THE CIVIL WAR: APRIL 12, 1861 – APRIL 9, 1865

April 12, 2011 marks the 150TH Anniversary of start of the Civil War.
Known by many names—the War Between the States, the War of Northern Aggression, the War of Southern Aggression, the War of Secession—the name most commonly used is the American Civil War.
When eleven Southern states declared secession from the United States to form the Confederate States of America, and with the firing on Fort Sumter April 12-13, 1861 by Confederate forces, the beginning of the Civil War started the bloodiest internecine strife that America has ever seen on its own soil. For four years, the nation was split into two factions:  North and South.
Many causes arose that led to the Civil War: race-based slavery; state’s rights; tariffs; abolitionism; the invention of the cotton gin; nationalism—North and South; sectionalism;  pro-slavery and free soil issues; the election of Abraham Lincoln:

Head shot of older, clean shaven Lincoln

Lincoln in 1860 as photographed by Alexander Hessler.

. . . .and most of all, the South’s hunger to push farther into the West, with its expansionism of slavery to new territories.
The scarred back of a male slave, c.1855 (b/w photo)
Credit: The scarred back of a male slave, c.1855 (b/w photo), American Photographer, (19th century) / Private Collection / Peter Newark American Pictures / The Bridgeman Art Library.
Peter, an escaped slave, whose now famous back urged abolitionists to fight against slavery. Photo credit unknown.
Other factors that led to the Civil War: the Compromise of 1850; the Fugitive Slave Act, 1850 ; Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854; founding of the Republican Party in 1854; “Bleeding Kansas” and the elections of 1856; the Dred Scott Decision in 1857; the LeCompton Constitution; and the most pivotal event that served as the catalyst of the Civil War—John Brown and the raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859.
John Brown in 1846 in Springfield, Massachusetts, holding the flag of Subterranean Pass Way, his militant counterpart to the Underground Railroad.
Important events and people also were a cause and effect on the Civil War: 
Frederick Douglas:  social reformer, orator, writer and statesman, leader of the abolitionist movement. He persistently petitioned President Abraham Lincoln to enlist Black men as soldiers to fight for the Union. A man who “…would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”
Frederick Douglas, circa 1879.
Harriet Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom’s Cabin; the Draft  Riots of 1863 in New York City; Quantrill’s Raiders; the Jayhawkers; the Bushwhackers; as well as how Europe, most notably England and France, viewed the war.
Even the king of Hawaii, Kamehameha IV declared Hawaii’s neutrality in the war with a proclamation addressed to President Abraham Lincoln:
The Civil War remains the deadliest war in American military history, resulting in the deaths of 620,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. Ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years of age died, as did 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40.Victory for the North meant the end of the Confederacy and of slavery in the United States, and strengthened the role of the federal government. The social, political, economic and racial issues of the war decisively shaped this nation in many ways and for many years to come:    the Eamancipation Proclamation; the 13TH Amendment; the 14TH Amendment; the 15TH Amendment; the Reconstruction Era that lasted from 1865 to 1877;the  Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1870, 1871, and 1875; the Civil Rights Movement from 1896 – 1975; the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Bodies of Union soldiers killed July 1, 1863, near McPherson Woods, Gettysburg, PA. SOURCE

770. African Americans Collecting Bones of Soldiers Killed in the Battle  – Cold Harbor, VA, April 1865 Casualties


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Confederate dead behind the stone wall of Marye’s Heights, Fredericksburg, Va., killed during the Battle of Chancellorsville. SOURCE
Confederate dead of Gen. Ewell’s Corp who attacked the Union Lines at the Battle of Spotsylvania.
Picture of one of the survivors of Andersonville Prison. Union Army soldier on his release from Andersonville in May, 1865. SOURCE
In addition to the profitable economic interests that race-based slavery held for the Southern planter class, the Southern elite incorporated racist rhetoric and propaganda to enlist poor White yeoman males to fight a war where 1 in 4 Whites owned slaves. This White “male honor” created a mentality (“At least I’m not a slave”; “At least I’m not a nigger”) that would persist after the end of the Civil War; a mentality that would create the following in the South:  destruction of Reconstruction,  creation of the KKK, creation of Jane Crow segregation, and the racial nadir of lynching where poor Whites had only their white skin to allow them to look down on, despise, and destroy on a daily basis their fellow Black citizens. [1]  This appeal to White male masculinity and honor caused thousands of landless, penniless, and dirt-poor White males to enlist in a war that near the end had many of them deserting and abandoning their posts.
“Defeatism spread with news of these calamities. Added to the rising chorus of hopelessness that could now be heard across the land were the angry voices of those who had decided that, even if the war could still be won, the Confederacy was not worth fighting for. This sentiment was especially common among poor and yeoman families, on whom the burdens of war fell most heavily. When conscription took away many of their men, they struggled to keep their farms and artisan shops going and they grew resentful of those who had slaves to work for them. They especially resented the big planters who were exempted from the draft in order to supervise their slaves, and others of the elite who managed to secure desk jobs far from the battlefront. Many began to wonder out loud if the Confederacy was governed in their interests or those of the wealthy. The government eventually responded to their protests, revoking many exemptions and setting up relief programs, but these efforts never wholly pacified the plain folk. The feeling persisted among many that it was “a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight,” and ultimately they turned against their government.”
SOURCEA Year in the South: Four Lives In 1865, by Stephen V. Ash, pg. 41, published by Palgrave MacMillan, 2002.
Many today believe the lie that the Civil War was fought for state’s rights; in fact, the Confederacy opposed state’s rights, as seen in South Carolina’s first secession document:  Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.  The state of Mississippi’s Declaration stated, “”Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery–the greatest material interest of the world.”  To this day, many scoff at the idea that slavery was the central cause of the Civil War, but, facts must be faced—the CSA had in its constitution the protection of the rights of Whites to own slaves, the most important clause in the CSA Constitution:
ARTICLE 1; SECTION 9 – (4) No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed. SOURCE
In black and white (no pun intended) is proof that the South’s greed to maintain a slavocracy was not some myth.
Just as there were atrocities done by the South against Black enslaved people, so too were there cruelties done against enslaved Black people by the Union soldiers, giving rise to the creation of the General Orders No. 100: The Lieber Code of 1863:
“Black women were in even more danger. Rape was one of the many horrors of slavery, though whites rarely recognized it as such. Interestingly, it was only in the context of war that Southern whites for the first time were forced to acknowledge the rape of black women. In the spring of 1863, John N. Williams of the 7th Tennessee Regiment wrote in his diary, “Heard from home. The Yankees has been through there. Seem to be their object to commit rape on every Negro woman they can find.” Many times, troops and ruffians raped black women while forcing white women to watch, a horrifying experience for all, and a proxy rape of white women. B. E. Harrison of Leesburg, Va., wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln complaining that federal troops had raped his “servant girl” in the presence of his wife. Gen. William Dwight reported, “Negro women were ravished in the presence of white women and children.”
SOURCE: Rape and Justice in the Civil War, by Crystal M. Feimster, The New York Times (2)

Black soldiers, who mustered out (178,000 in the Union army and 10,ooo in the Union navy) had an especially good reason to enlist—they were fighting for their freedom. Many units   fought in the Civil War, many of them well-known, some not so well-known:  The 1ST South Carolina Infantry, was the first Black regiment formed for the Union, on August 25, 1862. The First South Carolina Volunteers was a Union Army regiment and was composed of escaped slaves from South Carolina and Florida. The unit’s commander was Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

The second black regiment, raised in the North in March, 1863, was the 54TH Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was commanded by Col. Robert Gould Shaw. It was composed mostly of free Northern Blacks. The regiment was beautifully portrayed in the movie Glory, and is the most well-known of the Civil War regiments:
View full movie Glory by clicking  here  to view Part 1.
The unit was reactivated on November 21, 2008 to serve as the Massachusetts National Guard ceremonial unit to render military honors at funerals and state functions. The new unit is now known as the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment.
Union Army drummer boy. He served with the 78TH US Colored.
Soldiers of the District of Columbia, Company E, 4TH U.S. Colored Infantry SOURCE
District of Columbia, Company E, 4TH U.S. Colored Infantry, at Fort Lincoln.  SOURCE
Not known to many people is that the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Seminole, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw) fought in the Civil War—for the Union and the Confederacy.
Chief Stand Watie, brigadier general of the Confederate States Army.
Maj. Gen. Phillip Sheridan and his generals in front of Sheridan’s tent, 1864.  SOURCE
Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, in civilian clothes.  SOURCE
Unknown to many people is that there were Black officers in the Civil War:
Major Martin R. Delaney, commanding officer of the
104th US Colored Troops, was one of 149 Black American officers during the Civil War. His was the highest rank a Black American soldier would reach during the Civil War.
Martin Delaney.
Black soldiers also received high medal honors for their valor in fighting.
The first Black American soldier to receive the Medal of Honor was Sgt. William H. Carney of the 54TH Massachusetts, during the Battery of Fort Wagner, S.C. on July 18, 1863.
The first Black American sailor to receive the Medal of Honor was Robert Blake on April 16, 1864. Sgt. James H. Harris of the 38TH USCT, received the Medal of Honor for actions at the Battle of New Market Heights. In all total, there were 18 Black American soldiers and 7 sailors who received the Medal of Honor during the Civil War.
Matthew B. Brady, photographer, full length, seated.  SOURCE
Black contributions to Union intelligence were of great value, and even today, their deeds have been lost to obscurity.
Though not much has been documented of their part in the Civil War, there were women who fought in the Civil War, under many guises:  as nurses, scouts, couriers, spies, and some dressed as men to fight in battles:
Harriet Tubman  is most well-known for her exploits in the Civil War that she was nicknamed “General”.
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Harriet Tubman (far left) with enslaves she helped  rescue during the Civil War. SOURCE
Less known is Mary Elizabeth Bowser, who was part of an urban spy ring in the Confederate capital of Richmond, VA. a group that was said to be “the most productive espionage operation” in the Civil War.
Also of note is Mary Touveste, a free Black woman working for a Confederate engineer in Norfolk, VA. She overheard plans for the building of the C.S.S. Virginia. Obtaining a copy of the plans, with great courage, she crossed enemy lines to take this information to Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. Her brave action caused the Union to ratchet up its construction of its own ironclad warship the U.S. S. Monitor, which would later do battle with the South’s Merrimac.
Christianna Batts was a Black woman who worked in Union hospitals during the Civil War as a nurse.
Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, one of the nation’s 1.8 million women veterans, was the only one to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor, for her service during the Civil War.
Immediately following the Civil War, William Cathay (Cathay Williams) enlisted in the United States Regular Army in St. Louis, Missouri. William Cathay, intending to serve three years with the 38th US Infantry, was described by the recruiting officer as 5′-9″ with black eyes, black hair, and a black complexion. The cursory examination by an Army physician missed the fact that William was actually Cathay Williams, a woman.
Image courtesy of the National Archives.
“William Cathey” served from November 15, 1866, until her discharge with a surgeon’s certificate of disability on October 14, 1868. Despite numerous and often lengthy hospital stays during her service, her sex was not revealed until June 1891, when Cathay Williams applied for an invalid pension and disclosed her true identity. She did not receive the pension, not because she was a woman, but because her disabilities were not service related. Cathay was probably the first black woman to serve in the US Regular Army.
Frances Clayton Francis Clayton
Disguised as a man (left), Frances Clayton served many months in Missouri artillery and cavalry units. (By courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library)


Chinese fought in the Civil War, on both sides. There was even a U.S. transport ship with a Chinese name, the Chi-Kiang , laden with troops for the Southern campaign, and was proceeding South when it came in collision with a schooner.
Other nationalities that fought in the Civil War:  Filipinos, Japanese, and Mexicans, to name a few.
Often forgotten in wars are those who are civilians—those caught in the conflict between opposing sides. Black enslaves escaping to the Union forces joined up with them, becoming known as contraband:
A Black family entering Union lines with a loaded cart.  SOURCE
A refugee family leaving a war area with belongings loaded onto a cart.  SOURCE
The following is a timeline of the Civil War, with the various battles, principal figures, and how the war affected everyone on both sides:
GettysburgChickamaugaChattanoogaCold HarborMarch to the SeaLee SurrendersLincoln ShotNovember 6, 1860 – Abraham Lincoln, who had declared “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free…” is elected president, the first Republican, receiving 180 of 303 possible electoral votes and 40 percent of the popular vote.

December 20, 1860 – South Carolina secedes from the Union. Followed within two months by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.

Auction and Negro sales, Atlanta, Georgia.


February 9, 1861 – The Confederate States of America is formed with Jefferson Davis, a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer, as president.

March 4, 1861 – Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as 16th President of the United States of America.

Fort Sumter Attacked

April 12, 1861 – At 4:30 a.m. Confederates under Gen. Pierre Beauregard open fire with 50 cannons upon Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The Civil War begins.

Fort Sumter after its capture, showing damage from the Rebel bombardment of over 3000 shells and now flying the Rebel “Stars and Bars” – April 14, 1861.

April 15, 1861 – President Lincoln issues a Proclamation calling for 75,000 militiamen, and summoning a special session of Congress for July 4.

Robert E. Lee, son of a Revolutionary War hero, and a 25 year distinguished veteran of the United States Army and former Superintendent of West Point, is offered command of the Union Army. Lee declines.

April 17, 1861 – Virginia secedes from the Union, followed within five weeks by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, thus forming an eleven state Confederacy with a population of 9 million, including nearly 4 million slaves. The Union will soon have 21 states and a population of over 20 million.

Map of Allegiances of the States – 1861.

April 19, 1861 – President Lincoln issues a Proclamation of Blockade against Southern ports. For the duration of the war the blockade limits the ability of the rural South to stay well supplied in its war against the industrialized North.

April 20, 1861 – Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army. “I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children.” Lee then goes to Richmond, Virginia, is offered command of the military and naval forces of Virginia, and accepts.

July 4, 1861 – Lincoln, in a speech to Congress, states the war is…”a People’s contest…a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men…” The Congress authorizes a call for 500,000 men.

First Bull Run

July 21, 1861 – The Union Army under Gen. Irvin McDowell suffers a defeat at Bull Run 25 miles southwest of Washington. Confederate Gen. Thomas J. Jackson earns the nickname “Stonewall,” as his brigade resists Union attacks. Union troops fall back to Washington. President Lincoln realizes the war will be long. “It’s damned bad,” he comments.

Ruins of the Stone Bridge over which Northern forces retreated until it was blown up by a Rebel shell adding to the panic of the retreat, with the Federals returning to Washington as “a rain-soaked mob.”

July 27, 1861 – President Lincoln appoints George B. McClellan as Commander of the Department of the Potomac, replacing McDowell.

McClellan tells his wife, “I find myself in a new and strange position here: President, cabinet, Gen. Scott, and all deferring to me. By some strange operation of magic I seem to have become the power of the land.”

September 11, 1861 – President Lincoln revokes Gen. John C. Frémont’s unauthorized military proclamation of emancipation in Missouri. Later, the president relieves Gen. Frémont of his command and replaces him with Gen. David Hunter.

November 1, 1861 – President Lincoln appoints McClellan as general-in-chief of all Union forces after the resignation of the aged Winfield Scott. Lincoln tells McClellan, “…the supreme command of the Army will entail a vast labor upon you.” McClellan responds, “I can do it all.”

November 8, 1861 – The beginning of an international diplomatic crisis for President Lincoln as two Confederate officials sailing toward England are seized by the U.S. Navy. England, the leading world power, demands their release, threatening war. Lincoln eventually gives in and orders their release in December. “One war at a time,” Lincoln remarks.


January 31, 1862 – President Lincoln issues General War Order No. 1 calling for all United States naval and land forces to begin a general advance by February 22, George Washington’s birthday.

February 6, 1862 – Victory for Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Tennessee, capturing Fort Henry, and ten days later Fort Donelson. Grant earns the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.

February 20, 1862 – President Lincoln is struck with grief as his beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, dies from fever, probably caused by polluted drinking water in the White House.

March 8/9, 1862 – The Confederate Ironclad ‘Merrimac’ sinks two wooden Union ships then battles the Union Ironclad ‘Monitor’ to a draw. Naval warfare is thus changed forever, making wooden ships obsolete. Engraving of the Battle

The Monitor at dock, showing damage from the battle.

In March– The Peninsular Campaign begins as McClellan’s Army of the Potomac advances from Washington down the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay to the peninsular south of the Confederate Capital of Richmond, Virginia then begins an advance toward Richmond.

President Lincoln temporarily relieves McClellan as general-in-chief and takes direct command of the Union Armies.


April 6/7, 1862 – Confederate surprise attack on Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s unprepared troops at Shiloh on the Tennessee River results in a bitter struggle with 13,000 Union killed and wounded and 10,000 Confederates, more men than in all previous American wars combined. The president is then pressured to relieve Grant but resists. “I can’t spare this man; he fights,” Lincoln says.

April 24, 1862 – 17 Union ships under the command of Flag Officer David Farragut move up the Mississippi River then take New Orleans, the South’s greatest seaport. Later in the war, sailing through a Rebel mine field Farragut utters the famous phrase “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

May 31, 1862 – The Battle of Seven Pines as Gen. Joseph E. Johnston‘s Army attacks McClellan’s troops in front of Richmond and nearly defeats them. But Johnston is badly wounded.

June 1, 1862 – Gen. Robert E. Lee assumes command, replacing the wounded Johnston. Lee then renames his force the Army of Northern Virginia. McClellan is not impressed, saying Lee is “likely to be timid and irresolute in action.”

June 25-July 1 – The Seven Days Battles as Lee attacks McClellan near Richmond, resulting in very heavy losses for both armies. McClellan then begins a withdrawal back toward Washington.

Young Georgia Private Edwin Jennison, killed in the Seven Days Battles at Malvern Hill – the face of a lost generation.

July 11, 1862 – After four months as his own general-in-chief, President Lincoln hands over the task to Gen. Henry W. (Old Brains) Halleck.

Second Battle of Bull Run

August 29/30, 1862 – 75,000 Federals under Gen. John Pope are defeated by 55,000 Confederates under Gen. Stonewall Jackson and Gen. James Longstreet at the second battle of Bull Run in northern Virginia. Once again the Union Army retreats to Washington. The president then relieves Pope.

September 4-9, 1862 – Lee invades the North with 50,000 Confederates and heads for Harpers Ferry, located 50 miles northwest of Washington.

The Union Army, 90,000 strong, under the command of McClellan, pursues Lee.


September 17, 1862 – The bloodiest day in U.S. military history as Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Armies are stopped at Antietam in Maryland by McClellan and numerically superior Union forces. By nightfall 26,000 men are dead, wounded, or missing. Lee then withdraws to Virginia.

Confederate dead by the fence bordering Farmer Miller’s 40 acre Cornfield at Antietam where the intense rifle and artillery fire cut every corn stalk to the ground “as closely as could have been done with a knife.”

September 22, 1862 – Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves issued by President Lincoln.

President Lincoln visits Gen. George McClellan at Antietam, Maryland – October, 1862

November 7, 1862 – The president replaces McClellan with Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside as the new Commander of the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln had grown impatient with McClellan’s slowness to follow up on the success at Antietam, even telling him, “If you don’t want to use the army, I should like to borrow it for a while.”


December 13, 1862 – Army of the Potomac under Gen. Burnside suffers a costly defeat at Fredericksburg in Virginia with a loss of 12,653 men after 14 frontal assaults on well entrenched Rebels on Marye’s Heights. “We might as well have tried to take hell,” a Union soldier remarks. Confederate losses are 5,309.

“It is well that war is so terrible – we should grow too fond of it,” states Lee during the fighting.


January 1, 1863 – President Lincoln issues the final Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in territories held by Confederates and emphasizes the enlisting of black soldiers in the Union Army. The war to preserve the Union now becomes a revolutionary struggle for the abolition of slavery.

January 25, 1863 – The president appoints Gen. Joseph (Fighting Joe) Hooker as Commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Burnside.

January 29, 1863 – Gen. Grant is placed in command of the Army of the West, with orders to capture Vicksburg.

March 3, 1863 – The U.S. Congress enacts a draft, affecting male citizens aged 20 to 45, but also exempts those who pay $300 or provide a substitute. “The blood of a poor man is as precious as that of the wealthy,” poor Northerners complain.


May 1-4, 1863 – The Union Army under Gen. Hooker is decisively defeated by Lee’s much smaller forces at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia as a result of Lee’s brilliant and daring tactics. Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson is mortally wounded by his own soldiers. Hooker retreats. Union losses are 17,000 killed, wounded and missing out of 130,000. The Confederates, 13, 000 out of 60,000.

“I just lost confidence in Joe Hooker,” said Hooker later about his own lack of nerve during the battle.

Confederate soldiers at the Sunken Road, killed during the fighting around Chancellorsville.

May 10, 1863 – The South suffers a huge blow as Stonewall Jackson dies from his wounds, his last words, “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

“I have lost my right arm,” Lee laments.

June 3, 1863 – Gen. Lee with 75,000 Confederates launches his second invasion of the North, heading into Pennsylvania in a campaign that will soon lead to Gettysburg.

June 28, 1863 – President Lincoln appoints Gen. George G. Meade as commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Hooker. Meade is the 5th man to command the Army in less than a year.


July 1-3, 1863 – The tide of war turns against the South as the Confederates are defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.

Read about the Battle of GettysburgBattlefield Photos

Union soldiers on the Battlefield at Gettysburg.

July 4, 1863Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, surrenders to Gen. Grant and the Army of the West after a six week siege. With the Union now in control of the Mississippi, the Confederacy is effectively split in two, cut off from its western allies.

July 13-16, 1863 – Anti-draft riots in New York City include arson and the murder of blacks by poor immigrant whites. At least 120 persons, including children, are killed and $2 million in damage caused, until Union soldiers returning from Gettysburg restore order.

July 18, 1863-‘Negro troops’ of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment under Col. Robert G. Shaw assault fortified Rebels at Fort Wagner, South Carolina. Col. Shaw and half of the 600 men in the regiment are killed.

August 10, 1863 – The president meets with abolitionist Frederick Douglass who pushes for full equality for Union ‘Negro troops.’

August 21, 1863 – At Lawrence, Kansas, pro-Confederate William C. Quantrill and 450 pro-slavery followers raid the town and butcher 182 boys and men.


September 19/20, 1863 – A decisive Confederate victory by Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee at Chickamauga leaves Gen. William S. Rosecrans‘ Union Army of the Cumberland trapped in Chattanooga, Tennessee under Confederate siege.

October 16, 1863 – The president appoints Gen. Grant to command all operations in the western theater.

November 19, 1863 – President Lincoln delivers a two minute Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a National Cemetery.

Page one of Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s handwriting
Page two of Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s handwriting

Lincoln among the crowd at Gettysburg – Nov 19, 1863


November 23-25, 1863 – The Rebel siege of Chattanooga ends as Union forces under Grant defeat the siege army of Gen. Braxton Bragg. During the battle, one of the most dramatic moments of the war occurs. Yelling “Chickamauga! Chickamauga!” Union troops avenge their previous defeat at Chickamauga by storming up the face of Missionary Ridge without orders and sweep the Rebels from what had been though to be an impregnable position. “My God, come and see ’em run!” a Union soldier cries.


March 9, 1864 – President Lincoln appoints Gen. Grant to command all of the armies of the United States. Gen. William T. Sherman succeeds Grant as commander in the west.

May 4, 1864 – The beginning of a massive, coordinated campaign involving all the Union Armies. In Virginia, Grant with an Army of 120,000 begins advancing toward Richmond to engage Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, now numbering 64,000, beginning a war of attrition that will include major battles at the Wilderness (May 5-6), Spotsylvania (May 8-12), and Cold Harbor (June 1-3).

In the west, Sherman, with 100,000 men begins an advance toward Atlanta to engage Joseph E. Johnston’s 60,000 strong Army of Tennessee.

A council of war with Gen. Grant leaning over the shoulder of Gen. Meade looking at a map, planning the Cold Harbor assault.

Cold Harbor

June 3, 1864 – A costly mistake by Grant results in 7,000 Union casualties in twenty minutes during an offensive against fortified Rebels at Cold Harbor in Virginia.

Many of the Union soldiers in the failed assault had predicted the outcome, including a dead soldier from Massachusetts whose last entry in his diary was, “June 3, 1864, Cold Harbor, Virginia. I was killed.”

June 15, 1864 – Union forces miss an opportunity to capture Petersburg and cut off the Confederate rail lines. As a result, a nine month siege of Petersburg begins with Grant’s forces surrounding Lee.

The 13-inch Union mortar “Dictator” mounted on a railroad flatcar at Petersburg. Its 200-pound shells had a range of over 2 miles.

July 20, 1864 – At Atlanta, Sherman’s forces battle the Rebels now under the command of Gen. John B. Hood, who replaced Johnston.

August 29, 1864 – Democrats nominate George B. McClellan for president to run against Republican incumbent Abraham Lincoln.

September 2, 1864Atlanta is captured by Sherman‘s Army. “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won,” Sherman telegraphs Lincoln. The victory greatly helps President Lincoln’s bid for re-election.

October 19, 1864 – A decisive Union victory by Cavalry Gen. Philip H. Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley over Jubal Early’s troops.

November 8, 1864 – Abraham Lincoln is re-elected president, defeating Democrat George B. McClellan. Lincoln carries all but three states with 55 percent of the popular vote and 212 of 233 electoral votes. “I earnestly believe that the consequences of this day’s work will be to the lasting advantage, if not the very salvation, of the country,” Lincoln tells supporters.

March to the Sea

November 15, 1864 – After destroying Atlanta’s warehouses and railroad facilities, Sherman, with 62,000 men begins a March to the Sea. President Lincoln on advice from Grant approved the idea. “I can make Georgia howl!” Sherman boasts.

December 15/16, 1864 – Hood’s Rebel Army of 23,000 is crushed at Nashville by 55,000 Federals including Negro troops under Gen. George H. Thomas. The Confederate Army of Tennessee ceases as an effective fighting force.

December 21, 1864 – Sherman reaches Savannah in Georgia leaving behind a 300 mile long path of destruction 60 miles wide all the way from Atlanta. Sherman then telegraphs Lincoln, offering him Savannah as a Christmas present.


January 31, 1865 – The U.S. Congress approves the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, to abolish slavery. The amendment is then submitted to the states for ratification.

February 3, 1865A peace conference occurs as President Lincoln meets with Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens at Hampton Roads in Virginia, but the meeting ends in failure – the war will continue.

Only Lee’s Army at Petersburg and Johnston’s forces in North Carolina remain to fight for the South against Northern forces now numbering 280,000 men.

March 4, 1865 – Inauguration ceremonies for President Lincoln in Washington. “With malice toward none; with charity for all…let us strive on to finish the work we are in…to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations,” Lincoln says.

March 25, 1865 – The last offensive for Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia begins with an attack on the center of Grant’s forces at Petersburg. Four hours later the attack is broken.

At Petersburg, Virginia, well supplied Union soldiers shown before Grant’s spring offensive.

April 2, 1865 – Grant’s forces begin a general advance and break through Lee’s lines at Petersburg. Confederate Gen. Ambrose P. Hill is killed. Lee evacuates Petersburg. The Confederate Capital, Richmond, is evacuated. Fires and looting break out. The next day, Union troops enter and raise the Stars and Stripes.

A Confederate boy, age 14, lies dead in the trenches of Fort Mahone at Petersburg.

April 4, 1865 – President Lincoln tours Richmond where he enters the Confederate White House. With “a serious, dreamy expression,” he sits at the desk of Jefferson Davis for a few moments.

Lee Surrenders

April 9, 1865 – Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders his Confederate Army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the village of Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Grant allows Rebel officers to keep their sidearms and permits soldiers to keep horses and mules.

“After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources,” Lee tells his troops.

General Lee surrendered in the parlor of this house.

Lee posed for this photo by Mathew Brady shortly after the surrender.

April 10, 1865 – Celebrations break out in Washington.

Final portrait of a war weary president – April 10, 1865

Lincoln Shot

April 14, 1865 – The Stars and Stripes is ceremoniously raised over Fort Sumter. That night, Lincoln and his wife Mary see the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater. At 10:13 p.m., during the third act of the play, John Wilkes Booth shoots the president in the head. Doctors attend to the president in the theater then move him to a house across the street. He never regains consciousness.

April 15, 1865 – President Abraham Lincoln dies at 7:22 in the morning. Vice President Andrew Johnson assumes the presidency.

April 18, 1865 – Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrenders to Sherman near Durham in North Carolina.

Funeral Procession on Pennsylvania Ave. – April 19, 1865

April 26, 1865 – John Wilkes Booth is shot and killed in a tobacco barn in Virginia.

May 4, 1865 – Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery, outside Springfield, Illinois.

In May – Remaining Confederate forces surrender. The Nation is reunited as the Civil War ends. Over 620,000 Americans died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. 50,000 survivors return home as amputees.

A victory parade is held in Washington along Pennsylvania Ave. to help boost the Nation’s morale – May 23/24, 1865.

December 6, 1865 – The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, is finally ratified. Slavery is abolished.


Today, there are some in the South, and across the nation, who refuse to accept the defeat of the Confederate secessionists. Crushed by the South’s defeat in the war, some descendants of Confederate veterans still fight the war to “Redeem the South”. Cries of “The South will rise again!” still echo throughout this nation. Hollywood has gloried the White South as the poor “Lost Cause” victim, when the real victims were enslaved Black people. Racist neo-Confederates speak of “Restoring the South’s honor”, while many Americans still have a Gone With the Wind mentality where the South is concerned.
Ignorance of the past and of what the Civil War and  Reconstruction encompassed is appalling. Ignorance of what the Ku Klux Klan, the Red Shirts, the Silver Dollar Group did—acts of barbarism—are swept under the rug. The request by the Mississippi branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to honor Grand Wizard and founder of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest with the issuing of vanity licence plates, is a mockery of those who fought against what this monster embraced. Other racist organizations abound throughout America:  the League of the South  and the Council of Conservative Citizens, to name a few—all designed to promote hatred and racism against Black citizens as well as hanging on to a demented belief in seceding from the United States.
The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865 when Gen. Robert E. Lee (commander of the Confederate forces) surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ( commander of the Union forces) at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
The Civil War ended on paper almost 150 years ago.
Its legacy should no longer be clouded with fabrications, myths, distortions, lies and the desire to re-write history to run from truth.
Knowledge of the Civil War, the origins of its causes, and the aftereffects which we all still are living with, should be realized and not wished away in some revisionist desire to sanitize what really transpired during, and after the Civil War. The Civil War is still being fought 150 years later. It continues to divide the country—East, West, North—and South.

NORTH AND SOUTH:  The Union: blue, yellow (slave);  The Confederacy: sienna; territories, tan; control of Confederate territories disputed.  ( SOURCE
File:US Secession map 1861.svg
U.S. Secession Map:  RED – states that seceded before April 15, 1861; FUSCHIA -states that seceded after April 15, 1861; YELLOW – Union states that permitted slavery; BLUE – Union states that banned slavery; GREY – Territories SOURCE
1. “Sexualized Racism/Gendered Violence: Outraging the Body Politic in The Reconstruction South”, Lisa Cardyn. Michigan Law Review. Ann Arbor: Feb 2002. Vol. 100. Issue 4, pgs. 675-867 (193 pages). [Subjects: Sexual behavior, Minority & ethnic violence, White supremacists, Gender, Law.]
Product Details

Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching by Crystal N. Feimster  (Oct 30, 2011)

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6 responses to “THE CIVIL WAR: APRIL 12, 1861 – APRIL 9, 1865


  2. JK

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. Thank you so much for a wealth of information.

    Never knew about the Hawaiian king, the Black women nurse, or the other races that fought in the Civil War.

    Much obliged to you for your revelations.


  4. war is bad,
    ihope the civil war not happen again,
    peace and keep our planet


  6. Horace

    I agree with this post. The civil war is still being fought, and looks like the entire nation has gone southern and gone with the wind in their support of trump.

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