Share come Google classroom The Civil battle is the central event in America"s historic consciousness. If the change of 1776-1783 produced the united States, the Civil battle of 1861-1865 identified what kind of nation it would be. The war fixed two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution: even if it is the United says was to it is in a dissolvable confederation the sovereign says or one indivisible nation with a sovereign nationwide government; and whether this nation, born the a declaration the all guys were developed with one equal best to liberty, would continue to exist as the biggest slaveholding nation in the world.

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Northern win in the war kept the United says as one country and ended the college of slavery that had separated the country from that beginning. But these success came at the price of 625,000 lives--nearly as plenty of American soldiers as passed away in every the various other wars in which this country has fought combined. The American Civil battle was the largest and also most destructive problem in the western world between the finish of the Napoleonic battles in 1815 and also the onset of world War ns in 1914.

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The Civil war started because of uncompromising differences in between the cost-free and slave claims over the power of the national federal government to prohibit enslavement in the areas that had not yet end up being states. As soon as Abraham Lincoln won choice in 1860 together the very first Republican chairman on a communication pledging come keep slavery out that the territories, 7 slave says in the deep south seceded and formed a brand-new nation, the Confederate claims of America. The just arrive Lincoln administration and most of the Northern human being refused to identify the legitimacy the secession. Castle feared that it would certainly discredit democracy and create a fatal criterion that would at some point fragment the no-longer joined States into several small, squabbling countries.

The event that prompted war came at ft Sumter in Charleston just on April 12, 1861. Claiming this joined States fort as their own, the Confederate military on the day opened fire ~ above the federal garrison and also forced the to reduced the American flag in surrender. Lincoln dubbed out the militia to suppress this "insurrection." Four more slave claims seceded and also joined the Confederacy. Through the finish of 1861 practically a million armed men confronted each other along a line stretching 1200 mile from Virginia to Missouri. Numerous battles had currently taken place--near Manassas Junction in Virginia, in the mountains of western Virginia wherein Union victories paved the way for production of the new state of West Virginia, in ~ Wilson"s Creek in Missouri, in ~ Cape Hatteras in phibìc Carolina, and at Port imperial in southern Carolina wherein the Union navy established a base because that a blockade to shut off the Confederacy"s access to the external world.

But the actual fighting began in 1862. Large battles favor Shiloh in Tennessee, Gaines" Mill, second Manassas, and Fredericksburg in Virginia, and Antietam in Maryland foreshadowed even bigger campaigns and also battles in succeeding years, native Gettysburg in Pennsylvania come Vicksburg ~ above the Mississippi to Chickamauga and Atlanta in Georgia. By 1864 the original northern goal that a restricted war to reclaim the Union had given way to a brand-new strategy that "total war" to ruin the Old South and its simple institution that slavery and to offer the restored Union a "new bear of freedom," as President Lincoln put it in his resolve at Gettysburg to dedicate a cemetery because that Union soldiers killed in the battle there.

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Alexander Gardner"s renowned photo the Confederate dead prior to the Dunker Church on the Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., 1862. Library of congress

For three long years, native 1862 come 1865, Robert E. Lee"s military of northern Virginia staved turn off invasions and also attacks through the Union military of the grape max commanded by a collection of ineffective generals until Ulysses S. Grant involved Virginia native the Western theater to end up being general in chief of all Union militaries in 1864. After ~ bloody battles at locations with names favor The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and also Petersburg, approve finally lugged Lee to bay in ~ Appomattox in April 1865. In the during Union armies and river fleets in the theater of war consisting of the slave claims west that the Appalachian hill chain won a long collection of victories over Confederate armies commanded by hapless or ominous Confederate generals. In 1864-1865 general William Tecumseh Sherman led his army deep into the Confederate heartland that Georgia and also South Carolina, ruining their financial infrastructure while basic George thomas virtually damaged the Confederacy"s military of Tennessee in ~ the battle of Nashville.By the spring of 1865 all the principal Confederate armies surrendered, and also when Union cavalry recorded the fleeing Confederate chairman Jefferson Davis in Georgia on might 10, 1865, resistance collapsed and also the war ended. The long, painful procedure of rebuilding a joined nation free of slavery began.