The Civil War

Five Most Important Battles

Battle of Bull Run

This is the first official battle of the Civil War. Union troops gather around Washington D.C. in hope of seizing Manassas, VA, which was a vital railroad, but the Confederate troops are already lining the creek waiting. The Confederate forces defeat the Union.
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Battle of Shiloh

General Grant leads his army into Tennessee and continues to advance. The Confederate forces attack near Shiloh, resulting in thousands of casualties between both armies in two days of fighting. The Union wins the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.
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Battle of Gettysburg

Almost accidentally, Confederate troops discover Union cavalry in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Confederates attack, paving the way for the largest battle of the war, lasting three days. The Union Army wins the Battle of Gettysburg, destroying Lee's hopes of carrying the fighting further up North.
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Sherman's March to the Sea

While technically not a battle, this is an important point in the war. General Sherman “scorches” the towns he marches through, on his way towards the Atlantic coast and up to Virginia. His army follows the "scorched earth policy," beginning first with Atlanta. They burn buildings, tear up railroad tracks, raid and burn homes, and capture livestock. The Union Army forces Confederate Army out of the Atlantic port of Savannah, GA on December 22, 1864.
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Surrender at Appotomax

Sherman continues his burning through North Carolina with hopes of reaching Virginia. General Lee attempts to halt the Union Army and break through Grant's lines in Petersburg, VA. The Union seized Petersburg on April 2, 1865 and then Richmond on the next day. Union forces cut Lee off from leading his remaining army to North Carolina. On April 9, 1865, General Lee surrenders to Grant by waving the white flag atop a hill overlooking the Appomattox River in Virginia.
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