5 Major Battles of the Civil War
Shiloh April 6-7 1862
Shiloh was an eye opener for the North to show that this was going to be a bloody war.Shiloh (at it's time) was the costliest loss of American life at it's time.The Revolutionary war,the war of 1812 and the Mexican-American war combined lost 23,273 men. In the battle of Shiloh alone 23,746 Americans lost their lives(not including wounded or MIA.)The fiercest of the battle was the Hornets Nest which had 2,200 Union troops led by General Prentiss who was encircled and continued to fight. The Union won this battle because of Grants strong counterattack with Generals Nelson and Wallace.This was the 6th Bloodiest battle of the war
Chancelorsville April 30-May 6th 1863
General Hooker crossed a ford on a river and moved his men on Lee's exposed and vulnerable flank,but instead of retreating Lee attacked Hooker when he was still in the thick forested area.It stunned the Union forces and overwhelmed them.Even though they had overrun the Union forces General "Stonewall" Jackson was shot by his own men by accident.It was probably Lees greatest victory of the war.This was the 5th bloodiest battle of the war killing 30,764 servicemen
Antietam September 16-18,1862
General McClellan made several powerful attacks against Lee's forces near Sharpsburg. The Confederates had 40,000 men and the Union has 65,000.Lee had his most experienced troops on the other side of the cornfield waiting for the Union to enter.Sadly the Union wanted it's "Green" troops to go through the cornfield thinking that most of the fight would be in the woods.So most of the battle was in the cornfields surrounding the city,but the fiercest of the fighting was Burnside's Bridge.Lee had 3,500 men and 12 cannons to defend the bridge,but the Union kept attacking and eventually crossed. The battle ended in a draw,but the Confederate retreat gave Lincoln the "victory" he so desperately needed. This was the bloodiest single day in American History it was worse than D-Day,911 and Pearl Harbor.
Bull Run July 21,1861
This was the first major land battle of both armies.General McDowell went from Washington to face the rebels a few miles away from the capital.McDowell crossed a ford and attacked the Confederate left flank on Matthews Hill.Late in the afternoon Confederate reinforcements arrived and broke the Unions right flank.The Unions retreat quickly became a rout(a rout is a disorganized way of retreating).This is where Thomas J. Jackson earned the nickname "Stonewall".The crippled Union army soon reached the safety of Washington the next day.4,878 men were killed,wounded or captured
Gettysburg July 1-3 1863
General Meade had 93,921 men and Lee had 71,699 men.Lee wanted to fight here because of the road system.Gettysburg had 10 roads into the city.The first day was fought in the town,Oak Hill,Oak Ridge and Barlow's Knoll.The second day was the bloodiest 20,000 lives were lost.The second day was Lees heavy attack on the Unions left flank at Devil’s Den, Little Round Top, the Peach Orchard, Cemetery Ridge, Trostle’s Farm, Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill.The third day was still fought at Culp's Hill,but also when Lee had General Pickett send 20,000 men to attack the Union center.260 cannons torn the Confederate line to shreds,but when they had made it to the road the Union opened up with small arms fire killing more of the Confederates.The Confederates came so close to the Union lines before retreating. 51,000 men lost their lives...this was the costliest battle fought in the Western Hemisphere.