7 Main Battles of the United States

By: Pneuma Hicks

Fort Sumter

This battle started on April 12-14, 1861. South Carolina seceded from the union is December 20, 1860. US Maj. Robert Anderson and forces (85 soldiers) positioned at Fort Moultrie. Near the mouth of the Charleston harbor. December 26, Anderson moved his command to Fort Sumter. The union was in the fort. On Saturday, April 13, Anderson surrendered the fort. No soldiers were killed in the battle. The generous terms of surrender, however, allowed Anderson to perform a 100-gun salute before he and his men evacuated the fort the next day. The salute began at 2:00 P.M. on April 14, but was cut short to 50 guns after an accidental explosion killed one of the gunners and mortally wounded another.


September 16-18, 1862. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan and his Union Army of the Potomac confronted Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland. Single bloodiest day in American military history. Hill’s division arrived from Harpers Ferry, and counterattacked, driving back Burnside and saving the day for the Army of Northern Virginia. Outnumbered two-to-one/ Lee committed his entire force at the Battle of Antietam. McClellan sent in less than three-quarters of his Federal force.


May 18- July 4, 1863 the battle was more remarkable campaigns of the American Civil War. Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee had been trying to wrest away the strategic Confederate river fortress of Vicksburg, Mississippi. In late April 1863, Grant undertook a new and bold campaign against Vicksburg and the Confederate defenders under John Pemberton. Grant’s forces moved rapidly inland. leaving the Confederate chief with no alternative but to retreat to Vicksburg's defenses. Grant determined to lay siege to the city to avoid further loss of life.


July 1-3, 1863 Robert E. Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia in its second invasion of the North—the Gettysburg Campaign. Lee intended to collect supplies in the abundant Pennsylvania farmland. They had to take the fighting away from war-ravaged Virginia. They wanted to threaten Northern cities. Had won a major battle on Northern soil and strengthen the peace movement in the North. Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker moved his Union Army of the Potomac in pursuit. Gen. was relieved of command just three days before the battle. Hooker's successor. Lee concentrated his army around Gettysburg. 30,000 Confederates ultimately defeated 20,000 Yankees.

Sherman's March to the Sea (starts with the Battle of Atlanta)

July 22, 1864 Sherman’s three armies were still more or less separated. Hood planned for his forces to drop back from their outer lines north of the city into the main fortified perimeter around the city on the night of July 21-22. Wheeler attacked McPherson’s wagon trains. Calling for a 15-mile night march by Hardee’s troops and a dawn attack on the 22nd. Exhaustion of the men, a hot night, dusty roads and poor service from the cavalry combined to bring the four assault divisions. The Federals were blessed with a lot of good luck that day. Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sweeny happened to be in just the right position to meet Hardee’s opening assault. One Union officer struck a tree in his flight. Around 3:00 p.m. Hood ordered Cheatham’s division to launch an attack from Atlanta’s eastern line of works. Logan’s Fifteenth Corps met with initial success.

Fort Fisher

January 13-15, 1865. After the failure, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler was relieved of command. Maj. Gen. Alfred Terry was placed in command of a “Provisional Corps,” nearly 60 vessels, to renew operations against the fort. Union forces landed and prepared an attack on Maj. Gen. Robert Hoke's infantry line. On the 15th, a select force moved on the fort from the rear. The Confederate garrison surrendered, opening the way for a Federal thrust against Wilmington, the South's last open seaport on the Atlantic coast.

Appomattox Court House

9,000 men under Gordon and Fitzhugh Lee deployed in the fields west of the village before dawn and waited. Attack launched before 8:00 a.m. The battle was led by General Bryan Grimes of North Carolina. Longstreet’s troops were being pressed from the rear near New Hope Church, three miles to the east. General Ulysses S. Grant’s goal of cutting off and destroying Lee’s army was close at hand. Small pockets of resistance continued until flags of truce were sent out. The lives of his soldiers to no purpose. Lee decided to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia. The surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia set the stage for its conclusion. Confederate troops were paroled and allowed to return to their homes. These measures served as a blueprint for the surrender of the remaining Confederate forces throughout the South.