Some people think that the slavery issue sparked the fire of the Civil War but what kept the fire going was the Election of 1860 and the Bombardment at Fort Sumter. First, in the Election of 1860, the people running for president were Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge, and John Bell. Abraham Lincoln won they election. The Southerners were not to happy, because they thought that they had just lost there voice in government. Soon, states in the South began to secede (leave the Union). Finally, on December 20, 1860 South Carolina became the first state to secede. In late February in 1861, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas soon seceded also. They thought that Lincoln was going to take all their slaves away.
Now in 1861, there was two countries very close to each other. The states that seceded formed a country and named it the Confederacy and their new president was Jefferson Davis. The states that stayed in the Union were still called the United States of America and their president was Abe Lincoln. Still, there were eight slave states that stayed in the Union. Four of them stayed (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri) in the Union and the other four (Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina) seceded into the Confederacy.
There were still some Union Forts that were on Confederate land. Jefferson Davis order that these forts be seized and Confederates take over. Lincoln didn't know what to do, he didn't want Confederates to take Union Forts but he didn't want to send troops because that might cause a Civil War. Soon there were only a few forts that belonged to the Union that were not seized by the Confederates. One of them was Fort Sumter. Lincoln got word that the fort was running low in food supplies so he told the Governor of South Carolina that he was going to send food supplies to the fort, no troops and no weapons. The Confederates didn't want to leave the fort in Union control. On April 11, 1861 Confederate troops told the people at Ford Sumter to surrender but Major Robert Anderson, Union Commander of Fort Sumter, would not surrender unless supplies ran out or unless given by order to surrender. In two days Union troops ran out of ammunition and was forced to surrender. This was the start of the American Civil War.
Now I will explain why each side was fighting. The South was finding for independence. They called this war The War of Southern independence. The southerners wanted to independent so that they could live the way they wanted to. The Northerners were fighting to save the Union not to ban slavery, some northerns even approved slavery.
In the Civil War the stageries of the South was simple. Fight until the North was tired of fighting. The North had a different way in tiring to win the war. First, in the east they were going to try their best to get Richmond, Virginia the capital of the Confederacy. Also they were going to from a navy blockade and stop manufactured goods from Europe going into the Confederacy. Finally in the west they were going to take control of the Mississippi River, cutting off Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana from the Confederacy.
The Battle of Bull Run
The First Battle of the Civil war was the battle of Bull Run. On July 21, 1861, Union troop started march for Richmond. Well they were going there they met Confederate forces at Bull Run. At first, the Union troops broke Confederate battle lines. Union troops start to act over-proud. Then Stonewall Jackson rallied some troops. At the end it was the Union the Union troops who ran away. This battle showed both side that the soldiers need more training and that is war was going to be long and would take a lot of lives.
Battle on Sea Early in the war, the blockade was formed and the ships that came through were quick, little ships called
"blockade runners" and they brought all kinds of goods to South. But soon the blockade got better and the demand for supplies got great. So the Confederate took an abandoned Union ship and put iron plates all over it (this kind of ship is called an ironclad) and called it the Virginia. They tried to use this ship to brake up the blockade and on its first day it sank 2 Unions ships and made three others go to shore. So the Union made its own ironclad, the Monitor. One day these two ships battled each other in the waters near the Hampton Roads, Virginia. No ship was seriously damaged because cannon balls just bounced off the ships, so both ships left. But soon the Confederates had to sink the Virginia when Union troops got Norfolk. The Union build fifty more ironclads.
Battle of Antietam Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army, tried go win a battle on Northern Soil to see if that would be one reason that would make Northerns stop fighting, in September 1862. But one of the Confederate generals left his battle plans in an abandoned a Confederate campsite. General George McClellan, Commander of the Army of Potamac (Union east), was realy happy when he got this. But he was cautious like he normally was and waited a few days and then attacked them at Antietam on September 17, 1862. After a day of battling 23,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded. In the night of the nest day Lee ordered his troops to back to Virginia. Confederates were happy when Union troops were not chasing them. But Lincoln was very disappointed with McClellan because he had a chance to catch Lee and end the war. McClellan was fired and replaced with General Ambrose Burnside.
The Battle of Fredricksberg and the Battle of Chancellorville These were two battles with bad outcomes. I wil talk about Fredricksburg first. The Union was going to Richmond again. But Lee's troops met Burnside's army near Fredricksburg. Lee's troops dug into a crest of a hill and from there the Confederates killed soldiers after soldiers. This was one of the Unions worst defeats.
At the Battle of Chancellorville Lee and Stonewall Jackson beat Union troops in the thickly wooded area where they fought. But there was a price in that battle, Confederate sentries shot Stonewall Jackson because they thought he was an Union Soldier coming in their direction. Stonewall Jackson died Several Days later.
Battle of Shiloh Ulysses S. Grant was in charge of siezing the Mississippi River. In February, he attacked and captured Fort Henry and Fort Doleson in Tennessee. This to forts were important to control the Mississippi. Next thing to capture was Shiloh. When Lee surprised Confederate troops in Shiloh they fought and at the end of the day Conferate forces drove Union Troops back. The next day, the Union troops came back and attacked Shiloh again this time they captured it. This was the Battle of Shiloh and it was one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil war.
The Emancipation Prociamation Lincoln was about to do anything to save the Union, even if it came to Slavery. He said that if he had to free all the slaves to save the Union he would, if he could save the Union by free no slaves he would, and if he could save the Union by freeing some slaves and not freeing the others he would. As you know there were still slave states in the Union and he didn't want those states to seceded too. Abraham Lincoln has an idea that he would emancipate (free) all the slaves in the Confederacy. He didn't want to emancipate the slaves in the Union because he didn't want those slave states to seceded. So this gave the soldiers something else to fight for other than to save the Union.
54th Massachusetts Regiment In 1862, when the law that forbade African-Americans to join the Union Amry was repealed, free African-Amercans and escaped slaves joined the Amry. The Amry sent African-Americans to all-black units, commanded by a white officers. At first, African-American soldiers did only work like building roads and keeping guard of supplies. Soon African-American troops were fighting battles againist the Confederates. About 200,000 African-Americans had fought for the Union but almost 40,000 died for the cause.
The 54th Massachusetts Regiment is one of the most remembered of the African-American troops. They led an attack on Fort Wagner ,around Charlestown, South Carolina. They fought their way into the fort but had to withdraw. Almost half the Regiment died and the Fort was never captured.
The Fall of Vicksberg After those to terrible loses at Fredricksburg and Chancellorville, the north was to exited about the war. But in the Summer of 1863 there were victories in the East and in the West.
The Union troops were still in the fight for the Mississippi. They had almost all the Mississippi, expect Vicksberg. Again and Again the Union attacked Vicksberg, under the command of Grant. Than Grant thought of an idea. He would send his troops inland and attack Jackson, Mississippi, then go westward and attack Vicksberg in the rear. He did this and in about six weeks, on July 4, 1863, the Confedates at Vicksberg surrended. On July 9, 1863 Union Troops captured Fort Hudson, Louisiana.
After the fall of Vicksberg the Union had another victory. Lee thought that he should try to fight in the north again. So he thought he should go into Pennsylvania and if he did what he need to do in Pennsylvania he would get the Yankees (Northerns) by surprise. On June 30, 1863, the Union troops met a part of Lee's army at a town called Gettysburg. Right away Union and Confederate forces called for more troops. On the first day, July 1, the Confederate troops drove the Union troops out of Gettysbury but the Union troops get in a good position on a place called Cemetery Ridge, which is ontop of a hill. So on the next day, Lee ordered his troops to try to get the Union troops out of Cemetery Ridge. Since the Union troops were at a strong position they just killed the Confederate soldiers and the Confederate failed their mission in trying to get them off Cemetery Ridge. On the thrid day, Lee wanted one more try to get those Union troops, so he asked General Geogre Pickett to lead 15,000 men to try. This was called Pickett's charge. It didn't work because Confederate troops would have to walk a long and then climb up the hill to get them and many Confederate soldiers died. On these three days many soldiers died.
Grant is Appointed Commander of Union Forces After Grant great battle at Vicksberg and Lincoln going though so many Generals, Lincoln thought that Grant should be the one to lead the Union troops. Grant took the position and what he did was that he waged total war on the South. He said to destory every that could be useful to the enemy and the troopd obeyed. Like General Philip Sheridan and General William Tecumseh Sherman they destroyed farms, railroads, animals, homes, and briges, anything that was useful to the Confederacy they destroyed. Soon Grant went after Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. These terribles battles that were happening were killing so many soldiers but Grant know that the Union could replace soldiers and supplies but the Confederacy could not. Soon Lee was in Peterburg and Grant lay seige of Petersburg for nine months and on April 2, 1865 Petersburg was for Grant and on that same day Richmond fell. Lee and his army tried to run away to this town called Appomattox Court House but Union troops trapped them there and the Confederates knew if they fought they would be dead meat. And on April 9, 1865, Lee surrended.
The End of the Civil War About 360,000 Union soldiers died and about 250,000 Confederate soldiers died. This war cost about 20 billion dollars and that was the most money the Federal Government untill then. Now, we refered to the Nation as the United States and not These United States the thought of even seceded was now far from anybodies mind. Also Slavery in now is illegal and that meant there was all of the sudden a new group of people called freedmen. So now the debate of if slavery was right or wrong, good or bad, allowed in some places and not in others, was over and they didn't have to worry about it.