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Civil War Timeline

Summary Of Events and Dates Of The American Civil War

The Civil War was fought from April 1861 to April 1865.

Civil War 1861

January: The South Secedes. Immediately after Abraham Lincoln is elected President, South Carolina calls a state convention to remove itself from the United States of America. South Carolina is quickly followed by Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. Later, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina also secedes, forming the Confederate States of America.

April 12, Battle of Fort Sumter Charleston Harbor, South Carolina

The bombardment/siege and ultimate surrender of Fort Sumter by Brig. General P.G.T. Beauregard was the official start of the Civil War.

June 3, Battle of Philippi, (West) Virginia

A skirmish involving over 3,000 soldiers, Philippi was the first battle of the civil war.

June 10, Battle of Big Bethel, Virginia
July 11, Battle of Rich Mountain, (West) Virginia
July 21, First Battle of Bull Run Manassas, Virginia

Also known as First Manassas, the first major engagement of the civil war.

November 7–8, Battle of Port Royal Sound, South Carolina

The battle of Port Royal was one of the earliest amphibious operations of the American Civil War.

November 7, Battle of Belmont, Missouri

General Ulysses S. Grant took command and began his Civil War career.
 

Civil War 1862

February 8, Roanoke Island, North Carolina
March 8–9, Battle Of Hampton Roads, Virginia

First battle between the ironclad warships, Monitor & Merrimack.

April 5–May 4 Siege of Yorktown, Virginia
June 26, Beaver Dam Creek, Virginia*
June 27, Gaines Mill, Virginia*
June 27–28, Garnett’s Farm and Golding’s Farm, Virginia*
June 29, Savage Station and Allen’s Farm, Virginia*
June 30, White Oak Swamp, Virginia*
June 30, Glendale, Virginia*
July 1, Malvern Hill, Virginia*
(*Collectively known as the Seven Days Campaign or Seven Days Battles.)
August 9, Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia
August 28–30, Second Battle of Bull Run Manassas, Virginia
September 12–15, Harpers Ferry, (West) Virginia
September 14, Battle of South Mountain, Maryland
September 17, Battle of Antietam / Sharpsburg
September 19–20, Shepherdstown, (West) Virginia

Union General George McClellan pursued Robert E. Lee through three mountain passes during the Maryland Campaign.

December 11–15, Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia
February 6, Fort Henry, Tennessee
February 11–16, Siege of Fort Donelson, Tennessee
March 3–April 8, Siege of New Madrid and Island No. 10, Missouri (Mississippi River)
April 6–7, Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee
May 25–30, Siege of Corinth, Corinth, Mississippi

Henry Halleck took Corinth after a month-long siege.

June 28, Battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi
August 29, Battle of Richmond, Kentucky
October 3–4, Battle of Corinth, Mississippi

Two years after the Siege of Corinth, Maj. General William S. Rosecrans defeated the Confederate Army.

October 5, Hatchie’s Bridge, Tennessee
October 8, Battle of Perryville, Kentucky.

Account of the 21st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment’s harrowing fight.

December 31–January 2, Battle of Stones River / Murfreesboro, Tennessee

The culmination of the Stones River Campaign, the battle of Stones River had the highest casualty rates on both sides.

March 8, Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas
October 4, Battle of Galveston, Texas

Civil War 1863

April 30–May 6, Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia
May 3, Fredericksburg, Virginia
July 1–3, Battle of Gettyburg, Pennsylvania
April 10, Battle of Franklin, Tennessee.

Account of the bloody confederate slaughter in Franklin, Tennessee.

May 18–July 4, Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi
September 18, Battle Of Chickamauga, Georgia
November 23-25, Battle Of Chattanooga, Tennessee November 24, Lookout Mountain (Chattanooga), TennesseeCivil War 1864

Civil War 1864

May 5–7, Battle Of The Wilderness, Virginia
May 6–7, Port Walthall Junction, Virginia
May 8–21, Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia

May 15, Battle of New Market, Shenandoah County, Virginia

The Confederates, along with cadets from VMI, drove Union General Franz Sigel out of the Shenandoah Valley.

May 31-June 12, Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia
June 15–18, Battle of Petersburg, Virginia
July 30, Battle of the Crater, Siege of Petersburg, Virginia
September 21–24, Battle of Fisher’s Hill, Virginia

Union Major General Philip H. Sheridan attacked the seemingly impregnable heights of Fisher’s Hill, grandly known as the ‘Gibraltar of the Shenandoah Valley.’

April 12, Battle of Fort Pillow, Tennessee

Nathan Bedford Forrest led a massacre in Tennessee.

May 7–13. Rocky Face, Georgia
May 13–15, Battle of Resaca, Georgia

Major General William T. Sherman took on Joseph E. Johnston during the Atlanta campaign.

July 22, Battle of Atlanta, Georgia
December 15–16, Battle of Nashville  Nashville, Tennessee

The battle of Nashville was the last major battle in the Western Theater and a major victory for the Union.

December 24–27, Fort Fisher, North Carolina

August 5, Battle of Mobile Bay

Civil War 1865

April 5, Amelia Springs, Virginia*
April 6, Rice’s Station, Virginia*
April 6, Saylor’s Creek, Virginia*
April 6–7, High Bridge, Virginia*
April 7, Cumberland Church, Virginia*
April 8, Appomattox Courthouse at Appomattox Station, Virginia*
April 9, General Robert E. Lee surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia (*Collectively known as the Appomattox Campaign.)

Civil War Timeline Articles From History Net Magazines

DVD Review: Wyatt Earp’s RevengeDirector Michael Feifer had plenty of good material in the real-life killing of Dodge City prostitute Dora Hand, but he fails to deliver the goods in this straight-to-DVD film.
Battle Of South Mountain: Battlefield And BeyondJune Issue Extra: Lee’s first invasion of Union territory was turned back at the Battle of South Mountain
Major General Adelbert Ames: Forgotten Man of the 20th MaineJune Issue Extra: Adelbert Ames preceded Joshua Chamberlain as colonel of the 20th Maine
The Beast turned loose in New OrleansMaj. Gen. Benjamin Butler cleans up and clamps down on the rebellious Crescent City
A surprise visit from Morgan's RaidersThomas Lewis had avoided war -- until it invaded his own farm
'John Brown's Body' - Stephen Vincent Benet and Civil War Memory'John Brown's Body' by Stephen Vincent Benet, published in 1928, remains a vibrant tapestry of America's diversity and its unity, its 15,000 lines re-imagining the Civil War as Lincoln understood it.
Ron Maxwell Interview - 'Gods and Generals' Extended Director's CutA HistoryNet exclusive interview with director Ron Maxwell about the extended director's cut of his film Gods and Generals, now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
George Crook at the Battle of KernstownDid the Union general’s refusal to listen cost him the Second Battle of Kernstown?
Unfinished Railroad Cut at Second ManassasA railroad to nowhere gave Confederates a tactical advantage at Second Manassas.
Battlefields&Beyond: London, UKRebels ruled in Merry Old England.
'I Am Well and Hearty' - Walt Whitman's Brother in the Civil WarWalt Whitman has the reputation as a Civil War writer, but it was his younger brother, George Washington Whitman, who saw the war up close and personal as a member of Company K, 51st New York Volunteer Infantry.
The War List: Overrated Civil War OfficersHistorian Gary W. Gallagher picks Union and Confederate officers whose hype doesn't match reality.
Photo Essay: 150th Anniversary of First Manassas-Bull RunNearly 9,000 Civil War reenactors staged battle re-creations as part of the activities commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Manassas/Battle of Bull Run.
A National Park Service Living-History Volunteer's StoryA volunteer at the Manassas National Battlefield Park talks about portraying history while wearing 45 pounds of clothing and accoutrements in summer heat, the questions visitors ask, and why he does it.
Who Was the Youngest Civil War GeneralTrivia buffs beware: Galusha Pennypacker’s claim to being the Civil War’s youngest general doesn’t hold up
Irvin McDowell's Best Laid Plans


The orderly advance of Union troops at the start of the battle would become a distant memory in the hellish retreat that followed the fighting. Picture credit: Frank Leslie'sThe 'unexpected' Rebels he met at Bull Run weren't unexpected at all

McClellan's War-Winning StrategyThe "young Napoleon" had a viable plan to beat the Confederacy. What went wrong?
Where is General George MeadeHow Union General George G. Meade became the Rodney Dangerfield of the Civil War
The First Battle Of The Civil War - Philippi *

*Note on Philippi, the Civil War's First Battle Inland: Many people ask, "What was the first battle of the Civil War?" The answers that are often given are 'The Battle Of First Bull Run'  or 'Fort Sumter.'  Chronologically, Fort Sumpter

Building the Army of the PotomacStephen Sears writes of how the Army of the Potomac's politically appointed generals and short-term volunteer troops nearly unhinged Lincoln’s plans in 1861 to win the Civil War.
Last Chance for Peace: Fort Sumter at 150For months the Confederates trained dozens of guns on Fort Sumter. But no one seemed eager for war.
Ten Civil War ClassicsThe country’s bloodiest war has been captured in novels, memoirs, and battle narratives. Here are 10 classics
Battle of Big BethelA skirmish near the tip of Virginia’s Peninsula served as a harbinger of the four-year bloodbath to come.
Black Jack John Logan Goes to WarUnlike most politicians, John Logan played a pivotal role on the battlefield.
Gideon Welles Blockades Charleston Harbor

The one-way voyage of the Stone Fleet:
An aging armada sets course to become an obstacle

There may not have been a less impressive fleet in the entire history of the American Navy. The ships were old, long past their …

Union Spy in Confederate TerritoryUnion agent Pryce Lewis had his share of close calls
Pre Civil War Peace ConferenceAs secession fever spreads through the South, political patriarchs try to avert war—-but at what price?
Was Secession Legal

Southerners insisted they could legally bolt from the Union.
Northerners swore they could not.
War would settle the matter for good.

Over the centuries, various excuses have been employed for starting wars. Wars have been fought over land or honor. …

True Causes of the Civil War

Irreconcilable Differences
Simmering animosities between North and South signaled an American apocalypse

Any man who takes it upon himself to explain the causes of the Civil War deserves whatever grief comes his way, regardless of his good intentions. Having acknowledged …

Irvin McDowell: The Most Unpopular Man in AmericaTwo words came to define McDowell’s military prowess for the general’s most critical superiors: ‘Bull’ and ‘Run’
Capital Defense - Washington, D.C., in the Civil War

When the first inklings emerged early in 1861 that a fighting war pitting North versus South would soon break out, the residents of Washington, D.C.—at least those whose sympathies were with the Union—began to feel more than a little threatened. …

Ask MHQ - Did Confederate Generals Consider Attacking Washington?Did Confederate generals ever consider a direct attack on Washington during the Civil War? Noted author Steven A. Sears answers that question for a Military History Quarterly reader.
The 9 Lives of General John Brown GordonIndestructible Confederate general John B. Gordon survived multiple wounds and serious illnesses during the Civil War. From First Manassas to Appomattox, he proved nothing could keep a good man down.
Killers in Green CoatsHiram Berdan's green-coated marksmen of the 1st United States Sharp Shooters made things miserable for the Confederates around Yorktown, Virginia.
Daniel Sickles: An Unlikely Union GeneralThe Civil War salvaged Dan Sickles' career and saved him from financial ruin.

September - October 1862

General Lee heads north, producing a bloodbath in Maryland. And Abraham Lincoln presses emancipation

September

2 – In the aftermath of the Union's second loss at Bull Run, George McClellan is restored to full command of the Army of the …

Julian Scott Civil War PainterCurator Michael McAfee talks about artist Julian Scott and 51st New York Infantry at Antietam.
Louisa May Alcott Goes to WarEager to support the North, the budding author volunteered for a fledgling corps of female nurses
Ron Maxwell Interview - 'Gods and Generals' Extended Director's CutA HistoryNet exclusive interview with director Ron Maxwell about the extended director's cut of his film Gods and Generals, now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Antietam Battlefield’s Miller farmhouse gets a facelift

Halfway through a five-year renovation of the historic Miller farmhouse at Antietam National Battlefield, the Park Ser­vice preservation teams have been offering a handful of sneak previews of their handiwork.

David Miller's cornfield became an icon of the battlefield, after …

'I Am Well and Hearty' - Walt Whitman's Brother in the Civil WarWalt Whitman has the reputation as a Civil War writer, but it was his younger brother, George Washington Whitman, who saw the war up close and personal as a member of Company K, 51st New York Volunteer Infantry.
The art of war

The 150th anniversary of our greatest conflict implores us to take another look

Back in February, the London-based Art Newspaper, the most important journal in the museum world, published a front-page article bemoaning the shocking absence of American art …

What a difference a day makes


Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee camp on the outskirts of Hagerstown, Maryland, in September of 1862. Image courtesy of Weider History Group archive.

War seemed far away to the editors of a Maryland weekly newspaper–until

Irreconcilable DifferencesWinston Groom, author of Vicksburg 1863, explores the reasons the North and South found themselves at war.
Union Cavalry Escapes from Besieged Harpers FerryIn September 1862 some 1,600 Union cavalrymen seemingly trapped at Harpers Ferry carried out one of the Civil War's most successful missions of stealth and deception.
Where is General George MeadeHow Union General George G. Meade became the Rodney Dangerfield of the Civil War
James Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President

Education, Preservation, Dedication
Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer has made saving endangered battlefields his life's passion
Jim Lighthizer. Photo by Kevin Johnson.

What is the biggest threat to Civil War battlefield preservation right now?
No question about it, development—the …

Lee to the RearA Texas private’s long-forgotten account of Robert E. Lee’s brush with death at the Battle of the Wilderness.
Pre Civil War Peace ConferenceAs secession fever spreads through the South, political patriarchs try to avert war—-but at what price?
S. Waite Rawls, Museum of the Confederacy

Waite Rawls Revels in His Role as the Keeper of the Confederacy's Complex Legacy

S. Waite Rawls has a name and heritage befitting a Confederate general. A Virginia Military Institute graduate, he's got so many Rebel ancestors that he has …

MOC Interview

Waite Rawls Revels in His Role as the Keeper of the Confederacy's Complex Legacy

S. Waite Rawls has a name and heritage befitting a Confederate general. A Virginia Military Institute graduate, he's got so many Rebel ancestors that he has …

Confederate Alamo

Remembering the Confederates' last stand at Petersburg: The Confederate Alamo: Bloodbath at Petersburg's Fort Gregg on April 2, 1865
by John J. Fox III
Angle Valley Press, 2010, $34.95

Although it typically doesn't attract the attention it merits, April 2, …

Segways appear at Fredericksburg NMP

Segways slipping silently across the battlefield might resemble the charge of the very, very light brigade, but the two-wheel, stand-up scooters could be an ideal way for tourists to inspect hallowed Civil War sites.

Beginning in June, the Fredericksburg and …

Antietam RememberedA veteran of Antietam spent his life collecting accounts of the war’s most horrific fighting
John Howard, Superintendent, Antietam National Battlefield

Superintendent John Howard plans to retire at year's end after 16 years at the helm of Antietam National Battlefield. Here he shares a few parting thought.

What accomplishment stands out most in your time at Antietam?
John Howard. Photo by …

True Causes of the Civil War

Irreconcilable Differences
Simmering animosities between North and South signaled an American apocalypse

Any man who takes it upon himself to explain the causes of the Civil War deserves whatever grief comes his way, regardless of his good intentions. Having acknowledged …

Is General Stanley A. McChrystal more like General John Pope or George McClellan?MSNBC's Keith Olbermann compares President Obama's predicament with General McChrystal to Lincoln's decision about General John Pope.
'The Roar and Rattle': McClellan's Missed Opportunities at AntietamThe Battle of Antietam resulted in more pivotal changes, across a broader spectrum of events—military, political, diplomatic, societal—than any other battle of the war. Yet if evaluated in purely military terms, it was not decisive at all.
Explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal‘Noble Union Girls’: The thousands of Northern women who worked in Federal arsenals risked their lives for the cause.
Israel Richardson at Antietam

A Rising Star Struck Down in His Prime
Until Antietam: The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army, by Jack C. Mason, Southern Illinois University Press

Up to the moment he was mortally wound­ed along Antietam's …

Murder and Mayhem Ride the Rails - Union Soldiers Rampage in Virginia

Smoke and fire filled the skies south of Petersburg in December 1864 as the Army of the Potomac's V Corps targeted the Weldon Railroad. Dur­ing a raid along this vital supply line linking southeastern Virginia with North Carolina, liquor-fueled Federals …

They're Called Killing Grounds for a Reason: February/March 2009A 10-year study of the geomorphology of Civil War battlefields reveal connection between geological features and casualties.
Fighting Dick and his Fighting Men

On a bleak hillside overlooking the battleground of Sailor's Creek, General Robert E. Lee watched as hundreds of his men fled through the fields and wooded ravines below. "Men without guns, many without hats," one witness recalled, "all mingled with …

Ox Hill Battlefield: Honoring Second Bull Run’s Bloody PostscriptThe Battle of Ox Hill or Chantilly, in Virginia, has been commemorated with a new battlefield park along Rt. 608. The Sept. 1, 1862, battle was fought in a rainstorm and resulted in the death of Union generals Philip Kearny and Isaac Stevens.
Nicholas Biddle:The Civil War's First BloodJust days after Fort Sumter, a pro-Confederate mob in Maryland turned ex-slave Nicholas Biddle into the war's first casualty.

War by the numbersEyebrows were conspicuously raised recently when a "demographic historian" from New York's State University at Binghamton convincingly recalibrated the long-accepted Civil War death toll—boosting the grisly statistic by an astounding 20 percent.
Honor boundJust how far would a soldier go to avoid being shamed on the battlefield?
Book Reviews - July 2012

The Global Lincoln by Richard Carwardine, Jay Sexton, eds. Oxford University Press 2011, $29.95

At the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 2009, a new area of Lincoln studies emerged: his legacy outside the United States after the Civil War …

Letters to the editor - July 2012

Broadening our horizons
 I appreciated the articles on the Monitor in the March 2012 issue but there were a few inaccuracies. The cover statement that Monitor made "every other warship obsolete" is only true if we mean every other warship …

In the hot seat over GettysburgSouthern vets had long blamed James Longstreet and Jeb Stuart for their loss, but had Lee called a formal inquiry?
Ambrose Bierce and America's First Great War StoriesAuthor and Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce wrote of an ugly war, not the romanticized version found in most writings by his fellow veterans. His war was waged deep within the conscience of the individual solider and was often cloaked in supernaturalism.
Major General Adelbert Ames: Forgotten Man of the 20th MaineJune Issue Extra: Adelbert Ames preceded Joshua Chamberlain as colonel of the 20th Maine
A surprise visit from Morgan's RaidersThomas Lewis had avoided war -- until it invaded his own farm
Louisa May Alcott Goes to WarEager to support the North, the budding author volunteered for a fledgling corps of female nurses
Field Notes

Trail takes helm at Antietam Battlefield


Susan Trail was superintendent at Monocacy National Battlefield for eight years. Photograph courtesy of National Park Service.Monocacy National Battlefield Super-intendent Susan Trail has been selected to serve in the same capacity at Antietam National …

Fearless French MaryBattlefield held little terror for feisty Marie Tepe as she focused on aiding her beloved Zouaves
Ron Maxwell Interview - 'Gods and Generals' Extended Director's CutA HistoryNet exclusive interview with director Ron Maxwell about the extended director's cut of his film Gods and Generals, now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
George Crook at the Battle of KernstownDid the Union general’s refusal to listen cost him the Second Battle of Kernstown?
Is It MosbyIs this a previously unknown portrait of the Gray Ghost?
Longstreet - Scapegoat or CulpritDid Lee order Longstreet to attack at dawn on July 2 at Gettysburg? Did Longstreet drag his feet because he disapproved?
Putting the Wolverine State's heroics under the microscope

Two new books celebrate, in mostly commendable fashion, Michigan's contributions to the Civil War. Rick Liblong's Answering the Call to Duty: Saving Custer, Heroism at Gettysburg, POWs and Other Stories of Michigan's Small Town Soldiers in the Civil War (Arbutus …

History we can chew on

If we want the young to learn history, we must find appealing ways to teach it


The Lincoln restaurant offers this large white leather banquette as an inviting version of the president's perch at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo courtesy of …

Who owns Gettysburg?

Preservationists, residents, entrepreneurs and Civil War enthusiasts all want a stake in its legacy

At times it seems as if there isn't enough Gettysburg to go around, and almost 150 years after the nation-changing battle, the site remains a hotly …

Churchill Imagines How the South Won the Civil WarIn Winston Churchill’s fanciful alternative history, Robert E. Lee wins at Gettysburg, and Jeb Stuart prevents World War I
The War List: Overrated Civil War OfficersHistorian Gary W. Gallagher picks Union and Confederate officers whose hype doesn't match reality.
The Ultimate Political Action Committee

A congressional war panel proves too many cooks can poison the pot

By any standard, Ball's Bluff was a fiasco. What began as a raid in October 1861 escalated into an unintended battle for Leesburg, Va. The Yankees so badly …

Gaming board says no to Gettysburg casino

No gambling for historic Civil War town

Preservationists claimed victory in Gettysburg this spring when for the second time in five years, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected plans for a casino on the fringes of Gettysburg National Military Park.…

Who Was George G. Meade?

Meade Part I TubePressPlayerApi.register('zEX8aHJI4Y0'); 12next » TitleMeade Part I Runtime3:53 View count350 Description TitleMeade Part II Runtime2:45 View count169 Description TitleMeade Part VI Runtime3:11 View count158 DescriptionWho Was George G. Meade? with Dr. Allen Guelzo, Henry R. Luce Professor of …

Sacred Trust: Gettysburg Perspectives Lecture Series

 

 

A Sacred Trust: Gettysburg Perspectives Lecture Series

July 1, 2 & 3, 2011

At Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center

1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA

 

The Gettysburg Foundation is pleased to present our annual lecture

World War Two in GettysburgScrap drives, war rallies and German POWs took over America’s preeminent battlefield
New Gettysburg Film from Ridley and Tony Scott

Scott brothers produce Gettysburg film for History channel

The famed filmmaking Scott brothers—Ridley (Gladiator; Black Hawk Down; American Gangster) and Tony (Unstop­pable; Man on Fire; Top Gun)—have teamed with the cable channel History to produce Gettysburg, …

A Sesquicentennial three-pack

Stunning photos dominate these coffee table tomes

The Civil War sesquicentennial has spawned a new—and not-so-new—wave of literature designed to introduce a new generation to the nation's seminal conflict. Among the first such books are three profusely illustrated volumes that …

Gettysburg's Best and Worst MonumentsWhat are Gettysburg's best and worst monuments?
Where is General George MeadeHow Union General George G. Meade became the Rodney Dangerfield of the Civil War
James Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President

Education, Preservation, Dedication
Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer has made saving endangered battlefields his life's passion
Jim Lighthizer. Photo by Kevin Johnson.

What is the biggest threat to Civil War battlefield preservation right now?
No question about it, development—the …

Julian Scott Civil War PainterCurator Michael McAfee talks about artist Julian Scott and 51st New York Infantry at Antietam.
'John Brown's Body' - Stephen Vincent Benet and Civil War Memory'John Brown's Body' by Stephen Vincent Benet, published in 1928, remains a vibrant tapestry of America's diversity and its unity, its 15,000 lines re-imagining the Civil War as Lincoln understood it.
Walmart Withdraws from Wilderness Battlefield

Preservationists win Wilderness battle

Rather than face what would likely have been an image-bruising court fight, Walmart has abandoned plans to build a retail supercenter on the doorstep of the Wilderness battlefield in central Virginia.

"This project has been controversial, …

Ten Civil War ClassicsThe country’s bloodiest war has been captured in novels, memoirs, and battle narratives. Here are 10 classics
Bloody Field at Champion’s HillAfter three months of frustration, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in May 1863 succeeded in getting his army onto the east bank of the Mississippi River in the rear of the fortress city of Vicksburg. In a lightning campaign Grant’s army defeated Confederate detachments at Port Gibson on May 1, Raymond on May 12, and Jackson on May 14, neutralizing the Mississippi capital as a Confederate base for the relief of Vicksburg. Then he turned toward Vicksburg itself.
Murder in the Civil War

Getting away with murder
The battlefield claimed many a brave officer, but there were a few others who met not-quite-so-honorable ends

The death toll among general officers during the Civil War was staggering. Because military necessity often placed a general …

The War Over Plunder: Who Owns Art Stolen in War?Over the past two decades, globalization, changing attitudes, and clearer international laws have emboldened aggrieved nations to demand the return of cultural property seized by enemy forces in the past, but laws alone can’t guarantee their success.
Explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal‘Noble Union Girls’: The thousands of Northern women who worked in Federal arsenals risked their lives for the cause.
Emmitsburg Road Preservation Campaign

Civil War Preservation Trust announces latest campaign

Fundraising has begun for the preservation of a crucial two-acre parcel on the Gettys­burg battlefield. The property, originally part of the historic Philip Snyder farm, lies along the Emmitsburg Road and is entirely …

Battlefield Preservation Effort - 7200 Acres at PetersburgU.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced the “Petersburg National Boundary Modification Act,” to protect 7,200 additional acres of historic battlefields around Petersburg, which would create the largest military park in the United States.
Lincoln’s Political Generals

Lincoln's Political Generals, by David Work
University of Illinois Press, 2009

Abraham Lincoln made his share of mistakes as commander in chief during the Civil War, but did his politically motivated appointments of nonmilitary men as Union generals help or …

'A White Man's War'William T. Sherman’s adamant refusal to field African-American troops amounted to outright insubordination
Who kept U.S. Grant sober?John Rawlins used his brains and blue language to keep his boss in check.
Murder and Mayhem Ride the Rails - Union Soldiers Rampage in Virginia

Smoke and fire filled the skies south of Petersburg in December 1864 as the Army of the Potomac's V Corps targeted the Weldon Railroad. Dur­ing a raid along this vital supply line linking southeastern Virginia with North Carolina, liquor-fueled Federals …

Digging deeply into the earthworks at PetersburgIn the Trenches at Petersburg:
Field Fortifications & Confederate Defeat

by Earl J. Hess
University of North Carolina
Press, 2009

New biographies that focus on Civil War–era figures inevitably face the dilemma of how to interpret race, politics and equality …

Capital Defense - Washington, D.C., in the Civil War

When the first inklings emerged early in 1861 that a fighting war pitting North versus South would soon break out, the residents of Washington, D.C.—at least those whose sympathies were with the Union—began to feel more than a little threatened. …

The South's Last Great VictoryAn alliance of the Confederacy’s eastern and western armies earned a bloody triumph at the September 1863 Battle of Chickamauga
Hanging Captain GordonNathaniel Gordon was the only American sent to the gallows for slave traiding.
Two Ways to Approach One War: August/September 2009Two Civil Wars await anyone seeking to understand our transformative national trial.
Mothers of the Lost CauseAn army of determined Southern women buried the dead but kept the mythic Confederate legacy of the Lost Cause alive
Fighting Dick and his Fighting Men

On a bleak hillside overlooking the battleground of Sailor's Creek, General Robert E. Lee watched as hundreds of his men fled through the fields and wooded ravines below. "Men without guns, many without hats," one witness recalled, "all mingled with …

Decision at The Battle of Five Forks - 1865


The headstrong Gen. Philip Sheridan (left) had little patience for the careful battle tactics of Gen. Gouverneur Warren (right) and replaced him at Five Forks. But in 1880 Sheridan would be forced to justify his actions before a court of …

When Railroad Guns RuledFor 85 years, railroad guns were regarded as the ultimate weapon, large enough to do substantial damage but movable to wherever railroad tracks could go. Unparalleled bunker busters, they also terrorized civilians by firing on cities from afar.
Stumbling in Sherman's PathStandard histories of Major General William T. Sherman’s celebrated March to the Sea invariably portray the Confederacy’s response as inconsequential. Such broad generalizations may assuage wounded Southern pride, but they also rewrite history.
The 9 Lives of General John Brown GordonIndestructible Confederate general John B. Gordon survived multiple wounds and serious illnesses during the Civil War. From First Manassas to Appomattox, he proved nothing could keep a good man down.
Reimaginining the SouthA Southerner learns the skeleton in her family closet wore a coat of Union blue.
'A Stupid Old Useless Fool'William Nelson Pendleton was far more effective behind a pulpit than he was as Robert E. Lee's chief of artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia.
Coming Apart From the Inside: How Internal Strife Brought Down the ConfederacyPoliticians and generals on the Confederate side have long been lionized as noble warriors who heroically fought for an honorable cause that had little chance of succeeding. In reality, the Confederate leadership was rife with infighting.
The Union's Bloody Miscue at Spotsylvania's MuleshoeUlysses S. Grant's human battering ram assaults failed to break Robert E. Lee's position at the Muleshoe despite twenty hours of fighting at the Bloody Angle.
Grenade!: The Little-Known Weapon of the Civil WarGrenades were used in the Civil War from Vicksburg to Petersburg, but they were often as dangerous to their users as to their targets.

Was Secession Legal

Southerners insisted they could legally bolt from the Union.
Northerners swore they could not.
War would settle the matter for good.

Over the centuries, various excuses have been employed for starting wars. Wars have been fought over land or honor. …

Lee's Unwritten MemoirWhy didn’t Robert E. Lee write his memoirs?
Key Third Winchester Site Saved: April/May 2009Third Winchester, the bloodiest battle to take place in the Shenandoah Valley, will likely draw more visitors than ever now that a larger portion of the battlefield is being preserved
Fighting Dick and his Fighting Men

On a bleak hillside overlooking the battleground of Sailor's Creek, General Robert E. Lee watched as hundreds of his men fled through the fields and wooded ravines below. "Men without guns, many without hats," one witness recalled, "all mingled with …

Decision at The Battle of Five Forks - 1865


The headstrong Gen. Philip Sheridan (left) had little patience for the careful battle tactics of Gen. Gouverneur Warren (right) and replaced him at Five Forks. But in 1880 Sheridan would be forced to justify his actions before a court of …

The 9 Lives of General John Brown GordonIndestructible Confederate general John B. Gordon survived multiple wounds and serious illnesses during the Civil War. From First Manassas to Appomattox, he proved nothing could keep a good man down.
Coming Apart From the Inside: How Internal Strife Brought Down the ConfederacyPoliticians and generals on the Confederate side have long been lionized as noble warriors who heroically fought for an honorable cause that had little chance of succeeding. In reality, the Confederate leadership was rife with infighting.
American Indian Sharpshooters at the Battle of the Crater

Lieutenant Freeman S. Bowley was fighting for his life in the man-made hellhole that was the Petersburg Crater when he noticed that the former slaves in his company of the 30th United States Colored Troops were not the only men …

John Singleton Mosby's Revenge

A ragged line of Union soldiers stood in a field along Goose Creek in Rectortown, Virginia, on November 6, 1864. They jostled, chatted and joked with each other, pleased to be outdoors on a brisk autumn day. As prisoners of …

Custer's Last Stand Still Stands UpThe Battle of the Little Bighorn is like a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle on the south-central Montana landscape - the stuff of legend and historical gamesmanship.
Ulysses S. Grant: The 'Unconditional Surrender Continues

For most general officers, a headline-making victory accompanied by the abject surrender of an entire enemy army, such as Ulysses "Unconditional Surrender" Grant accomplished at Fort Donelson in February 1862, would have been quite enough for one career. But Grant …

Ulysses S. Grant: The Myth of 'Unconditional Surrender Begins at Fort Donelson

In January 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met in secret near Casablanca, Morocco, for their second wartime summit meeting. At the final press conference on January 24, Roosevelt announced to the world that the Allies would not stop …

America's Civil War: Little Round Top RegimentsRenowned for their valorous stand at Gettysburg, the Little Round Top Regiments saw many more days of combat, glory and horror before the Civil War ended.
Battle of Dinwiddie Court HouseUlysses S. Grant sent his trusted cavalry commander Phil Sheridan to flank Robert E. Lee out of Petersburg. The crossroads hamlet of Dinwiddie Court House soon became the focal point for one of the most pivotal cavalry battles of the war.

By Mark J. Crawford

James Longstreet: Robert E. Lee's Most Valuable Soldier

The words resonate through Confederate history like an unwelcome truth. As General Robert E. Lee made preparations for an assault on the center of the Union line at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, his senior subordinate, Lieutenant General James Longstreet, …

Robert E. Lee and His Horse TravellerRarely have horse and rider gone so well together as Traveller and Robert E. Lee.
Battle of Sailor's CreekThe April 6, 1865 Battle of Sailor's Creek constituted one of the darkest days in the Army of Northern Virginia's history.
America's Civil War: Images of Peace at AppomattoxEvery picture tells a different story about Lee's surrender.
44th Georgia Regiment Volunteers in the American Civil WarThe hard-fighting 44th Georgia suffered some of the heaviest losses of any regiment in the Civil War.
Father John B. Tabb: Aboard Confederate Blockade RunnersFather John B. Tabb, an unreconstructed Rebel to the end, had served the Confederacy aboard blockade runners.
America's Civil War: Pre-dawn Assault on Fort StedmanLed by select groups of sharpshooters, the weary, muddy troops of the Army of Northern Virginia made one last desperate push to break out of Petersburg.
Major General George Stoneman Led the Last American Civil War Cavalry RaidEven as General Robert E. Lee was surrendering at Appomattox, a vengeful Union cavalry horde led by Maj. Gen. George Stoneman made Southern civilians pay dearly for the war. It was a last brutal lesson in the concept of total warfare.
Lieutenant Colonel Horace C. Porter: Eyewitness to the Surrender at AppomattoxLieutenant Colonel Horace C. Porter provides a firsthand account of Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.
Edwin Booth Saved Robert Todd Lincoln's LifeA Lincoln family incident during the Civil War became a remarkable snippet of assassination lore.
America's Civil War: Assault at PetersburgSixth Corps Yankees stumbled out of their earthworks and toward the muddy pits of the Army of Northern Virginia. It was the beginning of the end at Petersburg.
Battle of Gettysburg: Fighting at Little Round TopThe Battle of Gettysburg, and perhaps the fate of the Union, was decided in one hour of desperate fighting on the rocky ledges of Little Round Top.
America's Civil War: Last Ditch Rebel Stand at PetersburgAfter nearly 10 months of trench warfare, Confederate resistance at Petersburg, Va., suddenly collapsed. Desperate to save his army, Robert E. Lee called on his soldiers for one last miracle.
Camp William Penn: Training Ground for FreedomUnder the stern but sympathetic gaze of Lt. Col. Louis Wagner, some 11,000 African-American soldiers trained to fight for their freedom at Philadelphia's Camp William Penn. Three Medal of Honor recipients would pass through the camp's gates.
Siege of Petersburg: The City and Citizens Were Impacted from the StartCircled by Confederate trenches, hard pressed by Union forces, the people of Petersburg had nothing left to do but endure -- and pray for a miracle.

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