The war began when the Confederates bombarded Union soldiers at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861. The war ended in Spring, 1865. Robert E. Lee surrendered the last major Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.
The Civil War, also known as “The War Between the States,” 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 and formed their own country in order to protect the institution of slavery. Jefferson Davis, a former U.S. Senator and Secretary of War, was appointed President of the Confederate States of America. The United States thought that the southern states were wrong to leave the Union and initiated a war that raged across the country for four years. In 1865, the United States defeated the Confederate States and abolished slavery nation-wide.
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 Civil War Trust and its partners have preserved more than 36,000 acres of battlefield land.
At the beginning of the Civil War, 22 million people lived in the North and 9 million people (4 million of whom were slaves) lived in the South. The North also had more money, more factories, more horses, more railroads, and more food. These advantages made the United States much more powerful than the Confederate States. However, the Confederates were fighting defensively and their soldiers and generals frequently proved to be more skilled than their northern counterparts, allowing them to mount a stubborn resistance to the United States.