Civil War Battles

7 of the major battles of the Civil War

Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863

Having concentrated his army around the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Gen. Robert E. Lee awaited the approach of Union Gen. George G. Meade's forces. On July 1st, early union success faltered as confederates push back against the iron brigade and exploited a weak Federal line at Barlow's Knoll. The following day saw Lee strike the Union flanks, leading to heavy battle at Devil's Den, Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Peach Orchard, Culp's Hill and East Cemetery Hill. Southerners captured Devil's Den and the Pearch Orchard, Culp's Hill and failed to dislodge the Union Defenders. On the final day, July 3rd, fighting raged at Culp's Hill with the Union regaining its lost ground. After being cut down by a massive artillery bombardment in the afternoon, Lee attacked the Union center on Cemetery Ridge and was repulsed in what is now known as Pickett's Charge. Lee's second invasion of the North had failed, and had resulted in heavy casualties; an estimated 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured or list as missing after Gettysburg.

Antietam September 16-18, 1862

The Army of the Potomac, under the command of George McClellan, mounted a series of powerful assaults against Robert E. Lee’s forces near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862. The morning assault and vicious Confederate counterattacks swept back and forth through Miller’s Cornfield and the West Woods. Later, towards the center of the battlefield, Union assaults against the Sunken Road pierced the Confederate center after a terrible struggle. Late in the day, the third and final major assault by the Union army pushed over a bullet-strewn stone bridge at Antietam Creek. Just as the Federal forces began to collapse the Confederate right, the timely arrival of A.P. Hill’s division from Harpers Ferry helped to drive the Army of the Potomac back once more. The bloodiest single day in American military history ended in a draw, but the Confederate retreat gave Abraham Lincoln the “victory” he desired before issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.

Appomattox Court House April 9th, 1865

Harried mercilessly by Federal troops and continually cut off from turning south, Lee headed west, eventually arriving in Appomattox County on April 8. Heading for the South Side Railroad at Appomattox Station, where food supplies awaited, the Confederates were cut off once again and nearly surrounded by Union troops near the small village of Appomattox Court House. Despite a final desperate attempt to escape, Lee’s army was trapped. General Lee surrendered his remaining troops to General Grant at the McLean House on the afternoon of April 9.

Vicksburg May 18th - July 4th 1863

In May and June of 1863, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s armies converged on Vicksburg, investing the city and entrapping a Confederate army under Lt. Gen. John Pemberton. On July 4, Vicksburg surrendered after prolonged siege operations. This was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the war. With the loss of Pemberton’s army and this vital stronghold on the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in half. Grant's successes in the West boosted his reputation, leading ultimately to his appointment as General-in-Chief of the Union armies.

Sherman’s March to the Sea July 22nd, 1864

Following the defeat at Peach Tree Creek, Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood was still hoping to drive Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's Yankees from the outskirts of Atlanta with an offensive blow. On the night of July 21, 1864, Hood ordered Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee's corps to make 15-mile night march and assault the Union left flank, commanded by Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson. McPherson was suspected just such a move from his West Point classmate Hood, and held one of his corps in position, where they were ideally placed to meet Hood's attack. Despite initial success, Hood's attack failed to dislodge the Federals who strengthened their foothold on the doorstep to Atlanta.

Fort Sumter April 12th - 14th, 1861

On April 12, 1861, General P.G.T. Beauregard, in command of the Confederate forces around Charleston Harbor, opened fire on the Union garrison holding Fort Sumter. At 2:30pm on April 13 Major Robert Anderson, garrison commander, surrendered the fort and was evacuated the next day. The battle was over a little fort in one of the port cities in the CSA (Confederate States of America). The confederacy had stationed cannons along the bay, and opened fire on the fort.

Fort Fisher January 13-15, 1865

After the failure of his December expedition against Fort Fisher, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler was relieved of command. Maj. Gen. Alfred Terry was placed in command of a “Provisional Corps,” including Paine's Division of U.S. Colored Troops, and supported by a naval force of nearly 60 vessels, to renew operations against the fort. After a preliminary bombardment directed by Rear Adm. David D. Porter on January 13, 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. A valiant attack late in the afternoon, following the bloody repulse of a naval landing party carried the parapet. The Confederate garrison surrendered, opening the way for a Federal thrust against Wilmington, the South's last open seaport on the Atlantic coast.

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Citations

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Jurist.org,. 'JURIST - Legal News & Commentary'. Last modified 2015. Accessed March 13, 2015. http://jurist.org.


Mrnussbaum.com,. 'Mrnussbaum.Com – A FREE Learning World For Kids, Teachers, And Parents'. Last modified 2015. Accessed March 13, 2015. http://mrnussbaum.com.


Philaprintshop.com,. 'Antique Prints And Maps From The Philadelphia Print Shop'. Last modified 2015. Accessed March 13, 2015. http://www.philaprintshop.com.