Civil War Battles

Annalise Holzwarth

Battles of 1861-1865

Fort Sumter: On April 12, 1861, General P.G.T Beauregard, who was in command of the Confederate forces around Charleston Harbor, opened fire on the Union garrison holding Fort Sumter. On April 13, Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. The next day Anderson and his troops were evacuated. The battle was held in Charleston SC. No soldiers were killed in this battle. The generous terms of the surrender allowed Anderson to perform a 100-gun salute before he and his men were evacuated.

Antietam: It was held in Washington County, Maryland. The Army of Potomac, under the command of George McClellan, mounted a series of powerful assaults against Robert E. Lee's forces near Sharpsburg on September 17, 1862. The morning assault and vicious Confederate counterattacks swept back and fourth through Miller's cornfield and the West Woods. The battle ended on September 18, 1862. The bloodiest single day in history, ended in a draw.

Vicksburg: It was held in Warren County, Mississippi. In May and June of 1863, Major/General Ulysses S. Grant's armies converged in 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.

Gettysburg: It was held in Adam's County, Pennsylvania. Robert E. Lee waited for the arrival of George G. Meade's forces. On July 1, early Union success faltered as Confederates pushed back against the Iron Brigade and exploited a weak Federal line at Barlow's Knoll. The battle ended on July 3, 1863. 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. When the battle ended, President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.

Sherman's March to the Sea: It started and ended on July 22, 1864. Following the defeat at Peach Tree Creek, John Bell Hood was still hoping to drive William T. Sherman's Yankee's 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 a 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 Fisher: It was held in NC, the battle lasted January 13-15, 1865. After the failure of his December expedition against Fort Fisher, Benjamin Butler was relieved of command. Alfred Terry was put 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.

Appomattox Court House: It was held in Appomattox County Virginia. Harried mercilessly by Federal troops and continually cut off from turning south, Lee headed west, eventually arriving in Appomattox County on April 8th. 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 April 9th. This ended in surrender by the Confederates.