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Eastern theater

The Eastern theater refers to the military operations east of the Appalachian Mountains, including the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and the coastal fortifications and seaports of North Carolina.


Army of the Potomac

Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan took command of the Union Army of the Potomac 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), and the war began in earnest in 1862.
The 1862 Union strategy called for simultaneous advances along four axes:

McClellan would lead the main thrust in Virginia towards Richmond.

Ohio forces would advance through Kentucky into Tennessee.

The Missouri Department would drive south along the Mississippi River.

The westernmost attack would originate from Kansas.

The primary Confederate force in the Eastern theater was the Army of Northern Virginia.
The Army originated as the( Confederate) Army of the Potomac, which was organized on June 20, 1861, from all operational forces in northern Virginia. On July 20 and July 21, the Army of the Shenandoah and forces from the District of Harpers Ferry were added. Units from the Army of the Northwest were merged into the Army of the Potomac between March 14 and May 17, 1862. The Army of the Potomac was renamed Army of Northern Virginia on March 14. The Army of the Peninsula was merged into it on April 12, 1862.

Flag of Army of Northern Virginia

When Virginia declared its secession in April 1861, Robert E. Lee chose to follow his home state, despite his desire for the country to remain intact and an offer of a senior Union command.

Lee 's biographer, Douglas S. Freeman, asserts that the army received its final name from Lee when he issued orders assuming command on June 1, 1862.
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( as of October 22, 1861) 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

" Stonewall'' Jackson got his nickname at the First Battle of 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.

George McClellan

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''.

Ball 's Bluff

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.

Also in the spring of 1862, in the Shenandoah Valley, Stonewall Jackson led his Valley Campaign.
Employing audacity and rapid, unpredictable movements on interior lines, Jackson 's 17,000 men marched 646 miles( 1,040 km) in 48 days and won several minor battles as they successfully engaged three Union armies( 52,000 men), including those of Nathaniel P. Banks and John C. Fremont, preventing them from reinforcing the Union offensive against Richmond. The swiftness of Jackson 's men earned them the nickname of" foot-cavalry''.

Johnston halted McClellan 's advance at the Battle of Seven Pines, but he was wounded in the battle, and Robert E. Lee assumed his position of command.
General Lee and top subordinates James Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson defeated McClellan in the Seven Days Battles and forced his retreat.

Second Bull Run

The Northern Virginia Campaign, which included the Second Battle of Bull Run, ended in yet another victory for the South.
McClellan resisted General-in-Chief Halleck 's orders to send reinforcements to John Pope 's Union Army of Virginia, 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 with the Maryland Campaign.
General Lee led 45,000 men of the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River into Maryland on September 5. Lincoln then restored Pope 's troops to McClellan. McClellan and Lee fought at the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, 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.

First Fredericksburg

When the cautious McClellan failed to follow up on Antietam, he was replaced by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside.
Burnside was soon defeated at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, when more than 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.


Hooker, too, proved unable to defeat Lee 's army; despite outnumbering the Confederates by more than two to one, his Chancellorsville Campaign proved ineffective and he was humiliated in the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863.
Chancellorsville is known as Lee 's" perfect battle'' because his risky decision to divide his army in the presence of a much larger enemy force resulted in a significant Confederate victory. Gen. Stonewall Jackson was shot in the arm by accidental friendly fire during the battle and subsequently died of complications. 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.


Pickett 's Charge

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( July 1 to 3, 1863). 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( versus Meade 's 23,000). However, Lincoln was angry that Meade failed to intercept Lee 's retreat.

Western theater

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( February 6, 1862) and Donelson( February 11 to 16, 1862), 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.

Albert Sidney Johnston died at the Battle of Shiloh.

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. Shiloh

At the Battle of Shiloh( Pittsburg Landing), 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[ and] 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.

By 1863 the Union controlled large portions of the Western Theater, especially areas surrounding the Mississippi river

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.

Stones River

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 Battle of Chickamauga, the highest two-day losses.

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( from Lee 's army in the east), defeated Rosecrans, despite the heroic defensive stand of Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas.

Third Chattanooga

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.

Trans-Mississippi theater


The Trans-Mississippi theater refers to military operations west of the Mississippi River, not including the areas bordering the Pacific Ocean.


Nathaniel Lyon secured St. Louis docks and arsenal, led Union forces to expel Missouri Confederate forces and government.

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.

New Mexico

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. Texas

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

Further information: Lower Seaboard Theater of the American Civil War


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( Port Hudson and south).
Union Naval activities were dictated by the Anaconda Plan. South Carolina

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. Georgia

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. Louisiana

New Orleans captured.

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. Florida

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. This was total war not in killing civilians but rather in taking provisions and forage and destroying homes, farms, and railroads, that Grant said" would otherwise have gone to the support of secession and rebellion. This policy I believe exercised a material influence in hastening the end.''

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( and later Philip Sheridan) were to attack the Shenandoah Valley, General Sherman was to capture Atlanta and march to the sea( the Atlantic Ocean), 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

These dead soldiers-- from Ewell 's May 1864 attack at Spotsylvania-- delayed Grant 's advance on Richmond in the 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. Philip Sheridan

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.

The Peacemakers by George Peter Alexander Healy portrays Sherman, Grant, Lincoln, and Porter discussing plans for the last weeks of the Civil War aboard the steamer River Queen in March 1865.

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( sometimes called" the Waterloo of the Confederacy'') 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.

Confederacy surrenders

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. 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.

On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, a Southern sympathizer.
Lincoln died early the next morning, and Andrew Johnson became the president. Meanwhile, Confederate forces across the South surrendered as news of Lee 's surrender reached them. On April 26, 1865, General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered nearly 90,000 men of the Army of Tennessee to Major General William T. Sherman at the Bennett Place near present-day Durham, North Carolina. It proved to be the largest surrender of Confederate forces, effectively bringing the war to an end. President Johnson officially declared a virtual end to the insurrection on May 9, 1865; President Jefferson Davis was captured the following day. On June 2, Kirby Smith officially surrendered his troops in the Trans-Mississippi Department. 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.

Comparison of Union and Confederacy, 1860-- 1864

Year Union Confederacy

Population 1860 22,100,000( 71 %) 9,100,000( 29 %)

1864 28,800,000( 90 %) 3,000,000( 10 %)[ 200]

Free 1860 21,700,000( 81 %) 5,600,000( 19 %)

Slave 1860 400,000( 11 %) 3,500,000( 89 %)

1864 negligible 1,900,000

Soldiers 1860-- 64 2,100,000( 67 %) 1,064,000( 33 %)

Railroad miles 1860 21,800( 71 %) 8,800( 29 %)

1864 29,100( 98 %) negligible

Manufactures 1860 90 % 10 %

1864 98 % 2 %

Arms production 1860 97 % 3 %

1864 98 % 2 %

Cotton bales 1860 negligible 4,500,000

1864 300,000 negligible

Exports 1860 30 % 70 %

1864 98 % 2 %

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. Lincoln was not a military dictator, and could continue to fight the war only as long as the American public supported a continuation of the 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 secured the support of the Republicans, War Democrats, the border states, emancipated slaves, and the neutrality of Britain and France. By defeating the Democrats and McClellan, he also defeated the Copperheads and their peace platform.

Many scholars argue that the Union held an insurmountable long-term advantage over the Confederacy in industrial strength and population.
Confederate actions, they argue, only delayed defeat. Civil War historian Shelby Foote 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 do n't think the South ever had a chance to win that War.''

A minority view among historians is that the Confederacy lost because, as E. Merton Coulter put it," people did not will hard enough and long enough to win.''
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 can not 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 Confederate government failed in its attempt to get Europe involved in the war militarily, particularly Britain 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 percent effective at stopping trade goods; as a result, imports and exports to the South declined significantly. The abundance of European cotton and Britain 's hostility to the institution of slavery, along with Lincoln 's Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico naval blockades, severely decreased any chance that either Britain or France would enter the war.

Historian Don Doyle has argued that the Union victory had a major impact on the course of world history.
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:

The North 's victory decisively proved the durability of democratic government.
Confederate independence, on the other hand, would have established an American model for reactionary politics and race-based repression that would likely have cast an international shadow into the twentieth century and perhaps beyond.''

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. However, a 2017 study challenges this, noting that while some Southern elites retained their economic status, the turmoil of the 1860s created greater opportunities for economic mobility in the South than in the North.


One in thirteen veterans were amputees.

Remains of both sides were reinterred.

National cemetery in Andersonville, GA..

The war resulted in at least 1,030,000 casualties( 3 percent of the population), including about 620,000 soldier deaths-- two-thirds by disease, and 50,000 civilians.
Binghamton University historian J. David Hacker believes the number of soldier deaths was approximately 750,000, 20 percent higher than traditionally estimated, and possibly as high as 850,000. 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.
About 56,000 soldiers died in prison camps during the War. An estimated 60,000 men lost limbs in the war.

Union army dead, amounting to 15 percent of the over two million who served, was broken down as follows:

110,070 killed in action( 67,000) or died of wounds( 43,000).

199,790 died of disease( 75 percent was due to the war, the remainder would have occurred in civilian life anyway)

24,866 died in Confederate prison camps

9,058 killed by accidents or drowning

15,741 other/unknown deaths

359,528 total dead

In addition there were 4,523 deaths in the Navy( 2,112 in battle) and 460 in the Marines( 148 in battle).

Black troops made up 10 percent of the Union death toll, they amounted to 15 percent of disease deaths but less than 3 percent of those killed in battle.
Losses among African Americans were high, in the last year and a half and from all reported casualties, approximately 20 percent of all African Americans enrolled in the military lost their lives during the Civil War. Notably, their mortality rate was significantly higher than white soldiers:

[ We] find, according to the revised official data, that of the slightly over two millions troops in the United States Volunteers, over 316,000 died( from all causes), or 15.
2 percent. Of the 67,000 Regular Army( white) troops, 8. 6 percent, or not quite 6,000, died. Of the approximately 180,000 United States Colored Troops, however, over 36,000 died, or 20. 5 percent. In other words, the mortality" rate'' amongst the United States Colored Troops in the Civil War was thirty-five percent greater than that among other troops, notwithstanding the fact that the former were not enrolled until some eighteen months after the fighting began.

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( many men counted as wounded in battlefield reports subsequently died of their wounds). 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. However, this excludes the 30,000 deaths of Confederate troops in prisons, which would raise the minimum number of deaths to 290,000.

The United States National Park Service uses the following figures in its official tally of war losses:

Union: 853,838

110,100 killed in action

224,580 disease deaths

275,154 wounded in action

211,411 captured( including 30,192 who died as POWs)

Confederate: 914,660

94,000 killed in action

164,000 disease deaths

194,026 wounded in action

462,634 captured( including 31,000 who died as POWs)

Burying Union dead on the Antietam battlefield, 1862

While the figures of 360,000 army deaths for the Union and 260,000 for the Confederacy remained commonly cited, they are incomplete.
In addition to many Confederate records being missing, partly as a result of Confederate widows not reporting deaths due to being ineligible for benefits, both armies only counted troops who died during their service, and not the tens of thousands who died of wounds or diseases after being discharged. This often happened only a few days or weeks later. Francis Amasa Walker, Superintendent of the 1870 Census, used census and Surgeon General data to estimate a minimum of 500,000 Union military deaths and 350,000 Confederate military deaths, for a total death toll of 850,000 soldiers. While Walker 's estimates were originally dismissed because of the 1870 Census 's undercounting, it was later found that the census was only off by 6. 5 %, and that the data Walker used would be roughly accurate.

Analyzing the number of dead by using census data to calculate the deviation of the death rate of men of fighting age from the norm suggests that at least 627,000 and at most 888,000, but most likely 761,000 soldiers, died in the war.
This would break down to approximately 350,000 Confederate and 411,000 Union military deaths, going by the proportion of Union to Confederate battle losses.

Deaths among former slaves has proven much harder to estimate, due to the lack of reliable census data at the time, though they were known to be considerable, as former slaves were set free or escaped in massive numbers in an area where the Union army did not have sufficient shelter, doctors, or food for them.
University of Connecticut Professor James Downs states that tens to hundreds of thousands of slaves died during the war from disease, starvation, exposure, or execution at the hands of the Confederates, and that if these deaths are counted in the war 's total, the death toll would exceed 1 million.

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, Miniรฉ balls and( near the end of the war for the Union army) 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( on December 6, 1865) 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. The full restoration of the Union was the work of a highly contentious postwar era known as Reconstruction. Emancipation

Slavery as a war issue

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 losing decisively in the 1863 elections in the northern state of Ohio when they tried to resurrect anti-black sentiment. Emancipation Proclamation

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. Frรฉmont( in Missouri) and David Hunter( 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. 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( Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia) 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, 74 U.S. 700( 1869) 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.

Northern teachers traveled into the South to provide education and training for the newly freed population.

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( 1865), the 14th( 1868) and the 15th( 1870). 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. The last theme includes moral evaluations of racism and slavery, heroism in combat and heroism behind the lines, and the issues of democracy and minority rights, as well as the notion of an" Empire of Liberty'' influencing the world.

Professional historians have paid much more attention to the causes of the war, than to the war itself.
Military history has largely developed outside academe, leading to a proliferation of solid studies by non-scholars who are thoroughly familiar with the primary sources, pay close attention to battles and campaigns, and write for the large public readership, rather than the small scholarly community. Bruce Catton and Shelby Foote are among the best-known writers. 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:

God had chastised them and given them a special mission-- to maintain orthodoxy, strict biblicism, personal piety, and traditional race relations.
Slavery, they insisted, had not been sinful. Rather, emancipation was a historical tragedy and the end of Reconstruction was a clear sign of God 's favor.

In sharp contrast, Black preachers interpreted the Civil War as:

God 's gift of freedom.
They appreciated opportunities to exercise their independence, to worship in their own way, to affirm their worth and dignity, and to proclaim the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Most of all, they could form their own churches, associations, and conventions. These institutions offered self-help and racial uplift, and provided places where the gospel of liberation could be proclaimed. As a result, black preachers continued to insist that God would protect and help him; God would be their rock in a stormy land.

Lost Cause

Memory of the war in the white South crystallized in the myth of the" Lost Cause'', shaping regional identity and race relations for generations.
Alan T. Nolan notes that the Lost Cause was expressly" a rationalization, a cover-up to vindicate the name and fame'' of those in rebellion. Some claims revolve around the insignificance of slavery; some appeals highlight cultural differences between North and South; the military conflict by Confederate actors is idealized; in any case, secession was said to be lawful. 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.

Beardian historiography

The economic and political-power determinism forcefully presented by Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard in The Rise of American Civilization( 1927) 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:

[ A] social cataclysm in which the capitalists, laborers, and farmers of the North and West drove from power in the national government the planting aristocracy of the South.

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.

Battlefield preservation

Beginning in 1961 the U.S. Post Office released Commemorative stamps for five famous battles, each issued on the 100th anniversary of the respective battle.

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( APCWS), 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. Hollywood 's take on the war has been especially influential in shaping public memory, as seen in such film classics as Birth of a Nation( 1915), Gone with the Wind( 1939), and more recently Lincoln( 2012). Ken Burns produced a notable PBS series on television titled The Civil War( 1990). It was digitally remastered and re-released in 2015.

Technological significance

There were numerous technological innovations during the Civil War that had a great impact on 19th-century science.
The Civil War was one of the earliest examples of an" industrial war'', in which technological might is used to achieve military supremacy in a war. 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.
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