It was the most deadly of all American wars, over 600,000 young men gave their lives in this conflict. Our Site presents information all the major events and battles of the war. Sections include the Causes of the war, Major Battles which is core section, Americans and much more. Just select a photo or title to go to that section
From the Arrival of the First Slaves to the Lincoln Election All the Events that led to the War
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A Brief Overview of the American Civil War
The Civil War is the central event in America's historical consciousness. While the Revolution of 1776-1783 created the United States, the Civil War of 1861-1865 determined what kind of nation it would be. The war resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution: whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an indivisible nation with a sovereign national government and whether this nation, born of a declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the largest slaveholding country in the world.
Northern victory in the war preserved the United States as one nation and ended the institution of slavery that had divided the country from its beginning. But these achievements came at the cost of 625,000 lives--nearly as many American soldiers as died in all the other wars in which this country has fought combined. The American Civil War was the largest and most destructive conflict in the Western world between the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the onset of World War I in 1914.
The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. When Abraham Lincoln won election in 1860 as the first Republican president on a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South seceded and formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America. The incoming Lincoln administration and most of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of secession. They feared that it would discredit democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries.
The event that triggered war came at Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay on April 12, 1861. Claiming this United States fort as their own, the Confederate army on that day opened fire on the federal garrison and forced it to lower the American flag in surrender. Lincoln called out the militia to suppress this "insurrection." Four more slave states seceded and joined the Confederacy. By the end of 1861 nearly a million armed men confronted each other along a line stretching 1200 miles from Virginia to Missouri. Several battles had already taken place--near Manassas Junction in Virginia, in the mountains of western Virginia where Union victories paved the way for creation of the new state of West Virginia, at Wilson's Creek in Missouri, at Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, and at Port Royal in South Carolina where the Union navy established a base for a blockade to shut off the Confederacy's access to the outside world.
But the real fighting began in 1862. Huge battles like Shiloh in Tennessee, Gaines' Mill, Second Manassas, and Fredericksburg in Virginia, and Antietam in Maryland foreshadowed even bigger campaigns and battles in subsequent years, from Gettysburg in Pennsylvania to Vicksburg on the Mississippi to Chickamauga and Atlanta in Georgia. By 1864 the original Northern goal of a limited war to restore the Union had given way to a new strategy of "total war" to destroy the Old South and its basic institution of slavery and to give the restored Union a "new birth of freedom," as President Lincoln put it in his address at Gettysburg to dedicate a cemetery for Union soldiers killed in the battle there.
Alexander Gardner's famous photo of Confederate dead before the Dunker Church on the Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., 1862. Library of Congress
For three long years, from 1862 to 1865, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia staved off invasions and attacks by the Union Army of the Potomac commanded by a series of ineffective generals until Ulysses S. Grant came to Virginia from the Western theater to become general in chief of all Union armies in 1864. After bloody battles at places with names like The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, Grant finally brought Lee to bay at Appomattox in April 1865. In the meantime Union armies and river fleets in the theater of war comprising the slave states west of the Appalachian Mountain chain won a long series of victories over Confederate armies commanded by hapless or unlucky Confederate generals. In 1864-1865 General William Tecumseh Sherman led his army deep into the Confederate heartland of Georgia and South Carolina, destroying their economic infrastructure while General George Thomas virtually destroyed the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee at the battle of Nashville.
By the spring of 1865 all the principal Confederate armies surrendered, and when Union cavalry captured the fleeing Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Georgia on May 10, 1865, resistance collapsed and the war ended. The long, painful process of rebuilding a united nation free of slavery began.
Feature Causes Of The Civil War
The causes of the Civil War and its cost to a young nation.
More from Wes about the causes of the Civil War.
What led to the outbreak of the bloodiest conflict in the history of North America?
A common explanation is that the Civil War was fought over the moral issue of slavery.
In fact, it was the economics of slavery and political control of that system that was central to the conflict.
A key issue was states' rights.
The Southern states wanted to assert their authority over the federal government so they could abolish federal laws they didn't support, especially laws interfering with the South's right to keep slaves and take them wherever they wished.
Another factor was territorial expansion.
The South wished to take slavery into the western territories, while the North was committed to keeping them open to white labor alone.
Meanwhile, the newly formed Republican party, whose members were strongly opposed to the westward expansion of slavery into new states, was gaining prominence.
The election of a Republican, Abraham Lincoln, as President in 1860 sealed the deal. His victory, without a single Southern electoral vote, was a clear signal to the Southern states that they had lost all influence.
Feeling excluded from the political system, they turned to the only alternative they believed was left to them: secession, a political decision that led directly to war.
Causes of the Civil War
The causes of the Civil War and its cost to a young nation.
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Mathew Brady's photographs inspired Burns to make The Civil War, which (in nine episodes totaling more than 10 hours) explores the war's military, social, and political facets through some 16,000 contemporary photographs and paintings, and excerpts from the letters and journals of persons famous and obscure.
The series' slow zooming and panning across still images was later termed the "Ken Burns effect". Burns combined these images with modern cinematography, music, narration by David McCullough, anecdotes and insights from authors such as Shelby Foote,  historians Barbara J. Fields, Ed Bearss, and Stephen B. Oates and actors reading contemporary quotes from historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Walt Whitman, Stonewall Jackson, and Frederick Douglass, as well as diaries by Mary Chesnut, Sam Watkins, Elisha Hunt Rhodes and George Templeton Strong and commentary from James W. Symington. A large cast of actors voiced correspondence, memoirs, news articles, and stood in for historical figures from the Civil War.
Burns also interviewed Daisy Turner, then a 104-year-old daughter of an ex-slave, whose poetry features prominently in the series. Turner died in February 1988, a full two-and-a-half years before the series aired.
Production ran five years. The film was co-produced by Ken's brother Ric Burns, written by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ric Burns, edited by Paul Barnes with cinematography by Buddy Squires. It was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The theme song of the documentary is the instrumental "Ashokan Farewell", which is heard twenty-five times during the film. The song was composed by Jay Ungar in 1982 and he describes it as "the song coming out of 'a sense of loss and longing' after the annual Ashokan Music & Dance Camps ended."  It is the only modern piece of music heard in the film, and subsequently became the first ever single release for the Elektra Nonesuch label, which released the series' soundtrack album.  It became so closely associated with the series that people frequently and erroneously believe it was a Civil War song.
Ungar, his band Fiddle Fever and pianist Jacqueline Schwab performed this song and many of the other 19th-century songs used in the film.   Schwab's arrangements in particular have been acclaimed by many critics. Musicologist Alexander Klein wrote: "Upon watching the full documentary, one is immediately struck by the lyricism of Schwab's playing and, more importantly, her exceptional arranging skills. What had been originally rousing and at times bellicose songs such as the southern "Bonnie Blue Flag" or the northern "Battle Cry of Freedom" now suddenly sounded like heart-warming, lyrical melodies due to Schwab's interpretations. The pianist not only changed the songs' original mood but also allowed herself some harmonic liberties so as to make these century-old marching tunes into piano lamentations that contemporary audiences could fully identify with". 
A major piece of vocal music in the series is a version of the old spiritual "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder", performed a cappella by the African-American singer, scholar and activist Bernice Johnson Reagon and several other female voices. The song appears on Reagon's album River of Life.
- Narrated by David McCullough as Abraham Lincoln as Mary Chesnut as Ulysses S. Grant as Frederick Douglass and others as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain as Walt Whitman and others
- George Black as Robert E. Lee as William Tecumseh Sherman and others as Elisha Hunt Rhodes as Sam Watkins as Jefferson Davis as George Templeton Strong as Horace Greeley
- Terry Courier as George B. McClellan as Stonewall Jackson and others as Benjamin Butler and others as various as various as various as various as various as various as various as various as various (credited as Larry Fishburne) as various as various as various
- – Military historian and author
- – Professor of American history at Columbia University
- – American writer, journalist, and Civil War historian
- – Professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
- – American author, columnist, journalist, and presidential speechwriter
- – Daughter of a former plantation slave, oral historian
- – American poet, novelist, and literary critic
Each episode was divided into numerous chapters or vignettes,  but each generally had a primary theme or focus (i.e., a specific battle or topic). The series followed a fairly consistent chronological order of history.
No. Episode Original air date 1 "The Cause" (1861) September 23, 1990 ( 1990-09-23 )  All Night Forever Are We Free? A House Divided The Meteor Secessionitis 4:30 a.m. April 12, 1861 Traitors and Patriots Gun Men Manassas A Thousand Mile Front Honorable Manhood 2 "A Very Bloody Affair" (1862) September 24, 1990 ( 1990-09-24 )  Politics Ironclads Lincolnites The Peninsula Our Boy Shiloh The Arts of Death Republics On to Richmond 3 "Forever Free" (1862) September 24, 1990 ( 1990-09-24 )  Stonewall The Beast The Seven Days Kiss Daniel for Me Saving the Union Antietam The Higher Object 4 "Simply Murder" (1863) September 25, 1990 ( 1990-09-25 )  Northern Lights Oh! Be Joyful The Kingdom of Jones Under the Shade of the Trees A Dust-Covered Man 5 "The Universe of Battle" (1863) September 25, 1990 ( 1990-09-25 )  Gettysburg: The First Day Gettysburg: The Second Day Gettysburg: The Third Day She Ranks Me Vicksburg Bottom Rail on Top The River of Death A New Birth of Freedom 6 "Valley of the Shadow of Death" (1864) September 26, 1990 ( 1990-09-26 )  Grant Lee In the Wilderness Move By the Left Flank Now, Fix Me The Remedy 7 "Most Hallowed Ground" (1864) September 26, 1990 ( 1990-09-26 )  A Warm Place in the Field Nathan Bedford Forrest Summer, 1864 Spies The Crater Headquarters U.S.A. The Promised Land The Age of Shoddy Can Those Be Men? The People's Resolution Most Hallowed Ground 8 "War Is All Hell" (1865) September 27, 1990 ( 1990-09-27 )  Sherman's March The Breath of Emancipation Died of a Theory Washington, March 4, 1865 I Want to See Richmond Appomattox 9 "The Better Angels of Our Nature" (1865) September 27, 1990 ( 1990-09-27 )  Assassination Useless, Useless The Picklocks of Biographers Was It Not Real?
The series received more than forty major film and television awards, including two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, Producer of the Year Award from the Producers Guild of America, People's Choice Award, Peabody Award, duPont-Columbia Award, D.W. Griffith Award, and the US$50,000 Lincoln Prize, among dozens of others.
The series sparked a major renewal of interest in the Civil War. It was widely acclaimed for its skillful depiction and retelling of the Civil War events, and also for drawing huge numbers of viewers into a new awareness of the historical importance of the conflict. Prior to the series, the Civil War had receded in popular historical consciousness since its 1960s centennial. Following the series, there was a sharp upturn in popular books and other works about the Civil War. 
Robert Brent Toplin in 1996 wrote Ken Burns's The Civil War: Historians Respond, which included essays from critical academic historians who felt their topics of interest were not covered in enough detail and responses from Ken Burns and others involved in the series' production.
It has been criticized for its historical accuracy, which focuses more on the battles of the civil war, and provides a divided view on the causes of the war. While most historians agree that slavery was the cause of the war, Burns presented a range of commentators, including Shelby Foote. Foote's view was that the cause of the war was not slavery, but, rather, failure to compromise. Foote was a journalist and not a trained historian, and was the descendant of slaveholders, but was given more screen time than any other commentator. Burns was not a historian, and neither was most of the production team, which has led to accusations that Burns did not give a thorough enough historical overview. Criticism was also leveled at the fact that Burns and most of his team were white men, which may have contributed to the lack of the series' coverage of women and issues around blacks, or examining reconstruction. A group of leading Civil War historians published a highly critical review of Burns's work in a 1997 book, The Civil War: Historians Respond, to which Burns was given a chapter to reply to their concerns. The film has also been criticized for propagating the Lost Cause of the Confederacy myth. Because Burns's documentary was so influential, and serves as the main source of knowledge about the Civil War to many Americans, it is claimed to have led to a continuation of Lost Cause views.  
12th Anniversary Edit
The entire series was digitally remastered for re-release on September 17, 2002 in VHS and DVD by PBS Home Video and Warner Home Video. The DVD release included a short documentary on how a Spirit DataCine was used to transfer and remaster the film.  The remastering was limited to producing an improved fullscreen standard-definition digital video of the film's interpositive negatives, for broadcast and DVD. The soundtrack was also re-mastered and remixed in 5.1 Dolby Digital AC3 surround sound.
Paul Barnes, Editor & Post-Production Supervisor, Florentine Films at that time commented:
Ken Burns and I decided to remaster The Civil War for several reasons. First of all, when we completed the film in 1989, we were operating under a very tight schedule and budget. As the main editor on the film, I always wanted to go back and improve the overall quality of the film. The other reason for remastering the film at this time is that the technology to color correct, print and transfer a film to video for broadcast has vastly improved, especially in the realm of digital computer technology. We also were able to eliminate a great deal of the dust and dirt that often get embedded into 16mm film when it is printed.
25th Anniversary Edit
For the 150th anniversary of the end of the war, and the 25th anniversary of the series, PBS remastered the series in high definition. This work involved creating a new 4K ultra-high-definition digital master of the film's original camera negatives and was carried out in association with the George Eastman House, where the original 16mm negatives are preserved. It aired on PBS from September 7 to 11, 2015.  Blu-ray and DVD editions were released on October 13, 2015.
A soundtrack featuring songs from the miniseries, many of which were songs popular during the Civil War, has been released.
Robert E. Lee
1807-01-19 Robert E. Lee, American General who commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War, born in Stratford Virginia (d. 1870)
- William Bowen Campbell, American politician and Civil War Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Sumner County, Tennessee (d. 1867) Abner Clark Harding, American politician and Civil War Brigadier General (Union Army), born in East Hampton, Connecticut (d. 1874) John A. Dahlgren, US Navy officer and inventor (Civil war Dahlgren-cannon), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1870) James Henry Lane, US General during Civil War (Union) and Senator (Kansas), born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana (d. 1866) Edwin Stanton, US Secretary of War during most of the American Civil War (1861-65) and US Attorney General (1860-61), born in Steubenville, Ohio (d. 1869) Anna Ella Carroll, American politician and civil war writer (Reconstruction), born in Pocomoke City, Maryland (d. 1894) St. John Richardson Liddell, American Civil War Confederate General, born in Wilkinson County, Mississippi (d. 1870) John Palmer Usher, Secretary of the Interior under Lincoln during US Civil War (1863-1865), born in Brookfield, New York (d. 1889) John M. Palmer, American politician (U.S. Senator from Illinois) and American Civil War General (Union), born in Eagle Creek, Kentucky (d. 1900)
1819-05-31 Walt Whitman, American poet (Leaves of Grass) and volunteer nurse during the Civil War, born in West Hills, New York (d. 1892)
- Daniel Harvey Hill, Confederate General (American Civil War), born in York District, South Carolina (d. 1889)
1822-11-06 Gordon Granger, American Major General during the Civil War (Union Army), born in Wayne County, New York (d. 1876)
- James Dunwoody Bulloch, Confederacy's chief foreign agent in Great Britain during the American Civil War, born in Savannah, Georgia (d. 1901) Thomas Alexander Scott, American businessman and Assistant Secretary of War (Civil War), born in Peters Township, Pennsylvania (d. 1881)
1824-01-21 Stonewall Jackson [Thomas Jonathan], Confederate general during the American Civil War, born in Clarksburg, Virginia (d. 1863)
- Cadmus M. Wilcox, American Major General (Confederate Army - American Civil War), born in Wayne County, North Carolina (d. 1890) William T. Wofford, Brigadier General (Confederate Army-American Civil War), born in Toccoa, Habersham County, Georgia (d. 1884) George Hull Ward, American general and Union officer in the American Civil War, born in Worcester, Massachusetts (d. 1863) Ambrose R. Wright, American Civil War General, born in Louisville, Georgia (d. 1872) J. Johnston Pettigrew, American lawyer and Confederate General in the American Civil War, born in Tyrrell County, North Carolina (d. 1863) Thomas J. Higgins, Union Army soldier during the American Civil War, recipient of America's highest military decoration (Medal of Honor), born in Huntington, Quebec, Canada (d. 1917) Alfred Pollard Edward, Civil War journalist, (d. 1872) Mary Edwards Walker, American surgeon and women's rights leader and only woman to receive Medal of Honor (bravery during Civil War), born in Oswego, New York (d. 1919)
- James Henry Lane, Brigadier General during Civil War (Confederate), born in Mathews Court House, Virginia (d. 1907) Sally Louisa Tompkins, American nurse and philanthropist, only woman commissioned in Confederate army during US Civil War, born in Mathews City, Virginia (d. 1916)
John Singleton Mosby
1833-12-06 John S. Mosby, Confederate army cavalry battalion commander in the American Civil War, born in Powhatan County, Virginia (d. 1916)
- Walter Kittredge, American musician during American Civil War, born in Merrimack, New Hampshire (d. 1905) Elmer E. Ellsworth, American soldier who was the 1st Union officer killed in the American Civil War, born in Malta, New York (d. 1861) Strong Vincent, American army officer (died famously at Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg), born in Waterford, Pennsylvania (d.1863) Charles C. Walcutt, American general in the Union Army during the American Civil War, born in Columbus, Ohio (d. 1898)
George Armstrong Custer
1839-12-05 George Armstrong Custer, United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the American Indian Wars, born in New Rumley, Ohio (d. 1876)
- William Harvey Carney, American Civil War soldier (first African-American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor), born in Norfolk, Virginia (d. 1908) Alfred Townsend George, American Civil War journalist, born in Georgetown, Delaware (d. 1914) Edward Burd Grubb, American Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General, born in Burlington, New Jersey (d. 1913) Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, American orator (Joan of Arc of the Civil War), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1932) Walter Williams, claimed to be last survivor of Civil War (d. 1959) Isabella "Belle" Boyd, American actress and Confederate spy during US Civil War, born in Martinsburg, Virginia (d. 1900) Richard Conner, American Civil War Medal of Honor Recipient (d. 1924) John J. Toffey, American Civil War hero (d. 1911) Julian Scott, American artist and Civil War Medal of Honor recipient, born in Johnson, Vermont (d. 1901) Aleksandr Rodzyanko, Russian lieutenant-general and corps commander of the White Army during the Russian Civil War, born in Russia (d. 1970) Bruce Catton, American historian and writer (Civil War), born in Petoskey, Michigan (d. 1978) Henry Steele Commager, American historian (Atlas of Civil War), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Ken Burns [Kenneth Lauren], American director and documentary film producer (The Civil War, Baseball), born in Brooklyn, New York
Missouri Compromise Edit
Missouri was initially settled predominantly by Southerners traveling up the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Many brought slaves with them. Missouri entered the Union in 1821 as a slave state following the Missouri Compromise of 1820, in which Congress agreed that slavery would be illegal in all territory north of 36°30' latitude, except Missouri. The compromise was that Maine would enter the Union as a free state to balance Missouri.
Bleeding Kansas Edit
The Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses through which runaway slaves could find protection and refuge while heading north, was already established in the state, and slave owners were worried about the possibility of Missouri's entire western border becoming a conduit for the Underground Railroad if adjacent territories were made free states.
In 1854, the Kansas–Nebraska Act nullified the policy set by the Missouri Compromise by permitting the Kansas and Nebraska Territories to vote on whether they would join the Union as free or slave states. The result was a de facto war between pro-slavery residents of Missouri, called "Border Ruffians", and anti-slavery "Free-Staters" of Kansas, each of which sought to influence how Kansas entered the Union. The conflict involved attacks and murders of supporters on both sides, with the Sacking of Lawrence by pro-slavery forces and the Pottawatomie massacre led by abolitionist John Brown the most notable. Kansas initially approved a pro-slavery constitution called the Lecompton Constitution, but after the U.S. Congress rejected it, the state approved the anti-slavery Wyandotte Constitution and was admitted to the Union in January 1861. The violence along the Kansas–Missouri border foreshadowed the national violence to come, and indeed continued throughout the Civil War.
Dred Scott Decision Edit
Against the background of Bleeding Kansas, the case of Dred Scott, a slave who in 1846 had sued for his family's freedom in St. Louis, reached the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1857, the Supreme Court handed down its decision, ruling not only that slaves were not automatically made free simply by entering a free state, but more controversially that no one of African ancestry was considered a U.S. citizen and therefore that African-Americans could not initiate legal action in any court, even when they clearly had what would otherwise be a valid claim. The decision calmed the skirmishes between Missouri and Kansas partisans, but its publicity enraged abolitionists nationwide and contributed to the vitriolic rhetoric that led to the Civil War.
Armed neutrality Edit
By 1860, Missouri's initial southern settlers had been supplanted with a more diversified non-slave-holding population, including former northerners, particularly German and Irish immigrants. With war seeming inevitable, Missouri hoped to stay out of the conflict by remaining a part of the Union but militarily neutral – not sending men or supplies to either side and pledging to fight troops from either side who entered the state. The policy was first put forth in 1860 by outgoing Governor Robert Marcellus Stewart, who had Northern leanings. It was reaffirmed by incoming Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson, who had Southern leanings. Jackson, however, stated in his inaugural address that in case of federal "coercion" of southern states, Missouri should support and defend her "sister southern states". A Constitutional Convention to discuss secession was convened with Sterling Price presiding. The delegates voted to stay in the Union and supported the neutrality position.
In the United States presidential election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln received only 10 percent of Missouri's votes, while 71 percent favored either John Bell or Stephen A. Douglas, both of whom wanted to maintain the status quo. Douglas won the Missouri vote over Bell—one of only two states Douglas carried, the other being New Jersey—with the remaining 19 percent siding with Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge.
Missouri demographics in 1860 Edit
At the time of the 1860 U.S. Census, Missouri's total population was 1,182,012, of which 114,931 (9.7%) were slaves. Most of the slaves lived in rural areas rather than cities. Of the 299,701 responses to "Occupation", 124,989 people listed "Farmers" and 39,396 listed "Farm Laborers." The next highest categories were "Laborers" (30,668), "Blacksmiths" (4,349), and "Merchants" (4,245).
Less than half the state's population was listed as native-born (475,246, or 40%). Those who had migrated from other states were predominantly from Kentucky (99,814), Tennessee (73,504), Virginia (53,937), Ohio (35,380), Indiana (30,463), and Illinois (30,138), with fewer numbers from other states. 906,540 people (77%) were listed as born in the United States. Of the 160,541 foreign-born residents of Missouri, most came from the German states (88,487), Ireland (43,481), England (10,009), France (5,283), and Switzerland (4,585).
- 160,773 St. Louis
- 9,485 District No. 18 in Callaway County 
- 8,932 St. Joseph
- 6,503 Hannibal
- 5,848 Central St. Louis County
- 4,789 St. Ferdinand in St. Louis County
- 4,474 Blue in Jackson County
- 4,418 Kansas City
- 4,122 Lexington
Most populous counties:
- 190,524 St. Louis County
- 23,861 Buchanan County
- 22,896 Jackson County
- 20,038 Lafayette County
- 19,486 Boone County
- 18,838 Marion County
- 18,417 Pike County
- 18,350 Platte County
- 6,374 Lafayette County
- 5,886 Howard County
- 5,034 Boone County
- 4,876 Saline County
- 4,523 Callaway County
- 4,346 St. Louis County
- 4,055 Pike County
- 3,944 Jackson County
- 3,313 Platte County
- 3,021 Monroe County
- 3,017 Marion County
In the election of 1860, Missouri's newly elected governor was Claiborne Fox Jackson, a career politician and an ardent supporter of the South. Jackson campaigned as a Douglas Democrat, favoring a conciliatory program on issues that divided the country. After Jackson's election, however, he immediately began working behind the scenes to promote Missouri's secession.  In addition to planning to seize the federal arsenal at St. Louis, Jackson conspired with senior Missouri bankers to illegally divert money from the banks to arm state troops, a measure that the Missouri General Assembly had so far refused to take. 
The capture of Camp Jackson Edit
Missouri's nominal neutrality was tested early on in a conflict over the St. Louis Arsenal. The Federal Government reinforced the Arsenal's tiny garrison with several detachments, most notably a force from the 2nd Infantry under Captain Nathaniel Lyon. The other federal arsenal in Missouri, Liberty Arsenal, had been captured on April 20 by secessionist militias and, concerned by widespread reports that Governor Jackson intended to use the Missouri Volunteer Militia to also attack the St. Louis Arsenal and capture its 39,000 small arms, Secretary of War Simon Cameron ordered Lyon (by that time in acting command) to evacuate the majority of the munitions out of the state. 21,000 guns were secretly evacuated to Alton, Illinois on the evening of April 29, 1861. At the same time, Governor Jackson called up the Missouri State Militia under Brigadier General Daniel M. Frost for maneuvers in suburban St. Louis at Camp Jackson. These maneuvers were perceived by Lyon as an attempt to seize the arsenal. On May 10, 1861, Lyon attacked the militia and paraded them as captives through the streets of St. Louis. A riot erupted, and Lyon's troops, a Missouri militia mainly composed of German immigrants, opened fire on the attacking crowd, killing 28 people and injuring 100.
The next day, the Missouri General Assembly authorized the formation of a Missouri State Guard with Major General Sterling Price as its commander to resist invasions from either side (but initially from the Union Army). William S. Harney, federal commander of the Department of the West, moved to quiet the situation by agreeing to Missouri neutrality in the Price-Harney Truce. This led to Confederate sympathizers taking over most of Missouri, with pro-Unionists being harassed and forced to leave. President Lincoln overruled the truce agreement and relieved Harney of command, replacing him with Lyon.
On June 11, 1861, Lyon met with Governor Jackson and Price at St. Louis' Planter's House Hotel. The meeting, theoretically to discuss the possibility of continuing the Price-Harney Truce between U.S. and state forces, quickly deadlocked over basic issues of sovereignty and governmental power. Jackson and Price, who were working to construct the new Missouri State Guard in nine military districts statewide, wanted to contain the federal toe-hold to the Unionist stronghold of St. Louis. Jackson demanded that federal forces be limited to the boundaries of St. Louis, and that pro-Unionist Missouri "Home Guards" in several Missouri towns be disbanded. Lyon refused, and stated that if Jackson insisted on so limiting the power of the federal government, "This means war". After Jackson was escorted from the lines, Lyon began a pursuit of Jackson and Price and his elected state government through the Battle of Boonville and Battle of Carthage (1861). Jackson and other pro-Confederate politicians fled to the southern part of the state. Jackson and a rump of the General Assembly eventually set up a government-in-exile in Neosho, Missouri and enacted an Ordinance of Secession. This government was recognized by the rest of the Confederacy despite the fact that the "Act" was not endorsed by a plebiscite (as required by Missouri state law) and that Jackson's government was all but powerless inside Missouri.
The Constitutional Convention Edit
On July 22, 1861, following Lyon's capture of the Missouri capital at Jefferson City, the Missouri Constitutional Convention reconvened and declared the Missouri governor's office to be vacant. On July 28, it appointed former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Hamilton Rowan Gamble as governor of the state and agreed to comply with Lincoln's demand for troops. The provisional Missouri government began organizing new pro-Union regiments. Some, like the 1st Missouri Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, organized on September 6, 1861, fought through the entire Civil War.  By the war's end, some 447 Missouri Regiments had fought for the Union, with many men serving in more than one regiment. 
Missouri's government in exile Edit
In October 1861, the remnants of the elected state government that favored the South, including Jackson and Price, met in Neosho and voted to formally secede from the Union. The measure gave them votes in the Confederate Congress, but otherwise was symbolic, since they did not control any part of the state. The capital was to eventually move to Marshall, Texas. When Jackson died in office in 1862, his lieutenant governor, Thomas Caute Reynolds, succeeded him.
Military actions in Missouri are generally divided into three phases, starting with the Union removal of Governor Jackson and pursuit of Sterling Price and his Missouri State Guard in 1861 a period of neighbor-versus-neighbor bushwhacking guerrilla warfare from 1862 to 1864 (which actually continued long after the war had ended everywhere else, until at least 1889) and finally Sterling Price's attempt to retake the state in 1864.
Operations to control Missouri Edit
The largest battle in the campaign to evict Jackson was the Battle of Wilson's Creek near Springfield, Missouri, on August 10, 1861. The battle marked the first time that the Missouri State Guard fought alongside Confederate forces. A combined force of over 12,000 Confederate soldiers, Arkansas State Troops, and Missouri State Guardsmen under Confederate Brigadier Benjamin McCulloch fought approximately 5,400 Federals in a punishing six-hour battle. Union forces suffered over 1,300 casualties, including Lyon, who was fatally shot. The Confederates lost 1,200 men. The exhausted Confederates did not closely pursue the retreating Federals. In the aftermath of the battle, Southern commanders disagreed as to the proper next step. Price argued for an invasion of Missouri. McCulloch, concerned about the security of Arkansas and Indian Territory and skeptical about finding enough supplies for his army in central Missouri, refused. The Confederate and Arkansas troops fell back to the border, while Price led his Guardsmen into northwestern Missouri to attempt to recapture the state.
Price's emboldened Missouri State Guard marched on Lexington, besieging Colonel James A. Mulligan's garrison at the Siege of Lexington on September 12–20. Deploying wet hemp bales as mobile breastworks, the rebel advance was shielded from fire, including heated shot. By early afternoon on the 20th, the rolling fortification had advanced close enough for the Southerners to take the Union works in a final rush. By 2:00 p.m., Mulligan had surrendered. Price was reportedly so impressed by Mulligan's demeanor and conduct during and after the battle that he offered him his own horse and buggy, and ordered him safely escorted to Union lines. Years later, in his book The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, Confederate president Jefferson Davis opined that "The expedient of the bales of hemp was a brilliant conception, not unlike that which made Tarik, the Saracen warrior, immortal, and gave his name to the northern pillar of Hercules." 
The hopes of many Southern-leaning, mostly farming-dependent, families, including Jesse James and family in Liberty, Missouri, rose and fell by news of Price's battles. "If Price succeeded, the entire state of Missouri might fall into the hands of the Confederacy. For all anyone knew, it would force Lincoln to accept the South's independence, in light of earlier rebel victories. After all, no one expected the war to last much longer."  The Siege and Battle of Lexington, also called the Battle of the Hemp Bales, was a huge success for the rebels, and meant rebel ascendancy, albeit temporarily, in western and southwest Missouri. Combined with the loss of such a pivotal leader of the federals' western campaign in Nathaniel Lyon, and the Union's stunning defeat in the war's first major land battle at Bull Run, Missouri's secessionists were "jubilant." Exaggerated stories and rumors of Confederate successes spread easily in this era of slower, often equine-based communication. St. Louis' (ironically named) Unionist-Democrat Daily Missouri Republican reported some of the secessionist scuttlebutt a week after the rebel victory at Lexington:
A party with whom I have conversed, says no one has any idea how much the secession cause has been strengthened since PRICE'S march to Lexington, and particularly since its surrender. The rebels are jubilant, and swear they will drive the Federalists into the Missouri and Mississippi before two months are over.
A party of rebels recently stated that Lincoln had been hanged by Beauregard, and that for weeks past the National Congress had been held in Philadelphia.
Reports are rife in Western Missouri that the Southern Confederacy has been recognized by England and France, and that before the last of October the blockade will be broken by the navies of both nations. The rebels prophesy that before ten years have elapsed the Confederacy will be the greatest, most powerful, and prosperous, nation on the globe, and that the United States will decay, and be forced to seek the protection of England to prevent their being crushed by the South. 
Rebel ascendancy in Missouri was short-lived, however, as General John C. Frémont quickly mounted a campaign to retake Missouri. And ". without a single battle, the momentum suddenly shifted." On September 26, "Frémont moved west from St. Louis with an army of thirty-eight thousand. Soon, he arrived at Sedalia, southeast of Lexington, threatening to trap the rebels against the river."  On September 29, Price was forced to abandon Lexington, and he and his men moved into southwest Missouri ". their commanders do not wish to run any risk, their policy being to make attacks only where they feel confident, through superiority of numbers, of victory."  Price and his generals stuck firmly to this cautious strategy, and similar to General Joseph E. Johnston's retreat toward Atlanta, Price's Missouri State Guard fell back hundreds of miles in the face of a superior force. They soon retreated from the state and headed for Arkansas and later Mississippi.
Small remnants of the Missouri Guard remained in the state and fought isolated battles throughout the war. Price soon came under the direct command and control of the Confederate Army. In March 1862, any hopes for a new offensive in Missouri were dimmed with a decisive Union victory at the Battle of Pea Ridge just south of the border in Arkansas. The Missouri State Guard stayed largely intact as a unit through the war, but suffered heavy casualties in Mississippi in the Battle of Iuka and the Second Battle of Corinth.
Frémont Emancipation Edit
John C. Frémont replaced Lyon as commander of the Department of the West. Following the Battle of Wilson's Creek, he imposed martial law in the state and issued an order freeing the slaves of Missourians who were in rebellion.
The property, real and personal, of all persons in the State of Missouri who shall take up arms against the United States, and who shall be directly proven to have taken active part with their enemies in the field, is declared to be confiscated to the public use and their slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared free. 
This was not a general emancipation in the state as it did not extend to slaves owned by citizens who remained loyal. It did, however, exceed the Confiscation Act of 1861 which only allowed the United States to claim ownership of the slave if the slave was proven to "work or to be employed in or upon any fort, navy-yard, dock, armory, ship, entrenchment, or in any military or naval service whatsoever, against the Government and lawful authority of the United States."  Lincoln, fearing the emancipation would enrage neutral Missourians and slave states in Union control, granted Governor Gamble's request to rescind the emancipation and ease martial law.
Ironclad Navy and Riverine Campaigns Edit
While various forces battled inconclusively for southwest Missouri, a unique cooperative effort between the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and civilian resources built a war-winning brown-water navy. St. Louis river salvage expert and engineering genius James Buchanan Eads  won a contract to build a fleet of shallow-draft ironclads for use on the western rivers. An unusually cooperative relationship between Army officials, who would own the vessels, and Navy officers, who would command them, helped speed the work. Drawing on his reputation and personal credit as well as that of St. Louis Unionists, Eads used subcontractors throughout the Midwest (and as far east as Pittsburgh) to produce nine ironclads in just over three months. Built at Eads' own Union Marine Works in the St. Louis suburb of Carondelet and at a satellite yard in Cairo, Illinois, the seven City-class ironclads,  Essex, and the heavy ironclad Benton were the first U.S. ironclads and the first to see combat.
St. Louis' Benton Barracks became the mustering depot for western troops, and in February 1862, Department of Missouri commander Henry Halleck approved a joint invasion of west Tennessee along the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Army troops under Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant, alongside the newly built Western Gunboat Flotilla commanded by Navy Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote, captured Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, unhinging the Confederate defensive perimeter in the west. After the subsequent Battle of Shiloh, the Federal Army pushed into northern Mississippi, while the Gunboat fleet moved down the Mississippi with cooperating Federal troops, systematically capturing every Confederate position north of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
The riverine strategy put the Confederacy on the defensive in the west for the rest of the war, and effectively ended meaningful Confederate efforts to recapture Missouri. The defeat of the Confederate army under Earl Van Dorn, Benjamin McCulloch, and Price in northwestern Arkansas at the Battle of Pea Ridge further discouraged the Confederate leadership as to the wisdom, or possibility, of occupying Missouri. Subsequent Confederate military action in the state would be limited to a few large raids (notably Shelby's Raid of 1863 and Price's Missouri Expedition of 1864), and partial endorsement of the activities of Missouri guerrillas.
Western Sanitary Commission Edit
During the war, thousands of black refugees poured into St. Louis, where the Freedmen's Relief Society, the Ladies Union Aid Society, the Western Sanitary Commission, and the American Missionary Association (AMA) set up schools for their children. 
The Western Sanitary Commission was a private agency based in St. Louis and a rival of the larger U.S. Sanitary Commission. It operated during the war to help the U.S. Army deal with sick and wounded soldiers. It was led by abolitionists and especially after the war focused more on the needs of freedmen. It was founded in August 1861, under the leadership of Reverend William Greenleaf Eliot, to care for wounded soldiers after the opening battles. It was supported by private fundraising in the city of St. Louis, as well as from donors in California and New England. Parrish explains it selected nurses, provided hospital supplies, set up several hospitals, and outfitted several hospital ships. It also provided clothing and places to stay for freedmen and refugees, and set up schools for black children. It continued to finance various philanthropic projects until 1886.  
The Battle of Wilson's Creek was the last large-scale engagement in Missouri until Sterling Price returned in 1864 in a last-ditch attempt to recapture the state. In the intervening time, the state endured widespread guerrilla warfare in which Southern partisan rangers and bushwhackers battled Kansas-based irregulars known as Jayhawkers and Redlegs or "Redleggers" (from the red gaiters they wore around their lower legs) and their Union allies.
Jayhawker raids against perceived civilian "Confederate sympathizers" alienated Missourians and made maintaining the peace even harder for the Unionist provisional government. As Major General Henry Halleck wrote General John C. Frémont in September 1861, Jayhawker raider Jim Hale had to be removed from the Kansas border as "A few more such raids" would render Missouri "as unanimous against us as is Eastern Virginia."  While Jayhawker violence alienated communities that otherwise might have been loyal supporters of the Union, marauding bands of pro-secession bushwhackers sustained guerrilla violence and outright banditry, especially in Missouri's northern counties. Major General John Pope, who oversaw northern Missouri, blamed local citizens for not doing enough to put down bushwhacker guerrillas and ordered locals to raise militias to counter them. "Refusal to do so would bring an occupying force of federal soldiers into their counties."  Pope's, Ewing's and Frémont's heavy-handed approach alienated even those civilians who were suffering at the hands of the bushwhackers.
Although guerrilla warfare occurred throughout much of the state, the most notable incidents occurred in northern Missouri and were characterized by ambushes of individuals or families in rural areas. These incidents were particularly nefarious because their vigilante nature was outside the command and control of either side and often pitted neighbor against neighbor. Civilians on all sides faced looting, violence and other depredations.
Perhaps the costliest incidents of guerrilla warfare were the Sacking of Osceola, the burning of Platte City, and the Centralia Massacre. Among the most notorious bushwhackers were William C. Quantrill's raiders, Silas M. Gordon, William "Bloody Bill" Anderson, and a young Jesse James.
General Order No. 11 Edit
In 1863, following the Lawrence Massacre in Kansas, Union General Thomas Ewing Jr. accused farmers in rural Missouri of either instigating the massacre or supporting it. He issued General Order No. 11 which forced all residents of the rural areas of four counties (Jackson, Cass, Bates and Vernon) south of the Missouri River on the Kansas border to leave their property, which was then burned. The order applied to farmers regardless of loyalty, although those who could prove their loyalty to the Union could stay in designated towns and those who could not were exiled entirely. Among those forced to leave were Kansas City founder John Calvin McCoy and its first mayor, William S. Gregory.
Price's Missouri Expedition Edit
By 1864, with the Confederacy losing the war, Sterling Price reassembled his Missouri Guard and launched a last-ditch offensive to take Missouri. However, Price was unable to repeat his victorious 1861 campaigns in the state. Striking in the southeastern portion of the state, Price moved north and attempted to capture Fort Davidson but failed. Next, Price sought to attack St. Louis but found it too heavily fortified and thus broke west in a parallel course with the Missouri River. This took him through the relatively friendly country of the "Boonslick", which had provided a large percentage of the Missouri volunteers who had joined the CSA. Ironically, although Price had issued orders against pillage, many of the pro-Confederate civilians in this area (which would be known as "Little Dixie" after the war) suffered from looting and depredations at the hands of Price's men. 
The Federals attempted to retard Price's advance through both minor and substantial skirmishing such as at Glasgow and Lexington. Price made his way to the extreme western portion of the state, taking part in a series of bitter battles at the Little Blue, Independence, and Byram's Ford. His Missouri campaign culminated in the Battle of Westport, in which over 30,000 troops fought, leading to the defeat of his army. Price's Confederates retreated through Kansas and Indian Territory into Arkansas, where they stayed for the remainder of the war.
Since Missouri had remained in the Union, it did not see an outside military occupation similar to that seen by other slave states during the Reconstruction era. The immediate post-war state government was controlled by Republicans, who attempted to execute an "internal reconstruction", banning politically powerful former secessionists from the political process and empowering the state's newly emancipated African-American population. This led to major dissatisfaction among many politically important groups, and provided opportunities for reactionary elements in the state.
The Democrats returned to being the dominant power in the state by 1873 through an alliance with returned ex-Confederates, almost all of whom had been part of the pro-slavery anti-Benton wing of the Missouri Democratic Party prior to the Civil War. The reunified Democratic Party exploited themes of racial prejudice and their own version of the South's "Lost Cause", which portrayed Missourians as victims of Federal tyranny and outrages, and depicted Missouri Unionists and Republicans as traitors to the state and criminals. This capture of the historical narrative was largely successful, and secured control of the state for the Democratic Party through the 1950s. The ex-Confederate/Democratic resurgence also defeated efforts to empower Missouri's African-American population, and ushered in the state's version of Jim Crow legislation. This was motivated both by widespread racial prejudice and concerns that former slaves were likely to be reliable Republican voters.
Many newspapers in 1870s Missouri were vehement in their opposition to national Radical Republican policies, for political, economic, and racial reasons. The notorious James-Younger gang capitalized on this and became folk heroes as they robbed banks and trains while getting sympathetic press from the state's newspapers—most notably the Kansas City Times under founder John Newman Edwards. Jesse James, who had fought beside bushwhacker "Bloody Bill" Anderson at Centralia, attempted to excuse his murder of a resident of Gallatin during a bank robbery, saying he thought he was killing Samuel P. Cox, who had hunted down Anderson after Centralia. In addition, the vigilante activities of the Bald Knobbers in southwest Missouri during the 1880s have been interpreted by some as a continuation of Civil War-related guerrilla warfare. 
The Essentials: Six Books on the Civil War
The literature on the war is so vast you could spend a lifetime reading really good books about it. Here are six excellent ones:
Battle Cry of Freedom (1988), by James McPherson: Widely regarded as the most authoritative one-volume history of the war.
The Fiery Trial (2010), by Eric Foner: A new Pulitzer-Prize-winning and authoritative account of President Abraham Lincoln's navigation through the politics of abolition it won the Pulitzer Prize for History.
This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (2008), by Drew Gilpin Faust: A moving examination of the ways in which the slaughter changed Americans' ideas on mortality and influenced the way they chose to remember the war.
Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant (1885): it "surpasses any other military memoir of the Civl War and stands alone as the best presidential autobiography every published," says Joan Waugh, author of U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth (2009), itself a fine biography.
Robert E. Lee: A Biography (1934-35), by Douglas Southall Freeman: A portrait of the man in full four volumes on the leader of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Mary Chesnut’s Civil War (1981), edited by C. Vann Woodward: a collection of writings, in diary form, of the doyenne whose sharp eye and tart tongue left an indelible impression of civilian life in the South during the war years.
About T.A. Frail
Tom Frail is a senior editor for Smithsonian magazine. He previously worked as a senior editor for the Washington Post and for Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
How a myth becomes ‘fact’
Prior to his assassination, Lincoln was often depicted in contemporary media as cowardly, devious, grotesque, and animal-like. During his presidency and for many years after his death, he was the object of much scorn and derision.
It’s not difficult to understand why. He started a war without the consent of Congress, had men conscripted into fighting the war, suspended habeas corpus, had cities burned, imprisoned political enemies, and had dissenting newspapers shut down and the owners imprisoned.
With so much overwhelming evidence available today, how does the fable of Lincoln and his war continue? In part, it’s because average Americans are unfamiliar with a good deal of history and geography. A 2015 survey released by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni revealed only half the U.S. American public could correctly identify when the Civil War took place.
Popular culture has played a significant role in shaping perceptions as well. In 1906, Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews published the short story “The Perfect Tribute,” which depicted Lincoln writing and delivering the Gettysburg Address but thinking it was an utter failure. Later, he comforted a Confederate captain as he died in a prison hospital, and the captain, who did not recognize Lincoln, praised the address as “one of the great speeches in history.”
The wildly popular work of fiction, which was largely responsible for the myth that Lincoln wrote the address on the train in route to Gettysburg, was assigned reading for many generations of schoolchildren in the United States.
John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of Lincoln made him a martyr. His legacy was reconstructed through written accounts (more than 16,000 books have been published), memorialized on Mount Rushmore and in the lavish memorial in Washington, D.C., and lionized in movies.
In the wake of Lincoln’s legend, the Republican Party controlled national politics and set the national tone for almost three-quarters of a century following the Civil War, winning 16 of 18 presidential elections.
Most texts about the Civil War and biographies of Abraham Lincoln gloss over his shortcomings, suggesting the ends somehow justify the means. But as historians continue to excavate Lincoln’s life and times, with each unturned stone, another fable is tarnished and truth revealed.
Following the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the 1911 Revolution, Yuan Shikai assumed the presidency of the newly formed Republic of China.  [ page needed ] Yuan was frustrated in a short-lived attempt to restore monarchy in China, and China fell into power struggle after his death in 1916. The Kuomintang, led by Sun Yat-sen, created a rival government in Guangzhou. After Sun's efforts to obtain aid from Western countries were ignored, he turned to the Soviet Union. In 1923, Sun and Soviet representative Adolph Joffe in Shanghai pledged Soviet assistance to China's unification in the Sun-Joffe Manifesto, a declaration of cooperation among the Comintern, KMT and CCP.  Comintern agent Mikhail Borodin arrived in 1923 to aid in the reorganization and consolidation of both the CCP the KMT along the lines of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The CCP and the KMT formed the First United Front. 
In 1923, Sun sent Chiang Kai-shek, one of his lieutenants for several months of military and political study in Moscow.  Chiang then became the head of the Whampoa Military Academy that trained the next generation of military leaders. The Soviets provided the academy with teaching material, organization and equipment, including munitions.  They also provided education in many of the techniques for mass mobilization. With this aid, Sun raised a dedicated "army of the party," with which he hoped to defeat the warlords militarily. CCP members were also present in the academy, and many of them became instructors, including Zhou Enlai, who was made a political instructor. 
Communist members were allowed to join the KMT on an individual basis.  The CCP itself was still small at the time, having a membership of 300 in 1922 and only 1,500 by 1925.  As of 1923, the KMT had 50,000 members. 
However, after Sun died in 1925, the KMT split into left- and right-wing movements. KMT members worried that the Soviets were trying to destroy the KMT from inside using the CCP. The CCP then began movements in opposition of the Northern Expedition, passing a resolution against it at a party meeting.
Then, in March 1927, the KMT held its second party meeting where the Soviets helped pass resolutions against the Expedition and curbing Chiang's power. Soon, the KMT would be clearly divided.
Throughout this time the Soviet Union had a large impact on the Chinese Communist Party. They sent money and spies to support the Chinese Communist Party. Without their support, the communist party likely would have failed. There are documents showing of other communist parties in China at the time, one with as many as 10,000 members, but they all failed without support from the Soviet Union. 
Northern Expedition and KMT-CCP split Edit
In early 1927, the KMT-CCP rivalry led to a split in the revolutionary ranks. The CCP and the left wing of the KMT had decided to move the seat of the KMT government from Guangzhou to Wuhan, where communist influence was strong.  However, Chiang and Li Zongren, whose armies defeated warlord Sun Chuanfang, moved eastward toward Jiangxi. The leftists rejected Chiang's demand to eliminate Communist influence within KMT and Chiang denounced them for betraying Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People by taking orders from the Soviet Union. According to Mao Zedong, Chiang's tolerance of the CCP in the KMT camp decreased as his power increased. 
On 7 April, Chiang and several other KMT leaders held a meeting, during which they proposed that Communist activities were socially and economically disruptive and had to be undone for the Nationalist revolution to proceed. On 12 April, in Shanghai, many Communist members in the KMT were purged through hundreds of arrests and executions  on the orders of General Bai Chongxi. The CCP referred to this as the 12 April Incident or Shanghai Massacre.  This incident widened the rift between Chiang and Wang Jingwei, the leader of the left wing faction of the KMT who controlled the city of Wuhan.
Eventually, the left wing of the KMT also expelled CCP members from the Wuhan government, which in turn was toppled by Chiang Kai-shek. The KMT resumed its campaign against warlords and captured Beijing in June 1928.  Soon, most of eastern China was under the control of the Nanjing central government, which received prompt international recognition as the sole legitimate government of China. The KMT government announced, in conformity with Sun Yat-sen, the formula for the three stages of revolution: military unification, political tutelage, and constitutional democracy. 
On 1 August 1927, the Communist Party launched an uprising in Nanchang against the Nationalist government in Wuhan. This conflict led to the creation of the Red Army.   On 4 August, the main forces of the Red Army left Nanchang and headed southwards for an assault on Guangdong. Nationalist forces quickly reoccupied Nanchang while the remaining members of the CCP in Nanchang went into hiding.  A CCP meeting on 7 August confirmed the objective of the party was to seize the political power by force, but the CCP was quickly suppressed the next day on 8 August by the Nationalist government in Wuhan led by Wang Jingwei. On 14 August, Chiang Kai-shek announced his temporary retirement, as the Wuhan faction and Nanjing faction of the Kuomintang were allied once again with common goal of suppressing the Communist Party after the earlier split. [ citation needed ]
Attempts were later made by the CCP to take the cities of Changsha, Shantou and Guangzhou. The Red Army consisting of mutinous former National Revolutionary Army (NRA) soldiers as well as armed peasants established control over several areas in southern China.  KMT forces continued to attempt to suppress the rebellions.  Then, in September, Wang Jingwei was forced out of Wuhan. September also saw an unsuccessful armed rural insurrection, known as the Autumn Harvest Uprising, led by Mao Zedong.  Borodin then returned to the USSR in October via Mongolia. In November, Chiang Kai-shek went to Shanghai and invited Wang to join him. On 11 December, the CCP started the Guangzhou Uprising, establishing a soviet there the next day, but lost the city by 13 December to a counter-attack under the orders of General Zhang Fakui. On 16 December, Wang Jingwei fled to France. There were now three capitals in China: the internationally recognized republic capital in Beijing, the CCP and left-wing KMT at Wuhan and the right-wing KMT regime at Nanjing, which would remain the KMT capital for the next decade.  
This marked the beginning of a ten-year armed struggle, known in mainland China as the "Ten-Year Civil War" (十年内战) which ended with the Xi'an Incident when Chiang Kai-shek was forced to form the Second United Front against invading forces from the Empire of Japan. In 1930 the Central Plains War broke out as an internal conflict of the KMT. It was launched by Feng Yuxiang, Yan Xishan and Wang Jingwei. The attention was turned to root out remaining pockets of Communist activity in a series of five encirclement campaigns.  The first and second campaigns failed and the third was aborted due to the Mukden Incident. The fourth campaign (1932–1933) achieved some early successes, but Chiang's armies were badly mauled when they tried to penetrate into the heart of Mao's Soviet Chinese Republic. During these campaigns, KMT columns struck swiftly into Communist areas, but were easily engulfed by the vast countryside and were not able to consolidate their foothold.
Finally, in late 1934, Chiang launched a fifth campaign that involved the systematic encirclement of the Jiangxi Soviet region with fortified blockhouses.  Unlike previous campaigns in which they penetrated deeply in a single strike, this time the KMT troops patiently built blockhouses, each separated by about eight kilometres (five miles), to surround the Communist areas and cut off their supplies and food sources. 
In October 1934 the CCP took advantage of gaps in the ring of blockhouses (manned by the forces of a warlord ally of Chiang Kai-shek's, rather than regular KMT troops) and broke out of the encirclement. The warlord armies were reluctant to challenge Communist forces for fear of losing their own men and did not pursue the CCP with much fervor. In addition, the main KMT forces were preoccupied with annihilating Zhang Guotao's army, which was much larger than Mao's. The massive military retreat of Communist forces lasted a year and covered what Mao estimated as 12,500 km (25,000 Li) it became known as the Long March.  The Long March was a military retreat taken on by the Chinese Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong to evade the pursuit or attack of the Kuomintang army. It consisted of a series of marches, during which numerous Communist armies in the south escaped to the north and west. Over the course of the march from Jiangxi the First Front Army, led by an inexperienced military commission, was on the brink of annihilation by Chiang Kai Shek's troops as their stronghold was in Jiangxi. The Communists, under the command of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, "escaped in a circling retreat to the west and north, which reportedly traversed over 9,000 kilometers over 370 days." The route passed through some of the most difficult terrain of western China by traveling west, and then northwards towards Shaanxi. "In November 1935, shortly after settling in northern Shaanxi, Mao officially took over Zhou Enlai's leading position in the Red Army. Following a major reshuffling of official roles, Mao became the chairman of the Military Commission, with Zhou and Deng Xiaoping as vice-chairmen." This marked Mao's position as the pre-eminent leader of the Party, with Zhou in second position to him. [ citation needed ]
The march ended when the CCP reached the interior of Shaanxi. Zhang Guotao's army, which took a different route through northwest China, was largely destroyed by the forces of Chiang Kai-shek and his Chinese Muslim allies, the Ma clique. Along the way, the Communist army confiscated property and weapons from local warlords and landlords, while recruiting peasants and the poor, solidifying its appeal to the masses. Of the 90,000–100,000 people who began the Long March from the Soviet Chinese Republic, only around 7,000–8,000 made it to Shaanxi.  The remnants of Zhang's forces eventually joined Mao in Shaanxi, but with his army destroyed, Zhang, even as a founding member of the CCP, was never able to challenge Mao's authority. Essentially, the great retreat made Mao the undisputed leader of the Chinese Communist Party.
The Kuomintang used Khampa troops—who were former bandits—to battle the Communist Red Army as it advanced and to undermine local warlords who often refused to fight Communist forces to conserve their own strength. The KMT enlisted 300 "Khampa bandits" into its Consolatory Commission military in Sichuan, where they were part of the effort of the central government to penetrate and destabilize local Han warlords such as Liu Wenhui. The government was seeking to exert full control over frontier areas against the warlords. Liu had refused to battle the Communists in order to conserve his army. The Consolatory Commission forces were used to battle the Red Army, but they were defeated when their religious leader was captured by the Communists. 
In 1936, Zhou Enlai and Zhang Xueliang grew closer, with Zhang even suggesting that he join the CCP. However, this was turned down by the Comintern in the USSR. Later on, Zhou persuaded Zhang and Yang Hucheng, another warlord, to instigate the Xi'an Incident. Chiang was placed under house arrest and forced to stop his attacks on the Red Army, instead focusing on the Japanese threat.
The situation in China in 1929: After the Northern Expedition, the KMT had direct control over east and central China, while the rest of China proper as well as Manchuria was under the control of warlords loyal to the Nationalist government.
Civil War Timeline
November 6, 1860- Abraham Lincoln is elected sixteenth president of the United States, the first Republican president in the nation who represents a party that opposes the spread of slavery in the territories of the United States.
December 17, 1860- The first Secession Convention meets in Columbia, South Carolina.
December 20, 1860- South Carolina secedes from the Union.
January 1861 - Six additional southern states secede from the Union.
February 8-9, 1861 - The southern states that seceded create a government at Montgomery, Alabama, and the Confederate States of America are formed.
February 18, 1861- Jefferson Davis is appointed the first President of the Confederate States of America at Montgomery, Alabama, a position he will hold until elections can be arranged.
March 4, 1861- Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the sixteenth president of the United States in Washington, DC.
April 12, 1861 - Southern forces fire upon Fort Sumter, South Carolina. The Civil War has formally begun.
April 15, 1861- President Lincoln issues a public declaration that an insurrection exists and calls for 75,000 militia to stop the rebellion. As a result of this call for volunteers, four additional southern states secede from the Union in the following weeks. Lincoln will respond on May 3 with an additional call for 43,000+ volunteers to serve for three years, expanding the size of the Regular Army.
May 24, 1861- Union forces cross the Potomac River and occupy Arlington Heights, the home of future Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It is during the occupation of nearby Alexandria that Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, commander of the 11 th New York Infantry and a close friend of the Lincolns, is shot dead by the owner of the Marshall House just after removing a Confederate flag from its roof.
June 3, 1861- A skirmish near Philippi in western Virginia, is the first clash of Union and Confederate forces in the east.
June 10, 1861- Battle of Big Bethel, the first land battle of the war in Virginia.
June 20, 1861-At the culmination of the Wheeling Convention, the region that composed the northwestern counties of Virginia broke away from that state to form West Virginia, officially designated and accepted as the thirty fifth state of the Union on June 20, 1863.
July 21, 1861- The Battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas), is fought near Manassas, Virginia. The Union Army under General Irwin McDowell initially succeeds in driving back Confederate forces under General Pierre Gustav Toutant Beauregard, but the arrival of troops under General Joseph E. Johnston initates a series of reverses that sends McDowell's army in a panicked retreat to the defenses of Washington. It is here that Thomas Jonathan Jackson, a professor at VMI, will receive everlasting fame as "Stonewall" Jackson.
July 1861-To thwart the Confederate threat in northern Virginia, a series of earthworks and forts are engineered to surround the City of Washington, adding to protection already offered by active posts such as Fort Washington on the Potomac River.
August 10, 1861- Battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri. The Union Army under General Nathaniel Lyon, attack Confederate troops and state militia southwest of Springfield, Missouri, and after a disastrous day that included the death of Lyon, are thrown back. The Confederate victory emphasizes the strong southern presence west of the Mississippi River.
August 28-29, 1861- Fort Hatteras at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, falls to Union naval forces. This begins the first Union efforts to close southern ports along the Carolina coast.
September 20, 1861- Lexington, Missouri falls to Confederate forces under Sterling Price.
October 21, 1861- Battle of Ball's Bluff, Virginia. Colonel Edward D. Baker, senator from Oregon and a friend of President Lincoln, led troops across the Potomac River only to be forced back to the river's edge where he was killed. The ensuing Union withdrawal turned into a rout with many soldiers drowning while trying to re-cross the icy waters of the Potomac River.
January 19, 1862- Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky. The Union victory weakened the Confederate hold on the state.
February 6, 1862- Surrender of Fort Henry, Tennessee. The loss of this southern fort on the Tennessee River opened the door to Union control of the river.
February 8, 1862- Battle of Roanoke Island, North Carolina. A Confederate defeat, the battle resulted in Union occupation of eastern North Carolina and control of Pamlico Sound, to be used as Northern base for further operations against the southern coast.
February 16, 1862- Surrender of Fort Donelson, Tennessee . This primary southern fort on the Cumberland River left the river in Union hands. It was here that Union General Ulysses S. Grant gained his nickname "Unconditional Surrender".
February 22, 1862- Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America.
March 7-8, 1862- Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), Arkansas. The Union victory loosened the Confederate hold on Missouri and disrupted southern control of a portion of the Mississippi River.
March 9, 1862- The naval battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (the old USS "Merrimack"), the first "ironclads", is fought in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
April 6-7, 1862- The Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing), the first major battle in Tennessee. Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, a veteran of the Texas War of Independence and the War with Mexico considered to be one of the finest officers the South has, is killed on the first day of fighting. The Union victory further secures the career of Union General Ulysses S. Grant.
April 24-25, 1862 - A Union fleet of gunships under Admiral David Farragut passes Confederate forts guarding the mouth of the Mississippi River. On April 25, the fleet arrived at New Orleans where they demanded the surrender of the city. Within two days the forts fall into Union hands and the mouth of the great river is under Union control.
May 25, 1862 - First Battle of Winchester, Virginia. After two weeks of maneuvering and battles at Cross Keys and Front Royal, General "Stonewall" Jackson attacks Union forces at Winchester and successfully drives them from the city. The victory is the culmination of his 1862 Valley Campaign.
May 31-June 1, 1862- The Battle of Seven Pines near Richmond, Virginia. General Joseph Johnston, commander of the Confederate army in Virginia is wounded and replaced by Robert E. Lee who renames his command the "Army of Northern Virginia".
June 6, 1862- Battle of Memphis, Tennessee. A Union flotilla under Commodore Charles Davis successfully defeats a Confederate river force on the Mississippi River near the city and Memphis surrenders. The Mississippi River is now in Union control except for its course west of Mississippi where the city of Vicksburg stands as the last southern stronghold on the great river.
June 25-July 1, 1862- The Seven Days' Battles before Richmond . General Lee's army attacks the "Army of the Potomac" under General George McClellan in a succession of battles beginning at Mechanicsville on June 26 and ending at Malvern Hill on July 1.
August 30-31, 1862- The Battle of Second Bull Run (or Second Manassas) is fought on the same ground where one year before, the Union army was defeated and sent reeling in retreat to Washington. Likewise, the result of this battle is a Union defeat.
September 17, 1862- The Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg), Maryland, the bloodiest single day of the Civil War. The result of the battle ends General Lee's first invasion of the North. Following the Union victory, President Lincoln will introduce the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order that freed every slave in the Confederate States.
December 13, 1862- The Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia . The Army of the Potomac, under General Ambrose Burnside, is soundly defeated by Lee's forces after a risky river crossing and sacking of the city.
December 31-January 3, 1863- Battle of Stones River, Tennessee. Fought between the Union Army of the Cumberland under General William Rosecrans and the Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg, the costly Union victory frees middle Tennessee from Confederate control and boosts northern morale.
January 1, 1863- The Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect. Applauded by many abolitionists including Frederick Douglass, there are others who feel it does not go far enough to totally abolish slavery.
March 3, 1863- Conscription, or the drafting of soldiers into military service, begins in the North. It had begun in the South the year before.
April 1863 - Union forces in the east begin a new campaign in Virginia to flank Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Fredericksburg. In the west, a Union army has begun a campaign to surround and take Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River.
May 1-4, 1863 - The Battle of Chancellorsville , Virginia. General Lee's greatest victory is marred by the mortal wounding of "Stonewall" Jackson, who dies on May 10. Soon after, Lee asks Jefferson Davis for permission to invade the North and take the war out of Virginia.
May 18, 1863 - Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi begins. Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant attack Confederate defenses outside the city on May 19-22. If Vicksburg falls, the Mississippi River will be completely controlled by the Union.
June 9, 1863 - The Battle of Brandy Station, Virginia. Union cavalry forces cross the Rapidan River to attack General J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry and discover that Lee's men are moving west toward the Shenandoah Valley. The largest cavalry battle of the Civil War, it also marks the beginning of the Gettysburg Campaign. Meanwhile, the Union assault on Vicksburg, Mississippi has become a siege of the city where soldiers and civilians alike suffer from constant bombardment.
June 14-15, 1863 - Battle of Second Winchester,Virginia. Confederate troops under General Richard Ewell defeat Union troops under General Robert Milroy, clearing the Shenandoah Valley of Union forces.
June 28, 1863 - The Gettysburg Campaign continues. Confederates pass through York and reach the bridge over the Susquehanna River at Columbia, but Union militia set fire to the bridge, denying access to the east shore. Southern cavalry skirmishes with Union militia near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
July 1-3 - The Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The bloodiest battle of the Civil War dashes Robert E. Lee's hopes for a successful invasion of the North.
July 4 - Vicksburg, Mississippi, surrenders to the Union Army under Grant. The capture of Vicksburg gives the Union complete control of the Mississippi River, a vital supply line for the Confederate states in the west. At Gettysburg, Lee begins his retreat to Virginia.
July 10-11, 1863 - Union naval and land forces attack Confederate defenses near Charleston, South Carolina. Among the Union troops is the 54 th Massachusetts Colored Infantry, the first African American regiment of volunteers to see combat.
July 13, 1863 - Draft Riots begin in New York City and elsewhere as disgruntled workers and laborers, seething over the draft system that seemingly favors the rich, attack the draft office and African American churches. The riots continue through July 16.
July 13-14, 1863 - Near Falling Waters, Maryland, Union troops skirmish with Lee's rearguard. That night the Army of Northern Virginia crosses the Potomac River and the Gettysburg Campaign ends.
July 18, 1863 - Second Assault on Battery Wagner, South Carolina. Leading the Union infantry charge is the 54 th Massachusetts Colored Infantry commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw who is killed and buried with the dead of his regiment.
August 21, 1863 - Sacking of Lawrence, Kansas. In a murderous daylight raid, Confederate and Missouri guerillas under William Clarke Quantrill storm into Lawrence and destroy most of the town. Approximately 150 men and boys are murdered by Quantrill's men.
September 9, 1863 - Chattanooga, Tennessee, is occupied by Union forces under General William Rosecrans whose Army of the Cumberland will soon invade northern Georgia.
September 19 -20, 1863 - The Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia. The Union Army of the Cumberland under General William Rosecrans is defeated and nearly routed by the Confederate Army of Tennessee commanded by General Braxton Bragg. Rosecrans' army retreats to the supply base at Chattanooga, Tennessee.
September –November 1863 - The Siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Confederate forces under Braxton Bragg surround the occupied city. General Ulysses S. Grant is assigned to command the troops there and begins immediate plans to relieve the besieged Union army.
October 5, 1863 - Outside of Charleston Harbor, the Confederate David, a partially submerged, steam powered vessel, attacked the New Ironsides, part of the Union fleet blockading the harbor, with a torpedo. Both ships survived the attack, though the commander of the David and one of his crew were captured.
October 9 -22, 1863 - Bristoe Station Campaign. In a feint toward Washington, Lee's Army of the Northern Virginia marches into northern Virginia in an attempt to flank the Army of the Potomac, under General Meade. Lee successfully outmaneuvers Meade though fails to bring him to battle or catch him in the open. An engagement at Bristoe Station, Virginia, on October 14 gives the campaign its name.
November 19, 1863 - Dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg. President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.
November 23 -25, 1863 - The Battle for Chattanooga. Union forces break the Confederate siege of the city in successive attacks. The most notable event is the storming of Lookout Mountain on November 24 and Battle of Missionary Ridge the following day. The decisive Union victory sends the Confederate Army south into Georgia where General Bragg reorganizes his forces before resigning from command on November 30.
November 26 -December 1, 1863- The Mine Run Campaign. Meade's Army of the Potomac marches against Lee's Army of Northern Virginia south of the Rapidan River, east of Orange Court House. Lee reacts and throws up a line of defenses along the banks of Mine Run Creek. After several days of probing the defenses, Meade withdraws north of the Rapidan and goes into winter quarters.
November 27 to December 3, 1863 - Siege of Knoxville, Tennessee. Confederate troops under General James Longstreet lay siege to the city of Knoxville held by Union forces under General Ambrose Burnside. Longstreet finally attacks on November 30 but is repulsed with heavy losses. The arrival of Union reinforcements forces him to withdraw to Greeneville, Tennessee, where his corps will spend the winter.
December 8, 1863 - Lincoln Issues his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, which would pardon those who participated in the "existing rebellion" if they take an oath to the Union.
February 9, 1864 - Escape from Libby Prison, Richmond. After weeks of digging, 109 Union officers made their escape from the notorious Libby Prison, the largest and most sensational escape of the war. Though 48 of the escapees were later captured and two drowned, 59 were able to make their way into Union lines.
February 27, 1864- In Georgia, Camp Sumter Prison Camp opens. Universally referred to as Andersonville Prison Camp, it will become notorious for overcrowded conditions and a high death rate among its inmates.
February 14-20, 1864 - Union Capture and Occupation of Meridian, Mississippi. Union forces under William T. Sherman enter the city of Meridian, Mississippi after a successful month of campaigning through the central part of the state. The capture of this important southern town, well known for its industry and storage capabilities, severely hampers the efforts of Confederate commanders to sustain their armies in the deep south, Georgia and west of the Mississippi River.
February 17, 1864 - First Successful Submarine Attack of the Civil War. The CSS H.L. Hunley, a seven-man submergible craft, attacked the USS Houstonic outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Struck by the submarine's torpedo, the Housatonic broke apart and sank, taking all but five of her crew with her. Likewise, the Hunley was also lost and never heard from again until discovered in 1995 at the spot where it sank after the attack.
March 2, 1864 - Ulysses S. Grant is appointed lieutenant general, a rank revived at the request of President Lincoln. Grant assumes command of all Union Armies in the field the following day.
March 10, 1864 - The Red River Campaign begins. As part of an overall Union strategy to strike deep into various parts of the Confederacy, a combined force of army and navy commands under General Nathaniel Banks begins a campaign on the Red River in Louisiana.
April 8, 1864 - Battle of Sabine Crossroads or Mansfield, Louisiana, the first major battle of the Red River Campaign in Louisiana.
April 9, 1864 - Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. The Union Army under Banks defeats the attempt by Confederate forces under General Richard Taylor to drive them out of Louisiana. Unfortunately, the result of the campaign would be less than desired as it drew to a close in the first week of May with Confederates still in firm control of most of the state.
April 12, 1864 - Capture of Fort Pillow, Tennessee. After a rapid raid through central and western Tennessee, Confederate cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked and overwhelmed the Union garrison at Fort Pillow, located on the Mississippi River. Among those garrisoning the fort were African American troops, many of whom were murdered by Forrest's angered troopers after they had surrendered. The affair was investigated and though charges of an atrocity were denied by Confederate authorities, the events at Fort Pillow cast a pall over Forrest's reputation and remained an emotional issue throughout the remainder of the war and after.
May 4-5, 1864- Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia , the opening battle of the "Overland Campaign" or "Wilderness Campaign". General Ulysses S. Grant, accompanying the Army of the Potomac under General Meade, issued orders for the campaign to begin on May 3. Lee responded by attacking the Union column in the dense woods and underbrush of an area known as the Wilderness, west of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
May 7, 1864- Beginning of the Atlanta Campaign. With three Union armies under his command, General William T. Sherman marched south from Tennessee into Georgia against the Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Joseph Johnston, the objective being the city of Atlanta.
May 8-21, 1864- Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia . Lee successfully stalls Grant's drive toward Richmond.
May 11, 1864 - Battle of Yellow Tavern. Six miles north of Richmond, Confederate cavalry under General J.E.B. Stuart blocked a force of Union cavalry under General Philip Sheridan. General Stuart was mortally wounded during the encounter.
May 14-15, 1864 - Battle of Resaca, Georgia. General Sherman's armies are blocked at Resaca by General Johnston's Army of Tennessee. After two days of maneuvering and intense fighting, Johnston withdraws. Sherman will advance but take precautions against ordering any further massed assaults where high casualties may occur.
June 1-3, 1864 - Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia. Relentless and bloody Union attacks fail to dislodge Lee's army from its strong line of defensive works northeast of Richmond.
June 8, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is nominated by his party for a second term as president.
June 10, 1864- Battle of Brice's Crossroads, Mississippi- In spite of being outnumbered almost two to one, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest attacks and routs the Union command under General Samuel Sturgis.
June 15-18, 1864- Assault on Petersburg, Virginia. After withdrawing from the lines at Cold Harbor, the Army of the Potomac crossed the James River and with troops from the Army of the James attacked the outer defenses of Petersburg, the primary junction for several southern railroads. After four days of bloody attacks, Grant accepts that only a siege can systematically isolate the city and cut off Confederate supplies to the capital of Richmond.
June 19, 1864 - The USS Kearsarge sinks the Confederate raider CSS Alabama near Cherbourg, France.
June 27, 1864 - Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. After weeks of maneuvering and battles, Sherman's Army of the Cumberland and Army of the Tennessee smash headlong into Johnston's carefully planned defenses at Big and Little Kennesaw. Johnston remains on this line until July 2, when he retreats at the threat being flanked by Sherman's mobile force.
July 9, 1864 - Battle of Monocacy, Maryland. In an attempt to draw Union troops away from the ongoing siege of Petersburg and Richmond, a Confederate force under Jubal Early quietly moved north into Maryland. Early had made excellent progress until he reached Frederick, Maryland, where a force of 6,000 Federal troops under General Lew Wallace, was arrayed to delay his advance. Though the battle was a Union defeat, it was also touted as "the battle that saved Washington" for it succeeded in holding back Early's march until troops could be sent to the capital's defense.
July 11-12, 1864- Attack on the Defenses of Washington. Jubal Early's troops arrive on the outskirts of Washington, DC, and trade cannon fire with a token Union force remaining in the forts around the city. President Lincoln observes the skirmishing from Fort Stevens as reinforcements from the Army of the Potomac arrive and quickly fill in the works. Early withdraws that evening.
July 14-15, 1864- Battles near Tupelo, Mississippi. The Union defeat of Nathan Bedford Forrest secured the supply lines to Sherman's armies operating against Atlanta, Georgia.
July 17, 1864 - General John Bell Hood replaces General Joseph Johnston as commander of the Army of Tennessee. This change in command signals a new Confederate strategy to thwart Sherman's campaign, though the end result will be disastrous for the southern cause.
July 20, 1864 - Battle of Peachtree Creek, Georgia, the first major battle around the city of Atlanta. General Hood sends his army out of the city's defenses to attack the approaching Federal troops under George Thomas. After several hours of fierce fighting, Hood withdrew back to his own defensive works.
July 21, 1864 - The Battle of Atlanta. Hood's second effort to throw back Union forces under Sherman brings him heavy casualties with no positive results. General James McPherson, commander of the Union Army of the Tennessee, is killed during the fighting.
July 30, 1864 - The Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia. After a month of tunneling by soldiers of the 48 th Pennsylvania Infantry, a massive mine was exploded under a Confederate fort in the Petersburg siege lines. The infantry charge that followed was poorly coordinated and by day's end, Confederate counterattacks had driven out the Union troops and the siege lines remained unchanged.
August 5, 1864 - Battle of Mobile Bay. A Union fleet under Admiral David Farragut steamed into Mobile Bay outside the city of Mobile, Alabama, defended by two strong forts and a small southern flotilla, including the formidable ironclad CSS Tennessee. Farragut's ships defeated the Confederate ships and bypassed the forts, capturing the important southern port.
August 18-19, 1864 - Battles on the Weldon Railroad near Petersburg, Virginia. Union attempts to capture this important railroad into Petersburg were stopped by Confederate counterattacks. Despite southern efforts, the Union remained in firm possession of their gains and the railroad.
August 25, 1864 - Battle of Ream's Station, near Petersburg, Virginia. A surprise Confederate counterattack briefly stopped Union destruction of the Weldon Railroad near Ream's Station, though failed to release the Union grip on this important supply line into Petersburg.
August 31- September 1, 1864 - Battle of Jonesborough, Georgia. The final southern counterattack against Union troops outside the city of Atlanta fails.
September 1, 1864 - Fall of Atlanta, Georgia. Confederate troops under General Hood evacuate the city of Atlanta. General Sherman's army occupies the city and its defenses the following day.
September 19, 1864 - Third Battle of Winchester, Virginia. Union forces under General Philip Sheridan attacked the Confederate army under Jubal Early near the city of Winchester and drove them southward, up the Shenandoah Valley.
September 22, 1864 - Battle of Fisher's Hill, Virginia. The Union Army of the Shenandoah under General Philip Sheridan attacked Jubal Early's Confederates near Fisher's Hill, overpowering the southerners and again forcing them to flee the battlefield. Union officers and officials in Washington believe this to be the final battle in the Shenandoah Valley.
September 29-30, 1864 - Battle of Fort Harrison near Richmond, Virginia. In a sweeping assault, the Confederate stronghold known as Fort Harrison falls to the Army of the James. Confederate efforts to retake the fort fail.
October 19, 1864 - The Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia. In an early morning surprise attack, Jubal Early's Confederates successfully attack and drive troops of the Army of the Shenandoah from their camps on the banks of Cedar Creek south of Middletown, Virginia. Hearing the fight from his headquarters at Winchester, General Philip Sheridan rides southward, rallying dispirited troops who return to the battlefield. By day's end, Early's forces are put to flight. Despite several attempts to disrupt the Union advance in the coming weeks, the battle for control of the Shenandoah Valley is over.
November 8, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is reelected president of the United States.
November 16, 1864 - General Sherman's Army of Georgia begins the "March to the Sea"
November 30, 1864- Battle of Franklin, Tennessee. After a month of raiding Sherman's supply lines and attacking Union outposts, John Bell Hood's army confronts Union troops from General John Schofield's command, who they had encountered the day before near Spring Hill, Tennessee. A massive frontal assault on the well entrenched Federal line meets with disaster. Despite some taking of outside works and defenses, the toll for Hood's forces is too heavy including the loss of six of his generals. Union troops retreat in the direction of Nashville.
December 10, 1864- Harassed only by scattered Georgia militia, Sherman's Army of Georgia arrives at Savannah, Georgia, completing the famous "March to the Sea". At Savannah, his troops will take Fort McAllister and force Confederate defenders to evacuate the city.
December 15-16, 1864 - The Battle of Nashville, Tennessee. The Confederate Army under John Bell Hood is thoroughly defeated and the threat to Tennessee ends.
January 15, 1865 - Assault and capture of Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Union occupation of this fort at the mouth of the Cape Fear River closes access to Wilmington, the last southern seaport on the east coast that was open to blockade runners and commercial shipping.
February 1, 1865 - Sherman's Army leaves Savannah to march through the Carolinas.
February 17, 1865 - Sherman's Army captures Columbia, South Carolina while Confederate defenders evacuate Charleston, South Carolina.
February 22, 1865 - Wilmington, NC, falls to Union troops, closing the last important southern port on the east coast. On this same day, Joseph E. Johnston is restored to command the nearly shattered Army of the Tennessee, vice John B. Hood who resigned a month earlier.
March 4, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated for his second term as president in Washington, DC.
March 11, 1865 - Sherman's Army occupies Fayetteville, North Carolina.
March 16 and 19-21, 1865 - The Battles of Averasborough and Bentonville, North Carolina. Sherman's army is stalled in its drive northward from Fayetteville but succeeds in passing around the Confederate forces toward its object of Raleigh.
March 25, 1865 - Attack on Fort Stedman, Petersburg, Virginia. Touted as "Lee's last offensive", Confederate troops under General John B. Gordon attack and briefly capture the Union fort in the Petersburg siege lines in an attempt to thwart Union plans for a late March assault. By day's end, the southerners have been thrown out and the lines remain unchanged.
April 1, 1865 - The Battle of Five Forks, Virginia. The Confederate defeat at Five Forks initiates General Lee's decision to abandon the Petersburg-Richmond siege lines.
April 2, 1865 - The Fall of Petersburg and Richmond. General Lee abandons both cities and moves his army west in hopes of joining Confederate forces under General Johnston in North Carolina.
April 3, 1865 - Union troops occupy Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia.
April 6, 1865 - The Battle of Sailor's Creek, Virginia. A portion of Lee's Army- almost one-third of it- is cornered along the banks of Sailor's (or "Saylor's") Creek and annihilated.
April 9, 1865 - Battle of Appomattox Court House and Surrender, Appomattox Court House, Virginia. After an early morning attempt to break through Union forces blocking the route west to Danville, Virginia, Lee seeks an audience with General Grant to discuss terms. That afternoon in the parlor of Wilmer McLean, Lee signs the document of surrender. On April 12, the Army of Northern Virginia formally surrenders and is disbanded.
April 14, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by actor John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC. On the same day, Fort Sumter, South Carolina is re-occupied by Union troops.
April 26, 1865 - General Joseph Johnston signs the surrender document for the Confederate Army of the Tennessee and miscellaneous southern troops attached to his command at Bennett's Place near Durham, North Carolina.
May 4, 1865 - General Richard Taylor surrenders Confederate forces in the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana.
May 10, 1865 - Confederate President Jefferson Davis is captured near Irwinville, Georgia.
May 12, 1865 - The final battle of the Civil War takes place at Palmito Ranch, Texas. It is a Confederate victory.
May 23, 1865- The Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac in Washington, DC
May 24, 1865- The Grand Review of General Sherman's Army in Washington, DC
May 26, 1865- General Simon Bolivar Buckner enters into terms for surrender of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, which are agreed to on June 2, 1865.The Civil War officially ends.
10 Facts: What Everyone Should Know About the Civil War
Fact #1: The Civil War was fought between the Northern and the Southern states from 1861-1865.
The American Civil War was fought between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America, a collection of eleven southern states that left the Union in 1860 and 1861. The conflict began primarily as a result of the long-standing disagreement over the institution of slavery. On February 9, 1861, Jefferson Davis, a former U.S. Senator and Secretary of War, was elected President of the Confederate States of America by the members of the Confederate constitutional convention. After four bloody years of conflict, the United States defeated the Confederate States. In the end, the states that were in rebellion were readmitted to the United States, and the institution of slavery was abolished nation-wide.
Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Library of Congress
Fact #2: Abraham Lincoln was the President of the United States during the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln grew up in a log cabin in Kentucky. He worked as a shopkeeper and a lawyer before entering politics in the 1840s. Alarmed by his anti-slavery stance, seven southern states seceded soon after he was elected president in 1860—with four more states to soon follow. Lincoln declared that he would do everything necessary to keep the United States united as one country. He refused to recognize the southern states as an independent nation and the Civil War erupted in the spring of 1861. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the areas of the country that "shall then be in rebellion against the United States." The Emancipation Proclamation laid the groundwork for the eventual freedom of slaves across the country. Lincoln won re-election in 1864 against opponents who wanted to sign a peace treaty with the southern states. On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was shot by assassin John Wilkes Booth, a southern sympathizer. Abraham Lincoln died at 7:22 am the next morning.
Fact #3: The issues of slavery and central power divided the United States.
Slavery was concentrated mainly in the southern states by the mid-19th century, where slaves were used as farm laborers, artisans, and house servants. Chattel slavery formed the backbone of the largely agrarian southern economy. In the northern states, industry largely drove the economy. Many people in the north and the south believed that slavery was immoral and wrong, yet the institution remained, which created a large chasm on the political and social landscape. Southerners felt threatened by the pressure of northern politicians and “abolitionists,” who included the zealot John Brown, and claimed that the federal government had no power to end slavery, impose certain taxes, force infrastructure improvements, or influence western expansion against the wishes of the state governments. While some northerners felt that southern politicians wielded too much power in the House and the Senate and that they would never be appeased. Still, from the earliest days of the United States through the antebellum years, politicians on both sides of the major issues attempted to find a compromise that would avoid the splitting of the country, and ultimately avert a war. The Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and many others, all failed to steer the country away from secession and war. In the end, politicians on both sides of the aisle dug in their heels. Eleven states left the United States in the following order and formed the Confederate States of America: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Fact #4: The Civil War began when Southern troops bombarded Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
When the southern states seceded from the Union, war was still not a certainty. Federal forts, barracks, and naval shipyards dotted the southern landscape. Many Regular Army officers clung tenaciously to their posts, rather than surrender their facilities to the growing southern military presence. President Lincoln attempted to resupply these garrisons with food and provisions by sea. The Confederacy learned of Lincoln’s plans and demanded that the forts surrender under threat of force. When the U.S. soldiers refused, South Carolinians bombarded Fort Sumter in the center of Charleston harbor. After a 34-hour battle, the soldiers inside the fort surrendered to the Confederates. Legions of men from north and south rushed to their respective flags in the ensuing patriotic fervor.
Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor: 12th & 13th of April, 1861. Library of Congress
Fact #5: The North had more men and war materials than the South.
At the beginning of the Civil War, 22 million people lived in the North and 9 million people (nearly 4 million of whom were slaves) lived in the South. The North also had more money, more factories, more horses, more railroads, and more farmland. On paper, these advantages made the United States much more powerful than the Confederate States. However, the Confederates were fighting defensively on territory that they knew well. They also had the advantage of the sheer size of the Southern Confederacy. Which meant that the northern armies would have to capture and hold vast quantities of land across the south. Still, too, the Confederacy maintained some of the best ports in North America—including New Orleans, Charleston, Mobile, Norfolk, and Wilmington. Thus, the Confederacy was able to mount a stubborn resistance.
Fact #6: The bloodiest battle of the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
The Civil War devastated the Confederate states. The presence of vast armies throughout the countryside meant that livestock, crops, and other staples were consumed very quickly. In an effort to gather fresh supplies and relieve the pressure on the Confederate garrison at Vicksburg, Mississippi, Confederate General Robert E. Lee launched a daring invasion of the North in the summer of 1863. He was defeated by Union General George G. Meade in a three-day battle near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania that left nearly 51,000 men killed, wounded, or missing in action. While Lee's men were able to gather the vital supplies, they did little to draw Union forces away from Vicksburg, which fell to Federal troops on July 4, 1863. Many historians mark the twin Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, Mississippi, as the “turning point” in the Civil War. In November of 1863, President Lincoln traveled to the small Pennsylvania town and delivered the Gettysburg Address, which expressed firm commitment to preserving the Union and became one of the most iconic speeches in American history.
Fact #7: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee did not meet on the field of battle until May of 1864.
Arguably the two most famous military personalities to emerge from the American Civil War were Ohio born Ulysses S. Grant, and Virginia born Robert E. Lee. The two men had very little in common. Lee was from a well respected First Family of Virginia, with ties to the Continental Army and the founding fathers of the nation. While Grant was from a middle-class family with no martial or family political ties. Both men graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the old army as well as the Mexican-American War. Lee was offered command of the federal army amassing in Washington, in 1861, but he declined the command and threw his hat in with the Confederacy. Lee's early war career got off to a rocky start, but he found his stride in June of 1862 after he assumed command of what he dubbed the Army of Northern Virginia. Grant, on the other hand, found early success in the war but was haunted by rumors of alcoholism. By 1863, the two men were by far the best generals on their respective sides. In March of 1864, Grant was promoted to lieutenant general and brought to the Eastern Theater of the war, where he and Lee engaged in a relentless campaign from May of 1864 to Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House eleven months later.
Fact #8: The North won the Civil War.
After four years of conflict, the major Confederate armies surrendered to the United States in April of 1865 at Appomattox Court House and Bennett Place. The war bankrupted much of the South, left its roads, farms, and factories in ruins, and all but wiped out an entire generation of men who wore the blue and the gray. More than 620,000 men died in the Civil War, more than any other war in American history. The southern states were occupied by Union soldiers, rebuilt, and gradually re-admitted to the United States over the course of twenty difficult years known as the Reconstruction Era.
A battle-scarred house in Atlanta, Georgia. Library of Congress
Fact #9: After the war was over, the Constitution was amended to free the slaves, to assure “equal protection under the law” for American citizens, and to grant black men the right to vote.
During the war, Abraham Lincoln freed some slaves and allowed freedmen to join the Union Army as the United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.). It was clear to many that it was only a matter of time before slavery would be fully abolished. As the war drew to a close, but before the southern states were re-admitted to the United States, the northern states added the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution. The amendments are also known as the "Civil War Amendments." The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, the 14th Amendment guaranteed that citizens would receive “equal protection under the law,” and the 15th Amendment granted black men the right to vote. The 14th Amendment has played an ongoing role in American society as different groups of citizens continue to lobby for equal treatment by the government.
Fact #10: Many Civil War battlefields are threatened by development.
The United States government has identified 384 battles that had a significant impact on the larger war. Many of these battlefields have been developed—turned into shopping malls, pizza parlors, housing developments, etc.—and many more are threatened by development. Since the end of the Civil War, veterans and other citizens have struggled to preserve the fields on which Americans fought and died. The American Battlefield Trust and its partners have preserved tens of thousands of acres of battlefield land.
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