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American Civil War

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While America had many battles and wars the civil war was one of, or if not the most important wars ever. The civil war defined what kind of nation America Would be. It also changed the lives of slaves forever and set the tone of the way america was going to be run.Divisions between the free North and the slaveholding South erupted into a full-scale conflict after the election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860. 11 Southern states seceded from the Union, collectively turning their back on the idea of a single American nation. Lincoln, who’d been in office for only six weeks, declared these acts of secession illegal, and asked Congress for 500,000 soldiers to crush what threatened to be an aggressive rebellion.

In April 1861, the first shots were fired and what followed became a national tragedy of unimaginable proportions. More than 600,000 soldiers were killed and millions more wounded. Large sections of the South were ravaged by violent battles, and the Union nearly collapsed under determined Confederate forces.The war itself began hesitantly, but after the Battle of Bull Run—in Manassas, Virginia— in July 1861, it was clear that warfare would last for many months, perhaps even years. Huge battles raged in places like Fredericksburg, Chickamauga, and Shiloh and in Virginia and Tennessee, where 40% of the 10,000 engagements of the war were fought.

Winning victory after victory over poorly-led Union forces, Confederate General Robert E. Lee invaded Maryland in September 1862. But there he suffered a major loss at the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest engagement of the war. The following year, Lee trounced the Union Army at Chancellorsville and invaded Pennsylvania, leading to the climactic Battle of Gettysburg in which 50,000 men were killed or wounded and Lee was forced to retreat to Virginia, never to invade the North again. In the West, Union General Ulysses S. Grant took the important Confederate town of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River on July 4th, 1863, the same day that news of the Union victory at Gettysburg reached Washington. But despite these key victories, the war still wasn’t over. Grant launched his Overland Campaign in 1864 and fought a series of major battles. He hoped to destroy Lee’s army by utilizing a strategy of attrition, but the tactic failed. In retaliation, Union General William Tecumsah Sherman marched from Atlanta to Savannah, burning the countryside as he went.

By the spring of 1865, the South was exhausted, and on April 9th, Lee finally surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the war.Though most Americans knew that the central reason behind the war was slavery, it wasn’t until the Battle of Antietam in September 1862 that Lincoln began emancipating the slaves. On January 1st, 1863, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in captured Confederate territory. From that point on, the war officially became one over the issue of slavery. Still, it wasn’t until after the war, in December 1865, that the 13th Amendment was ratified, finally freeing all slaves in America.

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American Civil War. (2018, December 17). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from
“American Civil War.” GradesFixer, 17 Dec. 2018,
American Civil War. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Oct. 2021].
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