The Civil War

By: Matthew G, Daniel C, Andy T, Israel , Alex G

The Begining of a Long War.

Its the 19th Century...America has been torn apart by issues regarding the Economy, Political Views, and Slavery. America was on the verge of what is known as a Civil War! You may find yourself asking, “How did America get to this major breaking point?”. Well, it all began with the Presidential Election of 1860.

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The Election of 1860

The election of 1860 had a total of 4 Candidates:

Abraham Lincoln- A Republican who opposed slavery in all States

John Breckinridge- A Democrat who supported slavery in all States.

Stephen Douglas- A Democrat who opposed slavery in all states, but decided it would be best for the states to choose for themselves.

John Bell- A Unionist who wanted to ignore issues of slavery with popular sovereignty.

Results of Election of 1860

The results of the Presidential Election of 1860 lead to Abraham Lincoln becoming the 16th President of the United States by his victory with a majority of his votes coming from the Northern States. The northern states population consisted of many anti-slavery abolitionists, while the Southern states population consisted of many “pro-slavery” slave owners.

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A nation breaking apart

Following the Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, the southern states were in anger because of their loss of control and there goal to keep slavery in the United States. The North and the South were growing impatient with each other, and rumors of war were spreading through America! Soon after president Lincoln's Inauguration, the Southern state of south Carolina had decided to secede from the united states due to the election of a republican president. This was known as the South Carolina Secession. President Lincoln strongly opposed the secession of south Carolina. But the South would not budge...

The Separation of states

The Northern states and Southern states had been separated into two sides. The Northern States called themselves the Union with Abraham Lincoln as their president.

The Union states consisted of:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

The Southern states called themselves the Confederacy of the United States with Jefferson Davis chosen as their leader.

The Confederacy consisted of :

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Texas
  • South Carolina

There were also some Border States in which joined the Union over time.

The Border States consisted of:

  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Missouri
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Strengths/Weaknesses of Union and Confederacy

Though both the Union and the Confederacy were within the United States, they both had major differences in their strengths and weaknesses.

The Union’s major strengths/weaknesses consisted of:


  • A large population
  • Surplus of food
  • Surplus of arsenal
  • Excellent navy


  • Inexperienced military
  • Poor military tactics

The Confederacy’s major strengths/weaknesses consisted of:


  • Experienced Military leaders
  • Large economy
  • Offensive position


  • Smaller population than North
  • Lack of military arsenal
  • Poor navy

The Beginning of the War

At first the danger of a war breaking out was small but then a critical status of two forts in the South that were being held by federal troops but claimed by a Seceded state. One of the forts, Fort.Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, was cut of its major supplies and reinforcements by Southern control of the harbor. President Lincoln had then tried to send provisions of food to the small amount of food to the Federal troops. Lincoln had gave South Carolina the choice of either permitting the fort or open fire on it. Southern guns then replied with sounds like thunder. Then on April 12, 1861 the war begins. Because of the attack on Fort Sumter most Northerners united for a patriotic fight to save the Union.

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Plans to win the war

Union General-in-Chief Winfred Scott a veteran of the war of 1812 had devised a three-part strategy for winning the war.

Northern Strategy:

  • Using the block of Southern Ports (the Anaconda Plan) to block off essential supplies from reaching the South
  • Divide the Confederacy by halving it by controlling the Mississippi river
  • Raise and train an army of 500,000 strong to overtake the capital of the Confederacy in Richmond,Virginia.

The South had hoped that the people would turn on the Republicans and Lincoln for them to quit the war and they had tried to play the defensive war and outlast the Union.

First Battle of Bull Run

The first major Virginian land battle with the untried Union, on July 16, 1861, The First Battle of Bull Run broke out. The Battle was also called The First Battle of Manassas and was led by Brigadier General Irwin McDowell, marched from Washington on against the Confederate Army. On July 21st, McDowell and his 30,000 men marched across Sudley Ford and attacked the Confederacy at Bull Run Creek at Manassas, Virginia on the left flank of Matthews Hill. Soon, as the Union was about to win, General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson counterattacks the Union forces and sends the Union back to Washington, with the fight soon ending. With this ending, the Union’s General-in-Chief Winfield Scott decides to come up with a new strategy.

  • To use the U.S. Navy to its advantage and blockade southern ports.
  • Conquering the Mississippi River, thus splitting the Confederacy.
  • Training some 500,000 troops to send over and take Richmond.

Later as this was implemented, the first two are pretty easily done with this resulting in some Union victory. With this happening, the Union is attempting various new campaigns.

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A change in Generals

The new commander of the Union army of the East was General George B.McClellan. He had insisted of the training and discipline of troops before going into battle. After any delays that tested Lincoln’s patience. McClellan’s army had invaded Virginia on March 1862. The Union was stopped by Confederate General Robert E.Lee. After 5 months McClellan was force to retreat back to Potomac, where he was replaced by General John Pope.

General Robert E. Lee (Confederacy)

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General George B. McLellan (Union)

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General John Pope (Union)

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Second battle of bull run & The Battle of antietam

General Lee soon takes advantage of the change in Union generals and pushes Pope’s army in Northern Virginia back into Bull Run Creek by striking the Union’s flank into a trap. This begins the Second Battle of Bull Run. Pretty soon it was just a matter of Robert E. Lee vs. John Pope with the Confederacy eventually pushing up so much into the Union’s territory of Maryland. This soon winds up in Sharpsburg, Maryland with the Battle of Sharpsburg, though more commonly known as The Battle of Antietam. General Lee during this Battle begins thinking that a big Confederate victory in the North would convince the British to support the Confederacy in the fight. At this time, Lincoln goes forward telling McClellan to take back control of the Union since McClellan knows Lee’s battle plans. As this Battle starts, 22,000 men right off the bat are either killed or wounded within the first day. McClellan is then holding his grounds and forces the Confederate army back to their territory in Virginia due to Lee’s army’s inability to break through the Union’s line. After this, Lincoln takes McClellan from the fight as General and brings Lincoln to the Union’s victory at Antietam. After McClellan is taken back out due to, as Lincoln calls it, a “Case of the slows”, Lincoln puts in Ambrose Burnside. Ambrose Burnside is brought in since he is more destructive and reckless, compared to McClellan’s caution and inaction. Under Burnside’s order, the Union army attacks the Confederacy in their territory of Fredericksburg, Virginia. This results in the Battle of Fredericksburg, with an uneven number of fatalities for the Union with 12,000 and 5,000 Confederate deaths. At the end of 1862, there was no clear victory on either side and this brings on new war between the Union and the Confederacy.

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A war at sea

Monitor Vs. Merrimac had happened because of the jeopardy of the Northern’s plan of blockading the South’s imports of supplies. Merrimac was a former Union ship rebuilt as the name of Virginia that could easily destroy the Union’s wooden ships . The Union quickly sent out an iron ship of their own known as the Merrimac. The Union had countered with an ironclad of their own the Monitor they battled near Hampton Roads, Virginia, in March 1862 with had lasted for 5 hours in and had ended in a draw. The monitor had prevented the merrimac from damaging the U.S. naval blockade. The battle of ironclad ships had later revolutionize the future of naval warfare.

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President Lincoln takes charge

The Civil War had begun with the major fight against/for slavery, President Lincoln decided to create what was known as the Confiscation Act in 1862. The Confiscation Act had allowed slaves captured from the Confederate states in the South to be brought into the Union and become free and even join the union army which would help end the rising of Draft Riots. Following the Confiscation Acts, Lincoln had decided that all slaves in Confederate states should be freed if/when the Confederate states in which they were held were taken by Union forces so Lincoln decided to create a document known as the Emancipation Proclamation.

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African Americans in the Civil war

Segregated black troops had come forth to the Northern side because of the Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln had said it was a “military necessity”. The Lincoln administration wrestled with the idea of authorizing the recruitment of black troops, concerned that such a move would prompt the border states to secede.

The 54th regiment of Massachusetts was the first volunteer regiment of black troops. Before this regiment the Union had not made an effort towards black troops. Because of the Emancipation Proclamation it had prompted the involvement of Black troops enlisting in the war. They had been defeated at Fort Wagner but with their loss at inspired many other black troops to enlist in the Union army.

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Battle of Shiloh

On the Battle of Shiloh Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston poured out of the nearby woods and struck a line of Union soldiers occupying ground near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. The overpowering Confederate offensive drove the unprepared Federal forces from their camps and threatened to overwhelm Ulysses S. Grant’s entire command. During the first day’s attacks, Gen. Johnston was mortally wounded and was replaced by P.G.T. Beauregard. Grant’s April 7th counteroffensive overpowered the weakened Confederate forces and Beauregard’s army retired from the field. The two day battle at Shiloh produced more than 23,000 casualties and was the bloodiest battle in American history at its time. It was a very intense battle between the Union and the Confederates.

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Battle of Chancellorsville

On April 30,1863 the Battle of Chancellorsville took place with Confederate General Robert E. Lee taking a victory against Union General Joseph Hooker. The Battle of Chancellorsville was significant due to its risky strategy given off by General Lee and the major victory given to the South. The Battle of Chancellorsville was a brutal battle for both the Union and the Confederacy with a total of 30,500 casualties.

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Battle of vicksburg

Following the Battle of Chancellorsville, Union General Ulysses S. Grant lead a group of 77,000 Union troops across the Mississippi river and on a full force attack on Confederate troops into Vicksburg, Mississippi. Grant took the victory at the Battle of Vicksburg for the Union while losing 4,825 troops. Confederate troops at Vicksburg had surrendered after a few hours of battle and losing 1,095 of their 33,000. The battle of Vicksburg was just one of a two battle plan the Union had to attack the Confederacy. Grant's victory at Vicksburg was major for its location in the south and how close it was to the Confederate Capital in Richmond, Virginia.

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General Ulysses S. Grant (Union)

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The Battle of Gettysburg

The next battle within the Civil War happens to be the largest, and most devastating war within America with a total of 45,286 Casualties. The Battle Of Gettysburg was a large scale battle lasting a total of 3 days and consisted of Confederate General Robert E. Lee leading a surprise attack on the Northern city of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. General Lees attack lead a devastating blow to Union Forces in Pennsylvania with both the destruction of crucial supplies and major deaths in Union Forces. After the 3rd day of battle, the remainder of General Lee's forces had retreated to Virginia without successfully taking Pennsylvania yet crippling Union forces.

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After Gettysburg

Following the Battle of Gettysburg, the war was in an evident turning point, and President Lincoln had decided to give Union General Ulysses S. Grant control over the second plan of attack on the Confederate Capital in Virginia. With Grants major victory in taking control of the Mississippi River, Grant was capable of leading a successful attack on the Confederate forces in Virginia.

As well as President Lincoln decision to put General Grant in command, following the Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln had decided to give an honorary speech for those who had given their lives at the Battle of Gettysburg. His speech was known as the Gettysburg Address. The Gettysburg address was most famous for its representation of the sacrifice given by both Union and Confederate Forces as Americans.

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General Grant in control

Grant’s main success was brought by a man named William Tecumseh Sherman, who was another General under Grant. Sherman led a big march, later called Sherman’s March to the Sea in the south under direction of Grant by leading some 100,000 men out of Chattanooga, Tennessee destroying everything in sight, burning cotton fields, barns, and houses. Sherman soo takes Atlanta in September 1864 in time to save Lincoln’s prospects in the election. Sherman afterward marches on, reaching Savannah, Georgia in December and finishing the March by February of 1865 and burning the capital of South Carolina, Columbia. Sherman’s march does help to reinstate the intended effects of breaking the will of the Confederacy and destroying the will of the Confederacy to fight through.

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General William T. Sherman (Union)

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Election of 1864

After Sherman’s big march, comes the Election of 1864 with Lincoln as the Republican nominee and General George McClellan as the Democrat’s. With this Election are the Democrats calling for peace, growing disinterested of war. This was common among millions of voters as the Republicans rename their party the Unionist Party to attract “War Democrats”. Soon comes a “Ditch Lincoln” movement and Lincoln soon chooses Tennessee Senator Andrew Johnson as his running mate. With the Lincoln-Johnson ticket comes their win of 212 electoral votes to the 21 Democratic votes.

Grants Virginia plan

Grant’s Virginia Campaign A.K.A Overland Campaign was the battle of enduring one another between Grant and Robert E.Lee , this was some 40 days of battle leading to the Capture of Richmond. Grant had launched a multi-pronged grand offensive aimed at destroying Confederate armed forces in Virginia. The Virginia Civil War trails had outlined Grant’s Overland Campaign. It had took six bloody weeks for Grant to slug his way through the wilderness to the gates of Petersburg. But he had finally pinned Lee’s army down. The end was less than 10 months away.

By Grant continuing to outflank Lee’s lines until they had collapsed around Petersburg, resulting in the fall of Richmond the Confederates capital. The Confederate government had tried to negotiation with the Union for peace but Lincoln would not accept anything except for the restoration of the Union and Jefferson nothing less but independence. Lee had retreated from Richmond with an army of 30,000 men. He had attempted to escape to the mountains near Appomattox only to be cut off by Grant and made surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9,1865. The Union general had treated his longtime rival with respect and allowed Lee’s men to return home with their horses.

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President Lincolns Assassination

Right before the surrender of Lee, Lincoln delivers one of the most successful American speeches of all time-- his Second Inaugural Address. Lincoln brings forth that he would like the South to be treated nicely. During this speech, on April 14th, 1865, is Abraham Lincoln’s assassination by the angered actor John Wilkes Booth, a man in favor of the South.

Boothe was attending the speech at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The same night, a man attacked and wounded Secretary of State William Seward. These surprising deaths bring out anger in the Northerners and brings a major lack of leadership. Pretty soon, though, due to this the reunited country must deal with the major problem of postwar reconstruction.

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Effects if Civil War in America

The Civil War had opened the field of nursing for women for the first time ,previously only men at hospitals were employed as doctors and nurses. The enormous responsibilities undertaken by Women during the war gave the thoughts of giving women’s equal rights in rights in things like voting. Because of the absence of men women had increased their involvement.

Freedmen was the result of African Americans who had profoundly changed by the civil war. For these people generations of their family had been through economic hardship and political oppression. Suddenly slaves with no rights had an open book of freedoms. In total 400,00 people had become “Freedmen” (3.5 million in the Confederate states & 500,00 in the border states).

With this was a major Supreme Court Case known as the Ex Parte Milligan, called this after lawyer Lambdin P. Milligan. The case brings the idea of military tribunals to all citizens when civilian courts are still operating is to be ordered as unconstitutional. This was also popularized since it was one of the first major cases after the Civil War.

Thanks for Reading!

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