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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

Civil War 1861

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.
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.
The Worst Battlefield Blunders: Five Battles That Ended BadlyBattlefield blunders can be as decisive as brilliant tactics. Five of the worst military blunders came at the battles of Gallipoli, Fredericksburg, Dien Bien Phu, Adwa, and Little Bighorn.
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.
America’s Civil War: Why the Irish Fought for the UnionThe Irish experience in the Civil War has probably received more attention — and celebration — than that of any other ethnic group. Mention of the Irish commonly conjures up images of the Irish Brigade’s doomed charge at Fredericksburg, of Father William Corby granting absolution before Gettysburg, or possibly the mourning wolfhound at the base …
Battle of Antietam: Two Great American Armies Engage in CombatThe opposing armies at Antietam were two very different forces commanded by two very different men.

By Ted Alexander

George Armstrong Custer: Between Myth and RealityReality and myth about George Custer still collide on the battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania.

By Jeffry D. Wert

American Civil War: The 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry RegimentThe Twenty-Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment included two future presidents and an Army Commander.
Second Battle of Manassas: Union Major General John Pope Was No Match for Robert E. LeeBrash, bombastic John Pope tempted fate by returning to the old battleground at Manassas. He thought he had caught Robert E. Lee napping. He was wrong.
Union General Judson KilpatrickUnion General Judson Kilpatrick was flamboyant, reckless, tempestuous, and even licentious. In some respects he made other beaux sabreurs like fellow-cavalrymen George Custer and J. E. B. Stuart seem dull.
Battle of Wilson’s CreekThe Battle of Wilson's Creek helped to keep a critical border state out of the Confederacy.
Battle of Ball’s BluffConfederate soldiers drove inexperienced Union troops acting on faulty intelligence into the Potomac River like lemmings.
Brigadier General Thomas F. MeagherBrigadier General Thomas F. Meagher, the colorful leader of the Irish Brigade, fought many battles--not all of them with the enemy.
1st Louisiana Special Battalion at the First Battle of ManassasRecruited from New Orleans' teeming waterfront by soldier of fortune Roberdeau Wheat, the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion more than lived up to its pugnacious nickname--Wheat's Tigers--at the First Battle of Manassas.
Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War: One Man’s Morbid VisionFor Ambrose Bierce, the enemy was not really the gray-clad host at the other end of the field, but death, and the terror of death and wounds.
America’s Civil War: Front Royal Was the Key to the Shenandoah ValleyThe pretty little town of Front Royal, in the Shenandoah Valley, had a strategic value that belied its size. As Stonewall Jackson knew, it was the key to the valley, the state of Virginia and the war itself.
Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861 (Book Review)Reviewed by Dan Monroe By David Detzer Harcourt In Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861, retired history professor David Detzer returns to the battle that made plain the bloody intensity that was to characterize the Civil War in the Eastern theater. Caught up in a surging tide of Northern public opinion favoring aggressive action, …
Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861 (Book Review)Reviewed by John HennessyBy David Detzer New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2004 Whether you refer to it as Manassas or Bull Run, you’ll want this book on the war’s first major battle. The First Battle of Bull Run, or Manassas, holds an odd place in the nation’s historical mind. It grabs our attention because it was …
Second Battle of Bull Run: Destruction of the 5th New York ZouavesThe Texas Brigade tide bore down on the isolated 5th New York Zouaves at Second Bull Run. A fine regiment was about to be destroyed.
37th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in the American Civil WarThe service of the 37th North Carolina epitomized the grit and determination of Tar Heel fighters.
First Battle of Bull Run: The U.S MarinesWith hordes of eager Confederates gathering at Manassas, panicky Union commanders massed whatever forces they could in the nation's capital. Among those answering the call were the U.S. Marines. Manassas, however, would not be one of their shining moments.
America’s Civil War: John Mosby and George Custer Clash in the Shenandoah ValleyWhen Civil War's John Singleton Mosby's Partisan Rangers clashed with George A. Custer's Union Cavalry, the niceties of war were the first casualty. Reprisal and counter reprisal became the order of the day.
The Irish Brigade Fought in America’s Civil WarTheir casualties were enormous but their courage and capacity for fun were legendary. General Lee, himself, gave highest praise to these Yankees of the Irish Brigade.
War Watchers at Bull Run During America’s Civil WarA crowd of Washington politicos, socialites, and newsmen came out to watch the war's first real battle, along northern Virginia's Bull Run. For most, the view was as disappointing as the fight's outcome. But a few got to see all the action they could handle, and more.
Battle of HanoverSouthern beau sabreur J.E.B. Stuart hardly expected to run head-on into enemy cavalry on his second ride around the Union Army. But a trio of 'boy generals' would soon give the famed Confederate horseman all the action he could handle.
Account Of The Battle of PhilippiAt Philippi, in western Virginia, one overly optimistic young colonel confidently awaited reinforcements as Union columns converged on his tiny force from all directions in the first full-fledged battle of the Civil War.
America’s Civil War: March 2001 From the EditorFrom the Editor America's Civil War Yale’s Theodore Winthrop once rivaled Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., as the Ivy League’s most prominent Civil War veteran. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., by virtue of his long and distinguished legal career, may have been the most famous Harvard College graduate to take part in the Civil …
Book Review: General Robert F. Hoke: Lee’s Most Modest Warrior (Daniel W. Barefoot) : MHGeneral Robert F. Hoke: Lee’s Most Modest Warrior, by Daniel W. Barefoot, John F. Blair, Publisher, Winston-Salem, N.C., 1996, $24.95. Lincolnton, N.C., named for Revolutionary War hero Benjamin Lincoln, produced four generals for the Confederacy, including Robert F. Hoke. Author Daniel Barefoot admits in his preface that this book, the first full-length biography of the …
The Approaching Fury: Voices of the Storm, 1820-1861 (Stephen B. Oates) : ACWThe Approaching Fury: Voices of the Storm, 1820-1861, by Stephen B. Oates, HarperCollins, New York, 1997, $28. The vast pantheon of Civil War literature is graced with titles focusing on the underlying causes of America’s bloodiest conflict. Politics and economics, racial and social undercurrents, states’ rights and Manifest Destiny–all have received minute scrutiny. Far too …
Book Review: Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend (James I. Robertson) : ACWA magisterial new biography of Stonewall Jackson presents all sides of a complex, often inscrutable man. By Richard F. Welch At the time of his death in May 1863, Lieutenant General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was the best-known Civil War commander. Revered in the South and feared in the North, Jackson so personified the Confederacy’s …
Book Review: Custer: The Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer (Jeffry D. Wert) : ACWGeorge Armstrong Custer's controversial life ended in an equally controversial death at the Little Bighorn.
Book: Davis and Lee at War (Steven E. Woodworth): ACWDAVIS AND LEE AT WARThe decisive impact of politics on Civil War strategy is currently a hot topic among Civil War historians. Works analyzing thehigh commands of the Federal and Confederate armies and their complex relationships with the political hierarchy of theirrespective governments have proliferated, adding a new layer of knowledge to our understanding of …
Book Review: Richard S. Ewell: A Soldier’s Life (Donald C. Pfanz) : ACW‘Old Bald Head’ Ewell was a much better general than his notoriously eccentric image sometimes suggested. By B. Keith Toney With the possible exception of World War II, the American Civil War has been written about more often than any other war. Certainly it can be argued that no army in any time period has …

Civil War 1862

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 MenOn 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 teamsters riding their mules with dangling traces.” A relentless barrage of Union attacks on the …
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.
Union General Daniel SicklesOn two separate battlefields, Union General Daniel Sickles carelessly exposed his men -- and the entire army -- to possible defeat. Only the quick actions of other Federal officers managed to compensate for Sickles' errors and keep his mistakes from becoming disasters. It was life as usual for 'Devil Dan.'
O. T. Reilly – Relic Collector and Early Antietam Tour GuideO. T. Reilly was an early relic collector and tour guide living near the Antietam battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland. This article includes photos of many of the relics he collected.
Shot by Cupid’s Bow – Fanny and John Brown GordonConfederate General John Brown Gordon and his wife Fanny shared a loyal and passionate marriage for nearly 50 years. She spent much of the Civil War nursing him as he recovered from wounds and illness.
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.
‘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.
America’s Civil War Monuments: Hartford’s Stately Bridge Over Troubled WatersGeorge W. Keller's Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Hartford was a first-of-a-kind memorial in the United States.
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.
The Worst Battlefield Blunders: Five Battles That Ended BadlyBattlefield blunders can be as decisive as brilliant tactics. Five of the worst military blunders came at the battles of Gallipoli, Fredericksburg, Dien Bien Phu, Adwa, and Little Bighorn.
Sculpting a Scapegoat: Ambrose Burnside at AntietamA fresh examination of Major General Ambrose Burnside's actions at the Battle of Antietam suggests he was made into a scapegoat for others' failings.
William J. Palmer: Forgotten Union General of America’s Civil WarWilliam J. Palmer raised the Anderson Troop, a mounted contingent of elite scouts, then recruited the 15th Pennsyl­vania Cavalry before being sent on spying missions that landed him in a Richmond prison.
Unraveling the Myths of Burnside BridgeIt is clear that Union general Ambrose Burnside’s failures at Antietam cannot be written off to ineptness or petty insubordination, but what really did happen at "Burnside's Bridge?"
Letter From America’s Civil War – September 2007September is America’s cruelest month. The three most costly events in human terms suffered by our country occurred in that ninth month of the year. On September 11, 2001, jets fell out of clear blue skies to kill roughly 3,000 people in New York City, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Gulf of Mexico spread its wrath …
Antietam Eyewitness AccountsEyewitness accounts from soldiers who experienced the carnage of Antietam, America's bloodiest day.
War’s Lingering Devastation In the Antietam ValleyWilliam Roulette's farmstead was in the middle of mayhem at the Battle of Antietam. Determined to rebuild, Roulette painstakingly detailed the devastating losses suffered by his famiiy.
Battle of Antietam: Union Surgeons and Civilian Volunteers Help the WoundedUnion surgeons and civilian volunteers struggled to cope with thousands of Antietam wounded with makeshift hospitals in barns and barnyards, houses and churches, haystacks, pastures and flimsy tents around Sharpsburg, Maryland.
Intelligence: The Secret War Within America’s Civil WarSpies, slaves, fake deserters, signal towers, and newspapers were all sources of intelligence Union and Confederate commanders used to peer into the enemy's plans.
Spent Bullets Tell a Story at Antietam2007-05-14 | Buried beneath a sun-dappled corn field in western Maryland lies detritus from the millions of rounds fired during the battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day in American history.

America’s Civil War: Where Does Private Jemison RestWhere is the final resting place of Confederate Private Edwin F. Jemison, killed at Malvern Hill?
Battle of Cold Harbor: The Folly and HorrorThe blame for a broad command failure that led to 7,000 unnecessary Union casualties in a single hour applies to more than just the commander in chief.

By Robert N. Thompson

America’s Civil War: Why the Irish Fought for the UnionThe Irish experience in the Civil War has probably received more attention — and celebration — than that of any other ethnic group. Mention of the Irish commonly conjures up images of the Irish Brigade’s doomed charge at Fredericksburg, of Father William Corby granting absolution before Gettysburg, or possibly the mourning wolfhound at the base …
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 Salem Church: Final Federal Assault at ChancellorsvilleWhile a dazed 'Fighting Joe' Hooker reeled from the brilliant Confederate flank attack at Chancellorsville, Union Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick fought his way past Rebel defenders to attack the enemy rear. At Salem Church, he tried to open a second front -- and possibly save the day.

By George Rogan

Letter From the September 2006 Civil War Times MagazineThe Underdog Days of Summer America loves an underdog, for obvious reasons. After all, we were an underdog from the second when feet hit the shore at Jamestown. If you were taking bets around the rest of the world on the prospect of America’s survival before, during and after the Revolution, you would have found …
Battle of Antietam: Two Great American Armies Engage in CombatThe opposing armies at Antietam were two very different forces commanded by two very different men.

By Ted Alexander

Battle of Antietam: Federal Flank Attack at Dunker ChurchWith Union Major General Joseph Hooker's I Corps lying shattered in the blood-soaked cornfield at Antietam, Brigadier General George Greene's 'Bully Boys' somehow managed to punch a salient in the Confederate line. But would they be able to hold it?

By Robert C. Cheeks

Civil War 1863

Is It MosbyIs this a previously unknown portrait of the Gray Ghost?
Did Robert E. Lee Doom Himself at Gettysburg?By blindly relying on poor intelligence and saying far too little to his generals, Lee may have sealed the Rebels’ fate.
Fighting Words: Inspiration From AnnihilationThe Civil War was one of the deadliest conflicts in history. Some 620,000 troops died, an estimated two-thirds from disease rather than combat. This number represented about 2 percent of the American population, and far more than the casualties of any previous conflict of the United States. It is not surprising, therefore, that several of the terms born during that conflict incorporate the word “dead.”
Ever Heard a Real Rebel Yell?: August/September 2009Many Union soldiers wrote about the soul-chilling yells of attacking Confederates. Thanks to the Museum of the Confederacy, you can hear the real thing on a CD featuring the authentic yell as performed by two elderly Confederate veterans. The two voices have also been multiplied and blended to simulate the terrifying sound of a regiment …
Resources: August/September 2009P. 22, Military Manuals of the Civil War Read Dennis Hart Mahan’s An Elementary Treatise on Advanced-Guard, Out-posts… online with Google Book Search. P. 24, Field Guide Daryl Black was recently named executive director of the Chatta­­nooga History Center (chattanoogahistory.com). Further reading on Civil War Chatta­nooga: The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga, …
Two Ways to Approach One War: August/September 2009Two Civil Wars await anyone seeking to understand our transformative national trial.
Abraham Lincoln Museums – An OverviewFour museums dedicated to presenting the life of Abraham Lincoln, each one different in character, are examined in detail, with photos.
Welcome Aboard USS Water Witch: June/July 2009USS Water Witch is scheduled to be commissioned on April 4, 2009, at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Ga. That weekend also marks the first time the painstakingly replicated vessel will open to the public. “This is a very faithful reproduction of the USS Water Witch, which has the distinction of serving …
Resources: June/July 2009Toward a Better Understanding of George McClellan, P. 28 McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, Ethan S. Rafuse, Indiana University Press Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861-1862, Joseph L. Harsh, Kent State George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon, Stephen W. Sears, Da …
Mothers of the Lost CauseAn army of determined Southern women buried the dead but kept the mythic Confederate legacy of the Lost Cause alive
Go To Gettysburg!: February/March 2009Noted historian Gary W. Gallagher gives his perspective in the Civil War Times bi-monthly column Blue and Gray.
Fighting Dick and his Fighting MenOn 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 teamsters riding their mules with dangling traces.” A relentless barrage of Union attacks on the …
Diehard Rebels: Jason Phillips and Aaron Sheehan-Dean InterviewIt’s perfectly feasible to imagine that if the South had successfully left the Union, the West would also have split away Did Confederate soldiers lose the will to fight as the outlook began to appear bleak for the South late in the war? Many scholars have argued that case, but Jason Phillips of Mississippi State …
Union General Daniel SicklesOn two separate battlefields, Union General Daniel Sickles carelessly exposed his men -- and the entire army -- to possible defeat. Only the quick actions of other Federal officers managed to compensate for Sickles' errors and keep his mistakes from becoming disasters. It was life as usual for 'Devil Dan.'
O. T. Reilly – Relic Collector and Early Antietam Tour GuideO. T. Reilly was an early relic collector and tour guide living near the Antietam battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland. This article includes photos of many of the relics he collected.
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.
Worn Out, Hungry and Broke: Confederate Discontent after GettysburgThe Civil War letters of two North Carolina soldiers reveal discontent in the post-Gettysburg Army of Northern Virginia.
Feeling the Past at GettysburgThe presence of the past can be felt at the Gettysburg battlefield, where so many Civil War soldiers laid down their lives.
Field Guide Vicksburg: Gibraltar of the ConfederacyTake a photographic tour of the National Military Park at Vicksburg, Mississippi, with this collection of photos of monuments and terrain at the "Confederate Gibraltar."
John Burns of GettysburgBret Harte's poem, John Burns of Gettysburg, celebrates an elderly civilian who took up arms in defense of his home.
‘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.
Death and Civil War America: Interview with Drew Gilpin FaustDrew Gilpin Faust discusses her book, "This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War," a thoughtful study of the impact of the war's massive death toll on society and government.
America’s Civil War Monuments: Hartford’s Stately Bridge Over Troubled WatersGeorge W. Keller's Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Hartford was a first-of-a-kind memorial in the United States.
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.
America’s Civil War: Arming the South With Guns From the NorthConfederate battlefield victories depended in part on supplies of Northern weapons, particularly early in the war. William J. Hardee and Paul J. Semmes were sent North to procure those guns.
At Washington’s Gates: Jubal Early’s Chance to Take the CapitolIn July 1864, Lt. Gen. Jubal Early led a Confederate army to the gates of Washington. What stopped him from capturing the Northern capital and its president, Abraham Lincoln?
Fighting and Dying for the Colors at GettysburgNearly two months after the battle of Gettysburg 24-year-old Isaac Dunsten of the 105th Pennsylvania Infantry lay on officers’ row at Camp Letterman, the large tent hospital established just east of the town. On July 2, 1863, the second day of the battle, a bullet had shattered the lieutenant’s right thigh. A splint was applied …
American Indian Sharpshooters at the Battle of the CraterLieutenant 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 of color wearing Union blue and dodging Confederate Minié balls on the stifling hot morning …

Civil War 1864

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 MenOn 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 teamsters riding their mules with dangling traces.” A relentless barrage of Union attacks on the …
Decision at The Battle of Five Forks – 1865The 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 inquiry in New York. Photograph: Library of Congress Did Philip Sheridan forever tarnish a major …
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.
William T. Sherman’s First Campaign of DestructionBefore Gen. Willliam T. Sherman made Georgia howl, he burned a path through Mississippi, waging a war of destruction that left Southern civilians just enough for survival but not enough to support Confederate military activity.
Load the Hopper and Turn the Crank: Rapid-Fire Guns of the Civil WarRapid-fire weapons like the Gatling gun and the Coffee Mill gun were Civil War novelties, technology that was ahead of its time.
American Indian Sharpshooters at the Battle of the CraterLieutenant 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 of color wearing Union blue and dodging Confederate Minié balls on the stifling hot morning …
Burning High Bridge: The South’s Last HopeIn the final week of the war in Virginia, small villages, crossroads and railroad depots previously untouched by the fighting took on enormous importance as Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant sought to bring General Robert E. Lee to bay and the Confederate chieftain struggled to escape a Federal encirclement. Among the most important of these …
America’s Civil War: Why the Irish Fought for the UnionThe Irish experience in the Civil War has probably received more attention — and celebration — than that of any other ethnic group. Mention of the Irish commonly conjures up images of the Irish Brigade’s doomed charge at Fredericksburg, of Father William Corby granting absolution before Gettysburg, or possibly the mourning wolfhound at the base …
Battle of Belmont: Ulysses S. Grant Takes CommandWith Union and Confederate troops jockeying for position in neutral Kentucky, an inexperienced brigadier general -- Ulysses S. Gran- - led his equally green Federal troops on a risky foray along the Kentucky-Missouri border.

By Max Epstein

James Longstreet: Robert E. Lee’s Most Valuable SoldierThe 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, voiced objections. At one point in the discussion, Longstreet recounted his experience as a soldier …
Battle of Fisher’s HillGeneral George Crook's flank attack at Fisher's Hill swept down on the Rebel left like a force of nature.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad: The Union’s Most Important Supply LineThe Baltimore & Ohio Railroad survived numerous hardships of the Civil War in its service to the Union.
Battle of New Market Heights: USCT Soldiers Proved Their HeroismOn a gunfire-swept slope near Richmond on September 29, 1864, USCT soldiers stood to the test and proved black men made good professional troops. Fourteen of them received the Medal of Honor for their bravery.
Account Of The Battle of the WildernessIn the dark, forbidding woods of Virginia's Wilderness, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee stumbled blindly toward their first wartime encounter. Neither had a clear idea of his opponent's intentions, but each planned to do what he did best--attack.
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: Horses and Field ArtilleryWorking side by side with soldiers, horses labored to pull artillery pieces into battle. Without them, field artillery could not have been used to such deadly effect.
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.
Battle of Champion’s HillWith Ulysses S. Grant's army steadily menacing Vicksburg, Confederate General John Pemberton left the town's comforting defenses to seek out the enemy army. Too late, he found it, at Champion's Hill.
Union General Judson KilpatrickUnion General Judson Kilpatrick was flamboyant, reckless, tempestuous, and even licentious. In some respects he made other beaux sabreurs like fellow-cavalrymen George Custer and J. E. B. Stuart seem dull.
THE CLASSICS: The Passing of Armies : An Account Of The Final Campaign Of The Army Of The Potomac (Book Review)Reviewed by Peter S. Carmichael By Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Fame for his actions at Little Round Top has overshadowed the rest of Joshua Chamberlain’s historical résumé. Admirers and critics alike tend to reduce his wartime contributions to a single but decisive moment on July 2, 1863. The Bowdoin College professor is partially to blame for …
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.

Civil War 1865

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 MenOn 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 teamsters riding their mules with dangling traces.” A relentless barrage of Union attacks on the …
Decision at The Battle of Five Forks – 1865The 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 inquiry in New York. Photograph: Library of Congress Did Philip Sheridan forever tarnish a major …
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 CraterLieutenant 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 of color wearing Union blue and dodging Confederate Minié balls on the stifling hot morning …
John Singleton Mosby’s RevengeA 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 war these 27 Yankees had been confined to a brick store building in the village, …
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 ContinuesFor 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 would make the most of two more opportunities for practicing the “art of surrender,” starting …
Ulysses S. Grant: The Myth of ‘Unconditional Surrender Begins at Fort DonelsonIn 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 until they had the “unconditional surrender” of Germany, Italy and Japan. It was an impulsive …
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 SoldierThe 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, voiced objections. At one point in the discussion, Longstreet recounted his experience as a soldier …
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.
Northern Volunteer Nurses of America’s Civil WarA cadre of dedicated Northern women from all walks of life traveled to the charnel houses of the Civil War to care for the sick and wounded.
Reno Gang’s Reign Of TerrorLong before the James brothers began robbing trains, the Reno brothers tried their hand at it in post--Civil War Indiana, but the outlaw Hoosiers' reign didn't last long.By William Bell

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