumberland, Mississippi, and Ohio rivers. In the East, the Navy supplied and moved army forces about, and occasionally shelled Confederate installations.
Modern navy evolves
The Civil War occurred during the early stages of the industrial revolution. Many naval innovations emerged during this time, most notably the advent of the ironclad warship. It began when the Confederacy, knowing they had to meet or match the Union’s naval superiority, responded to the Union blockade by building or converting more than 130 vessels, including twenty-six ironclads and floating batteries. Only half of these saw active service. Many were equipped with ram bows, creating “ram fever” among Union squadrons wherever they threatened. But in the face of overwhelming Union superiority and the Union’s own ironclad warships, they were unsuccessful.
In addition to ocean-going warships coming up the Mississippi, the Union Navy used timberclads, tinclads, and armored gunboats. Shipyards at Cairo, Illinois, and St. Louis built new boats or modified steamboats for action.
The Confederacy experimented with the submarine, which did not work well, and with building an ironclad ship,, which was based on rebuilding a sunken Union ship, . On its first foray on March 8, 1862, Virginia inflicted significant damage to the Union’s wooden fleet, but the next day the first Union ironclad,, arrived to challenge it in the Chesapeake Bay. The resulting three hour Battle of Hampton Roads was a draw, but it proved that ironclads were effective warships. Not long after the battle the Confederacy was forced to scuttle the Virginia to prevent its capture, while the Union built many copies of the Monitor. Lacking the technology and infrastructure to build effective warships, the Confederacy attempted to obtain warships from Britain.
By early 1861, General Winfield Scott had devised the Anaconda Plan to win the war with as little bloodshed as possible. Scott argued that a Union blockade of the main ports would weaken the Confederate economy. Lincoln adopted parts of the plan, but he overruled Scott’s caution about 90-day volunteers. Public opinion, however, demanded an immediate attack by the army to capture Richmond.
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 percent of its cotton. The blockade shut down the ten Confederate seaports with railheads that moved almost all the cotton, especially New Orleans, Mobile, and Charleston. By June 1861, warships were stationed off the principal Southern ports, and a year later nearly 300 ships were in service.
British investors built small, fast, steam-driven blockade runners that traded arms and luxuries brought in from Britain through Bermuda, Cuba, and the Bahamas in return for high-priced cotton. Many of the ships were designed for speed and were so small that only a small amount of cotton went out. When the Union Navy seized a blockade runner, the ship and cargo were condemned as a Prize of war and sold, with 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. There were multiple reasons for this: the severe deterioration of food supplies, especially in cities, the failure of Southern railroads, the loss of control of the main rivers, foraging by Northern armies, and the seizure of animals and crops by Confederate armies.
Most historians agree that the blockade was a major factor in ruining the Confederate economy; however, Wise argues that the blockade runners provided just enough of a lifeline to allow Lee to continue fighting for additional months, thanks to fresh supplies of 400,000 rifles, lead, blankets, and boots that the homefront economy could no longer supply.
Surdam argues that the blockade was a powerful weapon that eventually ruined the Southern economy, at the cost of few lives in combat. Practically, the entire Confederate cotton crop was useless, costing the Confederacy its main source of income. Critical imports were scarce and the coastal trade was largely ended as well. The measure of the blockade’s success was not the few ships that slipped through, but the thousands that never tried it. Merchant ships owned in Europe could not get insurance and were too slow to evade the blockade; they simply stopped calling at Confederate ports.
To fight an offensive war, the Confederacy purchased ships from Britain, converted them to warships, and raided American merchant ships in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Insurance rates skyrocketed and the American flag virtually disappeared from international waters. However, the same ships were reflagged with European flags and continued unmolested. After the war, the U.S. demanded that Britain pay for the damage done, and Britain paid the U.S. $15 million in 1871.
Although 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 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 to get cotton, but this did not work. Worse, Europe developed other cotton suppliers, which they found superior, hindering the South’s recovery after the war.
Cotton diplomacy 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 away 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.
U.S. minister to Britain Charles Francis Adams proved particularly adept and convinced Britain not to boldly challenge the blockade. The Confederacy purchased several warships from commercial shipbuilders in Britain . The most famous, the, did considerable damage and led to serious postwar disputes. However, public opinion against slavery created a political liability for politicians in Britain, where the antislavery movement was powerful.
War loomed in late 1861 between the U.S. and Britain over the Trent affair, involving the U.S. Navy’s boarding of the British ship and seizure of 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 between North and South, though even such an offer would have risked war with the U.S. British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston reportedly read Uncle Tom’s Cabin three times when deciding on this. However, Freeman does admit that Lee corresponded with Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston, his predecessor in army command, prior to that date and referred to Johnston’s command as the Army of Northern Virginia. Part of the confusion results from the fact that Johnston commanded the Department of Northern Virginia and the name Army of Northern Virginia can be seen as an informal consequence of its parent department’s name. Jefferson Davis and Johnston did not adopt the name, but it is clear that the organization of units as of March 14 was the same organization that Lee received on June 1, and thus it is generally referred to today as the Army of Northern Virginia, even if that is correct only in retrospect. Jeb Stuart commanded the Army of Northern Virginia’s cavalry.
First Bull Run
In one of the first highly visible battles, in July 1861, a march by Union troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell on the Confederate forces led by Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard near Washington was repulsed at the First Battle of Bull Run.
The Union had the upper hand at first, but Confederate reinforcements under. Joseph E. Johnston arrived from the Shenandoah Valley by railroad, and the course of the battle quickly changed. A brigade of Virginians under the relatively unknown brigadier general from the Virginia Military Institute, Thomas J. Jackson, stood its ground, which resulted in Jackson receiving his famous nickname, “Stonewall”.
At the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, McClellan suffered a defeat, and Lincoln’s close friend Edward Dickinson Baker was killed.
McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign; Jackson’s Valley Campaign
Upon the strong urging of President Lincoln to begin offensive operations, McClellan attacked Virginia in the spring of 1862 by way of the peninsula between the York River and James River, southeast of Richmond. McClellan’s army reached the gates of Richmond in the Peninsula Campaign, Lee famously said “He has lost his left arm; but I have lost my right arm.”
The fiercest fighting of the battle—and the second bloodiest day of the Civil War—occurred on May 3 as Lee launched multiple attacks against the Union position at Chancellorsville. That same day, John Sedgwick advanced across the Rappahannock River, defeated the small Confederate force at Marye’s Heights in the Second Battle of Fredericksburg, and then moved to the west. The Confederates fought a successful delaying action at the Battle of Salem Church
Gen. Hooker was replaced by Maj. Gen. George Meade during Lee’s second invasion of the North, in June. Meade defeated Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg . This was the bloodiest battle of the war, and has been called the war’s turning point. Pickett’s Charge 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 . However, Lincoln was angry that Meade failed to intercept Lee’s retreat.
The Western theater refers to military operations between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, including the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as parts of Louisiana.
Army of the Tennessee and Army of the Cumberland
The primary Union forces in the Western theater were the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of the Cumberland, named for the two rivers, the Tennessee River and Cumberland River. 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.
Army of Tennessee
The primary Confederate force in the Western theater was the Army of Tennessee. The army was formed on November 20, 1862, when General Braxton Bragg renamed the former Army of Mississippi. While the Confederate forces had numerous successes in the Eastern Theater, they were defeated many times in the West.
Fort Henry and Fort Donelson
The Union’s key strategist and tactician in the West was Ulysses S. Grant, who won victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, by which the Union seized control of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Nathan Bedford Forrest rallied nearly 4,000 troops and led them to escape across the Cumberland. Nashville and central Tennessee thus fell to the Union, leading to attrition of local food supplies and livestock and a breakdown in social organization.
Leonidas Polk’s invasion of Columbus ended Kentucky’s policy of neutrality and turned it against the Confederacy. Grant used river transport and Andrew Foote’s gunboats of the Western Flotilla to threaten the Confederacy’s “Gibraltar of the West” at Columbus, Kentucky. Although rebuffed at Belmont, Grant cut off Columbus. The Confederates, lacking their own gunboats, were forced to retreat and the Union took control of western Kentucky and opened Tennessee in March 1862.
At the Battle of Shiloh, in Tennessee in April 1862, the Confederates made a surprise attack that pushed Union forces against the river as night fell. Overnight, the Navy landed additional reinforcements, and Grant counter-attacked. Grant and the Union won a decisive victory—the first battle with the high casualty rates that would repeat over and over. The Confederates lost Albert Sidney Johnston, considered their finest general before the emergence of Lee.
Union Navy captures Memphis
One of the early Union objectives in the war was the capture of the Mississippi River, in order to cut the Confederacy in half. “The key to the river was New Orleans, the South’s largest port greatest industrial center.” The Mississippi was opened to Union traffic to the southern border of Tennessee with the taking of Island No. 10 and New Madrid, Missouri, and then Memphis, Tennessee.
In April 1862, the Union Navy captured New Orleans. U.S. Naval forces under Farragut ran past Confederate defenses south of New Orleans. Confederate forces abandoned the city, giving the Union a critical anchor in the deep South. which allowed Union forces to begin moving up the Mississippi. Memphis fell to Union forces on June 6, 1862, and became a key base for further advances south along the Mississippi River. Only the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, prevented Union control of the entire river.
Bragg’s second Confederate invasion of Kentucky included Kirby Smith’s triumph at the Battle of Richmond and ended with a meaningless victory over Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell at the Battle of Perryville. 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 at the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee, the culmination of the Stones River Campaign.
Naval forces assisted Grant in the long, complex Vicksburg Campaign that resulted in the Confederates surrendering at the Battle of Vicksburg in July 1863, which cemented Union control of the Mississippi River and is considered one of the turning points of the war.
The one clear Confederate victory in the West was the Battle of Chickamauga. After Rosecrans successful Tullahoma Campaign, Bragg, reinforced by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet’s corps, defeated Rosecrans, despite the heroic defensive stand of Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas.
Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga, which Bragg then besieged in the Chattanooga Campaign. Grant marched to the relief of Rosecrans and defeated Bragg at the Third Battle of Chattanooga, eventually causing Longstreet to abandon his Knoxville Campaign and driving Confederate forces out of Tennessee and opening a route to Atlanta and the heart of the Confederacy.
The Trans-Mississippi theater refers to military operations west of the Mississippi River, not including the areas bordering the Pacific Ocean.
The first battle of the Trans-Mississippi theater was the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. The Confederates were driven from Missouri early in the war as a result of the Battle of Pea Ridge.
Extensive guerrilla warfare characterized the trans-Mississippi region, as the Confederacy lacked the troops and the logistics to support regular armies that could challenge Union control. Roving Confederate bands such as Quantrill’s Raiders terrorized the countryside, striking both military installations and civilian settlements. The “Sons of Liberty” and “Order of the American Knights” attacked pro-Union people, elected officeholders, and unarmed uniformed soldiers. These partisans could not be entirely driven out of the state of Missouri until an entire regular Union infantry division was engaged. By 1864, these violent activities harmed the nationwide anti-war movement organizing against the re-election of Lincoln. Missouri not only stayed in the Union, but Lincoln took 70 percent of the vote for re-election.
Numerous small-scale military actions south and west of Missouri sought to control Indian Territory and New Mexico Territory for the Union. The Battle of Glorieta Pass was the decisive battle of the New Mexico Campaign. The Union repulsed Confederate incursions into New Mexico in 1862, and the exiled Arizona government withdrew into Texas. In the Indian Territory, civil war broke out within tribes. About 12,000 Indian warriors fought for the Confederacy, and smaller numbers for the Union. The most prominent Cherokee was Brigadier General Stand Watie, the last Confederate general to surrender.
After the fall of Vicksburg in July 1863, General Kirby Smith in Texas was informed by Jefferson Davis that he could expect no further help from east of the Mississippi River. Although he lacked resources to beat Union armies, he built up a formidable arsenal at Tyler, along with his own Kirby Smithdom economy, a virtual “independent fiefdom” in Texas, including railroad construction and international smuggling. The Union in turn did not directly engage him. Its 1864 Red River Campaign to take Shreveport, Louisiana was a failure and Texas remained in Confederate hands throughout the war.
Lower Seaboard theater
The Lower Seaboard theater refers to military and naval operations that occurred near the coastal areas of the Southeast: in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas) as well as southern part of the Mississippi River . Union Naval activities were dictated by the Anaconda Plan.
One of the earliest battles of the war was fought at Port Royal Sound, south of Charleston. Much of the war along the South Carolina coast concentrated on capturing Charleston. In attempting to capture Charleston, the Union military tried two approaches, by land over James or Morris Islands or through the harbor. However, the Confederates were able to drive back each Union attack. One of the most famous of the land attacks was the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, in which the 54th Massachusetts Infantry took part. The Federals suffered a serious defeat in this battle, losing 1,500 men while the Confederates lost only 175.
Fort Pulaski on the Georgia coast was an early target for the Union navy. Following the capture of Port Royal, an expedition was organized with engineer troops under the command of Captain Quincy A. Gillmore, forcing a Confederate surrender. The Union army occupied the fort for the rest of the war after making repair.
In April 1862, a Union naval task force commanded by Commander David D. Porter attacked Forts Jackson and St. Philip, which guarded the river approach to New Orleans from the south. While part of the fleet bombarded the forts, other vessels forced a break in the obstructions in the river and enabled the rest of the fleet to steam upriver to the city. A Union army force commanded by Major General Benjamin Butler landed near the forts and forced their surrender. Butler’s controversial command of New Orleans earned him the nickname “Beast”.
The following year, the Union Army of the Gulf commanded by Major General Nathaniel P. Banks laid siege to Port Hudson for nearly eight weeks, the longest siege in US military history. The Confederates attempted to defend with the Bayou Teche Campaign, but surrendered after Vicksburg. These two surrenders gave the Union control over the entire Mississippi.
Several small skirmishes were fought in Florida, but no major battles. The biggest was the Battle of Olustee in early 1864.
Pacific Coast theater
The Pacific Coast theater refers to military operations on the Pacific Ocean and in the states and Territories west of the Continental Divide.
Conquest of Virginia
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 in command of most of the western armies. Grant understood the concept of total war and believed, along with Lincoln and Sherman, that only the utter defeat of Confederate forces and their economic base would end the war. Grant devised a coordinated strategy that would strike at the entire Confederacy from multiple directions. Generals George Meade and Benjamin Butler were ordered to move against Lee near Richmond, General Franz Sigel were to attack the Shenandoah Valley, General Sherman was to capture Atlanta and march to the sea, Generals George Crook and William W. Averell were to operate against railroad supply lines in West Virginia, and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks was to capture Mobile, Alabama.
Grant’s Overland Campaign
Grant’s army set out on the Overland Campaign with the goal of drawing Lee into a defense of Richmond, where they would attempt to pin down and destroy the Confederate army. The Union army first attempted to maneuver past Lee and fought several battles, notably at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. These battles resulted in heavy losses on both sides, and forced Lee’s Confederates to fall back repeatedly. At the Battle of Yellow Tavern, the Confederates lost Jeb Stuart.
An attempt to outflank Lee from the south failed under Butler, who was trapped inside the Bermuda Hundred river bend. Each battle resulted in setbacks for the Union that mirrored what they had suffered under prior generals, though unlike those prior generals, Grant fought on rather than retreat. Grant was tenacious and kept pressing Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia back to Richmond. While Lee was preparing for an attack on Richmond, Grant unexpectedly turned south to cross the James River and began the protracted Siege of Petersburg, where the two armies engaged in trench warfare for over nine months.
Sheridan’s Valley Campaign
Grant finally found a commander, General Philip Sheridan, aggressive enough to prevail in the Valley Campaigns of 1864. Sheridan was initially repelled at the Battle of New Market by former U.S. Vice President and Confederate Gen. John C. Breckinridge. The Battle of New Market was the Confederacy’s last major victory of the war, and included a charge by teenage VMI cadets. After redoubling his efforts, Sheridan defeated Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early in a series of battles, including a final decisive defeat at the Battle of Cedar Creek. Sheridan then proceeded to destroy the agricultural base of the Shenandoah Valley, a strategy similar to the tactics Sherman later employed in Georgia.
Sherman’s March to the Sea
Meanwhile, Sherman maneuvered from Chattanooga to Atlanta, defeating Confederate Generals Joseph E. Johnston and John Bell Hood along the way. The fall of Atlanta 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. Union Maj. Gen. John Schofield defeated Hood at the Battle of Franklin, and George H. Thomas dealt Hood a massive defeat at the Battle of Nashville, 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 percent of the farms in Georgia in his “March to the Sea”. He reached the Atlantic Ocean at Savannah, Georgia 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.
The Waterloo of the Confederacy
Lee’s army, thinned by desertion and casualties, was now much smaller than Grant’s. One last Confederate attempt to break the Union hold on Petersburg failed at the decisive Battle of Five Forks on April 1. This meant that the Union now controlled the entire perimeter surrounding Richmond-Petersburg, completely cutting it off from the Confederacy. Realizing that the capital was now lost, Lee decided to evacuate his army. The Confederate capital fell to the Union XXV Corps, composed of black troops. The remaining Confederate units fled west after a defeat at Sayler’s Creek.
Initially, Lee did not intend to surrender, but planned to regroup at the village of Appomattox Court House, where supplies were to be waiting, and then continue the war. Grant chased Lee and got in front of him, so that when Lee’s army reached Appomattox Court House, they were surrounded. After an initial battle, Lee decided that the fight was now hopeless, and surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, at the McLean House. On June 23, Cherokee leader Stand Watie became the last Confederate general to surrender his forces.
Union victory and aftermath
The causes of the war, the reasons for its outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of lingering contention today. The North and West grew rich while the once-rich South became poor for a century. The national political power of the slaveowners and rich southerners ended. Historians are less sure about the results of the postwar Reconstruction, especially regarding the second class citizenship of the Freedmen and their poverty.
Historians have debated whether the Confederacy could have won the war. Most scholars, including James McPherson, 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. Marxist historian Armstead Robinson agrees, pointing to a class conflict in the Confederate army between the slave owners and the larger number of non-owners. He argues that the non-owner soldiers grew embittered about fighting to preserve slavery, and fought less enthusiastically. He attributes the major Confederate defeats in 1863 at Vicksburg and Missionary Ridge to this class conflict. However, most historians reject the argument. James M. McPherson, after reading thousands of letters written by Confederate soldiers, found strong patriotism that continued to the end; they truly believed they were fighting for freedom and liberty. Even as the Confederacy was visibly collapsing in 1864–65, he says most Confederate soldiers were fighting hard. Historian Gary Gallagher cites General Sherman who in early 1864 commented, “The devils seem to have a determination that cannot but be admired.” Despite their loss of slaves and wealth, with starvation looming, Sherman continued, “yet I see no sign of let up—some few deserters—plenty tired of war, but the masses determined to fight it out.”
Also important were Lincoln’s eloquence in rationalizing the national purpose and his skill in keeping the border states committed to the Union cause. The Emancipation Proclamation was an effective use of the President’s war powers. The Union victory energized popular democratic forces. A Confederate victory, on the other hand, would have meant a new birth of slavery, not freedom. Historian Fergus Bordewich, following Doyle, argues that:
Scholars have debated what the effects of the war were on political and economic power in the South. The prevailing view is that the southern planter elite retained its powerful position in the South. The war accounted for more American deaths than in all other U.S. wars combined.
Based on 1860 census figures, 8 percent of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6 percent in the North and 18 percent in the South.
Union army dead, amounting to 15 percent of the over two million who served, was broken down as follows: Notably, their mortality rate was significantly higher than white soldiers:
Confederate records compiled by historian William F. Fox list 74,524 killed and died of wounds and 59,292 died of disease. Including Confederate estimates of battle losses where no records exist would bring the Confederate death toll to 94,000 killed and died of wounds. Fox complained, however, that records were incomplete, especially during the last year of the war, and that battlefield reports likely under-counted deaths . Thomas L. Livermore, using Fox’s data, put the number of Confederate non-combat deaths at 166,000, using the official estimate of Union deaths from disease and accidents and a comparison of Union and Confederate enlistment records, for a total of 260,000 deaths.
Losses were far higher than during the recent defeat of Mexico, which saw roughly thirteen thousand American deaths, including fewer than two thousand killed in battle, between 1846 and 1848. One reason for the high number of battle deaths during the war was the continued use of tactics similar to those of the Napoleonic Wars at the turn of the century, such as charging. With the advent of more accurate rifled barrels, Minié balls and repeating firearms such as the Spencer Repeating Rifle and the Henry Repeating Rifle, soldiers were mowed down when standing in lines in the open. This led to the adoption of trench warfare, a style of fighting that defined much of World War I.
The wealth amassed in slaves and 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 before the Emancipation Proclamation were freed by state action or by the Thirteenth Amendment.
The war destroyed much of the wealth that had existed in the South. All accumulated investment Confederate bonds was forfeit; most banks and railroads were bankrupt. Income per person in the South dropped to less than 40 percent of that of the North, a condition that lasted until well into the 20th century. Southern influence in the U.S. federal government, previously considerable, was greatly diminished until the latter half of the 20th century. 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 losing decisively in the 1863 elections in the northern state of Ohio when they tried to resurrect anti-black sentiment.
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.
During the Civil War, sentiment concerning slaves, enslavement and emancipation in the United States was divided. 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.” Copperheads and some War Democrats opposed emancipation, although the latter eventually accepted it as part of total war needed to save the Union.
At first, Lincoln reversed attempts at emancipation by Secretary of War Simon Cameron and Generals John C. Frémont and David Hunter 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. But 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”. Lincoln laid the groundwork for public support in an open letter published in abolitionist Horace Greeley’s newspaper.
In September 1862, the Battle of Antietam provided this opportunity, and the subsequent War Governors’ Conference added support for the proclamation. Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, and his final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. In his letter to Albert G. 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.”
Lincoln’s moderate approach succeeded in inducing border states, War Democrats and emancipated slaves to fight for the Union. The Union-controlled border states and Union-controlled regions around New Orleans, Norfolk and elsewhere, were not covered by the Emancipation Proclamation. All abolished slavery on their own, except Kentucky and Delaware.
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. The Emancipation Proclamation greatly reduced the Confederacy’s hope of getting aid from Britain or France. By late 1864, Lincoln was playing a leading role in getting Congress to vote for the Thirteenth Amendment, which made emancipation universal and permanent.
Texas v. White
In Texas v. White, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Texas had remained a state ever since it first joined the Union, despite claims that it joined the Confederate States; the court further held that the Constitution did not permit states to unilaterally secede from the United States, and that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were “absolutely null”, under the constitution.
Reconstruction began during the war, with the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, and it continued until 1877. It comprised multiple complex methods to resolve the outstanding issues of the war’s aftermath, the most important of which were the three “Reconstruction Amendments” to the Constitution, which remain in effect to the present time: the 13th, the 14th and the 15th . From the Union perspective, the goals of Reconstruction were to consolidate the Union victory on the battlefield by reuniting the Union; to guarantee a “republican form of government for the ex-Confederate states; and to permanently end slavery—and prevent semi-slavery status.
President Johnson took a lenient approach and saw the achievement of the main war goals as realized in 1865, when each ex-rebel state repudiated secession and ratified the Thirteenth Amendment. Radical Republicans demanded proof that Confederate nationalism was dead and that the slaves were truly free. They came to the fore after the 1866 elections and undid much of Johnson’s work. In 1872 the “Liberal Republicans” argued that the war goals had been achieved and that Reconstruction should end. They ran a presidential ticket in 1872 but were decisively defeated. In 1874, Democrats, primarily Southern, took control of Congress and opposed any more reconstruction. The Compromise of 1877 closed with a national consensus that the Civil War had finally ended. With the withdrawal of federal troops, however, whites retook control of every Southern legislature; the Jim Crow period of disenfranchisement and legal segregation was about to begin.
Memory and historiography
The Civil War is one of the central events in American 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. Practically every major figure in the war, both North and South, has had a serious biographical study.
Deeply religious Southerners saw the hand of God in history, which demonstrated His wrath at their sinfulness, or His rewards for their suffering. Historian Wilson Fallin has examined the sermons of white and black Baptist preachers after the War. Southern white preachers said:
In sharp contrast, Black preachers interpreted the Civil War as:
Memory of the war in the white South crystallized in the myth of the “Lost Cause”, shaping regional identity and race relations for generations. Nolan argues that the adoption of the Lost Cause perspective facilitated the reunification of the North and the South while excusing the “virulent racism” of the 19th century, sacrificing African-American progress to a white man’s reunification. He also deems the Lost Cause “a caricature of the truth. This caricature wholly misrepresents and distorts the facts of the matter” in every instance.
The economic and political-power determinism forcefully presented by Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard in The Rise of American Civilization was highly influential among historians and the general public until the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The Beards downplayed slavery, abolitionism, and issues of morality. They ignored constitutional issues of states’ rights and even ignored American nationalism as the force that finally led to victory in the war. Indeed, the ferocious combat itself was passed over as merely an ephemeral event. Much more important was the calculus of class conflict. The Beards announced that the Civil War was really:
The Beards themselves abandoned their interpretation by the 1940s and it became defunct among historians in the 1950s, when scholars shifted to an emphasis on slavery. However, Beardian themes still echo among Lost Cause writers.
The first efforts at Civil War battlefield preservation and memorialization came during the war itself with the establishment of National Cemeteries at Gettysburg, Mill Springs and Chattanooga. Soldiers began erecting markers on battlefields beginning with the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861, but the oldest surviving monument is the Hazen monument, erected at Stones River near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in the summer of 1863 by soldiers in Union Col. William B. Hazen’s brigade to mark the spot where they buried their dead in the Battle of Stones River. In the 1890s, the United States government established five Civil War battlefield parks under the jurisdiction of the War Department, beginning with the creation of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Tennessee and the Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland in 1890. The Shiloh National Military Park was established in 1894, followed by the Gettysburg National Military Park in 1895 and Vicksburg National Military Park in 1899. In 1933, these five parks and other national monuments were transferred to the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.
The modern Civil War battlefield preservation movement began in 1987 with the founding of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, a grassroots organization created by Civil War historians and others to preserve battlefield land by acquiring it. In 1991, the original Civil War Trust was created in the mold of the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation, but failed to attract corporate donors and soon helped manage the disbursement of U.S. Mint Civil War commemorative coin revenues designated for battlefield preservation. Although the two non-profit organizations joined forces on a number of battlefield acquisitions, ongoing conflicts prompted the boards of both organizations to facilitate a merger, which happened in 1999 with the creation of the Civil War Preservation Trust. In 2011, the organization was renamed, again becoming the Civil War Trust. After expanding its mission in 2014 to include battlefields of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, the non-profit became the American Battlefield Trust in May 2018, operating with two divisions, the Civil War Trust and the Revolutionary War Trust. From 1987 through May 2018, the Trust and its predecessor organizations, along with their partners, preserved 49,893 acres of battlefield land through acquisition of property or conservation easements at more than 130 battlefields in 24 states.
Civil War commemoration
The American Civil War has been commemorated in many capacities ranging from the reenactment of battles, to statues and memorial halls erected, to films being produced, to stamps and coins with Civil War themes being issued, all of which helped to shape public memory. This varied advent occurred in greater proportions on the 100th and 150th anniversary.
New inventions, such as the train and telegraph, delivered soldiers, supplies and messages at a time when horses were considered to be the fastest way to travel. It was also in this war when countries first used aerial warfare, in the form of reconnaissance balloons, to a significant effect. It saw the first action involving steam-powered ironclad warships in naval warfare history. Repeating firearms such as the Henry rifle, Spencer rifle, Colt revolving rifle, Triplett & Scott carbine and others, first appeared during the Civil War; they were a revolutionary invention that would soon replace muzzle-loading and single-shot firearms in warfare, as well as the first appearances of rapid-firing weapons and machine guns such as the Agar gun and the Gatling gun.
In works of culture and art
The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government by Jefferson Davis
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Private History of a Campaign That Failed by Mark Twain
Texar’s Revenge, or, North Against South by Jules Verne
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Shiloh by Shelby Foote
North and South by John Jakes
Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus
The Birth of a Nation
Gone with the Wind
The Red Badge of Courage
The Horse Soldiers
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Civil War
The Last Outlaw
Gods and Generals
North and South
12 Years a Slave
Free State of Jones
The Gettysburg Address
“Johnny Reb” written by Merle Kilgore, sung by Johnny Horton
“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” written by Robbie Robertson, sung by The Band
Sid Meier’s Gettysburg!
Sid Meier’s Antietam!
American Conqest: Divided Nation
Forge of Freedom: The American Civil War
The History Channel: Civil War – A Nation Divided
Ageod’s American Civil War
History Civil War: Secret Missions
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
Darkest of Days
Victoria II: A House Divided
Ageod’s American Civil War II
Ultimate General: Gettysburg
Ultimate General: Civil War
North & South
Battles of the American Civil War
Bibliography of the American Civil War
Bibliography of Abraham Lincoln
Bibliography of Ulysses S. Grant
Corps badges of the American Civil War
Costliest battles of the American Civil War
Origins of the American Civil War
Uniforms of the Confederacy
Uniforms of the Union
Weapons in the American Civil War
Presidency of Abraham Lincoln
African Americans in the American Civil War
German Americans in the American Civil War
Irish Americans in the American Civil War
Native Americans in the American Civil War
Blockade runners of the American Civil War
Casualties in the American Civil War
Commemoration of the American Civil War
Commemoration of the American Civil War on postage stamps
Education of freed people during the Civil War
History of espionage#American Civil War 1861-1865
Spies in the American Civil War
Infantry in the American Civil War
Nursing in the American Civil War, Dorothea Dix
Ships captured during the American Civil War
Slavery during the American Civil War
Foreign enlistment in the American Civil War
Britain in the American Civil War
Canada in the American Civil War
Prussia in the American Civil War
See articles in the format, ” state in the American Civil War”
List of Confederate monuments and memorials
List of memorials and monuments at Arlington National Cemetery
List of memorials to Jefferson Davis
List of memorials to Robert E. Lee
List of memorials to Stonewall Jackson
List of monuments erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy
List of monuments of the Gettysburg Battlefield
List of Union Civil War monuments and memorials
Memorials to Abraham Lincoln
Removal of Confederate monuments and memorials
Beringer, Richard E., Archer Jones, and Herman Hattaway, Why the South Lost the Civil War, influential analysis of factors; an abridged version is The Elements of Confederate Defeat: Nationalism, War Aims, and Religion
Gara, Larry. 1964. The Fugitive Slave Law: A Double Paradox in Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruction, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970
Murray, Robert Bruce. Legal Cases of the Civil War .
Nevins, Allan. Ordeal of the Union, an 8-volume set . the most detailed political, economic and military narrative; by Pulitzer Prize-winner
1. ; 2. A House Dividing, 1852–1857; 3. Douglas, Buchanan, and Party Chaos, 1857–1859; 4. Prologue to Civil War, 1859–1861; vols 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
, 2 vol. 1232 pp; 64 topical chapters by experts; emphasis on historiography.
Gugliotta, Guy., The New York Times, April 3, 2012, p. D1, and April 2, 2012, on NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2012-04-03 online.
Bibliography of American Civil War naval history
Tidball, John C. The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865. Westholme Publishing, 2011. .
at the National Archives
from the at the Library of Congress
A non-profit land preservation and educational organization with two divisions, the Civil War Trust and the Revolutionary War Trust, dedicated to preserving America’s battlefields through land acquisitions.
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.
Washington Post interactive website on the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War.
– An Association of Southeastern Research Libraries 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
– site with 7,000 pages, including the complete run of Harper’s Weekly newspapers from the Civil War, Cornell University Library