THE CIVIL WAR The Decimation and Rebirth of a Nation

The civil war was fought between two sections of American society over a number of issues. The southern states of the United States were predominantly pro slavery. There was a sense of insecurity prevalent in southern society over the issue of slavery and the rising abolitionist stance of North. They accused northern states of not doing enough to preserve their rights and deliberate attempts to abolish slavery in United States.

After the success of Abraham Lincoln, a known anti slavery politician from Republican Party, many Southern States saw no future with the Union and decided to secede. By February 1861, seven states had already seceded. The North, led by Lincoln, wanted to remain as a united country and decided to wage war against rebel states. The civil war thus started in 1861 and continued unabated until 1865.

November 6, 1860

Abraham Lincoln is elected as the President of United States. He does not win in any of the pro slavery southern states. However, his showing in the northern states is enough to see him into office. His success is viewed cynically by the south.

December 20, 1860

South Carolina becomes the first state to secede from the union. By February, 1861 six more states had seceded.

February 9, 1861

Seven Confederate states announce establishment of an independent country called Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis is appointed president of the Confederation which includes South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

March 4, 1861

Abraham Lincoln is sworn in as president. He faces a herculean task of bringing back all rebel states to the union.

April 12, 1861

After a prolonged crisis, Confederate forces attack and take over Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. This triggers the civil war as the North decides to tackle the problem with force.

April, 1861

After Lincoln calls for 75,000 volunteers to bolster the war effort, four more states announced secession and joined the Confederation. They were Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas.

April 19, 1861

Lincoln announced a blockade of the Atlantic coast of Confederate states as a war measure. The blockade was widened to the gulf coast as well later on. This blockade, though not very effective earlier on, affected Confederate economy adversely later in the war. The strategy originally came from General Winfield Scott as was known as the "Anaconda Plan," and later nicknamed "Scott's Great Snake." His plan to crush the Confederacy's economy was originally ridiculed, but it was a key part in the outcome of the war.

January 1, 1863

After a series of hard fought battles in 1861 and 1862, the Union wins a major victory in the Battle of Antietam, one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. history. After the battle, President Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation which set all slaves in 10 rebel states free.

July 1, 1863

Union army, led by General George Meade, won a major battle at Gettysburg. It was not only a tactical win but also a strategic success for the Union. The tide of the war turned in favor of the North after Gettysburg.

November 19, 1863

President Lincoln delivers a two minute Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a National Cemetery.

March 9, 1864

President Lincoln appoints General Ulysses S. Grant to command all of the armies of the United States. General William T. Sherman succeeds Grant as the commander in the west. This changing of the guard in the North was one of the key decisions in the war that solidified the North's eventual victory.

September 2, 1864

General Sherman captures Atlanta after a five month long campaign.

November 15, 1864

General Sherman starts his "March to the Sea" from Atlanta. He serves crippling blows to the Confederate economy and morale by laying to waste all that comes in his way.

December 21, 1864

Sherman reaches the important port city of 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.

April 4, 1864

After a long and trying campaign, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders to General Ulysses Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse. This triggers surrenders of more Confederate commanders.

April 14, 1865

President Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a famous actor and Confederate sympathizer, while he was watching a stage play at Ford’s Theater.

May 9, 1865

President Andrew Johnson announces the end of civil war. Confederate President Jefferson Davis is captured on the very next day. Over 620,000 Americans died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. 50,000 survivors returned home as amputees.

December 6, 1865

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

Created By
Adam Kufahl
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