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American Civil War
- Created 2012-02-14
American Civil War
, also known as the
War Between the States
War of the Rebellion
, or simply the
), was a
fought from 1861 to 1865 in the United States after several Southern
and formed the
Confederate States of America
(the "Confederacy" or the "
"). The states that remained were known as the "
" or the "
war had its origin
in the fractious issue of slavery, especially the extension of slavery into the western territories. Foreign powers did not intervene. After four years of bloody combat that left over 600,000 soldiers dead and destroyed much of the South's infrastructure, the Confederacy collapsed, slavery was abolished, and the difficult Reconstruction process of restoring national unity and guaranteeing rights to the freed slaves began.
1860 presidential election
, led by
, opposed the expansion of slavery into
United States' territories
. Lincoln won, but before
on March 4, 1861, seven slave states with cotton-based economies formed the Confederacy. Outgoing
and the incoming Republicans rejected secession as illegal. Lincoln's inaugural address declared his administration would not initiate civil war. Eight remaining slave states continued to reject calls for secession. Confederate forces seized numerous federal forts within territory claimed by the Confederacy. A
failed to find a compromise, and both sides prepared for war. The Confederates assumed that European countries were so dependent on "
" that they would intervene; none did and none recognized the new Confederate States of America.
Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon
, a key fort held by Union troops in South Carolina. Lincoln called for each state to provide troops to retake the fort; consequently, four more slave states joined the Confederacy, bringing their total to eleven. The Union soon controlled the
and established a
that crippled the southern economy. The Eastern Theater was inconclusive in 1861–62. The autumn 1862 Confederate campaign into Maryland (a Union state) ended with Confederate retreat at the
Battle of Antietam
intervention. Lincoln issued the
, which made ending slavery a war goal. To the west, by summer 1862 the Union destroyed the Confederate river navy, then much of their western armies, and the Union
siege of Vicksburg
split the Confederacy in two at the Mississippi River. In 1863, Robert E. Lee's Confederate incursion north ended at the
Battle of Gettysburg
. Western successes led to
Ulysses S. Grant's
command of all Union armies in 1864. In the Western Theater,
William T. Sherman
drove east to capture
marched to the sea
, destroying Confederate infrastructure along the way. The Union marshaled the resources and manpower to attack the Confederacy from all directions, and could afford to fight
battles of attrition
towards Richmond, the Confederate capital. The defending Confederate army failed, leading to Lee's surrender to Grant at
Appomattox Court House
on April 9, 1865. All Confederate generals surrendered by that summer.
The American Civil War was one of the earliest true
. Railroads, the telegraph, steamships, and mass-produced weapons were employed extensively. The mobilization of civilian factories, mines, shipyards, banks, transportation and food supplies all foreshadowed
World War I
. It remains the deadliest war in
, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 750,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. Historian
estimates the death toll at ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 12 December), licensed under
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